Best clip-on sax mic, wired or wireless [Archive] - Sax on the Web Forum

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11-24-2003, 07:03 AM
Any suggestions? Cost is no object here. I have the Audio Technica ATM35X and am not happy with its performance. Its directionality is such that when you play the palm key range the sound is very thin; sounds as if it's not catching the whole spectrum of the palm key range and also sounds "farther away" than the lower notes. If you point the mic up towards those keys it's better but then it doesn't catch the lower part of the horn. Any one else have this experience?

11-24-2003, 02:44 PM
Using any clip on is going to be a trade off. They are designed to accept as little sound as possible -- except for what is delivered directly into the mic (cardoid or hypercardoid). This helps eliminate feedback, but it also limits the sound to whats coming from the bell. But, you gain the freedom of not having to stand in from of a mic sitting in a stationary position.

I use the ATM 35 and understand you issues. The best option is to have a mic for the bell and a mic to pick up the body of the horn and mix the two, but this doesn't usually work out in live situations.

I just bite the bullet and live with it. There is a better sounding clip on that runs about 600 bucks for the hard wired model (I am blanking on the brand) but for the price range that the ATM35 is in -- it doesn't get much better (with a clip on that is)

Mark R
11-26-2003, 04:12 AM
I have been using the AMT Roam system for a couple of years now and I absolutly love it. Before that I had a Shure WM98. I get a great natural sound with AMT. BTW this is the same mic system used by Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Michael Brecker, etc. In fact Tom Scott recorded his last CD with this very system. Yes it is a little pricey....I think around $675 WWBW but it will be the last one you have to buy. State of the Art IMO

Check'em out at

12-06-2003, 10:02 AM
This thread is restarted every week.

I have used the ATM35 for 13+ years now and love the sound and mobility it provides. I have used the wireless ATM since it was a prototype in 1991 and it has the same nice sound with the same capsule and works great too.
For live, they work great for me and have seen the world without any problems for many years.
Check the other threads because there are many other mics and opinions already covered right here at SOTW.


12-08-2003, 10:18 PM
had the atm 35 and thought it was good. im using a shure 98 hard wired one and i think its a little bit better. they dont sound as good as the more expensive large diaphram ones but are still very very good ,

12-10-2003, 01:04 AM
I wouldn't get too worked up about it. Nobody is going to expect your live performance to sound just like it does in the studio. If people in the crowd are thinking, "The lower end of his horn sounds really nice and full-bodied, but his palm key notes are really nasally" then I think they can just live with it. I've tried several different mics and so far I'm in love with my AudioTechnica. I usually get complements on how well I sound on it compared to some of the other mics that I've played on in the past.

Joey the Saint
12-10-2003, 05:06 PM
Make sure your phantom power send is pumping out 48V; my understanding is that some P.A. systems use an older 12V standard, and the mike will suffer for it.

12-10-2003, 08:17 PM
I'm not sure who makes it, but I have seen a clip on mic that is made for soprano or a straight alto that is actualy two mics in one. It has a long flexable stick kind of thing with one mic at each end. The idea is that you can put one mic down by the bell and one pointing at the left hand keys.

I don't know if it is set up as one line to the board or two.

12-11-2003, 09:16 PM
When I'm not using the Electro Voice RE 20 I use a Sennheiser E 608 Clip on. I'discovered it when a former wireless was acting up, the Sax player for The English Beat at that time let me use his..the rest is history. Check this site, go to wired microphones.

12-12-2003, 12:36 AM
I was watching Kenny G. on TV the other night and noticed that he only had a mic clipped on the bell of his soprano saxophone. I was shocked to see this since it is a nightmare to keep a decent sound level with just a bell mic on a straight soprano.

The problem was very obvious as it came through my surround sound system. When he was playing "bell" notes (D1, D2, C1, B0, Bb0 and less on E1, E2 F1 and F2) the sound level was higher than when the non-bell notes were played. I thought that all professionals knew that you should use a dual pick-up mic with one pick-up on the bell and one mounted above the left hand stack. This allows for a more even sound level for straight saxophones.

