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My next recording will be ethno-acoustic band. Except upright bass and (maybe) one violin, all instruments are (steel strings) with strong on upper mid/high freq. and lot of hard alternate picking. Comparable in some way with mandolins.

I would like to try to record some of those instruments in stereo with two SDC for wider image, but the bend recorded last project with one LDC.

Here is example:


Which way to go: LDC or SDC (for close micing)?

If it’s SDC pair, I could go only with affordable solution. After researching: Josephson C42 is hard to find in Europe, and it's a bit colored and bright (maybe to bright for the upcoming session), so I ended with two solutions: Studio Project C4 (thin? but offer four capsules) or Rode NT5 (dark and cardoid only).

I would like to hear your opinions, options, advices.......

Many thanks

Cucco Tue, 10/18/2005 - 17:49

Hmm, if the Josephsons are bright and colored in comparison to the Rodes or the C4s, I'd hate to hear dark and clean...

The Josephsons are some of the most transparent SDC cardioids I've heard. Maybe I'm listening to something else...

They do have a great top end, but bright? No. Confident and clean.

If you need cheap SDCs, I see only 1 alternative - ATs.


Groff Wed, 10/19/2005 - 03:47

Hi Cucco,

Thanks for the input.

I didn't do any comparison test between those mics, just reading other people opinions (cons). Someone mentioned about bright sound of C42, I checked the plot, actually there is a bust of 4dB around 6-10 k. I could only guess it's not the ugly one. Josephson is not very common in European market and price would be hotter than US.

Any recommendation for AT sdc models?

I'm not afraid of slightly and pleasure colored mics, except unnatural bright/harshness or clinical coldness, but the most I need is to add some body to instruments. Please, if you have time, listen the short example (mp3/320 kpbs, 850 kb) from previous post. It's LDC (unknown model and pre) and still missing depth of the instruments.

Lots of good words about SP C4. Seems that you not sharing the same opinion. I would like to know why?

Best regards

Member for

20 years 8 months

pz5xwp Wed, 10/19/2005 - 04:03

My wife is a violinist and I have tried the Rode NT5s when I recorded her string quartet. I also own the following mics that I have tried on violin: AT-4051 (cardiod), AT-4049 (same as 4051 except with the omni capsule), Earthworks QTC-30 (omni), and AEA R84 (ribbon/figure eight).

First of all, I have to say that the Rode NT5s are fantastic mics for the price. I would not describe them as dark...they are not as bright as something like the AT-4051s, but I think that is why I like the NT5s better on violin, and I love the way they sound as spot mics. I have never been disappointed with them...I wish I could say the same about my more expensive mics!

You might want to consider a pair of the AT4049s that I mentioned. They are comparable in price (usually a bit less) than the Josephson mics, and they have changeable capsules (AT offers omni, cardiod, and hyper-cardiod). The 4049s are far less bright than the 4051s, and as omnis are perfect for capturing the entire performance. You can of course also use them as spot mics...often times I prefer omnis as spot mics because I can put them as close as I want to the instrument without having to worry about the proximity effect (which could be a concern with the upright bass you mentioned).

Groff Wed, 10/19/2005 - 07:55

Hi pz5xwp,

Welcome to RO! 8-)

Thanks for advice. I'm going to check 4051 and 4049.

I owned one AT 4050 (ldc) which I didn't like too much, but it was different animal for different purposes.

best regards

Cucco Wed, 10/19/2005 - 11:12

Yes, the Josephsons do have that non-linearity in the higher frequency, but realize that it's high enough that we're usually talking overtones here (or high-hats...)

In general, they are a very even sounding mic - very full and accurate. If the HF emphasis is problematic, alter the placement and you'll find it self-corrects. It is a beautiful mic when placed off-axis - far better than most.

My beef against the C4s isn't big, it's just a preference. They are regarded favorably by many primarily because of their price. I try to ignore price whenever possible (except when purchasing of course.) But in direct comparisons, either a mic is good for me or it isn't. The C4 is fine, but not excellent. To me the Rodes are far better. (I actually REALLY like the Rodes. The Aussies really seem to have a way of turning out damn fine stuff and great prices. Not just equipment - try a Jacob's Creek 2001 Shiraz. $8 never got you so much excellent flavor. Not to mention all of the Penfold's stuff - friggin amazing!!)

I find the C4 to lack in lower level detail and to color the sound in a manner which I don't prefer. Also, I don't mind coloration, if it's coloration that I can use. The Rodes are colored, but IMO, they are far more usable and better sounding than the Neumann KM184s.

As for the ATs, I like both of their 40 series SDCs. They're a tad bright, but not in the 184 sense, more in the excessively clean sense.

In any case, all of these mics will work - it is mostly in how you use them. Play around with placement and which Pres you use.


BTW - I love the 4050, but I can see how some wouldn't. It is a different beast and IMO, not the mic to use for violin. Though I have used its little brother, the 4040 on violin with good results. 18inches above the instrument aimed just south of the bridge. Very clean but still full on stuff on the G and D string.

