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Another microphone question. or two. .

Hi all;

Just want to pick the brains of all those who record live soloists in classical settings, with ensembles behind them.

I'm looking for an alternative at some point to my beloved KMi-84 mics for soloists. (i'm not retiring them, I simply own only the two, and occasionally have more than one gig going on these days. With their age, fragility and growing Ebay value, I'm getting a bit leery at taking them out all the time on gigs that need solo spot mics at the foot of the stage.)

I have seen the DPA 40xx small capsule cardioid series on long thin stems, but I'm not wild about the size of the bases. I also like the Scheops with the long thin stands - mic element at the top, preamp at the base. I don't mind investing in either, and of course I'll want to buy two. The smaller the footprint, the better.

But before I got that route, anyone have a go-to mic (and sleek looking stand) that they like for soloists?

Second question: (this is a two-fer post!): Anyone hear of, or use mics from Avant? I like their sexy color, but their designs look a lot like a few others, including the SP series. (I'm wondering if they're all buying from the same facility in China?) Anyone have any experience with these?


Cucco Wed, 02/06/2008 - 11:38
Hey Joe-

I've been using Beyer M160s on soloists for a bit now. Their directional pattern is very helpful and they're not too huge. When that is a little too tight, I'll reach for the M130 or the Royer 121.

They all work well on female vocals (particularly soprano) as well as string instruments, trumpets and bones. For male vocalists, horn, clarinet and flute soloists, I'll generally use Schoeps CMC6 MK 4. I've used the DPA 4061 on a number of occassions but couldn't get a sound that I liked in most situations and wound up selling it. Besides, you should see the look of terror on most violinists' faces when you tell them you want to put a mic ON their instrument.

Re: the Avant Electronics-
I've used their shockmount systems for some time now with positive results.

However, I have not tried their mics. They make no bones about telling you that they are Chinese manufactured (which, IMO, makes them better than those who claim to be made in the US but really just re-inspected Chinese stuff). A colleague of mine in the area recently indicated he was going to purchase one. If he does, I'll try it and let you know.

In all honesty, I'd be hesitant to use them on anything of any critical nature, but that's purely speculation.

DavidSpearritt Wed, 02/06/2008 - 13:34

Our best spotter is one of those unsurpassed Schoeps active tubes for soloists. With an MK4 at the top and the beautiful sleek lines, this is the ticket for top class classical gigs. It has a round heavy base and can slide in anywhere, and is VERY stable.

We also frequently use an AKG414, but it looks terrible in a live concert situation. Also use an M149 and KM184's Coles 4040 ribbons occasionally. These big heavy mics are a little nerve wrecking on top of the standard 3 legged K&M stand and would be quite dangerous on a round based stand.

But there are rumblings here and there about the new Sennheisers 80XX series and they seem to have copied the Schoeps active tubes and have one very similar. I have a eBay watch on Schoeps active tubes, they are the best.

FifthCircle Wed, 02/06/2008 - 19:30
I absolutely LOVE the new Sennheiser 8040 mics. No other way to describe it. I barely use my Schoeps MK4 mics as an ORTF pair anymore. For soloists, the 8040 shines. Between the small size and the robust sound that just does not get bright, I don't think you can go wrong with these.

I also use the DPA and Schoeps compact mics as well. Both have their place and you won't go wrong with either, but the new Senn's really shine. Plus, they are WAY cheaper than the Schoeps and DPA alternatives. I haven't purchased the tubes for the Senn's yet, but I plan to when I have some cash again...

Joe- drop me a line and I'll send you sound samples of these mics.


Member Thu, 02/07/2008 - 07:06
Looking at the accessories, it looks like to get a working tube setup for the Sennheisers you need one each of the following parts:

- extension tube (for example, the MZE8120 120cm tube)
- vertical bar (for example, the MZEF8030 30cm bar)
- bar connector (MZGE8000 mono bar connector)
- floor stand (MZFS8000)

Do I have the required components right?

Using B&H prices as a quick reference, the parts above total $693.

If I'm correct, comparable Schoeps parts (I think the RC1200g active tube comes with a "bar connector", so you only need 3 parts) would look like this:

- extension tube (RC1200g for 120cm)
- vertical bar (STR350g is closest at 35cm)
- floor stand (BF250)

Again using B&H as a reference, the Schoeps parts total $1198, which is around $500 more. Neither is what I would call "inexpensive", but I guess $500 is $500.

Am I looking at any of this wrong?


Cucco Thu, 02/07/2008 - 08:20
I have and sell the microboom.

It's a nice solution for some things (particularly church choirs and live sound) but it's not the ideal for soloists in critical applications.

The sound of their micro-series microphones is far better than it should be and they work VERY well for spot microphones where visibility should be low and you don't need Schoeps or DPA. They're actually even smaller than the Sennheisers by quite a bit and have removable/interchangeable capsules.

I am VERY curious to hear the new Sennheiser mics though. Not a chance I'll drop the money on them though until I get to hear and use them, so it will be a while.