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Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?

GUEST,Fyldeplayer 18 Mar 19 - 04:22 AM
Mr Red 18 Mar 19 - 04:38 AM
Jack Campin 18 Mar 19 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Peter 18 Mar 19 - 05:10 AM
Acorn4 18 Mar 19 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Fyldeplayer 18 Mar 19 - 09:53 AM
Howard Jones 18 Mar 19 - 03:25 PM
punkfolkrocker 18 Mar 19 - 03:46 PM
Tattie Bogle 18 Mar 19 - 03:53 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Mar 19 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,Fyldeplayer 18 Mar 19 - 05:11 PM
FreddyHeadey 18 Mar 19 - 05:17 PM
Eric the Viking 19 Mar 19 - 06:39 AM
Stringsinger 19 Mar 19 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 19 Mar 19 - 08:19 PM
Mr Red 20 Mar 19 - 04:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Mar 19 - 05:32 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Mar 19 - 08:11 AM
punkfolkrocker 20 Mar 19 - 08:43 AM
punkfolkrocker 20 Mar 19 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,matt milton 22 Mar 19 - 04:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Mar 19 - 04:53 AM
Steve Shaw 22 Mar 19 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,matt milton 22 Mar 19 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,matt milton 22 Mar 19 - 06:11 AM
Jack Campin 22 Mar 19 - 06:46 AM
punkfolkrocker 22 Mar 19 - 07:25 AM
Bonzo3legs 22 Mar 19 - 12:31 PM
punkfolkrocker 22 Mar 19 - 12:41 PM
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Subject: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 04:22 AM

Our trio recently played a folk club where we amplified the acoustic bass guitar and my Martin electro acoustic.( we use tiny practise amps ) I have done this for most gigs as my natural finger picking style is quiet and needs to balance with melodeon and concertina. On both amps I doubt if we get to 1 on the volume scale, more of a 'presence'. This still seems to raise a few eyebrows with at least one fairly aggressive complaint. This post gig review made note of their use but concluded we achieved a balance with no harm to our vocal harmonies. Would this be an issue at any other 'folk clubs' ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 04:38 AM

There would be some.

Have you considered a Pignose or Mini-Marshal? If you wear it discretely would they notice? One per performer, top up the batteries as you drive there.

Martin Brinsford (Brass Monkey, and various ceilidh bands etc) is an Harmonica player and in sessions he has to use a Pignose to compete, I would assume his style benefits from less aggressive playing which is not as loud. He is well respected as a drummer and harp player (and drum with harmonica player!). It is all about respect for the music IMNSHO.
You couldn't do justice to "the Unquiet Grave" at 100 decibels.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 04:44 AM

Haven't you heard Dead Can Dance's "I Am Stretched On Your Grave"? I doubt they were ever as quiet as 100dB.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 05:10 AM

Would it be an issue? Considering that folk clubs range from fully amplified to making it a matter of principle to be totally acoustic I think that the answer is that it depends.

Your stage requirements should be made clear to the club before you agree the booking. If it is an issue for the club then they are free not to book you.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Acorn4
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 05:21 AM

In a session in a small room an amplified bass can save space compared with a double bass.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 09:53 AM

Guest.Peter, you are totally correct, and we would respect fully acoustic request. I am going to email our next booking this week to clarify the position.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 03:25 PM

Where it is used to balance the sound rather than boost the overall volume then it should be acceptable. However you will always find people who object in principle to any amplification, no matter that it may improve the experience for audience and performers alike. There is no arguing with such people, their opinion is a matter of faith rather than reason.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 03:46 PM

..sometimes whilst reading mudcat it's easy to get confused which century this is...

Sound reinforcement done properly should be so subtle it goes unoticed in a small folk venue..
But if a member of an audience thinks they see a speaker lurking,
then all hysteria, panic, and despair can break loose...

A rioting stampede for the exit may ensue...

At least some of these folks are gradually getting less spooked by electicity mains sockets in folk clubs..


