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The ultimate *affordable* omni's for main miking large orchestras Condenser Microphones
Old 7th February 2010
  #1
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Talking The ultimate *affordable* omni's for main miking large orchestras

I am looking for a (very) affordably priced microphone to be used in a main AB microphone setup for a big orchestra + choir in a big concert hall.

The ones I see (on thomann )

Rode NT55
Oktava M012 MSP6 (with omni capsule)
Haun MBNM 410
Beyerdynamic M-910
Oktava M012 MSP6 MODDED (with omni capsule)
AudioTechnica AT4022
DPA 4060 (or 4061)

I pretty much only recorded with DPA 4006 or Schoeps MK2 / MK5 as main AB mikes in the past, since I could get them for free while I was studying at the conservatory. I realize a recording would probably not sound as terrific with a cheaper set.

I read quite some good stories on all of these mikes (except the DPA 4060's noise level), but I'm pretty much interested in which one you would suggest for main-miking?

//edit: addedd nt55 and Oktava MODs
Old 7th February 2010
  #2
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Corran's Avatar
 

Just how affordable? For sub-$200 I'd be getting a pair of Naiant mics. For a higher budget, I'd get the Oktava 012 pair w/ omni caps, or maybe the Rode NT-5 with omni caps that I've heard about but not tried. I'm assuming the budget isn't any more than that - but for $1000 I like my Earthworks QTC-1's and the DPA 4061 samples I've heard are excellent.
Old 8th February 2010
  #3
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For low budget, you might be able to find a pair of AT3032 (they've been discontinued, so dealers were blowing them out). I haven't used them, but I have the cardioid version, the AT3031, and they sound quite good and fairly neutral. For more money, maybe you could find a used pair of Shure KSM141.
Old 8th February 2010
  #4
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Plush's Avatar
I highly recommend the MBHO (Haun) mics. All of them are good and they are sounding fantastic.
Old 8th February 2010
  #5
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pelleke View Post
I am looking for a (very) affordably priced microphone to be used in a main AB microphone setup for a big orchestra + choir in a big concert hall.
You could do a lot worse than take a listen to a $550 matched pair of Avenson STO-2 for this application.
Old 8th February 2010
  #6
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Thread Starter
So, several recommendations here. What should I look at, for my purpose, on the spec sheets? I think the important things are
* Low self-noise level
* Not too much difference in noise levels between A-weighted and CCIR-weighted measurements. (i.e. not too much noise around 6 kHz)
* Flat frequency response
Am I forgetting about another parameter? And is it safe to think that transients etc. are always sounding OK when using condensers?

I checked the spec sheets of the HAUN 410, and the AT4022. (And the AT3032.) The thing here is: both state to have a noise floor LOWER than the DPA 4006TL (which has a noise floor around 15 dB. I think I am misinterpreting some information here. (Or is the 4006TL really noisier than these chaps?)

One thing the AT's have against them is probably the frequency response becoming quite wobbly above 1,5 kHz.

The Haun 410 doesn't have a frequency response graph in the specsheet at all. If someone could find one, I'd be interested.

How noisy are the Oktava's? I can't find this information on an Oktava site. (Also, it is not always clear whether someone is talking about the Chinese oktava's or the Russian ones.)

The Avenson STO-2 is an micro-diaphragm electret-microphone, am I wrong? They might sound fabulous, but I'm not sure whether their noise level allows them to be used on distant recordings of enormous dynamic ranges. Although they might be worth trying, I'd like to stick with the condensers for now.

The NT55 are looking very nice, with 15 dB noise level, but I'm somewhat worried about the enormous high frequency boost at the higher frequencies. (According to the graph, it's like 8 dB more sensitive on higher frequencies...)

Opinions / feedback?
Old 8th February 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pelleke View Post
...
I checked the spec sheets of the HAUN 410, and the AT4022. (And the AT3032.) The thing here is: both state to have a noise floor LOWER than the DPA 4006TL (which has a noise floor around 15 dB. I think I am misinterpreting some information here. (Or is the 4006TL really noisier than these chaps?)
...
14 dB-A vs. 15 dB-A is essentially the same, I would not lose any sleep over it, it's within measurement tolerances.
Also the Haun is much less sensitive than the dpa (7mV/Pa vs 35 mV/Pa) which is a HUGE difference, meaning your preamp would need app. 14 dB more amplification with the Haun, resulting in 14 dB higher noise floor from the preamp. (Which still could be totally fine)
Old 8th February 2010
  #8
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Corran's Avatar
 

The Oktavas are not very noisy, at least that's what I have observed in my use (Russian).

