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Rode TF-5... thumbs up!
Old 3 weeks ago
Here for the gear
Rode TF-5... thumbs up!

I've learned a lot from Gearslutz over the years, and I finally wanted to contribute my humble experience. I decided to take a chance on Rode's collaboration with Tony Faulkner and bought the TF-5.

Bottom line: I like these mics... a lot.

I'm a professional classical saxophonist and oboist in the US Army Bands, and my gear choices are mainly in the interest of recording myself and my kids. I almost never have the luxury of good acoustic spaces to record in, so I do what I can to minimize the effect of my living room. I also cannot modify it much since it is base housing. Hence, the need for a good pair of cardiod condensers. My ribbons (R88 and R84, which I love) catch too much of the room sometimes.

Years ago, in 2002, I was an intern at Audio Effects, a gear rental shop in LA. On the days I was there, not much was going on, so I grabbed gear off the shelves and got to play. One day, I brought in my sax, and set up the following chain: B&K 4003 (yes the pre-DPA), Millennia HV-3D, Prism Dream AD/DA, Genelec. It's too long ago to remember the specifics of the sound, but I do remember my emotional response. It was the first time I had heard my sax played back as I heard it in my head; it was amazing. I could never afford that gear for myself. Upon receiving my TF-5s, I did some test tracks on my oboe, and my son's cello, but what cinched it for me was when I recorded my sax. I had a very similar emotional response as I had all those years ago with the legendary gear. I kept the TF-5s, and I have made some recordings that I am very proud of. Most surprising is how well they have worked with my daughter singing Broadway-style songs. They take eq, compression, and effects very well in addition to sounding great on their own. I'm not posting those for copyright reasons, and she is still shy about who hears her.

Here are some quick demo tracks I made to show off the mics as best I can. The sax and oboe are TF-5s in XY about 3 feet in front of the instruments. You'll hear key noise, but for as detailed as these mics are, I don't feel like they are over-exagerating the extraneous noises as some condensers I have worked with do. The cello recording is a Clef Cannon composed and performed by my son. He overdubbed the parts. Unfortunately, I only have open-back AKG 701 headphones, so you'll hear some of the metronome (I know what my next purchase needs to be). Each side was recorded mono and then panned left-right. Sorry, but I had to convert the cannon into an mp3 to stay within file size limits for GS. All recordings have some Altiverb Mozart Hall at about 29% mix.

I hope this is of some use to you. Best wishes!
Attached Files

Oboe Demo.wav (14.45 MB, 1004 views)

Sax Demo.wav (13.35 MB, 1008 views)

Elliot Clef Cannon mp3.mp3 (6.80 MB, 985 views)

Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Addict
🎧 5 years
Nice recordings. Your son is a good cellist! The TF-5s are pleasing to listen to, not hyped, and even a bit silky.

Thanks for posting!
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
Here for the gear
Thanks! BTW, I apologize for the double-post. When I originally posted this, it didn’t show up right away, so I thought something went wrong and ended up posting something very similar at the end of another TF5 thread.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
🎧 15 years
No worries here. Let me explain. Posts by new members are moderated and need to be approved before they can be seen. This is done to help prevent possible spam posts and such.

Originally Posted by Greyoboe ➡️
Thanks! BTW, I apologize for the double-post. When I originally posted this, it didn’t show up right away, so I thought something went wrong and ended up posting something very similar at the end of another TF5 thread.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
Here for the gear
Makes sense. Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
Here for the gear
Here is another living-room recording with the TF5s. This is a cello and saxophone fugue written recently by my 16-year old son. He is playing cello, and I am on sax. This is not pure stereo because I was getting too many nasty room resonances. I recorded us facing each other about 6 or 7 feet apart. The cello mic is pointed at the cello right about where the finger board ends with a slightly downward angle. It is as close to the cello as I could get without interfering with the bow, so about 2 feet away. The sax was in a classic close-miked position, above the bell, pointed at the left hand. I am really pleased with the results. I did not expect such a smooth, balanced sound with the mics so close. Each player was in the null of the others' mic, and the rejection was good while off-axis coloration is indeed minimal as Rode advertises. Altiverb and Slate VTM are present. I know this makes it harder to judge the character of the mics alone, but I really like both of those processors. I turn off the noise and wow and flutter in VTM, and use the 30ips, 1/2inch 2 track setting. Stays clean, but I like it.
Old 1 week ago
Gear Head
Hello Grey and son,

