Microphone on Electric Mandolin

May 9th, 2022
contra, mandolin, music, tech
A large portion of what I'm doing when I play rhythm mandolin is percussive: the sound of the pick hitting the strings. After listening back to the comparison between my electric and acoustic mandolins, this is the thing I find most lacking in the sound of the electric. What's interesting, however, is that I don't really notice this when playing at home. I realized a few days ago that it's hearing the electric mandolin acoustically that makes the difference, because the pickups are not really capturing these pick sounds. And if I can hear it acoustically, I can fix it with a microphone!

I made some recordings, and I really like the sound I get when I mix a little external microphone into the main sound from the pickup. I also really like that this means when I run the pickups through distortion or a talkbox the crisp sound of the percussion is unaffected.

Here's what it sounds like, recorded on an AudioBox VSL1818. The clip-on mic is an Audio-Technica Pro-35. In cases where I recorded the same thing last time, I've included the acoustic version for comparison. I've also included EvanY's EQ-matched versions from last time.

Overall, I feel like this is a huge improvement for chords and other percussive things, while it doesn't have much of an impact on melody either way.

Chords
(pickup only mp3)

(dual mp3)

(acoustic mp3)

(Logic EQ-matched mp3)

(Pro-Q EQ-matched mp3)

More Chords
(pickup only mp3)

(dual mp3)

Percussive
(pickup only mp3)

(dual mp3)

High Riff
(pickup only mp3)

(dual mp3)

(acoustic mp3)

Low Riff
(pickup only mp3)

(dual mp3)

(acoustic mp3)

High Melody
(pickup only mp3)

(dual mp3)

(acoustic mp3)

Medium Melody
(pickup only mp3)

(dual mp3)

(acoustic mp3)

Low Melody
(pickup only mp3)

(dual mp3)

(acoustic mp3)

I'm happy with this, and while this doesn't get the sound of the electric to where I would leave the acoustic behind on a Free Raisins gig, I think it will help Kingfisher mandolin sets a lot.

Follow-up: Microphone on Electric Mandolin II

Comment via: facebook, lesswrong

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