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budget setup for solo/chamber music recordings in the large concert hall
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ParfaiT
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#1
7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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budget setup for solo/chamber music recordings in the large concert hall

Hello !
I`m a professional classical musician.Do not know much about recording equipment. Need a suggestion of the professionals !

What I need:
1) Record solo violin
2) Record violin+piano (duos)
3) Record string quartet
4) Record string quartet + piano (piano quintets)


What I already have:
1) MacBook Pro
2) Logic Studio,Soundtrack.
3) Large concert hall ( similar in all aspects to the Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles)

My budget is around $1500-2000.
What do I need to make it possible ?
As fat as I understand,I would need a pair(?) of mics,a box(connecting mics to computer) ,tripods and some cables.It it right ?
Do I need a separate mic for piano ?

Could you please suggest me what equipment(brands,particular models) would be best in my situation?

Thanks !!!
#2
7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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For "archival" recordings, a pair of mics will always be enough - for commercial recording it may or may not, strongly depending on producers' aesthetics, room, ensemble, music. However the so-called "main pair" will always be an important part, so I'd recommend focussing on a good main pair first, and adding spot mics later if you find you need them.
If the hall is good, you'll get the best results using pressure transducers, aka omnidirectional mics or omnis (attention: not all omnis are pressure transducers!). Typical mics that come to mind would be, in no specific order, Neumann KM 183, Schoeps CMC5 with MK2 (or MK2S or MK2H), DPA 4006, Sennheiser MKH 8020. These all will blow your budget a little, some a little more.
Shure make a switchable mic (cardioid/omni) in their KSM series. Probably fits your budget better - though I don't know that mic so can't tell you if it's good. Same goes for the Rode NT-5 (with the "45" omni capsule?).
For cardioid (in less than stellar rooms) the same manufacturers apply, mic types would be KM 184, CMC5 with MK4, DPA 4011, MKH 8040.
The most important thing, however, is to listen and to know how you want it to sound.
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#3
7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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You will need an interface to get those mics into your computer. I'm happy with the Emu 0404 USB interface. This will get you started recording two mics in stereo.

A couple of mic suggestions:

- Audio Technica AT4022 (omnidirectional -- I own a pair and like them)

A couple of mics which I don't own but which come well recommended:

- Shure KSM 141 (switchable cardioid or omnidirectional)

- Rode NT5 with omnidirectional capsules

- Beyerdynamic MC 910 (omnidirectional)

You will also need headphones. The Audio Technica ATH-M50 gets a lot of love.
#4
7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris319 View Post
You will need an interface to get those mics into your computer. I'm happy with the Emu 0404 USB interface. This will get you started recording two mics in stereo.

A couple of mic suggestions:

- Audio Technica AT4022 (omnidirectional -- I own a pair and like them)

A couple of mics which I don't own but which come well recommended:

- Shure KSM 141 (switchable cardioid or omnidirectional)

- Rode NT5 with omnidirectional capsules

- Beyerdynamic MC 910 (omnidirectional)

You will also need headphones. The Audio Technica ATH-M50 gets a lot of love.
That sounds like good advice for your budget

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7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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#6
7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParfaiT View Post
... best in my situation?
You can't beLIEVE how much nuance and instinctive, snap-judgment style decision-making goes into recording the simplest thing. You should prepare yourself for quite a bit of experimentation, reviewing the results, re-grouping and re-adjusting your approach. Nothing about it is that complicated, but choosing from among the myriads of possibilities-- lots of ground to cover, and some approaches will work better than others, depending on all the factors combined.

It's like if I asked you, "I took piano lessons as a kid, and now I want to learn to play the violin-- which make should I get, and what strings, and what's a good bow?" I'm sure you'd have suggestions-- but probably no simple answers.
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#7
7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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Axelrod is offline
since you asked...

with all respect due, you clearly have little understanding of recording. you should hire a recording engineer to do it for you. assuming you hire someone worth a piss, you will get better results than if you did it on your own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ParfaiT View Post
Hello !
I`m a professional classical musician.Do not know much about recording equipment. Need a suggestion of the professionals !

