Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
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rojarosguitar
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by rojarosguitar » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:23 am

Alexandra_Iv wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:04 am
As a rule if using 2 mics for the recordings (as I have made), distance from mic A mic to mic B should be three times longer than the space between mic and instrument body, because of the phase of sound wave. If mics are placed close to each one they practically will record absolutely the same sound wave and this is that you don’t want to do. The aim of this technique is to record two different colors of the sound to obtain more rich sound. It’s a god idea to place one or more room mics to add some space to the audio.
...
If that was the case we would need ears that are meters apart from each other. Stereo is more compicated than this. It is about time differences and intensity differences.

So I don't think this is a very good representation about what stereo recording techniques are about (the only reason to use two mics).
One of the most used stereo recording is ORTF system where two cardioid mics are spaced 17cm and angled 110°apart. The distance is never three times the distance to the source...

You will find a wealth of information if you google Bruce Bartlett Stereo Recording Techniques ...

PS if you are on tighter budget but look for really good mics, try to get a used pair of AKG C451E with the CK1 capsules; great mics (unfortunately discontinued, like many great products!
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prawnheed
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by prawnheed » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:54 am

rojarosguitar wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:23 am
... stereo recording techniques are about (the only reason to use two mics).
..
Stereo is not the only reason to use two mics.

acmost9
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by acmost9 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:34 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:54 am
rojarosguitar wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:23 am
... stereo recording techniques are about (the only reason to use two mics).
..
Stereo is not the only reason to use two mics.
:)

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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:39 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:54 am
rojarosguitar wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:23 am
... stereo recording techniques are about (the only reason to use two mics).
..
Stereo is not the only reason to use two mics.
I'd be curious to learn what reasons else you have to use two mics if not for the spaciousness of what we call stereophonic hearing...
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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prawnheed
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by prawnheed » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:15 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:39 pm
prawnheed wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:54 am
rojarosguitar wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:23 am
... stereo recording techniques are about (the only reason to use two mics).
..
Stereo is not the only reason to use two mics.
I'd be curious to learn what reasons else you have to use two mics if not for the spaciousness of what we call stereophonic hearing...
Different microphones have different characteristics, none are perfect. Different rooms have different characteristics. A mix of recordings made with different microphones pointing in different directions and at different distances from the instrument can help get closer to true sound of the guitar in the room in which it is being played.

The quote that you disagreed with was talking about having mics at different distances from the guitar, not at the same distance, but separated to create a stereo effect.

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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:13 pm

I'd love to hear an example of this juxtaposed to a proper stereo recording. It occurs to me to be a quite haphasard procedure to hope to catch through several imperfections a more perfect sound without even having a clue where to start with.

But Ill gladly let myself be convinced through a good example.

My personal experience is that even if it's true that no microphones are perfect and no rooms are perfect a properly executed recording with decent microphones and a bit experimentation as to the positioning of the player and the microphones in a given room renders a convoncing representation of the actual sound, though no recording will ever sound same as the actual sound event that is being captured.

Especially recording with microphones put at significantly different distances from the source can create an ambiguous spaciousness that unconciously conveys the feeling of being at two different places at the same time as the listener. I realized that on some guitar and lute recordings done in churches where ther was a spot mic and a room mic (usually a stereo pair) to capture the accoustics of the church put at several meters apart from the source.

Never mind, everybody is lf course free to pursue his or her own idea of perfect recording. The number of possibilities is inexhaustible. But if you have examples of this technique, I'd love to hear them.
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prawnheed
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by prawnheed » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:19 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:13 pm
I'd love to hear an example of this juxtaposed to a proper stereo recording. It occurs to me to be a quite haphasard procedure to hope to catch through several imperfections a more perfect sound without even having a clue where to start with.

But Ill gladly let myself be convinced through a good example.

My personal experience is that even if it's true that no microphones are perfect and no rooms are perfect a properly executed recording with decent microphones and a bit experimentation as to the positioning of the player and the microphones in a given room renders a convoncing representation of the actual sound, though no recording will ever sound same as the actual sound event that is being captured.

Especially recording with microphones put at significantly different distances from the source can create an ambiguous spaciousness that unconciously conveys the feeling of being at two different places at the same time as the listener. I realized that on some guitar and lute recordings done in churches where ther was a spot mic and a room mic (usually a stereo pair) to capture the accoustics of the church put at several meters apart from the source.

Never mind, everybody is lf course free to pursue his or her own idea of perfect recording. The number of possibilities is inexhaustible. But if you have examples of this technique, I'd love to hear them.
I'd imagine almost every professional recording of a classical guitar you have heard uses this technique. It is standard practise.

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:43 pm

Prawnhead and Rojaros - I have stated here before that I struggle to find enjoyable recordings of guitar to the extent that I rarely, if ever, take a second listen. It's not a position that I particularly relish so, given from the conversation that you appear to have somewhat diferent ideals, what would either of you reccomend as decent examples for someone like me? At least I'll have two chances of satisfaction.

