Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

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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Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by rojarosguitar » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:54 pm

Hello, here you can listen to 9 different microphones on classical guitar; The code names are to be understood as follows

- MBHO: Mikrofonbau Haun Obrigheim MBC303 with KA200 cardioid capsule

- DPA: 4011 cardioid

- 3UAudio: Warbler 127-C-Flat cardioid (flat frequency response)

- C451: AKG C451B with CK1 cardioid

- C460: that are AKG 460B (St. for stock body; Gab1 for Gabasa Jim Williams mod) with either C61-ULS or CK1 cardioid capsules

- LACM3: Line Audio CM3 wide cardiod

- Rode NT3T

(Rode NT3 is only used on take01 and C460 stock only on take02)

What do you think? Opinions very much appreciated...

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yhjifwn5vlbg ... Q4j8a?dl=0
Last edited by rojarosguitar on Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:49 am, edited 3 times in total.
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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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by rojarosguitar » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:09 pm

IMG_7795 Kopie 2.jpg
IMG_7796 Kopie.jpg
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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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Kurt Penner
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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by Kurt Penner » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:36 pm

That array of 9 mics looks both nerdy and intimidating.

There are only 5 files in the dropbox page

Listening with my Sony MDR-7506 headphones, I could hardly distinguish any differences between the files. The first file left me a bit flat, just not enough punch when the basses and chords came. I think I liked the one "DPA" the best but it was very subtle.

I have no pretensions to having "golden ears" as the engineers say. Nonetheless, I enjoy these fun experiments that you post, Rojaros. Thank you for them.

KP

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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:51 am

Kurt, sorry, that was the link to a selection of the tests; the proper link is now in OP and here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yhjifwn5vlbg ... Q4j8a?dl=0

Yes, these pics always look nerdy, but for halfways compatible results one has to bundle the mics as close as possible...

Even the fact that you didn't hear much difference is interesting :D

There some more interesting mics in the nerdy bundle :D
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 ...

My Youtube Channel is: TheMusicalEvents

FrankBlack
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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by FrankBlack » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:47 pm

Now there is a dedicated artist. :)
Thank you for the very interesting comparison. We are all so fortunate to live in a time when access to such wonderful artists, instruction and technology is wide open.

Kurt Penner
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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by Kurt Penner » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:36 pm

Well, if it interests you, I once again could not hear substantial differences between the audio files. I am certain that if blinded to their names, I could not tell one from the next.

KP

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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:35 pm

Kurt, thanks for your comment.
I would also not be able to tell them apart by names even if I really would like to believe I could. But I hear the differences, even though they are subtle.
Here's my take:
My favored combination is the
- AKG c460B Gab 1 (Jim Williams modified by our forum Member Gabasa) with the CK61-ULS capsule, closely followed by the same
- AKG C460B Gab1 body with the CK1 capsule, again closely followed by the
- AKG C460B stock body with the CK61-ULS capsule. I like the transparency of the
- DPA, but still I can't get warm with the overall character, that sounds too cold to my ears. So although I consider DPA to be technically a very good microphone, for me the next to competing for the fourth place are the
- 3U and AKG c451 with ck1 - the first is sweeter, the second clearer. Then comes the
- Line Audio CM3, which is an absolutely stunning mic for what it costs and probably the best one to get when on tight budget. Then there os the
- MBHO, which I like very much for ensemble recording from greater distance, which is too bright in closer application for my taste. The last for me here is the
- Rode NT3, which in a way doesn't quite fit the row because of three reasons: 1. it's a super-cardiod (meaning more directional than cardioid), 2. it is half-ways between a small diaphragm and a large diaphragm mic and 3. it is very bright. I can imagine good applications for it for recordings from greater distance because this mic is very very quiet, but no go for me for near/middle field recording of the guitar.

