FAQ pages

“Should I use pickups or microphones to amplify my vibraphone?”

If you’re not sure, use microphones. The reasons to use pickups are 1) you want to use effects processing (chorus, reverb, etc.) as an integral part of your basic sound, treating your “vibes plus pickups” as an electronic musical instrument distinct from the acoustic vibraphone sound, or 2) you’re playing in really high-volume situations where feedback and leakage are serious problems when you try mic’ing your vibes. Pickups are great - I use ‘em all the time - but they’re not going to give you the same sound as mic’ing will. (They’re more accurate than some folks want to admit when it comes to giving you a “natural” vibes sound, but they aren’t 100% there.)

My comments go double if you’re recording - unless you want a processed vibe sound, use microphones. Tracking the vibes using pickups and mixing it without effects is probably not going to give you the sound you want. As they say, tho, “YMMV!”

- JW