FAQ - Instrument mics
How do I connect a Bartlett Mic to my mixer, amp, or stomp box?
First, find out if your mixer or amp has "phantom power." That is power supplied to a microphone along its mic cable. All our mics (except the Guitar Mic B) require it. Check your mixer or amp's manual to see if the device has phantom power. Or look for a switch labeled "Phantom", "P48", or "48V". Most instrument amps do not have a phantom power switch; it's always on.
Many acoustic instrument amps supply phantom power, such as the Fishman Loudbox 100, AER Compact 60, Schertler Unico, Crate Gunnison CA611OD, Ibanez T80N, Carvin AG100D, Vox AGA70, Marshall AS50D or Acoustic Image Coda/Ten2.
If your device has phantom power, simply plug the mic into the XLR (3-hole) mic connector and turn on phantom power (unless it's always on).
If your mixer or amp does NOT have phantom power, follow this procedure:
- Get a phantom power supply. The ART Phantom I, Behringer PS400 and Rolls PB23 work well. Use www.google.com/shopping to find one. Some battery-powered phantom supplies are the Knoxgear, Mackie M48, Xvive Audio P1, Core Sound 2Phant and Audix APS911.
- If your amp or mixer does NOT have an XLR mic connector, get an XLR-to-1/4" adapter (impedance-matching transformer/adapter), such as the Whirlwind Little IMP or Shure A85F. Note: if this transformer has too much gain for your equipment (causing clipping), just use a simple female XLR-to1/4" mono plug adapter, such as this one: adapter
Then make one of the connections shown below.
Why the different models? Won't one mic work on everything?
No, they all sound different. Each mic is tailored for a specific instrument. Each mic is EQ'd internally to make your instrument sound natural.
What's the difference between your two mics for acoustic guitar?
They sound the same, but they have different powering and connections:
- Temporary mounting on a soundhole or f-hole
- Phantom powered
- XLR connector
- Connects to a sound-system mixer or to an instrument amp that has phantom power
- Also connects to any phantom power supply, which connects to an instrument amp that lacks phantom power
Guitar Mic B:
- Temporary mounting on a soundhole or f-hole
- Battery powered. 9-volt battery pack lies on the floor.
- 1/4" phone jack connector
- Connects by a guitar cord to an active direct box, instrument amp, or effects pedals
How can I avoid tangling the mic cable?
Wrap the cable in figure-eights around your index finger and pinkie, then wrap the cable with the supplied Velcro strap.
How can I tighten or loosen the Soundhole Clip?
Tighten the clip with padded pliers, or spread the clip opening apart:
If I want to extend the mic cable, what kind of mic cable should I get?
Female XLR to male XLR mic cable, any convenient length. It's at any music store. Here's one:
Here's an article on cables and connectors:
Rolls MS111 MicSwitch
Pro Co Sign Off microphone on-off switch box
Calrad 35-465 inline on-off switch
If your mixer has phantom power, connect your system like this:
Mic > on-off switch > XLR mic cable > mixer XLR mic input
On-off foot pedal for the Guitar Mic B:
The Behringer TU300 tuner/on-off switch.
A tuner which can be used as a cable strain relief for our Fiddle Mic:
Also, Google mandolin tuners. Trap the cable under the tuner clamp.
The mic seems too "hot" or high-level. My amp is distorting.
Plug in one of these mic attenuators:
Whirlwind IMP Pad
Pearstone IMA-1030 adjustable mic pad
My Guitar Mic B seems too low-level.
The Guitar Mic B should be used with an active direct box, not a passive one. If the active DI is battery powered, it might produce a weak signal compared to being phantom powered. The Guitar Mic B also connects to an instrument input of an instrument amp or audio interface, not to an XLR mic input.
The mic makes my instrument sound hollow or wobbly.
That means your amp volume is set too high. Turn down the amp slightly, or turn down the bass slightly to remove that sound.
Does cutting frequencies with a graphic equalizer give more volume before feedback starts?
No, because the bandwidth of the cut frequency is too wide. A preamp with a narrow feedback notch filter can work better.
