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Microphones For Cello

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

Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby zenguitar » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:08 am

BuaunaBall wrote: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.

Is that based on using an M160, or inferred from reading reviews/retailer descriptions?

If you have tried one and it doesn't work for your needs, that's fine and I fully respect your decision. But if you are discounting the M160 solely on the basis of reviews you might be missing out, especially when someone with the experience of Ramirez has reported good results using one on cello recordings.

Remember, you don't have to commit yourself to buying one. The M160 has been a studio staple for over half a century and it would cost very little to hire one for a weekend and make some test recordings to hear for yourself.

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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby BuaunaBall » Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:29 pm

Ramirez wrote:
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.

Thing is, I already have projects going that need to be finished, and work for clients that needs to be done which was halted by my old mic exploding. The main issue with the room itself is one of the window handles broke, so I have basically screwed clamps to it which hold it closed to an extent, but is nowhere near as sound proof as it was before. Due to the age of the house, the only way to fix that would be a new window, so at the moment, just getting a mic is the priority.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby BuaunaBall » Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:36 pm

Going in a completely different direction here; Has anybody use the Earthworks QTC40? I've been looking into them and am incredibly drawn to them for their DEAD FLAT freq response! Also the fact that they capture 3Hz - 40KHz, meaning it captures absolutely every harmonic resonance coming from the cello too. I've seen Patrick Laird of Brooklyn Duo uses the QTC40 on his cello, though they are endorsed by Earthworks so can't be completely unbiased. Any thoughts? There really isn't a whole lot on Earthworks QTC40s out there, however it is the one SDC that's really pulling me away from getting an LDC.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby Ramirez » Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:15 pm

BuaunaBall wrote:
Ramirez wrote:
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.

Thing is, I already have projects going that need to be finished, and work for clients that needs to be done which was halted by my old mic exploding. The main issue with the room itself is one of the window handles broke, so I have basically screwed clamps to it which hold it closed to an extent, but is nowhere near as sound proof as it was before. Due to the age of the house, the only way to fix that would be a new window, so at the moment, just getting a mic is the priority.

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between acoustic treatment and soundproofing.

Acoustic treatment makes your room sound better, and it’s relatively simple to make basic improvements.

Soundproofing is stopping sound from entering and leaving the room, which is a different problem, and potentially very difficult and expensive to sort.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby BuaunaBall » Wed Jun 03, 2020 6:50 pm

Ramirez wrote:
BuaunaBall wrote:
Ramirez wrote:
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.

Thing is, I already have projects going that need to be finished, and work for clients that needs to be done which was halted by my old mic exploding. The main issue with the room itself is one of the window handles broke, so I have basically screwed clamps to it which hold it closed to an extent, but is nowhere near as sound proof as it was before. Due to the age of the house, the only way to fix that would be a new window, so at the moment, just getting a mic is the priority.

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between acoustic treatment and soundproofing.

Acoustic treatment makes your room sound better, and it’s relatively simple to make basic improvements.

Soundproofing is stopping sound from entering and leaving the room, which is a different problem, and potentially very difficult and expensive to sort.

I do understand that, and at the moment hang things like blankets over doors and windows to minimise bad reflections, as well as using an SE Space Design reflection filter to make my room sound as good as possible. However, there is a major soundproofing issue which I’m just having to deal with atm, which is a pain if exterior sounds come through and are captured by the mic
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby forumuser840717 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:49 am

If avoiding external noise or a dud room is a big issue for you, have you tried something like a DPA 4088 with a cello mount?

I know a session cellist doing a lot of work in everything from core classical repertoire to touring with rock bands playing in some major venues and she carries a 4088 with her for those days when she wants something that she knows will work in a difficult space and help the sound crew get the sound she wants with the minimum fuss. That said, in the studio, she usually uses a U89, Beyer MC740 or 4038 - depending on what sound she needs.

One fairly famous cello soloist I used to record often, initially insisted on a C414B-ULS or, at a push, one of the original TLM170s, but after many years we moved him off the 414 to an MC740 by showing him that it produced the sound he wanted without needing a shedload of EQ. (The first choice for one particular recording was actually a Brauner VM1 but the TV crew vetoed it on the grounds that it's rather large and something of a visual statement that the director didn't like dominating his shots, let alone the difficulty of hiding the power supply on stage so we switched back to the MC740.) Just before he retired we started using the V4U, which he picked in a blind AB test against the MC740, and that became his preferred mic for our last few recordings with him.

