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Old August 11th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #1
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NT5 Pair for Chamber Orchestra?

A couple of months ago I posted a thread here asking advice on the best technique to use with a borrowed pair of Rode NT5s for recording a small chamber orchestra (to accompany video). I received some wonderful advice from you guys and now the same orchestra wants me to record the audio at their next concert (obviously they must be deaf to want me again) ;-).

I'm in the position to purchase a matched pair of microphones such as the Rode NT5s. But would like to buy something with a little more flexibility (being a videographer) and better suited for chamber orchestra recordings. After scanning this and other forums, I can't seem to find a definite answer. Some are recommending Oktavas, some AKGs, and others say the NT55s. My budget is $500 for the pair, and they can be used as long as they fit into the budget.

What would you guys recommend?

I use a Mackie 802-VLZ3 mixer and a Macbook Pro with Soundtrack Pro to record (using the rca outputs on the mixer to connect the two).
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Old August 11th, 2010, 02:32 PM   #2
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A pair of small-diaphram condenser mics in a cardoid pattern are arguably the most useful and versatile tool for recording small ensembles of acoustic musicians.

Properly set up in X/Y or ORTF configurations, they do very well.

In my opinion:
Oktava MK012 with cardoid capsule are good, though the cap is almost a sub-cardoid.
Rode NT5 are very good.
AKG modular series with cardoid caps are very good.

No bad choices. Were it me, I'd go NT5.

If you need the modularity to stick on a supercardoid cap, AKG.

If you really need a stereo mic for field video use (where dealing with two mics on a stand would be difficult), some sort of M/S mic.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #3
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One for the NT5!

Thanks Seth! I really appreciate your input.

I've used the NT5s in an ORTF config before and they performed quite well that way. I do own a Rode NTG3 shotgun mic and use it a good bit with video already.

The fact that the Oktavas are in the budget and can be upgraded with different capsules is intriguing.

What about SE Electronics? Some folks on other forums mention them.

Okay, so one for the NT5! Anyone else?
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Old August 11th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #4
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For the price the NT5 are a good choice - and you can also use the omni heads from he NT55 in them (just buy them as spares).
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Old August 11th, 2010, 03:19 PM   #5
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Two for the NT5!

Really?! I didn't know you could change the capsules on the NT5. That's wonderful!

Thanks John!

Okay, so two for the NT5!
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Old August 11th, 2010, 03:26 PM   #6
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I use the Rode NT4 stereo mic, and really like it for it's simplicity. Yes it's fixed to XY, but that's what I need. The NT4 has the same capsules as the NT5, and of course they are matched. For more coverage I put the NT4 in the center, and an NT3 on either side pointing in.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 03:43 PM   #7
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I don't know of anyone specifically offering matched pairs, but I prefer my AT4021 ($249 each) to my NT5 mics generally speaking.
There isn't much variance in AT mics. I'd bet you could be fine in stereo with two mics ordered together from any large vendor.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 04:04 PM   #8
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To add to that, Rode mics (and most likely many mics) are produced with such precision, that they are close to matched no matter what two you put together.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 04:10 PM   #9
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One for the NT4! And one for the AT4021!

Thanks Chad for the advice on the NT4. However, versatility would be a problem for me if I were to purchase one, as I couldn't separate them for other uses.

Hmm. You have a very interesting suggestion, Jay. Especially since you have both the NT5s and the AT4021. What would you say renders the AT4021 superior to the NT5?
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Old August 11th, 2010, 05:22 PM   #10
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I've been selling Chinese microphones here in the UK - and I'm having really good results from
DWH-502

I'm not touting for business as I only sell to the UK, not US - but if you could find someone in the States who sells these, you'd be very happy. M/S or various other techniques are quite possible. I really like them
and they're really very cheap.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 07:12 PM   #11
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Thanks Paul, that certainly is an interesting alternative! But going with M/S would mess me up a little as it tends to pick up the audience more. Definitely something to remember though.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 09:18 AM   #12
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Robert, a little tip to make your mikes a little more versatile, is that if you're using cardioids, you can lift the LF response by turning them into omnis simply by wrapping tape around the side vents. If you get a little bit closer to the orchestra to compensate for more audience noise, you may then find an overall improvement to the general balance, but you would need to experiment with placement etc.

The difference between an omni & a cardioid pattern is approx 1.4 times the distance as far as side pick-up is concerned. In other words an omni needs to be about 1.4 times closer for the same amount of audience sound. However, you will achieve improved bass response with the omni configuration. I use AKG C451's for classical groups but these are probably out of your price range.

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Old August 12th, 2010, 12:33 PM   #13
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So Ron, you're saying that if I bought a pair of Rode NT5 mics and put some gaffers tape over the sound vents on the sides, it would turn the mics from cardioids into omnis?

If that's correct, then I should place the mics 6 feet behind the conductor instead of 10 feet? This would not only increase the quality of the sound as it would be closer (therefore capturing more detail) and it would increase the bass response?
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Old August 13th, 2010, 08:17 AM   #14
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That's it, but I use electrical pvc tape as it is easier to handle and you can stretch it as you wind it on to make a neat fit with several layers. The AKG's are very detailed and I would try to get even closer than 6 feet with omni's, but I'm sure a bit of experimenting will produce very good results, particularly if the audience is quiet.

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Old August 13th, 2010, 09:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert R. Schultz View Post
If that's correct, then I should place the mics 6 feet behind the conductor instead of 10 feet? This would not only increase the quality of the sound as it would be closer (therefore capturing more detail) and it would increase the bass response?
The position of the microphones should be "tuned" to the performing group, the acoustics of the room, the nature of the audience (if live), and even the type of music. There are many variables, primarily the ratio of direct to reflected sound that should be considered. Ideally we arrive at the venue before the dress rehearsal so we can experiment with microphone position to get the best recording.
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