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Suggestions for tuba amplification?

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  • Suggestions for tuba amplification?

    This is a question on behalf of a friend. We play in a second-line style band that most often does nightclub/bar gigs. Our tuba player drops a mic into the bell of the tuba, plugs it in to an octaver (one 8vb, used occasionally) and then a keyboard amp. That amp is starting to show clear signs of nearing the end of it's life, and I was wondering if any of the low brass players here may have a suggestion. He's playing a sousaphone that goes to the low concert B, (and 8vb with the octaver). I'm thinking a super-hefty, lots of clean headroom keyboard amp may be the thing, unless there is an amp that's favored for this sort of thing we are apparently unaware of.
    All suggestions appreciated!

  • #2
    I would suggest a bass amp, rather than a keyboard amp, or something like a Mackie Thump 15". Also, he might look at the AKG 519 wireless mic, which clips to the bell, rather than being dropped into the instrument...
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    • #3
      Please don't drop it into the bell… Spend thirty bucks on a mic stand, and position the mic so it's pointed at and just a bit in front of the center of the bell - about a foot to eighteen inches out. Better yet, spend a hundred bucks on a beefy boom stand - you'll eventually want it for the physically bigger and heavier mikes that tend to be appropriate for a tuba / Sousaphone - large diaphragm cardioid dynamics like the Electro-Voice RE20 and RE320, or maybe a large diaphragm cardioid FET condenser. Run that puppy into a outboard mic preamp and power amp / speaker cab setup, or a small mixing board / with a 15" powered PA speaker or two - heck, some of those speakers have mic preamps built in… don't think "keyboard amp" - you want something that can easily handle a LOT of low frequencies - think mini-PA system with good low-frequency capabilities... and thank me later.
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      • #4
        Well, first of all he is quite committed to dropping the mic into the bell, and a mic stand isn't really an option either as there is too much movement by both the player and the surrounding environment (this is a real party band, there is perennial activity on stage). Even if the thing were mounted on a stripper pole, it wouldn't work. He's fine going through mics and replacing them as needed. An efficient one or two piece system would be ideal, one with lots of clean headroom that can handle the more square waveform from the octaver. The question is really about the amp/PA and isn't about the mic or the mixing technique. I will look at some of the beefier PA setups and bass amps. Also the Mackie recommended above.
        Thank you both for your suggestions. Fwiw, our tuba man has found a $50 kick drum mic that generally lasts 6 months to a year before it has withstood its final thrashing and does sound really good up to that moment.
        Anyone else?

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        • #5
          Depending on how loud you want him, you may try a Cerwin Vega Folded Horn Sub Woofer. It would certainly wake the joint up!

          As for the mic situation. I have heard lots of Dixie Land and Mexican bands place an athletic sock over an SM58 and drop it into the tuba with great success. You may also try an Audio Technica Condenser as well. Many suggest a clip on (like a trumpet mic) but most tuba players are not satisfied with the low response of this application.

          If you really want to make a lifetime investment in a good quality mic, many swear by SD Systems (www.sdsytems.com) elite horn mics. The other question is - is it a tuba or is it a sousaphone? If a tuba, Silent Brass makes a good fitting mic. If a Sousaphone, that wouldn't be an option.

          D
          Keeping the Harmony at Harmony Central

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          • daddymack
            daddymack commented
            Editing a comment
            He said it is a Bb Sousaphone. which was why I suggested the AKG519, because I only know one Sousaphonist [he is a studio guy here in LA, who also does philharmonic and loves to play Dixieland]. Our text exchange went like this:
            me: a guy is asking for a rig upgrade for electrifying Sousaphone. What are you using?
            he: AKG519 wireless clip-on into SWR W-Pro400 w/ 1x15 cab, but I am looking at a mackie thump15. please don't tell me he drops the mic in the bell!!!

            hence my suggestion....

          • Phil O'Keefe
            Phil O'Keefe commented
            Editing a comment
            I'd hit the 'like' button on this if I could - great advice! I agree that a clip-on mic would be far preferable over dropping the mic down the bell.

        • #6
          I've suggested the sm58 for this simply because it's a mic that can handle that sort of abuse. I'll check out the CV sub woofer. I'm assuming that's a powered cab with a balanced xlr input. Thanks!

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          • #7
            [Quote]"He said it is a Bb Sousaphone. which was why I suggested the AKG519, because I only know one Sousaphonist [he is a studio guy here in LA, who also does philharmonic and loves to play Dixieland]. Our text exchange went like this:
            me: a guy is asking for a rig upgrade for electrifying Sousaphone. What are you using?
            he: AKG519 wireless clip-on into SWR W-Pro400 w/ 1x15 cab, but I am looking at a mackie thump15. please don't tell me he drops the mic in the bell!!!

            hence my suggestion...."[/Qoute]

            Good Advice!

            D
            Keeping the Harmony at Harmony Central

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