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Re: [HD] contact mics

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Subject: Re: [HD] contact mics
From: Bob McClure Jr <bob@bobcatos.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2013 18:35:50 -0500
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Hi Bea,

This discussion has to start with a generous amount of YMMV.
Variables include the dulcimer, contact mike make and placement, and
weight of the hammers.  That said, my take follows below.

On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 04:05:40PM -0700, Bea Romano wrote:
> Hi Whamdiddlers!
> I have been using a K & K contact mic and it has been fine with our 'Passport'
> PA. We needed
> a boost, so I added the K & K preamp.

I have a MasterWorks Bantamweight Chromatic which I dearly love, and
could possibly be improved only by going to the new Russell Cook
Edition Extended Range.  But that's out of my price range right now.
When I first went to a contact mike, I got a (used -- yeah, really)
Pickup-the-World stick-on mike, and stuck it on the inside of the
soundboard between the bass and treble bridges not far from the low
end.  My first preamp was a K&K which was a lovely performer until I
left it on the back bumper of my truck and drove off. :-(

That said, I'd leave the preamp out of the discussion because its
purpose it to amplify what it gets.

> Wow!  the sound is great but the hammer
> hit noise is
> totally unacceptable.  I tried the contacts under the hd, and it was only
> slightly improved.
> I disconnected the contact mics and went to a standard Shure SM instrument
> mic.  that was
> great!  However, the sound is only part of the reason for the contact mic, the
> other
> reason is so we don't have to lug around more equipment.  Any suggestions on
> how to make
> that K & K work better without the hammer hit noise?  It's great otherwise.

Before I went electronic, I was looking for a way to get more sound
out of the instrument.  I'd been using some fairly light Lee Spears
hammers.  I bought heavier hammers, but discovered that they only gave
me more thump.  With some experimentation, I found that lighter
hammers produce just as much sound with less thump.  My favorite
hammers right now are some of the lightest ones that Bob Bedard makes.

I play in my church's praise band and we have in-ear monitors, and I
hear the slightest nuance of sound from my HD, and it is beautiful to
listen to.  

> Thank you so much!
> Bea in Sunny So. CA
> www.MakeMusicDowney.org    June 8, 2013 Music Celebration
> www.Celticana.net                    Hammered Dulcimer Music & Programs
>                                                  and 4th Tuesday Downey Folk
> Music Jam
> www.WhenPigsFlyMusic.com   Celtic (Irish) & Americana Music
> www.WillowBendMusic.com     Dulcimer, Flute & Guitar for Your Events

Bob McClure, Jr.             Bobcat Open Systems, Inc.
bob@bobcatos.com             http://www.bobcatos.co
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God
chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the
lowly things of this world and the despised things -- and the things
that are not -- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may
boast before him.  1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (NIV)
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