FWIW and i'm no authority...please take this with a grain of salt ...

After listening to your links :

There's seems to be some "room modes" around 180 hz to 1.2khz , the oboe piece has the 1.2khz honk .....sax piece sounds like those room tones >380Hz the cello also has those nasty low mids, however, the saxellugue :-) was an improvement for the saxophone actually liked the sound of that sax very smooth....but still struggling with the cello's low mids. It could be position in the room /reflections back into the cello??you don't seem to hear that, i wonder if its because of your monitoring? and, I wouldn't cloud it all with VTM plugins just yet The top end of the recordings sound nice but anything below 1.4 Khz takes away from the enjoyment......I don't think it's the mics....

I'd be interested in what others think too....

Thank you for posting.....

Old 1 week ago | Show parent
Here for the gear
Thanks for the comments. You’re right that the accuracy of my monitoring is limited. Same room limitations that limit the recordings. It’s interesting that you felt the sax was alright as the mic was very close and minimized the room to the greatest degree. With the cello there was still some room interaction, but since it was closer than I normally record him, I also thought it sounded better than "normal." Actually, Altiverb tends to highlight any response problems that I’ve captured; I hear more problems once it’s in the chain... don’t know if that’s odd. It has actually helped me to refine things in recent months. I’m eager to get these mics into a good space; might be a while, though.

I appreciate the feedback. All the best!
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
David Rick's Avatar
🎧 15 years
In a situation like this, I think it's usually a mistake to try grafting a completely different space onto a recording that already has obvious small room artifacts. I sometimes record cello in my living room with mics at similar distance to what you've used here. I find that it's easier to work with the room sound rather than trying to cover it with something else. I do generally use a GIK acoustic screen to suppress the first reflection from the wall behind me. For mics, I'll sometimes use a M/S rig and adjust the side mic level in post much like one would use a reverb send. In other cases, I've done stereo with an asymmetric pair such as a Schoeps MK41 aimed at the end of the fingerboard and a Beyer M160 augmenting the low strings.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 1 week ago
Here for the gear
Thank you both, David and Ray, for the feedback. Here is an excerpt from the cello mic without any processing other than dither, normalization, and sample-rate conversion from 96Khz to 48Khz. I did that mainly to get the file size down under the 16mb GS limit. I'm curious if you hear the same issues as you did when VTM and Altiverb were on the track? If nothing else, now you can hear how the TF5 handles the off-axis saxophone, which is in the null of the pattern.
Attached Files

Saxellugue No 1 in C minor Op 209 Cello Mic excerpt.wav (11.22 MB, 353 views)

Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
David Rick's Avatar
🎧 15 years
The Sax leakage sounds good. The resonance I hear is the cello wolf tone which, on your son's instrument seems to happen at E instead of the usual F. The mic placement here is very close to the instrument and hides nothing, though your son's technique is very good indeed. There's no "room compression" to even things out with the mic this close; you might need some hardware compression or careful fader riding as a substitute. I do hear some exaggeration of the bottom strings because of proximity effect and I would actually be tempted to back off another foot or so, but perhaps use gobos to reduce the leakage.
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
Hi David,

Not quite sure which E you referred to. The only E he played was 10th above the low C string in this clip which had no wolf tone to my ears.

Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
David Rick's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I might have gotten the note wrong, Da-Hong. I had to walk to the other end of the house to check the pitch.
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