SDC's? What are you guys using?

HowardMusic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
452
Hoping for thoughts on small diaphragm condensor microphones for acoustic guitar applications for home studio - the guitar is a Gruhn 0000-18. Wondering about a pair in the $700 to $1000 price range. There is a pair of AKG 451b's in the emporium that seem nice (I can actually get a new pair here in Tokyo for cheaper - strong yen, I suppose), but was wondering what people are using. Thanks.
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,610
I've only got a couple of Rode NT5s, they work for what i need them to do, otherwise i'll use dynamics or ribbons...after i get my Beezneez Arabella GT i'll probably look into getting some more SDCs...
 

Bassomatic

Member
Messages
12,340
akg 460s are fantastic mics. I've owned probably 4 pair of them over the years. I strongly prefer them over the 451.
Interesting. Can you describe your impressions of the difference(s), for those of us familiar with the 451?
 

grooveboxxx

Member
Messages
27
At our studio we use a pair of Mercenary Audio KM-69s and Neumann KM184s. I would recommend a matched pair of Josephson C-42s.
 

LSchefman

Member
Messages
13,432
What kind of sound are you looking for?

For example, do you want to focus on a lot of high end detail and sparkle, even if the effect may be slightly exaggerated? Do you like a mic that brings out the woodiness in the body of the guitar? Do you want, for lack of a better term, a "warm" and natural sound? Is accuracy the main ingredient, or are you looking for a mic with a certain character that it adds to whatever it hears?

While experimenting with placement can do some of the heavy lifting, no mic does all of these things equally well.

Then there is the matter of personal taste...

For example, the KM 184 will add a bit of high end detail that maybe is exaggerated, but that's not a bad thing, and the mic has a decent reach into the woodiness. A 451 will concentrate more on the guitar's overtones, in my experience, but perhaps at the tradeoff of less woody body.

An Oktava sounds very natural, but isn't going to give you as much upper end detail that you may want. A DPA is going to give you a wonderful sense of space and body, with lots of detail but not so much hype in the upper frequencies, and it may be a bit too firm on the low end for your taste. Schoeps will give you an accurate balance, but maybe you want something with more of a charactered personality.

It all comes down to your intent and tastes. Choosing a mic isn't really hard, once you know what you want to hear.

Then again, sometimes you just want to ride the wild pony and go with what's on the mic stand to get the idea recorded...which I've done when in a hurry, and often have been pleasantly surprised as sometimes the mic isn't what I'd have picked had I thought about it!
 

vicdeluca71

Member
Messages
1,502
I'm not sure why the nt5 gets bashed(can take a good guess thought) but after I tamed my room they sound great on acoustic guitar stereo or single,really.
 

HowardMusic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
452
Thanks everybody for your replies and input. I suppose what I'm looking for most is something that is accurate and natural, something that best captures what I'm hearing without much exageration. Based on the descriptions above, maybe the Oktava is where it's at. I also hear that the Shure SM81 might be something to look into as well since it is somewhat flat and neutral and captures the source with some reasonable accuracy.
 

Aquinas

Member
Messages
1,583
My favorite as of late has been the Shure KSM141, either on its own or stereo pair - very neutral sounding, and like all the Shure KSM series, basically dead quiet (no self-noise). If you like the sound of your guitar, and just want a natural response, it works great. I actually just love those mics - they may not be best at anything (though Acoustics are AWESOME with them, IMHO of course, and my ears are pretty different than most - I don't generally like Neumanns, for instance). I think they're like $800 a pair, too, made in the USA! If you're in LA, as your location says, I'd be happy for you to come around and try them.

I also have SM81's, Oktava's, and a few others around - I did a crappy "shootout" type recording not too long ago, with single mics. PM me if you want to hear it - I think there were Oktava, Shure (81, 141, 313, and 44A), Blue (Encore 300 [which worked remarkably well], Baby Bottle, others), AKGs, and some others.
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,529
What kind of sound are you looking for?

