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May 17, 2024 - 3:16:53 PM

chuckv97

Canada

72107 posts since 10/5/2013

I busk at a new market lately with high ceilings, & a long seating area about 350 feet long. I’m being urged by mgmnt to amplify my banjo. Any advice on what to get, preferably something that’s easily switched from one banjo to another?

May 17, 2024 - 3:32:23 PM

65 posts since 9/1/2020

I've heard lots of different pick ups, and I feel the only one that works without an additional mic is the Fishman. They're not easily switched at all, but the only decent stand alone, IMO.
We use them in banjo and bass banjo applications.
It basically turns the head into a microphone diaphragm.
fishmanstore.com/products/clas...655828675

May 17, 2024 - 4:07:53 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

72107 posts since 10/5/2013

Thanks, Douglas. I’ve heard some good things about these long-mcquade.com/10743/Guitars...embly.htm

May 17, 2024 - 4:30:29 PM
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Players Union Member

Foote

USA

714 posts since 3/25/2009

Mini-flex. easy to switch between banjos and great, natural sound.

May 17, 2024 - 6:06:20 PM

65 posts since 9/1/2020

Yep, Looks decent. I don't need to switch between banjos though. Have you heard the Schatten being used?

Edited by - Bruce Berry Banjos on 05/17/2024 18:17:13

May 17, 2024 - 6:32:32 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

72107 posts since 10/5/2013

A few years ago I remember seeing a video on a Schatten,,, I’ll see if I can find it. I knew Les Schatten when I lived in Kitchener, Ontario,,, it might be cheaper for me it being made in Canada

May 17, 2024 - 6:40:07 PM

chuckv97

Canada

72107 posts since 10/5/2013

banjohangout.org/archive/262212

An old thread re Schatten pickups

May 17, 2024 - 8:12:41 PM
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2928 posts since 10/28/2007

I've had a schatten and sold it.. It's basically just a transducer like you find on a guitar under-saddle acoustic guitar pickup.. Without a compressor pedal or pre-amp.. they sound pretty ice picky. I used one of the old ghs soundhole mics attached to the banjo with zip ties and one AA battery. sounded great ! but feedback easily.

May 18, 2024 - 7:05:27 AM

KCJones

USA

3060 posts since 8/30/2012

The Jones-Hatfield is an improvement to the Fishman. If you're looking at a Fishman you'd be better off getting the J-H. Much better tone and passive instead of active.

May 18, 2024 - 7:26:23 AM

15255 posts since 6/2/2008

For the Schatten to be easily switched between banjos I think you need to stick it on top of the head instead of underneath and use removable sticky putty instead if the recommended or included epoxy.

I believe every transducer type of pickup is low output and requires a preamp or DI pedal. I suppose if your PA mixer has individual channel gain or trim that might be sufficient for boosting the signal to give the volume and EQ something to work with. But I believe an external device gives you more tone shaping control.

Have to add that both times I heard live banjo in PA sound so good I had to ask the players what they were using it was Fishman. One was at the small side stage of a festival. The other was at a house concert seating 60.

May 18, 2024 - 8:15:48 AM
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2928 posts since 10/28/2007

If I had money, I'd just get the gold tone pickups... They've invested a lot of time developing these things and they make sense to me.. whether it;s the magnetic design or the condenser mic. Unless you play a nechville like I do sometime.. Nechville's proprietary nature makes it impossible to use general banjo products in many cases. If you don't play a Nechville, I think gold tones stuff is a safe bet to work well. Next time I buy a banjo product,, It will be gold tone.

As far as Schatten and all this other stuff.. you could make them yourself if you have basic wiring skills. The fishman and hatfield jones work of a magnetic field... They're cool but IMO .. kind of a pain because you have to keep the magnetic strip under the bridge so if you ever change the bridge location.. You're back at scratch.. For my two cents... gold tone products.. you can't go wrong plus they're on the less expensive side.. the downside is not made in the US like some of the aforementioned products.. I do support those products in that sense... I'm trying to make my life easy.

May 18, 2024 - 2:54:56 PM

chuckv97

Canada

72107 posts since 10/5/2013

Yep, I think I’ll go with the mic setup, gold tone sounds good.  Being new at this, what kind of amp would you recommend? I don't need anything powerful.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 05/18/2024 14:58:56

May 18, 2024 - 4:03:32 PM
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2928 posts since 10/28/2007

Boss Katana is a swiss army knife... It has a great acoustic amplifier built in..

If you're wanting to use battery power... Fishman loudbox mini.

