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Discussion in 'Useful resources' started by sarah, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Horowitzian

    Horowitzian New Member

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    Ribbons are pretty expensive, aren't they? The only brand I've seen very much is Royer, and they cost thousands of dollars.
     
  2. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    No it is for ribbons like for condensers: there are cheap ribbons made in China and expensive ones made in Europa or USA. Ribbons are not better than condensers, just different. Because they are passive (except some models who have an internal preamp), they have a very low output. Then the preamp quality may be more critical for them than for a condenser mic. I would not advise ribbons as a first pair of mics.

    Just for a quick illustration, I attach two files that I got back from my HD, the beginning of the arietta of Beethoven's opus 111, one recorded with European ribbons, and the other oen with USA condensers, both pairs costing about the same in Europa (less than 1000 €).
     
  3. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    The Shure KSM 141 clone of the Schoeps Colette range, who decides that ?

    Then I'm a clone of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. :p
     
  4. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I think that the Rode NT5 is worth a bit more respect. It was in the 19 most appreciated mics in the big comparative test of 61 small diaphragm condensers made by Mike jasper forTape Op on last year.
     
  5. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Didier! It was Hudson Fair that told me that the Shure KSM141 mic is a Schoeps Colette series clone. He is a Grammy Award winning recording engineer from Chicago. His studio is a "House of Schoeps," as he puts it. With the Schoeps sound sound in mind, he helped design the KSM141 small condenser mic for Shure (no pun intented). He admits that it doesn't have the exact Schoeps level of refinement, but for thousands less, it comes close for most people, plus you're getting an omni and cardiod in one package. IMHO, Hudson Fair is an American ton meister, as in the great German tradition, and when it comes to piano recording he has a good sense of judgment.. We've had some interesting discussions on the subject of piano sound in the modern era of digital recording...

    I haven't tried the Rode NT5, but I've tried the Rode K2 and was not pleased with a nasal tone for piano. I even replaced the tubes with matched pair of NOS 1964 Siemens CCA tubes and it little to improve the sound. I ended up returning the Rode mics.

    I agree with Didier that ribbon mics will not make great first mics. I've also thought about using a Ribbon mic for getting a darker tone on piano, but their slower transient response will sound blurred or sluggish on larger pianos. If one is absolutely intent on using Ribbons for piano, then the Coles 4040 might be your best bet as the highs are more extended to 20kHz than other ribbon mics which fall off after 15kHz.
     
  6. Marik

    Marik New Member

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    In many situations ribbons can be extremely helpful and often, just way to go when we talk about long (or large dimensions) ones. The very first advantage would be since the pickup element is much longer than any other mics (about 2") the vertical directionality is limited, which greatly helps with ceiling and floor reflections. As such in many situations (esp. with low ceilings) they might be the only choice (in this respect, the M130 being a small ribbon (only 1" long) is not representative). Second, since the ribbons have a virtually perfect fig.8 pattern (actually, Royers because of their patented assymetrical pickup would not be the first choice here) they are the best choice for MS recording.


    Ah, yes. Actually, it is my understanding they are the same as SP4. The only reason I excluded them is since they are Ausies, for US or UK folks the customer service is much easier with the Studio Projects. Mike Jasper had the complete, unabbridged article on his site. To bad it is down at the moment. I will ask him as for what's up with that.


    Definitely, the K2 is just a wrong mic for the application. It is OK for some, albeit limited vocal applications, and some rather blue-grass stuff, but not a classic piano. The NT5 on the other hand is a SDC SS mic, so completely different animal. Usually, I avoid the LDC for piano.

    I actually disagree. But again, everything depends on every particular situation. As I already mentioned above, the ribbons are unmatched for MS, which I prefer for such an unpredictable situation as a regular living room. Second, again, as I mentioned before, the ribbons unique vertical directivity qualities can solve a lot of room problems. Third, for "too lively rooms" with lots of high end resonances and ringing their natural top roll-off might be just a ticket for a nice a balanced recording. Fourth, their "slower transient response" is a myth. In fact, often, their transient response is equal, and even superior of that of condensers, due to lighter mass of the diaphragm and means of damping.
    The main difference being, the condensers are tuned to the middle of the range (somewhere in the 900-1300Hz range, with a peak sometimes as large as 60dB) and apply a lot of acoustical resistance in order to damp that huge peak to get a flat response. As opposed to that, the ribbon's tuning resonance is out of the bandwidth, usually somewhere in the 16-45Hz range. Across the bandwidth they usually work as a strict mass controlled system, do not exhibit usual non-linearities associated with condensers, and loaded just with mass of air (which provides efficient enough damping, except of that on mid and low part of the bandwidth, where additional damping is needed to get rid of resonant modes, which is done by means of the additional screen installed right in front of the ribbon itself).
    Due to those (as well as some other) differences, the ribbons actually can sound much more natural than any condensers could possibly dream.

    Having said that, I would never buy a mic based on anybody's suggestion (including mine), or the fact it worked for somebody else, without trying it in your particular situation. You know, it is like getting married on advice of your best friend, who tells you: "It feelz'n'workz good, maaaan"!

    On the other hand, it is my strong believe, while electronics themselves (including microphone, preamp, and AD converter) are important, they are only some 30% of the final sound. Piano and room aside, the rest 70% of the sound is a microphone position and exactly right microphone technique, for each particular situation... and we even do not touch mastering phase, which is an art in itself...