But if you consider, that the DPA costs around 10 times than the Line Audio with all the other mics spread in between, I think a guitar player can do very well with the Line Audio CM3 or the 3U Audio Warbler 127-C-Flat models. Of all the mentioned AKGs none is easily available, they are out of production, Jim Williams mods are very hard to get, and all the others pop up on the used gear market, but you have to have the nerve to try and see what you get. The only equal (some say better than 460B stock) alternative (that cannot be moded) is the still C480B-CK61-ULS combo - and that might be the best thing to get if you are willing to spend around 700 Euro per mic (in Germany).

If you want stay on budget and get an older Neumannesque sound of the K84 transformer coupled old cardioid (no longer in production) then 3U is IMHO a very attractive alternative (250 US$ including international shipping + customs).

Of course there are many other mics that are good and suitable; I just presented what was available to me...
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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milsabords
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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by milsabords » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:12 am

I took a little time to listen to all wav files (because of better quality in principle). and I asked a friend who is not at all a guitarist to listen too. without explaining why. she told me she did not hear any difference between the files.
for my part, I find that the difference is not significant either. the dpa is doing well, but the cm3 is quite similar to it. (So ​​the cm3 is a great deal for a condenser microphone).

this is not the first time I hear this kind of test. I had heard a test with a micro audiotechnica and several flamenco guitars from 380 to 4500 euros. there were few differences. while the hermano conde (the most expensive) sends a really good sound live.

I finally understood what was happening. we record for most of us with so-called very good sound cards (we are touted as professional cards), but in fact it is rather mainstream equipment.

to validate the quality of a microphone would require a truly professional system, a standalone recorder such as the IZ radar, formerly manufacturers of tape recorders Otari. there we are really in the top of the basket in quality.
the problem is that our sound cards, and small computers, are equipped with converters quite similar and that "crush" and level the sound. we are so used to it that we do not even realize it any more.

let's be lucid, there must be something wrong in the chain of devices that is used so that a microphone ten times more expensive and better in every way is almost equivalent to his little brother ten times cheaper. the dpa are in the auditoriums of the radio house in paris next to neumann, schoeps, and other very good microphones.

and other problem, we mix in mono or stereo most of the time with the computer, again we are very very far from a physical mixer like an api, a neve, a calrec, a ssl, etc ... If we want to measure the quality of a microphone we should be able to perform a test with this kind of machines. or if someone has a studer two, four or 24 analog tracks - well tuned - it would be possible too, so high-end.

the recordings made for "mundo flamenco" (see the website) are a priori good. but if you listen to several flamenco blanca as a result, there is little difference between the different files. while the guitars are very different, that I can tell you. their colors, their projection, all their characteristics make each one a unique and differentiated instrument.

for me what made the difference in my recordings is the quality of a good preamp added (it is noticeable anyway) and the ribbon microphone technology, very simple, since there are the magnets, the ribbon, and an output transformer (on my rm-6 for example). there we have a really different medium warmer and much less over-brilliance too. a natural rendering in short.

the current sound cards are better than most of those ten years ago. dmitry nilov posted on the French site files made with micro microtechgeffel omnis and especially a sound card uad apollo. Frankly, it's more than not bad. Yes . and he plays admirably well, no doubt, but what is the relation to live reality? there we can not check it unless we go to Russia.
By Saint Georges !

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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by rojarosguitar » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:02 am

Thanks Milsabords for your exhaustive commentary.
Just to clarify: I didn't want too much tech talk in this thread, that's why I avoided posting details about the recording chain.
Here it is: microphone (mono!) professional cables (Van Damme) ---> Tascam HS-82P (stand alone) ---> Protools 12 ---> mixdown to 44.1/16 stereo wav.

This is a professional chain. Having compared the preamps of Tascam HS-82P to most expensive pres (Millenia Media, AEA TRP etc.) I came to the conclusion that I like the pres so much I'm just using them straight away.
How your friend listened to the samples I of course don't now, but that she doesn't hear 'any' differences is beyond me. For me the differences I hear are quite clear, and I only called them subtle considering the much less subtle price differences of the mics.

The other problem you are pointing to is a completely different issue and a very valid one: there is not so much difference in the sound of classical guitar in the far soundfield, and probably even less in the sound of flamencas. Each end every one is clearly recognizable as classical or flamenco guitar. Their main differences are timbre, clarity, separation and projection that alow to discern individual instruments. In near soundfield it's different.

