[Dixielandjazz] Clarinet Mikes

LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing sign.guy at charter.net
Wed Nov 24 00:36:44 PST 2004

I don't agree quite 100%, although you, as always,  make some really good
points.  I do like using a mike and not for the volume it can produce but
the dynamic variation and the ability, if it's done right, to warm up the
sound and allow me to hear what is going out.

We hear two different ways, through the air like everyone but then we also
hear the sound as conducted through bone and skin and cavities of the skull.
The teeth on the mouthpiece gives you a certain amount of sound.  If you
want to hear it use a tuning fork and put the handle on a tooth.  You will
hear it clear as a bell.  I believe that if this transmitted sound warps
your idea of what you sound like in the same way that when we speak we hear
ourselves differently than others hear us.

  When you are amplified you are hearing yourself like everyone else hears
you.  If it's different there are reasons why.  First it might be that the
amp itself is mis-adjusted. 2.  The mike isn't up to snuff but before you
throw out your mike look at other things.  How are the equalizers set for
example?  Does the guy operating the system know what he's doing.

Steve said : I can blow clarinet fairly loudly and prefer that to the
artificial sound of blowing into a mike.

The only way you can hear yourself as others hear you is to record using
high quality components.  You don't sound the same to yourself as others
hear you.   I can blow out a wall too but when I'm doing it I can't play
with the inflections and sensitivity that I also like to use.  The only way
I can get that is to use sound reinforcement or play to really small groups
in very live rooms.  One of the groups I play with amps the rhythm section
and singers.  The horns are not amplified.  Then the madness starts.  The
rhythm section starts to crank up and We have to keep up with them.  Let me
tell you that's loud and I can scream on my horn (tenor) but that's not what
I like to do.  The cool stuff is left at the door.

I have my sax students stand in a corner and blow their horn.  Wow can you
hear yourself.  The sound overpowers the conducted sound the same way an amp
does.  Today amplifying systems and speakers can give you much more subtle
variations than are possible without them.  Every CD you hear is the product
of amplifiers (several usually), Speakers and other systems and they sound
really good so I conclude that Amps and speakers and mikes aren't bad if
they are used right..  Playing really loud distorts the sound and tends to
make you out of tune.

I hear really good musicians playing into screeching monsters and ruining
their sound with them.  The study of amplifying systems and a little time
setting them up will pay off big and you don't have to spend big bucks to do
it. The problem is when we don't have control over the system and there's
some $8 an hour park employee twiddling the knobs.

One of the problems with novice singers is they hear themselves coming out
of the amp - it sounds different - and they can't handle it.  You can always
tell how much experience a singer has by the way they handle the mike and if
they can sing in tune through the amp.  You can take a perfectly good singer
and mike them and they just sound bad until they get some experience.

Horn players are like that too.  Everyone needs experience using this stuff.

Amps aren't just for making a sound loud.  Think of them as sound
reinforcement.  It's all about balance and room resonance.  They are a tool.

I use two JBL 15" EON powered monitors.  They have EQ's, Bi amps and several
inputs with mixers.  What a sound and we rarely use them up loud.  I'm not
sure if JBL is still selling this model with all the goodies on it.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: "LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing" <sign.guy at charter.net>; "DJML"
<dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 6:56 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Clarinet Mikes

> LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing at sign.guy at charter.net wrote:
> > I wanted to add one more thing.  I didn't really like a mike attached to
> > horn because you can't get away from it.  The only way you can vary
> > is by playing softer or louder.  Not always the best way.  I like to
> > the option to get away from the mike too.
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing" <sign.guy at charter.net>
> > To: "Steve barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>; "DJML"
> >> Steve - It was probably one of those electret mikes from Radio shack.
> >> used one for my tenor but stopped using it because it 1. marred the
> >> and  2. the batteries were always down and they weren't particularly
> >> but the mike (I had 2) really wasn't shabby.  Electret and condenser
> >> are very high response mikes. (frequency range) and have the pre amp
> >> 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.  etc. (polite snip)
> Yes, I agree. The mike at the theater in my original note was not clipped
> the horn either, it was clipped to the vocal mike stand about half way up.
> Personally, I am not a fan of using a horn mike except where you have a
> large room, concert hall, or are outdoors with thousands in the audience.
> I can blow clarinet fairly loudly and prefer that to the artificial sound
> blowing into a mike.
> As an aside, Kenny Davern is amazingly loud when he has to be. Because his
> first clarinet teacher, was a very authoritative gentlemen who had him
> in a coat closet full of coats until he could hear himself. I developed it
> recently when starting to play again, by going out into my horse pasture
> circa 1992 and trying to hear myself like you do when in a very live room.
> Still nowhere near as loud as Kenny, but gaining :-) VBG.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone

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