Saxophone Forum


by saxitup
(49 posts)
10 years ago

sax mics and amps

Looking for recommendations on buying a microphone (wired or wireless) and amp for mostly church and solo gigs. What are you guys currently using?

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  1. by blackfrancis
    (396 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: sax mics and amps

    Good question! I use a Shure SM58. Good consistent sound, so common to see out there that no sound man will ever have trouble dialing you in, and (very important) as reliable as a Connsaxmanjim post! As for amps, I usually just use the p.a.- gives better dispersion than a regular amp. If you must, though, try a unit made for keyboard or (geez, what'll Tango think) steel guitar, as you'll get a more full range response. Also remember the bass player's credo, "better too much than not enough." Get an amp with more power than you need so you'll have some headroom- you don't want distortion brought on by pushing your rig too hard.

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    1. by TANGO SIX ONE
      (255 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: sax mics and amps

      Yes you are right blackfrancis, no,no,no, and one more ....no.(a unit made for keyboard) The knights are pure in that 80% Saxon, A little Viking thrown in means, Piaon ,accustic string bass, and percussion(Drums) And or Guitar.O its ok The knights have recovered now.Well yes i suppose in church stuff its the way some things go, but not for us.Word of caution 58s are good vocal mics and yes can be used for the horn and work well.But really this mic is not the correct frequency for the saxophone we would reccomen the 57, Its the correct range.If you want the best.The knights templar if they are in the hard Bop setting or with out and out Blues setting never, repeat never use a Radio mic.That is commercial and deflects from the music.For example if an out and out blues player is doing their job correctly,dont need to move (Bird lives)

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    2. by TANGO SIX ONE
      (255 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: sax mics and amps

      Yes you are right blackfrancis, no,no,no, and one more ....no.(a unit made for keyboard) The knights are pure in that 80% Saxon, A little Viking thrown in means, Piaon ,accustic string bass, and percussion(Drums) And or Guitar.O its ok The knights have recovered now.Well yes i suppose in church stuff its the way some things go, but not for us.Word of caution 58s are good vocal mics and yes can be used for the horn and work well.But really this mic is not the correct frequency for the saxophone we would reccomen the 57, Its the correct range.If you want the best.The knights templar if they are in the hard Bop setting or with out and out Blues setting never, repeat never use a Radio mic.That is commercial and deflects from the music.For example if an out and out blues player is doing their job correctly,dont need to move (Bird lives)

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      1. by cwhiley
        (25 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: sax mics and amps

        Uh yea, anyways, I suppose that's right. Yes a 57 (the squarer non-vocal mic) is the more appropriate choice for instrument amplification. On my setup I use an AKG C149/B clip-on condenser mic. It requires a power supply (B29 model # , I think). I use it with an old Samson wireless rack unit. As far as wireless goes Samson has a really cool product I couldn't afford when I bought mine. I don't know the model but it's a clip on mic with the wireless tranmitter built into the mic and clip. It's awesome, no belt packs or anything, its all self contained. Then you just have your reciever somewhere behind you sitting on an amp or table or the floor or something. Check out Samson audio's websie, I'm sure they still sell it.

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        1. by cwhiley
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago


        2. by Dave Dix
          (421 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: sax mics and amps

          I found the sm57 is better then a 58 but a peavey 22 works very well also. Clip on i use audio technica but a stand mick is far superior Dave

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      2. by kelsey
        (823 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: sax mics and amps

        When you have to carry the amp yourself, I think the little AER acoustic amps are great. I use mine as a monitor for bigger gigs and by itself on small gigs. The gigs I play I may start outside and move inside. I need something really portable. The AER has reverb, is two channels and only weighs 17lbs. It can allso really be loud. Mine cost almost $900.00 but is worth every cent. I use the SM57 for a mike.....flutman.
        Barry Kelsey

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      3. by john.parg
        (1 post)

        10 years ago

        Re: sax mics and amps

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      4. by MD1032
        (6 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: sax mics and amps

        I really need some help on getting a better pickup from my Bari sax. I have a Selmer 156A I think. I just use a bell clip and clip an AT instrument mic in there (I forget which one it is, but it's pretty decent). The problem with this is that the pickup from the end of the bell is really unbalanced. The mid and high notes are barely audible and the low A simply BLASTS. I need a way to get better pickup from this thing. Something that will pickup the whole sax evenly, even if it involves multiple mics. I'm willing to spend a decent amount of money, too.

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        1. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: sax mics and amps

          Those AT instrument mics are very directional and don't have much sensativity. You have to be right on top of them in order for them to pick up. They don't have the best frequency response either. Try a Shure SM58 or a Beta 58 on a boom stand. The omnidirectional SM58 has a better frequency response and more sensativity. You can try one of the clip on condenser mics. They usually pick up ok, but they're very hard to EQ. They tend to sound a little thin to me; plus, having the mic on the stand you have more control over your volume. I get a nice, full sound with the SM 58.