Groff Wed, 10/19/2005 - 15:24

Very useful informations. Thank you very much Cucco.

For AT 4049/51 capsules are changeable. Nice, but how it goes? Could I do it quick, in the middle of the session (...that reminds me on something else :lol: ), or need soldering.


Member for

20 years 8 months

pz5xwp Wed, 10/19/2005 - 20:20

Physically, it is easy to change the capsules, as they simply screw on/off. But I am not sure if you need to turn off phantom power first. I always turn off phantom power when changing capsules, though I'm not sure if it is necessary.

Groff Thu, 10/20/2005 - 00:38

I'm glad to hear that is screwing only. As far as I know, phantom always off, can’t go wrong with – off.

Thanks pz

best regards

Member for

20 years 8 months

pz5xwp Thu, 10/20/2005 - 04:30


Looking at your initial post, you mentioned that you want to record some of the individual instruments in stereo. I guess there is nothing wrong with that, but except for piano and situations where there is a solo performance (say, for example, classical guitar), during mixdown I pan all the mics for a particular instrument in one spot on the stereo spectrum. For a multi-instrument performance like the one you mention, sure, multi-micing for each instrument is order to pick up a different sound from each mic & its location and blend them later to achieve the best sound. But why do you want to spread the spectrum for each instrument? I remember what someone once told me: "If you mic every instrument in stereo, then nothing is in stereo."

If you have a matched pair mic, I would think they would be better used as the main stereo mics that pick up the entire performance. You could then use others as spot mics--as many as you think you need for each instrument...but pan all the mics for each instrument in the same place. I have previously tried the "stereo for everything" approach that you have mentioned, and the result was a very unnatural soundstage...instruments moving all over the place.

Of course, this is just my opinion, and if the method you describes works best for you, go for it. But you mentioned that you want an affordable solution, so if your mic selection and budget is limited, again I would use the matched pair as the main stereo mics. Besides, if you have good room acoustics, you might capture everything you need with two mics, and not need the spot mics at all...that will save you a lot of frustration/decision-making during mixdown. :)



Cucco Thu, 10/20/2005 - 05:47

pz5xwp wrote: Physically, it is easy to change the capsules, as they simply screw on/off. But I am not sure if you need to turn off phantom power first. I always turn off phantom power when changing capsules, though I'm not sure if it is necessary.

Yes, you must turn off phantom power first. I would recommend turning off Phantom, unplugging the mic, then unscrewing the capsule.


Groff Thu, 10/20/2005 - 08:10

John, thanks a lot for all informations.

I have small place, acoustically not so very good, but acceptable for overdubbing. Therefore capturing performance of whole band is not acceptable option for now.

In mp3 example, there are 5 instruments:

- upright bass

- bugaria: simple rhythm instrument. When bass play 1st beat bugaria is on 2nd. In ¾ measure bugaria is on 2nd and 3rd, etc. Panned in center.

- two bass prims: (nothing with bass range, just a names) played melody in two different voices (intervals), pan hard L/R

- prim: small and like a mandolin. Most of the time slightly panned to one side (that depends of intervals/melody on bass prims) except when soloing.

Now, here is the new member in the band – the violin. And two singers (singing in the same time from beginning to the end of a song !).

I'm planning to do stereo (on two separate tracks, not summing on one stereo) only on two instruments:

1. bugaria - to make some place in center and fill the gap between upright bass and hard panned bass prims

2. violin – soloing and phrases, to make it a bit wider but not too much

Possible problems (as far I could see) :roll: :

- undefined and too big bass: because of my small recording room

- overall sharpness: to many instruments with strong upper range

- separations: competition in frequencies/positions between those instruments

- violin: I didn't do any violin recording before: xy, ortf ...omni, cardoid....? Cucco mentioned one trick.

- singers: placement, and to make both of them equally trough the whole song

Member for

20 years 8 months

pz5xwp Thu, 10/20/2005 - 16:43

Regarding violin, a typical setup would be to hang a SDC (either a cardiod or omni, depending on your preference) over the shoulder of the violinist and pointing down, so that it is approximately parallel to the top (spruce soundboard) of the violin. The reason for this is that if you point a SDC directly at the violin so that it is perpendicular to the top, it tends to emphasize unpleasant, screechy sounds.

If you have a ribbon mic, that can sound very nice on violin, and ribbons are less fussy about placement...I can usually place a ribbon mic directly in front of the violinist without a problem. I have tried the R84 on violin, but it seems sensitive to room acoustics, and so I normally opt for a SDC .

If you will use a SDC, what I normally do is take a chair and stand over the violinist's (usually my wife) shoulder, and move around to find the sweet spot and place the mic there. Which shoulder depends on the situation. If a violinist tends to swing their shoulders to the left while playing, I tend to hang the mic over the left shoulder, and vice versa. Of course, you need to make sure that if the mic is over the left shouder that it and the stand are not in the way of the bow! That can be a very expensive mistake because good bows usually cost several thousand dollars!