Regarding the ultra-small omnis, the Avensons are rated to be astronomically noisy, and I already notice the noise when I use my Earthworks which are rated much lower. Which is why I suggest the Naiant mic if you are going that route - they are cheaper and quieter than the Avensons, a no-brainer really. The DPA 4061 may out-perform either of these, though at a price.
Old 8th February 2010
  #9
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Thread Starter
Ah, of course. The sensitivity is the factor I didn't look at. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention.

Another addition might be the "modded" oktava from OktavaMod - Affordable Boutique Microphones. Being quite as expensive as the AT4022, they might be worth mentioning. Does anyone have experience with using these?

In terms of budget: I could write quite a long story about it here, but let's say the DPA 4060's are just about a little bit too expensive. I want to try to get the entire set done using a few thousands of euros. By "set" I mean a lot of spot mikes, cables, multicore and one ADA-8000 (for the time being, to extend my Profire 2626).
Old 8th February 2010
  #10
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Get at least two top main microphones, instead of a lot of mediocre ones.
What's the point in using low end tools for big orchestras? Or is it just a hobby?
If you can't afford a decent setup for orchestra, then record chamber music, where you can achieve great results with less quantity of equipment.
"4060 a little too expensive...", jeez, what has the world come to :-P
What's next? SOmeone who wants to record "big orchestras and a choir" with an ipod with freeware?
Old 8th February 2010
  #11
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Thread Starter
I'd totally agree, really, don't get me wrong. (for a few of your remarks, see the OP though.) It's just to be used as a temporary solution for the poor ex-student who needs to record a semi-pro orchestra without getting paid for it very well, it's really not like I am going to use this gear for the rest of my life, but more like finding out and using what's the best available gear for a few thousands of bucks. If it was just a hobby I wouldn't ask specifically for main mikes. I just want similar stuff we had in the "portable set" back in a year or so. For the time being, I just don't want to spend all the money I get for renting all the stuff, so I'd like to make a slightly worse recording. Anything wrong with the investigation?
Old 8th February 2010
  #12
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The Listener's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pelleke View Post
Ah, of course. The sensitivity is the factor I didn't look at. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention.

Another addition might be the "modded" oktava from OktavaMod - Affordable Boutique Microphones. Being quite as expensive as the AT4022, they might be worth mentioning. Does anyone have experience with using these?

In terms of budget: I could write quite a long story about it here, but let's say the DPA 4060's are just about a little bit too expensive. I want to try to get the entire set done using a few thousands of euros. By "set" I mean a lot of spot mikes, cables, multicore and one ADA-8000 (for the time being, to extend my Profire 2626).
A few thousands of euros would AT LEAST buy you a Steinberg MR816 or similar quality soundcard (TC K48, Apogee Ensemble, etc.) not just the very average Behringer ADA8000, additional DAV BG1 if you need some more preamps - with Steinberg you would get 8 already... ca. 600 - 1000EU... a main stereo pair in the quality of Sennheiser MKH8020/40 - used for ca. 1600EU... and some additional spots - Shure KSM137/141?, etc.

Maybe you should tell the story about the budget, since I am sure not many understand (I know I don't) how "a few thousand euros" and "DPA4060 being too expensive for the main pair" don't contradict each other. I wish you all the best, I am not being a wise ass... just don't understand.

The main pairs I use at the moment (but I am not recording classical) are Shure KSM141 and Shure SM81 pairs and a possibility to use Gefell UM70 and M70 in a MS configuration as a "main pair", but I prefer them separately for close micing. I would definitely stretch for something like the Sennheisers for a main pair for classical if I would be starting with a budget of a "few thousand" euros.
Old 8th February 2010
  #13
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
A few thousands of euros would AT LEAST buy you a Steinberg MR816 or similar quality soundcard (TC K48, Apogee Ensemble, etc.) not just the very average Behringer ADA8000, additional DAV BG1 if you need some more preamps - with Steinberg you would get 8 already... ca. 600 - 1000EU... a main stereo pair in the quality of Sennheiser MKH8020/40 - used for ca. 1600EU... and some additional spots - Shure KSM137/141?, etc.

Maybe you should tell the story about the budget, since I am sure not many understand (I know I don't) how "a few thousand euros" and "DPA4060 being too expensive for the main pair" don't contradict each other. I wish you all the best, I am not being a wise ass... just don't understand.

The main pairs I use at the moment (but I am not recording classical) are Shure KSM141 and Shure SM81 pairs and a possibility to use Gefell UM70 and M70 in a MS configuration as a "main pair", but I prefer them separately for close micing. I would definitely stretch for something like the Sennheisers for a main pair for classical if I would be starting with a budget of a "few thousand" euros.
Maybe I should do a better financial planning in advance. Those were just assumptions.

Here's the thing.
What I want to do:
Record a full symphony orchestra + choir live in a rather reverberant concert hall. I used to do that with 15 microphones, (2 main, 2 ambient, 2 choir, 2 woodwinds, 5 strings, one for each group, 1 timpani and 1 percussion.)

