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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

For the Love of Mike

Happy New Year,

There is a lot of gear pornography in musical blogs. Guitarists in particular have a world of electronics they love to show off and discuss - guitars, amps, pedals and the rest. We singers have one vital piece of gear that isn't talked about too much - the microphone. 

I have moments when I walk on stage, the audience in darkness, and just one thing greets me in the circle of light. It draws me closer and promises to listen and share every sound I make. 

Of course we all know that the quality of the sound system and the sound engineer have a huge bearing on the audio, but it's that mike sitting atop the stand that is the only tangible thing there for me. 

I love that I can whisper to him and he'll listen to every nuance. We have our own secret communion  - and at the end of our lovely dance I treasure the metallic taste left on my lips as a memento of our moments together.

I personally love a Shure 58 - it's the most common live performance mike around my parts - it's inexpensive, robust and I for one like the sound I get from it. I usually have a Shure 58 in my handbag although I often find, in the venues I play, the sound engineer will have their own mikes tuned to their own system and would prefer to use those. 

However... recently at a gig, this conversation transpired:
Sound Engineer: Do you have your own mike?
Me: I do, but actually didn't bring it this time sorry - last time I played here I was told it wasn't needed.
Sound Engineer: You should own your own mike.
Me: Oh I do, I have 3 of my own mikes and usually bring one. Sorry, but I usually find sound engineers prefer to use their own.
Sound Engineer: You can use my mike but you should go out and buy a Shure 58, they're not expensive.
Me: I actually have three Shure 58s, love them.
Sound Engineer: Think of how much money all these musicians have to spend on their musical gear. The least you can do is go and buy your own mike.

My point here? Never undervalue the mike - and beware the deaf sound engineer! 


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