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« on: August 19, 2010, 07:54:11 AM »

I picked up this today.



Stereo Phantom Powered c-ducer system with 2 x 8" (20cm) C-ducer Tape Microphone.


--== click the picture to see it in context ==--

They describe it this way.

Quote
The C-ducer Tape Microphone

C-ducer is a capacitive transducer with a flat frequency response extending well beyond that of human hearing. Less than 1mm thick, the microphone is flexible, extremely light and will conform to curved surfaces such as a double bass or a drum shell.

Exceptional transient response and high immunity to ambient sounds makes C-ducer a natural choice for amplifying many acoustic instruments, from pianos to drums.

This particular model is actually two complete transducers with preamps.


Background
If you are following the story you might know that I have two Larrivées without electronics in them. I've been experimenting with small microphones inside the body of the guitars. They work reasonably well for small venues or quiet, listener-oriented concert situations. For those kinds of shows I might be just as happy or happier with a nice microphone on a stand (e.g. Neumann KM 184 or AKG C451 B).  

The main advantages of using the little microphones inside the body of the guitar
  • It's very simple to set up (no microphone stand)
  • The small microphones I've tried are compatible with my wireless rig so there's a lot of freedom to move.

The disadvantage is that I can't run very loud or on a loud stage with other people. I have tried the little sound-hole feedback buster plug and I couldn't get the guitar to sound good.

c-ducer
Things that appealed to me about this
  • gain-before feedback (much better than a microphone
  • ease of installation/removal (no tools or permanent changes to the instrument)

Challenges
  • Requires phantom power (not a big deal) if I'm running wired
  • Requiring phantom power means that it will be tough to get this to work with my wireless gear. I can do it but it will be ugly.
  • Speaking of ugly: the c-ducer is applied to the front of the instrument (pictures below). Now THAT is ugly
  • It doesn't sound like a microphone. Okay - that's a whole philosophical thing for me because I don't necessarily think that sounding the same as you do without amplification is necessarily the goal. I have spent some time with a nice preamp and I can get pretty close to the sound of an external microphone but in practice - I'd probably tweak that a lot to get a sound that sits well in a mix, even if it doesn't sound exactly like an instrument without amplification

Pictures
Notes:
  • The yellow tape is there so I can peel off the c-ducer easily while I'm experimenting.  I'll get rid of it when I'm finished experimenting
  • I could have run the black wire up or down. I chose up, because that way it is hidden by my arm
  • The harsh lighting of the camera flash makes the c-ducer more visible than it is in normal light. From 10 feet away, it is barely visible, and I doubt that a casual observer in a audience would notice it.


On the B09 Acoustic Bass



On the OMV10kk



How is the sound?
It's brighter and has more presence than a small diaphragm condenser microphone at 6-8" from the 14th fret. I can make it sound very similar to a microphone but as I said above, that may not be the goal.

I'll have to take these out to some live shows before I know if I should have gone another route but I bought these new/unused privately for less than it would have cost to get a single pickup installed and I can move them to different instruments (other guitars, harps, percussion instruments, piano).

Anybody else tried a c-ducer?



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ronmac
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2010, 11:09:02 AM »

I have used these in the past. Don't be surprised if they don't quite hit the mark for guitar use....

These are very useful for percussion and piano. I have also used them on harp. Experiment with placement and you will be rewarded.
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Ron

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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2010, 11:28:11 AM »

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the input. I'm already pretty happy with the C-ducer on the B09 Bass Guitar.  I think that it will actually sit better in a mix with the C-ducer than with the microphones that I've tried. There's just more drive and definition - somewhat artificially so, but if I were using a microphone I would probably be trying to EQ it to sound more like the C-ducer than to try to go the other way.

I did a few recordings of the Bass and vocals with a single microphone - and really liked the sound of the Bass. But I think that it could get lost in a larger ensemble. I haven't tried it yet, but I think the B09 will work better with a C-ducer than a microphone in a band situation.

As for the OMV; I got into that much later in the evening and I think I might have  developed some ear-fatigue. I got it to a point that I was liking what I heard but I decided to call it a night and let it rest for a bit. I'll probably need to do some recording with vocals to really get the whole picture. But I'm already certain that it is better than the other removable solutions I've tried. Haven't tried a Schertler DYN-G. Have you?

