Best Stereo Ribbon Mic for Classical Guitar
Old 31st January 2013
  #1
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Best Stereo Ribbon Mic for Classical Guitar

Hello, I know that there are some threads vaguely revolving around this topic, but I'd like to have it in a nutshell:

I'm searching for the best stereo ribbonm mic for classical guitar, as this is what I mostly record these days, and I'm well equipped for other projects.

I'm considering Coles 4050 Stereo; AEA R88 MKII or Royer SF-12 runnig through a AEA TRP (which I already have und use with my Cascade X-15 stock with already good results).

I'm aware that there is also the Peluso Stereo Ribbon mic.
And of course there is Beyerdynamic 130 (side adressed) which could be used for in a pair for stereo configurations, but I haven't seen matched pairs of that.

So first of all: What would be your preferences, (if you have a hands on experience)?

Secondly: Did I miss something also woth considering???

Many thanks for supporting my quest

best wishes
Robert
Old 31st January 2013
  #2
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Bassmec's Avatar
Well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rojaros View Post
Hello, I know that there are some threads vaguely revolving around this topic, but I'd like to have it in a nutshell:

I'm searching for the best stereo ribbonm mic for classical guitar, as this is what I mostly record these days, and I'm well equipped for other projects.

I'm considering Coles 4050 Stereo; AEA R88 MKII or Royer SF-12 runnig through a AEA TRP (which I already have und use with my Cascade X-15 stock with already good results).

I'm aware that there is also the Peluso Stereo Ribbon mic.
And of course there is Beyerdynamic 130 (side adressed) which could be used for in a pair for stereo configurations, but I haven't seen matched pairs of that.

So first of all: What would be your preferences, (if you have a hands on experience)?

Secondly: Did I miss something also woth considering???

Many thanks for supporting my quest

best wishes
Robert
I really think you will have to test these mics as I don't know what your exact
tone expectations or placement might be.
All the microphones you have mentioned will give utterly excellent results
The only proviso I can see is as a long time protagonist of ribbon mic's, I would rather have a matched pair than an all in one as any angling of the pickup head to adjust for boomy ness results with one mic being further from the source than the other in an all in one.
Who says I want them both at right angles to the source in a coincident pair.
Get a matched pair instead, far more adaptable for your job.
Old 31st January 2013
  #3
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Woodwindy's Avatar
 

The Royer SF-24 is an exceptional sounding stereo ribbon, which is a very easy to set up, amazing way to get an incredible stereo image of your instrument, with no phase problems. An industry standard for very good reasons.
Old 31st January 2013
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmec View Post
The only proviso I can see is as a long time protagonist of ribbon mic's, I would rather have a matched pair than an all in one as any angling of the pickup head to adjust for boomy ness results with one mic being further from the source than the other in an all in one.
Who says I want them both at right angles to the source in a coincident pair.
Get a matched pair instead, far more adaptable for your job.
That would speak for Coles 4050 which can be adjusted. Or, if at all, for Peluso, where one had can be turned at least through 90degrees. ??? Or which else...??
Old 31st January 2013
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodwindy View Post
The Royer SF-24 is an exceptional sounding stereo ribbon, which is a very easy to set up, amazing way to get an incredible stereo image of your instrument, with no phase problems. An industry standard for very good reasons.
Its perfectly in phase if you use it vertically or at any other angle in that plane but if you tilt the top of the mic further toward the instrument the top ribbon assembly is closer. That's why I want two mics not two mics in one stick.
One of the best ways of basically EQing a ribbon mic is to tilt the ribbon against the sound source. that will reduce bass proximity effect.
Our moderator a Mr Wagner of no ill repute, is a dab hand at this technique, ask him what I am talking about.
Old 31st January 2013
  #6
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I would say the AEA R88 MkII here. It's got a superb frequency balance and imaging. People like it a lot on piano and supplemental mics for ensemble, which are all ultra critical. Anything that works in those apps is going to be excellent on classical guitar.
Old 31st January 2013
  #7
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You may be dissatisfied with the self noise of these mics with your source. Try and investigate the self noise issue before you buy.
Old 31st January 2013
  #8
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For your purpose I'd sure consider the Samar Audio MF65 set. There's a fairly thorough review out there with some sound samples, if you look.

