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AT BP4025 for field recording?
Old 28th June 2010
  #1
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ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
AT BP4025 for field recording?

According to the specs the BP4025 is reasonably sensitive and quiet. I'm curious about the stereo field. The diaphragms look like they are set way wider than 90 degrees. I like wide stereo recordings, but if a medium distant ambient car by dips as it crosses center, that would be a problem.

Any comments or suggestions for similarly priced single stereo mic, non-MS alternatives? Let's not get into debates about MS, please.

I know about the wiring issue a while back, but I assume that has been dealt with.
Old 7th July 2010
  #2
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Stay tuned

Gary,
On a bit of a whim I ordered a bp4025 yesterday. I'll be trying it out extensively at a classical piano competition in a couple of weeks, and give you a report.

I do mostly "drive-by" recordings of acoustic music in a variety of venues, indoor and out.

Shureman
Old 7th July 2010 | Show parent
  #3
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eoats's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I'd be very interested too.
Been debating the Rode NT4 & the AT for a stereo field mic for a while.
Old 7th July 2010 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Hi, I'm a hobbiest and have had good results with single instruments and a harp / fiddle cd using the bp4025. They are cheap enough to try as an experiment anyway, hope it suits your needs, Denis House
Old 7th July 2010 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
First usw

Quote:
Originally Posted by Songcatcher ➑️
Hi, I'm a hobbiest and have had good results with single instruments and a harp / fiddle cd using the bp4025. They are cheap enough to try as an experiment anyway, hope it suits your needs, Denis House
Songcatcher,

If I receive my bp4025 on schedule (Friday) I'll try it out for the first time at a piccolo/piano recital this Sunday (trial by fire!)

It will be in a large, resonant space.
The piccolist will be playing in the crook of the piano, with the lid at full-stick (not negotiable).

Any suggestions on mic placement?

I plan to connect the mic to a Denecke PS2 for phantom power, connected to a Zoom H4n. All connections will be XLR.
I have the option of connecting to a Zoom r16, and mic both instruments, but I'd much rather keep it simple for now.

I have no idea what kind of record levels to use, but I do have the luxury of a sound check a few minutes before the recital.

Any suggestions/observations/caveats you have are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Shureman

Last edited by Shureman; 8th July 2010 at 12:02 AM.. Reason: revision
Old 8th July 2010 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Can only suggest you be very inventive on placement, the piccolo like the country fiddle and bagpipes always sound best away a bit, as does an open grand piano. I recorded some highland pipes in small church with the BP and just kept shifting until the pipes / room sound balance seems correct. Sounded okay in the end. Had the best success keeping the BP head height, away from the floor. Again, I'm a novice, hobbiest, so take my "advice" with that in mind. Good luck...
Old 8th July 2010 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
BP advice - thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Songcatcher ➑️
Can only suggest you be very inventive on placement, the piccolo like the country fiddle and bagpipes always sound best away a bit, as does an open grand piano. I recorded some highland pipes in small church with the BP and just kept shifting until the pipes / room sound balance seems correct. Sounded okay in the end. Had the best success keeping the BP head height, away from the floor. Again, I'm a novice, hobbiest, so take my "advice" with that in mind. Good luck...
I cold not help but smiling at your diplomatic observation re: piccolos.
Your advice on positioning is where I'll start for sure.

Is it possible for you to post an excerpt of your highland pipes recording?

I'm from New Orleans, and using anything starting with "BP" is a little annoying right now.
Old 8th July 2010 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I'll later later today to post a dry clip of the fiddle and pipes from that session. See a lot of news coverage from the mess over there, feel for you guys.....
Old 12th July 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
First use of BP4025 disappointing

I had a gig recording a piano & flute/recital yesterday.
Used the following set up:
Recorder: H4n - 48v phantom power on. - gain set at 40%
Mic: BP4025
Venue: Large resonant church
Subject: Piano (full stick) with flute in crook.
Mic placement: Looking at the piano and flute, the mic is off to the right, about 6' 6" in the air, about 4' from the flutist. Mic is directed toward the flute with the open piano directly behind.

I did a sound check before the recital. The gain level was about perfect. Using headphones though, the sound was almost mono to my ears. I checked connections and settings. It really sounded like mono.

I had brought along my old warhorse Shure VP-88 set to wide field and swapped it out with the 4025, using the same cable, and taking care to maintain the exact same mic placement. The only change was I raised the gain to 75% to make up for its lower signal outpuut. VOILA. The stereo field was suddenly there. The flute was centered, the piano surrounded the flute, and the room ambience surrounded everything.

Unfortunately I deleted the files with the 4025 sound checks, so I cannot compare the sound on speakers at home. I'll save them next time.

