Grateful Dead mic question.

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by dreads311, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. Was watching the Grateful Dead movie and in their live footage they use strange looking mics. Looks like two small mics attached to a little box. Never seen those before. Anyone know about them? This is just out of sheer curiosity.
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yes, the second mic was used out of phase from the first, then they used it to cancel out and leakage from other sources, like monitors or the stage amps. This is part of how they kept the Wall of Sound so clean.
  3. Thanks for asking and thanks for answering. I watched part of that and wondered the same thing. They look like laser pointers and sound great!

    The '70s were a strange trip. ;) Lots of strange equipment, like Gene Rayburn's long mic.
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I'll add these:




  5. Did they use Macintosh amps to power the wall? I can't remember where I read that or if I even really did.

    I'm sure every cabinet in the wall was hooked up also, unlike the phony cabs of today.
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    If you look at the Wall of Sound, while it had the distinction of being one of the most advanced sound systems of the time, it has one problem it's BEHIND the band, and the mics are pointed at it. This is how they got around it...noise cancelling at a basic level.

  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    They used Macintoshes along the way. Let me see if I can dig up my WOS spec sheet and see what it says.
  8. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    What a great way to go deaf, put the PA behind you!
  9. Greatest pic ever! New wallpaper!
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
  11. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Here's the part about two vocal mics:

    "A major improvement in the quality of the vocal sound is due to the use of differential microphones. Each singer has a perfectly matched pair of Bruel and Kjaer microphones hooked up out of phase, only one of which he sings into. Any sound which goes equally into both microphones is cancelled out when the two signals are added together. Therefore leakage of instruments and background noise into the vocal channel is minimized."
  12. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Ah yes, the wall of sound
  13. That's awesome! Thanks for the quick replies!
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
  15. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Actually, there are more full-scale pics out there, and one has been my wallpaper for the past year or so. A truly monumental achievement that was overly impractical.
  16. I counted 180 speakers (60 woofers, 120 mids) above the drum riser. The whole setup is ridiculous yet sofa king cool.

    I don't listen to enough Dead. We have a one hour radio show on Sunday morning that's been on for years. It starts up with "Rise up! Wake and bake!" and being one to follow directions...
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    The Wall of Sound was laudable yet foolish. It basically acted as a bunch of different PA systems for each instrument. It was well ahead of its time (vertical linear arrays, fairly sophisticated crossovers, etc.), but it was HUGE, hard to move and took a lot of manpower to set up, tear down and get working correctly. Each player had their own completely controllable monitor mix as well. So, really, think about it as Bob having a column of 30 12's behind him, plus part of a column on the other side of stage. Jerry having a similar setup, then Phil having his own column of speakers plus matching set across stage.
  18. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I saw several indoor shows using bits of the WOS and a few outdoor ones using the whole thing. It never sounded the same, ranging from absolutely great to pretty mediocre -- same as could be said for the Dead. ;) The differoid mics were a nice idea that rarely translated all that well, IME.

    Here's another one of many Web pages devoted to the WOS, spec'ing 500+ drivers:
  19. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I found the entire thing fascinating. It is a great example of truly out-of-the-box thinking, and was far more successful than you would expect, in theory.

    The idea of the band hearing the real mix is a great idea, and one that was abandoned a very long time ago. As for the Dead, I saw them live at the St. Paul Civic Center; a venue that was known for sucking the life out of everybody's sound.

    The Dead sounded pretty good there, compared to most acts, and they were spot on for that show. So the one time I heard the real Dead live, they were fantastic. For my money, they were one of the all-time top acts in the history of rock.
  20. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

    Feb 13, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
    Love the Dead, but with as many shows as they had they pretty much ran the gamut from great to terrible.