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Thlm

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Reply with quote  #1 
Haven't been able to find any similar dilemmas here, but I apologize if it's already been covered somewhere:
Recently I've been exploring a variety of ways to optimally amplify my Surbahar, but have yet to find a method devoid of an unbalanced/dulled sound and excessive feedback. I've been using a couple of fairly basic stick-on pickups that sound well enough on a sitar, but for some reason just can't accurately project the sound of my surbahar. I have tried running this setup through a good PA system as well as a small amplifier, to no avail. The chikaris in particular almost inevitably generate unbearable feedback.
If anyone knows a good way to properly amplify a surbahar without the aforementioned problem, I would be deeply thankful for any help you might be able to provide.
I am aware that it may be an issue with the pickups, so if anyone could recommend a good replacement for stick-on pickups placed on the tabli, I would also love to know of it.
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OM GUY

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Reply with quote  #2 
see ....Rain City Music.........

...look under: " TRANSDUCERS & AMPLIFICATION"

...then ask questions of Lars....

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Let's hope 2016 is less violent and that people discover the soothing influence of ICM. Hari OM!
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #3 
The best way to amplify the surbahar is to design one with that purpose in mind from the outset. Link below. Otherwise IMHO, you are better off with using microphone(s) to capture the true sound of the acoustic. My 2c. GF

http://www.electricsitar.com/
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #4 
Fossesitar is right. A purpose built instrument will serve up the best results. I have had years of hard luck sticking contact mics onto sitars and running them through guitar amps or PA's. The sound quality is borderline at best with the only tradeoff being almost zero feedback and plenty of volume. Microphones offer good quality sound amplification but to get the necessary volume, there's a good chance you'll get feedback. My best results have been with a quality contact mic (Barcus Berry in my case) which is then run through a "purpose built" amp. There are quite a few acoustic guitar amps on the market that are designed to get the best volume and tone from these type instruments. I'm really appreciating what my 'Roland AC-60' is doing for me. Compared to my other guitar amps, this one has much better tone and features that make it perfect for commercial gigues. Pre-amp boxes are another option although the one I have here (L L Bagg or some such name) puts a hum in the line circuit. Keep playing with your baby. I'm sure there is a good combination that will put a smile in your ears.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #5 
Your objectives are also important. Are you wanting to present traditional ICM surbahar? In that case microphones are pretty much the order of the day. It's an acoustic instrument, and so the most neutral way of simply amplifying its acoustic qualities is to mic it. I've had good success doing it with sitar and surbahar. As long as you are very judicious with volume, or have a sound guy who knows what he's doing, feedback concerns should be minimal. Again, this is for ICM, where the most additional sound on stage will be a soft hum of tanpura or perhaps the pakhawaj. When you start getting into fusion and experimentation, then...yeah, you're going to probably get frustrated a bit, and then either a transducer or a purpose built non-acoustic instrument will fit the bill.

When I first started I was into the idea of experimenting with transducers, and was frustrated by the lack of fidelity to the acoustic sound, but as time has gone by I've found that I just like a halfway decent mic pointed right in front of the bridge on the tabli, and the sound works pretty darn well.
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musicslug

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Reply with quote  #6 
one thing that hasn't been mentioned so far and which helped me a lot when amplifying rudra vina with microphones (which is even harder than surbahar) is using an equalizer. it took some tweaking to get the settings down, but resulted in something like half again the volume I was getting without the eq

it should be said that I'm going for the truest possible sound, not high, feedback-free volume, so, even with the eq, I could never, say, jam in a loud situation - what I can get is 'sound reinforcement', chamber music levels.
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Hamletsghost

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Reply with quote  #7 
Ok
Rather than try to rewrite (or even remember ops: ) some LONG previous posts on sound reinforcement, here are a number of lincs to my previous info here. ( There are MANY more from multiple forumites in the archives)
There are some GREAT tips from some of the old hands here, some fantastic discussions, & it will save you hours of looking for this info. Although it won't save you the reading time .
ALL the principals discussed below can be applied to surbahar, Veena, sarangi, sarode, etc etc as well as any Indian percussion north or south.
After you read all this feel free to post any questions you may have.

Lets start with a proper setup.....

http://forums.chandrakantha.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2980&p=16124#p16124

http://forums.chandrakantha.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7154&p=44384&hilit=Mic+placement#p44384

http://forums.chandrakantha.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1076&p=37974&hilit=Sound+check#p37974

http://forums.chandrakantha.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11576&p=70805&hilit=Sound+check#p70805

http://forums.chandrakantha.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3959&p=22784&hilit=Mic+placement#p22784

http://forums.chandrakantha.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5811&p=35326&hilit=Mic+placement#

Hamletsghost 8)

Ps: concerning small acoustic systems, I will be investing in Fishman when I have the roops for my personal small gigue setup. :wink:

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