---->Looking for some good microphones for pipeorgan<-

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by _basso_, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. _basso_

    _basso_ Active Member

    Hi out there!

    Is there someone's who have any idea what type of mic
    that is realy good on a instrument like pipeorgan.
    For a reasonable price.

    Sorry for my bad english :oops: :lol:

  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sorry to sound like I'm beating the same drum over and over but -
    Schoeps CMC 6 - MK 2h
    Gefell M296
    Gefell M930 (carioid, but does GREAT with organ)

    Now, the unfortunate part is, those are pretty pricy. But depending where in the world you live, they can be rather affordable.

    Some lesser expensive solutions:
    AKG BlueLine (Omni)
    Audix SCX - 1 (Omni) or SCX 25

    Of course, there's always Earthworks and Neumann too, but again, none of these are really "cheap" solutions. However, pipe organ is a difficult beast to capture well, you will want all the help you can get from good mics.

    J. :D
  3. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    In general for organs, you'll get your best bang for the buck with omnis. I like my B&K's, perhaps with the diffuse field grids. I have had great results with the Neumann 582s, with the gold omni capsules. The thing is omnis will generally have a much better low end which is [of course] especially important with organ recordings. They also capture more of the room which is as much of a part of the sound of an organ as anything else is.

    I've also gotten decent results from KM 184's (of all things), but I prefer the sound I get from omnis usually.

  4. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest


    I've used Earthworks QTC1s extensively for pipe organ, and even have a marketed release using them ... see "Pops and Pipes" at http://www.ohscatalog.org. They work very well, and even though the noise floor is a bit high (22 dBA) it's never a problem when recording a pipe organ. Sweetwater has them in their new incarnation (QTC40s) for $2000/matched pair.

    That said, I'd second the suggestion of looking also at omnis that are better in the diffuse field for this application. There's been more than a few times where I wished for more HF detail from the Earthworks than what they deliver. (They graph out flat from 4Hz-40kHz....I believe the 4Hz part 8). Especially if you will be in highly reverberant spaces, I'd suggest trying something with more HF presence.

  5. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Recording organ in my mind is spelled, diffuse field Omni's. I stared out with a pair of Earthworks QTC1’s but sold them on exactly because of the high self noise and somewhat “stressed” top end. I’m not telling You to Stay away from then, just that on some organs (i.e. Organ environments) they sound wrong..

    This kind of choice comes down to your budget!

    My favourites are :

    Neumann KM130 (9.751:- Sek list prize + sales tax for one)
    Neumann KM83 (Just bought an almost unused pair on German Ebay for 1100 Euro)*

    I work with these two on a “daily” basis and neither have disappointed me..

    DPA/BK 4003/6 (14.750:- Sek list prize + sales tax for one)
    Sennheiser MKH20 (14.618:- Sek list prize + sales tax for one)

    I have these as loaners and I feel that the 4003 is a banger that portraits the organ very truthfully. The MKH20 is a tad overpriced. but still a very nice mike.

    For more budgety mikes that I have tried, you might have a look at.

    Pearl TL6K (I don’t have an up-to-date prize list, but around 3-4000:- Sek list prize + sales tax for one)

    For reference; The MG M296 that Jeremy raves about have a local list price per unit of 8 730:- Sek + sales tax, so its not very much cheaper then a KM130.. I haven’t heard it so I will not comment on it further.. (US1$ = 7.6 Swedish Kronor / 1 Euro = 9.3 SeK / 1 Euro is US1.2$ ~ for those of You interested in doing the math)

    I have tried a few of Dr. Schoeps creations but none have agreed with my ears, some swear by his mikes and use no other.. I have been told, that MBHO in Germany makes some nice modular SDC’s at quite a competitive price, but I have never had a chance to try any of them.

    And remember, second hand is always a good option!


    Addendum : The Neumann KM183 compares very unfavorable to the KM83, the low end is not as extended (important for organ use) and the top is what is often described as "etched"...
  6. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    Just a short note.

    The Swedish list prices are rather inflated. Check out for example the German reseller Thomann, I have had good experiences with them.

    Gunnar Hellquist
  7. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    I quite agree with Gunnar, but one have to know the local price point for reference before one starts to haggle for a better price.

