Re: Digest Number 3493 - Sound Reinforcement
> Dynamic microphones (typical hand-held solo vocal mics) will not doI've enjoyed the many good posts on this subject. It's refreshing to see how
> the job in most cases. No matter how many you point at the chorus,
> they are so directional and so prone to the proximity effect that
> your total sound will be a collection of tinny solo voices.
many barbershoppers are getting smart in sound amplification and recording
I'd like to make a couple minor corrections to the above statement if I may.
The conclusion is correct, but I will offer different reasons than those given.
It's true that dynamic mics make poor choices for barbershop. But not all
dynamic mics are directional. There are directional dynamics (the classic
SM-58's and SM-57's) as well as omnidirectional dynamics (SM63's, etc.)
Second, proximity effect applies to all directional microphones, whether they
are dynamics or condensers. Even the best directional condenser will also
exhibit proximity effect (accentuated bass response) if you sing close to it.
This can be useful is a singer knows how to use it, but can yield surprising
results if the group is unaware. The best habit is not to sing closer than 2-3
feet to any directional mic unless you know what you're doing.
Finally, the reason I believe that dynamics make poor barbershop mics is that
they simply aren't as sensitive as condensers or ribbons. A dynamic mic
captures sound by mounting a suspended coil on the diaphragm. To create the
electrical wave representing the sound at the diaphragm the coil must actually
be physically moved by the sound pressure. A condenser, on the other hand, has
a thin foil layer on the diaphragm. This foil moves in accordance with the
sound pressure at the diaphragm and varies the capacitance in the audio circuit.
Since the coil of a dynamic mic has considerably more mass than the foil on a
condenser's diaphragm, the dynamic takes much more sound pressure to move it.
So the sensivity of a dynamic mic to subtle but critical nuances as well as the
lower energy overtones we all want to hear in barbershop are usually lost with a
dynamic but captured with a condenser or ribbon. This lack of sensitivity also
makes miking at a distance, such as with choruses, difficult with dynamics.
It's this superior sensitivity that makes condensers and ribbons superior to
dynamics for our kind of music. Dynamics, with the superior durability, are
found much more in rock groups or non-music applications where sensitivity isn't
Thanks for listening. :-)
Great Northern Union chorus
After Midnight quartet