Bowen

User’s Guide

Handling the Microphone:

properHandling

While the clamp assembly is quite rugged, it’s best to avoid ever touching the microphone cylinder, especially the tip containing the microphone capsule, but rather to ALWAYS HANDLE THE MICROPHONE BY THE RUBBER O-RING AS SHOWN ABOVE.  Because this microphone was designed to be as light as possible, there is no heavy cage or grille assembly protecting the capsule.  I suggest keeping on the foam windscreen (included) which will actually do a better job of of protecting the capsule since it’s shock absorptive nature will protect the microphone if it is ever dropped (in addition to keeping wind and foreign objects from getting inside).  For this reason, KEEP THE WINDSCREEN ON AT ALL TIMES – especially during storage and transport.  Should you need a replacement, the Windtech WI1500 is a perfect, snugly fitting windscreen available here.

Be careful never to force the wingnut onto the screw when tightening the clamp to your drum, if you do it will get cross-threaded and damage the threads of the screw.  These parts are precision-machined from stainless steel to fit perfectly and the nut will effortlessly go on to the screw if you have it aligned correctly.  Furthermore, do not over tighten the clamp when it is not on the shell as this can cause the wingnut to get cross-threaded.

Do not attempt to open the capsule, it is permanently bonded together in fabrication.  Doing so will tear the delicately soldered leads out of the back of the mic capsule – The cylindrical microphone chassis is the only non-repairable part of the microphone system.

It is best never to adjust the angle of the base of the shockmount, or rather to only adjust it once and leave it alone (making sure that the screw is as tight as possible to avoid it coming loose during playing).  There is a compressed steel lockwasher between the copper and aluminum whose teeth ‘bite’ into both metals, thereby holding the angle at maximum strength.  For a pandeiro, it is best to have the microphone pointed across the center of the drum at the opposite bearing edge (where the skin meets the shell).  This will give you the most ‘natural’ balance between drum tones and the platinelas.  You don’t need to worry about this too much, just be aware that pointing the microphone too close to the skin will cause excessive low frequency, even on non-bass tones due to the proximity effect.

Likewise, the screw holding the plastic ‘shockloop’ is firmly embedded into the plastic of the loop and is best left alone.  If you must change or adjust this for any reason, it’s best to replace the shockloop completely so that the screw will embed itself into virgin plastic.  A simple .14″ zip-tie will work for a replacement shockloop (one replacement is provided).

During transport, the O-ring can get re-positioned inside the loop and therefore it’s always a good idea to pinch the base of the shockloop (between the fastening lug and the rubber O-ring) before performing to be sure  that the rubber O-ring is touching the loop around the outside of it’s circumference.

The microphone cable and its connectors, as in any audio system, should be handled with great care.  Take the time to coil the cable when not in use and don’t let it get kinked or tied in knots.  I use the highest quality cable and connectors available, however they are still relatively fragile and should never be yanked or pulled.  The mini-XLR that connection between the microphone chassis and the cable is particularly delicate and I suggest keeping it connected at all times (just coil the cable with the mic before stowing it.

The cable is wired as all typical microphone cables (pin1=gnd, pin2=hot, pin3=cold) and can be repaired by anyone with basic soldering skills (just note that the orientation of the pin numbers differs on the mini XLR and standard XLR connectors).

Because the XLR output is balanced and low impedance, length of the XLR feeding the sound system does not matter and can run for hundreds of feet without interference or signal degradation.

All that said, this microphone is incredibly durable and has withstood considerable abuses during prototyping, testing, and gigging.  Treat it with the same care as your instrument and it should last forever.

Fitting The Clamp:

fitting

This is the very first thing that you should do once you have received your microphone.  In order to properly fit your microphone to your drum, you will need a 5/16” wrench to fit the adjustable locknut. A narrow adjustable wrench will also work, but DO NOT USE PLIERS as they will strip the outside of the locknut. Once you’ve fitted your clamp, the locknut will hold its place and you will be able to move you microphone on and off the drum freely, without the need to re-fit.

