[Dixielandjazz] Clarinet Mikes

LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing sign.guy at charter.net
Tue Nov 23 13:53:22 PST 2004

Steve - It was probably one of those electret mikes from Radio shack.  I
used one for my tenor but stopped using it because it 1. marred the finish
and  2. the batteries were always down and they weren't particularly cheap
but the mike (I had 2) really wasn't shabby.  Electret and condenser mikes
are very high response mikes. (frequency range) and have the pre amp built
in.  They are really cheap actually.  They use them for conferences I think
they call them tie clip mikes.  It's been years since I have bought one but
I will guess they are in the $19- $29 range.

The problem with clarinet mikes is that they have to be really hot if you
use them away from the end of the horn.  When I pick up my tenor it really
screams any where near the clarinet mike.  Learning to use a mike is
something of an art.  Watch singers move the mike in and out while they
sing.  You have to do that too with horns.

You might set the clarinet mike high and hold the horn more or less level to
play into it.  The audience will love it.  You know like the guy on the
Zateran commercial.  Set a sax mike low.  The only problem I have with that
on Soprano is the horn is heavy and the neck strap doesn't lend its self to
that posture very well without an adjustment in length on the strap.  I
probably need to get a more flexible strap.

The way I set up the tenor mike is to eat the mike on solos and pull away
when I'm not playing out.  This sounds very simple but I see guys standing
three feet away from the mikes playing solos.  If you are gong to do that
why bother?  Set it so you  have the volume you need at the loudest then
back away or turn to the side for section work.  It's a bigger problem with
clarinet and somewhat for soprano sax.

Some years ago Conn made a mike that you drilled a hole in the barrel joint
and screwed in a special fitting that held the mike.  They were very good
but I constantly got the cord tangled in the keys.  I didn't like being
tethered with a very thin wire that seemed to always be in the way.  I don't
think they make them anymore.  You also had a cap to close the hole if you
weren't using the mike.

Barcus Berry had made contact mike and it had the same problems as the Conn
mike but it sounded OK.  As I recall it needed a pre amp.

to tell you the truth I like the Shure mikes that have been recommended and
Radio Shack has a knock off (I think it's made by Shure) that is pretty good
and not really expensive.

Some years ago I was trying out speakers and there were two that I was
interested in. One cost $100 more per cabinet and sounded better.  The Peavy
was built more rugged but didn't sound  quite as good.  You could only tell
the difference if they were played alternately in a good room side by side.
The lesson is that if you want perfection it's expensive and the people out
there in the audience don't give a rip and can't tell the difference anyway
unless you tell them and put two mikes side by side.  So don't tell anyone
and don't put them side by side.  Very easy to do.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 11:13 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Clarinet Mikes

> Being relatively unsophisticated about mikes I offer the following 2
> Mikes like the Shure 57 & 58 work fine. One way to make them work better
> to move the clarinet up and down to combat the problem Larry mentions with
> the pop you get on B, C and C#, which sound through the bell.
> If one doesn't have two mikes, one for the holes in the middle of the axe,
> and one for the bell, then one can move the instrument up and down
> upon which notes are being played, so that the mike picks them up
> equally. Not as difficult as it sounds.
> However, I will never forget a concert I played in Warren PA (Upstate in
> boonies, south of Jamestown NY) at a beautifully restored theater, seating
> about 600 or so. About 6 years ago.
> The sound man clipped a very small mike about midway up the mike stand, It
> was about the size of an ink pen cap. I have no idea what it was. However.
> The sound blew me away. Made me sound like a mixture of Kenny Davern,
> DeFranco Tony Scott and Jimmie Giuffre. Clear, Crisp and very Mellow. Even
> folks in the audience came up afterwards and said. "Wow, I have never
> a clarinet sound like that before. Every note was so beautifully audible."
> What was it? Who knows. Maybe Paul or others have an idea?
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
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