What I have:
The Profire 2626 and the computer.

What I need to get:
The mikes, stands, clamps and cables, the multicore (w/ at least 30m) and one 8ch ADAT preamp extension for my interface, and - given financial room - a set of more acceptable studio monitors, but that's really of less importance now. Again, I used to borrow all this stuff from school.
What I can burn is 3000 euros, maybe 4000. Now I do know the importance of good main-mikes and pre-amps, but really, I doubt how much value these few thousand bucks really are.

Now if you think I should spend enough to get at least the 4060s or even better: the MKHs or the 4006es AND some better preamps (I'm merely interested in an ADAT A/D converter to extend my 2626 with), I'm having troubles seeing how things will add up together.

An option would be to rent the main mikes and by the rest though...
Old 8th February 2010
  #14
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Nice main pair + outrigger or spot pair = plenty, rent or borrow if you need more for specific projects.

If you aren't convinced that nicer mics are worth the cost, a pair of nt-55 and pair of oktava 319, along with a DAV bg-2, will leave you with plenty of money for monitors.

but the nicer mics mentioned here, senn. 8020 or mbho, are within your budget, just scale back your project about 75%.

for example

dav bg-2: (1000 euros)

2 pairs microphones: (1500 euros)

nice monitors: (1000 euros)

and you have plenty left over for stands/ cables/ etc.

Also the gearslutz classifieds will save you (or cost you, lol) a bunch of money.
Old 8th February 2010
  #15
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The Listener's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pelleke View Post
Maybe I should do a better financial planning in advance. Those were just assumptions.

Here's the thing.
What I want to do:
Record a full symphony orchestra + choir live in a rather reverberant concert hall. I used to do that with 15 microphones, (2 main, 2 ambient, 2 choir, 2 woodwinds, 5 strings, one for each group, 1 timpani and 1 percussion.)

What I have:
The Profire 2626 and the computer.

What I need to get:
The mikes, stands, clamps and cables, the multicore (w/ at least 30m) and one 8ch ADAT preamp extension for my interface, and - given financial room - a set of more acceptable studio monitors, but that's really of less importance now. Again, I used to borrow all this stuff from school.
What I can burn is 3000 euros, maybe 4000. Now I do know the importance of good main-mikes and pre-amps, but really, I doubt how much value these few thousand bucks really are.

Now if you think I should spend enough to get at least the 4060s or even better: the MKHs or the 4006es AND some better preamps (I'm merely interested in an ADAT A/D converter to extend my 2626 with), I'm having troubles seeing how things will add up together.

An option would be to rent the main mikes and by the rest though...
If you want multi-mic set up with 15 mics then I can understand your trouble. What do you plan to get for spot mics then...

I would start with minimalist approach - stereo main pair + another pair of "outriggers" or "ambience" mics and maybe one or two mics for soloists when needed and expand later... A good stereo pair in the right position should cover it all. I would rather record with a single great pair of main mics than with 15 (sub)average mics. I mean - it is possible for classical. It is different for jazz - usually they find such recordings "too washy", they want more direct, intimate sound... but I love to use "ambience" mics on jazz ensembles, too.
Old 9th February 2010
  #16
I can vouch for the OKTAVA MK-012 with omni capsules. One of the greatest mics ever!
Old 9th February 2010
  #17
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jnorman's Avatar
i was very pleased by the pair of AT4022s that i had - very quiet with a big open sound. the at4022s would defintely be my choice in the $5-600/pair price range. for a bit more, the DPA 4061s are an excellent choice.
Old 10th February 2010
  #18
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Looking on the Naiant site I see they've gone a little upmarket (with a very interesting new design too) but on the assumption they've maintained or improved quality, the 15MB sample at

http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/...533/Naiant.wma

may be relevant. I've posted it before but perhaps not this 9 minute version.

It was recorded using three (then) $25 Naiant omnis, which were actually intended as spots, but just for fun I did a little remix of this piano concerto movement omitting the main Sennheiser MS pair. I'm pretty sure that I used some reverb in the mix, not sure about eq but probably not, but certainly no noise reduction.

I wouldn't normally record this way (one mic by the celeste, one by the double basses, and one more or less under the piano! - on headphones it's too wide) but the result is no disaster, and perhaps it shows what can be done with omni mics and modest outlay. And a little postproduction, which is what the client hears.
Old 28th May 2010
  #19
Gear Maniac
Not sure if you've already made a decision, but I'd stay away from the Avensons and Oktavas (I own both) if you're recording classical. The Avensons especially are way too noisy for quiet acoustic music when used as a spaced pair. I would really recommend having a look at the CharterOak M900, which are much quieter and sound great for the price. If you're patient, you can find a pair used for $600-700, plus you get omni, cardioid, and hyper-cardioid caps.