And to respond to your earlier question, if the 4038 gives you most of what you want but you're worried about a lack of LF, try borrowing or hiring one to try it out for yourself. As you're no doubt aware, the quite complex frequency radiation pattern for a cello means that moving a mic by a few inches can radically change what it's 'hearing', especially in the HF-LF balance so I think it might be worth trying to work that a bit with whatever mic you try. I've certainly never found a 4038 lacking in LF extension for a cello pickup; it can lack some extreme HF response but the lack of spurious resonances from the ribbon produces a lovely clarity without the tendancy to go 'fizzy' which can aflict even top quality capacitor mics.

To cloud the water a bit more, some other mics with which I've had good results on cellos, which might be worth trying but are less common and might be hard to find so I didn't bother mentioning them before but here goes: Pearl rectangular capsule models like the ELM A (switchable), ELM B (fig-8), ELM C (cardioid), CC22 (cardioid) or TL44 (switchable) or the Milab DC196 (switchable) or DC96 (cardioid). Then there's the more unusual Ehrlund EHR-M that I think Hugh reviewed in SOS at some point, and which has a triangular diaphragm. I've only used it a couple of times when wortking in Sweden but it was a really interesting mic with some very likeable sonic qualities on low strings. I also rather like the AEA A440 and A840 on cello but they're both huge and, particularly the A440, quite expensive and heavy. They also need really good shock mounting to avoid picking up stand borne vibrations - so really don't respond well to sitting on an un-shock-mounted stand sited within a few feet of a cello spike on a resonant floor!
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby Dan LB » Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:02 am

forumuser840717 wrote:One fairly famous cello soloist I used to record often, initially insisted on a C414B-ULS or, at a push, one of the original TLM170s, but after many years we moved him off the 414 to an MC740 by showing him that it produced the sound he wanted without needing a shedload of EQ. (The first choice for one particular recording was actually a Brauner VM1 but the TV crew vetoed it on the grounds that it's rather large and something of a visual statement that the director didn't like dominating his shots, let alone the difficulty of hiding the power supply on stage so we switched back to the MC740.) Just before he retired we started using the V4U, which he picked in a blind AB test against the MC740, and that became his preferred mic for our last few recordings with him.

I think you’re describing the same guy I’ve worked with on a few occasions too. He always asked for the C414B-ULS. Nothing else would do. He came over with his wife once - she didn’t really care what we used on her cello, nor did he! In fairness though, she wasn’t playing a Strad :lol:

And just as a point of clarity, I presume you mean the DPA 4099. The 4088 is a headset mic.
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby forumuser840717 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:34 am

Dan LB wrote:I think you’re describing the same guy I’ve worked with on a few occasions too. He always asked for the C414B-ULS. Nothing else would do. He came over with his wife once - she didn’t really care what we used on her cello, nor did he! In fairness though, she wasn’t playing a Strad :lol:

That'll be him :tongue: He was always picky about how he sounded but always in such a polite and personable way and, unlike a lot of soloists, cared and was interested in what we were doing to deliver our side of his recorded sound. Always a pleasure to work with.

And just as a point of clarity, I presume you mean the DPA 4099. The 4088 is a headset mic.

D'oh! Yep 4099's the lad. Thanks for picking that up. That'll teach me to read what I actually typed not what I thought I'd typed! :headbang:
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby Dan LB » Thu Jun 04, 2020 2:07 am

forumuser840717 wrote:
......cared and was interested in what we were doing to deliver our side of his recorded sound.

Absolutely. I always noticed that about him in particular.


Always a pleasure to work with.


100%! Very pleasant :thumbup:
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Re: Microphones For Cello

Postby rggillespie » Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:32 am

Not exactly cello related but I've found the Austrian audio OC818 to be wonderful with my acoustic guitar. Its extremely versatile and I had compared it against a new AKG 414 xls and thought it was better by some distance. Very clear, full and natural sounding to my ear, and if bought new, you would have the option to return for a refund if it didn't work for you. Prior to getting it, I had found using both a valve mic or a ribbon for acoustic guitar to get the required level I had to raise the mic input and this brought other unwanted noise issues. Perhaps not relevant to the cello as maybe its that much louder to start with, but worth pointing out.
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