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Acoustic guitar mic to fill in my collection? Condenser Microphones
Old 21st March 2015
  #121
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

Sorry for not getting back to this sooner. Of the four KM mics I own (two KM84s and two KM83s), only one has the full model number on it ("KM83i"). It is one of the KM83s obviously, with a pretty early serial number. All of the other three only have "KMi" on them. All of the other three have later serial numbers.

So, I think a safe conclusion is that, in some of the earlier years, they put the full model numbers on there, and then in the later years, they just used "KMi."
Old 22nd March 2015
  #122
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JamesClark1991's Avatar
The only mic I've heard on acoustic that's really "surprised" me is the new (ish) AT5040 vocal mic, there's clips online somewhere (hard to find) of an acoustic guitar comparison where the 5040 just sounds bizzarely large, naked and real. The other mics (u87, 414 etc if I remember correctly) all sounded very coloured and un "real" by comparison (although not bad by any means). I think Dream Theater used the 5040 on acoustic guitar for their latest album if I'm not mistaken. It's out of your price range but I'd suggest demo'ing it if you can, I've wanted to try one for ages but I just can't justify the cost when I'm doing this as a hobby!
Old 23rd March 2015
  #123
I would get some line audio cm3 mics, unbelievably good for the money
Old 23rd March 2015
  #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doncaparker View Post
Sorry for not getting back to this sooner. Of the four KM mics I own (two KM84s and two KM83s), only one has the full model number on it ("KM83i"). It is one of the KM83s obviously, with a pretty early serial number. All of the other three only have "KMi" on them. All of the other three have later serial numbers.

So, I think a safe conclusion is that, in some of the earlier years, they put the full model numbers on there, and then in the later years, they just used "KMi."
Thanks for checking!
Old 23rd March 2015
  #125
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Santiago's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doncaparker View Post
Sorry for not getting back to this sooner. Of the four KM mics I own (two KM84s and two KM83s), only one has the full model number on it ("KM83i"). It is one of the KM83s obviously, with a pretty early serial number. All of the other three only have "KMi" on them. All of the other three have later serial numbers.

So, I think a safe conclusion is that, in some of the earlier years, they put the full model numbers on there, and then in the later years, they just used "KMi."
Thanks for checking. Similarly, there are batches of KK84 capsules that are plain and not labelled, I have several of those, I don't know if they were originally intended for the KMS 84 microphone (which had the KK84 capsule under its external grille), but they are clearly normal KK84 capsules.
Old 23rd March 2015
  #126
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doorknocker's Avatar
I put in another vote for the KM 84. It's an incredible mic for acoustic guitar, detailed and 'silky' but never harsh or too bright. Actually, I owned a Km 54 some years ago but didn't like it as much as my KM 84s.

Another great mic is the AKG D-19. You need to be really careful to find a good one though because a lot of them are broken beyond repair. But a good D-19 has many of them same attributes like the way more expensive Neumann KM 54 and KM 56 - not as amazingly 'HiFi'-and 3D sounding but to me often more useful because of that. The D-19 is also a killer on snare.

Staying with vintage dynamic mics, my secret weapon for acoustic guitar is a Sennheiser MD-409. Somewhat warmer and punchier sounding than the D-19 but in a similar 'can a dynamic mic sound that good?'-bag. I haven't seen too many people use it on acoustic guitar but it works very well especially in context of a denser arrangement.

The Sennheiser MD-441 would also be a great investment as it's also a fantastic vocal mic for one.

Last edited by doorknocker; 23rd March 2015 at 12:11 PM..
Old 23rd March 2015
  #127
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Santiago's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post

Staying with vintage dynamic mics, my secret weapon for acoustic guitar is a Sennheiser MD-409. Somewhat warmer and punchier sounding than the D-19 but in a similar 'can a dynamic mic sound that good?'-bag. I haven't seen too many people use it on acoustic guitar but it works very well especially in context of a denser arrangement.
Cool, what placement would you usually try for the MD409?

Lately I have been trying out the SM57 on acoustic and have found it fairly good for an alternative sound to the SDCs I usually use, but I had not thought of using the 409.
Old 23rd March 2015
  #128
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago View Post
Cool, what placement would you usually try for the MD409?
.
Pretty much like I use any other mic on acoustic guitar : Quite close and aimed towards the soundhole. Using mainly Gibson acoustics for myself, I never have problems with boom. But sometimes I use a KM 84 a bit further away and the 409 closer and pointing at the lower bout of the body. I also had good results doing this with a RE-20 instead of a 409.