This is less of a problem with curved saxophones since the bell clip on mic is also in the general area of the left hand stack and can pick up sound from both the vented and bell notes.

Regardless of the brand of microphone, you may want to keep this in mind.

Toot Sweet!
12-12-2003, 12:36 PM
I use a K & K saxophone clip on microphone. It's sturdy, the softcardoid capsule is buried in some kind of jelly which dampens key noise, and it has an excellent sound.

You'll find K & K on the internet.

12-16-2003, 02:50 AM
I'm also currently looking into buying a clip-on mic. I've come accross the Shure LX clip-on series. Alot of people I've spoken to have said that Shure is a safe brand to go with. I don't know. What do you say fellow sax gurus in the Shure vs ATM clip-ons debate?

12-17-2003, 04:13 PM
I use a samson airline wireless system.

It uses an Audio Technica Pro 35X mic and then fully wireless technology. Its just so amazing. You clip the mic *both mic and wireless transmitter in one* onto your bell and you just have fully wireless capability. No pack and a very small head unit that send out the wireless signal makes this mic a very very good deal.

I take this everywhere i play and it makes playing along with a band so much easier.
The mic is really nice also and does a great job.
I would recommend highly it.

Ask me anymore questions if you have any.

12-18-2003, 08:25 AM
I use a samson airline wireless system too.
And I say the same as saxskillz:

The mic is really nice also and does a great job.
I would recommend highly it.

Bill Mecca
12-18-2003, 06:22 PM
Anyone know what kind of mic Clarence Clemons is using in the picture on this page?

and how about Big Jay and the Keen clamp and handheld wireless.... wouldn't that be a bit heavy?

12-18-2003, 09:02 PM
I have a K & K mike that worked great the few times I used it. I mostly use a Samson wireless unit. I have the clip-on sending unit instead of the all-in-one Samson airliner because the latter costs 100 bucks more. I just clip the sending unit onto the B/Bb guard on my tenor sax bell and wrap the excess mic cord around hit. No probl.

12-18-2003, 09:40 PM
To Saxskilz and Josef

It's interesting to read that you both use the Samson system. I didn't know of it until now. I've checked out a site,, and had a quick read about the mic. Does it require a wireless receiver whch you plug into a PA for use on gigs? This may be a stupid question. Also is the battery life decent and have you tried using it for basic recording? I wouldn't mind buying a mic that I could use for gigs as well as doing test recordings at home.

The active musician site doesn't seem to do business outside the states. Do you know of another way to get hold of one here in Australia? Some more comments about your experiences with this system would be much appreciated.


12-19-2003, 05:04 AM, I can't be abolutely certain but that looks like a Shure SM98 or WM98 with the polar modifier installed. It's a long plastic grill like piece with some sort of element inside and a foam windscreen that fits over the whole works. It changes the pickup characteristics of the mike from a cardoid to supercardoid.

12-19-2003, 06:07 AM
I had to use Rick Brauns Sampson wireless while I was waiting for Audio Technica to send a replacement for a unit that was stolen.
I had major problems with many parts of the unit. The pack was making tons of noise when I moved or hit it. I found that it would only take one battery brand to fit tight and of course I forget which one. I tweeked the pronges but if it dropped or was hit, the battery was loose again.
I had drop out when I was too close to the receiver.
I really did not like the sound of the mic.
I was really glad to get a new AT back to play.

That was my take.


12-23-2003, 08:15 AM
@ tommyc
Yes , your right . It needs a receiver which you plug in the PA.
It works with AAA-battery for ca.12hours.
The system is easy to use and I never hat any problems (since now).
Here you can get the user manual:

And here's the shop where I got mine:

Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

12-29-2003, 06:17 PM
...and how about Big Jay and the Keen clamp and handheld wireless.... wouldn't that be a bit heavy?

I know a player who uses the Keen clamp - he has a problem with the mic flipping backwards, so it gets aimed into the air instead of into the bell. He may be able to fix that by tightening a screw, but I haven't paid close attention to how the clamp works. It's useful a useful system just because it holds virtually any mic.