How Can I amplify my flute?...

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Windy

How Can I amplify my flute?...

Post by Windy »

I'd like to amplify my flute just for my personal entertainment when I play along with cd music. I don't want to spend more than $300. I've already got a Fender 25 amp guitar amplifier.

I guess a "wired" system would be much cheaper than a "wireless" one. And, I could plug the wired flute connection into the Fender 25 amp.

Has anyone ever tried to amplify their flute "wired" or "wireless" for under $300?...

thanks,

grumpy

LimuHead
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Post by LimuHead »

There are flute specific condensor mics that attach to the flute, but I find them to be a hassle to use. I don't like having to put on & take off the mic whenever I take out or put my flute away. Plus with a dedicated attaching flute mic you're limited performance-wise because the mic will always be wherever you decide to put it pre-perfomance, and you'll have no control over tone or volume (other than your own technical skills).

For wired systems it's a pain dealing with the wires.

For wireless systems it's a pain because you have to power both the mic and the receiver, and it seems that batteries are always out of power when you need them most.

I use a vocal mic on stage and it works well. It gives me control over the sound (by playing nearer of farther from the mic) , and the volume (again by playing closer or farther).

Tomorrow night I'm leaving to play on another cruise to Hawaii. Although my main instruments for cruise ship gigs are the guitar and ukulele, I play flute for several tunes. Playing into a mic has never been a problem. In fact my Grenaditte flute sounds fantastic over the ship's house system.!

Whether you go with an attaching flute mic or a regular ole vocal mic you will need to get an adaptor for your xlr mic chord if you're going to plug it into a guitar amp.

Hope that helps.

Aldon
My music on the web:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/aldonsanders
http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists/album.php?aid=2171&alid=319

ed97643
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Post by ed97643 »

If this is just for your own entertainment, check out eBay. You will need a mic stand (no more than $25) and a microphone, either dynamic or condenser. Here is the skinny: Get a dynamic mic. Condenser mics typically sound WAY better for acoustic isntruments (huge generalization there) - BUT - condenser mics require something called Phantom Power (the mic actually needs it's own power supply), and this means extra expense and hassle, and it sounds like you are just looking to amuse yourself at home, so spare yourself some cost with a dynamic mic.

So my humble advice is: spend about $100 or more on as nice a dynamic mic as you can get (do your research, read reviews, check out the mic reviews on harmony central.com), get a cable (important: it must be XLR on one end and 1/4" mono male phone plug on the other end, in order to go from mic to amp), and a mic stand - and - one more thing: make sure that the mic or mic stand come with the appropriate sized "mic clip" (the thing that connects the mic to the stand).

Also: with dynamic mics, you will "lose power of signal" when you back away from the stand more than 9-10" or so. So try to stay in "the sweet spot", not too close, not too far away.

Lastly, be sure to have your mic and amp not pointing towards each other, or else you risk getting feedback of the mic through the amp (think howling, Jimi Hendrix noises - cool for guitar, not so cool for flute).

Hope this helps. (Glad to speak to something I know a litle about (live sound), because flute playing sure isn't something I know a lot about yet!!)
- Ed

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musical_Kat
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Post by musical_Kat »

That's great info ed.....I'm going to be in the market for a condensor mic for performances. What are your recommendations?

ed97643
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Post by ed97643 »

Kat,

Not knowing your budget or specific needs, I can at least throw out some basic brand name suggestions, listed here from top of the line to budget:

** Note, contrary to my previous posting, the following list focuses on CONDENSER mics. **

Neumann (Pronounced NOY-man, rhymes with "boy-man"). Neumann mics are considered to be the among the best made, and the prices reflect that. Their cheapest mics are $500, and prices in the $3000+ range are not uncommon. Suggested for top pros & recording studios.

Upper -to- middle level brands:
Royer
AKG
Sennheiser
Shure (silent H, rhymes with "sure")
Rode (rhymes with "road")
Oktavia

Affordable brands:
Samson
Behringer

To further complicate things, condensers come in large diaphragm or small diaphragm (known in the trade as SDC or LDC). Each of these companies makes both. For flute, you probably want the large diaphragm version. (LDCs are as big as your fist or bigger; SDCs {sometimes known as "pencils"} are 1 or 2 or 3 times the size of a lipstick, no bigger. They are tiny.) You probably want a LDC.