 

The idea here is to sandwich the shell of your drum in between the aluminum planks of the clamp so that the planks are perfectly parallel.  Begin with the wingunt loose and pinch to the clamp to sandwich the drum shell between your thumb and index fingers:
pinch2
Use your wrench to move the locknut so that it touches the outside of the clamp, keeping the aluminum planks parallel:
adjust
When done properly, you will be able to tighten the wingnut and the two aluminum planks should firmly sandwich your drum’s shell between them.  The rubber pad on the inside of the clamp will slightly compress to fit snugly to any uneven or curvy surface on the drum’s shell:
3sideProtection
 Not like this:                                                                                         Nor like This:
CIMG0826         CIMG0821

The clamp is at maximum tensional integrity (clamping force) when the planks are parallel and tightening the wingnut beyond that point will NOT result in a more secure grip.  In fact if overtightened, the clamp’s integrity will be forever compromised.  Just take the time to fit the clamp properly, with the proper tools and in good lighting, and you will get the perfect fit with a moderately firm clamping

VERY IMPORTANT: Do not tighten the wingnut on the clamp when the clamp is not on the drum’s shell.  Doing so will damage the threads of the screw and the wingnut.

Attaching the Cable:

Once the clamp has been fitted optimally, the second step in installing your new microphone is the attachment of the cable to the mic assembly’s strain-relief.  This strain-relief is one of the MOST CRITICAL parts of the system as it keeps the back-and-forth oscillations of a pandeiro from stressing the cable’s connector directly.  Furthermore, should the cable get stepped on, caught. or otherwise pulled or yanked, the strain-relief will keep the connector and it’s soldered joints protected from being stressed.  Always treat your cable as if it were sacred.  Never step on it, roll anything over it, pull it, or otherwise apply any unnecessary stress or strain to it.  The cable is the most fragile component of the microphone.  Even though it can be easily swapped, repaired, or replaced, it shouldn’t have to be.  It will last forever if you simply take good care of it.  Coil it neatly and store it when it’s not in use.

I have photographed this document so far without the cable attached for the purposes of clarity, but unless you have to change or repair a cable, it’s best to LEAVE IT ALWAYS ATTACHED.  The mini-XLR connector is delicate and it’s best to ONLY unplug this connection when you must remove the cable for repair.

(A simple Lark’s Head knot is used on both ends of the band.  Make the first around the thread of the adjustment screw.  Then make another and feed the cable through the loop, and pull it tight around the cable for a firm, non-slipping grip.)
In addition to protecting the the solder joints in the cable’s connector, the strain relief also protects the edge of your drum shell from the threads of the screw.
…and while on the subject of protection, the entire clamp assembly and shock-mount positions and protects the microphone when the drum is set down on a flat surface:
CIMG0834
With the clamp properly fitted to your drum, you are now ready to kick out the jams.  The cable should form a small loop and naturally fall to the floor in front of you, its weight supported by the strain-relief:
cableLoop
Notice that the as the cable hangs from the strain-relief, there is no pull directly on the microphone’s cable connector.  This is how your microphone should look once installed, with no kinks or twists in the cable.  Be sure that the loop is on the low side of the drum so that the cable does not slap the clamp or itself as it swings from the strain relief during playing.

Do not stuff you microphone into a tight or unprotected bag or pocket where it can be damaged.  Likewise, do not store it into a trap case with other loose objects – this will certainly shorten the life of your microphone.  When you transport it, make sure that it is protected on all sides and will not bounce around or otherwise be hit or jarred.  Remember, the microphone assembly is lightweight and therefore somewhat fragile.  The packaging that the mic come in should be kept and used.  In the event that it is lost or torn, this molded CD/DVD wallet makes an excellent carrying case that can safely fit inside of your pandeiro’s frame when it is stored or transported, protecting both your drum and the microphone.  (Thanks to Claudio Santana for sharing this discovery.)

Do not leave your microphone in the sun or in areas where
temperatures exceed 110° F (43° C) for extended periods. Extremely high humidity should also be avoided.