Preamps with phantom power that let you adjust EQ on stage, plus a feedback notch filter:
Headway EDB-2 preamp. It has an XLR mic input with phantom power.
Grace Design Felix 2 preamp. It also has an XLR mic input with phantom power, plus 1/4" jacks for pickups.
Here is an excellent article on mic preamps:
A low-cost mixer with phantom power that lets you adjust EQ on stage. It has 3 bands at 12 kHz, 2.5 kHz, and 80 Hz.
Behringer Xenyx 1002
Graphic equalizer pedals that let you adjust EQ on stage:
Behringer EQ700 $28, 7-band, plastic housing
MXR M108S $129, 10-band, metal housing
Whirlwind Perfect 10 $218, metal housing
L.R. Baggs Align Equalizer pedal $179
Fishman preamps with EQ $169-$319
None of those EQ pedals have phantom power, so you'd need to get a phantom power supply. The Behringer PS400 is a good phantom supply for about $29. So is the Rolls PB23. Some battery-powered phantom supplies are the Knoxgear, Mackie M48, Xvive Audio P1, and Audix APS91
All those pedals are high impedance in and out, so you'd need an impedance matching transformer such as the Shure A85F for $22. It provides 24 dB of gain. It converts a low-impedance XLR to a high-impedance 1/4" phone plug. Note: if this transformer has too much gain for your equipment (causing clipping), just use a simple female XLR-to1/4" mono plug adapter, such as this one: adapter
The connections would be like this:
Mic > phantom power supply > short mic cable > Shure A85F or xlr-to-phone adapter > graphic EQ > guitar cord to your amp or direct box.
The Guitar Mic B connects directly to the EQ pedal; no phantom supply or transformer is needed with the Guitar Mic B.
Volume control for the phantom-powered mics:
Rapco Horizon CVPBLOX volume control It does not pass phantom power to the mic, so you will need to plug a phantom power supply between the mic and the Rapco volume control. Some phantom power supplies are the Behringer PS400 and Rolls PB23.
Connect the components in this order: Bartlett mic > XLR mic cable > phantom power supply > XLR mic cable > Rapco volume control > XLR mic cable to PA mixer.
How can I avoid running the mic's thin cable across the stage?
Coil the cable and put it in your pocket (or in a USA Gear Flexamore Eyeglasses case). Plug a standard mic cable into the mic's XLR connector, and run the thick cable across the stage. Or just put the mic's XLR connector at your feet, and plug in a thick mic cable there. You might gaffer-tape the Fiddle Mic's XLR connector to the strap of a shoulder rest.
How do I make my Bartlett microphone wireless?
Let me know which model you have or want to get. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For $60, I can modify your Bartlett mic to be wireless-ready (for Shure wireless systems only).
What about cleaning my mic?
Your microphone is a precision instrument. Keep it away from dust, pet fur, etc. If the mic needs cleaning, brush it gently with a clean, soft brush (such as a pastry brush or artist’s watercolor brush).
When should I turn on phantom power, before or after I plug in the mic?
Turn on phantom power AFTER plugging in the mic. Hot-plugging a mic into phantom power can, on rare occasions, blow out the circuit in the mic. It's a good idea to use an on-off switch, and turn OFF the mic before plugging it in to a mixer with phantom power.
Will the mics work with a loud rock band?
Being omnidirectional mics, they will probably feed back when you turn them up loud enough to compete with electric instruments or drums. Our mics are designed for soloists, duos, or quieter acoustic groups such as old-time string bands, bluegrass bands, string quartets, and so on. The Cello Mic-LB (for loud bands) let you compete in volume with drums.
Why do they have an omnidirectional pickup pattern?
Omni mics generally have the best sound quality -- the most natural sound -- because they pick up all the parts of the instrument, rather than focusing on a small part as a unidirectional mic would do. Omni mics also pick up much less handling noise and wind noise than unidirectional mics. Also, omni's can be mounted closer to your instrument which reduces feedback. They require very little mounting hardware.
How can I reduce feedback?