May 18, 2024 - 6:25:36 PM

chuckv97

Canada

72107 posts since 10/5/2013

Thnx! I can plug in at the market. I’ll check out the Boss Katana

May 18, 2024 - 7:58:15 PM

15255 posts since 6/2/2008

I could be wrong, but I think instead of a conventional electric or acoustic instrument amplifier (the latter being more like PA-in-a-box and capable of handling a vocal mic) I think you should consider a 10- or 12-inch powered PA speaker that mounts on a pole. These have more audio power (in watts) than the amps and being up on stands will get the sound to the audience's ears rather than aiming it at their legs.

There are too many choices to list. I think for your situation you don't necessarily need top-of-the-line. You mainly need something that works. But I'll show you a few to get you started.

Shopping for "powered speakers/live sound/in stock" at Sweetwater, this is the lowest price offering I found that had two XLR inputs, which I think is necessary if you're going to be using a vocal mic in additon to an instrument mic or preamp out. I believe XLR inputs are preferable. This speaker has two channels with both quarter-inch and XLR in each. Everything selling for less has either no XLR inputs or just one in a 2-channel setup where the other channel is quarter inch. You probably can run a preamp or DI box through guitar cable with quarter-inch plugs, but I think signal through XLR is better. I think it loses less signal over the run.

Considered a good entry-level powered speaker for DJs, the similarly priced and powerful Mackie Thrash 212 has lots of power and two dual quarter-inch/XLR inputs.

You can do your own search for powered speakers to see what you find.

If you like the idea of PA in a conventional amp format, this Fender Acoustisonic has 40 watts and two XLR inputs.As with choosing banjos, what you can get depends on what features you need and how much you can afford to spend.

Good luck.

May 18, 2024 - 8:14:03 PM

chuckv97

Canada

72107 posts since 10/5/2013

Thnx, Ken. Here’s one I can pick up tmrrw nearby. 2 outlets ,, 15 w output. Is that enough power?


 

Edited by - chuckv97 on 05/18/2024 20:14:23

May 18, 2024 - 8:40:21 PM
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15255 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

Thnx, Ken. Here’s one I can pick up tmrrw nearby. 2 outlets ,, 15 w output. Is that enough power?


I don't think so. But I could be wrong.

It depends on how far your sound is supposed to carry. If you said that earlier, I missed it. Haven't read each post in detail.

I don't know how much PA power and how many speakers it takes to move sound 350 feet.

15 watts is the type of power you get in a practice amp. The powered speakers I pointed to were way more powerful.

I just played a sit-in gig tonight at a loud, hard surfaces, pizza place. I added banjo to male and female guitar and vocals. We played through a JBL powered speaker probably with the type of power as the things I've pointed to. Sound was loud and rich. Vocals and guitars (plugged in to mixer)  filled the room. I sat out for about half of each set, so I got to hear. Leader set up an SM-58 for the banjo and after input from the audience we got the level to where it needed to be.

I can't imagine a 15-watt would have done the same job for a voice and guitar. I could be wrong.

I've never used less than 150 watts of PA for vocals and mostly used 300 watts in the years when my Celtic-Americana band was active. We had to get our sound over than loud crowds in big bars. Granted, the distance was in dozens of feet, not hundreds.

May 18, 2024 - 9:20:05 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

72107 posts since 10/5/2013

I better go with this one, a 40W... it’s a big area I’m playing in, not really bar noise but lots of folks sitting around eating/chatting... photo shows the place, partially. Of course, the idea is not to blast the people near me out of their seats, but at least to reach more than I'm getting now acoustically. 




Edited by - chuckv97 on 05/18/2024 21:25:01

May 19, 2024 - 9:39:07 AM
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15255 posts since 6/2/2008

Better choice.

You might also look into an amplifier stand. With the amp on the floor, people sitting in the first few rows of tables will absorb most of the sound. 

Again, this is why I personally prefer a pole-mounted high-wattage powered PA speaker for this situation. Or a column array speaker with subwoofer base. But the amp is going to be a big improvement. 40 watts for an instrument can actually be loud. The Fender accepts a microphone, so you can have PA for vocals.

I was looking into powered speakers this time last year. I was on tap to provide PA and play the processional and recessional for my nephew's outdoor September wedding. My PA gear is 1990s old school: heavy Peavey "lunchbox" powered mixer, Peavey passive 12-inch speakers, plus additional equipment and monitors for full band setups.  I have almost no call for using this stuff any more other than the occasional neighborhood or family event and I thought the wedding would be the perfect excuse to downsize to a powered speaker and try to sell all my other stuff. In the end, I hit paralysis from analysis and just lugged my gear to southern New Jersey for the wedding.

But now I'm another year older and I don't want to do that any more. 

May 19, 2024 - 12:53:47 PM

chuckv97

Canada

72107 posts since 10/5/2013

I can place the amp on a stool or table. And , yes, I might be doing some senior homes gigs so I can plug in a voice mic for singing ,,, err, in my case "croaking".  Thnx, Ken. Al the best in your future endeavours.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 05/19/2024 12:55:20

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