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
rojarosguitar
Posts: 4925
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:24 pm
Location: near Freiburg, Germany

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:12 am

That means, if I interpret the drawing and the picture right, two SDC Sennheisers and two Coles ribbons. Sennheisers (they don't say which, but I would guess omnis, but could also be cardioids, because the coles certainly make up on bass) are a spaced pair and the coles seem to form a Blumlein pair. Seems like one of the very good options ...
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

User avatar
gabasa
Posts: 530
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:16 am
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by gabasa » Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:52 pm

I would imagine that the Sennheisers are MKH20 omnis. At 6 meters away, wouldn't cardioids sound really thin? As far as I know (don't quote me!), directional mics have a flat bass response at a distance of about one meter. Increasing that distance would lower the bass frequencies due to proximity effect. This means that you'd get much less bass from directional mics at a distance of 2.5 meters than omnis at 6 meters, doesn't it?

Here's two videos I found, one recorded with a stereo ribbon mic. The other with spaced omnis. Same piece on the same guitar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhyMp7rzL04
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdReaREiEpU

User avatar
rojarosguitar
Posts: 4925
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:24 pm
Location: near Freiburg, Germany

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by rojarosguitar » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:07 am

In my experience, there is not much change of bass response after coming out of the near field. And usually the bass response of a cardiode is less linear than of an omni. The proximity effect doesn't mean that the frequency goes lower when the mic is close, it just means that the lowest possible frequencies are exaggerated when it's close to the source, which makes a cardioid boomy in close miking (as it does with ribbons btw.)

The problem with 6 meters is that you need a very good sounding hall to have all the early reflections beeing handled well. No recipe for small or bad sounding rooms for sure ;-)

And in the case of David Russel the ribbons would take care of the bass anyway ...
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

DeathFugue

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by DeathFugue » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:34 am

Some of you might find this article to be useful:

http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/prin ... ous_stereo

guit-box
Posts: 1398
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:57 am

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by guit-box » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:36 am

I've been using two Beyerdynamic m-160 ribbon mics and a AEA TRP preamp. You really need a preamp designed for ribbon mics for them to sound good, most commercial audio interfaces and mic preamps have 50-60 dB of gain and you need at least 70. The AEA has 83 dB and is very quiet. It's a mid-price solution, but a pretty good one if you like the warmth and character of a ribbon mic. Condenser mics sound overly hyped in the high end and the mids and bass are not a smooth and interesting as the ribbon mics imo. If I had the money I'd probably get a couple Royer 121 or the stereo version or some Coles and a Neve preamp. Perhaps trying that setup that Russell uses--I imaging mixing the SDC and the ribbon could be a nice balance.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

Brian Brock
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:25 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by Brian Brock » Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:51 am

Paul Galbraith used a pair of Royer 122V ribbon mics 3 feet back on his album featuring "Bajo la Palmera". These are active ribbons, mitigating the need for a high-gain preamp.

Russell's approach is a bit far for my tastes, especially in the less than stellar acoustic environments in which I find myself. I find the transients and details get lost in the enveloping room even in the best spaces. It's a question of taste. Jason Vieaux's Ponce album is another fine example of the roomy sound. Barrueco's Sometime Ago finds a happy medium, as I remember it.

I am still mostly using a matched pair of large diaphragm condensers about 1-2 feet from the guitar. I usually add space in the computer. I'm not really recording classical music at this point, however, though it overlaps.


Listening with respect to microphone placement, mixing, and editing is infinitely more important than particular tools such as the microphone itself, as long as a basic level of quality is met. I recorded these pieces with a Tascam DR100mkII, and I consider the sound to be at least adequate:
http://brianbrock.com/Spring%20Twilight ... index.html
(the first track is steel string, the rest my trusty Rafael Moreno Rodriguez classical)
Last edited by Brian Brock on Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rojarosguitar
Posts: 4925
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:24 pm
Location: near Freiburg, Germany

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:32 am

Brian Brock wrote:... Listening with respect to microphone placement, mixing, and editing is infinitely more important than particular tools such as the microphone itself, as long as a basic level of quality is met...
I could agree with that without the word 'infinitely'. Yes, proper positioning is the big part of the recording quality, but still one would have a hard time to specify what basic equipment quality exactly means.

