Mics and Bikes

So to start, let’s look at the question I posed last post about choosing between a single mic or 2 mics and a Y cable when acquiring sound from 2 spaced sources.

To unravel this let’s make and a list of things we expect to occur.

Using one mic:

  • Farther from both the sources
  • No interference from two mics
  • Less proximity effect
  • More sound from the room and other instruments
  • Easier
  • Control the level balance between the instruments with placement

Using 2 mics and a Y:

  • Closer to each source
  • Unwanted noise from the mic on the instrument not being played
  • Proximity effect add lows
  • More complex
  • Control the level balance with placement
  • Potential mic impedance interactions with dynamic mics

So those are the main aspects, there may be more but those are the main ones. The question is, which method do we choose for what application and why?

Like everything in Austria there is no simple answer but here are some guidlines: 

If you are mic’ing humans, one mic allows them to work the mic and solo and add human interaction. If they can hear that mic in their ears or wedge, this can be optimum as you get all the advantages of close mic’ing when you need it and balanced sound when they step back.

If you are in a reverberant room or there are other loud sources nearby, the Y cable offers strong advantages. Reducing the amount of room sound reapplied by the PA is one of the most important things you can do to clean up your mix. Also, the proximity effect and up close and personal sound of close mic’ing adds energy and power to your mix.


If you are mic’ing two drums and they tend to resonate and gating is not effectively working, the Y mic’ing allows that resonance to be loud,up close and personal as well, and proximity effect enhances the issue.

As far as mic impedance interaction, I have yet to notice an issue.  Also, with Y’ing 2 mics works with all but the largest condenser mics, which eliminates interaction between the mics. Theoretically, with a dynamic mic, since it is just a coil, a magnet and a transformer, the output of one mic would actually create sound from the other mic. As a dynamic mic us just a tiny speaker. That said, the output is low and the contribution of this theoretical inference is the least of your issues when mixing a rock show.

I use Y’ed mics, single mics for multiple similar instruments and single mics for disparate instruments. I will use a mic with a figure 8 patern between cowbell and ride or Y 2 mics on roto toms. 

It’s really about trying to make decisions that give you the highest probability of getting the outcome you desire. Then try, then listen, and repeat till your happy.

Alright, beyond the sound world here are some pics, so on the first day of I took 8 hours of trains from Berlin to Brussels. I love the trains, I get work done, I enjoy the world whizzing by at 100+ miles an hour, the soothing sound and all around relaxed sensation. And out of the train station a short bike ride away my hotel was next to this

And also next to these

And in my next day morning wander I liked these tiny trees

And this is how you solvee grabbing the wrong battery charger for point and shoot camera

While in Brussels on the 2nd day off, Clint and Leif took a train to meet me and the the three of us rode to Antwerp.  I was originally going to do a Cologne to Antwerp adventure but they switched to Brussels as I’ve spent a bunch of time in Cologne already this year.

Anyway, hear are some pics of the adventure we have named “Leif ate shit”

First my setup, I am running heavy with a good 40 pounds or more of stuff I needed for work.

It was only 30 miles and for e real biker that nothing but for me it was my longest ride ever.

A mid trip pic from Clint

4 chances to guess what season this is

Nothing to see here, 

The ride was a bit cold, slightly wet and fully wonderful, my only frustrations are with my own self, I wish I was more fit for endurance, working on it.  Wish I spoke more languages and new more world history, working on those as well but nothing happens as fast as my impatient self so desires. 

In the mean time, being that these were days off, I don’t have new sound nerd or show stuff. Over time though I will try to go in depth about just about any subject of interest.

I do read all the comments and if there are things you want me to blog about, let me know. I try and stay in the sound realm so don’t hit me with backline or band questions.

For me, talking about and sharing things helps me see them even more clearly and helps open up new ideas and for that I thank you for showing interest, commenting and asking questions

Cool cool, Antwerp showbtomorrow and then day off in Amsterdam yay!



Author: Dave Rat

Sound consultant, sound system designer, curious human