Suggestions for Stereo Pair/Mics
Old 12th August 2005
  #1
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Suggestions for Stereo Pair/Mics

I am looking for suggestions for a pair of mics for my remote recording/mastering business. This little business is just getting started and what I have been learning from guys on here who have been around is that its best to get less gear, but *good* gear. That works in my life.

SOOOOOO....

If I am only going to start with a couple of mics, what should I get? Multi-pattern? Cardioids? Budget is $1200-2000.

I probably want to buy a used pair to maximize my dollars.

I will mainly be doing classical, band/wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, choir recordings because most of my potential clients are colleagues.
Old 12th August 2005
  #2
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I would suggest a couple of decent multipattern mics. That gives you lots of options for mic arrangements. The RODE NT2000s are variable pattern which might be even better.

I recently heard some VERY impressive organ recordings done with RODE NT2A mics - the same capsule as the NT2000 - but with switches rather than knobs.

The AT 40 series mics are well regarded - I don't have any, but I would not hesitate to buy them.
Old 12th August 2005
  #3
Jai guru deva om
 
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The ADK TL would do quite nicely actually, a very nice multi pattern (including hyper) mic well suited to your intended sources.

War
Old 12th August 2005
  #4
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Hard to go wrong with a matched pair of small diaphragm condensers for classical and location work. (I'm doing pretty much exactly the kind of stuff you mentioned.) High-end choices would be Schoeps, DPA (formerly Bruel & Kjaer), or Earthworks. I can't afford such things for now, but a good pair of Oktava MC012s have been doing the job for me. They're really quite well-designed mics, actually; the only reason they're so cheap is because of their notorious (lack of) quality control. If you go that route, I recommend the Sound Room; they do extra QC and will match pairs. Different pattern capsules are available, but I have good luck with cardioids in ORTF or X/Y. You might want look at similar offerings from Josephson, Microtech Gefell, AT, and AKG.
I've also been thinking about picking up a pair of multi-pattern large diaphragm condensers to have access to different mic techniques and for a change of sound. Some people like C414s for this kind of work. They're multi-pattern, so you can try Blumlein of M/S. I've heard of AT-4050's being recommended as a lower-cost alternative. Beware of most budget Chinese-made large diaphragm condensers for this application - the "larger than life" bright top end that these mics tend to have is something you want to avoid.
Lastly, some people use ribbons for this, especially stereo ribbon mics like those made by AEA or Royer. I haven't tried this myself, but it's something I've always been curious about, and some guys swear by it. (Just be sure to use a preamp that can handle it.) Since ribbons are figure 8, you can use Blumlein or M/S.
Hope that helps!
Old 12th August 2005
  #5
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I've used a pair of Earthworks (SR69) for x/y and spaced pair and they sound phenominal.

You need to consider the low-frequency response, though. The EW directional mics start rolling off at about 90Hz in free field (why they didn't put a switch in there I don't know). While this is no issue for choirs - you may need to compensate for it with jass or big philharmonic orchestras with lots of low brass, timpani, and a double basses. You could do that with an EQ or record a 3rd channel with an omni (or a LDC of some kind) and play with it later.

The AKG c451 (or CK1) is pretty popular for this sort of work too.




-tINY

Old 12th August 2005
  #6
84K
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AEA R88 is pretty good, impressive looking and sounding to clients, and in the price budget you are aiming for.
Old 12th August 2005
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matyas
Hard to go wrong with a matched pair of small diaphragm condensers for classical and location work. (I'm doing pretty much exactly the kind of stuff you mentioned.) High-end choices would be Schoeps, DPA (formerly Bruel & Kjaer), or Earthworks. I can't afford such things for now, but a good pair of Oktava MC012s have been doing the job for me. They're really quite well-designed mics, actually; the only reason they're so cheap is because of their notorious (lack of) quality control. If you go that route, I recommend the Sound Room; they do extra QC and will match pairs. Different pattern capsules are available, but I have good luck with cardioids in ORTF or X/Y. You might want look at similar offerings from Josephson, Microtech Gefell, AT, and AKG.
Some great advice right there.

I've got a pair of Microtech Gefell M300's SDC's which are great (€1100), and I recently picked up a pair of Avenson STO-2 omnis ($500) which get very favourable reviews on this Forum (try a search) and represent great value for money (especially as I bought them when $1 was worth about €0.01!)

