LIVE MICROPHONE

This instrument is beautiful, but is some kind of a hell to amplify. Here’s my experience about it, I hope some of you can benefit from it.

1. CONDENSER
Classic solution is to put stereo condenser microphone (NT5-like). You get a great sound, but absolutely no way to get louder without Larsen. Note that you can use highly directional microphone that may do the trick, but are very expensive (and you may not want to carry them everwhere on stage). You can also use condenser microphone paired with in-ear monitors so that your monitor sound won’t get in the mic, but this is also an expensive option.
Larsenproof :
Quality : *****

2. SM58
There is the cheap solution of using classic SM58 mic and put them either on top or inside the instrument. This may save your ass once in a while as every venue have some, but this is low quality/high larsen solution, so one of the worst.
Larsenproof : *
Quality : *

3.SURFACING MICROPHONE
One interesting idea I tried is surfacing microphone (this is mainly for Kick drums). you can put it in the Gu ; which means the sound is not as good as taken from outside, but the larsen is also a bit harder to trigger. I used that solution once for a live, it’s not that bad but still doesn’t allow you to play extraloud. Note that depending on the size of your gu, most surfacing microphone may not fit into it, you’ll have to hunt for the smallest ones.
Larsenproof : **
Quality : **

4. CONTACT MICROPHONE
Then you got to contact microphone. thing is, most of them are only cheap piezzo and sound is quite bad. however, it is higly larsen resistant so it can do the trick if quality is not the first criteria (say you god several electronic instruments and the handpan is mixed into them to add a flavour). This IS the solution that can get you the loudest. More infos on contact mic below.
Larsenproof : ****
Quality : *

5. NADA BRAHMA MICROPHONE
then you got the NB mic. they have good quality (and are stereo), and are less subject to larsen than most mics, but it won’t be enough for going loud with backing track. I will tell you more when I get the new version, but I don’t think it’ll be enough. For solo players with no electronic/backing tracks, this may perfectly do the trick, making it a good solution, though quite expensive. But for highly resonant concert room or loud backing track, it won’t.
Larsenproof : **
Quality : ****

So, what to choose ? here’s a quick summary :

Best sound : highly directive condenser mic. Very expensive, but paired with in-ear monitor you get the best sound you can have
Best Larsenproof
: Contact microphone. Check this other article on how to choose your contact microphone !
Best overall value
: Contact microphone, being careful about which one you choose. Note that you can ideally combine contact microphone with condenser microphones. In that case you would want to send only the contact microphone’s sound in your monitor, and the only the condenser microphone sound (or both if needed) for the front sound.

I will regularly improve this article with new systems I try. Do not hesitate to come back to see if there’s some news, or to share your experiences with me.
Hope I helped you here.
Love & Chill,
Tom

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