Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’m looking for a microphone that can bring out the bass in my drum, with the Frame Drum Microphone System do that?

A: Oh yes.  The microphone is as flat* as possible and will most often deliver more bass than you actually need (you can always take it out if it’s there, but you can’t add it in if it’s absent)  I almost always have the engineer roll-off or shelve the lows depending on the bass response of the soundsystem. 

*With a truly flat microphone fixed on a pandeiro, one would expect that simply rocking back and forth playing the platinellas would sound just like the platinellas; “chick-chick-chick.”  However, there’s an immense amount of low-frequency engery that is absorbed by the frame and the left hand of the player, so low in frequency (and therefore volume) that you would never hear it without a microphone because it dissapates quickly.  However, this low-frequency energy travels physically into the microphone and underneath the “chick-chick-cick” there’s a “thud thud thud”.  Rejecting the boomy thuds without rejecting the fundamental pitch of the skin is paramount.  This can be tricky, because these thuds excite partials, rattles, and overtones too.  The result was a combination of a subtle filter cicuit and the physical shock-mounting scheme.


Q: Can I use if for recording?


A: No. (but sometimes yes)

I never intended this microphone to be a recording microphone, it is designed for live sound reinforcement.  It could never compete with the sound of a studio quality condenser microphone shockmounted on a stand a few feet away from the instrument in a good sounding room in terms of sounding ‘natural’.  No recording engineer would ever place a microphone so close to a sound’s source nor anchor it so rigidly to the body of the instrument.  After all, not even the player listens with his ears so close to the skin.  I developed this microphone to solve the problems of amplifying pandeiro in the clubs and stages on which I’ve struggled to be heard (without adding unnecessary weight).  While the platinellas come through an overhead mic clearly quite clearly, bass tones dissipate over the distance of a few feet and this microphone was designed with this proportionality in mind. 

That said, I’ve been very happy with the extra amount of bass tone that I can get by blending in this microphone with a recording microphone(s) in a controlled studio environment.

Delicious recording recipe:  Position a quality studio microphone (or stereo microphone array) in front and overhead 2-4 feet from the drum. (use your ears, this will depend on the critical distance of the room in which your are recording).  With this microphone attached to your drum, bring both channels up on your mixer and blend to taste.  You can even roll off the highs of the Frame Drum Mic (use it to capture the close bass sound) and roll out the lows of the overhead microphone (using it to pick up the sound of the highs and reflections of the room).  You will need take time to listen and adjust the crossover point while adjusting the blend of the two microphones, but the results can be amazing!  Just be sure to mind the 3:1 rule of microphone placement which states that the second mic should be three times the distance from the first mic that the first mic is from the source.  In this case, it would mean that your second mic should be at least 8 inches away (in most cases, even 8 inches will be to close for playing). 


Q: Do you give endorsements?

A: No.  If you are happy with my microphone, by all means, feel free to ‘endorse’ it to anyone who asks and you can consider yourself an endorser.  I’m an one-person operation and simply don’t have the corporate advertising budget to facilitate ‘endorsers’ — nor would I if I could.  I find disingenuous the idea that anyone would use something exclusively because they are being compensated for it.  I’m manufacturing these microphones more-or-less as a hobby and sharing them as a service to musicians who want to get consistent sound on stage.


Q: Why is the external circuitry in a box and not a barrel connector like so many other microphones?

A: I specifically chose to not house the electronics for my microphone in a barrel connector because I’ve seen how these things, when plugged in, give the impression that there’s one long cable that runs from the microphone to the sound system’s input bay and therefore tends to get handled as such (yanked, pulled, and stretched) by musicians and engineers alike.  The boxed power module (like the power supply of a U-67) insists to be picked up and moved and allows me to use higher quality connectors.   The mini XLR connectors (which I use only on the microphone transducer output because it’s small and it locks) grip the cable with only folded tabs - meaning the stress of the cable can come all the way to the solder joints; a disaster constantly in the making.  This is one of the reasons for the elastic strain relief I use to keep the weight of the cable suspended and off of that connector.  Furthermore, the box has room for the 9V battery holder and 1/4” jack for feeding high-impedance inputs (amps/effects).  Furthermore, these boxes have room for a proper output transformer that balances the output without active (noisy, problematic) circuitry.


Q: I already have a microphone, can I buy just the clamp mechanism?


A: No.  The clamp and the microphone chassis are machined at the same shop and together are barely enough of a job to make it worth the while of the machinist.  They are made together, packaged together, and sold together.
I love your small microphone and it’s clamping mechanism, can you make me one to fit my ______?
Sure, I can give it a go.  I will need to have your ______ on hand at my shop while I develop a custom fitting microphone for it, though.  Email me and we can work out the details.

Q: I notice that you used to offer choices for cable length and for switchable output modes, why do you no longer offer these options?


A: Respcting cable length:  99% of all orders were for 10’ cables.  Since 10’ is the longest the cable should be for optimal electrical performance, I’ve decided to make 10’ the standard length that the microphone ships with.  This makes my shop significantly easier to organize.
Likewise, nearly every order has been for the switchable output modes and it just makes sense that this should be a standard feature.  Even if you intend to use your Frame Drum Microphone System with a conventional PA system at the time you order it, eventually you will get curious about running your microphone through a looper, overdrive, or other effects and this will allow you to do so without needing a phantom-power supplying mixing board with direct outs or insert points; you’ll be able to plug it straight in just like an electric guitar/bass.


Q: Why do I need to measure for the maximum shell thickness when ordering your microphone?  Can’t the clamp be adjusted to fit any drum?

A: The clamp can be adjusted to fit shells THINNER than what you specify on the order form, but it will not be able to expand to fit thicker shells.  The adjustment screws are permanently fixed into the clamp so that they will never come loose during playing or adjusting and I keep them as short as possible to both keep the weight down and to prevent the protruding adjustment screws from catching on fabric or scratching other surfaces.  Below is a photo of on clamp made to fit a 7/16” shell, and the other is a standard 1/4” pandiero clamp:

In the photo below, the large clamp is fitted to a thin shell.
 
(Notice the two adjustment screws significantly protrude from the clamp)
Basically, I offer 3 standard sizes of clamps:
SMALL fits shells as large as 5/16” (8mm) - perfect for most handmade pandeiros (Bira, Pizzott, Fabiano, etc. which are 1/4”)  Works too on Cooperman Tar and Bendir (5/16”)
MEDIUM fits shells as large as 9/16” (14mm) - fits Cooperman Pandeiro (7/16”) and Riq (1/2”).
LARGE fits shells as large as 13/16” (20mm) - fits most everything else.



Q: Why is there a mute switch for the XLR output, but not for the 1/4” output?

A: Generally, if you’re playing through a high-impedence signal chain (1/4” output), you’ll have a series of gain stages where you can attenuate your sound from the stage.  Most all pedals and amps will have volume/gain knobs and so there’s no need to have a confusing second mute switch.

However, when you’re working with a FOH engineer who’s not familiar with your music, it may be a lot to ask him to dutifully mute your frame drum at the right moment when you’re switching between instruments (e.g. putting down your frame drum to move over to the drumset) or when changing your microphone from one drum to another (eliminating handling noise).  Furthermore, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re essentially doing your own sound (plugging into the house PA and playing with no FOH engineer).  In these cases, I’ve found it essential to be able to mute my mic right there from my stage position.