27 February 2017

Cross-fertilisation: or, the onward march of the single mic

The BIB has in recent months (e.g. on 21 Dec. 2016) mentioned the increasing popularity of microphones from Ear Trumpet Labs of Portland, OR, among bluegrass and old-time performers in the US. Their retro style and craftsmanlike construction appeal to many, especially in single-mic applications.

Now Bluegrass Today brings news of a single mic with a much more high-tech image, used by one of the leading full-time bluegrass bands: Rhondda Vincent & the Rage. It's the Shure MV88 iOS digital stereo condenser microphone (photo), one of the company's Motiv line. As the Bluegrass Today feature shows, the band was able to get 'Kentucky borderline' down on audio and video, using an MV88 and an iPad. US prices for the MV88 start at $149.
Meanwhile, Compass Records announced last week the release of a new CD by Maria Quiles and Rory Cloud, whose original songs, though not bluegrass, could well be done in bluegrass style (as may already have happened). Moreover, the video of their 'Black sky lightning' was made as part of John Cuniberti's 'OneMic sessions' - 'the Minimalistic Recording Series'. In each OneMic session, the recording artists perform two songs around one AEA R88 stereo ribbon microphone (and are filmed in 4K video by filmmaker Nathaniel Kohfield), with the artist controlling the sound, balance, and dynamics during the performance. Very like what bluegrass and old-time artists value about the one-mic setup.

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