I have two old MD-409s, one is a Echolette ES-14 which is the exact same mic, only rebranded:

One of these has more top and bass extension and works great on acoustics. The other one is more midrangey and better for guitar amps. I also have two D-19s and interestingly enough the have the same differences between them: One has more frequency extension that works great on acoustic guitar, the other one is more 'compact' sounding. But with D-19s especially, each mic is different.
Old 23rd March 2015
  #129
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Santiago's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Pretty much like I use any other mic on acoustic guitar : Quite close and aimed towards the soundhole. Using mainly Gibson acoustics for myself, I never have problems with boom. But sometimes I use a KM 84 a bit further away and the 409 closer and pointing at the lower bout of the body. I also had good results doing this with a RE-20 instead of a 409.

I have two old MD-409s, one is a Echolette ES-14 which is the exact same mic, only rebranded:

One of these has more top and bass extension and works great on acoustics. The other one is more midrangey and better for guitar amps. I also have two D-19s and interestingly enough the have the same differences between them: One has more frequency extension that works great on acoustic guitar, the other one is more 'compact' sounding. But with D-19s especially, each mic is different.
Excellent, thanks! I have MD409 U3 and a Grundig GDSM 200, a stereo mic that has two 409 capsules. The 409 and one of the capsules have a fairly extended response, while the other capsule has fewer high frequencies.

Usually I record my Guild D4 (loud and a bit boomy), a Norman B20 (quiet but fairly crisp sounding) and my guitarist's Martin DM (really balanced sound, lovely), so it's cool to have a new tool to use for recording them.
Old 23rd March 2015
  #130
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago View Post
Excellent, thanks! I have MD409 U3 and a Grundig GDSM 200, a stereo mic that has two 409 capsules. The 409 and one of the capsules have a fairly extended response, while the other capsule has fewer high frequencies.
Very interesting, I didn't know about the Grundig.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago View Post
Usually I record my Guild D4 (loud and a bit boomy), a Norman B20 (quiet but fairly crisp sounding) and my guitarist's Martin DM (really balanced sound, lovely), so it's cool to have a new tool to use for recording them.
Please let us know how it turns out. Thruth be told, I never got an acoustic guitar recording that I was completely happy with and I want to experiment more with using gobos and stuff. I noticed that a lot of 'classic' recordings were done where the guitars were put in enclousures and having the sound bounce off from walls/gobos/etc seems to have a major impact especially regarding presence and punch.

So my goal is to have a recording that not only sounds good but also feels punchy and crisp without being too 'modern' in the sense of exaggerated top end. It never ends..
Old 21st November 2015
  #131
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DeeZee's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmikeperkins View Post
The best acoustic guitar mics I have ever used, and currently own, are the Neumann KM74 and Schoeps M221B.
That's my exact same opinion, too.

While i believe that the M221 has the edge here with its special magic, perhaps it is a bit over the target budget of the thread starter. True, it can still be found in fair prices relatively frequently in Europe, esp. France, but one has to take into account the scarcity of the AC701k tube (hence the insane asking prices…a potential expense of at least €300 nowadays), plus the risk involved in buying a non-personally examined M934, as most of the mics offered are found with this capsule.
After many tests, i came to the conclusion that said magic lies more in the capsules than in the tube or transformer, as i hear the same sonic qualities (albeit a *tad* less euphonic) even with them fitted in the FET CMMT30F & CMT30F bodies.
By now, it is a well-known fact that Schoeps cannot guarantee the restoration of a non-properly functioning M934 back to factory spec, so one has to be very cautious when buying online. FYIY, i am aware that many French engineers prefer to leave their M934s permanently on the omni (or cardioid) position, instead of risking the complete failure of the switching mechanism. Single-pattern MK22 (omni) or MK24 (cardioid) are rather scarce in the second-hand market nowadays, and on top of it F & B versions are not interchangeable.
So if you decide to go M221, you have to tread cautiously, and even then, most of the times you end up spending some extra money for a thorough check plus possible service expenses. Such a beautiful microphone deserves to be in top condition. And pray daily for the longevity of your AC701!

That leads us to the KM74. Within the mentioned target budget one can find relatively easily not one but a pair of them (in German & French second-hand sites at least), usually in VG condition, frequently with the matching N92 AB/T12 power supply included.
If you are not familiar wit this mic, imagine the KM84 sound character, but more open, airy & detailed, in a smooth silky way. For sheer sonic quality, as much as i respect a proven design such as the KM84, after comparing it with the KM74 there was no turning back for me. Though i favor SD omnis on most acoustic instruments, if the situation calls for a cardioid i usually reach for the KM74 first.