    I have never shoped at Musikhaus Thomann, so I refrain from commenting about their services. With the current laws of free movement of services and trade with in the EU it's quite easy to order stuff from whereever You find the best price!

  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Neumann M-249s, DPA 4006s, AT 4050s on Omni, AKG Blueline, Neumann SM-69 Blumlein microphone technique have all worked for me in the past. The biggest problem is that you usually need very high stand(s) that are sturdy and will not fall over or come crashing down half way though the recording. Also getting a good QUIET hall is MOST IMPORTANT and knowing the instrument is also very necessary. I usually ask the organist if I can come to rehearsals and walk around the hall while he is playing to see how the instrument works with the hall. If it is an attended concert I try and come to an organ concert with people in attendence to see how the instrument reacts to the hall with people in it. I am fortunate to have a good friend who is a organ builder and he has made some very good suggestions as to the best placement of the microphones.

    We just did a church organ dedication that was tricky because they had a whole lot of other groups playing and singing during the dedication and did not want a "forest of microphones" in the hall so we had to go with just two microphones to record all the music including the organ. It came out ok but I would have been better with additional microphones. (funny but they would allow microphones for the overall music recording and the minister's speech and the program notes by the performers but not any additional microphones to better pick up the choir or the string ensemble - Oh Well!)

    I am doing a radio program called "The Mighty Wurlitzer Theater of the Air" and it features a large theater organ that is installed in a museum. The organ is located in the basement and the sound is heard though large vents in the floor of the room. (more information at http://beradio.com/codecs/radio_location_oldtime_radio/ The engineer I took over from moved out of this area and the infromation about how it is recorded is not current. It is a fun show to do but picking up the organ without extra wind noise is a real challenge since the microphones are suspended 6 feet over the chambers and their is a LOT of WIND noise as well as the sound of the organ. The other problem is that besides doing the radio show I also get to do the multitrack recording (with Samplitude of course) and the pa system for the 150 guest that are in attendence. The room is very live and every surface is covered with wood or glass and the organ is so powerful that one can see the glass behind the organ moving with the bass.

    We have another show coming up on July 10th at 3:00 pm EDT and it can be heard live on http:// in case anyone is interested.
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Strongly recommended:

    Plenty tall, great price, pretty darn sturdy - what else could one ask for??

  10. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Another ten feet? (atleast)

    Several of the country churches I work in, 30' is on the short side. I one place (a catheral organ) I acctually use 6' extensions)..

    I'd say that to cover every Swedish organ, 40' is a required hight! I loath Manfrotto for discontinuing the High Boy before I had a chance to get a few..

  11. 0VU

    0VU Active Member

    Mics I've had good results with and tend to try first on organ include:

    Schoeps M222b or CMC6 with MK2H/MK5/MK2S
    B+K 4003 or 4006 with whatever phase grid/cone/etc. suits the occasion
    Neumann KM130 / KM83 / M150 / M250 (borrowed)
    Sonodore RCM402 (borrowed)

    and the ones that, for me, were a bit of a surprise, AKG C414EB / C24 (borrowed) and Brauner VM1.

    I've also enjoyed using a Speiden SF12 and a B+O BM5 with 44BX ribbons. They lack the smooth, extended frequency response of the others but there's still something very "natural" about them.

    I'm about to try a Sanken CO-100K - I wanted to try a pair but the UK distributor doesn't think there's much of a market over here for a £1500 omni mic from a relatively unknown/unpopular company like Sanken when there's so many good choices around from the more usual suspects. He's reluctant to get another one in case I don't like them and he gets stuck with them. I tried to persuade him that I can't try a spaced pair without another mic but he's too nervous so it looks like I'll have to try it in MS. Has anyone here tried this mic?

    For stands, there were good some options in this thread.
  12. chriscavell

    chriscavell Guest

    I'm actually quite partial to an AKG C426 in blumlein for pipe organ.
  13. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Haven't tried it, but the spec's looks interesting..

    Sanken CO-100K Spec's

    My only Sanken encounter was two years ago when I recorded a String Quartet and used a rental pair of CU-44X on request from the leader of the Quartet. Quite a good mike, the recording sounded quite fine even if I belive that my Neumann setup would have sounded equally good.

