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Old August 4th, 2009, 06:56 PM   #1
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Live concert recording

Hi,

I would like any opinions on using the Schoeps stereo matched pair MK 41s for recording live concerts into my mixpre and followed into my Sony Z7. I record live Christian concerts and choirs for my church and will also be doing some weddings next summer. I have read that the MK 41's are the best mics around for recording dialogue and have read that they are very good mics for recording instruments but have not found anything on recording it all for live acoustic concerts with vocal and acoustic instruments such as between 1 and three people playing acoustic guitar and bass sitting in chairs on a stage of a church. Some of the great press on this particular mic that I have read is that it is one of the best microphones for recording uncolored sound unlike many other mics that record very warm.

I am currently using a Rode NT4 stereo microphone and have never had the pleasure of recording very good with this microphone. When I have the headphones on it doesn't reproduce the vocals that I hear when I take the headphones off regardless of even if I have the microphone set up right next to the lead vocalist, five feet away, 10 feet away ect. I need microphones that produce both good vocals and acoustic guitar for none hard rock concerts (think of someone like Jim Croce and you have the type of music that I film) or Barry McGuire Eve of Destruction (actually I have filmed Barry McGuire on one occasion).

I think these microphones could be overkill but have the money to buy them and the desire to record the best that my new HD cameras will record. If I upgrade to recording sound off camera like some of you do then I will already have the microphones and will not have to invest in better microphones later on if these are the best microphones for recording in my type of situations at church for concerts, church choirs, services and weddings. I will also be investing in a third microphone eventually such as the MKH-60 for recording outside at weddings and possibly using as an audience microphone pointed at the audience and not towards the stage for later mixing.

I do always record from the musicians sound board in concerts with one of my cameras passing into the MixPre but still think that a stereo matched pair of really good microphones placed in the right positions could yeild as good or better results. I'm just wondering if the MK 41 microphones would be the best 2000 dollar each microphones to meet my needs. They are small Diaphragm condenser Super Cardioid which seem to be what people say is the best set up for concert microphones. I just have not been able to read anything specific on the MK 41's being used for recording vocal and audio concerts.

Thanks for any input in advance,
Dan

Last edited by Daniel S. Melius; August 4th, 2009 at 07:35 PM. Reason: additional information
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Old August 4th, 2009, 10:47 PM   #2
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I suggest MSTC64 instead of matched MK41 unless you need to use the microphone in other situation.
I use a matched pair of CCM4 for the same purpose, which is exactly the same as MSTC64 configuration.
Compared with the recordings with MK21 wide cardioid, I am kind of interested in getting the new MK22 open cardioid for better low frequency at distant for this type of recording.
I don't suggest MK41 for this application, it is too narrow. You need the spacious, and the majority of this application are either omni, or wide cardioid.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:57 AM   #3
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For quite a few years I was involved with a UK Examination Board that had Music Technology as a study subject for generalkly 16-20 year olds prior to them going to uni.

One task was what we called "The natural Acoustic" - a stereo recording direct to two track with no tweaking or multi-tracking. Intended to show their skill at recording choirs, orchestras and instruments using no amplification. The skill being in selecting microphones and using appropriate techniques, and generally using their ears. With the correct subject, in a decent room, even with very cheap microphones the results could be stunning. With the wrong material, even the best equipment sounded rubbish!

Entry level x/y pairs in front of a bunch of musicians who if you were there, sounded good, sounded good when recorded like this. I don't think that in 5 years I ever heard a recording of an amplified group of musicians that would have been worthy of a CD release. With even the best microphones, they simply capture what was heard in the room at that point, and rarely are PA systems high fidelity, or maybe just what is put into them is high fidelity.

My humble view is that spending a lot of money on room mics for amplified events is pointless. What comes out of the speakers, mixed with what can be heard directly rarely meets the criteria for quality sound!

A budget camcorder, on a high stand over the conductors head in an acoustically sound room will be easily able to record high quality audio. A professional camera, 6 feet from a pile of loudspeakers won't!
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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:47 PM   #4
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I agree 100 percent with Paul's comments.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel S. Melius View Post
Hi,

I have read that the MK 41's are the best mics around for recording dialogue and have read that they are very good mics for recording instruments ...

... Some of the great press on this particular mic that I have read is that it is one of the best microphones for recording uncolored sound unlike many other mics that record very warm.