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      5. by Lotus54
        (32 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: sax mics and amps

        I personally think the SM57 sounds awful on saxophone. But that is just me. I have been looking at mics for some 30 years, always looking for something better. A long time ago I remember hearing a Sennhieser 421 and it sounded wonderful. I bought one a few years ago, and indeed it sounded very good. Later I found an ad for the Pacific Pro Audio LD-1 (large diapham condenser) at only $99 and a 30 day moneyback guantee. Heck, what do I have to loose? So I bought one and did some comparisons- recording with both mics at the same time. I felt the LD-1 sounded better, so I sold the Senn and bought two of the LDs. Later I tried the LD-Tube (came company)- it has a bit brighter sound, what I like best it one of each! Seems to get the best of both worlds. It is a fantastic vocal mic also. I like it in figure-8 pattern for the horn. This is for recording, but the LD-1 should work pretty well live too (the Tube would also, but not in figure-pattern). These are phantom power, and I supposed you would want to take more care with them then a dynamic. Here are some samples:

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      6. by aBALTOSAX
        (1 post)

        7 years ago

        Re: sax mics and amps

        hello, I'm from Mozambique and we've had many problems to find saxophone mic's here. I'd like to know if it's possible to buy one from you. I play an altosax... In fact, I'd like to know everything about sax equipment, because it's somenting I have needed... I'll be wairing for your answer.

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        1. by CajunSax
          (76 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: sax mics and amps

          i'd be willing to sell you my AMT / Samson rig - it's the Roam 1 Elite - let me know: cajunsax@gmail.com

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      7. by saxitup
        (49 posts)

        10 years ago

        thanks for your help.

        I ended up buying the wired clip-on Shure Beta 98H/C mic. I didn't want to go wireless. I was ready to buy the SM57, but the mic guy convinced me the Beta would be more practical in the long run. He may have sold me some swamp land:) I'll tap into the church's PA system or the keyboard amp for now, but I really want to get my own amp, so I can control the volume and switches.

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        1. by blackfrancis
          (396 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: thanks for your help.

          Sorry, Tango.. I sorta figured the mere mention... well, you know. As for the SM58, I do more than a bit of singing and it's handy to just bend down the old gooseneck. True, though about the 57. Also found a Beyer M88 nice, as well as this old Electro Voice that's hard to find batteries for (and who needs that?). All the best,Saxitup!

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          1. by connsaxman_jim
            (2336 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: thanks for your help.

            I use either a Shure Beta 58, SM58, or SM 57. I really like the Beta, but I often sing through it, and use the SM 58 for my sax. The only thing I don't like about the SM 57 is that they are more directional than the 58. You have to be right on top of it in order for it to pick up, and I like to move around a lot when I play, so the SM 58 works better. The Beta will take a little more power without feeding back and has a slightly higher frequency response. You certainly can't go wrong with Shure mics. I use SM57's though for a lot of things. Wireless mics are nice, and a pain in the ass at the same time. I have tried a couple and the only one that really seems to work pretty good is the Sennheiser. They're hard to EQ though. They seem to lack in the midrange, and like most cordless mics they are subject to interference. I use mine for shows and gigs where I get to dance around on tables and make an ass out of myself!

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            1. by connsaxman_jim
              (2336 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              If you're looking for a small amp to use in church or for smaller gigs, I would suggest buying a small keyboard amp. Something around 60-100 watts, prefferably with a low Z XLR input jack. I have a Fender KXR 100, which has a 15" woofer and a horn. It has 3 channels, and channel 1 has the XLR jack. It's useful for so many things. Normally, I use a PA system, but I have used it to mic my saxophone, and even sang through it a couple times.

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            2. by phathorn
              (165 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              ok, here's one area where I have to disagree with everyone.... The SM57, IMHO, is a HORRIBLE sax mic, not to mention a 50 year old design. Better boom mics would be the Beta 57, Audix I5, and Sennheiser E609. I'm currently using an Audix f90 clip on that I love. I think the SM58 is actually a better sax mic than the 57. Just my opinion, but I do sell mics for a living...

