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Microphone Pair for Recording 'Intimate' Piano?

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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).
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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.
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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....?

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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.
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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...

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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
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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/
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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.
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