    The local distributor have most of the Sanken line on special order only.. :twisted:

  14. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I think it is safe to opine that recording an instrument that spans the entire frequency spectrum of human hearing demands a true pressure omni. Many of our projects are choral and organ plus instruments, and while the mains are always SF12 there are omnis for the hall that get the bottom octave that the SF12 does not shine in.

    The usual suspects: DPA4061 (about $700/pair-- yes, you read that correctly) Schoeps (any of the bodies) with MK2H or MK2S caps (about $2700/pair solid state or $5600 for tubes) DPA4003 ($4700 w/PS preamp) or 4006 ($3400), Add about a grand for a micpre that is of the same quality of these that need phantom and is not colored.

    If you like SD Neumann (I do not) the KM83 is a good bargain on eBay when they come around. The capsule is the same as in the KM130.

    If I did not already own the mics above (and purchased when the prices were sub-orbital) I would buy the 4061s and a DAV Broadhurst Gardens #1 and be done with it. The sound from this combo can hold its own with any of the other mics. A nice example that sometimes you can get MORE than what you paid for!

  15. ptr

    ptr Active Member


    Could You give a few hints on how You would apply (and mount) the 4061. I've only used them taped on human foreheads when tracking opera and musicals (Always use one when I have to track a live presenter during concerts). Never on instruments, and absolutely never on organ?

  16. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Mounting these for "normal" use is a challenge and calls for some ingenuity or money. The easy way is to use the small rubber mounting dots that are self-adhesive and apply them to a ready-made stereo bar. Because the mass of these mics is neglible the isolating quality of these mounts works well enough, and thanks to the small diaphragm it really doesn't matter how they are aimed. One meter separation gives good results for organ.

    Another method is to use a small diameter wooden dowel (fancy term for stick) and attach to the top of a stand by whatever means your visual embarassment threshold can take. There's always the recordist's friend, black gaffer tape. A yardstick (meterstick?) lying flat and painted black would work nicely. One could even attach a small collar of PVC in the middle and make use of a Shure A-20 shockmount to attach to the stand and further insure against mechanical noise. Tony Faulkner uses carbon fiber rod for such low-viz applications.

    For the inevitable comment on the noise level of these mics: an organ produces some noise of its own thanks to the winding and small leaks. If you leave the grid on you get a 3dB rise on the top end, so if you EQ that out you have also lowered the self-noise in that very noticeable frequency region. Or if you prefer, remove the grid (with care) and your response is flat.

    DPA is aware of the growing following this mic is acheiving for recording instruments and is working on some solutions. For now it is an opportunity to get creative.

  17. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Rich, I LOVE solutions like this.....I think it's great you've found this mic to be useful for this kind of work. (And at that price, it's more than worth any risk in purchasing one!)

    I like your stereo-bar suggestions; I've made my own (one that flies) from a couple of slim, 18" side panel mixer rack adapters. I strapped them together with black wire ties, and found that the pre-drilled holes also accomodated my mic-mounting hardware, so the rig darn near built itself, with no drilling or extra work required.

    As for the DPA 4061's, they're on my wish list for "someday" purchase. (I've got some pipe organ work coming up next season as well.) I sure hope DPA doesn't get wind of this and start raising the price, either!
  18. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I would have to add that I have not A-B'd these against my "go-to" 4003s or Schoeps, but I really like what I hear when checking the results of my primary application-- low-viz recording of choral evensong and the like.

    And with organ you are recording the room as much as the pipes so the almost perfect omni pattern of the 4061 captures things in a very truthful way.

  19. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    99% of recording organ is recording the room?

    Thanks for the graphical descriptions Rich! I'm dooing some freebee recording for an organist friend during my upcomming summer vacation, there will be plenty of time to experiment with this.. I will sure bring a pair to try out.. I'm already having tons of idaes to try like fitting them into a fexible tube or drilling holes in golf balls to make sphere’s...

  20. How much does a D.A.V. Broadhurst Gardens #1 pre run? I'm always shy about contacting sales for a price (once they have your contact info, who knows what they'll do with it).


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