SamarMF65Overview
Quote
1
Old 1st February 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdelsolray View Post
You may be dissatisfied with the self noise of these mics with your source. Try and investigate the self noise issue before you buy.
IME the self noise is fine on the R88, but he'll need a quiet preamp.

I'd recommend -129 EIN or better and at least 65db of gain for this application.
Old 1st February 2013
  #10
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bigbone's Avatar
For my taste Royer SF24 is the best stereo ribbon microphone.
Old 1st February 2013
  #11
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Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Doug Young's CD has the AEA R88 on it IIRC. He is a steel string acoustic but he's posted many times about that mic on GS and the Acoustic Guitar Forum. He's a member here - may ping him and ask his opinion. Ivo (Gearslutz.com - View Profile: ISedlacek) here also tried some stereo ribbons on classical guitar IIRC so maybe ask his opinion.

Sorry - I have no experience w/ nylon strings!
Old 1st February 2013
  #12
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sf12 noise floor is probably too high for solo classical guitar...
Old 1st February 2013
  #13
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tonedimension's Avatar
 

Another vote for a pair of mics over a single, stereo unit.
Old 1st February 2013
  #14
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Why limit yourself to ribbons? I made a discriminating nylon classical player very happy with my Sennheiser 441 on his guitar.
Old 1st February 2013
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
IME the self noise is fine on the R88, but he'll need a quiet preamp.

I'd recommend -129 EIN or better and at least 65db of gain for this application.
I have AEA TRP. Should be OK? I'm using it with my Cascade X-15, but hope to get even better results with a better mic. Is that irrational?

Thanks everybody, and don't hesitate to contribute anything you know!
Robert
Old 1st February 2013
  #16
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I own an SF-24 and love it.
Old 1st February 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
For your purpose I'd sure consider the Samar Audio MF65 set. There's a fairly thorough review out there with some sound samples, if you look.

SamarMF65Overview
This microphone is exceptional. Probably one of the best. There is an accessory to hold two of them in a Blumlein configuration.
Quote
1
Old 1st February 2013
  #18
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BootsyGraham's Avatar
 

The AEA R88 is a beast. I haven't tried it on classical guitar, but the microphone itself is absolutely incredible. I recommend checking it out. My favorite room mic on drums. Plus, they're some of the nicest people in the industry.
Old 1st February 2013
  #19
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This is a curious thread, Rojaros,

I would never think to use ribbons (mono, stereo pair, stereo mic) on nylon string guitar...being such a quiet instrument and with the noise issues of most ribbon/pre combinations, I wouldn't think it suitable for professional use.

What led you to believe this would be the desirable method to capture classical guitar?

I would also want to go with a pair of 441s.
Old 1st February 2013
  #20
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Been getting stunning nylon tones from our Brauner VM-1. Open, natural, and very quiet!
Old 1st February 2013
  #21
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jayfield's Avatar
 

I also own a SF24 and feel it is a phenomenal mike!
Old 1st February 2013
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
Doug Young's CD has the AEA R88 on it IIRC. He is a steel string acoustic but he's posted many times about that mic on GS and the Acoustic Guitar Forum. He's a member here - may ping him and ask his opinion. Ivo (Gearslutz.com - View Profile: ISedlacek) here also tried some stereo ribbons on classical guitar IIRC so maybe ask his opinion.

Sorry - I have no experience w/ nylon strings!
Yes indeed, he was using the R88 (not saying whether the old one or the MKII) along with Shoeps, which dominate the recording, but there is a short passage with R88 only.
It's quite difficult to tell how that would traslate to classical guitar, as the steel string has this tremendous treble energy content ...
Old 1st February 2013
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
This is a curious thread, Rojaros,

I would never think to use ribbons (mono, stereo pair, stereo mic) on nylon string guitar...being such a quiet instrument and with the noise issues of most ribbon/pre combinations, I wouldn't think it suitable for professional use.

What led you to believe this would be the desirable method to capture classical guitar?

I would also want to go with a pair of 441s.
Well, I have some decent mics at hand: DPA, MBHO, BPM, Rode, Neuman, Earthworks, Oktava.
And I have Cascade X-15.

I get decent results with all the mics, when well positioned, especially the DPA 4003 130V are great mics.

