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Stereo pair for Brass Band Recording
Old 15th February 2008
  #1
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Talking Stereo pair for Brass Band Recording

Hi all,

I've been reading this forum for quite a while and have found it very useful.

I'm currently putting together a setup for recording brass bands on location in venues such as church halls and concert halls.

The backbone of the setup has to be a very good matched pair of (directional) mics.

I also plan to use some lesser quality spaced omni's to get a bit of ambience.

I have been looking at a pair of Earthworks SR30 (formally SR77 I think) but think a pair of Neumann KM184's could do almost as good a job (and save me money to spend on other mics/gear). I've had no experience of using either mics, but this is what I have gathered from various reviews, forum posts, people I've talked to etc. so I maybe very wrong!

There is quite a price difference between the Earthworks and the Neumanns, are there any other matched pairs people can suggest in this range?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated

Dan
Old 16th February 2008
  #2
bhp
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Stereo Royer SF-12 or SF-24
great imaging and natural sound.
very favorable for brass.
It will work great with your spaced omni condensers.
Old 16th February 2008
  #3
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Joerogers1970's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I always brought a pair of U87's and a pair of 414's with me to these gigs.

You never really know what kind of acoutics you're going to find until you get there.

I always put up the 87's first but if it was too dark or muddy sounding, I'd put up the 414's (much to the horror of some purists) and they cleared things up.

Moral - Bring the mics that you like and another pair of mics that will solve problems
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #4
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tINY's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years


The 414 pair with a stereo bar will do a lot - ORTF, X/Y, M/S... the multi-pattern can be a good thing for solving problems....

I have a pair of Earthworks SR69 (SR20) and they sound great. But, they are fixed Cardioid and I'm not sure you need the crazy transient transparency with brass.



-tINY

Old 16th February 2008
  #5
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Cheers for the replies!

The Stereo Royer SF-12 or SF-24 do look good, but would take a lot of the budget.

When I first started this project the first thing I thought of was a pair of 414s, very versatile with the polar pattern variation. I was told by someone (tech/sales guy) though that LDC mics are not the best for recording sources at a distance.......

Budget wise I could get a pair of Neumann KM184 and something like a pair of Rode NT55 for the price of the earthworks or 414s

tINY - I had thought that the Earthworks might be 'too good' for a brass band
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #6
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My go-to mic for brass is the Schoeps MK21 wide cardioid. Poetically spoken, the brass sounds as golden and "festive" as it looks through these mics. A bit more expensive than the 184s (which I like better for strings), but well worth the money.

As to LDCs allegedly not being suited for "distance recording": Tonight I'm recording Mahler 4 with 3 TLM170s 7 ft high spread across the strings. They do exactly what I need.
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #7
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the reply pkautzsch

Schoeps were something I looked at but think they are out of my budget, would be very nice to have a pair though!

I'm not sure what the reasoning behind the LDC not suitable for distance recording argument was, the guy didn't give a reason. I can't really think of one myself either

I've reposted this in a more appropriate forum now - https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...ml#post1843001

Thanks for the replies!

Dan
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #8
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The Reel Thing's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I agree with the Royers. They have a wonderful warm tone on brass, especially if you record to digital.

One thing that I would take into account though is, that they're figure 8 pattern, means you have almost as much room content in the recorded signal as you do direct signal. Depending on the room, especially the size, that can be incredibly beneficial, but sometimes it can be the opposite.

If you're not sure about the room, I would keep a pair of cardioid mics at hand, so in the worst case you can use these. Neumann U87s are probably your best bet.

KM184 is a mic I wouldn't recommend, it'll probably sound harsh and small.
If your budget's limited, try a pair of E-Voice RE-20 or Shure SM7.

Good luck,

Tom


analoghaus :: studio label verlag - home
Old 16th February 2008
  #9
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roonsbane's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My advise is to switch your thinking a bit. Go for a great pair of omni's. If the rooms are great, Sennheiser MKH-20's will be many peoples first choice wind ensemble mics. Though they are not cheap ($1300 each list,) they are not crazy expensive either. The acoustical rings add a bit of directional flexibility. They are ever so slightly darker than 4006's, extremely quiet, with a very hot output. On loud wind ensemble they are practically line level out. This will make them great for very quiet stuff as well. They sound great on Wind Ensemble! Smooth top end, with that beefy omni low end for your lower brass, all with that lush spaced omni imaging. Put two on a one meter bar in the right spot, and you are very happy, assuming the group can play! Just salt and pepper to taste with flanks and spots if necessary.

