What are the best mics to record CG?

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
User avatar
byronz
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:30 am
Location: Wiltshire, UK

What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by byronz » Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:07 am

Maybe this has been covered already, but the question is what is the best microphone(s) to record the classical guitar?
I use a rode NT4 which is a stereo mic, and which I place about 250mm away from the guitar. My preamp is a Focusrite Saphire PC soundcard.
You can listen to the results on my website.

What do you use?
Do you record with one or two mics?
How do you position the mics, how far away?
A true artist is very aware and capable of expressing an informed and intimate point of view.

Toccata

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by Toccata » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:14 am

Indeed, it has been covered in numerous threads. Anyway, what is your budget?

User avatar
byronz
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:30 am
Location: Wiltshire, UK

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by byronz » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:45 am

Maybe there should be a relevant section on recording. I must say I find this forum quite user unfriendly.
Budjet could vary from £200 to £800 or more.If one knows the options one can save to achieve the desired goal.
A true artist is very aware and capable of expressing an informed and intimate point of view.

David McHarg

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by David McHarg » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:30 am

Given that you already have the Rode NT4 you should be able to get excellent results so what is wrong with your current setup ? A matched pair of Rode NT5's with a small preamp is an excellent setup. I don't think you will notice a huge difference if you simply buy more expensive microphones. It might be worth looking into a small preamp to use with your Rode NT4. Better microphones/preamps etc really only gets you so far and then you really have to take a serious look at the room you are recording in. I use a small portable recorder (Edirol R09HR) placed about 50-100cm away, sample recording below.

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=66705

User avatar
byronz
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:30 am
Location: Wiltshire, UK

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by byronz » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:51 am

I didn't say I had any problem personally. I'm just raising the question "what is the best mic', set up to record the CG. I'm always trying to improve the sound.
The preamp I get with the focusrite soundcard is actually very good indeed. The only problem is that it only has two XLR inputs, and one stereo Rode NT4 needs both of these. Which means you can't add more mics to the soundcard so that you can record both close up and also record the room acoustics. That would require a soundcard with more XLRs. As you say if I used two Rode NT5's I could get a nicer stereo image. What do you think of the AKG C414 XLS?
I already have one Rode NT5.
A true artist is very aware and capable of expressing an informed and intimate point of view.

User avatar
Kristian Nøhr
Posts: 256
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:15 pm
Location: Varde, Denmark

What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by Kristian Nøhr » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:02 am

A pair of Neumann km184 is next step after a Rode Nt5 pair.
I dont think adding an extra nt5 will give you any significant change to the nt4-stereo mic, so I would save the money
They are close to 800£ I think....
I can't be number 1, I refuse to be number 2 - I am Kristian Nøhr!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman.....Then be Batman.

David McHarg

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by David McHarg » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:23 pm

The NT4 is just as good as the NT5's but a little less flexible due to the fixed xy setup. I think you will hear a bigger difference by recording in a nice space than you will from buying more expensive mics. Something like a zoom H4N with 2 XLR inputs would be more portable and let you experiment with recording in different locations and still use your NT4.

Toccata

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by Toccata » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:31 pm

In my experience, Schoeps mics are the best that I have used, but they are around $2000 ea! Royer ribbon mics are supposed to be amazing with string instruments, but they are about the same price. (You did ask for the best!) I was a recording engineer many years ago, and I kick myself for selling my Schoeps, B&K (now known as DPA), and AKG mics. I had a pair of 414 mics--I preferred both the Schopes and B&K--they had less coloration. However, the AKGs are very versatile since they are multi-pattern mics. My Schoeps were cardiod/omni, and the B&Ks were omni. Depending on the room, the B&Ks delivered amazing sound, but if the acoustics are not just right, the omni pattern can pick up a lot of unwanted reflections. The imaging could be a bit diffuse, too.

User avatar
byronz
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:30 am
Location: Wiltshire, UK

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by byronz » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:55 pm

Maybe some recording engineer or person with recording experience could help me here.

I now have two mics for a stereo recording. A Rode NT5 and an AKG 414XLS. I plan to use the best one (AKG 414) close to the guitar, facing the 12th fret) and the Rode about one meter back to pick up the room echo.

What settings would you use with an AKG 414 XLS if you have it placed 20-30cm from the soundhole?
Which side should face the guitar? One side is black the other is silver.

Which pattern? On the AKG 414 XLS there are 9 possible: 5 basic ones, and the intermediate settings, which include both the previous and last setting together:
omnidirectional, intermediate, wide cardioid, intermediate, cardioid, intermediate, hypercardioid, intermediate, figure eight.

Also there is a preattenuation selector for 'headroom' 0, 6, 12, 18 dB . Which setting should one use?

