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.
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petermc61
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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by petermc61 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:34 pm

Robert

The proximity effect of the ribbon microphones you typically use is well explained in the literature. I am looking at some information on practical equalisation for ribbon microphones to address this. Unfortunately the web is rather silent on the effects and solutions for ribbon recordings of acoustic instruments. [Tends to focus on vocal or band recording].

I think I am not far away from your preferred set - blumlein, microphones a bit above the instrument vertically, maybe 60cm away from the guitar.

My question is whether you equalise your recordings in an editing program and if so what sort of filter you apply (eg high pass filter) and filter knee frequency? Or do you just tolerate the increase in bass weight?

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Peter

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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:12 am

Peter,
I think that the most of the problem is addressed by a careful choice of distance (after all it's called 'proximity effect' for a good reason) and angling. Ribbon mics are not really meant for close micing unless one wants to make a special use of the proximity effect, like for vocals or acoustic bass. And of course not all ribbon mics are equally prone to that effect; my Royer SF-12 or especially SE Electronics X1R has much less of it than my Cascade X-15. But even the latter can be made working just fine for the classical guitar as I presented in one of my videos.

I kind of like the solid bass conveyed by better ribbons that is not boomy as it tends to be with many cardioids (I once had a chinese ribbon here and sent it back immediately because the bass BOOM was the only thing it had).

And not to forget, the issue of impedance matching with the preamp is important. If you like your preamp but it doesn't match with the ribbon you want to use, there are active impedance matching amplifiers that can be put between the ribbon and the preamp like Cloudfilter or Tritone.

Some of the preamps have a low cut filter and some have even switchable frequency point where the filter sets in, so you could experiment with these as sometimes it is easier to have not too many choices. If that is not sufficient, there are some excellent software EQs that work in different DAW environments, like Cambridge EQ under UAD or Waves EQs and many many more, working under VST, AU, RTAS or AAX platform.

Take either a low cut filter and the only thing to play with is the edge frequency (and sometimes the steepness or slope, which I would take ti the lowest possible value, usually 6dB per octave). Or take a shelving filter and play with edge frequency and the amount of subtraction as you like it.

I wouldn't think too puristic and use them (EQs) to one's taste (always a little bit less than obvious). After all our ears and the rooms we are in also are natural 'equalizers' or better, colouration filters. And even microphones themselves are such filters as well.

These are ideas I can suggest, but with time, I'm sure, you'll find also other solutions. It's well worth the research because otherwise ribbons have (IMHO) a naturalness, openness and easiness of sound that is hard to match with any other microphone type, especially if they are not top notch products.

best
Robert
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by petermc61 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:34 pm

Robert

Thanks for your (as usual) fulsome and very well considered advice. I suspect I will need to do it by trial and error as you suggest. I suspect my ears will give better results than trying to calculate some 'best' correction.

I am lucky to have a fairy high gain and very low noise preamp built into the Sound Devices 722 two channel recorder I bought a few weeks ago. This thing annihilates the Tascam DR40 I was using.

Best wishes
Peter

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attila57
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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by attila57 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:22 pm

Hello Robert,

Thanks for the good advice. I'm still in doubt, however, because I'm fairly unexperienced in this field, and I've arranged a microphone test for tomorrow. I'll need to be able to choose between two possibilities: either to buy a pair of RODE K2's or a pair of RODE NT2000's to go with my TASCAM DR 40. The setup is intended as a good start only, because later I'd like to improve my home studio. The mics need to be good, though, because I don't want to waste money on rubbish. I think in the TASCAM there's a decent little preamp with a high signal to noise ratio ( ca. 80 dBA), matching with that of these microphones, so I could use well a pair for stereo recording, as well as with a decent amplifier, like the AER Classic 60.
My basic quuestion is that in this category I'm talking about the tube or the FET solution is more practical. Both mics are said to be top of range in its category and therefore, very good quality stuff. I've read lots of advice on tube warmth and the like, but I still don't know what is good for a classical guitarist, as I don't know what's fact and what's only hype about these things.
I think the K2 has really impressive specification (so has the NT2000, too), and the real difference between these mics is only the applied circuitry. I just tend to be prejudiced positively towards the K2 because it looks more for professional use, (It it reflected in the price, too.) However, I think it's still an affordable option for a good mic.
The proof is in the listeneng, they say, so I'll see it tomorrow, anyway.
Your further advice would be very much welcome.

Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

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petermc61
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What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by petermc61 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:17 pm

Atilla57

Although the question is not directed to me let me assure you that either of the microphones you are looking at are so far beyond the capabilities of the Tascam that you won't hear a difference in your application. Buy the cheaper set and spend some money on a really good microphone preamp and/or a really good 24bit/192kHz recorder. Or basic room acoustic treatment which will make a bigger difference to the end result.

Peter

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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:18 am

Good point, Peter...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by attila57 » Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:57 pm

Thanks Peter, thanks Robert, for the advice.
petermc61 wrote:either of the microphones you are looking at are so far beyond the capabilities of the Tascam
The Tascam recorder is for the start only, I'd like to improve my studio later, as I've said. I'm quite happy with the DR-40 - I still haven't exploited all its possibilities. It's a tremendous tool for learning.
I want good mics, because all decent mics are relatively expensive, so I'd better start off with ones that will last for a long time.
The rest of the stuff can be improved or expanded, I think.

In the meantime I've had the microphone test and both sets sounded great.
I'm allowed to think a few days before the actual purchase.
The difference in the price is not horrible, both sets are reasonably priced and excellent quality. The mics are very well-made, impressive pieces. extremely good-sounding, good-looking and good-feeling.

The FET set (NT2000) is easier to use and needs only phantom power, whereas the tube set (K2) has audibly more detail in the sound and it has a separate power supply.
According to the dealer the NT2000 (FET) has a 'cheaper' sound than its look, because it's actually an improved version of a much cheaper mic with exactly the same inside. The casing and the controls are greatly improved though.

The K2 (tube) has a completely different, old fashioned, tube inside, visibly beautifully made. The dealer says it's good value for money because for the set you pay only 300 Euros more than for the FET set. Its sound is a very nice, detailed, rich sound, very much apart from the NT2000 sound character, which is harsher and hazier, ie. the notes in fast arpeggios etc. are more difficult to tell apart.

In my opinion the separate power supply is fussier and it definitely needs a warmup time, but it gives more freedom of choice when choosing a mixer and amplifier. In fact my only worry with the tube set is the warmup time and the mics sensitivity to frequent turnings on and off.
They're the type you tend to turn on in the morning and turn off only in the evening.
petermc61 wrote:Buy the cheaper set and spend some money on a really good microphone preamp and/or a really good 24bit/192kHz recorder.
What type of preamp and recorder do you think is best, if I want to improve on the Tascam setup?

Happy New Year!

Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

David K

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by David K » Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:15 pm

Hi Byronz,

I decided to go with the AKGs C414 XLII. I chose them over the Earthworks QTC series microphones because in my opinion, I preferred how they reproduced the sound of my guitar. I found a good deal through Sweetwater - buy two and get the second at half price. I chose the XLII over the XLS because they have a gain boost from approximately 2kHz to over 10kHz which, according to my research provides the ability to capture the transients associated with string instruments.

I posted an audio sample of Francisco Tarrega's Recuerdos de la Alhambra on SoundCloud for anyone interested.

My username on SoundCloud is davekproject

Best Regards,
David
Last edited by David K on Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John Stone
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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by John Stone » Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:52 am

Another recommendation for KM 184's. And yes, placement is everything. I prefer to have them in a good room about 2 feet from the guitar in X/Y position. Some distance sounds much more natural and less boomy to me.
2001 Manuel Velazquez
1977 Ramirez 1a
2014 Cordoba C10
They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are." The man replied, "Things as they are / Are changed upon the blue guitar."

