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Will TRP help?

I wonder if anyone could comment... I've recently purchased the Royer SF12 at a decent second-hand price. I've only had the chance to try it out once on the application for which I bought it - for small ensenble choral recording. I really liked the tone and the imaging, even though the mic placement was not ideal (too close). However, the noise generated between mic and pre at 60db was to my ears an annoyance - not terribly loud, but still a nuisance. I was using Metric Halo ULN2 pres, which are very quiet and have plenty of gain, so I'm thinking that the SF12, while excellent for some applications, may not be ideal for this type of recording. For the life of me, I can't find anywhere on the net the specs on the SF12's self noise.

My questions are two: has anyone here had success using the AEA TRP with the SF12 on quiet applications like choral recording? I guess I'm wondering if the TRP will be a magic fix. I'm pretty sure it won't be curing a mic's own self-noise though - so it's probably a silly question.

Secondly - and this question is only asked because I don't know the noise specs of the SF12: would a pair of Coles 4040s be a quieter alternative?

Any comments would be welcome.

Dave

Comments

Simmosonic Thu, 09/14/2006 - 00:23
Duckman wrote: I should clarify: 90% of the time the desert island will be inhabited only by a small choral ensemble singing Renaissance polyphony and Greg chant

Ah, that's different. I'll stand by my recommendation for the CCM4Lgs in terms of maximum utility, but for choral work these days I am using the little DPA 4023s in ORTF - especially good for live concerts due to less audience noise. Very nice, especially when using the little ORTF/XY bracket that comes with them. (DPA sell them in a stereo kit; it's actually a 4021 kit, but I asked for the same kit with the 4023s because they have removable cables with Lemo connectors):

http://www.dpamicrophones.com/module.php?MID=101&itemid=3521&PID=&function=pdescription

That kit would give you something very similar to the Schoeps kit I suggested, also very small and elegant and fast to set up, possibly more cost-effective in terms of supplied accessories/mounting systems, and more suited to choral work. It'll do your other work very well too.

I know that the standard choice for choral work is omnis, but I have moved towards the 4023s in ORTF because I get a much cleaner and useful sound. I don't mind adding a bit of reverb and EQing the bottom end if necessary - I'd rather be adding as much of this stuff as I want rather than trying to take away stuff I don't want. Most of the choral things I record are live concerts that take place in churches and halls that are close to main roads, and so omnis give me the dual problems of excessive audience noise and distant traffic rumble.

You've been given a lot of good advice from everyone on this list; I guess you just have to weigh it all up and make a decision. If it helps, and if you're in Sydney, I'll be happy to let you listen to some Schoeps and DPA ORTF choral recordings I've made, then at least you'll have a point of reference. (I won't send them as mp3s or similar because I don't have permission for that kind of thing...) If so, email me: simmosonic@gmail.com

Duckman Thu, 09/14/2006 - 04:55
Simmo, you're a gentleman. Thank you for the offer.

There is a possibility I might be in Sydney in October.... but chances are I will have made the purchase by then. I'd love to hear the samples anyway!

Cheers.

I guess it's the Romance of omnis (or ribbons) versus the practicality of cardiods.

Not being a professional recordist, I won't likely in the near future be very often in the situation of having to cope with 'audience noise' - it would be more session recordings in othewise empty churches or other ambient rooms.

rfreez Thu, 09/14/2006 - 05:39
All the really experienced people have given some great advice... i'm going to chime in with my inexperience... since you say these wil be your main "all purpose" mics and i've done a fair bit of research in this regard...

I think you should take a look at the AKG C414 B-XLS pair. Yes I know, they are LDCs and thats not what we've been looking at, but in terms of sheer versatility and signal to noise ratio, and cost to features ratio, they can't be beat.

(dead link removed)

that was a link to something about a guy who made acoustic recordings with these and is very impressed... also i've read a glowing recommendation from bob olhsson. (so what ?)

Also take a look at the Shure KSM44s and, parding your beggon, (ducking for cover)... the m-audio solaris. On paper and as per (suspect) reviews, they look good, and can save you a pretty penny.

i'd guess that the schoeps or other would be better at specific tasks, but whether the 414 pair, in terms of versatility and other things, is worth the (possible) tradeoff, is your decision.

many people will say (and possibly correctly... i'm yet to "know") that you always get what you pay for. I think all markets are changing faster than we can be sure of, an open mind is possibly a good solution...

regards, and keep us informed,

rfreez.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 09/14/2006 - 05:55
DavidSpearritt wrote: An alternative for Schoeps is:
musicians-gear.com

Avoid them at all costs!^^^^^^^^^^^^^

They are bottom rung criminals. Based in dubai...I got ripped off by them(for a large schoeps purchase), and recently, this:

ombudsmann.de/ombudsmann.php/cat/41/aid/504/title/Musicians-Gear/print/1

Their prices are not worth the heartache. Deal with a well known and respected dealer.