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 03:53 PM

Exactly, Howard! We run a small club in (possibly?) 20 ft square room with highish ceiling. It lends itself well to totally acoustic performances by solo artists, but when you get a band of several artistes, some of them choose to use PA, "for balance", NOT for
loud noise. When we book people we do tell them that "many of our guests choose to go acoustic, but if you wish to use PA that is fine too" this leaving it to them to decide. (And bring and manage their own PA, if they decide in favour of that!)
The same pub was at risk of having all live music closed down after complaints from locals about excessive volume but that would be the Saturday night rock'n'roll thrashes: the landlady reassured us it does NOT apply to our club gigs!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 04:23 PM

As a harmonica player I found it hard to compete with much louder instruments, not to speak of background pub noise. I used a Roland Mobile Cube with rechargeable batteries and a tiny lapel mic that was concealed in my cupped hand. Those little Pignoses and mini-Marshalls are just annoying. Over many years, no-one ever complained on my home turf, and I'd either ask or just go without if on my travels. The best harmonicas for cutting through unamplified were Hohner XB40s, sadly discontinued years ago. Tombo Band tremolos could often cut it too, though tremolos were secondary for me. Unamplified chromatics were useless in a crowd. The aim is to get up to fiddle level and no more, and no fancy effects. Be nice and act nice, but if the answer is still no just get by without. I can't stand amplified buskers.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 05:11 PM

Happy to report no issues in store at Highworth this Wednesday, have green light to plug in. I use a Yamaha MS 202 powered monitor on a stand behind me with guitar set to mid volume and have recently tweaked the mic balance up on the Martin for a near perfect natural sound. Nice friendly club.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 05:17 PM

pfr, yes if I see an electric cable I panic a bit but get a sinking feeling rather than hysteria, tap the little thumb pocket in my jeans to check I've got my earplugs...

I concede that sometimes it is needed and sometimes it is subtly done.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 19 Mar 19 - 06:39 AM

At Houston Folk Club, where I regularly play, we have open stage nights where everybody plays assisted by sound reenforcement. Either plugged in through the desk or through the mics. Works very well. Another session I play regularly a couple of the guys play Tele's and Strats with well controlled amps. None of yer heavy metal stuff ! ( Blues and rock sometimes).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 Mar 19 - 12:42 PM

I don't care for the sound of acoustic/electric amplification where the pick up is built in or attached to the guitar. I prefer a sensitive high end condenser mic that can pick the audio waves of the instruments sound hole as it was originally constructed by the maker.
A good audio engineer can balance the instruments properly so that you would think they were natural acoustically.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 19 Mar 19 - 08:19 PM

We run a weekly club and tend to frown on amplification. Once a month, a friend runs an open mic in the same venue, provides a pa and not surprisingly gets a totally different set of people playing.

I suspect some of the reluctance isnít amps per se but changing the nature of the music being played if you arenít careful. That said, some of my traditional ballads I play only get dusted off on stage with a pa because of the gentle quiet style I like for them versus the lack of respect for others in most singaround venues these days.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 20 Mar 19 - 04:03 AM

In a session in a small room an amplified bass can save space compared with a double bass.

Barely comparable. Acoustic bass would be the eqivalent. Anyway anything that has to be plugged in is a nuisance in a session. The leads, the power point, the boom box. Trip hazards when re-filling the tankard or emptying the consequences (as we age).

Let us get it straight, the player doesn't register their own volume in the same way. They anticipate their own pluck, and tune it out to register the rhythm and maybe the others' virtuosity (maybe). The human brain is an wonderous computer. Add a little ego and it is INTRUSIVE. There is a tendency to replace skill with enthusiasm (aka volume) particularly in the early stages of the learning curve.

Trust me, I am a drummer...............


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Mar 19 - 05:32 AM

The thing is, the better acoustic sounds are gotten from a big amplifier with a big speaker.

You don't have to have to have a big volume.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Mar 19 - 08:11 AM

You don't play little ten-hole harmonicas, do you, Mr Red. And my amp uses rechargeable batteries, no leads, and does not take up a person-space.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 20 Mar 19 - 08:43 AM

There are folks who wallow a world of anxiety, ignorance, and prejudice;
There are other folks who don't care about the consequences of their selfish ego:
and another kind who know how to use amplification effectively and unobtrusively...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 20 Mar 19 - 08:45 AM

"wallow in"...

