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Author Topic: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar  (Read 9667 times)

Dan Lawrence

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Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« on: August 13, 2012, 02:50:44 pm »

I'm ready to step up my acoustic guitar mic sound. I have a good signal chain (UA 2-610/1176, or AEA ribbon pre) but only one nice mic. (RCA 44 BX). I'd like suggestions for a great mic in the $2-3k range. I tend to think vintage but I know that its hard to know what you are really acquiring if you're not on hand to test it in person.

I'd like the mic to have an extremely  low s/n level, and sound great on either of two guitars. (Martin '71 D-35 <read: boomy dreadnoughts> or a moderm Martin M series (much more mid/hi - range balanced). If you think different mics for the two, love to hear that too! My room is fairly well acoustically treated, with a lively sound, but exposed to street traffic noise. That is why omni's seem a little intimidating, but would love to have that as an optional polar pattern.

Thanks in advance

dd @ Mountain Sound
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Kai

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 07:08:59 am »

AKG C414, "normal" version, not too old, not TL II or any  "C12 -type capsule" -one.
E.g.:
- AKG C414 ULS
- AKG C414 BULS

Regards
Kai
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halocline

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2012, 07:55:20 am »

AKG C414, "normal" version, not too old, not TL II or any  "C12 -type capsule" -one.
E.g.:
- AKG C414 ULS
- AKG C414 BULS

Regards
Kai

Interesting reply....I also really like my 414B ULS for classical guitar, but the 'norm' for steel string acoustic seems to be small diaphragms, like KM84s.

Also, why would you not recommend older versions of the 414 with the coveted C12 capsule? I have no experience with them but everyone raves....
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Kai

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2012, 11:21:33 am »

why would you not recommend older versions of the 414 with the coveted C12 capsule?
Not for acoustic guitar if you have a price range of 2-3K$.
The old ones are all broken or reskined.
The new manufactured ones don't give the same sound like the famous old ones.
Plus - the older C414s have much more noise compared to one I recommended.

The ones I mentioned have an exceptional good bass sound not reached by any other I know. Good does not only mean strong, but even controlled.
Mids and highs are transparent, not too agressive and well defined.
Small diafrag mics tend to sound thin on an AccGt.
Exception (again AKG -funny) C451 CK1s: big bottom, big top. But not the class of a 414.

If one likes a C12 style sound, he could try the SoundElux/Bock E250.

Regards
Kai
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klaus

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2012, 12:03:33 pm »

To the thread starter: I am serious about enforcing the iron ground rule of no anonymous postings. Please identify yourself, to keep the thread live.

Thanks,
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

soapfoot

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 01:36:38 pm »

Small diafrag mics tend to sound thin on an AccGt.
Exception (again AKG -funny) C451 CK1s: big bottom, big top. But not the class of a 414.

I don't know, I've had what I feel are some pretty sexy results with a KM-54, KM-56, and even KM-84! Taste is individual, though.
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2012, 03:56:03 pm »

Thanks Everyone - For the record, Dan Lawrence from Mountain Sound here. I tried to change my handle months ago with no luck. I will try that again.


But as for microphones, ... I just love hearing the discussion. I wonder if the 414 fans think the eb model is suitable for that app. Truthfully, I was torn between a 414eb and the RCA44bx I opted for instead. So many mics, too little cash ... Seems like the 414 is a front runner. I've heard that eb is particularly nice for my particular vocal needs as well. Still, that s/n level info gives me alot to think about.

It is good to hear details like "works great on classical, not so much on steel strings ..." so thanks for those bits too.

What I'm really curious about is prefered polar patterns. The 414's are switchable, yes? Which pattern do y'all prefer. (I heard that xlII is not so nice in regards to switching, besides other issues).

A couple of other mics I have lusted after ... and wonder if they would be good choices for this app, are the Royer 122 (probably not the V, in this case, but I'm open), a Gefel, (perhaps an M1030, but I don't know if cardiod will give me the sound I'm looking for), perhaps an earthworks QTC40, though its a very different animal. Anyone try steel string acoustics w/ any of these?

Thanks again,
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klaus

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2012, 04:33:18 pm »

A general observation about multi-pattern, dual-membrane capsule mics:
With few exceptions, the purest sound will always come from cardioid. With the exception of the M149, it is the only pattern that uses ONE diaphragm without mixing audio from front and rear sides in some combination to get hyper, or semi cardioid, omni, or figure-of eight.

When regularly using pattens other than cardioid, it is always preferable to use a single-diaphragm mic (omni, hyper cardioid, figure eight.)  The added patterns in multi-pattern dual-diaphragm capsule mics are rarely satisfying, and, at least to me, strike me as more of a marketing tool than a full-performance choice.
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Klaus Heyne
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www.GermanMasterworks.com

Rick Sutton

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2012, 10:21:46 pm »

 I do a lot of acoustic guitar recording and the mic that I feel meets your needs is a Schoeps CMC series. I prefer the MK4 capsule but there are various capsules to choose from. I owned omni capsules for my Schoeps but if you have any issues with external noise pollution I wouldn't suggest them.
 As to the post that "The old ones are all broken or reskined" when referring to 414's.........they may not be easy to find but they are still out there. I own 3 and have a friend nearby with a pair.

 By the way Dan I think you want a high s/n not a low one.
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gkippola

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2012, 12:14:46 am »

My go-to for this is DPA 4011
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2012, 10:40:48 am »

Klaus, thanks for the rundown on preferred patterns. Need I say your reputation precedes you? I will take that to heart and focus more towards the cardioids. Omni's/8's are so troublesome anyways in my "studio."

And Rick, thanks for reminding me that low noise = HIGH s/n. I can get those terms spun upside down so easily.

I've often seen those DPA adds, and wondered how I might get a reference, so I'll definitely check those out, kippola.

One other general question, to extend the discussion. I've often read that it is quite common to close mic with two different mics, often, say, and LDC type on the body and another smaller condenser or ribbon on the neck somewhere. I have reached better results this way with my $200-500 mic collection, but I wonder if any of you all still use this technique with the higher end mics like you listed, and if so, which to put where.

Thanks again, cuz y'all know what it's like to try to select from a "sound unheard" POV on an investment like this.

cheers
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Rick Sutton

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2012, 12:26:02 pm »

I've often read that it is quite common to close mic with two different mics, often, say, and LDC type on the body and another smaller condenser or ribbon on the neck somewhere.

 For solo acoustic guitar I use a pair of mics usually about 10" out spaced from the body to the 12th fret. I prefer using 2 mics of the same type. Pairs that I have successfully used are Schoeps CMC4, U87 ITA, Neumann KM84, AKG C414.
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Piedpiper

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2012, 12:07:19 am »

I second the recommendations for the DPA 4011 and the Schoeps CMC6 mk4, the former for incomparable accurate capture of complex harmonics and transients, makes other mics seem muddy, and the latter for a bit more technicolor rendering. Of course it all depends on what you're after. IMO, they are a major improvement on the KM84, and others.
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DigitMus

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2012, 02:57:29 am »

Just to give you further choices, I find the Microtech Gefell M295 and Brauner Valvet BE have given me the best results on acoustic guitars. The 295 is uncannily clear, while the Brauner seems to add a bit of euphonic "roundness" (for lack of a better descriptive). The only other mic that has given me goosebumps on acoustic is the DPA 4041T - but being an omni, demands a really good sounding room.
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gkippola

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2012, 12:15:19 pm »

In the studio, I will generally use the 4011 for single mic applications of aco gtr, and cmc6 mk21 for stereo, depending on what i'm after.  Live-the 4011 has pulled me out of some difficult situations.
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