Because the guitar has this infinitely convoluted sound (somebody described the classical guitar as kind of a mini-orchestra), there are certain characteristics that are favourable for a really good recording: transient responce, phase stability, focus (connected technically with the internal damping of the microphone-preamp combination) etc. etc.

So not having junk equipment doesn't make a good sounding CG recording, and having non-junk equipment doesn't make a good music. One has to determine how far one is willing to go to get what is exactly right for one's purpose. I think, Paul Galbraith's choice is excellent (ribbons have all of the right or desired characteristics, especially ribbons of this quality...).
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

Brian Brock
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:25 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by Brian Brock » Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:58 pm

I think that in general, though, people have a lot more room for improvement by simply practicing with relatively cheap and simple tools than by buying expensive things. A little 2-track flash recorder with built-in microphones can make very good recordings. A lot of the benefit of finer things is psychological - it instills confidence in the people involved when every detail has been accounted for. It's a kind of evidence of craftsmanship, much like a fine joint in the binding of a guitar, which doesn't contribute to the sound but creates confidence in players who are unfamiliar with the instrument's sound. These are real benefits, though - I don't mean to demean psychological reinforcement.


One of the main things to aim for in terms of technical performance from equipment is mere stability. In this respect the Tascam DR 100mk2 and its ilk are pretty woeful - I have encountered pretty bad problems (digital clicking, mic capsules failing) with the tascam and a sony 2-track recorder. Technical difficulties are unbearable, and if they are bad enough as a performer the task can become more about maintaining focus in the midst of chaos than working towards epiphany. Yet even pretty decent mics and preamps seem to have problems from time to time, especially since they have higher expectations of quality. I'm quite fond of Microtech Gefelll mics, but in my somewhat limited experience they can be a bit touchy. Audio-Technica, on the other hand, makes a rock-solid mic.

User avatar
gabasa
Posts: 530
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:16 am
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by gabasa » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:20 pm

The SDC microphone pair used in the following videos are modded to have some of the finest audio components in the world in the signal path, and the Pueblo Audio mic pre (which was also used) is considered one of the best ever in the classical world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQA_SYFT3Q0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxi9843_NUk

The mic that is best though, is imo the one that best satisfies your needs. For example, Beyerdynamic MC910 condensers are supposed to be great, and don't cost a fortune.

User avatar
gabasa
Posts: 530
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:16 am
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by gabasa » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:31 pm

Brian Brock wrote:Russell's approach is a bit far for my tastes...
The majority of what we hear on his recordings is from a spaced pair of crystal-clear Sennheiser condensers. A small amount of ribbon mic sound is added, but for presence and not warmth! Ribbons can get pretty thin sounding at a distance. Check out this interesting read, if you haven't seen it before:

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

Have you had an opportunity to see David Russell perform live? His tone with his Dammann is incredibly dark. The warmth in his recordings comes from his guitar, not from the mics used. At least, that's the way I understand it based on the article above.

Brian Brock
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:25 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by Brian Brock » Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:35 pm

Yes, I think the Russell recording at that link, which is a CD of his called Aire Latino, is too roomy. I don't consider the Aire Latino sound overly dark or warm or boomy or woolly or having too much low mids, but rather that the sound of the room overpowers the sound of the guitar. To my taste, it could use more of the ribbons, and they could be quite a bit closer. If the consequence of a closer recording is a bit more noise, I'm OK with that in principle, though I consider it a part of excellent performance to minimize such noises. It's of course a simple question of taste. The key observation is that there are multiple trade-offs involved in any microphone placement choice, and consciousness of those trade-offs will help a given recording to achieve the sound it needs.

(by the way, the text at the Russell link is inconsistent with the diagram)

User avatar
gabasa
Posts: 530
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:16 am
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by gabasa » Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:22 am

Yeah, I imagine that the hand drawing is accurate.

I know we're pulling off topic a little, but I wonder what the setup was for his Albeniz CD. I've always really liked the sound of that recording.

User avatar
gabasa
Posts: 530
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:16 am
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Re: What are the best mics to record CG?

Post by gabasa » Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:28 am

Brian Brock wrote:(by the way, the text at the Russell link is inconsistent with the diagram)
Wow, I just looked at it again. The text and drawing are also inconsistent with the photo! In the photo, the distance between mics seems less than the mic height off the floor, but the text indicates the opposite.

Return to “Classical guitar recording and amplification”