Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
mrdarcy
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Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by mrdarcy » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:04 am

Hi all,

I am looking for an entry-level recording setup for CG practice.
I have three questions:

1.) For a portable recorder, would you recommend one with omni microphones or one with X/Y stero mics? Does it make any difference when just one guitar is recorded?

2.) If an android device is used as recorder, which kind of microphone (+dac?) is needed to achieve similar sound quality to a dedicated portable recorders?

3.) Is it possible to copy a recording from a portable recorder directly onto an android device without SD card slot?

Hoping some CG recording genies will grant me three answers :wink:
Thanks in advance!

el_guitarrero
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by el_guitarrero » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:05 pm

Hello,
I had Zoom H2n, H5, Tascam dr-05 and sony pcm m10. The omni mics of the last two mentioned were much better for classical guitar, sony with the warmest sound.
Since both mics are close together, the stereo effect is not the best, in xy or (small-AB) omni config. If the recorder has PIP (mic in) 3,5mm stereo input, you can upgrade to Naiant X-R mics and create a bigger sound by spreading the mics up to 60cm / two feet.

Almost all recorders can be connected as usb device to Android and IOS devices.

Regards

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sxedio
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by sxedio » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:49 pm

Regarding no 2 and 3 have a look also at add ons for smart phones e.g. viewtopic.php?f=16&t=116528&p=1240065#p1240065 I'm sure there must be some android equivalents.

Regarding no 1 I have the Zoom H5 with XY cardioids, and I also have a lavalier omni mic . I did try testing them against each other and I honestly couldn't hear much of a difference. In practice the built in mics are going to be easier to use, unless you set up everything permanently in a studio space.
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John Oster
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by John Oster » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:05 pm

I don't think a portable recorder with built-in omni mics would sound very good. Omnis need to be a few feet apart to produce a stereo image. In fact, I've never seen such a configuration: all portables I've seen are either X/Y or a modified ORTF--definitely some version of co-incident mics. If you use an outboard preamp/mixer, then omnis will sound fine, a little diffuse, perhaps, if the room has a lot of natural reverb.
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el_guitarrero
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by el_guitarrero » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:40 am

Hello,

with all respect, I have / had all this equipment and tested it carefully, until I decided to go the USB Interface/ separate Mics Route.

The Small Cardioid Mics (XY) in Zoom Devices have a too small diameter to produce a fat/ big sound. The interchangeable capsules of Zoom H5/ H6 can be upgraded to XYH-6 with a bigger diametre, and bass response and mids will be enhanced.

Here is why I prefer Omnis:
Omnis work different, the capsule size does not play such a role (see DPA mics, one of the best mics for classical music).
They create the better sound, not harsh and with emphasized highs as with the XY-Zoom Mics (Cardioids).Less Nail Click and Squeaks.

XY does not create the "big sound" that we often desire with classical guitar. In this case, A B stereo Spread between 2 mics is needed, at least 60cm.
And the 2 small Omni capsules built in the Tascam and Sony do pretty well. There is a good "environmental sound" that can be isolated by getting closer to the Instrument. Oh, one more plus, there is no proximity effect with Omnis. (Highs drowned by Bass, when getting close to the sound source).

But, to come back to the topic, in direct comparison to separate mics and Interface, the Sony PCM M10 has the most pleasing sound, since mids and bass are better represented. The sound created is very good for classical/ wood instruments in general.


All the best!

mrdarcy
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by mrdarcy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:18 am

el_guitarrero wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:05 pm
Hello,
I had Zoom H2n, H5, Tascam dr-05 and sony pcm m10. The omni mics of the last two mentioned were much better for classical guitar, sony with the warmest sound.
Since both mics are close together, the stereo effect is not the best, in xy or (small-AB) omni config. If the recorder has PIP (mic in) 3,5mm stereo input, you can upgrade to Naiant X-R mics and create a bigger sound by spreading the mics up to 60cm / two feet.

Almost all recorders can be connected as usb device to Android and IOS devices.

Regards
It's good to receive an opinion from someone who is experienced with both configurations! I looked up the Naiant system at their website, and I'm suprised about both portability and affordability. Even though I'll get just a portable recorder for the start, I'll keep in mind this upgrade path.

Regarding Android connectivity, I found out that the Zoom H1 can even function as external USB microphone. That's a possibility I have not yet seen in the Tascam descriptions.