Funny - I could not find ANY reviews of people using C-ducers with guitar.

Did you go out and get the C-ducer for use with guitar, or was it something you tried because you already had it on hand?

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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2010, 11:36:18 AM »

OK I'm watching this space.I prefer the sound of an acoustic thru a mic.I'm also ezperimenting more and more on finding something that will work with a load band.I'm thinking of building a version of those plastic drummer screens.
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2010, 12:46:01 PM »

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the input. I'm already pretty happy with the C-ducer on the B09 Bass Guitar.  I think that it will actually sit better in a mix with the C-ducer than with the microphones that I've tried. There's just more drive and definition - somewhat artificially so, but if I were using a microphone I would probably be trying to EQ it to sound more like the C-ducer than to try to go the other way.

I did a few recordings of the Bass and vocals with a single microphone - and really liked the sound of the Bass. But I think that it could get lost in a larger ensemble. I haven't tried it yet, but I think the B09 will work better with a C-ducer than a microphone in a band situation.

As for the OMV; I got into that much later in the evening and I think I might have  developed some ear-fatigue. I got it to a point that I was liking what I heard but I decided to call it a night and let it rest for a bit. I'll probably need to do some recording with vocals to really get the whole picture. But I'm already certain that it is better than the other removable solutions I've tried. Haven't tried a Schertler DYN-G. Have you?

Funny - I could not find ANY reviews of people using C-ducers with guitar.

Did you go out and get the C-ducer for use with guitar, or was it something you tried because you already had it on hand?



I didn't buy the C-Ducer specifically for guitar, although I did use it on a classical from time to time.

The C-Ducer operates on the principle of picking up the vibration over a relatively large area. This works well for percussive style instruments, less so for melodic instruments with a wide frequency range. Since the bass is a more percussive style instrument (generally long intervals with a strong attack) than an acoustic guitar I would expect that it would be a better fit than an acoustic steel string.

There is no right or wrong. Experiment and find what works best for you.
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2010, 07:54:59 PM »

Hi folks,

I did some more experimenting with fresh ears and moved the C-ducer above the bridge. Ron, thanks for the encouragement to keep experimenting.

The sound was much more balanced and required far less EQ'ing to get a sound I would use in performance. This is how it looks now. This was shot from about 5 feet.



Sorry about the weird reflections off the rug.

I think that the C-ducer almost fades into the woodwork when you get beyond ten feet.
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2010, 03:54:16 AM »

How about a recording???   bigrin
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2010, 07:47:47 AM »

Hi David,

I was thinking about that (recording) and wondered if we might not end up in a debate about the validity of comparison between
  • recording with a microphone - with the intent of creating a recording - not for live performance
  • recording with a pickup - where the intent of using the pickup was to get loud enough to perform live in a hostile (non-concert) environment.  

I know that my live sound (when heard played back as a recording) is not going to sound great out of the context for which I did the setup (live show).

But I'm still thinking about it.

Do you have a  T1 ToneMatch® Audio Engine.  I'm asking because I used the T1® to come up with the sound that should work for me.

You might find this interesting:  When is an acoustic guitar not an acoustic guitar?
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2010, 05:32:15 PM »

Hi David,

Three sources - I'll tell you which is which later.

Test One - most played down by the nut

Test Two - Drop D

Test Three - up the neck a bit

If you listen closely you may hear the PorchBoard Floor Bass in the background. I did that to help me keep the rhythm and because I almost always use it.

I have not optimized the settings for any particular source.
T1® - Acoustic Guitar with Condenser
Para EQ  -10 db  at 500 Hz width 2 Octaves

Which one would you use with a live mix in an ensemble?

If you're in a mood to listen - please check out
A Cry Out for Love
Tractor Song
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2010, 01:59:54 PM »

It's hard for me to look at these pictures and not get a sick stomach about the tape on the finish of the guitars.  Cheers to you for giving a thorough try on some beautiful instruments.
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2010, 02:17:49 PM »

Hi rockstar_not,

As much as I appreciate these instruments as art, I also want them to be functional when I take them to a gig. At a distance the C-ducers are not all that screamingly visible. I doubt that a lot of people (guitarists excepted) would notice it amongst the visual clutter of microphone stands and other junk that seems to grow out of stage floors.