For example, do you want to focus on a lot of high end detail and sparkle, even if the effect may be slightly exaggerated? Do you like a mic that brings out the woodiness in the body of the guitar? Do you want, for lack of a better term, a "warm" and natural sound? Is accuracy the main ingredient, or are you looking for a mic with a certain character that it adds to whatever it hears?

While experimenting with placement can do some of the heavy lifting, no mic does all of these things equally well.

Then there is the matter of personal taste...

For example, the KM 184 will add a bit of high end detail that maybe is exaggerated, but that's not a bad thing, and the mic has a decent reach into the woodiness. A 451 will concentrate more on the guitar's overtones, in my experience, but perhaps at the tradeoff of less woody body.

An Oktava sounds very natural, but isn't going to give you as much upper end detail that you may want. A DPA is going to give you a wonderful sense of space and body, with lots of detail but not so much hype in the upper frequencies, and it may be a bit too firm on the low end for your taste. Schoeps will give you an accurate balance, but maybe you want something with more of a charactered personality.

It all comes down to your intent and tastes. Choosing a mic isn't really hard, once you know what you want to hear.

Then again, sometimes you just want to ride the wild pony and go with what's on the mic stand to get the idea recorded...which I've done when in a hurry, and often have been pleasantly surprised as sometimes the mic isn't what I'd have picked had I thought about it!
Effing great post - thanks for taking the time.

I would add to this that, since you haven't told us about what you are recording other than the make/model of the guitar, we can't really do anything more than carpet-bomb you with tons of suggestions. How do you want to choose your mic - by "whichever mic in my price range gets the most +1 comments in this thread"? I don't know that you'll be happy if you go that route...

If you can maybe tell us how you play (fingerstyle, flatpicking, loud, soft, mostly chords, chord-melody, etc), and then what else will be in the song (instrumental, singer/guitar, in a full band), then you'll get dialed-in answers and advice.

Having said that, with that budget, there are really only about 4-6 mics that I can think of and they've all been listed here already.
 

scredly

Member
Messages
230
A pair of Joly Ultimate SDC modified MXL603's.

I also have pairs of KEL-HM1, ADX51 and PRO37's floating around too.

Med. Dia: AT3035's
 

jmoose

Member
Messages
4,792
Interesting. Can you describe your impressions of the difference(s), for those of us familiar with the 451?
Which 451? There's been at least four different versions from the old, old ones with pigtails to the ones they sell now. Overall the 460s have more top (upper mid presence?) and a bit less self-noise/output then the old 451's... also a bit less prone to overloading on loud sources; toms; guitar amps etc. But overall we're splitting hairs...

If I had $1k to drop into a nice pair of mics it'd be Josephson c42... no question. Awesome transducers made by great company in the USA. Hyper real and never harsh, unless the source is harsh.
 

LSchefman

Member
Messages
13,432
I can add a few to consider:

The Chameleon Labs SDC (the mkII version I think) has gotten great reviews and what I've heard sounded good, though I haven't used it; Neumann's KM-140 may still be made; it's similar to the KM184, only the capsule is interchangeable and I think it's a little more natural sounding (this is one I've owned and can vouch for); if you can find an older Bruel & Kjaer set used, they're fantastic and very balanced throughout the frequency range, also the best piano mics I've ever used (B&K was bought by DPA).

I haven't used the Rode NT-5s, but Rode mics are generally excellent, so they're at least worth a listen. Finally the Advanced Audio CM-28 just received a big thumbs up from Tape Op, and while I haven't heard it, they said it's an amazing deal.
 

KungFuLio

Senior Member
Messages
696
Beyond your budget, but I would seriously consider saving for a TLM170 (technically a SDC) given that, your shot at 451's are adequate. Also, in LDC land, the u89 is a wonderfully under rated mic.

I also use DPA 4011 (B&K)(Beyond your budget, but worth saving for)
Neumann KM140
Neumann KM84
Earthworks QTC 40
Shure SM81
AKG 460

A lot depends on what mood I'm in and how I want the guitar to fit in the track.

I also don't know how much they sell for but my absolute favorite has been a Milab DC96B.
 




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