Cucco Thu, 09/14/2006 - 06:45
Duckman wrote: Anyone vote for MG M296 over Mk21 for choral (I know Teddy does!).

Either or both are great for choir. I know Teddy recommends the C426 too, but, while I think this is a good mic, I find it to be way too cost prohibitive and limiting in its capabilities to be considered a desert island mic - since you're limited to only coincident mic techniques (which definitely does not always suit choirs well).

I've done 3 major choral projects in the past year with the 296s as my mains and been very pleased with the results from all of them.

I don't find them to be "crunchy" or "grainy" as others mention. Paired with the wrong preamp, this can be the case (for example, I used the Gefells and Schoeps with a True Systems Precision 8 for the longest time and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't stand the high-end for it's harshness and brittleness. When I switched to Grace, Millennia, Buzz, or DAV, I found the highs to be far cleaner and more open.

J

Duckman Thu, 09/14/2006 - 16:01
rfreez wrote:
I think you should take a look at the AKG C414 B-XLS pair. Yes I know, they are LDCs and thats not what we've been looking at, but in terms of sheer versatility and signal to noise ratio, and cost to features ratio, they can't be beat.

(dead link removed)

Thanks rfreez. I love reading articles where the gear used is similar to my own: gives me hope that I might make a fairly decent go of it some day.

Haven't checked up on those AKG mics yet... but will do so.

Simmosonic Thu, 09/14/2006 - 16:13
Cucco wrote: [quote=Duckman]I know Teddy recommends the C426 too, but, while I think this is a good mic, I find it to be way too cost prohibitive and limiting in its capabilities to be considered a desert island mic - since you're limited to only coincident mic techniques (which definitely does not always suit choirs well).

Agreed, you'd be painting yourself into a corner with a C426 as your only stereo mic. You'll be able to do all the coincident techniques, but nothing else, and you won't be able to close-mic two different instruments at the same time.

I make my stereo pair choices depending on the size of the ensemble. For small ensembles (e.g. string quartet, piano duo, etc.) where pinpoint stereo imaging is worthwhile, I go for coincident techniques. For larger ensembles, such as choirs and orchestras, where a sense of size and space and 'bigness' is more important/impressive than pinpoint stereo imaging, I go for near-coincident techniques.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 09/14/2006 - 16:28
I dont know....Ive heard many great recordings with coincident techniques , in all sorts of situations....(and im not trying to encourage him to buy it..it is too damn expensive anyway! :)..just venting ) but I think that a lot of issues come from folks not spending enough time with the different techniques(I mean knowing them intimately, not just knowing the "specs" of the technique, but knowing how to make them work in ANY situation)

I dont know..I think we have too many choices now, too many channels at our disposal. too many options. as a result, recordings are suffering. immensely.

in a way I wish we were limited in our mic choices and patterns. It would force people to get good with what they do have instead of having so many choices and being mediocre in all of them. i find myself reaching for 50s and 60s/70s recordings now..hardly any of the past several years make me go WOW!(well, Waterlily and Harmonia Mundi and DG(not Deutsche Grammophon)


nevermind. i drank too much coffee. I should start another thread.

off to bed.:-? forgive me.



Simmosonic wrote: [quote=Cucco][quote=Duckman]I know Teddy recommends the C426 too, but, while I think this is a good mic, I find it to be way too cost prohibitive and limiting in its capabilities to be considered a desert island mic - since you're limited to only coincident mic techniques (which definitely does not always suit choirs well).

Agreed, you'd be painting yourself into a corner with a C426 as your only stereo mic. You'll be able to do all the coincident techniques, but nothing else, and you won't be able to close-mic two different instruments at the same time.

I make my stereo pair choices depending on the size of the ensemble. For small ensembles (e.g. string quartet, piano duo, etc.) where pinpoint stereo imaging is worthwhile, I go for coincident techniques. For larger ensembles, such as choirs and orchestras, where a sense of size and space and 'bigness' is more important/impressive than pinpoint stereo imaging, I go for near-coincident techniques.

Zilla Thu, 09/14/2006 - 16:52
Simmosonic wrote: [quote=rfreez]I think you should take a look at the AKG C414 B-XLS pair.

This is a very sensible suggestion...
When I was starting out and looking for my first and only pair of mics, I also reasoned that versitility would be important. I bought a pair of 414's because the multi-pattern feature would allow me to apply any stereo mic technique I wished. Later, when I got my next pair of mics (schoeps CMC6.4) the 414's tended only to be used when I wanted to do a 4-way. When I got additional schoeps, the 414's went on the shelf. After a couple of years of inactivity I sold them. I found the sound quality of the schoeps so much superior to the 414's that I was happy to constrain myself only to near-coincedent techniques with the schoeps. I was much more satisified with the recordings with the schoeps (or dpas or sennheisers) than I was with the 414's .

Given the amount of choral work you plan on doing, I would still highly recommend CMC6.21's.