I also heard the aforementioned Oktava MK012's on upright piano and was quite impressed for the price.

Don't forget you'll need a decent adjustable stereo bar and spacer for ORTF and XY (some stereo mic kits like the M300's include this).

You have already budgetted for some decent stands and cables haven't you?
Old 12th August 2005
  #8
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James
Are you liking your Avenson STO-2s?
Have you used them on acoustic guitar?
Old 12th August 2005
  #9
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You will never regret owing a pair of Neumann MK184 for your purpose. While they are not vintage and are actually available (therefore they are not Awesome and do not RULE), they are within your budget and offer outrageously fine recordings when coupled with a decent preamp. My mobile rig, which revolves around a KM184 pair and a Grace V3 pre/A-D, produces really life-like recordings. The DPA sdc are superior, from what I understand, but are not in this price rance. I did start out with Oktava MC012 when that was all I could afford, but the Neumann is in a different class.

Best of luck,

John-
Old 12th August 2005
  #10
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AKG414 B-ULS Matched Pair
Old 12th August 2005
  #11
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stereo mic pairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by john caldwell
You will never regret owing a pair of Neumann MK184 for your purpose. While they are not vintage and are actually available (therefore they are not Awesome and do not RULE), they are within your budget and offer outrageously fine recordings when coupled with a decent preamp. My mobile rig, which revolves around a KM184 pair and a Grace V3 pre/A-D, produces really life-like recordings. The DPA sdc are superior, from what I understand, but are not in this price rance. I did start out with Oktava MC012 when that was all I could afford, but the Neumann is in a different class.
Good call John thumbsup A pair of Neumann KM-184 OR Neumann KM-100 bodies w/ AK 40 capsules are great mics. The KM-140 (KM 100+AK 40) are similar to the 184 model but you can always add omni or capsules later for flexibility. Either are great for this sort of recording.

Though I haven't heard the Oktava MC012 mics myself, friends call them "poor man's KM184s." Earthworks and DPA/B&K should definitely be considered too. I think you're on the right path with small diaphragm condensers.

I've used AKG 414s for this but have found they're harder to match. I suppose you can get them as a matched pair, but will you be able to find that used?

Don't forget the importance of a good, clean mic pre too. Milennia, etc. Cheers!
Old 12th August 2005
  #12
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Thread Starter
OK.. lots of suggestions... thanks guys. My comments/questions:

Schoeps - If I were to go this direction what are the models/bodies/heads that I would want to have?

DPA - Again... which ones? but... unlikely I'll be doing these

AKG C414 pair - what are the differences in all the designations? you mentioned AKG414 B-ULS, but what about AKG C414B XLII?

AKG C451 - these are a possibility because I know they are tried and true for this application and not ridiculous to own. But, how do they rate to these:

Oktava MC012- Ok.. I am interested. Didn't know much about these, and thanks for the info on going to Sound Room. I like the interchangeable capsules.

Microtech Gefell M300 - Impressive reviews. Could work for me.

Earthworks - At school I have a pair of TC30K which are great for sonic detail, but sometimes too much detail (especially with HS groups!) I do have access to these when I need them, but I still want my own pair of mics.

Neumann KM184 - I almost bought these already. People's comments on these have made me think twice. I have used them as drum overheads and was very pleased with them, but never used for stereo recording.

RODE - Haven't considered, but maybe I should!

So now, THANKS for the suggestions so far. I would really like a set of multi-pattern mics, but I don't want to give up sonic quality for that. Would appreciate comments on my comments above.

AT4050???
Shure KSM44???

any thoughts on these or others?

s
Old 12th August 2005
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smarsland
Schoeps - If I were to go this direction what are the models/bodies/heads that I would want to have?
CMC6 amp with MK4 cardioid or MK5 switchable cardioid / omni capsule.
MK4
MK5
Are these in your price range? They're beautiful, accurate mics, but at a premium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smarsland
DPA - Again... which ones? but... unlikely I'll be doing these
Just curious, why not? You can do a lot with a pair of 4011s!

