Information needed on members' experiences, good or bad, using clip on mics for live band work. Am considering buying a clip on as the co ordinator rod mounted magnetic pick up system I am using ,to my ears, seems unable to transmit the high end ping and percussive nature of the picks ie. the sound lacks a sharp attack. Would welcome members comments ,advice and recommendations. Ian
I have a Gold Tone ABS (dynamic) mic that I use occasionally at church.
Our regular music program is contemporary (full band w/ electric guitars, bass, drums, keys etc). I rarely play banjo. But when I do, the sound engineer really prefers the ABS over a SM57 or condenser mic on stage. It sounds as good as most dynamic mics and gives him a strong signal with no feedback or bleed from other instruments.
I like that the ABS is very easy to install and remove (not permanently attached).
Mine is the dynamic version. I have not tried the condenser. I don't use the Gold Tone preamp. I use a high-quality mic preamp or direct box.
The primary disadvantage is that I can't move in-and-out to affect dynamics (as I would with a mic on a stand). The attached mic is same level all the time. The only want I can control dynamics is with my playing intensity & volume.
I have used the Myers, Shure 98, and the dynamic ABS. Now I use an Sm57 velcroed to the co-rods. The 98 was feedbacky (not suprising..it's a condenser mic). Myers was less feedbacky than the 98 but it eventually just stopped working (not super durable). The ABS was ok...weak signal..definitely needs major boosting. I think the 57 is pretty clearly superior in terms of feedback resistance, and durability. But, I always had those others attached to the tension hoop, so maybe they would do better mounted inside the rim. As far as tone, I don't know...I feel like there's so much variation from show to show due to different sounds systems and room acoustics that it's hard for me to say anything definitive. But all sound guys know 57s (even if they don't know banjos), so that helps.
A few years ago, I bought an Audio-Technica clip-on mic, but can't remember the model at the moment. It has a battery pack that I wear on my belt, and an xlr cable to the PA. The banjo sounds like a banjo, and it was just what I needed to play with non-bluegrass bands where everyone else is plugged in. I made a mount for the mic that clips to a bracket from a stainless steel fork - my son-in-law makes his living creating sculptures with them - and I am plugged in and ready to play in a couple minutes.
I have tried a few of different types (some owned, some borrowed), including the Beta 98, ABS-C, SM57 inside the banjo, Meyers, and Miniflexmic. The one I like best, and still use, is the Barlett banjo mic. Here is me using it on a Whyte Ladie banjo with the mic direct to the board, although I usually play 3-finger:
I mostly use a pickup system now, but if I'm using a mic, the Bartlett is my fav. Great sound, easy to use, and good feedback resistance. I have no association with company.
That said, I think Mike Munford uses a Miniflexmic inside the banjo and gets GREAT tone. I couldn't get it to work for me, but I've heard him play with that system with crazy high volume and no feedback. Might be worth looking into.