Not knowing more about your situation, I'd stick with the upper middle brands. You can score an Oktavia MC-12 mic at the Guitar Center (chain store) for $100, and be very happy. One of the Rode NT series (I think Rode NT-5? - it's the mono, non-stereo one) will be $200, and my Rode smokes my Oktavia. Sennheiser & AKG have been in the business forever, and have great reputations. Shure is more known for their dynamic mics, but they have some good condensers. Shure is known for durability.

<<<<< later edited to add:
OK, it just occurred to me that both the Oktavia MC and the Rode NT are both SDC "Pencils". Here's a better idea: try to find a Rode NT-1A for $200 or less if possible. It's a great, affordable, mid price range large (LDC) condenser.
>>>>>>

The affordable brands are pretty cheesy junk, usually. Almost always made in China with very little quality control, and are known for a shrill high end response... NOT flattering for a flute.

Remember that condenser mics are inherently fragile, and must be handled with extreme care. One drop may mean your mic is toast. And NEVER tap on the end of a condenser, blow "pfft pfft" / say "Testing 1-2-3" loudly in to the end of it like you see some people do to mics. This behavior is OK with most dynamics, but can be VERY harmful to a condenser. No joke.

Lastly, remember that condensers need phantom power. Some condensers actually come with a battery compartment where you put a regular battery in. Most, though, get their power through the actual audio cable itself. The mixing board or separate, dedicated preamp device that the other end of your mic cable will plug in to will supply this power. If you are gigging with a group that has a "sound man" (sound person?), check with the sound tech to verify that the channel you will be plugged in to offers phantom power. You won't need a special cable; just any cable that is of the type XLR, with a male connector on one side and a female connector on the other, will do.

OK, another lastly: IF you decide to drop $250 on a nice condenser, forget what I said above about a $25 mic stand. You need a solid stand with a heavy, iron base (not a cheapie hollow-tube tripod stand). AND you need a proper mic "clip" (most pro condensers come with their own, and it looks like 2-3 large metal rings with a network of black rubber bands intertwined between the bands and the mic).

Hope this helps,
Ed

etgohomeok
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Post by etgohomeok »

I have an Audio Technica Cardoid Condenser mic and a Tascam US-122 Audio/Midi/Whatever the hell it does sound transformer box thing (that's it's exact name :D ). So, for $250 dollars, can get a semi-professional recording system.

Then, if you plug in a good pair of speakers (I use $50 Bose speakers) to the US-122 you can have it send a direct line out that is like having your flute hooked up to an amp. I suppose you could probably hook your amp up to the US-122 too, if you want.

These are the exact items I use and they give me great results with flute playing. With some looking around you can probably find them or similar items for about $100 each. Throw in $50 or so for a stand and some wire, and you'll be within your budget:
http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired ... index.html
http://www.tascam.com/products/us-122.html

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musical_Kat
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Post by musical_Kat »

That's great! Thanks guys! I've already got the sound system. I just need a MUCH better mic to actually produce a nice flute sound on stage. Now i've got a pretty good base to start shopping! Thanks again. :wink:

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Phineas
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Post by Phineas »

Here are a couple of threads to look at.

http://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=2715
http://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=2824

Maybe I should add this subject to the FAQ!

Phineas

nickelallied
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Re: How Can I amplify my flute?...

Post by nickelallied »

Hello guys,
i need some advice, and i think this topic may be compatible with the question I have in mind.

I have a flute mic, and a guitar amplifier(a laney 65w). The question is: "will I damage the amplifier, if I use it to amplify my flute?"


Thank you

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Phineas
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Re: How Can I amplify my flute?...

Post by Phineas »

A guitar amp is not ideal, but it will work without you damaging it.

nickelallied
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Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:10 pm

Re: How Can I amplify my flute?...

Post by nickelallied »

Thanks!

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