About

 

sydney

The Bowen Instrument Microphone, initially developed as my personal solution for amplifying the pandeiro is, to the best of my knowledge, the first microphone designed specifically for a frame drum, delivering the sound of a microphone with the consistency of a pickup.

Amplifying the pandeiro presents unique challenges both because the drum is in constant motion (even if the player is standing perfectly still) and because it produces sounds from lowest to the highest ends of the audio spectrum (from huge open bass tones to the sizzle of the platinellas).

This microphone assembly is therefore designed to be as light and physically balanced as possible while still being rugged enough to take a pounding without compromising the microphone’s position or sound quality.  Just as an electric guitar’s pickup maintain its orientation to the strings regardless of the player’s motions on stage, this microphone stays fixed in perfectly consistent phase and proximity to the drum’s skin.  The bass tones that would ordinarily dissipate over the distance of a few meters are reproduced as fully in an intimate club setting as in an outdoor stadium.  The shock-mounting system, cable stress relief, and adjustable frame-clamp ‘float’ the active transducer element and allow the microphone to be quickly swapped between drums.

I have tried every commercially available microphone that could be realistically mounted to this instrument and found them all to be lacking.  While many were too nasal and mid-rangy, others simply couldn’t handle the dynamic range of the pandeiro.  None featured a clamp that was lightweight or was able to withstand aggressive playing.  For this reason, I have spent the past 10+ years developing this microphone and am pleased that it has become the mic of choice for musicians all over the world, including pandeiristas Marcos Suzano, Bernardo Aguiar, and Sergio Krakowski.

While the development of this microphone has been instrument-specific design, the result is an extremely versatile microphone which has proven itself a perfect solution for acoustic instruments of all kinds, art installations, and experimental instruments.  I will continue to expand upon it and offer solutions for a variety of other acoustic instruments in the near future.

-Bill Bowen