What I need:
1) Record solo violin
2) Record violin+piano (duos)
3) Record string quartet
4) Record string quartet + piano (piano quintets)


What I already have:
1) MacBook Pro
2) Logic Studio,Soundtrack.
3) Large concert hall ( similar in all aspects to the Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles)

My budget is around $1500-2000.
What do I need to make it possible ?
As fat as I understand,I would need a pair(?) of mics,a box(connecting mics to computer) ,tripods and some cables.It it right ?
Do I need a separate mic for piano ?

Could you please suggest me what equipment(brands,particular models) would be best in my situation?

Thanks !!!
#8
7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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That's what I was trying to avoid saying.
#9
7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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jnorman is offline
since you are running mac, you should consider the apogee duet or the echo audiofire 4 - both are excellent affordable interfaces.

while i do like spaced omnis, i would perhaps recommend that you start with a pair of nice cardioid mics in an ORTF configuration - great imaging, and hard to screw it up. omnis are fabulous in the right situation and with understanding of how to use them to best effect, but in perhaps 80% of my gigs, i wind up using ORTF cardioids. i do, however, often run a 4-mic setup with a pair of ORTF cards flanked by a pair of spaced omnis, which gives lots of flexibility during post processing.

used pairs of km184s, AT4051s, beyer mc930s, AKG C480/ck61 or C460/ck61, sennheiser mkh 40 or 8040, dpa 4011s, schoeps cmc64s, are all worth considering in varying price ranges. for omnis, as mentioned above, the AT4022s are really very good for the price, DPA 4061 miniature omnis make excellent recordings, km131s and cmc62's are both wonderful nearfield omnis, sennheiser mkh 20 and 8020 are both great, the beyer mc910s should be okay but i havent heard them. DPA 4006 are always an excellent choice.
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#10
7th November 2010
Old 7th November 2010
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Having the tools and knowing how to use them... Two different things.
Hire a professional. That's what they are there for...
#11
8th November 2010
Old 8th November 2010
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chris319 is offline
Quote:
with all respect due, you clearly have little understanding of recording. you should hire a recording engineer to do it for you. assuming you hire someone worth a piss, you will get better results than if you did it on your own.
I always bristle at answers like this. First, he says he is on a budget. If he pays someone to do it he's going to blow through that budget sooner or later and will eventually run out of funds to hire anyone. Second, it's a great leap of faith that there is anyone in his area "worth a piss" to hire. He might get stuck with an incompetent and then he's really pissed his money away. If he wants to buy some gear and get a basic setup going and learn how to record, I'm all for it. He's not servicing high-end or probably even paying clients.

Quote:
since you are running mac, you should consider the apogee duet or the echo audiofire 4
This assumes his MacBook Pro even has a FireWire port. Apple has stopped putting FW ports on recent models of MacBook(Pro).

Good point about cardioid/omni. To the OP: here are two options which will let you choose between omnidirectional or cardioid patterns (I don't know if you are in the U.S.)

Turning to fullcompass.com:

Rode NT5 matched pair (two mics, each with a cardioid capsule): $429
2x Rode NT45-O omni capsules @$89: $178
Total: $607

or, turning to B&H Photo:

Shure KSM-141 stereo pair (two mics, each with a changeable pattern: $798

Quote:
You can't beLIEVE how much nuance and instinctive, snap-judgment style decision-making goes into recording the simplest thing. You should prepare yourself for quite a bit of experimentation, reviewing the results, re-grouping and re-adjusting your approach. Nothing about it is that complicated, but choosing from among the myriads of possibilities-- lots of ground to cover, and some approaches will work better than others, depending on all the factors combined.
This is so true. You will go through a never-ending cycle of recording/listening/evaluating/asking questions on gearslutz, etc.

Mention should be made of recording/editing software for the Mac. There is the free Audacity, not my favorite but it will get you by. There is also Boom Recorder which I hope has better metering than Audacity. The two-channel version of Boom Recorder is $20, well within your budget.
ParfaiT
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#12
8th November 2010
Old 8th November 2010
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Thank you very much for posting your thoughts...

