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3K$ for orchestral mikes Condenser Microphones
Old 6th August 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
3K$ for orchestral mikes

Greetings!
I have about 2.5 to 3k to update my gear, mainly focused towards location orchestral recordings.

So far I have this:
- MOTU 896 MkII (Main interface)
- 2 x MOTU 8Pre (As pre-amps/AD converters)
- 2 x Behringer B2-Pro
- 1 x Audix i5
- 1 x Shure Sm57
- 1 x Apex 125
- 3 x Apex 126
- 2 x Behringer C2


I was thinking about buying a Neve Pre and a pair of Audio technica mikes, but now I`m more towards a stereo pair of AKG 414`s as main mikes, and a pair of Rode M5 to be used for reinforcement of sections as well as some other mikes I currently have. And leave the pres for a future upgrade.

What do you suggest?

Ps: The recording venue acoustics is less than ideal. Big square room.
Old 6th August 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
loujudson's Avatar
I very much prefer AT 4050s over 414s. But there are better mics around, notably Schoeps. I would not consider any of those mics you list as appropriate for orchestral work (though I don't know Apex - the name sounds like a cartoon name...) For Apex, go gor their 4xx and 5xx series.
Old 6th August 2014
  #3

Low End Theory answer:

$3k will get you a lot. An Oktava 012 set is a good start. I'd add 2-3 CAD M179 too. For spot mics, the EV N/d468 is a good choice.

Don't forget stands and stereo bars. A good, tall stand will run you at least $150. Stereo bars start around $50 for decent ones (and don't really get over-priced until around $300).

How are you set up for cables?



-tINY

Old 6th August 2014
  #4
Gear Maniac
Thanks for the input, and for the low end theory answer.
Actually to be more accurate, I`m trying to leave the low end and enter to mid end.
As you can see from my actual list of mikes, most of them are near the 100$ range and some are even way less :-/
I have quantity, now I want quality. Maybe a couple of or 414, which will allow me to access another type of clients.
And I have a separate budget for stands and some mogami XLR cables. The 3k are only for mikes and maybe pres.

I have been hearing a lot of good things about the oktavas for years, but I`m thinking if it will be better (business-wise) to go with the industry standards in that price rage.

Also I have access to another mikes for rental, some Neumanns and more 414s, so I`m thinking my approach should be to have a good all round pair, when there is no additional budget to rent I can use my own mikes as reinforcement, and when there is budget, here comes the Neumanns.

I think the 414 is more of an industry standard, but I keep hearing people say the at4050 sounds better (and is cheaper), so I`m not sure which one to get.

EDIT: Forgot, the Apex mikes are a 4 piece drum package (one drum and 3 snare/toms). I think the 125 for kick could be useful for cellos or double basses. http://www.frontendaudio.com/APEX-DP5-p/7486.htm
Its funny that a 150$ 4 mic kit has "deluxe" in its title... XD
EDIT2: I was also considering 3 little blondies for a Decca Tree. They are still low end, but I hear they are awesome.
Old 6th August 2014
  #5

There's really not that much difference between the 4050 and the 414BULS. The BULS has slightly clearer mid-range (if memory serves). But, for distance micing, I don't think the sound is different enough to worry about (the M179 is pretty close as well). It's close-micing where the slight differences start to be noticeable.

Non-LET answer:
A pair of Josephson c42 could do as a stereo pair and they make great spot mics. For the other $2k, a pair of Earthworks SR30 or Shure KSM44 will sound good and have some panache... I like your plan to rent mics if customers insist on AKG/Senn/Neum/Schop badges.



-tINY

Old 6th August 2014
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagodeoz View Post
EDIT: Forgot, the Apex mikes are a 4 piece drum package (one drum and 3 snare/toms). I think the 125 for kick could be useful for cellos or double basses.

EDIT2: I was also considering 3 little blondies for a Decca Tree. They are still low end, but I hear they are awesome.