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prawnheed
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by prawnheed » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:39 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:43 pm
Prawnhead and Rojaros - I have stated here before that I struggle to find enjoyable recordings of guitar to the extent that I rarely, if ever, take a second listen. It's not a position that I particularly relish so, given from the conversation that you appear to have somewhat diferent ideals, what would either of you reccomend as decent examples for someone like me? At least I'll have two chances of satisfaction.
Difficult to say without knowing what it is you do and don't like. Personally, I am rarely bothered by choice of microphone or placement. It's much more that I feel that many recordings end up sounding sterile and unmusical due to the way it is played and editted - the sense of a performance gets lost once bits of the 5th, 9th and 17th takes get spliced together and all the imperfections are removed.

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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:07 pm

I admire the recording work of Norbert Kraft that is well documented on Naxos. He recorded so many players almost always at the same church using basically two modified AKG LDC microphones in a very traditional stereo array (noncoincident AB omnis). Because the players are so different and the location and the recording technique is the same, you can get an especially well documented recording philosophy.

I'm not going to do any guesswork about any recording I don't know anything about whether it's don this way or that way.
I'd appreciate a documented example of this kind of recording work, or else I leave it to anybody to make his or her owncexperiments and come to a conclusion.

Take care... :D
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:28 am

prawnheed wrote:Difficult to say without knowing what it is you do and don't like.
Fair enough - though I was more interested in what it is that you find satisfying. You did hit the nail on the head as far as what I don't like with:
prawnheed wrote:... I feel that many recordings end up sounding sterile and unmusical due to the way it is played and editted ...
I previously enjoyed some of Bream's recordings - also the sound (though not necessarily the musical decisions) of some Segovia but this was in the distant past. I might not feel the same if listening to them today (which is not likely as I gave away my vinyl collection decades ago).
rojarosguitar wrote:I admire the recording work of Norbert Kraft that is well documented on Naxos.
Well - I have innumerable Naxos recordings; I'm afraid that they mostly fall into that "one hearing only" category for me. I wonder if it's CDs that I don't enjoy and that, perhaps, I should invest in a turn-table and start trawling charity shops?

Sorry to drift off topic - I'm following the original discussion too but as a silent know-nothing.

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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:37 am

I think it is important to distinguish between musical and aesthetic decisions made in the production and the sheer sound quality of the recordings.

If we are to talk about the first, we don't need to discuss microphone positioning at all here. On the other hand even the best sound quality doesn't make up for the kind of editing that has been done.

As to the 'one hearing only' thing, I think it's not really doing justice to many records that have been published by Naxos, but that's another thread.
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:20 am

rojarosguitar wrote:I think it is important to distinguish between musical and aesthetic decisions made in the production and the sheer sound quality of the recordings.
Hence my request - I don't know if it's just the lack of musicality/sterility as "prawnheed" identifies it or the perhaps something in the sound quality that fails to grab me. You both speak in some detail about achieving a certain sound - I thought that it would be relatively easy for you to identify a recording that you felt, whilst maybe not perfect, went some way towards representing your ideals.

I have no technical knowledge and no prior opinion - just interested.

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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:41 am

One that comes first into my mind is "Guitar Music of Argentina" payed by Victor Villadangos, where to my taste everything comes together; his great musicality and the sound. (Naxos 8.555058)

I have been complaining about the hundreds of edits in modern recording myself, but because it has become such a common practice and there is not a shade of hope that this is going to change, I think we have to get past this complaint and develop other criteria of quality and not whether the recording has been edited out of several takes. Besides, I can see the point: while a 'mistake' in a performance is just a tiny shade in our appreciation of the performance, a shade that fades away in the memory, it stays on a record for ever.

One could argue, people should just play no mistakes, but boy, that would be boring. A performance with no risk taking, always on the safe side, studied to death.
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Re: Ideal microphones and mic placement for classical?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:24 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:One that comes first into my mind is "Guitar Music of Argentina" payed by Victor Villadangos
Thanks - funnily enough that's the one Naxos item of dozens (maybe hundreds) that stands out to me. I'll listen to it again and compare it with a few of the others.

I mentioned my question on this thread to a student this morning who responded by loaning me some Isbin recordings, on Virgin Classics, as an example of a "warmer" and more present sound compared to more recent offerings. He also returned Shaun Shibe's "Dreams" CD to me (I haven't listened to it yet though I've owned it since release) with the comment that he feels that it doesn't do him (SS) justice. Now I just need an evening off.
rojarosguitar wrote:I have been complaining about the hundreds of edits in modern recording myself, but because it has become such a common practice and there is not a shade of hope that this is going to change, I think we have to get past this complaint and develop other criteria of quality and not whether the recording has been edited out of several takes. Besides, I can see the point: while a 'mistake' in a performance is just a tiny shade in our appreciation of the performance, a shade that fades away in the memory, it stays on a record for ever.
I get all that - thing is, these over-edited recordings sound exactly like the risk-free performances that you mention next. I blemish or two in a recording is far more preferable to me - I don't mind hearing it over again if the performance has passion and integrity.

That aside - this discussion of mics/sound is clearly of importance.

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