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Old 28th May 2010
  #20
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There are a couple of threads on this board about the DPA 4060's and in comparison to other mics. I think they sound wonderful. Listen to the tracks and see what you think. Everyone has opinions and their own "faves." By listening to some you get a better idea. I am biased in favor of the DPA 406n's and bought three of the 4061's. The ambient noise in the hall is greater than their self-noise.

Cheers
Old 28th May 2010
  #21
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Oktavas are, probably, best bang-for-the-buck, but they do tend to color off-axis sound in a not too pleasant way (a little metallic), and they add a bit of saturation when it gets louder. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, especially with sub-par ensembles it can make them sound way better than reality. But I prefer to control the amount of saturation in post (that's why my main pair is Neumann, and the Oktavas are spots for timpani, double bass, brass, and anything that needs to be a bit fattened, including some vocal soloists).
I would stay away from the 4060, they are a bit noisy.
Used Sennheiser MKHs can be found on ebay for not too much.
Old 28th May 2010
  #22
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Re: The ultimate *affordable* omni's for main miking large orchestras

Talking to Tony Faulkner, he rates the Rode omnis very highly and not just as bang for buck.

So a matched pair of NT5 + omni heads or a pair of NT55 should do it if money is tight.



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Old 28th May 2010
  #23
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In your situation, I'll go in a minimalist approach.
A single pair well positionned can give you surprising results, even with a symphonic orchestra. Then just add spots for soloists.

Don't forget in your list the Beyers MC930 and MC910. They are both very good for distant complex miking. Here, I'll go with the cardio 930, because of the reverberant room and to be able to put them farther to have the right natural balancing of the orchestra.

JMM
Old 28th May 2010
  #24
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pelleke View Post
The NT55 are looking very nice, with 15 dB noise level, but I'm somewhat worried about the enormous high frequency boost at the higher frequencies. (According to the graph, it's like 8 dB more sensitive on higher frequencies...)

Opinions / feedback?
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Talking to Tony Faulkner, he rates the Rode omnis very highly and not just as bang for buck.

So a matched pair of NT5 + omni heads or a pair of NT55 should do it if money is tight.

I've got a pair of NT45-0, the omni cap of the NT55 and test them on my NT5s. It is not so bright. However it's just for me in the same league like the cardio cap. I would say that with respect to the MK-O12, the NT5 is what are the DPA 40O6 and 4011 with respect to the Schoeps MK2 and MK4. Here attached two piano clips for comparison with the Oktava MK-012 omni.
Also here a shoot-out of the Oktava MK012, the Avenson STO-2 and the DPA 4060.
Attached Files

NT5 + NT45-0.wav (5.81 MB, 4053 views)

Oktava MK012 omni.wav (5.65 MB, 4020 views)

Old 28th May 2010
  #25
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Based on how much I like my MC930's, I'd be inclined to try the MC910's.

I have the Avensons, Oktavas and Naiants for omnis. I've made decent recordings with all of them. I record louder music (jazz mostly) so the self-noise is not an issue. The Oktavas do impart a small bit of "fuzz" to the sound which works well for jazz. Not sure how they would work for you on orchestra.
Old 28th May 2010
  #26
Gear interested
 

I just purchased a set of the MBHO microphones, They have interchangeable caps, and the linear omni's sound great! I would suggest the subcard caps they are great. 2 caps and 2 603 bodies was less than $2k!

hope this helps.
Old 28th May 2010
  #27
Quote:
Talking to Tony Faulkner, he rates the Rode omnis very highly and not just as bang for buck.
I have used NT5 + 45O as mains before. The results are okay, nowhere near as good as obvious top choices. But I believe Mr Faulkner uses them primarily as support mics. In this respect, I think they are absolutely world class. Pairing them with more neutral mics like DPA, just makes an orchestra sound "complete." Sweet, present, and musical.
Old 30th May 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSheltonLogic View Post
I just purchased a set of the MBHO microphones, They have interchangeable caps, and the linear omni's sound great! I would suggest the subcard caps they are great. 2 caps and 2 603 bodies was less than $2k!
I would not recommend the flat MBHO omni for distant main pair in a reverberant room. The sound will probably be too dull.
My experience with the subcards was not so good on classical music. Not very neutral.
In the situation of the OP, with MBHO, I would suggest the 100D (omni for distant field) and the 200 (cardio).
But from my experience the Beyer are better for less money.

JMM
Old 31st May 2010
  #29
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Old 9th June 2010
  #30
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omegaomega's Avatar
 

What about the AKG 480b with the cardiod CK61 or omni CK62 caps?
Are these mics in the same class like, say, the Beyer MC930?
I can't find much info about them here, but they seem they are designed to compete in the same league and apparently made for use in orchestra, choir etc. Someone commented that they sound very close to the 4011s.
Anyone using them for that?
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