Edit: Not really. The kick mics in cheap sets are "tailored" for a thumpy kick drum sound on stage - not what you really want for orchestral recordings...

Edit2: Try to find old KEL HM1 mics for the tree. I use them set wide and back with a M/S pair front and center for a movie score sound. The wide cadioid works well for this. You need a good room to pull it off in....



-tINY

Old 7th August 2014
  #7
Gear Maniac
I was just checking out some Earthworks. I wonder if there is much sonic difference between the SR25 and SR30, because with what two SR30 costs I can buy three SR25, which is very tempting!

Another option I have been checking out as a secondary pair would be the AKG 214, which runs at about 700$.

So far, I`m leaning more towards the Earthworks as main pair, but they have to be cardoid, since many of my recordings will be in less than ideal rooms.
Old 7th August 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagodeoz View Post
Greetings!
I have about 2.5 to 3k to update my gear, mainly focused towards location orchestral recordings.
.
.
.
I was thinking about buying a Neve Pre and a pair of Audio technica mikes, but now I`m more towards a stereo pair of AKG 414`s as main mikes, and a pair of Rode M5 to be used for reinforcement of sections as well as some other mikes I currently have. And leave the pres for a future upgrade.

What do you suggest?

Ps: The recording venue acoustics is less than ideal. Big square room.
In general, GIGO. So buy the best mics you can; if they don't capture it, you can't recover it no matter what you do downstream. For orchestra and acoustic instruments, it's hard to beat the Schoeps mics, and the Sennheisers. What most want, is to record exactly what the instruments are doing, without coloration, thus the Schoeps and Sennheisers. Vintage Neumann 84s, some of the Gefells, etc. on the used / vintage markets often cost as much or more than new Schoeps and Sennheisers, but you might find bargains. IDK.

Since you don't like your room, recording room tone will be a minus. So, go with cardioids instead of omnis, use a stereo configuration like ORTF, and get in close (right behind the conductor and well overhead). If that's not clean and clear enough for you in your venue, you'll probably want to consider spot mics on groups of instruments. This can turn costly in a hurry, but is often the cost of a poor acoustic environment.

Best thing you can do is find another venue. A good orchestra in a great hall can almost always be well recorded with just a few mics, like an ORTF pair, or three omnis in Decca tree (if you work to find the correct placements, of course). If you can't work with another venue, talk to the owner / manager about acoustic treatments to control at least the worst of your acoustics problems.
Old 7th August 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
 
tedtan's Avatar
 

For 3K, grab a matched pair of Schoeps CM6 Colette Modular SDCs with MK4 cardioid capsules.

I just went through this decision myself, and on a budget, you'd be hard pressed to do better than a matched pair of Beyer MC-930s. And they tend to reject the room pretty well, so that might be an advantage in your situation, too.
Old 7th August 2014
  #10
Gear Maniac
Wow! The Beyer seem really good for what I read!
After thinking a lot, my new chosen setup is:

- Beyerdynamic MC-930 Matched Pair (1150$) (Could be replaced by the Earthworks SR25 Matched Pair)
- 2 x AT4050 (1400$)
- 2 x Rode M5 Matched Pair (200$) back-up / secondary pair

It seems like that should give me an all rounder set of mics for most situations and would be a nice upgrade to what I currently have.
Old 8th August 2014
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

If I can throw one more suggestion out there, you might also like a pair of Shure KSM 141s. I've found them to be very useful one a wide range of sources. The ability to switch from cardioid to omni is a real plus.
Old 8th August 2014
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
In general, GIGO. So buy the best mics you can; if they don't capture it, you can't recover it no matter what you do downstream. For orchestra and acoustic instruments, it's hard to beat the Schoeps mics, and the Sennheisers. What most want, is to record exactly what the instruments are doing, without coloration, thus the Schoeps and Sennheisers. Vintage Neumann 84s, some of the Gefells, etc. on the used / vintage markets often cost as much or more than new Schoeps and Sennheisers, but you might find bargains. IDK.

