Tin whistle in loud onstage environments - monitoring & mics

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pauliewaulie
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Tell us something.: Whistle player for The Pogue Traders tribute band. Living in London, with an Irish background. Also play guitar (quite well) harmonica and tenor banjo (not so well) and trying to learn piano. Can play a few standard Irish tunes on the whistle and want to learn more.

Tin whistle in loud onstage environments - monitoring & mics

Post by pauliewaulie »

Hi

I’m a whistle player in a Pogues tribute band.

It’s very loud on stage as everyone competes with the drummer, and sometimes venues give us a sound tech who gives us a poor/loud onstage foldback mix.

I have to regular problems:

1) monitoring - with a melody instrument, if you can’t hear it, you can’t play it. And I often barely hear a note on a bad night. Also, in a loud mix the sound sometimes separates out so that I hear different notes to the ones I’m playing (probably didn’t explain that very well...). The mix is usually OK out from because even the worse mixes makes sure that *they* can hear the whistle...
2) mic mix - any tips on what the right EQ should be, but also, has anyone seen a suitable rig that would let me use the same mic for whistle and vocals (I sing on a few songs). If there were a foot-pedal that allowed me to switch between EQs, that would be great.

Any tips anyone?
Dan A.
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Tell us something.: I can only hope that my proficiency with the whistle is steadily improving. A few of my whistles get a workout on an almost daily basis. And I'm almost certainly afflicted with WhOAD.
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Re: Tin whistle in loud onstage environments - monitoring &

Post by Dan A. »

I'm far from the best-qualified person to answer these questions, but I'll throw in my $0.02 anyway.

If I was playing in such an environment, I'd look for a headset microphone. I'd want one that's sensitive enough to pick up the sounds of the whistle pretty clearly (not sounding like stereo sound with a blown speaker, if that makes any sense). Such a rig, employed in conjunction with good amplification and filtering of undesired noises, just might do the trick.

I can't really be of help with the monitoring issue, and I have no clue about EQ settings...for the latter, I'd just use the trial and error method. A visit to Google should tell you if anyone has made a foot pedal that can be used to switch EQ settings.

And if everyone is competing with the drummer, he might benefit from some modifications to his setup, or maybe swapping his sticks for brushes.

Hopefully I've been at least somewhat helpful.
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Chiffed
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Re: Tin whistle in loud onstage environments - monitoring &

Post by Chiffed »

I run my mic into a personal monitor (clamps on the mic stand) and run the ‘out’ to the board. It is really directional. Had a bad experience with in-ear, but YMMV.

It can run the monitor channel, but if the stage is loud I just use it to hear myself, and rely on the other monitors for the band mix.
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PB+J
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Tell us something.: Hello. I'm a historian and musician living near Washington DC. I play the bass and guitar and focus on jazz. I'm interested for reasons I can't quite explain in Irish music. I play the flute.

Re: Tin whistle in loud onstage environments - monitoring &

Post by PB+J »

I think there is no technical solution: the only solution is human. that is, your bandmates have to learn to make it work. If everybody wants themselves really loud in the monitor, there's gong to be bleed, and each person will be hearing only himself and not the band.

In my experience learning to control volume marks the difference between good musicians and mediocre musicians. Your drummer is maybe the problem. If he can't play with the band, and you can't replace hi, then maybe put hm behind plexiglass baffles and mic him
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ytliek
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Re: Tin whistle in loud onstage environments - monitoring &

Post by ytliek »

You might contact whistletutor through YouTube to inquire about your dilemma.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FilIifmtmGk
highland-piper
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Re: Tin whistle in loud onstage environments - monitoring &

Post by highland-piper »

Answers based on my experiences.

A) For $50 you can buy a Rolls Personal Monitor Amp. You plug your mic into it and either a headphone or a powered speaker. If you use Etymotic Earbuds, you can use them to partly block out the other noises around you and hear yourself really well.

B) You can only use the same mic for vocals and whistles if you have a way to adjust the volume, because vocals need a lot more gain than whistles (unless you sing really loudly, I guess). There's no reason the soundman can't adjust levels on a song by song basis (but you might need to remind him). If you want to sing and play on the same tune you should use different mics if you don't have a way to switch the response.

C) EQ depends on the mic, the venue, the mix, & the speakers. But aside from resonances (feedback), there's no particular reason why you would need to EQ either the whistle or the vocal.

The standard stage mic is the SM57 or SM58 (basically the same thing). It has a pronounced peak at about 6 kHz. To me, it's not a particularly good mic for whistle. I recently used an SM81 and it worked really well, but it was more susceptible to wind noise from the fipple.

As far as foot pedals there are a variety of possibilities. If you used a mic splitter you could split the signal in two, feed both sides into a small mixer on the stage, then take the unbalanced outputs from the mixer into an A/B footswitch. You could use the EQ and gain settings on the mixer to tailor the two sounds according to your needs.
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Re: Tin whistle in loud onstage environments - monitoring &

Post by highland-piper »

And obviously if you bought a mixer (like the $80 Mackie Mix8) you could just use the headphone out for your personal monitoring needs.
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