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Mic selection dilemma Condenser Microphones
Old 16th August 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Mic selection dilemma

Quick question.

I currently have an AKG c214 and am going to be doing some grand piano recording in a few weeks with it in stereo (i'll try different techniques on the day). I'm wondering whether I need to get another c214 for this or whether picking up an alternative mic that I can try on vocals etc, like an AT4047 for the same price would be better?

How important is it to have matched mic, at least in model, on a piano? Is there likely to be significant drawbacks if I had say the AT4047 on the low end and the c214 on the top? I can't really afford both and would obviously prefer the at4047 for versitility sake, but not at the cost of a bad sound.

Cheers
Old 16th August 2010
  #2
Gear Addict
 
morphtec's Avatar
You could get the AT4047 MP Version. That would enable you to use the AT together with the AKG as an M/S pair for stereo.
Old 16th August 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 

I'm sure there will be others who strongly disagree but I get very nice results with 2 different mics on an acoustic guitar and that is a much smaller instrument to record than a piano. The piano, being much wider, would offer even more options with mic placement to avoid phase issues.

Another great mic to consider is OktavaMod's MJE K47H capsule, especially if you already have one of several SDC bodies that it will mount to.
Award-winning microphone engineering from Michael Joly

I have the 4047 and the K47H capsule mounted on an MXL 604 and the K47H might be a little more versatile all-around, while the 4047 has a little more mojo for vocals.

JN
Old 16th August 2010
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
I'm sure there will be others who strongly disagree but I get very nice results with 2 different mics on an acoustic guitar and that is a much smaller instrument to record than a piano. The piano, being much wider, would offer even more options with mic placement to avoid phase issues.

Another great mic to consider is OktavaMod's MJE K47H capsule, especially if you already have one of several SDC bodies that it will mount to.
Award-winning microphone engineering from Michael Joly

I have the 4047 and the K47H capsule mounted on an MXL 604 and the K47H might be a little more versatile all-around, while the 4047 has a little more mojo for vocals.

JN
Is it phase that's the issue or is it the frequency response of the two mics that might cause problems? Honestly I can't see there being a massive problem if one mic has more 'air' than another for instance, but I'm here to be told I'm wrong because, like I said i've never tried it on a piano.

That K47H does sound nice I have to say.
Old 16th August 2010
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
I'm sure there will be others who strongly disagree but I get very nice results with 2 different mics on an acoustic guitar and that is a much smaller instrument to record than a piano. The piano, being much wider, would offer even more options with mic placement to avoid phase issues.

Another great mic to consider is OktavaMod's MJE K47H capsule, especially if you already have one of several SDC bodies that it will mount to.
Award-winning microphone engineering from Michael Joly

I have the 4047 and the K47H capsule mounted on an MXL 604 and the K47H might be a little more versatile all-around, while the 4047 has a little more mojo for vocals.

JN
Is it phase that's the issue or is it the frequency response of the two mics that might cause problems? Honestly I can't see there being a massive problem if one mic has more 'air' than another for instance, but I'm here to be told I'm wrong because, like I said i've never tried it on a piano.

That K47H does sound nice I have to say.
Old 16th August 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 

It all depends on how purist you want to get. If you want truly accurate response a factory matched pair would be the order of the day. But that's for the purist in pursuit of audiophile perfection IMHO - like what 2 perfect pairs of ears would hear if they were in the perfect position on the piano.

I think more interesting results would be achieved with non-matched mics as long as each mic is placed well in regards to the instrument and tone desired - and then double-checked for phase coherency or mono-compatibility.
I am not familiar with the c214 but I just read the features online and it is actually billed as a vocal mic but the freq curve looks like it might be kind of bright and airy. I've never tried my 4047 on piano but I have tried it on acoustic guitar and although it isn't my go-to choice for that I certainly got a very usable tone from it - woody, tight and with enough presence.
The K47H has a slightly more open top but with a little less cut in the upper mids - overall more neutral in the midrange and very much designed in a Neumann kind of tonality. I use mine on an MXL 604 that I had sent to M. Joly for his 'Premium Electronics' mod before the K47H was even available.
The PE mods definitely improved the 604 and recently I had the opportunity to compare the K47H capsule side by side with an unmodded MXL 931.
On my modded 604 the K47 had more robust low end and smoother highs. On the 931 it wasjust a tad brighter and thinner but still a fabulous sounding mic.

hope this helps
jn
Old 16th August 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kodaz View Post
Is it phase that's the issue or is it the frequency response of the two mics that might cause problems? Honestly I can't see there being a massive problem if one mic has more 'air' than another for instance, but I'm here to be told I'm wrong because, like I said i've never tried it on a piano.

That K47H does sound nice I have to say.
Phase is going to be the combination time differences to the source and between the mics, and the relative volume of these cross feeds -all placement and mix driven.
Old 16th August 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 

I have no experience micing piano, so I have no detailed suggestions as to placement.
Safest way would be XY so in theory sound is hitting each capsule at the same time. But placement is till an issue because the areas of the piano closest to the mics will be a little louder than the high treble or low bass notes. Also XY is the most subtle stereo image. Just as in micing a drum kit,many people don't like XY overhead because it gets too much snare drum.

For a spaced pair you might want to observe the 3 to 1 rule: if 1 mic is 12" from the source, mic 2 should be at least 36" away from mic 1 and also 12" from the source.

I think you might want to start another thread about suggested mic placement on a piano.

jn
Old 16th August 2010
  #9
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Mic selection dilemma

For grand piano I nearly always use a pair of SDC omnis.

Directional mics miss out the bottom octave.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app
Old 16th August 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
For grand piano I nearly always use a pair of SDC omnis.

Directional mics miss out the bottom octave.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app
but he's not looking for a pair of new mics, he's looking for 1 mic good for piano and/or vox.
Old 17th August 2010
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for the responses guys. I went ahead and got a used 4047 because I really want a nice versatile and fet inspired vocal mic and it sounds nice on the stuff I've heard.

I'm going to obviously try it with the c214 on piano and I'll post some results when I do. As a backup I've got a pair of avantone CK-1 SDCs which have spare omni capsules, so I'll take the advice and throw those on too and see what sounds best andd go from there.
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