It's hard for me to look at these pictures and not get a sick stomach about the tape on the finish of the guitars.  Cheers to you for giving a thorough try on some beautiful instruments.

I am putting yellow electrical tape directly on the instrument and then applying the C-ducer directly to the electrical tape. I am doing this because I have had no trouble with multiple applications of the same piece of this electrical tape to the Larrivée finish. So there is no damage to the instruments.

This has allowed me to try lots of different positions for the C-ducer and then I can just remove it when I'm finished using it.  There is no residue, and I'll probably go over the surface with a little naptha when I'm finished experimenting.

Have you heard the audio samples?
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2010, 11:17:56 PM »

Hi rockstar_not,

Have you heard the audio samples?

In test 1, I preferred the first sample (2nd sample has too much midrange nasal character, 3rd has an unnatural balance of low to highs in my opinion)

In test 2, I preferred the first sample as well

In test 3, I preferred the first sample again, but sample 3 was pretty nice for the jazz chops - less acoustic sounding, but perhaps more appropriate for the type of music.



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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2010, 12:01:38 AM »

Hi Rockstar_not,

Thanks for the input.

What were you using for playback?
Headphones
Computer speakers
or...
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2010, 03:25:21 AM »

Hi Rockstar_not,

Thanks for the input.

What were you using for playback?
Headphones
Computer speakers
or...

ST,

I used my Westone ES5 in-ear monitors for playback.  http://www.westone.com/music-products/Custom-Fit-Pro-Audio/ES5

I work for Westone, and this is the easiest way for me to get a very flat response, very quiet background to listen for A/B/C comparisons.

-Scott
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2010, 04:05:07 AM »

Hi Scott,

Thanks again for you input. I bet those Westones sound great.

The three recording sources were:

1. Neumann KM 184: 6-8" from the 14th fret
2. C-ducer tape microphone mounted in front of the bridge (between the bridge and the sound hole)
3. EV headset microphone inside the guitar body


The goal is to check out convenient methods for amplifying the guitar for live performance solo and in an ensemble.

For recording - for a listening audience, I wouldn't use any of these methods. If I was going single source I might go with the KM184 at 12-18" from the 14th fret. With the KM184 at 6" I found the sound too boomy, but at 12-18" I could not get sufficient gain before feedback for a noisy live show.

I've had a couple of fellows who do a fair bit of recording as well as live sound  tell me that the C-ducer wouldn't be their first choice for a recording but they would take it for live sound in an ensemble (with some corrective EQ).

I found the EV microphone in the body too boomy as well, and a little difficult to control (prone to feedback).  It actually sounds really nice if I suspend it a few inches above the 14th fret. But I couldn't use it live except in a quiet concert performance.  

I've sent some recordings to a buddy with great ears. I've asked him how he would EQ these to get the best sound. I'll probably post some new recordings in a few days.
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2010, 04:44:10 AM »

Hi David,
Three sources - I'll tell you which is which later.
I just listened now and purposely didn't look ahead to see which source was which.
Test 1, I liked # 1 the best - sounded more acoustic and most natural of the 3.  #2 sounded the most electric, and #3 sounded boomy to me.
Test 2, Same preferences for same reasons.
Test 3, Again, the same.
Guess it depends on what you are after but if it's pure acoustic guitar reproduction, then #1 wins hands down in my opinion.  #2 in general sounded more like an early archtop electic might sound.  #3 was pretty acoustic sounding also, but not as balanced as #1 (too much bass emphasis).  I have no experience with gigging an accoustic in this way, so can't comment which might actually work the best in various venues, etc.

Kurt
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2010, 12:48:38 PM »

Hi Scott,

Thanks again for you input. I bet those Westones sound great.

The three recording sources were:

1. Neumann KM 184: 6-8" from the 14th fret
2. C-ducer tape microphone mounted in front of the bridge (between the bridge and the sound hole)
3. EV headset microphone inside the guitar body


The goal is to check out convenient methods for amplifying the guitar for live performance solo and in an ensemble.

For recording - for a listening audience, I wouldn't use any of these methods. If I was going single source I might go with the KM184 at 12-18" from the 14th fret. With the KM184 at 6" I found the sound too boomy, but at 12-18" I could not get sufficient gain before feedback for a noisy live show.

