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Microphones For Cello

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Microphones For Cello

Postby BuaunaBall » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:49 pm

So my SE2200T PSU blew up and because they are very discontinued, I'm in the market for a new mic. I'm looking in the £500-£1000 ($600 - $1250) price range, and have already clocked things like the AKG C414, Neumann TLM 102/103. I can also potentially get 50% off something like an SE Gemini II through an offer SE are giving me for replacement of my 2200T, however, I've heard the tubes in those are rather noisy.

Are there any other mics that I should look into? I've used things like stereo pairs of KM184s, but can only get a single one for this price range, so I think LDC is the way to go. Are there any ribbon mics anyone's used that may be suitable for cello as well? TIA
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:58 pm

Hello, and welcome to the forum!

All the mics you're considering are potentially good choices (though personally I'm not a fan of the TLM103), but it might be helpful to know a bit more about your circumstances. What style of music are you playing, and what sort of room are you recording in?
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby forumuser840717 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:46 pm

Depending on the requirements of the recording, my favourite mics for cello are (in alphabetical order):

Beyerdynamic MC740
Coles 4038
Neumann TLM170
Neumann TLM193
Neumann U89
Schoeps V4U

The ones I use most often are (in order):

V4U
MC740
4038
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby BuaunaBall » Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:18 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Hello, and welcome to the forum!

All the mics you're considering are potentially good choices (though personally I'm not a fan of the TLM103), but it might be helpful to know a bit more about your circumstances. What style of music are you playing, and what sort of room are you recording in?

Hi Sam,

So I play a rather wide variety of "cello". Predominantly what I do is rock/pop, and sometimes use it to fill out the sound of what I'm recording through my loop pedal into Logic. I also do session stuff from time to time, which is usually more classical/pad strings type stuff. I have access to things like U87, KM184, C414 XLS at university, so this is basically my personal mic that'll get me by at home in case, say, a pandemic cuts me off from those particular mics.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:28 pm

The general rule of thumb would be to consider an LDC if you want a slightly "larger than life" sound or an SDC if you want something that is "accurate", although there are plenty of exceptions to both rules.

As far as current production LDCs go, I would certainly look at the TLM102, and also the Austrian Audio OC18. For SDCs I think the MBHO line offers good value, and you might also consider the Hebden Sound mics which are derived from the old Calrec designs. There are also a huge number of other strong contenders from the likes of sE, Rode, etc.

Ribbon mics can sound wonderful on string instruments but some may be too dark or thick-sounding for pop and rock. It's a role where I'd like to try a Beyer M160, which is quite bright for a ribbon but still smooth, but I haven't had the chance.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby BuaunaBall » Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:02 am

forumuser840717 wrote:Depending on the requirements of the recording, my favourite mics for cello are (in alphabetical order):

Beyerdynamic MC740
Coles 4038
Neumann TLM170
Neumann TLM193
Neumann U89
Schoeps V4U

The Coles 4038 actually sounds incredible on the examples I've just searched! I'm actually in love with that sound! My only worry is that the low end response seems a little thin, whereas I need to be sure I can capture all of the low end of my cello. Can you give any more details of your experience with it please?
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby BuaunaBall » Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:32 am

Sam Inglis wrote:The general rule of thumb would be to consider an LDC if you want a slightly "larger than life" sound or an SDC if you want something that is "accurate", although there are plenty of exceptions to both rules.

As far as current production LDCs go, I would certainly look at the TLM102, and also the Austrian Audio OC18. For SDCs I think the MBHO line offers good value, and you might also consider the Hebden Sound mics which are derived from the old Calrec designs. There are also a huge number of other strong contenders from the likes of sE, Rode, etc.

Ribbon mics can sound wonderful on string instruments but some may be too dark or thick-sounding for pop and rock. It's a role where I'd like to try a Beyer M160, which is quite bright for a ribbon but still smooth, but I haven't had the chance.

I think I will most likely go for an LDC as I need to have that foundation of a "larger than life" sound, and then add a SDC at a later date. The Austrian Audio mics seem to be picking up recommendations left right and centre for pretty much a brand new player in the game, so I will definitely look into those a lot more!

