You are here

Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Wonks » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:43 pm

jimjazzdad wrote:The 4038, like all ribbons, is most definitely NOT omni - it has a true Figure 8 pattern response.

You'll have to amend that to 'almost most ribbons'. Beyer makes/has made several directional ribbon mics, the M160, M260, M360 and M500 at the very least.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6427
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby jimjazzdad » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:58 pm

Wonks wrote:
jimjazzdad wrote:The 4038, like all ribbons, is most definitely NOT omni - it has a true Figure 8 pattern response.

You'll have to amend that to 'almost most ribbons'. Beyer makes/has made several directional ribbon mics, the M160, M260, M360 and M500 at the very least.
I agree that there are many ribbon mics with directional patterns like cardioid and hyper-cardioid but I am not aware of any omni-directional ribbon microphones...are you?
User avatar
jimjazzdad
Poster
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:00 am
Halifax, NS, CANADA

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:58 pm

So too does AEA, and there were a few other historical ribbons with cardioid responses!
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21952
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby jimjazzdad » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:14 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:So too does AEA, and there were a few other historical ribbons with cardioid responses!
So, are you aware of any omni ribbons Hugh? I suppose it would be possible with some active circuitry, but I have never heard of one.
User avatar
jimjazzdad
Poster
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:00 am
Halifax, NS, CANADA

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Wonks » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:27 pm

Ooops! Misread your post Jimjazzdad. My apologies.

I suppose you could mix the outputs from an X-Y dual ribbon mic to get a very-near omni response.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6427
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:19 pm

jimjazzdad wrote:So, are you aware of any omni ribbons Hugh? I suppose it would be possible with some active circuitry, but I have never heard of one.

Neither have I. It would require closing off the rear of the ribbon in a chamber with airtight seals down the sides of the ribbon which would be very tricky to do. I do know of some cardioid ribbons where the lower half of the ribbon is enclosed at the rear, though. I guess the leakage is less of an issue in that application.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21952
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:24 pm

Wonks wrote:I suppose you could mix the outputs from an X-Y dual ribbon mic to get a very-near omni response.

It don't work that way! :-) In short, there is no omnidirectional element in a pressure-gradient mic, so no way to derive an omni polar pattern.

Sum the outputs of two pressure-gradient mics, and you'll end up with another virtual pressure-gradient mic.

If the two ribbon mics are arranged as a XY pair with a mutual angle of 90 degrees facing 45-degrees left-right, a straight summation of their outputs will produce another fig-8 polar pattern facing directly front-back.

You'd need to sum mics which already have some pressure-operation element within them to derive an omni pattern from the summation -- so sub cardioids, cardioids, or hyper/super cardioids.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21952
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Jez Corbett » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:08 pm

blinddrew wrote: But fundamentally, I'd be looking more at mic position rather than mic choice and having a good play around with what's already in the toy box.

Mind you, I would also like a pair of Coles but that probably goes without saying... ;)

That is of course a fair point, although once I have the mics I can try all sorts of positions :)

Just currently I have no pairs or indeed any mics which can do anything other than cardioid.

I also currently have no piano either ;)

EDIT: New page fail
User avatar
Jez Corbett
Frequent Poster
Posts: 503
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
http://www.jeremycorbett.co.uk

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Jez Corbett » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:16 pm

Are there any active ribbon mics out there, that are available in matched pairs (assuming this is something I really need to worry too much about)? Not having much luck finding anything.

It appears my current preamp situation (RME) might not be too hot for passive ribbons :(
User avatar
Jez Corbett
Frequent Poster
Posts: 503
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland
http://www.jeremycorbett.co.uk

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Dan LB » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:30 pm

Jez Corbett wrote:Are there any active ribbon mics out there, that are available in matched pairs (assuming this is something I really need to worry too much about)? Not having much luck finding anything.

It appears my current preamp situation (RME) might not be too hot for passive ribbons :(

Not available in matched pairs AFAIK but definitely worth a look:
https://www.samaraudiodesign.com/VL37A.html

SOS review of the passive version here:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/samar-vl37

In any case, a couple of Fethead or similar type cascode preamps should give you the extra gain needed with passive ribbons.


Dan
User avatar
Dan LB
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1171
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Wicklow, Ireland

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Wonks » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:41 pm

But if you steer clear of vintage-style mics, modern ribbons are about on a par with, or even greater than dynamics with regards to output. The Coles 4038 has an output of -65dBV for 1Pa, whilst a Royer 121 has an output of -47dBV for 1Pa (for comparison an SM58's output is -54.5dBV for 1Pa and a U87 is -33dBV for 1Pa in fig 8 mode).
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6427
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Ariosto » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:36 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Ariosto wrote:I've never used my (one) AKG C414 xls on piano - so I don't know how it would fare. I would warn though that these mic's, although they have a very low noise spec, get noisy after a few weeks of use (at about 6 weeks). I've already sent one back and the second is going the same way, and I've had to stop using it for voice narration as the noise is too noticeable.

That's rather disappointing and disturbing! One of the reasons the older models of C414 were considered a studio workhorse was because of their total reliability.

I've got a pair of C414B-ULS mics -- the last generation with the mechanical slide switches -- and they are as quiet and noise free now as they have ever been. Are your XLS models relatively new ones? I wonder if Harman's switching production to China has caused problems...

H
Just an update on this question of noise with AKG C214 XLS mics.

I rested the second replacement mic for about 4 weeks in it's case and yesterday I set it up and to my amazement it is as silent as the grave and is working very well!