I personally am not a fan of those Neumann KM184's. In fact, I haven't had them be great for anything I have used them on. I would think they will be especially nasty on brass.

If you are looking to save money, look for a pair of Octava's. I think the non-Chinese knockoffs are the Russian MK-012 (I have a set of the original MC012) Get a matched set with all three capsules. You are probably looking at around $450 for two mics which you will have a very hard time coming close to for that kind of money. Quality control is an issue for these mics, but there are some dealers that are offering matched sets that have been a little more hand selected. Do some research. If my schoeps weren't available and I had my Octava's, I know that I can still make a nice recording.

Cameron
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #10
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi roonsbane, thanks for the reply

I'd ideally like a combination of using a directional stereo pair (for XY or similar) and a pair of spaced omni's, with some spots. The directional pair would be placed pretty much above the conductors head and the spaced pair set further back and spaced appropriately for the room/ensemble

My thinking is that in mixing down I can get a close sound from the directional pair then complement this with spaced pair and spots, hopefully obtaining a nice balance.

With regards to the Royer, I have listened to a demo on the Royer website of 'Romeo and Juliet, suite number 2' this sounds great, but a bit distant for my liking. As pointed out in the post, the Royer has a figure of eight pattern so will capture the rear room sound as much as the front band sound

I'm looking at a budget of up to Β£2000/$4000 for the directional pair and omni pair. The directional pair take preference in the budget and the omnis are basically bought with what's left, is the way I'm looking at it....

Last edited by Dange; 16th February 2008 at 06:48 PM.. Reason: hideous grammar!
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Neumann 184's are pretty bright. I have a pair of Peluso CEMC6 with cardiod caps which are very nice. I regularly record an ensemble with trombone, alto sax, violin and vibraphone. A pretty metallic group and the Peluso's sound very nice with this. I also sometimes use AKG 460's and they are similar. I haven't heard either with other caps however.
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #12
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
.........actually on a second listen to the Royer demo, I really like it! I've been listening to too much compressed rubbish on the radio, that's why I maybe thought it was distant. The demo is here - http://www.royerlabs.com/audio/quick...d_track14a.mov
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #13
bhp
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
I'm glad you're reconsidering the Royer.
since this will be your main source, it's worth the extra money.

I'm sure I'll get slammed for this, but consider some Rode NT55's for the omni's
http://www.rodemic.com/microphone.php?product=NT55

I have some NT6's and the are smoother than my km 140's
(which are better than 184's)
I believe the Rodes are about $350 each street and they come in matched pairs.
For a while you got both cardioid and omni capsules, but this promo may be over.

For a little more you could get Mojave MA100's.
Cardioid and omni capsules.
Here's a pair for $1600
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MA100SP/

Because of the rear pickup of the Royer I would use the omnis a little closer, more as a wide mic than a distant mic.

SF-12 $2700
MA 100 $1600
total $4300


SF-12 $2700
NT 55 $700
total $3400
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #14
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Yannick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The Royer SF12 will make you very happy.

Buy it while the dollar is still so low - it will be the greatest bargain you ever had ...
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #15
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sonare's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I agree with Yannick but beware that the SF12 needs a great micamp with very high input impedance in order to really hear what you paid for, and the micamp that is probably best for the SF12 is the TRP from AEA-- under $1k for 2 channels and specifically designed and built for ribbon mics (hence the name-- The Ribbon Preamp).

Highly recommended from experience.

And for a brass band it would be my first choice.

RIch
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #16
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The SF-12 is looking like a good choice then heh

The pre-amp was actually the reason I just popped on here to post about. The pre-amp I had in mind before was the DACS Micamp, this goes up to 72dB of gain, but I'm not sure on input impedance. It has separate inputs so Phantom power can be bypassed. If I went with the AEA TRP, I could only use it with the SF12 so that essentially adds to the cost of the mic

What about the AEA R88, does that compare to the Royer?

bhp - The Rode NT55's were some I was looking at already, mainly because they seem great value for money and you do still get two sets of capsules (omni & cardioid)

Last edited by Dange; 17th February 2008 at 01:04 AM.. Reason: spelling
Old 16th February 2008 | Show parent
  #17
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sonare's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The Rode 55 is an excellent value. While I have not used the R-88 I am told by those who have used both the the SF12 is flatter (but the AEA is definitely FATTER).

