Translating a performance to a live audience begins with the mic. Every sound source that is not plugged line level directly into the console, such as drums, guitars, vocals, horns, and any acoustic instrument, starts out at the microphone. “Getting it right at the mic” is key to great live sound, and using the right mic is the first and most important step. Here’s a short list of road-tested, tried-and-true mics that will make your music sound its best without breaking the bank.
This is the first microphone to own, the absolute standard. Quite possibly the most-used mic of all time, this dynamic wonder has captured many of the classic guitar tones, drum sounds, and voices that we all know. It has literally been used on every sound source, and its reliability and toughness are the stuff of legend. If you own one already, consider it a great start. You can never have too many SM57s.
Application: Snare, acoustic guitar, harmonium, guitar amp, wind instruments, tabla dayan.
It has been updated with more than 100 changes through the past 50 years to keep it current and abreast of modern technology, and still remains one of the most popular and best-selling mics on the planet. Tuned to accentuate the warmth and clarity of lead and back-up vocals, the SM58 is a legendary live vocal microphone known for its rugged reliability on tour.
Application: Vocal, tabla bayan.
The e604 is a no-brainer for miking toms and snare. Rapid transient response, high SPL-handling capability, reduced impact and handling noise, a short body, and an integrated pivoting mount not only give an accurate sonic representation of your drums, but you can easily place the e604 exactly where it needs to be. This mic also comes bundled in a 3-pack for convenience and value.
Application: Toms, percussion instruments.
The e 614 is a super-cardioid condenser microphone, designed for demanding instrument recordings and performances that require extended frequency response, high SPL handling, fast transient response and compact size. While drumset overhead miking was the first design priority, the e614 also works exceptionally well on percussion setups as well, fitting comfortably into tight setups. The e 614 can handle high SPLs and features medium sensitivity, which ensures reduced bleed from other instruments on stage. Because of its excellent acoustic properties, this mic is also ideal for home recording.
Application: Drums overhead
Designed for low end, the Beta 52A is a kick drum monster. With 174dB SPL capability, a supercardioid pickup pattern for increased proximity effect, a frequency range voiced to give low-end power and definition, and bulletproof construction, you’ll get a great-sounding kick drum consistently.
Application: Drum kick
Extended high frequency response and supercardioid pick-up pattern for higher signal output, cuts through high on-stage sound levels. Smooth warm tonal response and full dynamic range, with presence lift for vocal clarity and projection. Consistent on/off axis and proximity response maintain sound quality while moving, providing greater on-stage freedom. Full metal construction and extensive suspension and shock-mounting minimize handling noise and signal interference. High output performance microphone, offering power, clarity and projection
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