... When I have the headphones on it doesn't reproduce the vocals that I hear when I take the headphones off regardless of even if I have the microphone set up right next to the lead vocalist, five feet away, 10 feet away ect.

Dan
It's likely NO stereo mic setup, no matter how expensive, will reproduce what you hear in that situtuation.

You are probably operating under the common misconception that if you can very accurately record the sound field at the point you are listening, you will be able to make a recording that will exactly reproduce what you hear.

This is not the case, because what you hear is not a simple reproduction of what is there, but rather what is there processed by your ears and brain - something no mic includes.

Good recording is not accurately reproducing the sound field, but rather creating the illusion of reproducing the sound field.

Here are a couple of examples of the processing your brain does:

1. Any live situation has any number of ambient sounds unrelated to the music. Air handling systems, rustles behind you, etc. Your brain just automatically tunes those noises out, usng spatial cues. You don't hear them. But a mic does, and when you play that recording back, you DO hear them, because you no longer have the spatial cues to help your brain tune them out. This sort of thing becomes a learning experience for new recordists. :-)

2. Your hearing (ears/brain) is not a linear reproducer. Loudness affects frequency response - and recorded music is rarely played back at live levels. Your hearing also has a nonlinear, level-dependent compressor built in.

In short, to recreate the illusion of what you hear at a live performance, you almost certainly will need more tools than just a pair of really nice mics.

For the $4000 you are considering spending on just two mics, you could buy a mixer, some slightly less good but perfectly fine mics, some signal processing and other things that would probably get you much better results.

In the situation you describe, I would mic each instrument individually, plus a good stereo mic setup on the choir (probably some spot mics as well), plus probaby a stereo pair on the room, and record to multitrack (because it is nearly impossible to set accurate balances in a live situation due to all the bleed).

Nowadays, for $4000 you can probably buy all that.

-Mike
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Old August 5th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #5
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Hi All,

Thanks for the great comments on recording live concerts. Many of the concerts that I film have pretty good sound to my ears. Well a great deal better than when I listen to it with the headphones on with the Rode NT4 stereo mic. I do always record line in directly from the sound board going to my mix pre and then on to my camera. Yet on many occasions I find that a tape runs out for a portion of the concert that has the line in feed and then I go to try to use the footage from my Rode NT4 and there is like a 1000 fold drop off. I just don't think the Rode NT4 records vocals all that well. I find that I have to resort to using it to record the audiance and then I have no back up for the concerts.

Of course the MK41's would not be used to record just live concerts but also weddings and crucial dialogue such as all the wedding vows and stuff. I haven't done any weddings yet but if I can start making some good money at it then it would help to buy stuff like a sound Devices recorder and better mixers and stuff. I do make pretty good money at filming church choir stuff and selling it on dvd's.

So anyway are the posters after the first one in aggreament that the MK41 would not be a really good all purpose microphone for use indoors. I haven't decided on a matched pair. Perhaps I might just get one really good microphone as I really really want a top of the line microphone just so I see by comparison just how much better a microphone can be over the Rode NT4 which I really dislike and have put up with since 2004. Would a large Diaphragm Condenser such as the Neumann U87 be more universial and impressive to me being interchangable from Cardioid, Omni-directional and Figure 8. I think I can pick one of those up for like 2400 on a quoted email price.

I'm a little skeptical on other small diaphragm microphones such as the Schoeps microphone MK4 capsules as their description states:

"The capsule is designed for general capturing of dialog, instruments and ambient field recordings"

That doesn't sound all that impressive to me. At least with MK41 it states:

"The microphone system is more than suitable for crucial capturing of dialog and ambiance for film, professional video and professional audio applications."

For a long time I had my heart set on a really good Studio Large diaphragm microphone like the Neuman U87 or even a matched pair but then I read that they are over sensitive and not the best choices for live events such as choirs concerts and weddings. So I guess I'm in the market for some sort of small diaphragm mic more than likely of the super or Hyper type. I do not think I would like a Omni-directional type as I am all to familar with the hearing of people coughing in the audiance over the choir just with my regular NT4 Cardioid mic. A Omni-directional would even be worse for that. Recording the amplified sound at concerts is not the best way to record a concert for sure but I do still think that a better microphone such as the MK 41 or a matched pair would do a heck of better job at it than what I currently have.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #6
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If you want a good stereo mic for general recording then a M/S mic is a lot better than any crossed pair, it gives you a single point stereo mic that you can boom and point in any direction and get good stereo imaging. I use this one:Sony ECMMS957 Digital Microphone - variable angle: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo For all my pro stereo wild tracks and accoustic recording for video it has been in my kit for over 10 years with a mini disk recorder and has been used on emmy award winning programmes.

