1st microphone experience

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by LarryR, May 24, 2005.

  1. LarryR

    LarryR Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    Los Angeles
    For the benefit of those who don't own a mic allow me to indulge: I now know the experience of amplifying my upright and wondering what’s wrong with my amp? I can't hear it. Then I realize the amp is fine, the volume is 'there', it's just that the mic’d sound was SO close to my unamped bass, my ears didn't hear it. I almost sh_t my pants on the spot. So THIS is what they mean by "my bass but louder". One word: epiphany.

    A sax player who'd sold me a Presonus EQ (thanks for the tip Chris F.) mentioned he had a mic I’d be interested in. He said “lotsa guys just don’t know about these, but, they sound great, are feedback resistant (hypercardioid) and built like a tank”. I tried it, had my epiphany and $ 100 bucks later am a happy frickin’ clam. The mic is a "Countryman Isomax 2 H". A TB search for this mic came up zilch. Either the mic folks know of it, but weren't impressed, or the sax player was right on and this thing's a real "sleeper". To my ears, it's exactly what I wanted, me but louder.

    What you’ll find on the web about Countryman and Isomax are 2 main products, both industry standards (which I took as a great sign): one, a DI, the other, the smallest most widely used professional headset mic. Countryman also makes mics that are used in Broadway shows hanging above Choirs and such, or hanging off broadway performers lapels. Tiny, full range mic's.

    A pic of my setup is attached. Full Circle, Biesele and Isomax. The mic has 2 patterns (2 H). One side picks up less bass/low end than the other. On one gig of mine the band likes a more midrangey tone, URB that cuts. I place the mic head accordingly, near the fingerboard. Another gig they like a lot of fat. I either flip the mic head around or position it near the treble-side F-hole. It's nice to have options.

    It was also a great experience to sit in front of my bass, plucking away, moving my ear around to hear the different sound coming off the front. You really get to hear the different tone this way to help decide where to place the mic. You mic savvy folks know all this, but for the players who want a natural sound and are about to try out the next cool piezo, my advice: save the dough and at least try a mic first. In my case I got the full shwa-shwa for the price of a K&K. Bottom line: You don't have to pay $ 600 to get the "my bass but louder" experience....

    My big test on LIVE feedback resistance will be with a full band playing blues, hardbop etc.. I'll report back if anyone's interested.

    Attached Files:

  2. Hi Larry - I'm interested in how well you find the mic works in a high level situation. Also, how much of the Biesele and Full Circle have you mixed in to get this natural sound? Cheers....
  3. LarryR

    LarryR Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    Los Angeles
    It will be a couple weeks til I can report back on feedback resistance with a loud band. The room with this band is ugly. It's like playing in a closet, so, we'll see how loud I can get with all that swirl of sound.

    I'm not blending my pickups for "me louder". On quieter gigs (trio, playing standards, bop & blues) I'm only using Isomax. I've used it on 3 gigs and everyone digs the sound. My Mother was a true test. She's got big ears and seen lots of jazz giants. She said it sounded wonderful in a trio setting. "Warm, natural with punch". Only reason I mentioned the other pickups is because they were my most recent setup - which for now I'm keeping installed. If I sell anything it will be the FC. Not knockig the product, just don't see a need for it.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    On the picture, can you describe what we're looking at? I see what looks like either a thick black cable or a gooseneck with a little flyswatter-looking thing attached to it. I'm assuming that the cable or gooseneck is something to do with the Biesele and the little flyswatter is the mic - is this right? Also, gotta link to a place to go for more info on the mic?
  5. LarryR

    LarryR Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Yes, the cable leads from my Beisele & for now, my Isomax (which comes with a dual alligator clip) is on the cable. The mic weighs nothing so it stays in position just fine. The previous owner wrapped leather around the clip to protect a sax and violin it *was* attached to.

    Here's some info on the mic:

    The Countryman ISOMAX 2 H provides natural sound balance with minimum EQ by placing a hypercardioid mic on the outside of the instrument. Very low distortion and super flat frequency response. Directional pattern rejects unwanted sounds over a much wider range of frequencies than other small mics. Supplied with: basic clip, wind screen, and storage case.