- When playing through an amp, place the amp slightly behind you and to the left so your body blocks the feedback. Or place the amp in front of you, close to the audience, so they hear a louder sound.
- Feedback is worse in rooms than it is on stage. That's because the room walls reflect sound into the mics, causing feedback. You might use a pickup in rooms and use a mic on stage.
- Try to play a little louder and turn down your amp to compensate.
- If the feedback is a low tone, turn down the bass (low-frequency EQ) on your amp a little at a time until feedback stops.
- An amp placed on the floor or near a wall can sound extra bassy and cause feedback. Put the amp on a chair and place it far from walls.
- If the feedback is a high squeal, turn down the treble (high-frequency EQ) on your amp a little at a time until feedback stops.
- If you have a pickup, send its signal only to the monitor speakers, and send the mic signal only to the house speakers. Here's how: In your mixer's pickup channel, turn up the monitor send and turn down the fader. In your mixer's mic channel, turn down the monitor send and turn up the fader. The audience will hear the natural acoustic sound of your mic, and you will hear the pickup in your floor monitors.
- Use in-ear monitors instead of floor monitor speakers, just with your own mic. This headphone amp can be used to monitor your own instrument: Behringer Powerplay P1 .or Rolls PM50se.
- Using a preamp with a sweepable notch filter, notch out frequencies that feed back. The Headway EDB-2 and Grace Design Felix preamps have a feedback notch filter. It works best if you don't move around much.
- When using a Bose L1 type speaker, put it far from the stage and close to the audience. You might place the speaker at a front corner of the audience, aiming diagonally across. Use in-ear monitors.
- Use a highpass filter (low-cut filter) on your mixer. That removes low frequencies without changing the tone of your instrument. Set the filter to 100 Hz for guitar, banjo and cello. Use 200 Hz for fiddle and mandolin.
- Do not place the mic directly over an f-hole because it resonates and tends to cause feedback.
- Try another mic position, such as under the foam block, under the tailpiece. It might not sound as natural but it will be a little louder.
- For maximum gain before feedback, put the mic inside an f-hole and turn down the bass to compensate. Ideally you'd turn down the bass using a preamp or graphic EQ pedal. Otherwise, ask your sound tech to turn down the bass in just your mic channel in the mixer, and feed the monitor speakers with that bass-cut signal. To do that, the Fiddle Mic's monitor send (aux send) might have to be post-fader so it will be equalized. (A pre-fader aux send is usually not equalized). Then you should be able to get a lot more volume before feedback.
- Cello only: Use our Cello Mic-LB.
- Banjo only: Try mounting the mic inside on the rod, and turn down the bass to compensate.
What is the advantage of a clip-on microphone over a pickup?
Much more natural sound. Your instrument will sound acoustic, not electric, with a microphone. Because a pickup is sensitive mostly to string vibrations, it tends to make different models of one instrument sound the same. But a microphone allows all the individuality of your instrument to be heard because a mic picks up the body of the instrument as well as the acoustic sound of the strings.
What are the advantages of a clip-on microphone compared to a stand-mounted microphone?
- Less clutter on stage - there's nothing between you and your audience.
- More gain before feedback... up to 12 dB louder!
- More consistent volume and tone -- With a stand mic, your volume and tone change when you move.
- Freedom of movement on stage -- you are not locked into a single position in front of a mic.
- Easier to carry -- no heavy mic stands, no large mics to carry.
Change to an active DI.Where do you sell your microphones?
We sell directly from this web site.
banjohangout.com Forum on the banjo. Often hilarious!
The Folk Alley A great folk-music site with streaming audio, community notes and news.
http://www.therawfeed.com/stores/parts-express-com Coupons from Parts Express.
http://www.andreasarnold.info/ This world-class flamenco guitarist endorses our Guitar Mic.
www.johnmailander.com This awesome fiddle player recommends our Fiddle Mic.
raynagellert.com One of the world's finest fiddle players endorses our Fiddle Mic.
If you need an excellent luthier in the Asheville NC area, I recommend James Condino:
Learn to play banjo like a pro from these online classes: elliottsbanjoschool.com .