Rich
Old 17th February 2008 | Show parent
  #18
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Yannick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You can always use the AEA ribbon pre with any other dynamic mic.
Or buy an external phantom power supply.

When you say brass, I think ribbon.
even with a lesser preamp, the results will already be great.
It's not that brass bands are the softest sources
Old 17th February 2008 | Show parent
  #19
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dange View Post
I had thought that the Earthworks might be 'too good' for a brass band
Pardon?

Interestingly, some of the musicians that reside in British Brass Bands (just so we get the definition straight as it means different things to different people) are some of the best (classical like) brass musicians that I've ever had the privilege of both playing with and / or recording. Some of them are rated amongst the best proponents of their instruments in the World.

Anyway, for interest my last rig included all sorts of things - including 414B ULS as the main pair (I happen to like them) but they were augmented with all sorts of other things including, but not limited to, Schoeps MK5 / MK21 / CMC5 / CM6 and Neumann KM130 / KM131 / KM143 / TLM170R.

Don't underestimate the potential quality of what you're dealing with, but be very prepared for dealing with substandard venues as their budgets are generally limited. It's no excuse for not using good microphones though, but you may have to think on your feet when deciding if or when to mic sympathetically or whether to go for a detailed balance.
Old 17th February 2008 | Show parent
  #20
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Reject View Post
Pardon?
This was in no way a dig at the quality of brass bands!! Top quality sound what I'm going for

I was referring to tINY's point about the transient response of the Earthworks. I don't want to end up with a crystal clear but harsh sound. Also, I've heard a few recordings with Soundfield microphones of brass and these sound a bit harsh to me, although I don't know what post-recording processing was done
Old 17th February 2008 | Show parent
  #21
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I tend to get quite defensive.

The number of times I've read "these will be good enough..." when referring to brass bands whilst talking about mics I wouldn't even use for holding doors open....

Having a good transient response doesn't necessarily mean harsh and / or brittle.

WRT to Soundfield recordings of brass bands I've also encountered quite a few individuals and companies who try and sell them as the be all and end all to recordings such as these. I'm afraid - IMO at least - they're not.

In terms of post processing it all depends on what you need to do. I've a tendency to leave things well alone if I've got it right at source, but as I've said before you will run into venue problems with most bands or you'll be dealing with people who are inexperienced at recording and / or are young or inexperienced in which case you may have to fiddle.

They're not as easy to record as a lot of people try to make out....I wish you luck with it....although not too much of course
Old 20th February 2008 | Show parent
  #22
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks all for the replies. I think the sensible thing to do is to try and hire some mics before I buy as it's a lot of money to drop on a pair of mics that could end up being unsuitable. Plus if I have a few together then I can compare.
Old 20th February 2008 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Reject View Post
Having a good transient response doesn't necessarily mean harsh and / or brittle.
Agreed. There also seems to be a kind of dual usage of the wording "good transient response". From a purely technical perspective handling of transients is purely related to the upper limit frequency - better handling would imply a larger upper frequence of the mic. But then people tend to say that band microphones have better transient response, and we know that they generally have quite a bit of drop in the higher frequencys. Well, something to ponder on a rainy day.

Gunnar
Old 20th February 2008 | Show parent
  #24
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dange View Post
Thanks all for the replies. I think the sensible thing to do is to try and hire some mics before I buy as it's a lot of money to drop on a pair of mics that could end up being unsuitable. Plus if I have a few together then I can compare.
That's some good thinking! I own several pairs of LDC and SDC Neumanns, AKGs, several pairs of Earthworks, and five Schoeps that sound wonderful on brass...I also have a pair of AEA ribbbons that are lovely. Each have their own place and could be better than another set depending on the brass group, distance from the group, and the hall/location.

Options are really good, and you'll probably eventually end up with more than one pair of mics. heh

Renting/hiring several options and listening to them with your preamp chain will be very eye (ear?) opening to you, and is a very smart move.

Let us know what you decide! Cheers-

JvB
Old 20th February 2008 | Show parent
  #25
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
My go-to mic for brass is the Schoeps MK21 wide cardioid. Poetically spoken, the brass sounds as golden and "festive" as it looks through these mics. A bit more expensive than the 184s (which I like better for strings), but well worth the money.

As to LDCs allegedly not being suited for "distance recording": Tonight I'm recording Mahler 4 with 3 TLM170s 7 ft high spread across the strings. They do exactly what I need.
The 170 si not a LDC. It is a medium sized diaphraghm.