    Frequency Range - 50 Hz to 20 kHz
    Polar Pattern: HyperCardioid
    Phantom power all models: 6v
    Sensitivity - 57 dB
    Includes: clip and windscreen. Sax or flute clip also available.

    PRICE: $ 219.99

    I don't know this company audiogear.com.

    Here's another pic fyi...

    Attached Files:

  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Larry, you have a cool Mom!
  7. LarryR

    LarryR Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Thanks man, I'll tell her what you said. When R&R came out in the early mid-50's, my Mother was into Monk. Lucky me to hear some of that stuff in diapers.

    I feel the need to make a DISCLAIMER:
    my new love affair with this mic is in no way an experienced, comparative view of products or endorsement of this particular product. I 'fessed up I'm a newbie. Plus, nowhere on the web is there any mention that Isomax 2 H, or 2 O/OG were designed for bass. Only description you'll find is "Isomax Instrument Mic". How does it sound compared to an AMT, Trinity, Neumann etc.. I've no experience to say. I'm just praying I can use it with a loud, live band.
  8. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    Interesting thanks for the heads up Larry! I have found this mic for sale online but its not listed on Countrymans website. Possibly they arent making them anymore? I would also be interested to hear about your experiences using this mic in a loud live situation so definitely report back.
  9. Larry -- I also will look forward to your review of the mic in a loud gig setting. Unlike some others here on TB Forum, I have had no luck in getting enough volume out of a mic for a loud situation (big band). So by all means let us know after you've tried it.
  10. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but in theory (not for a second doubting that the mic sounds great) shouldn't the frequency range be a bit wider for picking up a bass? Or at least start somewhat lower? Seeing that the low E is at 41.2 Hz would it not miss out quite a bit of sound there? Just wondering.
  11. It doesn't mean it won't pick up 41.2 Hz (probably 41 on mine - I'm not very good at tuning :) ).

    Mics are specified by the points at which their response starts to fall off. There should be a response curve like an upside down bathtub for any mike, and the longer and smoother the flat bit on top the better the mic. Then it slopes away at either end. A reliable specification would give you some idea about the slope in numbers, i.e. -6dB 50 Hz to 20kHz. This means that that the slope reaches -6dB (about half power) at 50Hz and 20kHz. Below 50 and above 20k the slope continues on its way to zero, so you still pick up frequencies below and above, but at reduced intensity.

    However, these measurements are taken in an anechoic chamber (a room with absolutely no echoes), and in the real world there are echoes and reflections that boost the sound, especially at lower frequencies, so a mic with that specification will still perform pretty well on a double bass. You don't want the response to go too low or you'll start to emphasise percussive noise from hitting the strings, or the nearby kick drum, or risk feedback through your amp or PA.

    Hope this helps.
  12. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    I thought -3 dB was half power. ;) I wouldnt worry about the 50 Hz rolloff. Low E fundamental really isnt all that important because all it amounts to is boom in most rooms IMO. Not to bring up slab amps :p but ever hear how bassy an ampeg 810 can sound? They roll off around 60-65 Hz.
  13. Doug, metron, thanks for clearing this up.
  14. CB3000

    CB3000 Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2003
    Madison, wi
    i have been tempted to try that very mic out. i have experience with this submini condensers for film and broadcast and they have exceptional rejection and i thought maybe they would work great in a live setting. my whole idea is to use a pickup for my onstage monitoring and use a mic for the mains only. way less feedback worries...

    the main problem i had with the audio technica atm 35 was too much bleed from drums.
  15. Metron, you're right, -3dB is half-power, however, -6dB is half the voltage, which is what I should have said, since a mic doesn't put out any power.

    Toby, DOUG is my name; DougH is what you make bread with! :)
  16. Doug, noted and changed, awfully sorry.
  17. That's okay, Toby - it's not the first time I've been called a dough-head :D
  18. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    One of my first mic's was the countryman that you describe here,...(I still have it too) just for perspective sake I think that the AMT and the other larger diaphram mini mics have a much better sound.Countryman makes mostly mini mics for broadcast (news vocal stuff) and I found the Countryman to be far less a mic then the others. Speciffically the AMT for live stuff is worth the extra dough. It is built for amping the bass in a live setting and just sounds much better...(gotta have a good system to run it thru too)