OM (Orbis Magnetic) microphones are the active pickups designed especially for handpans and tongue drums. OM pickups are very useful for gigs, live performance, when it is hard to use condencer microphones or other studio equipment. But also you can use them in studio environment or at home, for recording or just for fun. Almost all handpans and tongue drums on the market are made of the magnetic steel and you can easily use OM pickups with any instrument of such type. Some instruments (such as Guda Coin or Guda Ortus) are build of brass and aluminum (which are non-magnetic metals), however manufacturer equips these models with built-in magnets so you can easily mount OM pickups on Coin or Ortus.
Main features of OM microphones (pickups)
- Have balanced output
- Aluminum chassis
- Low Noise
- Magnetic: versatile and easy to use
What do all these features? Let us explain the terminology.
Active – this means that the pickup needs external source of power. This feature give wider frequency range, greater noise immunity and the ability to work without losses and interference on long lines. In few words, active pickups have more clear and honest sound and have better overall output without signal loss. OM microphones need 48 V phantom power - this is standard voltage used for powering up the professional equipment, such as studio microphones and else.
Balanced output – Om pickups have balanced (known also like XLR) outputs. First of all XLR jacks allow using external power (so we have no need to install the battery inside the pickup). Also, balanced connection allows using of longer cables - up to 50 m without extra noise. Well, the length of OM cables is only 2,5 but we can make longer cables by order or you can use special expanders if needed. And finally such kind of jacks is more reliable.
Aluminum body is more durable than plastic and has even more essential feature – it shields the pickup electronics and protects against electromagnetic interference.
Low Noise – all features mentioned above works for hum cancelling and decrease parasitic signals.
Magnetic - you do not need to glue your pickup or fix it with tape, screws, nails or else. just put it on the surface of your pan and play!
For better performance we recommend to use 2 pickups. At least 2 pickups works perfectly for all handpans and tongue drums with diameter from 45 to 60 cm (18-24”). For compact drums (12-16”) one OM pickups is enough.
Using of OM active microphones pickups
- Take a pickup and insert it in the input of the amplifier, sound mixer, preamp, effect processor or sound card. Make sure that the device has 48 V onboard and this option is turned on.
- Place the OM pickup on the surface of your instrument. We advise to use the bottom side of your pan however you can place it wherever you want
- Activate your sound device (amplifier, sound card, mixer, etc.).
- Try to play your handpan. Use volume or gain knobs (or faders) on your amp/mixer/soundcard to set the desired volume.
- If you have no sound, take the pickup in hand and slightly knock it with your finger. If you still can't hear no signal – examine your sound device and make sure, that all cables are inserted properly, the channel on the mixer is not muted, phantom power is ON, volume and gain knobs on your amp are not turned off.
- Start playing your handpan. Spend some time for choosing the best place for OM mics. Usually it is about 5-10 cm (2-4”) from the sound hole. But you can check any other place – varying the position of OM mics you can change the sound.
- Set the EQ of your sound device (mixer, amp, preamp, processor, internal EQ of your sound card). This is a very essential part of the process if you want to get the right sound. You can scoop highs if there are to much harsh and"click" or scoop bass if too much woofing and pay attention to mids – usually mid frequencies are the most informative for our ears and determine the overal character of sound.
- Enjoy playing your handpan!
WARNING! Please read the following:
- Do not disassemble the pickup!! There is nothing interesting inside, but trying to disassemble the microphone you can destroy it!
- Do not throw! Do not hit with hard objects. Do not put the pickup into the water.
- Do not try to plug in the OM microphone to the amp using adaptors from XLR to 1/4" linear jack. It won't work
- Be careful with the volume of your amplifier, especially when play in the headphones. Too high volume level can damage your ears.
- Do not plug in the pickups to unknown devices.
- Yes, you can play heavy metal using OM pickup but please note that usually tube guitar amp heads and combos, such as your beloved JCM 800, Peavey 5150 or else do not have phantom power onboard. Please use the devices, such as Orbis Duo with onboard 48V power if you want to plug OM mics to your valve amp.
Also you can find some useful links below:
- Buy OM microphones in our stock
- Download PDF Manual for using OM mics
- Watch video with OM pickups
- Frequently asked questions