I really want to do everything myself:explore and learn. I could hire a professional, but I do not have a particular piece I want to record and do not want to be put in a strict time frame.I want to play and record myself , learn and experiment from that. With a hired professional I can not have the flexibility I want.
So , what I`m looking for is a basic (beginner) equipment,with which I can start my experiments.
I understand it is always better to hire a professional with an expansive equipment and experience,but he/she might not see what I want and might not go as critical and deep as I would have gone with my own creations.

I`ll be checking all the mics suggested above. Please post more suggestions !!!
Thank you !
#13
8th November 2010
Old 8th November 2010
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Quote:
I`ll be checking all the mics suggested above. Please post more suggestions !!!
Mic discussions can go on endlessly and you can spend too much money on them if you're not wise. For your budget those mics will get you going in a respectable way, especially the Rode IMO.
#14
8th November 2010
Old 8th November 2010
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Hey, if recording is something you're interested in, you should just dive in and start doing it - it's good fun! Frustrating at times, but good fun.

Others have mentioned some very decent interfaces; I'll add my two cents for a Metric Halo ULN-2 (it's FireWire, but Apple IS still putting FW800 ports on the current MacBook Pros!). They're pricey, especially for a unit with only two channels, but they're two REALLY nice channels with very quiet and detailed preamps and excellent conversion, and very good software (including a super-stable bare-bones recording function that's great for live situations).

If you shop around, you can probably find a first-generation ULN-2 (non-2D) for under a thou; it's the kind of piece that you will always have a use for, and can sell for a decent price if you need to, or upgrade to the latest generation. And when you're starting out, having only two channels to work with can be a good discipline - the main stereo pair is the centerpiece of most classical recording.

If you want an interface that has more inputs for less money, you might consider the Steinberg MR816. I haven't got firsthand experience, but it sounds like a very passable 8-channel unit that you can get for $700 brand new, and a good bit less used.

Lastly, Chris319's link to the Schoeps sheet about different mic setups is an excellent start on educating yourself about technique; a good follow-up would be the famous Michael Williams paper, The Stereophonic Zoom. You can read it in a half hour or 45 minutes, and get an excellent practical education in stereo mic-ing.

Good luck - and do post samples once you start working (for what it's worth, I'm really a beginner myself, and I recently posted a sample of a recent recording I did using my ULN-2 and an NOS stereo pair).

P.S. - You were quite correct to mention cables and mic stands in your original post - you'll need to budget for these, including a stereo bar (the SABRA-SOM line is good bang for the buck). You'll also need a good pair of headphones, and cases of some sort for carrying your stuff around.
#15
8th November 2010
Old 8th November 2010
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Quote:
Metric Halo ULN-2
$1,695 -- you just broke the bank, bro! He buys that and he'll have enough left over for a pair of Nady mics (Hell's bells, everything "Mac" is too damn expensive!)

He'll need mic cables. Pacific Radio here in Hollywood makes cables to order:

Belden, Canare, Intelix, Kings, Middle Atlantic, Mogami, Neutrik and Switchcraft Pro Audio Video Distributor

I use Canare L-4E6S with Switchcraft connectors and would not use anything else, based on experience with competing products. Get ya a pair of 50-footers.

Quote:
cases of some sort for carrying your stuff around
Get a suitcase on wheels with an extendable handle and you'll thank DCtoDaylight for it. Something like:

22" Expandable Vertical Carry-on Case

#16
8th November 2010
Old 8th November 2010
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chris - all of the current macbook pros have FW800 ports.
#17
8th November 2010
Old 8th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris319 View Post
$1,695 -- you just broke the bank, bro! He buys that and he'll have enough left over for a pair of Nady mics (Hell's bells, everything "Mac" is too damn expensive!)
Hey, I said a used first-generation ULN-2!

But, yeah, you're right, if you want to just go out and buy something like a normal person, it's too much (though you can do better than the $1695). Metric Halo has really jacked up the price point on the ULN-2 since I got mine...it was under a thou new then (without, to be sure, a lot of extra functionality that's been added) and I probably have to recalibrate my perception of how much the thing costs.

REDCO is a good source for cables, too!
#18
8th November 2010
Old 8th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
chris - all of the current macbook pros have FW800 ports.
Thanks, Jim. DCtoDaylight set me straight on that.
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