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Favorite Clarinet Mics
Old 12th August 2020
  #31
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Uncle Russ's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgpretzel View Post
Sir, do you think your favorable impressions are attributable to the specific model of ribbon mic, or ribbon mics in general?
The specific model impressed me. I tried two or three other ribbon mics but found them distinctly less pleasing. AEA and maybe one or two others have released new mics since I bought mine; the newer high-end ribbons are quite good. While I doubt a "better" mic than Royer's SF-2 exists, you may find other mics of equal quality please you more.

The point is that, as outstanding as a Schoeps is, I definitely prefer a topnotch ribbon as a spot or solo mic for clarinet.
Old 12th August 2020
  #32
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Two sessions down, and I'm absolutely loving both the Schoeps and the Sank-modded Beyer. We did some bass clarinet today as well, with the Schoeps up top and a Gefell M930 under his chair. It sounds really good with just the Schoeps, but with the beefy bottom mixed in from the second mic, it's night and day. I was tempted to go dig out my old Crown PZM based on deedeeyeah's method, but it's been so long since I've used it I wasn't even sure where it was.
Old 12th August 2020
  #33
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Blaine Misner's Avatar
 

the biggest trick is going to make all the parts sound different. so i would put up several choices of mics. i love the tlm170, schoeps, gefell um70, 4038's. hell, even an sm57 might work to alter the timbre enough when stacking parts.

for what its worth i've had to build ww and brass sections for film work with limited, though top notch (national symphony, military bands) players and have always had at least 3 mics ready to go for each player.
Old 12th August 2020
  #34
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using an additional blm on a bass clarinet isn't my idea: i picked it up ca. 40 years ago but don't recall where i've seen it for the first time...

maybe worth noting though that there's quite a bit of a difference between a crown pzm and a schoeps blm. oh, and the filters i'm using can easily be as steep as 24dB/octave.

not much love for ribbons here: i prefer using filters on the desk and not those built into mics...
Old 12th August 2020
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
maybe worth noting though that there's quite a bit of a difference between a crown pzm and a schoeps blm.
I figured.
Old 12th August 2020
  #36
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
I figured.
The PZM is still an interesting and useful thing. People went totally berserk over them in the seventies because there really weren't any inexpensive directional electret microphones at the time, and you can read stuff from back then advocating using them on all sorts of bizarre things for which they are totally inappropriate. But if you're looking for something -different- to set one track apart from the other woodwinds, it might be an interesting choice to try.
-s-cott
Old 12th August 2020
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
not much love for ribbons here: i prefer using filters on the desk and not those built into mics...
It’s more than just eq though, right? The way ribbon mics handle transients feels different to me than mere eq. I love the detail and transient response of my Josephson c617 sets, but sometimes the smoothing qualities of a 121 are more pleasing to my ear.
Old 12th August 2020
  #38
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by over-man View Post
It’s more than just eq though, right? The way ribbon mics handle transients feels different to me than mere eq. I love the detail and transient response of my Josephson c617 sets, but sometimes the smoothing qualities of a 121 are more pleasing to my ear.
It's more than EQ, but don't forget that pattern has a -lot- to do with how different mikes behave. The frequency response off-axis isn't the same as the frequency response on-axis. You can EQ one but when you
do, you're applying the same EQ to the other as well.
--scott
Old 12th August 2020
  #39
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built-in 'eq', the necessity to use eq (mostly), pattern, transient response, output/impedance/interaction with preamp and whatnot... - there's simply nothing that i really like about ribbon mics (which doesn't stop me from using some beyer's occasionally)!
Old 13th August 2020
  #40
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There are tons of great mics for clarinet out there, especially if you know how to position them. As Russ mentioned above, the Royer SF2 and other ribbons are fantastic. I'd also add to that list some of the offerings from AEA- notably the N8, KU5A, and 44(of various flavors) depending on the usage and sound desired. For condensers, my usual go-to is either a Neumann TLM170 or a Sennheiser MKH40, Schoeps and others can do very well too, but I prefer those because of the smooth top end and mid-forward transparency that they can provide. Positioning is also crucial. My first choice for position is actually from the players left side, "looking" at the top joint. Coming from in front or overhead will give a brighter sound due to tone hole positioning on the instrument. If you come from up overhead in front, angle down towards the bottom joint so that the top joint's brightness is not directly on axis of the microphone.
Old 13th August 2020
  #41
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Uncle Russ's Avatar
Read Ben's post twice. Words to live by.
Old 13th August 2020
  #42
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
My first choice for position is actually from the players left side, "looking" at the top joint.
That can work for a soloist. But if it's one player in a section you'd have to mic every player that way.
Old 13th August 2020
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
[. . .] I'd also add to that list some of the offerings from AEA- notably the N8, KU5A, and 44(of various flavors) depending on the usage and sound desired. [. . .]
Thanks for all of the detailed thought.

I own an AEA A440 active ribbon that I absolutely love! As I commented on another thread, though - the frequency response curve looks like the Canadian Rockies. I am told that not all ribbons are quite so adventurous.

