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(Scientific American)   What causes feedback in a guitar or microphone?   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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14158 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Sep 2003 at 6:06 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

109 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-09-15 10:45:07 AM  
...and thank god for it.
2003-09-15 10:53:30 AM  
Jimi Hendrix of course
2003-09-15 11:03:21 AM  
I think they could have just said "pointing them in the direction of the speaker."
2003-09-15 12:10:54 PM  
Chris Spencer of Unsane mastered the art of feedback like no one else. IMO.
2003-09-15 12:29:32 PM  
Try it with a video camera sometime. Hook up your t.v. to be the monitor for the camera (so you see what you're "filming" on the screen). Then point the camera at the t.v. Sometimes you will need some sort of image to get it started (it can be a reflection on the glass of the screen, or just put a pen or whatever between the camera and the screen. Now invert the camera 180 degrees (turn it upside down) and move it just off of the 180 degree point. Oooh trippy. You should get weird infinite mandala type stuff.
2003-09-15 01:20:50 PM  
fenester - I tried that, but my camera exploded.
2003-09-15 02:38:57 PM  
What causes feedback in a guitar or microphone?

Um, Andy, my sound guy?

Really, modern mics used for live performance have isolation transformers to reduce feedback and ambient noise to help keep the drums and your guitar player's ridiculously loud stack out of the mic. The other trick is to use two mics and invert the phase of one to mix in the level of isolation that you- er, your sound guy desires.
2003-09-15 02:47:08 PM  
EatHam: the chip fried?
2003-09-15 04:54:53 PM  
Usually for me it's when the bassist slowly cuts up the sound on his amp, then the drummer has to play louder, then, of course the keyboardist starts f*cking with his EQ to get heard through the mix. Then I go home and record all my own stuff and dream of a day when I can find a band that doesn't suck.
2003-09-15 06:07:38 PM  
let me check if i care

2003-09-15 06:08:45 PM  
This article is anti feedback, so this guy obviously has no business, near recording equipmanet.
2003-09-15 06:08:53 PM  
And they want to get rid of it why?
2003-09-15 06:08:58 PM  
Eatham - he forgot to say use someone else's camera.

In the days of tube based cameras, this was very bad for them. But solid state imaging chips aren't so delicate.
2003-09-15 06:09:11 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
Easy... turn it up to 11.
2003-09-15 06:09:28 PM  
common sense.
2003-09-15 06:10:17 PM  
in a very Homer Simpson voice - BORRRRRINGGGGG!!
2003-09-15 06:10:51 PM  
This article is anti feedback, so this guy obviously has no business, near recording equipmanet.

And I have no business typing.
2003-09-15 06:12:40 PM  
This should be an obvious answer: Loudness, and/or pointing the the insturment/mike at the speaker its plugged into!
2003-09-15 06:14:05 PM  
Isn't the word "feedback" kind of self-defining?

Without reading the article I'll simply assume that this is another overly simplistic science lesson for the bulk of population that essentially believes technology is magic.
2003-09-15 06:14:48 PM  
2003-09-15 06:17:11 PM  
First intentional use of feedback was the intro to I Feel Fine by The Beatles. Not that anyone was asking.
2003-09-15 06:17:56 PM  
Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio "Train Kept A Rolling", 1957.
2003-09-15 06:18:04 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-09-15 06:19:24 PM  
2003-09-15 06:20:36 PM  
What causes feedback in a guitar or microphone?

Some guy in the back, wearing an irreparably stained Motorhead t-shirt, pounding cans of cheap beer, who three hours ago swore that he had checked everything out and that he knew what he was doing.
2003-09-15 06:22:01 PM  

2003-09-15 06:23:28 PM  
I knew this in the 8th grade. Oh right, this is aimed at 5th graders...
2003-09-15 06:26:26 PM  
Poles and Zeroes, man...

/electrical engineer
2003-09-15 06:28:11 PM  
2003-09-15 06:28:12 PM  

/root locus flashbacks
2003-09-15 06:28:45 PM  
Actually, that was pretty much incomprehensible. The diagrams were too small, and no mention was made of intentional use of feedback, rather than the accidental type. Ugh. Bad writing. When a science wonk like me gets bored, you know its garbage.
2003-09-15 06:29:00 PM  
I thought the cause was clear from the fact that we use the word "feedback".
2003-09-15 06:31:38 PM  
whaaaa? Article musta been written by one of those MIT gambler guys or something. Waaay over my head. They lost me at "gain."
2003-09-15 06:34:24 PM  
sound goes in the mike which gets louder and comes out the speaker which goes in the mike which gets even louder and comes out the speaker and goes in the mike which gets EVEN LOUDER which comes out the speaker... GOTO 10, lather, rinse, repeat as necessary...
2003-09-15 06:35:23 PM  
I don't know how to play guitar, but I used to love to take my friend's amp and turn it up to 11 with maximum distortion and set the guitar on a stand next to it. Coolest sound ever!
2003-09-15 06:36:43 PM  
What causes feedback? From the opinion of an a/v tech, it's when some asshat coworker of yours covers your shift one day, at a really important event, say, a banquet hosted by the university president, and you get a call 5 minutes into it saying ears are bleeding and they need their arses bailed out.

The simple version is a mic picking up sound from the environment, amping it, outputting it to the speakers, and then having that process looped until the desired screeching is reached, right?

/deals with it on a daily basis
2003-09-15 06:39:00 PM  
Took the words right outta my mouth
mmmmuble mmmmumble
2003-09-15 06:39:45 PM  
Esion Modnar: Yeah, what he said.

Keep your gain and your volumes at adequate levels [more gain than volume in my experience], and the ugly beast will never rear it's head. Can't remember if the equalizer effects it at all [hardly mess with the thing, in our biggest conference room it's this behemoth of an eq, I never mess with]
2003-09-15 06:43:04 PM  
And monitors. I hate bands which request lots of monitors, placed directly in the path of the mics, then get their panties in a bunch over the resulting feedback. They don't understand the way it works either... I'm hoping some of them are reading this.
2003-09-15 06:43:46 PM  
i always blamed it on gremlins
2003-09-15 06:46:02 PM  
Did GEAH take Biersach's "Beatles" class at USC?

/that was one sweet class.
2003-09-15 06:46:09 PM  
Great article aimed at 4 year olds, or lighting guys...this coming from a professional sound guy.
2003-09-15 06:47:05 PM  
Scientific American and Discover magazines have both gone way down the crapper - of course, to remain popular, they had to dumb down considerably in the past two decades.

2003-09-15 06:47:44 PM  
Scientific American sucks now-a-days.
2003-09-15 06:49:16 PM  
First recorded guitar feedback?

John Lennon on the Beatles' "I Feel Fine", according to him anyway.
2003-09-15 06:49:47 PM  
[image from too old to be available]?
2003-09-15 06:49:57 PM  
Oops, just saw GEAH's half-correct comment.

Like minds...
2003-09-15 06:51:04 PM  
Sonic Youth mastered intentional feedback long before Unsane. And Branca before them. By this context of feedback I mean as an integral piece of a full composition, and not a wanky solo ala Jimi Hendrix.
2003-09-15 06:52:33 PM  
2003-09-15 06:53:53 PM  
First recorded guitar feedback?

Definately not on a record by the Beatles.
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