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Festival Microphone Kits


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Evening all.


Fresh back from my first festival of 12 acts over 3 days, I helped out with stage setup and a bit of mixing, I was utilising the kit of a 3rd party.


The music was mainly rock and folk, I enjoyed the weekend immensely especially as the weather was great and wouldn't mind taking this line of work further.


I have a few questions on best practices for mic'ing such an event with the view of investing in my own kit for future events.


We pretty much ran the whole event on 3 x 58's for vocals with a £10 maplin jobby for a 4th if needed, an unbranded kick drum mic and 2 x 57's as over heads on the drums, (possibly fakes, something just didn't feel right) and 2 generic vocal mics hanging over the front of cabs. It all felt a bit wrong but sounded quite decent which is a good end result.


My current mic kit includes 2 x 58's, 2 x 57's and some Sennheiser E345's (I think) and a AKC C1000s.

I have always used the 58's for vocals but recently been thinking of adding some Sennheiser 935's as I have worked with someone who swears by them. I've used 57's for anything bass and have a AKG C1000s for any other instruments or just a 58, as I know peoples thoughts on the C1000s aren’t complementary. I did try a 57 on the kick drum this weekend but it didn't really work, it was just my instinct.


I've never worked with a drum kit before this weekend. My main question is do I just invest in more 58's and 57's and possibly a good kick drum or do I split the vocal stuff across brands and invest in a full drum set and use the 57 for the cabs?


The durms are my main ponder as time was an issue and not sure if I'd have had time or the patience to mic the full kit for every act, and secondly is it acceptable to start clipping mics to someone elses kit?


What would your recommendations be? I fully appreciate you get what you pay for, I tend to go mid range, not cheap and not top of the range stuff, I would like to have a good versatile range of mics which no one will turn their noise up at. Baring in mind I now have six events over the next 12 months I have some budget to spend, they won't be gigged unless I enjoy my self too much.


Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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I've never had an drummer turn round to me (yet) and tell me I'm not allowed to clip mics on their kit; my drum mic kit consists of Beta 91 and Beta 52A for kick, Sm 57s for Snare top and bottom, Sennheiser e604s for Toms and Sennheiser e614s for Highhats and OHs (Also if you can, try to get bands to share the backline - it makes life alot easier esp for supports - headliners are a different kettle of fish, they'll want to use their own backline and may not want to share it too much with other bands). However, having a good stock of 58s and 57s isn't a bad thing - I have a dozen of each myself (not including those in the drum kit). The Sennheiser e935s are very nice mics in my opinion, but I'm more of a fan of the e965s. Guitar cabs I've also used Sennheiser e906s on, which sounded pretty good, and bass cabs MD 421s when I can get hold of them.
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At a festival I worked on last weekend doing patch and monitors, we had the following channel list. The mics we used are next to the respective channel. Some of them are a bit odd because our FOH engineer isn't a fan of SM57s! But he managed to get most of the bands sounding brilliant! The exceptions being down to poor drum tuning.


1. Kick in - Beta 91

2. Kick out - Beta 52

3. Snare top - Rode NT5

4. Snare Bottom - Sennheiser 604

5. HiHat - Rode NT5

6. Rack 1 - Sennheiser 604

7. Rack 2 - Sennheiser 604

8. Floor 1 - Sennheiser 604

9. Overhead right - Rode NT5

10. Overhead left - Rode NT5

11. Bass Mic - Beta 52

12. Bass DI

13. Guitar Stage Right Sennheiser 609

14. Guitar Stage Left SM57

15. Up stage right DI 1

16. Upstage right DI 2

17. Upstage left DI 1

18. Upstage left DI 2

19. Front right DI

20. Front Center DI

21. Front Left DI

22. Spare 1

23. Spare 2

24. Drum Vox - Beta 56

25. Far Stage right Vox - SM58

26. Stage right Vox - SM58

27. Stage left Vox - SM58

28. Far Stage left Vox - SM58

29. DJ playback

30. DJ playback


This generally caters for most bands, We had very few acts who needed significant changes to this. I'm personally not a fan of drum mic sets, sometimes they cost more than the individual mics themselves! Many drummers don't like you clipping a 57 to their toms, as it gets in the way of cymbals etc. So 604's are brilliant for this reason alone! Beta 56 on drum vocals is good as it is much more compact than a 58. So can happily live on a gooseneck stand and be out of the drummers way.