[two posts botched within 10 minutes.. I sreiously need new glasses...]


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 04:28 AM

I think some of the 'absolutely no amplification' rules are really about setting a precedent and avoiding escalation. Belt and braces! We know in principle that almost everyone will just use very discrete amplification for balance or whatever, but it only takes a few people to start routinely plugging in, a few musicians more used to open-mics to start turning up, and before you know it the whole atmosphere has changed.

That said, when I was playing very quiet fiddle (not folk, for free improvisation/avant garde stuff) I used a £15 clip-on mic from Maplins (I think the brand was called 'Yoga') through a tiny 1 watt Danelectro Honeytone amplifier clipped to my belt (they're about £30 new). Unless anyone actually saw the amp and clip-on mic, nobody even knew I was amplified. But they heard what I was playing.

If you must amplify, go for the minimum amount of watts possible; really, other musicians ought to be playing quieter to allow you to be heard; and the audience should be listening harder! that's presumably how it worked before amplification existed.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 04:53 AM

I think 'no amplification' is okay, if it is what you want to happen in your club amongst the rank and file members. they can go to another club, if they don't like the rule - or start their own!

however if you book a guest - and he or she thinks she needs an amp, or whatever to demonstrate what they do. you should respect that


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 05:01 AM

Those tiny amps that clip on to your belt give a poor sound, though, matt. Going a bit louder to go tinny isn't my solution. The compromise for me was a slightly bigger amp but one which doesn't plug in, i.e. which uses battery power. My Roland Mobile Cube gives sound with a bit of heart. The clip-on mics are surprisingly good though. I'm with you there.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 06:06 AM

The Danelectro Honeytone doesn't sound tinny to me. The sound it generates is the sound of my violin only a tiny bit louder. The clip-on mic is a super-cardioid mic and I would generally position it right up against the left sound-hole of my fiddle. When I've plugged guitars into it they haven't sounded tinny. While I wouldn't say it's as full and accurate a sound as plugging into my totally transparent AER Compact 60 (nobody would expect that), tinny is not the word I would use.

If there is any negative side to the Honeytone it's not tinniness but distortion, in that if you turn the volume knob past around 12'oclock, the sound will start to distort (much as would happen with a vast number of amplifiers of any size or volume).

But by the time you've turned it up that far it would be too loud for the kind of 'balance' volume considerations we're talking about in a generally non-electric folk club.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 06:11 AM

I see you play harmonica though Steve, I can imagine that might not translate so well. Violins have more bass than you'd think, especially when amplified for some reason. I think there might be a bit of microphone 'proximity effect', which adds a bit of bass, in having a supercardioid mic so close to the fiddle's soundhole.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 06:46 AM

One kind of instrument where amplification always messes the sound up is flutes (transverse, endblown or fipple) - putting the mike inches from the sounding edge always picks up air noise that you'd never hear at normal listener distance. Most people who only know the Turkish ney from recordings or amplified performances will think its sound is mostly whoosh - in a real Sufi music performance, playing in a large room to an audience that knows how to shut up, you don't hear any air at all.

The folks who really understand that are the beatbox flute players. Using the mike as part of the instrument shows deeper understandng.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 07:25 AM

The current crop of affordable rechargable personal speakers are now quite decent sounding.
eg Anker/Soundcore.

They can connect by either bluetooth or line in cable,
and also be powered off adapter plugs while recharging.

Yes, the same kind of speakers gangs of teenagers annoy society with.
But musicias are also finding them convenient to plug an Amp emulation preamp into for practice.
So no reason they couldn't help out with sound reinforcement at sessions.

Worth looking out for deals of the day on Amazon...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 12:31 PM

I still have in our attic my diy 50 watt amp driving a Celestion Blue 12" speaker, which came from a 60s Vox AC30, the preamp of which was the front end of the Electroharmonix Dirt Road Special Amp - all powered by 2 motor bike batteries!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Small amplifiers in clubs?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 12:41 PM

Bonz - shame on you, a working old Blue should not be hidden away up in the attic...


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