As the guys say for a full electric and amplified performance then you need to do a lot more than a stereo mike whatever the cost.

As for a U87 it is great when attatched to a $250k Neve or SSL console with max db's at 10k and brick wall compression but for general use there are far better value mikes on the market, dont get too involved with the this mic sounds better than that mike as you will only hear a difference with them side by side, the ear does not have a memory and besides how many people do you hear saying wow that classic vocal track must have been done on XYZ or whatever mic. You will be amazed how may classic tracks were recorded with an SM58, I think most of U2's well known stuff used one and all the eurythmics Annie Lennox vocals were done on a modified beyer 201 dynamic. I worked on the audio for video for U2 at Red Rocks and Queen at Wembley in the 80's and we had major mobile recording trucks (the stones mobile etc) but all the mics were stock SM58's etc and the same low cost mikes that Mike says that you could add to a major multi track recording set-up for around the $4000.
Look at this for example:http://www.fostexinternational.com/c...wnews_pro_head
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Old August 5th, 2009, 08:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel S. Melius View Post
Hi All,


So anyway are the posters after the first one in aggreament that the MK41 would not be a really good all purpose microphone for use indoors. I haven't decided on a matched pair. Perhaps I might just get one really good microphone as I really really want a top of the line microphone just so I see by comparison just how much better a microphone can be over the Rode NT4 which I really dislike and have put up with since 2004. Would a large Diaphragm Condenser such as the Neumann U87 be more universial and impressive to me being interchangable from Cardioid, Omni-directional and Figure 8. I think I can pick one of those up for like 2400 on a quoted email price.

I'm a little skeptical on other small diaphragm microphones such as the Schoeps microphone MK4 capsules as their description states:

"The capsule is designed for general capturing of dialog, instruments and ambient field recordings"

That doesn't sound all that impressive to me. At least with MK41 it states:

"The microphone system is more than suitable for crucial capturing of dialog and ambiance for film, professional video and professional audio applications."

For a long time I had my heart set on a really good Studio Large diaphragm microphone like the Neuman U87 or even a matched pair but then I read that they are over sensitive and not the best choices for live events such as choirs concerts and weddings.

...
What you are doing is taking small bits of information that apply to specific circumstances and trying to generalize. Yes, large diaphram mics pick up more and might pick up more audience noise...but they have other advantages, and those things may not matter if they are closer to the source anyway...etc. Yes, the MK41 was primarily designed for dialog applications - which does not mean it wil not sound good in your application, given proper use.

What you need to do is find out what YOU like. Why not rent or borrow several mics and try things in all those combinations? A pair of small cardioid condensors and a pair of large diaphram muiti pattern condensors would give you the chance try almost all of this out for yourself. Perhaps there is a small studio owner or someone who does live remotes you could hire for a night and record into a multitrack just to try out all these different approaches, and see what exactly gives you the result YOU want? (Preferably not on a paying gig)

Roughly, the order of importance is something like:

1. Sound of band
2. Sound of room
3. Specific mic setup, including how close, how many, mic pattern, etc.
4. Specific mic and quality of mic

#2 and #3 might be swapped if the mics are close

Until you have #3 determined, trying to specify #4 is a waste of time, because #4 is dependent upon #3.

-Mike
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Old August 5th, 2009, 09:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Demmers View Post
What you are doing is taking small bits of information that apply to specific circumstances and trying to generalize. Yes, large diaphram mics pick up more and might pick up more audience noise...but they have other advantages, and those things may not matter if they are closer to the source anyway...etc. Yes, the MK41 was primarily designed for dialog applications - which does not mean it wil not sound good in your application, given proper use.