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            3. by TANGO SIX ONE
              (255 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              The knights Templar state:There is no need to quote your resume' doesnt mean anything to us.If you are playing a saxophone through a mic and the choice is between 58 and 57and you are not going to sing through it.The 57 has to be the one to pick because of its frequency. The way its built.Go to an osciloscope and look at the wave length.If you use it right and set it up right there is a fundermental difference, the best sound for a saxophone comes from a 57.(Bird Lives)

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            4. by connsaxman_jim
              (2336 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              The Sm 58 and SM57 have a similar frequency response. I think the SM57 has a little better low end response. It's a good mic for any instrument. The SM57 design is not 50 years old. It's similar to a 545S, which was a common mic back in the late 1960's and early 70's, but the 545S was hi gain as were most mics made before about 1980. The SM57 has been around since the late 70's when Low Z first hit the market, and they are without a doubt the most popular instrument mic on the market, while the SM 58 remains the most popular vocal mic. I sing through a Beta 58, which is the best vocal mic I have ever used. It has a slightly better frequency response than the SM58, but the thing I really like about the Beta is that you can really crank it loud without feedback, and if you're right in front of the monitors, like I usually am, that's a good thing! I have tried several different mics; some expensive, some inexpensive, and it's pretty hard to beat Shure. The thing I don't like about the SM57 is that it is very directional. This can be a good thing, but I prefer the SM58, because it's more omnidirectional. Both mics sound great though!

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            5. by Candyboy
              (75 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              I use the SM57 and have no complaints, except that my lead guitar player has his own volume control. Anyway I've been seriously considering buying a beta is there really all that much difference? Also I need some good advice on a really good mouthpiece for my bari sax, I have four mouthpieces and I am dissapointed with all of them. Tthe best of which is also the cheapest, a rico royal B5. I am about to splurge and buy a Berg 95-1-M because I've had such good luck with Bergs in the past on tenor pieces. Anyone got any suggestions?

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            6. by connsaxman_jim
              (2336 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              Guitar players....smiles.....they're all alike! They HAVE to be the loudest instrument in the band! You know what a Hoover vacuum cleaner and 9 out of 10 guitarists have in common? They both SUCK when you plug them in! The Beta's will take considerably more power before they feed back. Do you sing, Candyboy? I bought my Beta 58 mostly for vocals, but it's a great sax mic too!

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            7. by Candyboy
              (75 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              Yes I sing, I usually share the mic with our bass player. I keep saying that I'm going to buy another mic and stand, but haven't done it yet. I'm pretty much set on getting a Beta 58. What about a desent bari mouthpiece?

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            8. by connsaxman_jim
              (2336 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              I really haven't tried too many bari pieces. I bought my first bari about 2 1/2 years ago, and I haven't really played it too much, just mostly at home. It's a 1955 King Zephyr. I use a Rico Royal Graftonite mouthpiece, which, is actually the only bari mouthpiece I have tried except for an old Conn mouthpiece. The Rico does the job for me. For the price, they are pretty hard to beat! I really like the Otto Link Tone Edge for alto, and the metal Super Tone Master for tenor. I use a Meyer hard rubber piece on soprano. I would think that either would be good for baritone depending on what sound you're looking for. I've been very impressed with the Jody Jazz pieces that I have seen also. I have an old Berg metal tenor piece from the 60's probably that came with an old Buescher sax I bought. It sounds pretty good too.

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            9. by phathorn
              (165 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              I can pretty much assure you that the 57s have been around much earlier than the late 70s (referencing articles I've read, the 57 was used on recordings such as "American Pie" and "The Thrill is Gone" which were both recorded pre 1972 -the latter being recorded in the late 60s) Many big name acts are getting away from the 57 (steely dan would be a good example) and EVERY customer I've had the opportunity to A/B the 57 with the Audix I5 and the Senn. E609 has chosen either the Audix or the Sennheiser.

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            10. by connsaxman_jim
              (2336 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              What you are referring to Phathorn is a hi gain version of the SM 57. True, the same basic mic has been around since the mid 1960's but the low impedance version is more recent. I'm not exactly sure when Low Z hit the market, but I am sure it wasn't until the mid 1970's or later.

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            11. by connsaxman_jim
              (2336 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              According to one website I found, the Shure SM58 was first introduced in 1966. I would imagine that the SM 57 had to have been introduced about the same time. This really surprises me, because I haven't seen many PA systems of that vintage with low impedence inputs. Some of the earliest mixers I have seen with XLR low Z inputs were made in the mid 1970's. From the Shure website: What gives the SM57 the reputation of an industry standard? Maybe it’s the fact that the Shure SM57 is durable, reliable, and versatile in application. The SM57 has been used by the President of the United States for more than 30 years, and put to the test on stage, on tour, and in the recording studio by such artists as Les Claypool, Maroon 5, and Barenaked Ladies to name a few. It can be dropped down six flights of stairs and then dunked in a glass of water and still perform like it just came out of the box (but we’re not recommending you try this at home) The SM57 has become a standard in the musician’s arsenal thanks to the extremely effective cardioid pickup pattern, which isolates the main sound source while minimizing background noise. With its bright, clean sound and carefully contoured presence rise, the SM57 is ideal for live sound reinforcement and recording. In the studio, it is excellent for recording drums, guitar, and woodwinds. Ask almost any recording engineer what the best microphone is for miking a snare drum and their answer will be the Shure SM57. Many believe that it is the baseline standard microphone for recording instruments. The SM57 demonstrates its versatility by also being ideal for vocal applications. Musician and Shure endorser Les Claypool says “I've always used the [SM]57s for my vocals; I just love them.” Additionally, Michael Jackson used the SM57 to record the famous Billie Jean in 1982, Cyndi Lauper sings into the SM57, and President Bush is still speaking to the nation with the SM57. The SM57 is ideal for night-after-night touring and performs great in the recording studio. It is deserving of its workhorse designation. With its wide range of capabilities, most people consider the SM57 to be the most versatile mic in their tool kit. www.shure.com

