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Microphones for sampling.

Sampling pipe organs and turning them into something you can play in Hauptwerk.

Microphones for sampling.

Postby tibiarex1935 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:26 am

I'm sure this topic has been done to death. I've been looking at a pair of Rode NT1a's for samples as they are within my budget. Does anyone here have any experience with them? Would it be worthwhile using them for sampling or is there something more suitable?
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Re: Microphones for sampling.

Postby sjkartchner » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:19 pm

I'll take a stab at this. I haven't recorded any Hauptwerk samples. However, I have recorded live pipe organ several times in a variety of venues, so may be able to provide some useful answers to your question.

Here are my thoughts about the Rode NT1a:

Advantages:
- relatively inexpensive
- very low self noise
- Rode has a good reputation for quality and consistency

Disadvantages:
- large diagram condenser, typically not as accurate across the frequency range as a small diaphragm condenser. Also, sdc's often enjoy a broader frequency range than ldc's. Note, however, that sufficient care must be taken to avoid or reduce/eliminate in post processing low frequency artifacts such as organ blower noise, heating/cooling system rumble, etc.
- cardioid (directional) pattern which boosts or cuts bass response depending on distance from source. In most situations, an omni (essentially non-directional) or at least wide-cardio are preferred in order to maintain the integrity of the bass frequencies. The caveats are that greater care is needed to preserve a stereo soundstage with omnis, and omnis may overemphasize the negative qualities of a bad room.

The other caution is that the mic preamp and recording circuitry can have as much if not more of an effect on the recorded sound as the mic being used. So care must be taken, for instance, to not use a noisy preamp or one that colors the sound excessively.
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Re: Microphones for sampling.

Postby evertjan » Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:10 pm

You can also rent a better microphone for a short period (a week for instance) instead of buying a microphone with less specifications.
An idea to think about.
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Re: Microphones for sampling.

Postby sjkartchner » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:15 pm

You also asked for alternative suggestions. These would be in your price range and may be worth considering (although I would want to hear them with whatever preamp I would be using):

- Studio Designs C4 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/673282-REG/Studio_Projects_C4_C4_Small_Diaphragm_Condenser.html); they get good reviews, have omni, card and hypercard capsules, and presumably come at least with clips (although make sure of that). The possible negative is that they are rated to only 40 Hz on the low end.

- MXL 604 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=Small+Diaphragm+Omni+Condenser&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=). These are even less expensive, and also seem to get good reviews. They come with omni and card capsules and are rated down to 30 Hz. Here is a review: http://www.mxlmics.com/news/reviews/2475-PAR-Marshall.pdf
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Re: Microphones for sampling.

Postby tibiarex1935 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:48 pm

I'm considering the Studio Project's C4's. Having looked at the spec sheets and graphs for them, they go down to 20Hz and have a pretty flat response all the way through. http://studioprojects.com/c4_tech.html Only thing that is off putting is the 16Db of noise, but with my budget, obviously that's going to be something I'll have to live with.
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Re: Microphones for sampling.

Postby sjkartchner » Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:18 am

I'll be curious to know what your experience is with these. Frankly, I wouldn't be too concerned about the self-noise number because pipe organs are inherently noisy beasts, and the ambient noise floor of the recording is likely to exceed the self-noise number anyway. By way of comparison, the DPA 4006 (a $2,000 mic) has a self noise of 15 dB (A weighted) so you would be in good company. What preamp will you be using?
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Re: Microphones for sampling.

Postby tibiarex1935 » Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:04 am

Well, I currently have a Zoom H4N which I could use, though I'm not overly keen on doing so. I was considering purchasing a Presonus Bluetube Dp V2 or ART Pro MPA II.
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Re: Microphones for sampling.

Postby sjkartchner » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:26 pm

Of the two, I would probably go with the Presonus because you can keep the sound cleaner by not using the tube stage. However, both have the issue of not having a digital output, so you would still be going through an additional analog stage to get into the recorder (whether computer or the zoom) and thus adding additional noise and/or color to the sound.
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Re: Microphones for sampling.

Postby dkoschinski » Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:03 am

As for a entry level mic in this price range the Studio Projects C4 or Oktava Mk012-02 MSP4 is a good option.
Be sure you are buying the Studio Projects C4 MKII instead of the older version. The MKII offers some improvements such as: a frequency response from 20Hz - 20000Hz (the older version starts @ 40Hz), higher sensitivity and 2dB lower noise (from 18dBA to 16dBA). For organ-recordings the omni's are preferred to use above the cardoids because they offer a better bass response. The cardoid has a certain bass roll-off starting at 500Hz towards 50Hz with 5dB.
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