Mic advice please!

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
fiboribo

Mic advice please!

Post by fiboribo » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:59 pm

Hello,
I currently own an Mbox2 and a single Rode NT1a. I will be attempting to record a professional cd soon. I will have some professional guidance (long distance) from an industry professional. I know that a single mic isn't going to suffice so I'm considering the following options:
- buy an additional NT1a to have a stereo pair
- sell the NT1a and buy an NT4 or NT5
- bite the bullet and buy a Neumann K84 or similar caliber mic

I guess the question is can you really obtain a professional quality recording with NT1as?

Any advice?

Thanks!

Fibo

Tarbaby (1953 - 2016)

Re: Mic advice please!

Post by Tarbaby (1953 - 2016) » Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:49 pm

Hi Fibo and welcome!

Someone should be around soon to offer you advice. In the meantime, may I invite you to tell us a bit more about yourself in the "Introduce yourself" section here ?

You will get a proper welcome and some tips on how to get the most out of the Forum.

Have fun!

Alan

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Cary W
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Re: Mic advice please!

Post by Cary W » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:37 pm

Hello Fibo. Search the forum on "microphones" and you will get several responses...there is no one right answer. Nice to meet you.

Cary
2008 Yamaha GC31C Indian/cedar D'Addario EJ46
1987 Yamaha GC-3 Indian/cedar D'Addario EJ45

fiboribo

Re: Mic advice please!

Post by fiboribo » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:54 am

Thanks. Will do.

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Blondie
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Re: Mic advice please!

Post by Blondie » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:05 pm

fiboribo wrote: I guess the question is can you really obtain a professional quality recording with NT1as?
Yes, absolutely. I recorded my debut CD using one. Its a perfectly good mic and very quiet.

BUT, that's not the only issue and everything else in the chain affects how close you can get to a pro quality recording:

-your guitar (until you actually start recording your guitar you have no idea how well it will record).
-your playing skills
-the preamp/audio interface (I don't have any experience with the Mbox but the preamp is crucial)
-the room (you can't underestimate this one, it can be a real pain to solve)
-your recording skills (miking up etc)
-your production skills

When you hear an amateurish recording it can be down to one, or more likely a combination of these factors.

The Rode is the least of your problems :) rather than spend a fortune on a Neumann you need to practice recording and get to grips with all the above, it takes time to learn and troubleshoot and throwing money at an expensive mic does not catapult your quality up, you may end up (as one of my friends discovered) actually making a problem that's already there worse due to its sensitivity.

fiboribo

Re: Mic advice please!

Post by fiboribo » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:26 pm

Hi Blondie,
Thank you for all your advice. It makes perfect sense. I guess for the purpose of recording in stereo I'll go ahead and get an additional NT1a which is quite cheap. I will be testing different venues (churches as well as bedrooms :). Where could I hear you debut recording you mentioned? I'm curious to hear the sound. Let the experimenting begin!

Thanks!

Fibo

Liz Williams

Re: Mic advice please!

Post by Liz Williams » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:36 pm

Fibo - I am in love with my modified Oktava 319 (a large condenser mic, modified by Michael Joly; there are other mic modifiers and the NT1a is a mic commonly modified by Joly and others). I agree that every link in the chain matters, as does skill in mike placement, but, for me, having a mic with a sound you love is a great way to start.

englishguitarist

Re: Mic advice please!

Post by englishguitarist » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:58 pm

Hi Fibo

After some research, I recently got a pair of SE2200a 1" condensers (SE Electronics) and I personally think these would be incredibly tough to beat in this price range, for CG (£159 each in the UK, including a great shockmount). I would qualify my suggestion by saying that I've had a fair degree of experience (as a full time guitar teacher and classical guitarist) over the years, of more expensive mics - my stock one being an AKG C414 B-ULS (was around £600 each new at the time), which I still have at the moment, though I've also used a Neumann or two in studios. I've got a clip or two with the SE2200a pair, though I need to read the regs about posting/linking clips again first. It's always a personal thing, but I'm blown away by their sound for CG at that price level. I'm certainly as happy with those as the much-loved, but discontinued 414.

I'm not an expert on audio interfaces, but even with my cheapish Tascam us-600 for now, I've produced a better sound (probably by maintaining full control of the production!) in my own dining room, than with several different, way-more-expensive mics, in a couple of quality studios. Whatever you end up with, having the time and freedom at home (or in a nearby location) is very liberating, and once you've found a great sound, it's easy to repeat!

See Per Lindhof's posts and videos on mic set-ups. I like the spaced pair, and quite a broad stereo spread, personally.

Graham

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Mic advice please!

Post by rojarosguitar » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:24 pm

Hi Fibo,

are you planning to do the recording by yourself?