What you need to do is find out what YOU like. Why not rent or borrow several mics and try things in all those combinations? A pair of small cardioid condensors and a pair of large diaphram muiti pattern condensors would give you the chance try almost all of this out for yourself. Perhaps there is a small studio owner or someone who does live remotes you could hire for a night and record into a multitrack just to try out all these different approaches, and see what exactly gives you the result YOU want? (Preferably not on a paying gig)

Roughly, the order of importance is something like:

1. Sound of band
2. Sound of room
3. Specific mic setup, including how close, how many, mic pattern, etc.
4. Specific mic and quality of mic

#2 and #3 might be swapped if the mics are close

Until you have #3 determined, trying to specify #4 is a waste of time, because #4 is dependent upon #3.

-Mike
Thanks for the advice, I'll try to see what I can rent from some places to try out. Actually I don't know all that much about large versus small diaphram mics but what I read is that they are more sensitive to live enviroments as far as vibrations and the total noise of the enviroment of a loud concert hall and most sites I have been on recommend to go with small diaphram mics for live events. I guess my main question on the MK 41 was that if it is more than capable of recording both vocals and other instuments together. I read that it was great on recording vocals and also great on recording instuments but not anything on recording both of them together. Since the MK 41 is a super and more like a shotgun than a regular cardioid, I was thinking that for recording an amplified band a little bit futher back from the band for a workable back up copy or even something that I could mix with the line inputs from the bands sound board later in post. Anyway, it's just something that has to be tried out I guess. I know most of the bands I film sound great in the concert hall but don't sound great on my rode nt4 regardless of placement.

My comment on picking up unwanted crowd noise with the microphones geard for the band was on omni-directional mics from another post. I don't see any purpose at all with the use of those mics at concerts or anything else that I can think of as I would not want everything behind the mics (the audiance) being recorded equally with the band. Super-Cardioid Hyper or Cardioid would be the way to go from looking at the pictures of their recording pattern on various sites. Even using a Super Cardioid pointing away from the band and towards the audiance would seem to be better way to go for an audiance mic. That way the band would be filtered out more and the correct audiance level could be mixed with the band at a more acceptable mix level in post.

The comments on investing in a soundboard and cheaper mics for 4000 from a previous post seems a little redundant for me as all the concerts I have ever filmed have a band with their own sound board and cheaper mics already on stage that I connect to their soundboard with my camera. For me to set up my own soundboard and place my own mics alongside all of their guitar and vocal mics one for one would be to much I think. Perhaps a very good set of Lav mics on all the band members might be the best way to go such as the MKE-2 Gold. Actually that mic might work better at weddings as well. I just have severe reservations about using such tiny microphones over wireless signals as I just don't know if they would sound all that great. Perhaps I should try to rent some of those to try out as well. Signal to noise on the MKE-2 are listed as greater than 112db, which doesn't look all that great on paper at least. So it's probably either those or the best stereo or matched pair set of microphones to cover a band's amplified sound as a backup or for later mixing to the already used line-in feed to their sound board and cheaper stage mics.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 01:13 AM   #9
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My method of madness is to bring all of my collection of AKG and Audio Technica large and small diaphram studio mics. Mostly I record acoustic instruments but electric instruments also fill the acoustic space. You don't have to close mic rock instruments but having a few good mics on stage with each focusing on one instrument Don't worry about bleed from other instruments, the goal is to get a multi-track recording (4 or 8 or 16 or whatever) so you can later have something to mix.
For a room sound, I like putting an omni or stereo mic, centre stage, even with the PA and hanging above. Keep it in a position where it picks up not much monitors or front of house.

Fine tune or elaborate this formula, based on money and resources.

ch-ears
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Old August 8th, 2009, 04:58 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of your replys to this topic. Based on this and some other proffessional sources by email I decided to go with mid range microphones in quanity and buy a 24 bit sound devices recorder.

For the recorder I'm going to go with super expensive 24 bit sound devices 8 track 788T field recorder.

Sound Devices | 788T - 8-Channel Portable HD Recorder | 788T

That way I can record all my microphones as seperate tracks and then mix them together in post. It's a hard thing trying to run as many as 5 cameras and then worry about trying to get a good mix at the event when I am a one man show for both video and audio. Pretty much all I can concern myself is with mic placement distortion and volume levels during the live event. The too much guitar or not enough vocals thing will have to be decided in post.

For microphones, I'm going to go with 3 stereo matched pairs of the Cardioid Neuman 184s of the XLR none digital type. That way I can mic every voice and every guitar on stage and also use all all six of them to record the choirs that I record. For the weddings I'm just going to go with some sort of wireless lav microphone on the groom to pick up the vows of both himself and the Bride.