Another different & valid aesthetic approach would be a ribbon mic, as mentioned by many posters earlier in this thread. I love my Coles 4038s & silver Beyer M160s and i find good use for them on guitar amps, strings, brass, OHs and the like, but for recording the acoustic guitar i would propose the Samar VL37 with its unusually smooth & extended frequency response (see attached graph) & very classy sound. I don't own this mic (yet), but i was very impressed after listening to it in a friend's studio. This is a ribbon that can do justice to the complex harmonic spectrum of a good acoustic guitar. I believe that it costs around $900 to US customers, way cheaper than the mentioned $1500-mark. I seriously consider the investment on a pair.

On a lower budget, a Sennheiser MD441 dynamic can show some really tasty character, helpful in situations where you need a tight & focused sound, and for darker/boomy older acoustics or Spanish guitars, an early C451 (esp. C or E) paired with the CK22 capsule can give surprising results. I was also impressed some years ago by a C460 modified by Jim Williams. Schoeps-level detail & neutrality for a fraction of the price. Alas, Audio Upgrades don't offer this service anymore.

My Grundig 200 stays firmly within guitar amps company, never near an acoustic. Maybe i should give it a try someday
Attached Thumbnails
Acoustic guitar mic to fill in my collection?-samar-vl37-frequency-response.jpg  

Last edited by DeeZee; 21st November 2015 at 05:20 AM..
Old 21st November 2015
  #132
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Remy Leloup's Avatar
In Schoeps family , the older CM 51 is unreal !!!!

love it with a good electrodyne pre

also for strumming guitars my Voxorama 47 by A Grosser is fantastic

for delicate arpegiated notes , KM 54 is a total winner
Old 22nd November 2015
  #133
Gefell m930, josephson e22s, km84, mercenary Km69
Old 22nd November 2015
  #134
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Aaron Miller's Avatar
AKG 451 or a Royer SF-1
Old 22nd November 2015
  #135
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
A pair of Schoeps CMC5 Mk21 is superb on acoustic guitar in a good room. Balanced, detailed, subtle and nuanced.
Old 23rd November 2015
  #136
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matucha's Avatar
Old Neumann KM mics could get a bit too noisy for some quiet solo stuff, esp. when the guitar is a bit boomy (no matter how you position the mics) and some resonance surgery is needed afterwards. Though KM84 is very very very useful mic indeed.

I have pair of KM76 and they are noisy too, very open. Great on some guitars and many other things. I'd say it pushes >15k sometimes a bit too much, so one has to be careful. But sometimes it's exactly what I want.

M300, I got it only recently so I didn't do any direct comparisons to related mics (M582+M62, KM76). But it's very capable on guitar, definitely not dark. There is a rise starting in the upper midrange and ending with rolloff above 16k somewhere. Which helps to bring that in-your-face sound and manages to keep it quite pleasant.

M582+M62 is also on the lighter side. I love the way it renders highend, bright smooth and colored. I always pair it with some other mic that has good bass (like c414) because M62 doesn't have very defined bass region. Though it is still worth heaving it around.

Schoeps MK21, a bit boring yet very convincing sound. Bright-ish but full, it somehow enhances the air freq which is nice at times. It sounds good even when placed further back for some reason (wide cardiod? very good polar characteristics? good transient info?). So for more spacious/roomy sound it's in the top choice for me.

Sennheiser MKH80 - surprisingly on the dark side. Great resolution in the mids so it will hold well if kept dark. Though boosting >10khz on it commes almost by default in the pop world. Shines on things you need to keep full in the 200-1000hz region. Sometimes it's surprisingly great, sometimes hopelessly boring (but still very capable). It's one of my recent additions so the verdict is still out there.

C414EB - new capsule - tames almost anything, I like the bottom end, very EQ friendly, not so great for solo stuff or to maintaining the character of the instrument. Great utility mic.

C414EB - CK12 - yes, more definition and attitude, "bigness" of the bigger capsule, glowing smooth highs, taming effect in the mids

C24 - similar but more interesting (rounder, fuller yet not that extended on both spectral extremes), I like to use it at around 1m in front of the instrument in XY or MS stereo (together with some SD close mics).


It's hard to choose, there is so much good stuff...
Old 23rd November 2015
  #137
Seems to me that the OP has a good pair of SDC, a good LDC, and therefore the next logical choice would be a ribbon. Something as cheap as a Fathead with the upgraded transformer could be great.
Old 23rd November 2015
  #138
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by matucha View Post
...Schoeps MK21, a bit boring...
Ha. Can't say I've ever found it *boring* unless the source was boring.

Maybe some are more easily bored!

Old 23rd November 2015
  #139
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

Regarding the KM84:

1. If you notice noise, maybe a service is in order. The capacitors wear out over time. Even lightly used mics need to be recapped at some point. My serviced KM84s sound great, and they are plenty quiet enough to me.

