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Mics for Pipe Organ (+ others Instruments)

Member for

4 years 4 months
Hello everybody,

I'm relatively new to the recording world... Since years I'm an enthusiast audiophile but I never delve into the recording world.
I'm also a professional musician, play both organ (pipe organ and hammond organ) and piano.

I'd like to buy a couple of mics to record primarly pipe organs (I think omnis would be the best choice with the complete frequency range of pipe organs [lower C at 16Hz with 32 feet pipes] and also capable of the huge dynamic range of the instrument) but also capable of recording grand pianos and hammond organs.
I have considered the universal AKG C414 but I think I could find something more specific for my goals.

Budget is about 3000-4000$ for the mics.

As sound card I have now a basic MOTU AudioExpress, but will upgrade to something better in the near future.

Any help would be much appreciated.

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Member for

6 years 8 months

Gordon Stanley Fri, 03/09/2018 - 23:06
Perocat, post: 449773, member: 50531 wrote: Hello everybody,

I'm relatively new to the recording world... Since years I'm an enthusiast audiophile but I never delve into the recording world.
I'm also a professional musician, play both organ (pipe organ and hammond organ) and piano.

I'd like to buy a couple of mics to record primarly pipe organs (I think omnis would be the best choice with the complete frequency range of pipe organs [lower C at 16Hz with 32 feet pipes] and also capable of the huge dynamic range of the instrument) but also capable of recording grand pianos and hammond organs.
I have considered the universal AKG C414 but I think I could find something more specific for my goals.

Budget is about 3000-4000$ for the mics.

As sound card I have now a basic MOTU AudioExpress, but will upgrade to something better in the near future.

Any help would be much appreciated.
Curious as to your final decision. From lots of reading and a little experience I would say to rent and try Shoeps, DCA 4003 or 4006. My biased favorite is a matched stereo pair of Earthworks QTC-50. Slightly higher self-noise but way below the “air” in any venue I have recorded and very smooth omni response from 4Hz to 50KHz. I am doing some tests with the Spreckels Organ in San Diego next week and will see if they are okay with me posting a snippet.

Member for

7 years 7 months

paulears Sat, 03/10/2018 - 00:29
I'd forgotten this topic, it was quite a good one. Renting very high quality products is a sensible thing to do - but there are a couple of snags. Your first rental is never a good one, because you need time to experiment and then evaluate what you did - very high end niche products often have nil immediate improvement evident on first outing till you understand their characteristics, and use them to your advantage. Mics are tools, and having one in your hand doesn't mean you get the best out of it first time out. Whenever I hire expensive kit I budget for a few days ahead of time to get a chance to play with it. Sadly, many times I have hired kit and only afterwards discovered I missed important things.

Gordon - love to hear a bit!

Member for

6 years 8 months

Gordon Stanley Sun, 04/08/2018 - 03:40
Gordon Stanley, post: 456152, member: 48757 wrote: Curious as to your final decision. From lots of reading and a little experience I would say to rent and try Shoeps, DCA 4003 or 4006. My biased favorite is a matched stereo pair of Earthworks QTC-50. Slightly higher self-noise but way below the “air” in any venue I have recorded and very smooth omni response from 4Hz to 50KHz. I am doing some tests with the Spreckels Organ in San Diego next week and will see if they are okay with me posting a snippet.
Completed first test to verify a sweet spot. Lots if ambient noise during daylight, wind, planes, people and nearby freeway. Scheduling a real test for 2am in next week orvtwo, should be interesting. Also compared matched pair of omni Earthworks QTC-50s to pair of Shure KSM-32s. Close enough to use the QTC as main mics and KSM with 16000 for ambience and reverb.

Member for

8 years 8 months

rmburrow Mon, 04/09/2018 - 08:21
Perocat, post: 449773, member: 50531 wrote: Hello everybody,

I'm relatively new to the recording world... Since years I'm an enthusiast audiophile but I never delve into the recording world.
I'm also a professional musician, play both organ (pipe organ and hammond organ) and piano.

I'd like to buy a couple of mics to record primarly pipe organs (I think omnis would be the best choice with the complete frequency range of pipe organs [lower C at 16Hz with 32 feet pipes] and also capable of the huge dynamic range of the instrument) but also capable of recording grand pianos and hammond organs.
I have considered the universal AKG C414 but I think I could find something more specific for my goals.

Budget is about 3000-4000$ for the mics.

As sound card I have now a basic MOTU AudioExpress, but will upgrade to something better in the near future.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Haven't used the DPA mics, have used the B&K 4006 types, sound nice. My preference is the Schoeps M221 tube mics in XY or ORTF, or a Neumann SM69 in XY. The tried and true three omnis (left, right, center) also works nice. Unless you have experience with M-S (mid-side) recording, stick to what works for you. The frequency response isn't necessarily the pattern setting; it is the quality and workmanship of the capsule. I avoid the spaced pair (A-B) because of the "hole in the center" sound and "incorrect" imaging...

Member for

7 years 7 months

paulears Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:30
I'm beginning to think more and more often that the success of a recording of this kind is virtually ALL the room and not the mic technique. What has decided this in my head is the Spitfire Audio smaller package I bought that has each sample recorded with close mics, a Decca Tree, outriggers on the Decca Tree and some ambient room mics. You can adjust the mix of these four separate recordings for each sample, and there are quite discernible differences - recorded at Air Lyndhurst. In the far less nice environments most of us have to record in, I don't think the differences would be anywhere near as obvious. In long RT60 buildings the gradual separation of the mic capsules, introducing time into the technique probably get overwhelmed by the arrival time of all the reflections. In a dead room - there are very few reflections, so again, for the actual players, moving the capsules apart has little or no time difference evident. It's only in those mid performing rooms where there are some reflections but controlled ones, that the subtle differences can be detected.

Member for

8 years 8 months

rmburrow Mon, 04/09/2018 - 11:19
paulears, post: 456537, member: 47782 wrote: I'm beginning to think more and more often that the success of a recording of this kind is virtually ALL the room and not the mic technique. What has decided this in my head is the Spitfire Audio smaller package I bought that has each sample recorded with close mics, a Decca Tree, outriggers on the Decca Tree and some ambient room mics. You can adjust the mix of these four separate recordings for each sample, and there are quite discernible differences - recorded at Air Lyndhurst. In the far less nice environments most of us have to record in, I don't think the differences would be anywhere near as obvious. In long RT60 buildings the gradual separation of the mic capsules, introducing time into the technique probably get overwhelmed by the arrival time of all the reflections. In a dead room - there are very few reflections, so again, for the actual players, moving the capsules apart has little or no time difference evident. It's only in those mid performing rooms where there are some reflections but controlled ones, that the subtle differences can be detected.

Have you tried M-S in any of those buildings with long RT60 times?

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