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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:13 pm

John Stone wrote:Another recommendation for KM 184's. And yes, placement is everything. I prefer to have them in a good room about 2 feet from the guitar in X/Y position. Some distance sounds much more natural and less boomy to me.
Totally agree about the increased distance; nobody sits with his/her ear at the guitar top ...
Neumann KM 184 are of course very decent microphones. Of course there are better SDCs but mostly quite a bit more expensive (Shoeps, DPA).

I would very very much recommend to try a near coincident array with the Neumans, like ORTF or some variation of it. You will be surprized, how much mor spatial the sound becomes. X/Y like all coincident arrays is based on loudness differences only and that is not at all how our ears hear.
ORTF etc. is based on a combination of loudness and time-of-arrival differences and comes much closer to how we hear and how we discern the location of the source.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

My Youtube Channel is: TheMusicalEvents
My homepage is: https://www.live-arts.de

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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by John Stone » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:39 am

rojarosguitar wrote:
John Stone wrote:Another recommendation for KM 184's. And yes, placement is everything. I prefer to have them in a good room about 2 feet from the guitar in X/Y position. Some distance sounds much more natural and less boomy to me.
Totally agree about the increased distance; nobody sits with his/her ear at the guitar top ...
Neumann KM 184 are of course very decent microphones. Of course there are better SDCs but mostly quite a bit more expensive (Shoeps, DPA).
I've got a pair of DPA omnis that are great - very transparent and glassy. But I prefer the extra little bit of presence of the 184's.
rojarosguitar wrote:I would very very much recommend to try a near coincident array with the Neumans, like ORTF or some variation of it. You will be surprized, how much mor spatial the sound becomes. X/Y like all coincident arrays is based on loudness differences only and that is not at all how our ears hear.
ORTF etc. is based on a combination of loudness and time-of-arrival differences and comes much closer to how we hear and how we discern the location of the source.
I second experimenting with ORTF and NOS. They definitely have an enhanced sense of space and a wider stereo image. For some reason, I'm partial to the greater sense of solidity of XY these days. It's really all a matter of taste. I love NOS and ORTF for acoustic guitar tracks where you want guitar on the outer edges of the stereo field and space for vocals or other instruments in the middle.
2001 Manuel Velazquez
1977 Ramirez 1a
2014 Cordoba C10
They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are." The man replied, "Things as they are / Are changed upon the blue guitar."

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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:23 pm

you can greatly increase the sense of solidity from X/Y withoud sacrifycing the spatiality of ORTF by widening the ORTF slightly and adding a center microphone to taste. The results are amazing.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

My Youtube Channel is: TheMusicalEvents
My homepage is: https://www.live-arts.de

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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by gabasa » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:01 am

A question comes to mind after reading about ribbon microphones a few threads up. Are there any well-known examples of professional classical guitar recordings that use ribbon mics?

David Russell comes to mind, but based on what I've read, the majority of his sound is from a pair of spaced omni condensers, and the warmth in his recordings really is how he sounds in the room while playing his Dammann guitar.

DeathFugue

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by DeathFugue » Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:24 am

gabasa wrote:A question comes to mind after reading about ribbon microphones a few threads up. Are there any well-known examples of professional classical guitar recordings that use ribbon mics?

David Russell comes to mind, but based on what I've read, the majority of his sound is from a pair of spaced omni condensers, and the warmth in his recordings really is how he sounds in the room while playing his Dammann guitar.
I think a few of his Telarc CDs listed Coles ribbons mics, among others.

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Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by gabasa » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:53 pm

DeathFugue wrote:I think a few of his Telarc CDs listed Coles ribbons mics, among others.
Here's a link to an article on one of David's recording setups, complete with drawing of mic positions:

http://www.manueldapena.com/index.php/h ... recordings

It states, "The principal sound of the audio mix comes from the Sennheiser mics, but to fill the central part of the note and get more presence they ad a little gain from the Coles." It seems that the bulk of his sound is condenser mics. I saw David in concert earlier this year and his tone in person is as warm as it is on his recordings.

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