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Proven & Workable: A Hybrid Approach To Instrument Reinforcement

Working effectively despite limited stage space and/or the need to reduce on-stage volume from amplified sources.

By Frederick Ampel September 10, 2019

Win-Win Approach

To achieve that goal, one underutilized technique is that of hybrid microphoning. What that means is the combination of a direct feed (a direct box connection from a DI) from an instrument source such as an electric guitar, electric-acoustic guitar, keyboards of any type or a similar source, and a feed from a microphone placed at that instrument’s loudspeaker/amplifier.

The idea is to reduce both size and amplifier volume on stage while still allowing the performer to keep the feel of the live amp, yet getting a clean and manageable signal into the mixing console. By reducing stage volume, bleed into vocal or other open microphones is reduced. This is then coupled with improved overall acoustical comfort levels for players, and a reduction in clutter and cabling as well.

Technically, it should be a win-win approach, but it does require some educating of the musicians. Most hobbyist and non-professional musicians aren’t used to this method and are unsure that they’ll be able to get their sound with a smaller, lower level amplifier (as an example.)

It’s usually necessary, in my experience, to sit down with all the musicians and discuss this idea before implementing it. Explain what you intend and allow the players to see and hear the results in a low-pressure, non-performance atmosphere so that they can become comfortable with the hardware and the techniques needed.

Once that’s been achieved, you can put the idea to work and achieve the results needed with their full support – something that will go a long way to keeping everyone satisfied and working together.

If you haven’t tried this for your services, it’s worth an afternoon to experiment. If necessary, rent the needed gear to try the idea out before investing in a permanent setup. Consider this approach, especially if you have a limited stage space or need to reduce on-stage volume from amplified sources. It’s a proven and workable solution.

Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from rAVe [Publications] and Dr. Frederick Ampel, and originally appeared here.

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About Frederick

Frederick Ampel
Frederick Ampel

Dr. Frederick J. Ampel has been involved in the professional A/V industry for more than 40 years, working as a systems designer, consultant, sales and marketing professional and market researcher. Presently he runs Technology Visions Analytics, a consultancy and market research firm.
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