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Author Topic: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar  (Read 9842 times)

Dan Lawrence

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2012, 03:56:05 pm »

I'm setting up an audition of the DPA's in Portland. I'm wondering if your experience is with the transformerless (TL) version, or one of the earlier versions. The dealer has to have them shipped in special from DPA, so I thought I'd try to go in knowing which I'm inclined to prefer.

Dan
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2012, 01:23:35 pm »

Well, since choosing is too difficult, I've decided to a) buy one schoepps w/CMC6 -4mk which I paid an affordable second hand price for, and b) audition some stereo pairs of dpa's (4011), along w/ some Josephson and maybe one or two others. If I'm lucky he'll have some Gefell's on hand too, cuz I've been wanting to hear those for years.  Tidepool Audio up in Portland has offered to arrange studio time and bring in a few choices for me to sample. That, in my book, is the only way to make an informed and responsible choice. I'd rather drive 6 hours and pop for a motel room in order to shop than buy blindy on the internet. BUT I COULDN'T SET IT UP/GO IN W/SOME KNOWLEDGE W/O ALL YOUR HELP. So

THANKS again.

d :)
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halocline

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2012, 10:19:17 am »

A caveat; I'm hardly any sort of professional engineer, but I do have a very detailed understanding of guitar sound. I believe that the first big step in determining what mics are best for acoustic guitar is to decide what type of recorded sound you're aiming for. Steel string acoustic recordings often value the presence of sibilance and string noise, and proximity effect, to create something that is not 'realistic' but makes the guitar sound bigger and closer. Classical recordings usually have the opposite goal; to minimize string and finger noise and re-create the sound of the guitar in a nice concert hall but with extra detail.

One thing that I hear engineers commonly suggest is placing the mics near the soundhole. To me this is the worst possible location IF you're looking for accurate sound of the instrument. Sound comes out of the soundhole out of phase with sound coming off the top; to me this creates an overtone nightmare in the immediate vicinity of the soundhole. But, steel string players seem to like the 'phasey' overtone battles and elevated pick/string noise. It adds a percussive quality and (I guess) increases the guitar's ability to cut in a mix.

Similarly for aiming a directional mic at the 12th fret. That point is a node for open strings, probably the last thing I personally would want to emphasize. And, my goal as a classical player is to minimize finger noise. I would never point a mic directly at the fingerboard.

A nice compromise might be to have a pair of mics in near-coincident (or X/Y) about 3 feet away from the instrument. I believe that mic placement, and of course the room, is likely to have a far bigger impact on the sound than mic choice, within reason of course.

I use older 414BULS. I think Klaus once mentioned to me that these mics are more suited to the modern capsule than the EB, so maybe they're a better choice than EBs that do not have the brass capsule.

I've tried KM84s and schoeps and I'm not really a fan of either for classical guitar, although I do see how steel string players might prefer them. They seem to emphasize the transients and higher frequencies coming directly off the strings. My guess is that this has something to do with the speed of the smaller diaphragm, but that's a guess.
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Jim Williams

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2012, 12:15:14 pm »

For solo steel string guitar I use a pair of AKG 414 B-ULS models that have been reworked. The output transformers are gone and quality film caps were used to replace the hard and cold sounding Wima polycarbonate caps AKG used. (Those are those yellow 5 mm caps off the capsule).

For tracks and nylon string, it's those AKG 460B's also sans transformers. Those have new caps and a fast low noise dual opamp and low noise transistors. Those are very natural sounding mics that flatter a great instrument.
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klaus

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2012, 04:16:21 pm »

So you are in essence saying:

"I recommend these two mics, but only with my upgrades."
Which may be skirting the ground rules of this forum.

Would you recommend these mics for the thread starter's applications without your modifications?
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Klaus Heyne
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gkippola

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2012, 09:49:05 pm »

When using the Schoeps in a stereo pair, i usually have them (with MK21 capsules) each about 8-12" from the front of the guitar, one above the fingerboard aimed down at the soundhole/upper fingerboard area, the other at the lower big bout area behind the bridge. 

This config, when panned wide, creates a nice hole in the middle for a vocal to drop into, or the spread can be collapsed later w/pan if a tighter stereo is needed. I've gotten many compliments about the guitar sound w/ this method.

If I'm doing mono, it's a B&K 4011 aimed down at the hole/upper fretboard area 6-12" away.   
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klaus

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2012, 12:03:37 am »

Keeping the center image empty with your guitar recording technique is a great idea!

Thanks for sharing.
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Klaus Heyne
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Kai

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2012, 03:31:39 am »

... AKG 414 B-ULS models that have been reworked. The output transformers are gone...
If you don't like transformers, why don't you use the sister model AKG C414 B-TL?

Personally I prefer the transformer version.
Despite what one might expect I consider the bass range more controlled.
Might be the natural cut in the subsonic range the transformer offers.

Regards
Kai
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Jim Williams

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2012, 12:32:20 pm »

So you are in essence saying:

"I recommend these two mics, but only with my upgrades."
Which may be skirting the ground rules of this forum.

Would you recommend these mics for the thread starter's applications without your modifications?

I didn't recommend anything, I only stated my preferences. In essence what I said was that's what I use. Since I don't do modifications to either of those mics, I don't have a recommendation for anyone that does.
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Jim Williams

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2012, 12:38:04 pm »

If you don't like transformers, why don't you use the sister model AKG C414 B-TL?

Personally I prefer the transformer version.
Despite what one might expect I consider the bass range more controlled.
Might be the natural cut in the subsonic range the transformer offers.

Regards
Kai

The TL model is prefered here. I don't like the sound of AKG's transformers, too low fi for my tastes. I have 3 414B's and 6 460B's. None have a transformer because I prefer that sound. I realize I may be in the minority in that thought.
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Manning

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Re: Pro Studio-grade Mics for acoustic guitar
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2012, 12:56:25 am »

Anyone here ever used Bees Neez mics?

My "go-to" mics for acoustic guitars are currently a pair of Bees Neez Arabella GTs in an XY using a figure-8 pattern. These are small (3/4") diaphragm tube mics, I find the smaller diaphragms captures more detail that the larger diaphragm found on conventional tube condensers, but they manage to be both richer and more nuanced than my KM84s or 414s. Pricewise they come in at about US$1000 each, so it's in the ballpark of the OP's budget.

DIsclaimer - I am a bit of a Bees Neez nut and have now collected eight of their mics (however I am in no way involved with the company other than as a paying customer).
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