Since you don't like your room, recording room tone will be a minus. So, go with cardioids instead of omnis, use a stereo configuration like ORTF, and get in close (right behind the conductor and well overhead). If that's not clean and clear enough for you in your venue, you'll probably want to consider spot mics on groups of instruments. This can turn costly in a hurry, but is often the cost of a poor acoustic environment.

Best thing you can do is find another venue. A good orchestra in a great hall can almost always be well recorded with just a few mics, like an ORTF pair, or three omnis in Decca tree (if you work to find the correct placements, of course). If you can't work with another venue, talk to the owner / manager about acoustic treatments to control at least the worst of your acoustics problems.

Those "vintage" mics are not usually "transparent" by today's standards.

The Earthworks are as good as the Schoeps and Sennheisers but with a little more noise (not enough to worry about in this application) and a fixed capsule. The SR25 are certainly not "low-end" but they are much more affordable and work well for ensembles.

If poor acoustics are a real issue, then an pair of figure-8 mics will give you more room rejection. Look up "blumlein pair"...



-tINY

Old 9th August 2014
  #13
Gear Maniac
Ok. Thanks everyone for their input! You all have been very helpful!
I decided I`m going to get 3 stereo pairs.

- A good LDC Pair with multiple polar patters (AT4050)
- A good SDC Pair (???)
- A budget SDC Pair for back-up and reinforcements of sections (Rode M5)

The only one I haven`t decided yet is the good SDC pair.
So far my options are Beyerdynamic M-930, Earthworks SR25 or maybe the Shure KSM141. For what I have read, all 3 have a very good sound and are great options, my only concern is which one works better as a selling point. I`m aiming to offer budget orchestral recording services, so the customer won`t be expecting Neumanns, but they might be happily surprised if they see an Earthworks for example, not sure if the same will happen with a Shure or a Beyerdynamic.

Schoeps, Sennheisers and Neumanns seem to be the industry standard for high-end. Which ones are for mid-end?
Old 10th August 2014
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

In my experience, your biggest selling point is the level of care, expertise, and professionalism you offer your clients, who are likely to be much less obsessive with microphone brands than you or I. If a client requests something specific, find out why, educate (it may be a quality of sound you can already get with the gear you have), and rent if needed.
Old 10th August 2014
  #15
Gear Maniac
AKG C480B's or C460B's are an excellent choice for classical. CK61ULS are the cardioid capsules, CK62ULS the omnis. I use my modified 460's with my Schoeps, DPA, Neumann mics...
Old 11th August 2014
  #16
Lives for gear
 
DCtoDaylight's Avatar
 

I moved into orchestral recording six or seven years ago, and would definitely recommend focusing on SDCs rather than LDCs, especially if you're doing groups larger than a trio or quartet. When you set up stereo pairs for chamber groups and larger, a lot of the players will be off-axis, which is where the SDCs really shine. Having one good multi pattern LDC is worthwhile as it will let you set up a mid-side array, which can be very handy, but SDCs are the bread and butter of classical work.

Also, even if you're working in a not-so-good room now, you want to be ready when the chance to work in a better room comes along, and there's no substitute for an omni pair. Rmaier is spot on with the recommendation of the Shure KSM 141 - it's really a good mic, and the switchable patterns give you a lot of options. I did a comparison of them with my DPA 4006a's on an organ recording, and the Shures did very well indeed at something like a quarter the price.

A pair of 141s plus a pair of good dedicated cardioids would be an excellent place to start - the Beyer 930s would be a fine option, or if you can stretch a bit or buy used, Sennheiser 8040s or Schoeps or Gefells. For an LDC, Full Compass has a sale now on the anniversary edition of the AT 4050 - $450, which is a heck of a deal. Also, Line Audio makes very respectable wide cardioids and omni that run a little over $300 per pair.