And a bass cut off selector of 0, 40Hz, 80Hz, 160Hz. (I guess that an 80Hz cut off would be OK since the lowest note is about 82Hz)

So what would you reckon are the best settings. Thanks in advance for your time and answers.
A true artist is very aware and capable of expressing an informed and intimate point of view.

DonM

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by DonM » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:12 am

B:

I haven't jumped into this thread, since I have posted so much in the past about microphone selection, purchase and placement - a modest search should result in several of those threads. One of the first appears at:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=28746&start=15

Regarding the use of the AKG 414 - (one of my desert island mics for sure!) I have the following experience.

When I first got my pair of 414's, to be honest I really didn't like them. I tried to like them, but they sounded dull to me. I began working with placement for string sections in orchestral work and near placement for guitars and such and my experimentation revealed to me a dislike for the normal cardiod pattern. The Omni, F8 and Wide Card to my ears were excellent - I started out using only the card pattern and ended up going to other mics during that time.

I suggest using the Wide Card pattern as an experiment for Classical Guitar - near mic'ed. Your recording environment has a huge impact on what that will sound like - so experiment with both placement and environment. If the room is particularly present with LF noise, you can use the low roll. I would leave the pad at 0.

Regarding placement on the instrument - I can't speak to that since every guitar I have ever recorded has required a different placement. I don't want to sound esoteric here, but I find that every player and guitar combination requires a bit of tweaking in my approach.
I typically have a sound that I am after for each recording, and the placement has a huge impact on my ability to hit that target.

Best.

-D

englishguitarist

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by englishguitarist » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:23 pm

Hi

With an NT5 and the 414, you could go for an M/S Stereo approach. A quick search for M/S Stereo will explain that, if you don't already know. Some would suggest that the mics should be better matched for M/S, but I got some promising results from a 414 B-ULS and a Beyer MC930, though I have yet to get out to a good-sounding room/hall/church. It may be worth a try, especially if you can get out to a nice acoustic space.

Concerning KM184 being "the next step up from NT5": If we're just dealing cardiod SDCs, then don't overlook the Beyerdynamic MC930, which lies between the two in price, and which I took in preference to the KM184 (regardless of price), based on high quality clips I could find. I must qualify this by adding that I haven't tried the KM184s in the flesh.

EG

Per Lindhof
Posts: 296
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:32 pm

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by Per Lindhof » Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:44 am

Hi Byronz
Indeed this question has been covered a lot. It doesn't make it irrelevant though.

Some experiences of mine are:

1) Keep it simple and play well...

2) If you are closer to the guitar than 35 cm you are in a very complicated zone. The sound may vary a lot and you may get unwanted boominess.
Watch this for a simple reference:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5ljlN8quFU

3) The separation between the mics has a huge influence too. Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNoKcqjmVdU

After hundreds of hours of experimentation I have come to this simple set up:
Small diaphragm mics angled 60 degrees with the capsules 17 cm apart.
This gives a nice stereo separation (wider than your NT4s but not huge - a classical guitar is a solo instrument, not an orchestra).
It has very few phase problems (turns into mono well).
I place the mics about 60 cm from the guitar pointing 45 degrees down.
The 60 cm distance does add a little natural ambience to the recording, but not too much (if you have a very nice sounding room increase the distance).
The downward angling of the mics makes the sound a little more mellow and full instead of direct and sharp.

4) Microphones are important - if you already play well on a nice instrument in a nice room...
I had several mics before I bought a pair of Neumann KM184. They are completely loyal to me. If the recording sounds horrible it's not the mics but me, the room or whatever.
I never had a success with LDCs but thats my preference.
There's not such a thing as the best mic but you don't get professional results with very cheap mics. The good news is that it's possible to get very nice mics at a very reasonable price. I guess your Rode is in this category.

5) Experimentation matters a lot as your location and wishes may vary a lot form other players.


Kind regards
Per Lindhof
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
byronz
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:30 am
Location: Wiltshire, UK

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by byronz » Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:44 pm

edited
Last edited by byronz on Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.
A true artist is very aware and capable of expressing an informed and intimate point of view.

Per Lindhof
Posts: 296
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:32 pm

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by Per Lindhof » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:40 pm

Hi Byronz.
Thanks, but I don't get access to the folder.

Regards
Per Lindhof

User avatar
byronz
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:30 am
Location: Wiltshire, UK

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by byronz » Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:13 pm

byronz wrote:Thank you very much. Here's a quick recording of the Bourree by Bach.
Mics are 36 apart from each other with an XY configuration.
Rode NT5 faces the 12 fret (distance 45, height from ground to top of the mic 72 ),
AKG 414 XLS faces bridge (distance 45, height from ground to the top of the mic 85 )
I have added a touch of reverb (free Anwida software)

http://zeliotis.com/Forum.html


PS From now on all links to recordings, videos and pictures will be from my own site
A true artist is very aware and capable of expressing an informed and intimate point of view.

Return to “Classical guitar recording and amplification”