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            12. by Candyboy
              (75 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              My keyboard player gave me pretty much the same sermon at practice last night. This morning I ordered a 58 Beta. I'll let you all know what I think. I'm no tech wizard when it comes to equipment. So I'll give you a low tech comparison in Kansas countryboy terms.

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            13. by joe812119
              (18 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE AUDIX D2

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            14. by Dave Dix
              (421 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              The first 58's were hi-impedence. Dave

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            15. by CajunSax
              (76 posts)

              10 years ago

              mics & amps

              sorry i didnt see this earlier guys, but i've been gone for a while. Good to be back... So I use a matched pair of condensor mics, Groove Tube's GT55's to be exact. I set up one right at the bell and one on a small kick stand pointing up at me. The one on the floor is mainly for soprano since I play 'coltrane-style'. Gotta have phantom power if u're not using a powered amp/pa, so I have a pair of those handy. For small/midsize venues i use the Fender Passport P-150, it has 3 analog channels so i can plug in vocals too if I want. The best part is it all clamps together into an easy carry case for quick setup/breakdown. I also use a Shure 58A for vocals (yeah this cat can sing too). SO I have a total of three mics/stands at every gig...kinda busy but it works for me. I stay away from the clip-ons cuz it seems to alter my harmonics and I like having the freedom to pull away or get closer to the mics. I also dont do any of that wireless stuff...got enough crap to have to carry around batteries too and worry about interference. But thats just me. In-ear monitors are great too, especially for loud venues and larger crowds. Next on my list is a harmonizer.

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            16. by Candyboy
              (75 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: mics & amps

              OK I've tried the 58 Beta mic and it is definately a hotter mic than the 57 with less feedback problems. I'm sold on the Beta. I ordered another one to use on my vocals.

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            17. by connsaxman_jim
              (2336 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: mics & amps

              The Beta 58's are an awesome mic. I like the omnidirectional design for horns better also. The 57's are very directional.

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            18. by chiamac
              (586 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: mics & amps

              I forgot which model I have, it's a small clipon audio technia (sp) and costed around $350 6 years ago. It's not high end, but a professional mic none the less. BUT I would have to say I like boom mics better. They pick up IMO less echno and keywork than a clip on. Sure they don't give a person any mobility, but give a better sound. just my .02

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            19. by sax_braswell
              (22 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              I have the exact same keyboard amp and in a pinch have used it for my horn with a small 4 channel Mackie mixer (mainly for the effects processor in it) and I was really surprised by the sound!

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            20. by zootspiker
              (13 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: thanks for your help.

              I use the Beta 87A for vocals. Just run it through the PA. I've tried a few config's and finally bit the bullet: Shure Beta 98H clip on with an SLX 4 wireless . I plug into a peavey ecoustic 112 keyboard amp ( I demo'd about 8 different amps ignoring brand and going for dynamic range) Not sure about the Peavey but the Shure wireless set up not only plays well but gives me the mobility I need on stage. A happy camper.
              Michael Krechevsky
              King Silversonic Tenor

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            21. by joeConnMan
              (8 posts)

              7 years ago

              I know this is a old thread,but here's my 2 cents

              I've used Senheiser 421's for years and shure 57's both sound great ( 421 has bass rolloff switch) but can leave your horns bell Scratched and attentsion has to be paid to keep it's relation to the horn consistant. I've also used a Shure 55s (Elvis mic) thru a 65 Silver tone tube amp with 1-15" Jensen. Good sound also. By far the best thing going is the Sennheiser Evolution wireless with their 908BEW bell attachable clip on. I use this for Bari-Tenor and Alto. Quick swap easy between horns and my Gold Wash Bells are still pristine.( I play vintage silver Conn's in Detroit bar bands). I plug this thru the soundboard with the xlr connector on the back of the Sennheiser receiver and a 1/4 inch out to a 1996 Tweed Fender Blues DeVille 410 . The Fender is my monitor and provides added boost for solo with the a Ernie Ball Volume pedal hooked thru the amps effects loop. The Cons: More to Carry. Amp weighs a ton. The Pro: Hands free volume adjustment no Scratches. You can always get a lighter amp. Or leave the Bari at home. I find having it all available on a gig is worth the effort,specially if another horn player/players show up.

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