As for LDCs, it is true that some of the world's great violin recordings--Milstein, Stern, the list goes on--were done with LDCs. But I find that LDCs usually cannot pick up the same level of detail as a SDC. Going back to the discussion about various mics, IMO the Rode NT5s are fantastic mics for violin. The NT5s sound as good or better on violin than other mics costing several times more.

Groff Fri, 10/21/2005 - 18:30

PZ, man, thanks for all. Now I have solid guiding line for recording the violin. I also checked deeper in the forum and decided to go mono with the violin. That seems to be «better» way.

I need some more time to think about mic(s) for that project. Too many different opinions on the same model. I spend my last cent on API pre and Royer 121 (for the rock recordings) suddenly acoustic band arrived.....arghhh.

I would like to have pair SDC's for future recording of acoustic guitar and overs. Maybe it's just my prejudice, but between NT5 and SP C4 I have more confidence in Rode. I already have Classic 2 as my main vocal mic, and I like the sound very much.

Another chemistry: buy one Geffel M300, do the job - make the money, sell M300, buy matched pair M300. I’m changing my mind every day and that's frustrating.

NT5 m.pair bundle – 350 E
SP C4 m.pair – 275 E
Geffel M300 – 600 E (one)


Member for

20 years 8 months

pz5xwp Fri, 10/21/2005 - 19:52


I have not tried the other two mics you have mentioned; only the Rode NT5s. I previously recommended the AT-4051/4049s as an option. Although they are more flexible (changeable capsule) and reasonably priced considering their performance, if you are looking for the absolute best value I would go for the Rode NT5 pair. You will not regret it.

One thing to note about the Rode mics is that although they are sometimes described as a "matched" pair, in fact they are simply a pair with sequential serial numbers. Rode does not sonically test them to see if they truly match; considering the price, I don't blame them. When I first bought the NT5s, I noticed that overall there was about a 5db difference between the two. I called Rode, and they gladly sent a truly matched pair that they had tested in their California support center. Great customer support! Anyway, I hope they have similar support in Europe. If you buy them, make sure to test that they roughly match.

You mentioned you have the Royer. That might work well on the violin, or the upright, or the other intruments you have mentioned. How do you plan to use the Royer?


John "pz5xwp"

Groff Sat, 10/22/2005 - 11:49


It should be against the law to put the logo «matched pair» for actually unmatched pair. I will pay attention. Thanks for warning. How to test the pair except rough by the ears? Is it possible only in labs? Is there any numbers or values of equality or tolerances for «matched» mics?

I ordered R121 and I'm still waiting to come. I listened all mp3 examples on Royer site and I really like what I heard, specially on guitar cab. For acoustic guitar R121 is not my dream but could be useful for solos to cut thru the mix or for strumming with different texture. R121 is a classic and could serve for very different applications. Primary I purchased for micing guitar cab together with my SM57 and Sen 421.


Member for

20 years 8 months

pz5xwp Sun, 10/23/2005 - 06:35

About matching the levels, what kind of mic pres will you use? Will you record to some kind of DAW/computer workstation, or to analog tape?

Depending on what kind of mic pres you have, they may not have precise level meters (perhaps only a warning light when you approach clipping). On the other hand, the back end (the DAW, for example) should have more precise metering. Assuming that is the case, put your mics right next to each other and point them at a sound source such as a speaker playing music. Ensure that you are using the same kind of preamp for both mics, with exactly the same amount of gain. After you have completed the setup, simply watch the meters for differences between the two mics.

You probably can live with 1 or even 2db difference, and besides that level of difference could be the result of other factors such as the precision (or lack thereof) of the preamp gain. But call Rode if you see a 3db or more difference in the levels.

recordista Sun, 10/23/2005 - 11:37

Another great SDC bargain (used) is the AKG C480B or (even less expensive) the C460B with an Audio Upgrades mod. C460B's with a CK61 can be found for $250-300 and the mod runs $175.

Groff Sun, 10/23/2005 - 15:12


I have Sebatron 2000 and I record to DAW using Rosetta 200. Thanks for testing procedure explanation. If I decide to go for NT5 I will contact Rode before and try to ask for very close matched pair.
Thanks for all your advices and effort. That helped me a lot.

Now, before I become ultra-boring, it's time to go. Wish me luck.

Groff salute You.


Thanks. I will check models you mentioned.

Best regards

Member for

20 years 8 months

pz5xwp Sun, 10/23/2005 - 20:50

The AKG C480B and C460B suggested by Kurt are indeed very good mics. I've never tried the C460B, but I have tried its more expensive brother, the C480B, and it sounds great on violin, piano, choir...just about anything. Also, both models have changeable capsules like the AT model I had previously recommended. The only problem is that they are both much more expensive than than the NT5s...the C480B especially so. But, if you can find an inexpensive used pair that are in good condition--as Kurt suggested--go for it.