Manufacturers have introduced different options for miking a variety of instruments without a microphone stand. This frees the musician from focusing on the traditional mic in a stand and allows both freedom of movement and a constant sound level.
From clip-on microphones for drums and horns to headset microphones, these options not only provide a clean look, but have improved sonically and now compete with larger conventional elements that have been used in the past.
Founded in 1981 and based in Amsterdam, SD Systems manufactures microphones for orchestral and band instruments. The mics are distributed exclusively by Advanced Sonic Concepts, Chatsworth, NJ.
SD Systems LCM series of mics are instrument-specific and include mics for: soprano LCM 80 ($869), alto, tenor and baritone sax LCM 89 ($495), flute LCM 70 ($489), trumpet LCM 77 ($469), trombone, tuba LCM 85 ($395) clarinet LCM 82 ($879), bassoon LCM 83 ($1,089), violin LCM 110 ($419), cello and bass LCM 100HL ($329).
For each application, special high-quality condenser elements are used with characteristics tailored to the instrument’s specific sound. Each mic comes with a standard LP preamp. This preamp power supply has a 1/4″ input connector for the mic and a balanced XLR output.
All preamps operate with phantom power +48 VDC or a 9 V battery. Due to low current electronic circuits, the company estimates a battery life at 1 to 2 years. The standard LP preamp has a tone control and volume control located on the top of the box as rotary controls.
Optional preamps are available. The LP Pro preamp ($195) has an extra-shielded heavy-duty, stainless steel housing. The L preamp ($109) does not have any volume or tone knobs, which eliminates the potential of erroneous adjustment before or during the show – a preferred preamp for a pro touring situation.
SD Systems patented shock mount reduces handling and instrument noise. All clamps are made of lightweight stainless steel. All of the elements of the SD Systems microphone line are handmade. The lathe work (element housings) are done on nonautomatic lathes.
I used some of the LCM series of microphones at a show I did with the Count Basie Orchestra at Westbury Music Fair in New York. The LCM 77, which was designed in cooperation with the sound engineers of Miles Davis, was used on the trumpets. I was impressed with the design of the mic system. The microphone is not attached to the rim or bell. It is clamped near the valves of the trumpet.
Silicone is used with the clamping system and the lightweight system is extremely well shockmounted and produces virtually no handling noise. The mic element is mounted on a clear bent acrylic tube, and its distance from the horn is somewhat adjustable between 5″ to 10″ from the bell. This allows perfect freedom for the musician to use mutes. When cueing up the mic with headphones, I could hear the musicians clearing their spit valves – that was not noticeable in the sound system, however.
I also used the clarinet LCM 82, a double mic system that picks up the complete sound spectrum of the instrument in an ideal way. The clarinet is a fairly quiet instrument and the system mics the instrument about 4″ from the bell and the middle of the keys, capturing all of the sound of the instrument. Again, the shockmounting is amazing in that no key opening and closing sounds are heard.
All of the mic systems I used provided a very natural, clear sound with no noticeable coloration. This is what I like to hear in microphones chosen for such instruments as those mentioned here. The sound patterns of the mics and tonality match and complement the instruments very well.
The SD Systems LCM series of microphones for band and orchestral instruments is an ideal solution for musicians and sound engineers working with ensembles. The series provides excellent sound and the mounting system is of top quality and design.
It would have been great if more of the systems were available to me at the time so I could do the entire orchestra. Having done a lot of outdoor symphony shows, this product is a great fix for providing optimum location for every microphone, especially in environments with players who are not familiar with proper mic placement and technique.
It saves a lot of time on stage from continually positioning and repositioning stands during a sound check. The performance of the player seems to be naturally enhanced since the microphone becomes an unobtrusive part of the instrument. I recommend this product highly for musicians and engineers working with the various models for the instruments mentioned above, providing a more consistent, natural result.
Contact: SD Systems at 609-726-9202. Mic specs and other information can be found online at www.AdvancedSonicConcepts.com.