If find it a bit hard to be simultanously in three modes: tech mode, artist mode and producer mode.

Of course, you can theoretically position the mics somehow, set the levels, somehow, press the button and hope to be able to forget the technical aspects. Then you still have to have enough introspection to know whether you have your piece played properly. If you have to concentrate on your mistakes too much, the likelihood of a good perfomance is not beeing too great ... that's why in professional recording projects there's allways somebody who reads the sheet music and tells you what needs more attention.

But even before that, in every recording room there are spots to sit and spots to put the mics in, and they can be found by experience and experimenting, but than again you have to have somebody who tells you where you sound best and who then goes around with the mics and headphones (or just his/her ears) and finds the best spot for the mics. This is not to be underestimated in any room, but especially in normal rooms that are not specially treated for recording purposes and always exhibit some kinds of problems.

I think the microphones are the least problem, I don't know the Rode nt1, but from my experience with many mics I'd say, you'd have to really to look intentionally for a mic that would totally spoil your recording (decent technical data assumed); preamps are a chapter by themselves; they can 'sound' more or less alive; I'm not entering this area here. I had recently an M-Audio DMP 3 and I sent it back; it was not bad but it was a bit stiff and didn't have that air I'Äm always looking for in the preamp; but I could imagine obe could live with that.

So I agree with Blondies list and would say, all in all the best thing to do, if you invest the time and energy to do a whole record, to have somebody to help with you with all other things ... execpt playing; I'm quite sure that for somebody who knows what she/he's doing the rode Nt1 wouldn't be an issue at all, decent preamp and AD converter (which sits in the interface) assumed.

anyway, however you decide, best succes

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 ...

John O

Re: Mic advice please!

Post by John O » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:46 pm

Among those options, I'd buy a second NT-1a. The room in which you record is critically important--try to use a church if possible. Those mics and a good room should produce a perfectly fine recording.

fiboribo

Re: Mic advice please!

Post by fiboribo » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:07 am

Wow. So much advice! Thank you guys. I'll look into the recommended mics. As I mentioned in my original post, an industry professional will be guiding me and my ensemble through the initial set up process (ie help us get the right sound), and with final mastering. Even though I have put off recording for way too long (why that is I'm not sure, it just never seems like the right time, new rep, new guitar, new strings, old strings, you know the drill), I am motivated now to get it done since it will actually be released under a label.
I am happy to have joined this forum and I hope to return the favor by giving advice to recording novices when the time comes and I actually have some advice to give :-).

Thanks!
Fibo

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sax512
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Re: Mic advice please!

Post by sax512 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:39 pm

I'm going to start recording classical guitar in a while too. I'm going to try the binaural technique. Basically the same as recording with the Neumann Head Mic KU 100. Being not able to afford it (of course) I'm going to build my own dummy head. This site is useful:

http://digdagga.com/dummy/index.html

For the microphones, since I need XLR ones, with higher sensitivity, I won't go with the ones that the site suggests. I'll probably use a matched pair of Nady's CM-100. If you have the money you can try these: http://avensonaudio.com/sto2/

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Mic advice please!

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:00 pm

sax512 wrote:...I'm going to start recording classical guitar in a while too. I'm going to try the binaural technique....
Hi, I'm just curious: what is your motif to record this way? I always thought this is specially meant to have a realistic reproudction of spaciousness through headphones; but is this really useful for listening through loudspeakers, as most people do? After all we normally don't listen to music that has been processed through the head and ears of somebody else ...

best wishes
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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sax512
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Re: Mic advice please!

Post by sax512 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:24 am

Mainly the point is to avoid all the hustle of mic placement and later equalization. Every mic has a specific freq. response, so using flat mics and 'equalizing' with the dummy head seems like a huge simplification to me. Consider that when you choose an equalization/reverb using your speakers you process the sound with your own ears anyway. There's no way to have the others listen to what you exactly hear.
If you refer to the fake ears that I bought, which aren't mine, the reason is simply that I don't know how to make a replica of my own. Well, let's say that I'm just lazy..
I find this method intriguing and it makes sense if you plan on capturing the real-life performance. Probably not so good for pop music, when you want the option to compress-equalize every instrument in a different way. You would have to record each instrument separately. Plus, we are not used to listen on a cd to some instruments they way they actually sound. Take drums, for example. Usually they use a lot of mics to track it. That's how they can make the hi-hat, for example, pan back and forth from left to right.You would lose this option with a binaural recording.
But binaural might (I didn't try it yet) work for single instruments and small ensembles...

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Mic advice please!

Post by rojarosguitar » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:51 pm

OK, I hope it works out for you so that the work to construct the systems gives you a satisfactory result. Hope you let us hear your recordings ...

best wishes
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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