Duckman Thu, 09/14/2006 - 18:17
Zilla wrote: Given the amount of choral work you plan on doing, I would still highly recommend CMC6.21's.

Given the warning about Musician's-gear, Schoeps may have slipped out of my price range. I'll have to consider it further.

If I could afford the AKG stereo mic, I'd be going straight for the SF24 - this thread started out as a ribbon discussion after all :-)
(but I know you were just throwing a quality alternative, albeit very expensive, into the mix Teddy. Ta! I appreciate your opinions)

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 09/14/2006 - 18:31
Unless you are up against a deadline then consider Schoeps from ebay. You can usually save 20-25% off new. Definitely safer than Musicians Gear."

Also consider the DPA subcardioids that are likely not going anywhere because the opening bid was $1999US and the reserve was $2000 (perhaps he doesn't fully understand the auction thing?).

The item # was 230025225899 and they were not sold.

I would certainly take these over the 414s. Definitely "desert island mics."

Rich

FifthCircle Thu, 09/14/2006 - 20:05
Zilla wrote: When I was starting out and looking for my first and only pair of mics, I also reasoned that versitility would be important. I bought a pair of 414's because the multi-pattern feature would allow me to apply any stereo mic technique I wished. Later, when I got my next pair of mics (schoeps CMC6.4) the 414's tended only to be used when I wanted to do a 4-way. When I got additional schoeps, the 414's went on the shelf. After a couple of years of inactivity I sold them. I found the sound quality of the schoeps so much superior to the 414's that I was happy to constrain myself only to near-coincedent techniques with the schoeps. I was much more satisified with the recordings with the schoeps (or dpas or sennheisers) than I was with the 414's .

Given the amount of choral work you plan on doing, I would still highly recommend CMC6.21's.

I was getting ready to write something almost exactly like this (I have never owned 414's, but I'm just not a fan of them- perhaps with the exception a 414EB with a CK12 capsule), but Zilla hit it squarely. The Schoeps MK21 is probably one of my favorite choral mics out there. I use MK2 capsules and B&K4006 mics for a lot of my choral work and have never been disappointed. I've been collecting Schoeps bodies and a set of MK21's is quite high on my list of future purchases.

Oh, and I've never been disappointed with the imaging of a pair of MK21's- no need for a jecklin disc.

--Ben

Duckman Thu, 09/14/2006 - 20:39
Rich, thanks for the tip-off. Those DPAs look very interesting. Has anyone had experience with the 4015's? I see their noise level is around 19db (4db higher than the Mk21). Feel free to scoff publicly at my ignorance :-), but would that level of noise ever present a problem on quiet sources? I have read that DPA are very conservative regarding their noise specs - there was a bit of a debate about this on GearS a few months ago. Having heard a sample of the noise generated by the 4091 on acoustic guitar, I was a bit put off - but they were rated at 28db. Still, it has me on my guard.

Simmosonic Thu, 09/14/2006 - 20:49
Zilla wrote: When I was starting out and looking for my first and only pair of mics, I also reasoned that versitility would be important. I bought a pair of 414's because the multi-pattern feature would allow me to apply any stereo mic technique I wished. Later, when I got my next pair of mics (schoeps CMC6.4) the 414's tended only to be used when I wanted to do a 4-way. When I got additional schoeps, the 414's went on the shelf. After a couple of years of inactivity I sold them.

Good point, Zilla (and Ben, belatedly)!

A pair of 414s remains a *sensible* suggestion, in my opinion, but I have to agree with you. Being a regular user of Schoeps and DPAs, I can't imagine myself buying a pair of 414s at all.

I guess the question Duckman has to ask himself is: does he want a pair of 'stop-gap/learning' microphones for now that will be replaced by something better later, or does he want to immediately start building a 'keeper' set of microphones? (I'd be going for the keeper set...)

One advantage of the 414s is that he can try every different stereo technique (except a Decca tree) and will eventually find out which technique(s) he personally gets the most satisfaction from for his applications. Then he can buy the right microphones to do those techniques very well.

The downside is that if he decides to move up from the 414s, he's spent a lot of unnecessary money. He can try to sell them but he won't recoup all that he spent on them - whatever he loses will be written off as an 'educational expense'...

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 09/15/2006 - 00:06
Duckman wrote: Has anyone had experience with the 4015's? I see their noise level is around 19db (4db higher than the Mk21). would that level of noise ever present a problem on quiet sources?

Your choral recordings will happen in rooms that at midnight will be no quieter than -65dBFS. Granted, one is rumble and the other isn't, but you will not be bothered by the difference in noise.

I have used the hi-volt version of the 4015. I still nominate the 4015 and 4016 and the Schoeps MK21s as a "desert island" choice. If you eliminate the MK2 because of the need to use a Jecklin when precise imaging is needed, then you are really down to those two, if your budget can take the hit.

If you are looking for "training wheel" mics, look at the Shure KSM141. Actual cardioid/omni for $800/pair.

Rich

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