You'll definitely want to poke around in the Remote Possibilities forum here; lots of good knowledge to be gained there. Search for "boojum/jnorman array" for tips on a way of combining a cardioid pair and omni pair on one bar - it's not a perfect solution for everything, but it's easy to set up and gives a lot of options for mix down. Especially useful for programs where different pieces have different instrumentation.

Good luck - it's a very fun kind of recording!
Old 12th August 2014
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

As it happens, I have a pair of both the Shure KSM 141s and the Beyer MC 930s. There's not a lot that can't be adequately handled by these two pairs. They compliment each other well and will cover a lot of ground. And you'd still have a good bit of money left over for one (or even two) moderately priced multi-pattern LCDs.
Old 12th August 2014
  #18
Lives for gear
What about a pair of Line Audio CM-3 SDC's? They are really transparent, inexpensive and small, with great off axis response. I would say perfect for orchestral recording. Also the Electrovoice RE200, or RE1000/2000 if you can find any. I have the RE200 and RE1000 and the 1000's has a very neutral sound and fantastic off axis response. The RE200 is meant to sound the same, yet mine does not, so may be mine is odd?
Old 25th August 2014
  #19
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
Full Compass has a sale now on the anniversary edition of the AT 4050 - $450, which is a heck of a deal.
DUDE!!! I F*CKING LOVE YOU!!!
I ordered a pair and you just saved me 500$!
Kudos to you for the best tip ever!
Old 26th August 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
DCtoDaylight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagodeoz View Post
DUDE!!! I F*CKING LOVE YOU!!!
I ordered a pair and you just saved me 500$!
Kudos to you for the best tip ever!
Hahaha - glad it worked out! I was super-tempted myself but have to keep a lid on non-essential spending right now…hope you capture a whole lotta good sound with them!
Old 19th September 2014
  #21
Gear Maniac
Yeah, me too. But fortunately I had already decided to buy a pair and just went for it

By the way, I still have to buy 4 more SDC, and instead of buying an expensive pair and a more cheap pair, I think it would be better to buy 4 of a kind. So right now I`m really tempted towards 4 Josephson C42, which seems to get a lot of love from everyone and they are at a nice price point.

What do you think about 2 AT4050 and 4 Josephson C42 for mains and spots?
Old 19th September 2014
  #22
Lives for gear
You don't need four-of-a-kind for general classical recording. I'd get a nice SDC pair for ORTF, and two omni or switchable for AB.

The 414 is not generally considered to be a go-to main pair orchestra mic--it's good as a spot though.

KM84 or KM184, Schoeps are good standards for a cardioid main. C42 is a good stand in for the KM84. That's actually where the '42' derives--it's the 84, but half the price, so 42!
Old 22nd September 2014
  #23
Have you checked out the location recording forum? https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...ion-recording/

There is a category for threads for orchestral topics: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/tags/orchestra/, https://www.gearslutz.com/board/tags/strings/

I record full-time, including many orchestras: Christian Amonson, recording engineer, Facebook: Arts Laureate I often post pictures.

The 414s will treat you well, and no, you don't need four of a kind for your spots, though pairs will be helpful. I have had success with everything from Rode M5s and Rode NT5s to Sennheiser 8040/50/90s and Neumann 184s. I recommend starting small. Use what you have and spend the remainder on a hundred orchestra CDs.
Old 23rd September 2014
  #24
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
I moved into orchestral recording six or seven years ago, and would definitely recommend focusing on SDCs rather than LDCs, especially if you're doing groups larger than a trio or quartet. When you set up stereo pairs for chamber groups and larger, a lot of the players will be off-axis, which is where the SDCs really shine. Having one good multi pattern LDC is worthwhile as it will let you set up a mid-side array, which can be very handy, but SDCs are the bread and butter of classical work.
My matched pair AKG C460B's were formerly owned by Sony Classical. I don't know in what context, but they're beautiful mics.
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