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for festivals always take more than you think you'll need. Your always going to get a band with a percusionist they didnt tell you about, or someones doing guest vocals on one song and needs a 5th vocal mic, or when they said 3 piece horn section they meant 5 etc etc. Id generally go for a couple of get out of jail channels with DI boxes and 57s to go down them.
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You can do much worse than have a 57 on a tall stand either side of stage for 'random crap' that inevitably turns up. But yea, that festival patch a few posts up looks pretty decent. If you want cheaper than Shure but still quality, AKG D5s are a good alternative to SM58s
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my standard festival kit is:


1. D112 Kick

2. SM57 Snare

3. Rack Tom 1 Gatt

4. Rack Tom 2 Gatt

5. Floor Tom 1 Gatt

6. Floor Tom 2 Gatt

7. O/H 1 Gatt or AKG Condenser

8. O/H 2 Gatt or AKG Condenser

9. DI 1 S/Right

10. DI 2 S/Right

11. Gtr 1 S/Right SM57

12. Gtr 2 S/Left SM57

13. Bass DI

14. DI 3 Centre Front

15. DI 4 Centre Front

16. Di 5 S/Left

17. DI 6 S/Left

18. Vox 1 S/Right SM58

19. Vox 2 Centre SM58

20. Vox 3 S/Left SM58

21. Radio Mic Sennheiser

22. Radio Mic Trantec

23. Spare Vox Wharfedale SM58 clone

24. Spare Vox Wharfedale SM58 Clone

25. EM1 Large Diaphragm Condenser for acoustic instrument


Covers most eventualities! Saving up for some better drum mics although the Gatt set is serving me well and they sound pretty good! The spare Vox mics at the end can be used in many other situations,brass percussion etc!

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My slightly smaller set up a couple of outside events I am doing is


1 Kick D112

2 Snare SM57

3 Tom Rack AKG418

4 Tom Rack AKG418

5 Tom Floor AKG418

6 OH Left Shure PG81

7 OH Right Shure PG81

8 Bass DI

9 Guitar L SM57

10 Guitar R SM57

11 DI

12 DI

13 VOX RL SM57 Beta

14 VOX L SM58

15 VOX R SM58

16 VOX FR SM58

17 Keyboard DI

18 Keyboard DI

19 Radio SM58

20 Radio PG58

21 Computer

22 Computer

23 DJ

24 DJ

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Depends on the scale, Hippy. We have an AKG Rhythm pack and use 57's for extras like hats on the rare occasions they are necessary but then we only use 16 channels for 99% of events which is plenty at our, community event, level.


For the OP Jive's lots of (real) 58's and 57's seem to be the acceptable baseline for festys, with drum mics as per personal choice. I don't use clips because our drummers bash hell out of them and, touch wood, the AKG's still look brand new after a few years light use. We have a couple of other really decent condensers which save lives regularly.


We also have a few Sennheisers, two switched, so that councillors, MP's etc can make the boring speeches. They ALWAYS look for switches for some reason so we give them to them.


Wish I had twelve acts over three days, more like twelve a day for three days, all amateurs!

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I really enjoyed the weekend a whole lot more than I thought I would, and look forward to doing it again but this time confident that we have enough proper Kit.


If I correctly merge all the opinions and generalise a little, I wouldn’t be far off with say 6 x 58's, 4 x 57's, a £350 - £400 Drum mic Kit (5 Piece) and a half dozen of DI's, plus stands for each.

Baring in mind my current desk has 12 mic's, 2 stereo in's and 6 mono jack inputs, I can't actually connect all these at once, unless I have a small mixer creating a sub mix of the drums or something. I'm looking at maybe upgrading to a LS9 16.


Thanks for all your opinions.


Oh and one thing I did learn was to but a drum kit mat, non of them had them and for a few the kick just skidded on this particular stage. Plenty of gaffa, job done!

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Interesting point about mic'ing a bass David. I have a friend who has far more experience and knowledge than me, was one of the first electric 5 string bass players in the UK (short arms!) and has been in the business since 1960. He has yet to mic up a bass cab as he says every other mic picks it up anyway.


At least he has and does mic basses purely for show but never turns the things on! He always has used a DI because he says it gives him far more "control". What is the opinion on that?


Pete, I would consider getting a couple of condensers as acoustic instrument mics as well as your basic set-up. Your call though as you know the music genres you will be doing. Our C1000S AKG's are cheap enough at around £100 and pretty decent basic mics.

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Pete, I would consider getting a couple of condensers as acoustic instrument mics as well as your basic set-up. Your call though as you know the music genres you will be doing. Our C1000S AKG's are cheap enough at around £100 and pretty decent basic mics.


There are honestly much better mics in the price range of the C1000. I strongly reccomend not to buy C1000s. This is my opinion but they're not really rider friendly and they sound rubbish.

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