2. They work better if you don't mic too close.
Old 23rd November 2015
  #140
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Santiago's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doncaparker View Post
Regarding the KM84:

1. If you notice noise, maybe a service is in order. The capacitors wear out over time. Even lightly used mics need to be recapped at some point. My serviced KM84s sound great, and they are plenty quiet enough to me.

2. They work better if you don't mic too close.
I agree, mine are serviced and are really quiet. For servicing, Neumann UK have excellent techs, so I would recommend them.

Additionally, if you want to mic the guitar up close, the KM85 (same top end, less bass) is ideal, I use it a lot when I want to minimise spill.
Old 23rd November 2015
  #141
mpr
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I can cover most any guitar with: cmc6mk21, km84, Wunder cm12, m582

If I can get away with using the omni m582s then I am usually stoked!
Old 23rd November 2015
  #142
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matucha's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSky Media View Post
Ha. Can't say I've ever found it *boring* unless the source was boring.
I see your point, yes that would be it. M582 or C24 for example never suffer from this. M582 (M62) perhaps won't fit some things, yet it's always interesting character. 1st world problems
Old 23rd November 2015
  #143
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Lots of suggestions/choices here.
For some reason I much prefer the Schoeps CMC5/MK41 to the MK4 capsules.
In addition to their sound they also have a very nice separation when recording Vocals at the same time.
Didn't try the MK21 yet.
Always preferred the Schoeps to the KM84.

But if the instrument/player/room is right, a lot of mics work.
Old Gibsons from the 30ies or 40ies like L00 / LG2 / J45 deliver very often a magical tone, which I never got with newer Martins, Collings or Santa Cruz Guitars.
Old 23rd November 2015
  #144
Had similar journey

I love the Sm-81 on the 12th Fret-

I tried everything you could think of to get "that sound" on acoustic- for me one of the "that sound" was Coldplay Parachutes- namely "Don't Panic"

I bought mic pre's and all sorts of stuff- then I asked myself what about the guitar?

I played a friend's vintage Gibson acoustic and there it WAS

So I got a 1968 J-45, and there it was- that woody, multi-dimensional thing that I could not create with mics and mic pre

So now, it's a question of emphasizing different aspects of acoustic tone by mic placement as much as anything

If I have more finger picking open stuff I have a Martin 0000- all mahogany
For the other stuff I use the Gibson

Legato (sp_:?_ mentioned that putting a much towards the bridge or behind is a BIG deal in getting that woody tone- I agree-

The point is I think the guitar and the player and the room matter a lot-

I bought a raw wooded door from Lowes and I put it on the floor when I track acoustic- it makes a difference in the sound.

I agree with the sentiment that the Neumann K84 is the standard, but you can do all sorts of stuff to get there-

There have been times where I thought an sm 57 sounded marvelous pointed at certain parts of the acoustic.
For SDC I just think the SM-81 is my jam
For LDC- I do have a Copperhead but I don't love it on acoustic

I do like my Shure KSM-44 though- I had a c214 that could be good on 12-string.

I guess in my rambling is- in looking for the "sound" it's the guitar, the room, the player, the picking style and pick used, then the mic and the mic pre-

I tried to buy the sound too far down the chain and then I got the guitar and now it's hard NOT to have that sound-

I am going to check out the Geffel you guys keep mentioning though, !!
Old 24th November 2015
  #145
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by babydaddymusic View Post
I tried to buy the sound too far down the chain and then I got the guitar and now it's hard NOT to have that sound
A lot of wisdom there, for sure.
Old 24th November 2015
  #146
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drBill's Avatar
It's hard to go wrong with a KM84 - and honestly, that's a mic you'll never sell.

But another contender that has surprised the heck out of me, that's been on the stand now for close to a month and hasn't let me down or been switched out yet :

RMS269

Such a wonderful, wonderful mic. I've used it on everything from Dulcimer, to Dobro to Ac. Gtrs of all types to washboard to vocals. Simply lovely. And takes EQ like a dream.
Old 3rd February 2017
  #147
Emi
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Emi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by legato View Post
Oh well, I do have a KM54 and a Gibby 45 too, so I guess I'm good.
Than you´re good to go. Not that other mis are not good, by any mean, but trying out a km56, km53, km54, km 88 it simply blows your mind.
Old 4th February 2017
  #148
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The balance between "transparency and warmth" is a conundrum for objective assessment. Subjective opinions abound on these threads however your preference in terms of sonic fundamentals should inform your decision. I have been in the business of recording acoustic guitars for more than 40 years and my bias leans heavily toward the warm detailed sonic field that a Peluso, Perlman or even the AT4060 tubes offer. Best bet is try as many as you can until you find the sound that you are looking for and, generally speaking, setting hard budget limits may not be in your best interests in the long term..
Hugh
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