Quote:
Originally Posted by smarsland
AKG C414 pair - what are the differences in all the designations? you mentioned AKG414 B-ULS, but what about AKG C414B XLII?
First there are two "generations" of the 414. The older ones are C414B, C414B-ULS, C414B-TLII, etc. The newer ones are denoted by XL in the model #, and they have improved specs from the old ones. Plus they look really cool!

To answer your question, the TLII or (XLII) have CK12 capsules (same as the famous C12 mic) and are more expensive than the basic version. I guess it's a matter of taste which capsule you prefer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smarsland
Neumann KM184 - I almost bought these already. People's comments on these have made me think twice. I have used them as drum overheads and was very pleased with them, but never used for stereo recording.
I think they're great mics for stereo recording, overheads, horns, etc.
Old 12th August 2005
  #14
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A pair of DPA 4011's is twice my budget. I'm not going to buy one mic!
Old 12th August 2005
  #15
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Yeah, probably the same with the Schoeps... also 2 x budget.
Plus, I don't have a great mic pre yet.

I am getting a Apogee MINI-ME USB next week which will be the best mic pre I own - bought it so I would have mic pre + apogee conversion... getting it used from dhughes.. thanks buddy!
Old 12th August 2005
  #16
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I've gotten some really stellar results with a Royer SF-12 & MiniMe into a Masterlink. The SF-12 is just a little bit over your budget, but worth every penny.

Scott
Old 12th August 2005
  #17
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+1 for the Oktava MK012a's - the cardoid only ones - very clean and "big" sounding and I've A/B'd them against the Neumann KM184's I used to own. Although I did like the 184's accuracy and slightly (I know it's cliche'd) - warm sound, the MKO12a's sounded just as nice but in a different kinda way - hard to describe. Maybe with better pres than the one's I was using (not gonna say what they were... ), the Neumanns might have won.

For the money you can buy 4 Oktava's or 1 Neumann and get very little difference in sound quality.

I'm outta here!
Old 12th August 2005
  #18
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Well, if the small diaphram earthworks have too much detail for you, then all of the small dpa, schoeps, etc probably will too. I really like the sound of a small diaphram on a great orchestra in a great hall, but when I have less than perfect orchestras or things like air conditioner noise from a crappy hall, all that detail can really make the recording worse. In that case I like a good large diaphram mic. Ive used an old pair of 414 eb's plenty of times but Im really digging my neumann/gefell UM70's (mine are vintage) with m7 capsules. You might find these around your budget. I also use my Lawson L47's a good deal in this application.

Frost
Old 12th August 2005
  #19
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i have some mc012's. they're pretty good but i don't use them as much since i picked up some studio projects c4's - sounds good on acoustic guitar... thumbsup
Old 12th August 2005
  #20
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If you are interested in a pair of SD mics for stereo work, you might want to check out the following review. I have pairs of AT-4051s, AT-4053s and Josephson C42s. All are great mics and can be purchased used fairly easily. I think a pair of Josephsons just went for $650 or so on this board. Posters on this board and on others seem to have mixed feelings about the Neumann KM-184 with comments ranging from wonderful to shrill and hyped. I've not used them so I can't give you a first hand opinion, although I do have a Neumann KM-84i. A pair of those would be truly great, but they will be harder to find and twice as expensive as the AT and Josephson mics. I have a pair of AT-4050s and Beyer MC834s as well, but I find that the SD mics get used more often for stereo work.

http://emusician.com/mics/emusic_smokin_condensers/
Old 12th August 2005
  #21
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i like my pair of gefell m300s

about $750 each....

use em all the time....
Old 12th August 2005
  #22
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check out T.H.E KA-04 preamp body and all the great capsules they offer. i have a pair with the KR-2C cardioid capsules...simply fantastic!!!
Old 13th August 2005
  #23
chikkenguy
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if you are willing to bide your time for a little bit, i see the schoeps amps with the mk4 caps on ebay from time to time. they seem to go for around 700 dollars. that would be an excellent choice as a first pair.