The 184's I can get for 1436.50 for a stereo matched pair, which is a great deal cheaper than 4073 for a matched pair of MK41's.

Here's an answer I got from an online proffessional that almost convinced me from his article to get the MK41's:

"While I like the Schoeps mics a lot and they are the standard for sound for picture recording, personally I feel that they would be overkill for your needs. They would work pretty well but I think that you are paying for such a minute improvement over mid range mics, I don't know if they are economically a wise decision. I would take a good listen to the Earthworks condensers and perhaps the Neumann 184s for your usage."

Last edited by Daniel S. Melius; August 8th, 2009 at 05:05 PM. Reason: more info
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Old August 8th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #11
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The KM184 is great mic for sure, works especially well on choirs, acoustic guitar and drum overheads. You will not want to close mic a vocal with it though... for instance, in place of a 58.
The SD-788 can't be beat either.
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Old August 8th, 2009, 10:08 PM   #12
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Congratulate to Daniel. 788 is my dream recorder. I paid for microphone first, then follow the signal chain to the recorder later. Neumann mics are good, but it is now another brand name to Sennheiser. I still prefer Schoeps among all these.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 12:24 AM   #13
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The KM184 is great mic for sure, works especially well on choirs, acoustic guitar and drum overheads. You will not want to close mic a vocal with it though... for instance, in place of a 58.
The SD-788 can't be beat either.
Yeah I've read all kinds of good stuff on the 184's last night and today for choirs and acoustic guitar which would fill two of my needs really well. With all the money I am saving I will go with the 788. I hope it is not overkill for these mid range mics but I am sure they would still sound a whole lot better than just going into my mixpre's and into my camera especially with the 24 bit capability. I do feel a whole lot better with going with a larger quanity of mid range mics and an expensive 8 track recorder over super expensive mics and having them just go into my camera. Actually I am thinking I will get a better end result. While the mics might not be as good as the 41's, I will be recording all that I can from them with the 788 where as before I would have been not using most of the capability of what I was paying the top dollar for with the 41's or some other top of the line mic.

Any suggestions on some good mid range vocal mics 1000 dollar range or a little over that would give me better results than the 184's if these are not geared for close mic recording of vocals? I could just go with three 184's for the guitars and then get three mics geared more for recording vocals at a live event close mic. That would cover my needs quite well, as I seldom have more than three people at a live concert event and sometimes only two or one. The most would be three on guitar and one lead singer with the others singing on some numbers or talking between numbers. What is the main problem with 184's recording vocals close mic as they are Cardioid which seems to be the standard for close mic vocal recording? Does it have to do with them being Small Diaphragm over Large? Can they record vocals decent if they are positioned a foot away such as the MK41 super Cardioid?
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Old August 9th, 2009, 01:06 AM   #14
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It would be nice to be able to check out the Earthworks SR30 mics. They were ranked on one site at number one for the best microphones at any price and I see that B&H has them in stock at 599 which would make them very much a good midrange instrument and possibly vocal mic for live concerts.

Top 5 Microphones At Any Price - A Guide to Expensive Microphones - Recording Mics - Vocal Mic

" Earthworks SR-30 Matched Pair
Quite simply, the Earthworks SR-30 are beautiful-sounding. Based on David Blackmer's principle that extending a microphone's frequency response outside the normal range of hearing will allow for a much higher-definition sound, the Earthworks SR-30 are amazing for overheads and acoustic instruments.

The SR-30 (previously the SR-77) are also a favorite of concert tapers for their smooth and accurate recording quality in difficult environments. A matched pair runs $2,100 retail -- less through some outlets -- and is worth every penny, especially if recording highly detailed subjects."

Earthworks | SR30 - Cardioid Directional Studio Condenser | SR30

They do have a vocal mic out listed as the SR20:

http://www.earthworksaudio.com/17.html

Last edited by Daniel S. Melius; August 9th, 2009 at 01:28 AM. Reason: More info
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Old August 9th, 2009, 03:16 AM   #15
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For a vocal mic you should look into the AUDIO-TECHNICA ARTIST ELITE AE5400, I have been using it predecessor the 4055. They look like standard stage mics but have a large diaphragm like the 4050. The price is around $500. People on stage like them because they look standard but sound elegant. I've also dropped mine a few times, even on concrete, and it still works fine.
Good choice on the 8 track method.
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