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JRobPiano



Joined: 03/03/13
Posts: 36
Loc: Tuscaloosa, AL
New Microphone Advice
      #1037338 - 10/03/13 03:10 AM
Looking for advice on the next microphone(s) to add to my collection! I currently own the following:

2 MXL 990's (I bought these when I first started recording and will likely sell them, as I got much better equipment since then)
1 Rode NT1A
Rode NT5 Matched Pair
4 Shure SM57's
1 Shure Beta 52

I use a Roland Octacapture interface and primarily record instruments separately to a click track, since I lack any sort of booth or other isolation. My primary area is classical chamber music, but I am hoping to branch out eventually.

I feel like I have just about everything I need to achieve good results in most recording situations. However, I am still looking for a good arrangement for recording classical piano. I realize there are hundreds of possibilities for recording piano, between mics and placement. I have tried using my NT5's and got reasonable results, but I find that a lot of the nuance tends to go missing.

I really like Rode mics, but am interested in what anyone has to suggest. I have been considering the following possibilities:

Rode NT1A Matched Pair
2 Rode NT2A Microphones
NT55 Matched Pair (omni capsule)

I am open to any other suggestions. I am leaning toward the NT2As, since there are variable patterns and I could use them in a variety of situations. However, they are not sold in matched pairs. Leading to the next question...in this day and age, are matched pairs essential when recording something such as a piano or guitar? Ideally I could try out some different possibilities, but renting is so expensive. Any suggestions are much appreciated!


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Sam Inglis
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Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037351 - 10/03/13 08:31 AM
For piano a pair of omni small-diaphragm capacitor mics would be many people's first port of call, so of those options, I'd suggest the NT55s. It's not the matching that is necessarily as important as the difference in sound between large and small diaphragm mics, and the fact that a small diaphragm true omni will probably have a much more even frequency response off axis than an 'omni' pattern created by back to back cardioid capsules as in nearly all multi pattern mics.


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ConcertinaChap



Joined: 20/07/05
Posts: 2626
Loc: Bradford on Avon
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: Sam Inglis]
      #1037362 - 10/03/13 11:56 AM
Since the OP has already got a pair of NT5's it might be cheaper to get a pair of NT45-O capsules and should give identical sound to NT55's since, as you say, matching is not so important (you wouldn't normally put two omnis close together).

CC

--------------------
Remember: Tidy wires are happy wires!
Mr Punch's Studio


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John Willett
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Joined: 07/03/00
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Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037368 - 10/03/13 12:19 PM
Quote JRobPiano:

Looking for advice on the next microphone(s) to add to my collection! I currently own the following:

2 MXL 990's (I bought these when I first started recording and will likely sell them, as I got much better equipment since then)
1 Rode NT1A
Rode NT5 Matched Pair
4 Shure SM57's
1 Shure Beta 52

I use a Roland Octacapture interface and primarily record instruments separately to a click track, since I lack any sort of booth or other isolation. My primary area is classical chamber music, but I am hoping to branch out eventually.

I feel like I have just about everything I need to achieve good results in most recording situations. However, I am still looking for a good arrangement for recording classical piano. I realize there are hundreds of possibilities for recording piano, between mics and placement. I have tried using my NT5's and got reasonable results, but I find that a lot of the nuance tends to go missing.

I really like Rode mics, but am interested in what anyone has to suggest. I have been considering the following possibilities:

Rode NT1A Matched Pair
2 Rode NT2A Microphones
NT55 Matched Pair (omni capsule)

I am open to any other suggestions. I am leaning toward the NT2As, since there are variable patterns and I could use them in a variety of situations. However, they are not sold in matched pairs. Leading to the next question...in this day and age, are matched pairs essential when recording something such as a piano or guitar? Ideally I could try out some different possibilities, but renting is so expensive. Any suggestions are much appreciated!




I record classical piano a lot and my "go to" microphones are all small diaphragm condenser omnis.

My personal favourites are: Sennheiser MKH 20 and 8020, Neumann KM 131-D and Gefell M221 - the Schoeps and DPA omnis are also good.

But - bearing in mind budget and what you already have - I would strongly recommend that you get the Røde NT 45-O omni heads for your NT5 microphones.

If you can't afford any from my list above, then the Røde omnis are definitely the best bet.