First hand, I don't know that much about other ribbons; but it would concern me here. FR, combined with other attributes of my AEA A440 would have me be a bit fearful about losing too much detail and nuance in the combined performances.

So, from the pro-ribbon lobby: Are you saying you like ribbons on clarinets, or that you specifically like ribbons even on a complex and difficult [11 clarinets] piece with lots of time changes?

I'm thinking the composition is not a classical ballad, but something technical, articulate and dense? Not arguing here. I really want to know.


Thanks for your thoughts,

Ray H.

Taking Scott's method of setup for the room. . .yes, I would give it a try; but I think only as an alternate second set of mics going to separate tracks. They say, no guts, no glory. So, I'm not qualifying for glory here, I know.
Old 13th August 2020
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
That can work for a soloist. But if it's one player in a section you'd have to mic every player that way.
Of course... I mentioned that as most of the responses were talking individual micing (as the player being mentioned in the original post is tracking multiple parts with a click), but for a group, it really depends on the needs of the work. For a standard clarinet choir, I'd go with ensemble micing like a chamber orchestra or larger chamber group. But then again, if it's tracking a piece like NY Counterpoint, then you really need to mic each instrument individually - even if they are playing as a group to get the sound right for the genre of music.

--Ben
Old 13th August 2020
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
My first choice for position is actually from the players left side, "looking" at the top joint.
That's really interesting, and certainly nothing that would have ever occurred to me. Is there something specific to the sound emanation from a clarinet that makes the left side sweeter? And are we talking 90 degrees off axis to the player, pointing straight at the top joint, or less perpendicular with some downward angle?
Old 13th August 2020
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath View Post
I'm thinking the composition is not a classical ballad, but something technical, articulate and dense?
The piece is Marc Mellits' ESP, originally written for 15 saxophones but transcribed by the performer for eight to eleven clarinets. The construction is very Reichian, with lots of cool parallel chord changes and repeating patterns across bar lines. Definitely modern.
Old 13th August 2020
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath View Post
Thanks for all of the detailed thought.

I own an AEA A440 active ribbon that I absolutely love! As I commented on another thread, though - the frequency response curve looks like the Canadian Rockies. I am told that not all ribbons are quite so adventurous.

First hand, I don't know that much about other ribbons; but it would concern me here. FR, combined with other attributes of my AEA A440 would have me be a bit fearful about losing too much detail and nuance in the combined performances.

So, from the pro-ribbon lobby: Are you saying you like ribbons on clarinets, or that you specifically like ribbons even on a complex and difficult [11 clarinets] piece with lots of time changes?

I'm thinking the composition is not a classical ballad, but something technical, articulate and dense? Not arguing here. I really want to know.


Thanks for your thoughts,

Ray H.

Taking Scott's method of setup for the room. . .yes, I would give it a try; but I think only as an alternate second set of mics going to separate tracks. They say, no guts, no glory. So, I'm not qualifying for glory here, I know.
I'll talk for myself, but what I like about ribbons is similar to what others like. Don't worry about the plot- listen to what you have rather than with your eyes on the paper. You'll find that the coloration of a ribbon tends to compliment a lot of wind instruments. That plus the fact that they tend not to be so extended on the top end allows for a big sound without a lot of extra processing. If you need to EQ, they tend to take EQ well. At the end of the day, use mic technique that will make the instrument sound the way that the piece needs it to sound. Do you need a big blended sound? or do you need absolute transparency of detail on every part. That will dictate whether you should be micing super close or further and any needs of room mics in the recording. Let the music dictate what you do and you'll get great results.

--Ben
Old 13th August 2020
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
That's really interesting, and certainly nothing that would have ever occurred to me. Is there something specific to the sound emanation from a clarinet that makes the left side sweeter? And are we talking 90 degrees off axis to the player, pointing straight at the top joint, or less perpendicular with some downward angle?
The basic idea works on both sides- I mentioned the players left side because the right has a set of keys on it (the e-flat/b-flat key on the bottom and trill keys that often get used going up from there). The use of those keys on some instruments can click so by positioning on the other side of the instrument, you can avoid some of the mechanical sounds of the instrument. Now on the left side as you go down the bottom joint, there are other keys that can make a lot of noise so it's important not to get too low on the instrument. For some jazz things I've done, I get the mic in pretty tight (a Sennheiser 441 can work great on a stage for this), but for classical performers, I'll move the mic back a bit so the sound is a bit more unified and the distance helps with production noise.

So yes, usually the mic is next to the player aimed straight on to the top joint.

(Yes, by now it should be obvious that my background is as a classically trained clarinetist so some of this is from my feelings as an engineer, but it's also from my feelings as a performer)

--Ben
Old 13th August 2020
  #49
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath View Post
So, from the pro-ribbon lobby: Are you saying you like ribbons on clarinets, or that you specifically like ribbons even on a complex and difficult [11 clarinets] piece with lots of time changes.
Saying "ribbons" is kind of a problem because an RCA 44 sound bears little connection with a Beyer M160 sound and the Royer ribbons are different than that.