Somehow, I feel like Rode don't quite live up to the hype. They sound okay imo, but the ones I've had access to were so problematic, and half the time they were back at Rode being fixed or replaced. And I think you're right on the ribbon front. The M160 definitely sounds brighter, but still a bit dark for me. The definitely have their applications for strings, but couldn't be my only mic.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby Arpangel » Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:22 am

I’ve used my Sennheiser MKH30/40 combo on cello a few times, yes, an LDC will give you a different sound, but the MKH's are very flat, and have good bass extension, an MKH40 is above your budget, but you’ll definitely appreciate what it can do.
The cello as we know is especially, very rich in certain harmonics, and the Sennheisers won’t restrict that in any way, strings sound very open and natural with them.
If it’s a slightly enhanced, slightly "fuller" sound you’re after, then I guess go for an LDC, it may be better for the styles of music you mention.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:04 am

How bright is your cello? When we did some cello recording a few years ago we found a nice set-up for my cello using a stereo LDC.
But when we got a proper cellist involved her instrument sounded completely different and we switched to a ribbon.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby Ramirez » Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:57 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Ribbon mics can sound wonderful on string instruments but some may be too dark or thick-sounding for pop and rock. It's a role where I'd like to try a Beyer M160, which is quite bright for a ribbon but still smooth, but I haven't had the chance.

I used an M160 on cello for an album last year and was very happy with it.

Here are a couple of examples if you're interested (though I can't remember how much of the M160 is in the mix in relation to the main pair - Line Audio OM1 if memory serves)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZpLKMFOGCQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FgD6wEs5_w

I have an AEA R84 on the way - I'm looking forward to trying that on a variety of stringed instruments!

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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby BuaunaBall » Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:39 pm

blinddrew wrote:How bright is your cello? When we did some cello recording a few years ago we found a nice set-up for my cello using a stereo LDC.
But when we got a proper cellist involved her instrument sounded completely different and we switched to a ribbon.

My cello is pretty much straight down the middle. It's not overly bright, yet still has a sharp but full tone. The SE2200T I was using however, was too bright for my taste, but was what I could afford at the time (second hand), so I'm looking for something with a full tone, but controlled high ends.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby BuaunaBall » Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:43 pm

Ramirez wrote:I used an M160 on cello for an album last year and was very happy with it.

Here are a couple of examples if you're interested (though I can't remember how much of the M160 is in the mix in relation to the main pair - Line Audio OM1 if memory serves)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZpLKMFOGCQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FgD6wEs5_w

I have an AEA R84 on the way - I'm looking forward to trying that on a variety of stringed instruments!

Aled

I looked into the M160, and whilst it is slightly brighter than most ribbons, it still seems a little dark for the majority of my applications. I was also considering pushing my budget a bit for the R84!! Though in my non soundproof room, I'm using a vocal reflection filter to help isolate the mic, so the bidirectional pattern would be rather wasted.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby John Willett » Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:29 pm

I have just had a cellist coming to me for microphones for a cello - after trying several by different manufacturers he decided on the Gefell UMT 70S (the MT 71S is the same but cardioid only and chesper).

Now, as I distribute Gefell in the UK, I will not say more - other than a cellist considers this a good mic. for the cello and it ought to be on the list of microphones you try.

But, what you buy you should try for yourself first - and most good mic. dealers / distributors should be able to arrange a loan for you.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby Ramirez » Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:52 pm

BuaunaBall wrote:Though in my non soundproof room, I'm using a vocal reflection filter to help isolate the mic, so the bidirectional pattern would be rather wasted.

You wouldn’t be ‘wasting’ the pattern. You just need to be aware of the sensitive rear lobe, and that includes closing it off to reflections as you mentioned, which is perfectly OK to do.

However, seeing as you’re suggesting your room is not treated, it would be FAR better to address that first, before looking at microphones.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby resistorman » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:28 am

I’ve used clip ons for rock. The AT pro35 was surprisingly good. You can clip it right on to the bridge and find the best spot and not worry about movement. DPA make some great mics like this for considerably more money, but you get what you pay for.
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