I've had a couple of fellows who do a fair bit of recording as well as live sound  tell me that the C-ducer wouldn't be their first choice for a recording but they would take it for live sound in an ensemble (with some corrective EQ).

I found the EV microphone in the body too boomy as well, and a little difficult to control (prone to feedback).  It actually sounds really nice if I suspend it a few inches above the 14th fret. But I couldn't use it live except in a quiet concert performance.  

I've sent some recordings to a buddy with great ears. I've asked him how he would EQ these to get the best sound. I'll probably post some new recordings in a few days.


ST, have you tried any of the bridgeplate mounted solutions - like a K+K pure western with preamp, or an LR Baggs I-Beam?  Now knowing the differences between the different recordings, I think you'll find that you can get closer to the natural acoustic sound of your guitar with one of those two methods and the proper pre-amp and EQ.

Have you tried the C-ducer on the other side of the bridge - on the large surface between the bridge and tail end of the guitar?  There should be less mids on the surface there.  Where you have it placed right now sounds unfortunately quite a bit like the sound of an under saddle transducer pickup.  I haven't looked into the actual function of the C-ducer, but I'm wondering what the underlying physics are that make it work.

I also run live sound every other weekend at church - using two different worship bands.  I can say that the worship leader using a Taylor with the expression system gets a much more natural acoustic tone plugged right into the house system, than the other leader with an L-03 with a B-Band system.  It is night and day.  I'm not saying the Taylor is a better sounding instrument purely acoustic, but plugged in it hands down the winner.

-Scott
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2010, 02:09:44 AM »

Hi Scott,

ST, have you tried any of the bridgeplate mounted solutions - like a K+K pure western with preamp, or an LR Baggs I-Beam?  Now knowing the differences between the different recordings, I think you'll find that you can get closer to the natural acoustic sound of your guitar with one of those two methods and the proper pre-amp and EQ.

I've looking at this as a non-permanent solution that I can move around to different guitars. I've got several with pickups of various kinds - and more without. I know the guitars without pickups would get more play time if I could gig them. That's why I'm looking at this.


Quote
Have you tried the C-ducer on the other side of the bridge - on the large surface between the bridge and tail end of the guitar?  There should be less mids on the surface there.  Where you have it placed right now sounds unfortunately quite a bit like the sound of an under saddle transducer pickup.  
I started with the C-ducer on the other side of the bridge and it was very boomy. So much so that I had to dial out almost all the low end.  I found that it is more natural in front of the bridge where it is now.

On my B09 (Larrivée Acoustic Bass) the C-ducer sounds pretty good on the other side of the bridge.
Quote


I haven't looked into the actual function of the C-ducer, but I'm wondering what the underlying physics are that make it work.


   The C-ducer (Capacitive-trans-ducer) is a contact condenser microphone. It is light in weight so as to minimize interference with the vibration of the instrument to which it is attached, and it has a phenomenal dynamic range (the transducer itself has a dynamic capability of> 155dB) and can handle the amplitudes within a bass drum without distrortion. The frequency response of the transducer is an incredible 0.1Hz to MHz, although this is deliberately restricted within the preamplifier to minimize induced noise and interfenence.

Source: http://www.c-ducer.com/row/row_c-ducer_tape_microphone.htm
Quote

I also run live sound every other weekend at church - using two different worship bands.  I can say that the worship leader using a Taylor with the expression system gets a much more natural acoustic tone plugged right into the house system, than the other leader with an L-03 with a B-Band system.  It is night and day.  I'm not saying the Taylor is a better sounding instrument purely acoustic, but plugged in it hands down the winner.

-Scott

Among the guitars without electronics are a couple of nice Taylors. When I figure out a way to get the OMV10kk sounding good, then I'll tackle them next.
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2010, 02:26:46 AM »

ST ruffly whats the cost?
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2010, 03:23:10 AM »

Hi unclrob,

They run about $600-700 full retail for the set that I got (two C-ducers and preamps).

I got them for a LOT less as part of a package deal on a bunch of stuff.

But NEWS FLASH

I think I got the C-ducer sounding pretty good. This involved moving it around a little more, coming to the bizarre realization that the orientation DOES matter, and then some experimenting with the EQ.


I was going to give my ears a rest and see if things still sound good in the morning and the post some more recordings.

But I'm excited so I may do it now.
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