Previously I was working the mic quite hard over a six week period as I had to record a 42 chapter audiobook with a deadline, which was over nine and a half hours of recorded audio and much more with edits of course. I kept the mic on it's stand with a plastic bag as a dust cover so that I could switch on and record each day without having to re-set the mic. So the mic was connected all of this time to my DAV BG1 pre-amp, using it's phantom power when switched back on.

I'm wondering if I should have disconnected the XLR lead when the mic was not in use, at least overnight. Maybe the mic got some sort of fatigue? (Of course the DAV was switched off overnight and when not being used). I've never had a problem with any other mic, although other mics probably only had a few days use before being put back to bed.

As you know the C414 has an excellent self noise spec of 6dB (A) and produces excellent sound quality when used as a narration mic.
Ariosto
Frequent Poster
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 12:00 am
Location: LONDON, UK

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby ef37a » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:05 am

Ariosto wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Ariosto wrote:I've never used my (one) AKG C414 xls on piano - so I don't know how it would fare. I would warn though that these mic's, although they have a very low noise spec, get noisy after a few weeks of use (at about 6 weeks). I've already sent one back and the second is going the same way, and I've had to stop using it for voice narration as the noise is too noticeable.

That's rather disappointing and disturbing! One of the reasons the older models of C414 were considered a studio workhorse was because of their total reliability.

I've got a pair of C414B-ULS mics -- the last generation with the mechanical slide switches -- and they are as quiet and noise free now as they have ever been. Are your XLS models relatively new ones? I wonder if Harman's switching production to China has caused problems...

H
Just an update on this question of noise with AKG C214 XLS mics.

I rested the second replacement mic for about 4 weeks in it's case and yesterday I set it up and to my amazement it is as silent as the grave and is working very well!

Previously I was working the mic quite hard over a six week period as I had to record a 42 chapter audiobook with a deadline, which was over nine and a half hours of recorded audio and much more with edits of course. I kept the mic on it's stand with a plastic bag as a dust cover so that I could switch on and record each day without having to re-set the mic. So the mic was connected all of this time to my DAV BG1 pre-amp, using it's phantom power when switched back on.

I'm wondering if I should have disconnected the XLR lead when the mic was not in use, at least overnight. Maybe the mic got some sort of fatigue? (Of course the DAV was switched off overnight and when not being used). I've never had a problem with any other mic, although other mics probably only had a few days use before being put back to bed.

As you know the C414 has an excellent self noise spec of 6dB (A) and produces excellent sound quality when used as a narration mic.

Electronic noise is of course a function of absolute temperature so if that mic was stored somewhere quite cold it might not exhibit excessive noise again until really warmed up? When plugged in and using phantom power the dissipation inside the case could be of the order of 100mW. Not a lot but in an enclosed space maybe significant?

We used to track down noisy resistors and transistors with a freezer spray but if the mics are still under warranty....?

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9560
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Ariosto » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:57 am

The mic's are all kept in the same room with controlled humidity and temperature that only varies by about 1 to 2 degrees.
Ariosto
Frequent Poster
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 12:00 am
Location: LONDON, UK

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby ef37a » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:14 am

Ariosto wrote:The mic's are all kept in the same room with controlled humidity and temperature that only varies by about 1 to 2 degrees.

Oh! Ok, I'll get me coat...

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9560
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:42 am

Ariosto wrote:I rested the second replacement mic for about 4 weeks in it's case and yesterday I set it up and to my amazement it is as silent as the grave and is working very well!

Well, that's good...

I'm wondering if I should have disconnected the XLR lead when the mic was not in use, at least overnight. Maybe the mic got some sort of fatigue?

No, it's not necessary. None of the mics at the BBC studios are unplugged between broadcasts, and many remain plugged up for years if not decades without any problems!

As you say the humidity and temperature are tightly controlled, and I think you've told us previously that you use a pop-screen in front of the mic for your speech recording, so we can probably rule out humidity on the capsule as the cause of noise.

So I think I'd be looking now at other possible causes, such as tarnished XLR connectors or external interference noises...

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21952
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Wonks » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:33 pm

If you were thinking about AKG 414s (but others have commented rather negatively upon reliability of the Chinese made units), you might want to look at a matched pair of Warm Audio WA-14s. These are mics that try to capture the essence of the AKG 414EB, with the CK-12 all-brass capsule (which the WA-14 mimics).

Whilst individual mics can be had from around £430, you can get a matched pair for around £1k, so are a bit cheaper than new AKG 414s.

I don't have any AKG 414 to compare it against but I've just bought one in a Black Friday sale and although I haven't had a chance to use it in anger, simple vocal testing shows it to be a nice sounding mic.

There haven't been a great number of reviews of it, but those I've seen have been complimentary and it reportedly does get very close to a 414EB, far more so than the WA-87 copy of a vintage U-87.

It doesn't have the bass roll-off switch of the 414, and there is no hyper-cardioid mode. But it does have cardioid, omni and fig-8 modes and -10 and -20 dB pads.

So maybe worth considering?

https://warmaudio.com/wa14/
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6427
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

Postby Ariosto » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:45 pm

I don't really want to buy any more mics! Especially as i will have to update my recorder eventually with a Sound Devices Mix-pre 3.

The XLR leads are pretty new but I will check and clean the connectors as well as checking out possible interference sources as Hugh suggests.

Many thanks for the responses.
Ariosto
Frequent Poster
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 12:00 am
Location: LONDON, UK

Previous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users