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zennman

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Posts: 134
Reply with quote  #1 
So, I managed to drill a tiny hole in both my dayan and bayan, and inserted the tiny electret capsules in them (the levalier mics). I am sorry to say, the results were very unsatisfactory.

The major problem was the mic itself.. it being so tiny, the sound distorted easily due to the high volume air oscillations insde the shell. A larger mic is mandated. Somewhat better results were obtained by placing the mic closer to the edge of the shell, and also with the hole exposed so as to release the air pressure inside. The sound remained the same at most spots inside the shell (placement of the mic was not crucial, because of the omnidirectional nature), except near the walls. The sound is the most natural near the inner edge of the shell (it is still nowhere close to the full sound of a tabla).

The spectral characteristics inside the shell are different from the outside. The high frequency components are substantially muted, and there is a very large boost in the lower frequency registers. Tete's sound extrordinarily loud from inside the shell, and very hard to work with. EQ'ing out the bass and mid range in the dayan gives a pleasant working sound, but the dynamic range is so diminished, it sounds very monophonic and is probably better suited for folk/bhajan/light/repetetive playing where an expansive pallette may not be required.

The mic inside the bayan works fairly better than the dayan. The low end is loud and gutsy as long as care is taken to keep the mic from distorting (turn down the preamp).

Wires running around is DEFINITELY uncomfortable. Only situation where it would be less noticeable is when it placed on stands, so the cables could run downward and not fall over the legs. Rotation might be easier also (it is not easy to rotate the tablas playing sitting down with the cables attached).

--------------------------

In conclusion, I did not like the levalier mic inside my tablas. I might still use them when I am mucking around with effects, but not the best option for sensitive playing. For people who want to work on this further, you need a mic with a large capsule. Small ones are probably not going to do well with the large volume of enclosed air pushing against it (especially for tete's). Going wireless is a definite advantage, but the idea was for an inexpensive, flat, frequency reproduction. A flat response wireless mic is many times expensive than a good wired mic.

For my next project, I am putting a full bodied shotgun condenser microphone inside the shell. This (or a regular dynamic mic) seems to be what people have already tried putting inside the shell. Given they seem to be using it without too much problems, it probably works slightly better. Will let you know how it goes.
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Chaz

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Reply with quote  #2 
That's too bad, Zennman, but thanks for taking the bullet for us. ;-) I hope the next project works better.
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Dom

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #3 
Zennman,

As you have found, miking inside a tabla is not all that easy. Have you thought of using a contact peizio electric transducer? Peizio technology has come ahead in leaps and bounds since the "unplugged" era of the 90's. They are generally quite cheap to buy and there doesn't need to be holes drilled. The only downside I see is that you will need a preamplifier to match the impedance of the peizio transducer and these can be pricey.

The premise here is that the wood (or bayan metal) vibrates with the same frequency response as the air that enters our ear after a bol is struck. I'm not 100% convinced of this but from my experience with acoustic guitars suggests that it would be close.

Dom
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zennman

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Posts: 134
Reply with quote  #4 
Hiya Dom,

I have worked with piezos before. They are prone to excessive feedback (especially because the wood is too thick, and you need to turn up the gain to get usable signal), and the cheap piezos are made for particular frequency ranges only. Their low frequency response is poor (I've listened to some acoustic basses also... they sound so dull and loose with the piezos).

I haven't used any professional preamps for the piezos, just a few homemade ones. The professional ones are expensive because they have EQ's and tone adjustments, which I do on the mixer.

So from my experience, the cheap piezos sound tinny and watery on the dayan and bayan respectively. They are fun to play with for experimental sounds, but not the best to capture the sound of the tabla.
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Chaz

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Posts: 147
Reply with quote  #5 
The only problem there is that while a guitar's body is meant to vibrate, a tabla's is not. I don't think therefore that it will work, but it can always be tried!
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Aanaddha

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Posts: 1,932
Reply with quote  #6 
Seems I remember seeing a pickup on someone's flute once ... Ian Anderson maybe ?? What type do they use on wind instruments? Just wondering...



A.

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If he could sing, and nature to accompany him, what need would he have for an instrument?
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zennman

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Posts: 134
Reply with quote  #7 
They use the levaliers on flutes. I use one on mine, sounds great.
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Anonymous

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Posts: 987
Reply with quote  #8 
Sennheiser E604s - work great. This is what Talvin Singh and Kharsh Kale are both using. Radio Shack stuff just aren't going to cut it. You need a substantial capsule to re-create a wide range of subtle harmonics. BTW - I don't sell these. This is not a "plug".
Cheers,
Keshav
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Aanaddha

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Keshav
Sennheiser E604s - work great. This is what Talvin Singh and Kharsh Kale are both using. You need a substantial capsule to re-create a wide range of subtle harmonics. Keshav
"Subtle harmonics"... ??


I think we're taking a similiar approach towards two separate issues or problems. I for one, have no plans or desire to perform with electric guitars and synthesizers. On the other hand, for the majorityof us it would be nice not to have to schlep a pair of (unsightly) mics and stands to every gig and be not distracted by having to adjust them during the performance. I think we would also prefer as much of a natural sound as possible.
I wonder if small-high quality lavaliers attached to elastic or velcro wrist-bands wouldn't work? Not very high-tech, but doesn't require drilling.

A.

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If he could sing, and nature to accompany him, what need would he have for an instrument?
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nzdrum

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #10 
Hi all
I would suggest that anyone who is not aware of the very small mic's made by Microvox (http://www.microvox.demon.co.uk) in England ,should have a look.They are very resonably priced, high quality mic's and as they don't charge for postage it does not matter where you are.I am in New Zealand.
I have used one of their small mic's attached to the side of an Arabic Darabouka with very good results.The sound coming off one of these would be much more than I would expect from Tablas.

Cheers
Greg
Whangarei
NZ
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Dom

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #11 
Guys,

Just to clarify. The body of the tabla does vibrate. Sure, they look stiff to us but they are very much a part of the acoustic system. These vibrations should (in theory) contain all the frequencies that we hear. There may be slightly different amounts of each harmonic present at the side of the tabla. This is why I'm not 100% that it would sound identical to the acoustic tabla. The vibrations can easily be measured with a peizio transducer.

I don't think this line of thought should be dismissed. Yes you can use a mic with its pros and cons, but a peizio offers a neat solution with less feedback problems. From Zennman's experience, I'd say a peizio is looking good. You must use a preamp that has active tone boost and cut. Don't rely on your mixer to do this. I also make my own preamps and it is really easy to find circuits that are in kit form that do a great job. Boss (the guitar pedal people) do a great preamp if making one is beyond you. The input impedance of your preamp must also match that of your peizio (why the Boss preamp is good). If it doesn't the sound will lack any real bass response and may sound "tinny or watery".

There are so many peizio elements now available with all sorts of frequency characteristics. Somewhere there is one just right for tabla. Now how to find it?

Dom
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Anonymous

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Posts: 987
Reply with quote  #12 
"Subtle harmonics"... ??

Yes - short-hand for" a wide range or "spectrum" of frequencies".
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