I think they are all useful sounds for spot-miking a clarinet.

I think in THIS case, it's important to get different sounds from different parts so that you get some separation between the parts which might otherwise be very similar what with all being clarinets. So I might want to try ribbons on some but not all.
--scott
Old 13th August 2020
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
The basic idea works on both sides- I mentioned the players left side because the right has a set of keys on it (the e-flat/b-flat key on the bottom and trill keys that often get used going up from there). The use of those keys on some instruments can click so by positioning on the other side of the instrument, you can avoid some of the mechanical sounds of the instrument. Now on the left side as you go down the bottom joint, there are other keys that can make a lot of noise so it's important not to get too low on the instrument. For some jazz things I've done, I get the mic in pretty tight (a Sennheiser 441 can work great on a stage for this), but for classical performers, I'll move the mic back a bit so the sound is a bit more unified and the distance helps with production noise.

So yes, usually the mic is next to the player aimed straight on to the top joint.

(Yes, by now it should be obvious that my background is as a classically trained clarinetist so some of this is from my feelings as an engineer, but it's also from my feelings as a performer)

--Ben
Thanks much, Ben. We bagged the last day because he was feeling pretty burned out (and really needed more practice on some tough lines), so I'll have another session or two with him in a couple of weeks. I'll absolutely give this positioning a go.
Old 13th August 2020
  #51
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
Of course... I mentioned that as most of the responses were talking individual micing (as the player being mentioned in the original post is tracking multiple parts with a click), but for a group, it really depends on the needs of the work. For a standard clarinet choir, I'd go with ensemble micing like a chamber orchestra or larger chamber group. But then again, if it's tracking a piece like NY Counterpoint, then you really need to mic each instrument individually - even if they are playing as a group to get the sound right for the genre of music.

--Ben
Sorry, I was a little vague. By "section" I meant a woodwind section in a big band or scoring setup.
Old 15th August 2020
  #52
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elpillo's Avatar
 

Another possible good option could come from Pearl microphones. I haven't recorded any clarinets with my CC22 but I have the feeling it could work very well for this application.

Here is a review on the use of the ELM-C on a clarinet:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pearl-elm-c
Old 15th August 2020
  #53
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I am going to agree with Scott (kludgeaudio) - set up a single ORTF Pair of your Schoeps mk5s in cardioid, set up 11 chairs, and mic each part in turn, moving the player from chair to chair. The problems to watch out for are the build up of preamp noise and room sound - use your cleanest pres, and make the room as dead as you can.
Old 15th August 2020
  #54
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For classical music my choices in the past have been:

AEA N8 (rich, flattering, and feeling there)
Sennheiser MKH40 (tight, articulate)
Schoeps mk21 (sweet, open, flattering)

For folk music I gravitate to:

AEA r88 (fat, wide sound)
Beyer m160 (pinched, yet decadent)
AEA R84 (mid range focus, smooth)
Old 15th August 2020
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
I am going to agree with Scott (kludgeaudio) - set up a single ORTF Pair of your Schoeps mk5s in cardioid, set up 11 chairs, and mic each part in turn, moving the player from chair to chair. The problems to watch out for are the build up of preamp noise and room sound - use your cleanest pres, and make the room as dead as you can.
I would love to have been able to do that, but this is all taking place in a 10 X 10 booth. It's very neutral, but definitely not much complementary room ambience to be mined in there. Not to mention the impossibility of 11 adjacent chairs, or the fact that I don't even have that many chairs.
Old 15th August 2020
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brhoward View Post
Beyer m160 (pinched, yet decadent)
The best tonal description I've come across since one of my students called one mix "more robust" than another.

I did use a 160 as one of my options, though mine is a Stephen Sank 77DX mod. It sounded amazingly decadent.
Old 16th August 2020
  #57
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
I am going to agree with Scott (kludgeaudio) - set up a single ORTF Pair of your Schoeps mk5s in cardioid, set up 11 chairs, and mic each part in turn, moving the player from chair to chair.
You'll drive the player nuts if you do that. They're not just moving themselves, they're moving the cue setup, the music stand, and whatever else they need to have at hand. At that point it becomes more about you than the player or the music.
Old 16th August 2020
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
You'll drive the player nuts if you do that. They're not just moving themselves, they're moving the cue setup, the music stand, and whatever else they need to have at hand. At that point it becomes more about you than the player or the music.
this - plus it would add too much unwanted sound and noise from the second mic. IF doing something alike, i'd use a single (and maybe different) spot mic and add stereo ambi either on just one take or then via efx.
Old 17th August 2020
  #59
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
You'll drive the player nuts if you do that. They're not just moving themselves, they're moving the cue setup, the music stand, and whatever else they need to have at hand. At that point it becomes more about you than the player or the music.
Cue setup stays the same, but yeah the stand and everything else moves from one session to the next. You'd think noise would build up, but it really isn't the problem you'd expect in a good quiet studio.
--scott
Old 17th August 2020
  #60
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio View Post
Cue setup stays the same...
By "setup" I mean the box or whatever you've got the headphones plugged into.
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