    Best, M
     
  7. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I knew the story but don't consider the advice from Plush (the pseudo of Hudson on Gearslutz) as being impartial enough because he participated in the development of this mic and because the Shure factory is close to Chicago. Actually according to Plush, there are significant differences:
    So clearly, the KSM 141 is not a clone of the Shoeps CMC-MK5. Indeed, it could even be better! :p

    I'm convinced from all what I read, not only from Plush, that the KSM137 and KSM141 are very good mics. The KSM141 and the CMC-MK5 were in the 19 top selection from the listening panel of Mike Jasper's shootout on guitar. However I was a member of this panel and the Shure was not in my (blind) 15 top selection while the Schoeps was.
    On the organ samples proposed on the same page (first post) where there is the above quote from Plush, I preferred the Oktava, which was in my 15 top selection in the Mike's shootout. A modded version (by Marik ?) of the Oktava was in the overall 19 top selection.
     
  8. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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  9. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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  10. Marik

    Marik New Member

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    Hi Didier,

    Right now my music computer got a MB problem, so I could listen only on my laptop. Even so, I don't think this is a fair comparison, as they have completely different pickup pattern, and the omni should be quite a bit closer (or the 4038 moved further). The back-wave damping shield also affects them completely differently. Another thing, it seems you place the mics close to the open lid, so it is not about the "huge low end", but big proximity, which 4038 because of their particular construction, have. Also, I am sure you are aware, those mics has a short (1") ribbon, so the vertical response should be considered.

    As for the ribbon to suggest, what is your budget? For the classical piano I'd be almost inclined to suggest you a modified one, or if you are not in a hurry, wait until a certain model (I can let you know later) is coming to the market.

    If it matches what you want to accomplish then it is not, otherwise, it... is :D . But I'd say, the right microphone positioning and recording engineer's experience are about 90%-98% of the recording, so if the equipment is decent then almost anything would work (except dynamics, of course). I personally, do not use the LDC on piano.

    Best, M

    P.S. BTW, is your 4038 a 30 Ohm, or 200 Ohm version?
     
  11. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Maric,

    yes the proximity effect likely occurs in this case, despite the mics are about 1 m off the soundboard. It is much less with other mics, even in figure-of-eight setting, even with other ribbons (Beyer M160 and M130). The impedance shall be 300 ohms since they are recent (Millenium edition) and that is the value currently given by Coles in their data sheet. But their sensitivity is significantly higher than their -65 dB specification, closer to -58 dB according to their output level compared to the Oktava.

    I'm not in a hurry for a new mic but I am interested by any good one, historical, current or future. :)

    I'm not from any school, ribbon, SD or LD. I test... Some of my recordings here have been made with LD mics: Beethoven Op. 27 no.2 1rst movement, Schubert's Hungarian melody and Der Leierrmann.

    Currently I'm interested in SDs placed close to the strings. I think it's a very suitable solution for home recording because there is nearly no concern with the room sound, which is most often poor in a normal house. As you said, the low ceiling is the first limitation.

    What do you think of the attached sample ? The mic placement is shown in the attached picture. There is a bit of digital reverberation for a more natural acoustic image of the instrument.

    Cheers,
    Didier
     
  12. Marik

    Marik New Member

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    Because of the particular construction the proximity in 4038 can be noticable as far as 2m away, so you will need to use low cut there.

    I think the close miking can be fine for Jazz or pop, where sound attack is important. For the classical I much prefer the blend of the direct and reflected from the open lid sound and to me this recording sounds too "pointy", without that blend and sense of air/atmosphere. I don't think the digital reverb can make up those natural qualities. Very often, it is easier and might be a better idea to accept the imperfections of the room than trying to add into the recording what is not there. If the room is acoustically not good I think it is time to invest into acoustical treatment--it will make much more difference than spending the same money on buying better equipment.

    Best, M
     
  13. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you Marik for your listening and your comment. I was trying to get the sharp attacks that I hear in many modern classical piano recordings. But I think that you may be right.

    I'm not ready, and anyway would not be allowed, to transform my living room in studio. I could possibly put bass traps in the room corner where is the piano, but certainly nothing on the ceiling.

    A possible advantage of LD is that at close miking the sound is less peaky than from SD. I did another take with LDs a bit further away just outside the piano. I think it's better.
     
  14. Marik

    Marik New Member

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    For less than perfect room conditions I prefer MS. Mathematically it is equal to XY, but has a few major advantages: 1) The "M" is pointed directly to the source, eliminating most of the room influence, 2) Later you can manipulate with the "S" channel separately--use an EQ, reverb, etc, removing resonances and peakiness, and adjusting the "room" sound, 3) Change the width of the stereo image to your liking in the post production, and 4) The microphone positioning is somewhat less critical, but still generally, in most of the cases I prefer at least 1.5-2m away, somewhere between a stick and beginning of the curve.

    For the "S" I use ribbons only, which have much better fig.8 pattern and limited directivity in the vertical plane, eliminating a lot of ceiling and floor reflections. Also, their (generally) limited top frequency response helps to eliminate room "ringing".

    Since you have two 4038 I would not be afraid to try Blumlein either--something what ribbons do a marvelous job. Each room is different, but with the right mic technique and right choice of microphones it is always possible to get a decent sound even in a very bad one.

    Best, M
     

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