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Thread: Micing Melodica

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    imacgreg is offline Senior Member
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    Micing Melodica

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    In my punk band, our singer sometimes plays the melodica (basically a flute w/piano keys!). We have had a hard time micing it live, and although this isn't a recording question we'll be recording it soon. As far as live goes, what would be the best way to mic it without feedback? We have used a 57 and a 421, both with minimal success. To get the instrument loud enough in the mix (think marshall halfstack) I have to crank the gain, which leads to feedback. The 421 works a bit better with the bass roll off but I am hesitant to carry that thing around at shows with how easliy mics can "walk." I have been thinking about one of those "horn" mics with the clip and small diaphragm but I'm not so sure that would be any better. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Ian

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    Sonic Misfit's Avatar
    Sonic Misfit is offline Dedicated Member
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    Ian,

    The way I get an instrument with "soft" sounds into a mix with loud guitars and drums is to record it in isolation. Basically, you have two options.

    1. Record the guitar parts and then overdub the melodica on a separate track while the player uses headphones. Be sure to set up a separate headphone mix which keeps the louder instruments below the melodica.

    2. Record the melodica in an isolation booth.

    Either way works fine. As far a micing a melodica, I would recommend a condenser mic when recording in isolation.

    Just my two cents...I hope that it helps.

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    imacgreg is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks sonic. Any suggetsions for live? That's where we are habing our real problems.

    ian

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    Gargamel is offline Dedicated Member
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    Try using one of those 'Clip on' mics....you know what I mean? Radio shack (no flames!!!!!!!!!) sells them. They are little tiny condenser mics....game shows use them!! lol

    Does any one know what I am talking about?

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    imacgreg is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks Gargamel, that's kindof what I've been thinking, but I forgot about ol Radio Shack.
    I'll check it out,
    Ian

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    Sonic Misfit's Avatar
    Sonic Misfit is offline Dedicated Member
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    Ian,

    You aren't going to believe this when I tell you, but my brother actually played a melodica on a few songs with his band. The mic he used was a small condenser mic. (It was similar to the radio shack mic Gargamel was mentioning.) The mic was plugged into a small guitar amplifier and then a Shure Unisphere A mic was used to mic the guitar amplifier through the PA system.

    This is sort of the way that harmonicas are mic'ed. By using this set up, he could keep the volume low enough on the condenser mic that he didn't pick up a lot of background noise.

    I hope that this helps.

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    imacgreg is offline Senior Member
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    That's a good idea, I have a Fender guitar amp that we can try. I'm thinking just wire the mic for unbalanced (if it isnt already) and just go to the amp. My other question is: Where does the sound come out on the melodica?? There aren't any holes, we assumed it came out from underneath the keys, in which case mic placement would make a big difference right (if he is playing across the range)?

    Thanks for your help,
    Ian

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    Markd102 is offline Wannabe Gear Slut
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    Ian
    What mic positioning are you using? I've only come accross a melodica once and it was played by a very experienced and professional keyboard player. He used it as a surprise/novelty thing and produced it mid gig. He just walked up to the mic and pointed the mic straight up and miked the underside of the instrument. I'm asuming there is a sound hole of some sort underneath? Anyway, I had no trouble geting enough gain. It was either a SM57 or 58.
    Mark
    Brain Under Construction

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    bizarre is offline Senior Member
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    Sorry if I'm repeating something here. I've played with a guy who ocasionally played the melodica. And this is said before : small, condencer - here comes the new part : he bought one especialy build for a fiddle, it fitted inside the melodica, sounded pretty good
    bizz

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    dobro's Avatar
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    Alternately, you could just get a new singer, someone who didn't play goofy stuff like a melodica.

    Melodica in a punk band... he's just showing off, right?

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