Cheers

mrdarcy
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by mrdarcy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:43 am

sxedio wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:49 pm
Regarding no 2 and 3 have a look also at add ons for smart phones e.g. viewtopic.php?f=16&t=116528&p=1240065#p1240065 I'm sure there must be some android equivalents.

Regarding no 1 I have the Zoom H5 with XY cardioids, and I also have a lavalier omni mic . I did try testing them against each other and I honestly couldn't hear much of a difference. In practice the built in mics are going to be easier to use, unless you set up everything permanently in a studio space.
Most smart-phone add-on microphones I saw had a proprietary connector for just one type of phone (e.g. iPhone 4). I saw the Zoom H1 can act as external phone with USB. Indeed I think of using just the built-in mics, because I'd record in whichever room I happen to be in when I practice and do not want to waste too much practice time on set-up.

:merci:
Last edited by mrdarcy on Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

mrdarcy
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by mrdarcy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:53 am

tubeman wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:05 pm
I don't think a portable recorder with built-in omni mics would sound very good. Omnis need to be a few feet apart to produce a stereo image. In fact, I've never seen such a configuration: all portables I've seen are either X/Y or a modified ORTF--definitely some version of co-incident mics. If you use an outboard preamp/mixer, then omnis will sound fine, a little diffuse, perhaps, if the room has a lot of natural reverb.
Tascam specifies the DR-05's built-in microphones as "omnidirectional, stereo", and indeed they are set up in a configuration similar to ORTF (had to look it up, got a glimpse of a whole new world of knowledge...). Feel free to read my question as "ORTF vs. X/Y stereo on portable recorders" :wink:

I did not yet think of external mics or even pre-amps and mixers, for practical and fincancial reasons but also because I feel I first have to build some experience and skill in audio recording.

:merci:
Last edited by mrdarcy on Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

mrdarcy
Posts: 27
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by mrdarcy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:07 am

el_guitarrero wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:40 am
Hello,

with all respect, I have / had all this equipment and tested it carefully, until I decided to go the USB Interface/ separate Mics Route.

The Small Cardioid Mics (XY) in Zoom Devices have a too small diameter to produce a fat/ big sound. The interchangeable capsules of Zoom H5/ H6 can be upgraded to XYH-6 with a bigger diametre, and bass response and mids will be enhanced.

Here is why I prefer Omnis:
Omnis work different, the capsule size does not play such a role (see DPA mics, one of the best mics for classical music).
They create the better sound, not harsh and with emphasized highs as with the XY-Zoom Mics (Cardioids).Less Nail Click and Squeaks.

XY does not create the "big sound" that we often desire with classical guitar. In this case, A B stereo Spread between 2 mics is needed, at least 60cm.
And the 2 small Omni capsules built in the Tascam and Sony do pretty well. There is a good "environmental sound" that can be isolated by getting closer to the Instrument. Oh, one more plus, there is no proximity effect with Omnis. (Highs drowned by Bass, when getting close to the sound source).

But, to come back to the topic, in direct comparison to separate mics and Interface, the Sony PCM M10 has the most pleasing sound, since mids and bass are better represented. The sound created is very good for classical/ wood instruments in general.


All the best!
So, at this point you use separate mics which are connected to a computer or smart device via a USB interface which contains mic pre-amp and DAC? Sorry about the question, I am pretty new at this...

Alas, the Sony PCM M10 is no longer available here in Europe. Overall, what I read here and elsewhere made me sway towards Tascam, with the outlook of adding external microphones at a later point in time.

:merci:

el_guitarrero
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by el_guitarrero » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:22 am

Hi,

the Tascam DR05 is quite good regarding the low pricing.
Naiant Mics can be attached to it, too.

(btw. I am selling this stuff on e*bay right at this moment - in case you are interested.)

At this moment I use an Audient ID14 USB Interface with very good preamps and 2 x Line Audio CM3 Microphones. These mics are GREAT. Tiny, Wide Cardioid, flat response and perfect for classical recordings. (look up the reviews at gearslutz...) , this goes into a Macbook at the moment, Reaper is used as DAW (Software), adding some reverb to taste.

Best regards

el_guitarrero
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Re: Omni vs. X/Y stereo microphones in portable recorder for practice

Post by el_guitarrero » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:27 am

and: I think for the price this is the best price/Sound quality configuration possible...
2x Mics and ID14 + Mic Stands around 550€ ... Result: "almost" Professional sound.

For the ease of use (and also remarkable results) a stand alone recorder reaches up to 80% of the sound quality of above mentioned setup. For a much lower price and better portability. It is possible to use a Camera tripod as a mic stand, too.

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