you might also consider looking for a pair of km84s in good shape. if i was forced to choose just one model of mic for everything it would be this one. you can certainly find a pair for under 2k. i saw a nearly mint pair go for 1600 on ebay last winter. i had no money available and was so frustrated to see them go for so cheap.
Old 13th August 2005
  #24
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Can't let this thread go by without mentioning the Josephson C-42's. I've got many of the other pairs listed here and without fail these mics floor the competition. I've used them on acoustic guitar, percussion, drum overheads and piano with great success. Every time I put them on acoustic guitar the players are just blown away, especially when they find out I'm recording them flat. Honestly for under $1000 you can't beat them.
Old 13th August 2005
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K
AEA R88 is pretty good, impressive looking and sounding to clients, and in the price budget you are aiming for.

i would be a bit more effusive still - if you've got a pair of pres that have substantial
gain - i think the r88 is great - it's been great as on over head on drums - great
on strings - great sitting in the middle of the room on a jazz gig with everything
else almost muted................


be well

- jack
Old 13th August 2005
  #26
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Thread Starter
Has anyone used the Josephson C42's or Oktavas MC012's on band/choir/orchestra?
Old 15th August 2005
  #27
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I have a pair of C42s that I have used as the center (x/y) component of a small decca tree set-up, suplemented by a pair of Studio Projects C3s on the outside. (into RNPs/ 002r)

I have done three recording sessions of my own wind ensemble with this set-up and have been very happy with the results. The C42s alone provide great detail with clear, focused highs, although they lack the full bodied low end that you need to capture a wind ensemble (you sound like a band guy--I'm sure you know what I mean), which is not surprising for a SDC. I tried fixing it with EQ (UAD Cambridge) but was not satisfied with the results. The SP C3s are not stellar but they do provide the missing bottom end, and of course the decca set-up provides a nice wide stereo image that you can mix to taste. I plan to upgrade the SPs this year to either ADKs or Lawsons--at least those two are on the short list. All I can say is that this set-up comes the closest to capturing what my group sounds like when I sit out in the hall and listen.

I looked into the the Octavas--but the quality control issues really concerned me. I also looked at the KM 184s, and was about to buy them, but I saw more than a few negative comments about their high end--I think someone mentioned this in the thread already? Plus they were a real stretch for my budget.

I got a matched pair of the Josephsons for a little under 1000.00 new at Cascademedia (I think--it was about 18 months ago). As several have said already they are great for drum overs and acoustic guitar too.

I would certainly recommend them--and who knows, the lack of low end might be partly my room; and with better EQ you might be able to fix it--I like the UAD cambridge for a lot of things, but boosting the low end is not one of them.

Here is a link to an mp3 of us playing October by Eric Whitacre--the occasional overly bright moments are more a reflection of my group (we are a high school) than the C42s.

http://www.berne-union.k12.oh.us/bub...ds/October.mp3

Hope this helps.

JD
Old 15th August 2005
  #28
Lou Judson
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Very informative thread! I'll comment on the AT 4050s: I got a matched pair from a fella whose bus broke down and he had to get back on tour - so they were half price... I use them for studio vocals as well as orchestral recording - I can please one client with spaced omnis, another with ORTF, and myself with very very fine MS recordings. I made up a holder from two different clamp on mic holders so they go head to head vertically on a tall stand, and capture the musicians and the space with uncanny beauty.

My new Millenia HV--3 is supposed to arrive today, so I am looking forward to using them with it - planning on a transformational experience, as the best pres I have had so far were Presonus - very nice, but not high end. I'm excitedly looking forward!

<L>
Old 15th August 2005
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smarsland
Has anyone used the Josephson C42's or Oktavas MC012's on band/choir/orchestra?
I have used the c42s with a jazz trio. They are pretty smoking. I love my c42s and if all things go to hell they will be the last mics that leaves my hands. They are just fantastic SDCs.

But it is hard to beat Earthworks for this application. I am taking my Earthworks off the market...just can't sell them when it actually comes down to it.

AT4050 is another mic that you will never regret owning. I love it!! Haven't used it with a band/choir/orchestra, but have used it on OH, guitar cabs, outside kick.

I have a AT4060 (purchased by UCF thumbsup) that I am going to pick up and take home today. Will be interested to see how it sounds. Not multipattern..but tube which should be interesting.
Old 15th August 2005
  #30
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Come to think of it...and i know this is out of your price range right now....but if you could get an AT 4050 and a matched pair of c42s....mmmm mmm. You would love it.

Sorrry...don't mean to feed the gearsluttery. Wait...yeah I do; this is gearslutz.
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