I brought a few Neumann and AKG microphones on this leg of the tour, which I wanted to compare against the Shure mics we are using and endorsing. We ended up preferring the Shure KSM141 over any other microphone. During the Summer tour I was using a KSM44 together with the KSM141. Alan used the KSM141 for the house and I thought I preferred the sound of the bigger KSM44 for my own mix.
After we returned from that leg of the tour I listened to the live recording from the Triple Door in Seattle and actually thought the KSM141 was the KSM44. Amazingly there is not a lot of difference in the sound of the two microphones, and since the KSM141 is more focused, less of the percussion enters that channel. Shure is really producing outstanding microphones and other pro-gear these days!
Then I wanted to try out a few new set-ups, combining two KSM141s. We received a second KSM141 from Shure the other day and I used a two KSM141 setup for the first time last night in York. One microphone aims toward the soundhole and the top three of the strings angled slightly from the fretboard side of the guitar. The other microphone aims upwards towards the soundhole from the body side of the guitar – see the photo above.
I want to point out that the requirements for a live/performance mic are very different from a studio microphone. In a live situation you have to consider the sound of the P.A. speakers being thrown back onto the stage from the back or the sides of the theater, and you have to worry about the sound of other instruments, especially loud percussion instruments, getting into the guitar microphone. In the studio I am usually recording only one guitar at a time, meaning that there is no bleed from any other instruments and I am able to record the purest possible tone. If I would bring my $5,000 Neumann microphone on tour, and I have tried this out of course, I would hear the person in the first row of seats sneeze and would hear so much percussion in my mix that my guitar would sound far away… Live you want a microphone that captures the tone of the instrument well, but also focuses on the guitar quite narrowly, excluding the sounds of the percussion and the P.A. system.
Anyway, right now I am very happy with this new setup that utilizes two Shure KSM141 microphones aiming at the guitar from different angles. I am hoping that we can produce enough sound from this setup that I can avoid using a pick-up when we tour large venues with a mystery European headliner in the Summer of 2005.