Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Best mic setup for acoustic live venues

Howdy all,

Playing with my band in the past I have plugged in my guitar to run through the sound board and use my own pre-amp to adjust as needed. Now I am working with a group doing bluegrass & hymns in bluegrass style with my instrument as the only one with on-board electronics. Most bluegrass groups I know use a condenser in the center of the stage and the instruments circle 'round the mic. Since we are going for a traditional sound I will probably not plug in because I would be the only one who could and I don’t want to risk messing with the mix of the other instruments.

So… what would you all recommend as a quality mic for our instruments in a live venue?


You can spend $50 or 5 figures. What price range are looking for? In the bargain bin, I like my MXLs (quiet, do a good job, inexpensive). I have used an AT 4040 and liked it as well (still not terribly expensive, and I wasn’t comparing side by side, but it seemed a bit more mellow).

I would think single mic is tougher to do than it looks. It takes some good choreography to keep the balance right. If I were setting something up like that for regular use, I might have a couple other mics set up for single instruments that need more help (like guitar or maybe vocals). I’d also have a dedicated channel for the bass.


We may go with a couple mics just because, as you point out, choreography can be tricky. In terms of budget, I am inexperienced enough to have no idea what a decent setup will cost. We aren’t going for the ‘Cadillac’ of mics but we do want reliable sound.

Thanks for the input!