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Stereo Pair for Overheads

Discussion in 'Room & Overhead' started by eriatarka, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. eriatarka

    eriatarka Guest

    Any suggestions for a matched pair for overhead mics?

    I just want to get a few opinions I have a few things in mind I just don't want to make peoples thoughts on this bias.

    Thanks much!
  2. Imaginaryday

    Imaginaryday Active Member

  3. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Hello eriatarka,
    I have seen these matched pairs of mics available for recording.

    The thing that gets me is that most musicians can hardly afford a good mic to begin with.

    I have acquired a small collection of fair quality mics for my own recordings.

    The only mics that I have a pair of are the Oktava MK 319's.

    They sound fabulous to my ears, no need for matched pairs for me.

    I guess I would say that having a matched pair would make a difference if I were to be doing a critical recording where I had a budget that allowed for the matched pair.

    However, I think you can get a good sound with a pair of the same brand.

    There are so many ways to make a good recording, just remember that there are no rules to good sound. Do what works for you!
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Rode NT5MP or NT55MP are good value for the sound they deliver as drum overheads. The 55s give added flexibility by having interchangeable omni and cardioid capsules.
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Info about your budget, type of music, and the room you are recording in would help.

    I currently use the NT5 or NT55 in cardioid as overheards for both jazz and folk/country/blues/rock. I have a pair of C414 B-ULS that I've tried as overheads, but I've preferred the Rodes. I was kind of surprised at that. Maybe I just prefer the brighter sound or maybe my 7.5' ceiling prevented me from getting the most out of the C414s. It doesn't help to have a "better" mic if you can't position it where it wants to be.

    At some point I plan to buy a pair of Shure SM81s. That's a more "standard" SDC for pop music overheads, and I'd like to see how it compares to the Rodes.

    UPDATE: In light of Max's comments below, I should add that in the tests described were done with the overheads in spaced array combined with a 57 on the snare and a EV RE20 on kick. I felt at the time that the NT5s did a better job creating a picture of the whole kit, particularly the toms. Obviously, your mileage may vary, and in this case probably will.
  6. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I love the sound of Mp5's as overheads. They really show what a cymbal is up to.
  7. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Forgive me, but it really depends on your philosophy of tracking purpose of the OH's.

    Many a great recording has been made with 3 mic's on a kit, as well as mic-ing everything on the kit... e.g. 16 mic's and the kitchen sink on a 4 piece kit. :-?

    If you prefer the sound of OH to be primarily cymbals, then SDC's like SM81's, NT5's etc, are a nice choice.

    Blumlein'd ribbons, 414's, C12's, U87's, etc. not only capture the cymbals, but will also capture your entire kit's sound to where you really only need to suppliment the OH's with close mic-ing techniques.

    Heck, in a pinch... 57's will do the job of capturing cymbals in a spaced array.

    Which also brings up the mic technique... spaced array, X-Y, Mid-Side, Decca, and Blumlein... Many SDC's are usually a tad tricky to get into a Blumlein. Decca arrangements require 3 mic's. Mid-Side requires a figure 8 and an omni... which in your desire for a matched pair, sounds like you probably are not interested in.

    It's really up to you, your desired sound, and ultimately, your budget.

    As far as matched pairs go... there are few, truly matched pairs on the open market. Sequential S/N's may or may not be a matched pair. They may be close to each other, or they may sound wildly different. Though this is probably truer for budget mics than for higher end mics.

    To get a truly matched pair, you will either need to buy them from a reputable manufacturer as a special order, purchase them used from a reputable seller, or purchase a pair of the same unit and send them to a reputable tech service/manufacturer for matching process.

    [edit to correct spelling error's of a major OOOPS... e.g. Blumlein]
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    That could be why the MP was specified when talking about the Rode NT5MP and NT55MP. No special order, just stocked and sold as a matched pair.

    Incidentally, a pair of Rode NT2-As with their switchable patterns make an excellent M-S, Blumlein (note the spelling) or M-S Blumlein set, as well as conventional X-Y cardioids.
  9. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Boswell... don't ask me why... but Blumlein has always been one of those spelings that meses wid my brane... DOH!!

    You are correct in your spelling... corrected mine.

    Not trying to step on ANYONE's toes or results, or especially their techniques. Just pointing out the many varied approaches and options I've seen used, and what I've done in the past as well.

    And I guess I should also correct my point of M-S being a Figure 8 and an Omni... this is probably the most common arrangement, however, M-S can be done with a Figure 8 as the side, and any other type of mic you wish to use... I'd prefer to be correct in what I'm posting.

    Again, there ain't anything wrong with the NT5's AFAIK. I still use my NT2's quite a bit and like a great variety of mic's for different purposes and applications. You just can't definitively say that you have to use a matched pair for OH... but if you want a matched pair, it's a bit more than simply wanting a pair of the same mic's.
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I like everybody's answer here! They are all correct. I really didn't think much of the Octava's. But I found in a recent recording for a friend, they are really quite good. (they were his) And I'm an ardent 414 & SM 81 owner/user. Plus, they are so affordable, they're disposable. So you don't have to cry when one gets killed.

    One thing I will mention is that "Matched Stereo Pairs" were really only important back in the "old days". Since most microphones were handbuilt with greater variations in materials. With mass-produced microphones, consistency of product was much more, well, consistent. So, matched pairs has gone by the wayside and is not as necessary for consistency as it used to be. But folks still want matched pairs and so you pay for that, dearly.

    The only matched pair I can think of is my butt & your face? (That's nasty)
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Old thread but of interest to me right now. @Boswell , what preamps have your found most pleasing for these?

    Thanks for any suggestions.
  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Well, that's an interesting story. I've tried lots of different microphones and pre-amps for OH. In a given room, I would have recommendations and also combinations to avoid, but the room really does make a difference. Where there's a low (or a reflective ceiling), then I go for my MBHOs, as these are pencil condensers with a very tight pattern that helps keep excessive cymbal spill down. When I've got a bit more height, I can use the NT55s, which give a slightly broader spread for more of the kit. With a higher ceiling still, I have used a pair of LDCs (Rode NT2-As), and these also work well for jazz drumming, where things are a bit more delicate.

    When it comes to pre-amps, I very quickly found that my APIs did not work well for OH, and have kept to transparent pres since then. I generally use the DAV BG1s or one of the Audient products that I have (Mico/ASP880). For both of these, I almost always introduce a broad dip of a couple of dB at around 3-4KHz in the mix as subtractive EQ, which brings up the low end punch slightly and gives the whole set some air.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks for chimming in, Bos.
    I'm going to have to look into this preamp more. It sounds like a good fit for me too.

    Interesting on the API. What was missing /added in comparison? Can you describe the sound? Or can I presume to guess it added a graininess, slightly inconsistent phase which is why you prefer a cleaner pre?
  14. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    For me, the API was simply the wrong sound for OHs. In a place where clean top-end is needed to fit with what you capture from kick and snare, a wide-bandwidth, transformerless pre-amp makes it happen.

    Interestingly, although the type of microphones used for OH also has an effect, I have been in studio sessions where we used STC4038 ribbons as overheads, and they still sound better through transformerless pre-amps in this application.
    audiokid likes this.

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