ABS Banjo/Resophonic Guitar Information
The ABS system is essential equipment for the performing banjoist or resonator player. By attaching a dynamic cardoid microphone to the end of a small gooseneck cable, the ABS reliably captures the music you generate at the precise sweet spot where you sound the best. Attachment and adjustment for ideal placement is simple and easy. ABS is shock mounted to prevent the introduction of extraneous vibrations. With no exposed wiring, ABS can be transferred from one banjo to another in seconds. The ABS system includes a floorbox- type pre-amp (ABS-2) which, when activated by a footswitch, will increase gain (volume) to punch out lead breaks. The ABS pedal comes with a 9-volt battery. For those who prefer a more constant power source, an AC adapter is available (ABS-ADT). Connection to the sound system is accomplished by a normal ¼ ” male guitar cable. Two ¼” guitar cables are required for connection with pre-amp and amplifier. ABS comes in a hard plastic carrying case with fitted foam inserts for the mic and pedal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did you choose a dynamic cardoid microphone? We tested a broad spectrum of microphones. We found that the cardoid cartridge provided superiority in accuracy and purity of tone, with less feedback, and as a bonus did not require phantom power.
I know the dynamic mic of choice for on-stage use has been the Shure SM-57. Does the ABS cartridge have a similar frequency pattern? Yes, very similar. However, banjoists/resonator players can run into problems with diminished volume when they travel up the neck to reach the highest registers. To compensate, we increased the sensitivity at the high end to make sure that you get a brilliant response throughout the entire range of your instrument..
What style jack cable is needed? A simple ¼” guitar cable. if you would like to run the cable behind the strap for stability use a straight jack, otherwise a bent ¼” jack may be used. If used on a round neck resonator and played in the vertical technique you’ll need a ¼” 90 degree cable.
Will I need the ABS-P floor box pedal? We recommend this. In live sound tests with a Fishman 100 watt amplifier, the gain on the amp needed to be set to 2/3 for proper volume. If using a smaller watt amplifier (or if you want to match the gain of other inputs in your sound system) the pre-amp pedal will deliver 30% extra gain. Also the pre-amp pedal can be set for increased gain for a lead break by simply depressing the foot switch.
What controls are included on the ABS-P preamp? Volume, bass, mid, treble and a phase switch. If you hear a hollow type tone when amplified, your mic may be out of phase with the speakers and by activating the phase switch it will become matched.
How long does it take for the mic to be attached to the instrument? Our unique secure design takes less than 20 seconds to attach to the brackets. Only one thumb screw needs to be tightened.
Can this mic be mounted on any style of banjo or resonator guitar? In almost every case, the answer is “Yes”. The mounting bracket attaches to the J hooks. Our adjustable bracket will fit hook spacing from 1 1/4” to 2 ¾”. On resonator guitars it should fit all 6 strings.
What type of shock mounting does the ABM have to prevent extraneous vibration noise? The ABS has rubber pads on the mounting bracket and an isolated rubber-mounted mic cartridge.
Can a wireless system be used on the ABS? Yes, our dynamic microphone can easily be used without modification
Will I have trouble with feedback using this system? We have not had problems with feedback in our laboratory, but as in the use of any microphone, feedback can occur when high-level speakers are pointed directly at the microphone.
Should I buy the ABS or the ABS-C Gold Tone Clip on Mic?
The mounting bracket is identical on both microphone systems.
The ABS is a dynamic microphone and comes with the ABS-2 preamp stompbox. In the off position there is no extra signal from the box other than the natural microphone signal (true bypass). When the ABS-2 preamp stompbox is engaged the gain and tonality is changed according to the dial settings. Depending on the volume and tone controls, players using a normal stage mic (mounted on a stand) will normally move closer to the mic for a lead, and step back when playing back up. The ABS-2 preamp simulates this volume change avoiding the need to stand stationary in front of the mic.
Advantages of the ABS
No phantom power is needed, just use normal 1/4″ guitar cables
Comes with the ABS-2 preamp stompbox for EQ and volume control
May easily be used with a wireless system (a normal guitar style wireless works great!)
Disadvantages of the ABS
A dynamic mic requires much more gain from your amplifier. We recommend an amp designed for acoustic instruments; 100 watts RMS or more. If you are plugged into a PA soundboard and there are acoustic guitars (with preamps) plugged in, your gain will have to be set to roughly twice the guitar’s level for equal volume levels.
The ABS-C condenser microphone was added about a year after the wonderful success of our ABS dynamic microphone. A condenser microphone requires additional voltage to work, either phantom power or a built-in battery in the microphone (often found with inexpensive condenser mics). Most acoustic instrument amplifiers have the capability to supply phantom power, as do most PA systems. If your amp or PA system does not have phantom power capabilities, there are phantom power units available for usually less than $50 (Rapco, Horizon, Peavey, etc). The ABS-C system includes the necessary 3-pin cable needed to plug in. Note: The ABS-2 Preamp is not compatible with the ABS-C condenser microphone.
Advantages of The ABS-C
Much more gain…I tell folks, with the phantom power circuitry, the coil of the mic is much more active resulting in at least twice the gain of any dynamic mic. Using the “C” your gain levels with pre-amped guitars and vocal condensers will be equal, which a sound engineer will find much more convenient.
Disadvantages of the ABS-C
Requires a phantom power circuit either in a pedal box (not included) or a feature of the amplifier
More complicated to use in conjunction with a wireless system
Q: Why is it the “ABS-C model” the same price as the “ABS” as the ABS contains the ABS-2 Preamp?
A: The circuitry in a condenser mic is much more sophisticated and expensive to produce. Condenser microphones usually sell at twice the price of a dynamic mic.
Every mic system is susceptible to feedback. Its simply the physics of sound. If you are aware of what causes feedback and design speaker and monitor placement correctly, than either system will work properly. In our tests, both microphone systems were equal for feedback suppression.