Choosing a microphone for didgeridoo is a very important thing that causes a lot of questions, especially when it comes to concert microphones. Below I share an overview of the basic principles of how to choose a mic from my own experience.
So, we need a microphone for:
- Recording didgeridoo in studio;
- Playing didgeridoo on stage.
This review is mainly about live microphones. For studio recordings I am giving a brief information and links.
Didgeridoo needs higher sensitivity (since this is a fairly quiet instrument), ability to withstand sudden changes in sound pressure (partially, it has a connection with the parameter «maximum sound pressure (max SPL)») and the lower limit of the frequency response of 20-50 Hz (the didgeridoo range starts at ~ 40-50 Hz, sometimes lower).
Microphones for studio recordings of didgeridoo
Condenser instrument microphones of trusted manufacturers will do(AKG, Rode, Shure, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Audiotechnica, ОКТАВА), preferably of the «studio» category, but not necessarily, as long as this division is lax. Basically, you’d better stay within the limits of that list. Those are proven brands and models are worth their prices.
The most suitable I found:
- Rode NT 3
- AKG Perception 170
- ОКТАВА МК-012
There’s a mass of options: just check out condenser instrument microphones of any of the above mentioned brands, look at the key parameters and choose what is preferable on price, design and other. Among didgeridoo players of the world the most popular are:
- M-Audio Solaris,
- AKG D409,
- AKG D12,
- AKG 420,
- ATM 350,
- RODE NT1-A,
- SHURE PG57,
- SHURE Pro35x.
Less often are the dynamic vocal microphones:
- SHURE Beta 58 SHURE SM 58.
The concert microphones (used at a lesser extent for studio)
Here is the MOST IMPORTANT PART. Key points:
- In principle, you can use a good concert microphone for studio work too. But not vice versa, because the studio model may not be suitable for sudden changes in sound pressure. May pick up sounds of other instruments, monitor speakers and equipment around it, because of which it is going to feedback etc. Therefore, for a start, if you are performing a lot, take a good concert mic. It will work in the studio too. If basically what you are doing is recording and want to achieve a mega crystal sound, take a studio mic, but for gigs you still need the other. If you are doing concerts and recordings, buy both if you can afford it.
- There are special models of instrument microphones that are installed directly on the instrument. There are a lot of these especially for wind instruments and drums. They are fixed with a clip directly to the bell or the rim. Here is the question: Is it better to take a regular or a clip mic?
I recommend the latter. The pros:
- The angle and the distance between the bell and the microphone never changes. It means that the sound is always perfectly stable, no matter how you fidget or move. After all, slight offsets always occur during a concert.
- Freedom of movement, movement on stage, dancers etc.
- No messing around with piles of microphone stands.
- If you often change didges during concert, you can always clip the microphone not on the bell but on the surface against which you lean the didge.
- Possibility of connection to radio transmitters (with many models, but not all). With a radio transmitter you are not connected by wires and can even run around the hall.
So, how to choose a clip mic?
If this option is not suitable for you, buy a standard one. They are partially reviewed in point 1.
- As for the frequency response: they say, few speakers reproduce the frequency of 20-50 Hz, so it is not worth the trouble. But you can hear it on high quality audio equipment, and it is also better for recording.
- There are plenty of other parameters (dynamic range, noise level, etc.), but in my opinion they are less important, so I did not pay attention to them.
- There are different options, such as: replacement of microphone capsules (you can change the directional pattern), windscreen included, etc. You can find all this information on manufacturers’ websites and in stores and check out what is best and more relevant for you.
I eventually have chosen Beyerdynamic TG I57C, recently tested it live. The sound is excellent. Smooth, thick and warm. Found on sax forums that «The mic is awesome! Better than ACG 419-519.»
Good luck everyone!