These sound quite good on brass. I would rather only get a pair of 170 or Sennheiser mkh800 and use the 5 patterns rather than having to get four second rate mics.
I agree the royer is a great mic, but I would be scared to have that as the only mic available.
You will also routinely need gain in the upper 70db range.
Old 20th February 2008 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
I end up recording a lot of bands, wind ensembles and brass ensembles in all sorts of locations. Comes with the job in an American university I guess. For run of the mill recording my usual choice these days is a Royer stereo ribbon. (I usually use it in M/S.) I have over the years used a lot of different small diaphragm condensers too: Neumann 84's, 184's, and 140's, Oktavas, Schoeps (Mk 4's. or 21's, or Mk6's), DPA's. and, yes, even Earthworks X30z (the older version of their card mic). Usually these are in either ORTF or DIN. I was surprised at the performance of the Earthworks actually. I would have expected them to sound more harsh than they actually do on these sources. (I even do a recording every year of the 300+ member University Marching Band, indoors in a huge auditorium. The Earthworks are a God-send for that. They handle all that percussion beautifully.)

The halls I record in mostly don't seem to need omni flankers when recording brasses, but, I do add a pair of omnis for symphony orchestras in these same halls and a few spots too.

These days I always try the Royer first and almost always stay with that. At first glance it seems like a "specialist" tool, but I end up using it more than any other mic I own on classical ensembles of all sorts. Especially on strings and brasses it just seems to be a more "musical" solution. If not that then a pair of multi-pattern Schoeps and a stereo bar gives me a lot of flexibility.

Bob Miller
Old 20th February 2008 | Show parent
  #27
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The transient response in engineering terms is how quickly a system responds to an input from rest/equilibrium so is not just for high frequency. For example a microphone with a heavy diaphragm would respond slower to a microphone with a lighter diaphragm when sound hits it. (there are also considerations to do with the suspension of the diaphragm, i.e. what its mounted in, and the volumes of air in front and behind it, but lets not go there!)

What I imagine this means in musical terms is the 'attack' of the sound picked up by the two microphones would be different. I.e. heavy diaphragm would give slow attack, lighter diaphragm sharper attack.
Old 20th February 2008 | Show parent
  #28
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Dange's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Ah, loads more replies while I was just writing my last post, thanks guys!

So Royer SF-12 is definitely on the hire list, as are Earthworks.

I think I'm just going to have to go to this with as many mic options available, then just play it by 'ear' (sorry for the pun!) on the day
Old 20th February 2008 | Show parent
  #29
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Roland's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Reject View Post
I tend to get quite defensive.

The number of times I've read "these will be good enough..." when referring to brass bands whilst talking about mics I wouldn't even use for holding doors open....

Having a good transient response doesn't necessarily mean harsh and / or brittle.

WRT to Soundfield recordings of brass bands I've also encountered quite a few individuals and companies who try and sell them as the be all and end all to recordings such as these. I'm afraid - IMO at least - they're not.

In terms of post processing it all depends on what you need to do. I've a tendency to leave things well alone if I've got it right at source, but as I've said before you will run into venue problems with most bands or you'll be dealing with people who are inexperienced at recording and / or are young or inexperienced in which case you may have to fiddle.

They're not as easy to record as a lot of people try to make out....I wish you luck with it....although not too much of course
I have encountered problems with Soundfields used on brass recordings due to the extreme SPL's that some of these bands can make. That's not to say that with the right material you couldn't produce a wonderful recording of brass with one, but I wouldn't suggest it as a go-to option. great brass band recordings can be made with many of the top brands of mic's e.g. Schoepes, Sennheiser, AKG, Neumann, etc, but a lot relies on the quality of the band/performance, room acoustics, mic placement, balance etc, not the easiest of ensembles to record well.

Regards



Roland
Old 21st February 2008 | Show parent
  #30
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
... but a lot relies on the quality of the band/performance, room acoustics, mic placement, balance etc, not the easiest of ensembles to record well.

Regards



Roland
You're quite right - they're not...and it gets much harder to do the lower down in the grading system the Band is.

Going back to the point a bit further up the thread about TLM170s, I find they make a great soloist mic particularly (for me at least) on flugel and tenor horns. Additionally, I like them as rear pickups as an alternative to the unfortunately lest often seen BBC favourite of putting 414B EB / ULS over the basses. I find myself using mine more in this role than as a main pair.
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