--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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Bob Bickerton
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Posts: 3107
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Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037432 - 10/03/13 08:52 PM
As has been said, add the omni capsules to your NT5s and you'll have an excellent solution for recording piano and guitar (Depending on room acoustics).

NT1as and NT2as have far too much higher frequency lift going on for any serious acoustic work.

Bob

--------------------
www.bickerton.co.nz


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JRobPiano



Joined: 03/03/13
Posts: 36
Loc: Tuscaloosa, AL
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037436 - 10/03/13 09:07 PM
Thank you so much for these comments, I really appreciate it! Just out of curiosity, is there any particular reason one might purchase a pair of NT55's? Getting a pair of NT5's with the 45 capsules is ultimately cheaper, so if the result it essentially the same, I will go for it. But, is there something I'm missing about the NT55s?


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Bob Bickerton
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Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037454 - 10/03/13 11:50 PM
So we're saying that if you purchased just the omni capsules they would fit on your existing NT5s, but if you want the option of omnis as well as your NT5s, then the NT55s may be ultimately more useful with the pad and high pass filter.

Bob

--------------------
www.bickerton.co.nz


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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
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Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: Bob Bickerton]
      #1037475 - 11/03/13 07:34 AM
Quote Bob Bickerton:

So we're saying that if you purchased just the omni capsules they would fit on your existing NT5s, but if you want the option of omnis as well as your NT5s, then the NT55s may be ultimately more useful with the pad and high pass filter.






Agreed - I don't think there is any quality difference between the NT5 and NT55 - just that the 55 includes pad and hpf and it comes with two capsules.

If you already have the NT5 and don't intend to use cardioid and omni at the same time - just buying the omni heads for the NT5 is the best option.

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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The Elf
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Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 9454
Loc: Sheffield, UK
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: John Willett]
      #1037480 - 11/03/13 09:02 AM
Quote John Willett:

If you already have the NT5 and don't intend to use cardioid and omni at the same time - just buying the omni heads for the NT5 is the best option.



...as long as you don't need the filter and pad switches that the NT55 also provides.

--------------------
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


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JRobPiano



Joined: 03/03/13
Posts: 36
Loc: Tuscaloosa, AL
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037569 - 11/03/13 03:32 PM
Thank you all so much. Please forgive my eternal ignorance, but just to make sure I understand correctly...the omni capsules pick up a wider range in front, whereas the standard capsules pick up primarily what is directly in front?


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ConcertinaChap



Joined: 20/07/05
Posts: 2626
Loc: Bradford on Avon
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037605 - 11/03/13 06:03 PM
Quote JRobPiano:

Thank you all so much. Please forgive my eternal ignorance, but just to make sure I understand correctly...the omni capsules pick up a wider range in front, whereas the standard capsules pick up primarily what is directly in front?




No, omni capsules pick up pretty well the same all the way round, 360 degrees, plus over and under as well. That's why you wouldn't put two omni mics in an X-Y configuration; they'd be putting out an identical signal.


Quote The Elf:

...as long as you don't need the filter and pad switches that the NT55 also provides.




Never bothered me because all my preamps already include the filter and pad. Are there many preamps out there that don't?

CC

--------------------
Remember: Tidy wires are happy wires!
Mr Punch's Studio


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JRobPiano



Joined: 03/03/13
Posts: 36
Loc: Tuscaloosa, AL
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037608 - 11/03/13 06:17 PM
I see, thank you. How do you usually place the omni mics in a piano setting?


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Posts: 21856
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037609 - 11/03/13 06:18 PM
Quote JRobPiano:

...the omni capsules pick up a wider range in front, whereas the standard capsules pick up primarily what is directly in front?




Sort of... but not really. We are talking about polar patterns here, which are three-dimensional things. Think of a cardioid pattern as soemthing like an apple with the dip where the stalk is at the rear. Sound sources anywhere on the surface of that apple (whatever size you scale it too) will have the same volume. In general terms a sound source at 90 degrees to the front (either to the sides or above/below) will be about 6dB quieter than the same one at the same relative distance directly in front, and the level will continue to fall as you move around towards the rear. Theoretically, the mic is completely deaf to sounds directly behind it, although few really are in practice.

An omni mic is theoretically equally sensitive to sounds from all directions -- so think of it as the surface of a foot ball. However, in practice the mic will cause a 'shadow' for sounds directly behind and so will be less sensitive at very high frequencies to sounds from behind... although that's rarely very important.