And yes, the Cascade is noisier than all the rest of them. But when it comes to the actual sound quality of the classical guitar, all condenser have something that I would call 'plasticky' as compared to ribbon. The ribbon mic represents all the subtleties of the transients and the body of the tone in such a uncontrived, unartificial, easy way that I have never heard on my condensers. The only recordings of classical guitar I know of that have this naturalness are those made by Norbert Kraft for Naxos where he uses (modified, AFAIK) AKG C12, but in a great church hall. They do capture the guitar extremely well, but it's a bit over my financial margin, to say the least.
And even if I had the budget I don't want to deal with all the tech side of the process to much while I'm recording myself, like handling two huge mics and their external power supplies etc. I need a simple set up.

But apart from this only the Cascade X-15 gives me that hint of ease and naturalness I'm after.

What I hope is to get more of that quality and less noise from a professionally made ribbon.

Is that hope naive or plainly wrong?

As I wrote I got the AEA TRP, which is really a very good preamp which can put up with my Millenia. So the natural think is to look for a passive ribbon, though I believe Royer SF24 is a very good mic, but also a bit expensive for me.

I wonder why there are not so many contributions as to Coles 4050Stereo. No users here?
Old 1st February 2013
  #24
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Hi Rojaros, your TRP should be fine for this application. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfield View Post
I also own a SF24 and feel it is a phenomenal mike!
+1. Everything Royer makes is phenomenal. If noise is an issue an active ribbon wouldn't be a bad idea, but it will add to the cost so it depends on his budget.
Old 1st February 2013
  #25
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I have the 500 series AEA Pre/eq which solved any ribbon noise problems I had, so I wouldn't worry so much about that in your search. I have recorded very quiet steel string acoustic with various ribbons without noise issues. I would think you will need quite a lot of low rolloff with a nylon string, but distance will help there. Good luck!
Old 1st February 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rojaros View Post
And yes, the Cascade is noisier than all the rest of them.
But apart from this only the Cascade X-15 gives me that hint of ease and naturalness I'm after.
Think of it the other way around; the Cascade is possibly the quietest in terms of noise contribution, but conversely requires the greatest amount of gain. The noise is the preamp working harder, rather than the mic.
Old 1st February 2013
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Hi Rojaros, your TRP should be fine for this application. Thank you.



+1. Everything Royer makes is phenomenal. If noise is an issue an active ribbon wouldn't be a bad idea, but it will add to the cost so it depends on his budget.
I don't quite get it: If I'm using a preamp with ver low self noise what would be the difference in noise whether the electronics is in the mic or in the preamp?
Old 1st February 2013
  #28
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(Good) electronics in a ribbon body optimize the output for all possible conditions by isolating the ribbon from the outside world. Then it will work more similarly in more places. It won't be better necessarily than when mated with the ideal preamp, definitely better than with a non-ideal preamp. So in short, it's isolation/buffering from an unknown outside world. If you like the way a typical passive ribbon interfaces with a particular preamp, there's not a problem, and you'd easily lose that effect with an active version of the same ribbon.
Old 1st February 2013
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
(Good) electronics in a ribbon body optimize the output for all possible conditions by isolating the ribbon from the outside world. Then it will work more similarly in more places. It won't be better necessarily than when mated with the ideal preamp, definitely better than with a non-ideal preamp. So in short, it's isolation/buffering from an unknown outside world. If you like the way a typical passive ribbon interfaces with a particular preamp, there's not a problem, and you'd easily lose that effect with an active version of the same ribbon.
That's what I thought. Thanks!
Old 1st February 2013
  #30
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R88/SF24v

my2c's.
i have an R88 and RoyerSF24v [tube version] here.
the Royer is fairly flat across the spectrum yet what I would call more mid forward emphasis..good imaging.detailed yet smooth high end.
the r88 is very much the opposite.a little rawer/grainier sounding, has a much larger bass boost ..more smiley face curve.hi's not quite as refined as the Royer.
I've been eq'ing both mics.for instance on front of drum kit I've been subtracting some lows on the 88 and actually adding low freq content to the royer.
both very nice mics.but about a 3.5k difference in price!

emrr those Samar mics look interesting.any demo options?
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