As to Mundo Flamenco recordings: I don't see it that they are 'a priori good'. Maybe they start out good, but then they use too much compressors and especially reverb for my taste. With too much reverb every guitar sounds almost same :D

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 ...

My Youtube Channel is: TheMusicalEvents

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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by milsabords » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:48 am

my friend listens as many people to the music received on her computer via a pair of midrange compact speakers. without specific amplifier hifi. and there she hears nothing different. she wondered why I asked her, and then I explained to her not to influence her.
without going too much into the technique it is good that I am enlightened on the material for me, it gives me an idea of ​​this product such or that chain of materials.
if an external preamp does not produce a difference is that there is a "tranglement" in the converters probably. on a tape quality magneto the quality of an external preamp or a series of high-end table preamps immediately.

Flamenco mundo recordings are far too linear and if there is use of compressors there is an error. of two sound engineers I heard this; "We do not use a compressor on a classic or a flamenco, because it only hardens the sound of the attack and the appearance at the expense of many other information making the rich sound". you have to work differently according to them, and it can be difficult. the guitar (nylon string game) is a difficult instrument to capture and mix correctly.
I personally have not really done it and I can not afford to get what I wish I had, I would never have it. that's all.
we can use against the peak limiter or leveller against against to push the volume by limiting its saturation. there is a slight squeezing effect that can occur and you have to keep your hand light.

there are really good recordings of flamenco and classical guitars, and even in the 1970s, at philips, and in the collection "classical treasures", 180 grams of vinyl records. including the famous Andalusian concerto and concerto aranjuez played by the quartet romero. it's exceptional. there is no connection here with today's digital recordings that seem transparent, but only in appearance.
and in France there are people who recorded vinyl gypsy king in the 80s. there too, the big class. but the means available to Barclay or EMI at the time and a few others amounted to millions of francs (or euros). custom neve tables at barclay in particular. She is still in Paris elsewhere. a real monster of quality and also by the taille.j'ai a friend who did a training course where she is. he knows no equivalent.

yes, see mundo flamenco with all their digital equipment they have almost the same sound everywhere. there is just a real difference between Negra and Blanca all the same.
By Saint Georges !

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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by milsabords » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:50 am

I am sure you would be interested in AEA, mesanovic or ribbon peluso.etc
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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by rojarosguitar » Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:50 pm

I have had quite a collection of ribbon mics; most of them I sold again. I have only kept a Royet SF-12 stereo ribbon, just in case :wink: .
Although I see some desirable qualities in ribbons for classical or flamenco guitar, they have also some side effects I do not like.

And first of all, one needs a really great sounding room for Recording with figure eight microphones in stereo, especially in Blumlein configuration.
If not, too much of the acoustic faults of the room seep into thr recording.

Personally I'm not too nostalgic about analogue recording; there is a lot of coloration that comes from all the elements. I'm quite glad we are now able to have almost 'straight wire with gain' these days. If one wanted to have a top notch recording system in the analogue days, it was easily 20-100k$, let alone to talk about the sheer footprint and weight of the gear. Today I can go with my Tascam anyplace caring one little suitcase and have eight channels of pristine quality recording. And I can afford it! I'm kind of enjoying this :D
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 ...

My Youtube Channel is: TheMusicalEvents

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Re: Comparison of nine different microphones with CG

Post by milsabords » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:50 pm

I hear that yes. the clutter yes. to have top devices above the lot the radar iz has everything to seduce except its price. and it is not specially transportable. but taking care we can transport it anyway.
in its minimum configuration to work well with 24 channels you have to spend 13 000 €. we do not have the same quality of converison as sound cards for our small computers.
many artists-producers have opted for these devices including the band "air" in France. Why ? because according to them there is nothing better. their means allow them all the possible choices.
not me.
we find part of the list of people who use it on izcorp dot com. we must have the means. for me it will never be a dream. nothing more.
By Saint Georges !

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