The important difference is that cardioid and omni mics work under different operating principles, the upshot being that omnis don't suffer proximity effect (bass tip up) when placed very close to the source, they have a far better and more extended bass response, and a far better phase response too.... all of which makes them popular for recording critical acoustic instruments.

Also, the directivity index of a cardioid is 1.7 compared to the omni's 1... which means that for a given amount of ambient sound pickup, the cardioid can be placed 1.7 times further away from the source than the omni. Alternatively, it means that if you replace an omni with a cardioid you will reduce the amount of ambient sound pick up by about 40% or roughly 5dB.

H

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Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


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Posts: 21856
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: ConcertinaChap]
      #1037610 - 11/03/13 06:18 PM
Quote ConcertinaChap:

...all my preamps already include the filter and pad. Are there many preamps out there that don't?




yes!

h

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21856
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037611 - 11/03/13 06:20 PM
Quote JRobPiano:

How do you usually place the omni mics in a piano setting?




http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may99/articles/recpiano.htm

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr09/articles/uprightpianos.htm

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan08/articles/pianorecording_0108.htm

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
Posts: 12421
Loc: Oxfordshire UK
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1037697 - 12/03/13 08:20 AM
Quote JRobPiano:

How do you usually place the omni mics in a piano setting?




My starting position is about 20cm spacing, at about ear height, at about 2 metres in front of the piano in the direction where the audience would normally be.

This is my *starting* position - the actual position will depend on the piano, the room, the pianist and the work being played.

The final position will be where it sounds best.

There is no hard and fast rule and there are more ways of recording a piano than engineers doing it.



picture shows main pair (Neumann digital) and back-up pair (MKH 20)

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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Tamika Caleigh



Joined: 23/03/13
Posts: 10
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: JRobPiano]
      #1039564 - 23/03/13 10:41 PM
On the high-end of the mic spectrum lies the AKG C414 XLS, which is a large diaphragm condenser renowned in drum recording. This mic opens the frequency spectrum wide open and allows for a very "real" interpretation of your snare drum.

spam signature removed

Edited by zenguitar (24/03/13 12:36 PM)


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John Willett
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Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: Tamika Caleigh]
      #1039604 - 24/03/13 12:12 PM
Quote Tamika Caleigh:

On the high-end of the mic spectrum lies the AKG C414 XLS, which is a large diaphragm condenser renowned in drum recording. This mic opens the frequency spectrum wide open and allows for a very "real" interpretation of your snare drum.




The OP asked specifically that mics for recording classical piano were needed.

For this a true omni is the best option - though the C414 is often used for close miking a piano in a multi-mic. situation; but I would not use them for classical piano.

And - I would not say that the C414 is the "high-end of the mic spectrum" as it is quite an inexpensive microphone - it's more "lower-middle" really. It's well under £1,000 (about £800 by the looks of it) and normal good LDCs being in the £1,200 - £2,000 range with several going up to £6,000 or more; so the C414 is at the low end (bit still a good mic. for the money).

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


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Loc: Worcestershire
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: John Willett]
      #1039644 - 24/03/13 02:31 PM
The C414 has always been regarded (and rightly so in my view) as a 'hi-end mic' in terms of its performance. The fact that the current version of it is more modestly priced than many of its quality peers is a blessing to many.

As we have recently discussed in the speaker therad, some models do punch well above their price point, and judging quality purely on price is foolish in this day and age... in my view.

H

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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JRobPiano



Joined: 03/03/13
Posts: 36
Loc: Tuscaloosa, AL
Re: New Microphone Advice new [Re: John Willett]
      #1039679 - 24/03/13 09:56 PM
Quote John Willett:

Quote JRobPiano:

How do you usually place the omni mics in a piano setting?




My starting position is about 20cm spacing, at about ear height, at about 2 metres in front of the piano in the direction where the audience would normally be.

This is my *starting* position - the actual position will depend on the piano, the room, the pianist and the work being played.

The final position will be where it sounds best.

There is no hard and fast rule and there are more ways of recording a piano than engineers doing it.



picture shows main pair (Neumann digital) and back-up pair (MKH 20)




Thank you so much for the picture! I recently received my NT45 capsules in the mail and will try this setup. I would be interested in feedback once I have some time to put a track down!


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