I have not given up on the 4025 yet, but this was very discouraging. I'll be trying other recording situations soon to see if I'm doing something wrong. Any suggestions on getting a palpable stereo spread?
Old 12th July 2010 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I went ahead and bought the BP4025. At $479 it was too good of a bargain to pass up.

I have already used it to record quite a few ambiences and some very large surf north of Malibu that was generated by the recent storm off the coast of New Zealand.

I am very happy with this mic. It is sensitive, quiet and has a nice wide stereo field. The recordings sound very transparent, with no discernible undesirable coloration. Mono compatibility is excellent.

An added bonus is that it fits into the same shock mount clip that my Rode NTG3 uses and fits nicely into the Rode blimp as well, so it is extremely convenient to switch between the shotgun mic and the XY stereo mic.

No regrets.

Songcatcher:
I have no explanation for the mono sound when recording the piano and flute. I am getting very wide stereo out of the mic. In fact, I was a little concerned about it because I didn't want pass byes to drop out as they crossed center, but it turns out not to be a problem, even though the XY angle appears to be significantly wider than 110 degrees. Anyway, the wide stereo image and excellent mono compatibility allows me to collapse the sides a bit into the center if I want and still have a nice LCR stereo spread.
Old 12th July 2010 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Hi, pity re the piano - flute recording, trying to imagine the stereo sound of a flautist in front of a piano and am thinking it would be quite narrow to start with, the piano being the only thing non symetrical. Expect there's jobs it can do better and some it can't, good luck with your recordings.
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
I went ahead and bought the BP4025. At $479 it was too good of a bargain to pass up.

I have already used it to record quite a few ambiences and some very large surf north of Malibu that was generated by the recent storm off the coast of New Zealand.

I am very happy with this mic. It is sensitive, quiet and has a nice wide stereo field. The recordings sound very transparent, with no discernible undesirable coloration. Mono compatibility is excellent.

An added bonus is that it fits into the same shock mount clip that my Rode NTG3 uses and fits nicely into the Rode blimp as well, so it is extremely convenient to switch between the shotgun mic and the XY stereo mic.

No regrets.

Songcatcher:
I have no explanation for the mono sound when recording the piano and flute. I am getting very wide stereo out of the mic. In fact, I was a little concerned about it because I didn't want pass byes to drop out as they crossed center, but it turns out not to be a problem, even though the XY angle appears to be significantly wider than 110 degrees. Anyway, the wide stereo image and excellent mono compatibility allows me to collapse the sides a bit into the center if I want and still have a nice LCR stereo spread.
Seems like different people cue on different things when responding to various techniques of creating the illusion of stereo fields. I've had other respected recordists proudly present me with their XY recordings, and my reaction was the same - sounds almost like mono. In reverse, I've provided others with MS recordings for review, which to me sound only a tiny step away from binaural, only to have the wind taken out of my sails with comments like "sound mid-sidy - too narrow". Really wierd to me the huge perceptual difference.

The next chance I have the opportunity to do an A/B recording in a similar setting, I'll be sure to save both versions (XY vs MS). If you guys are still around, I'll post them for comparison. I'm guessing whoever already prefers XY version of stereo, will find MS stereo unacceptable, and vica versa.

From what I've read in other threads, more people percieve XY as more 3D than MS, so I guess I'll need to go on faith the 4025 will sound better to more people.

Silly question - How do you direct the 4025? With the nose and barrel parellel or perpendicular to the ground?
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
The beauty of ms is it can be as narrow-wide as you want, over do the sides and yes, it can get unrealistic. I bought the bp as I couldn't get my hands on an Avant CK40, still may get one as it really is quite variable and fits the one mic one cable idea that suits concert work. As for positioning the bp, anyway that works I guess or in the box if it don't. I've had two stands taped together to get the height to record a boomy harp and one of my banjos get recorded with it almost between my feet. This is all fun isn't it.
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shureman ➑️
Silly question - How do you direct the 4025? With the nose and barrel parellel or perpendicular to the ground?
I guess that depends on whether you are recording something in front of you or up in the air ;p Seriously though, you point it in the direction of whatever you are recording, just like a mono mic.

Regarding the whole MS vs XY debate, that's a subject that has been beaten to death. I personally have more confidence in XY than MS, but I'm not particularly militant about it. Over the years I've just developed an aversion to devices that rely on phase relationships to create stereo signals. In the film world that is just asking for problems when you get to the SR printmaster. XY done properly works fine when combining the two sides into mono and generally seems to play well with Dolby matrix encoders as well.

I know some people like MS because they don't have to switch mics to record either mono or stereo, however, I generally prefer a shotgun for recording mono fx rather than a cardioid, so using an MS mic would be a compromise for me in that situation. Anyway, switching mics isn't a big deal when the shotgun and the stereo both fit into the same shock mount clips and blimp. Now, if I had to use two separate mics to record in stereo, that would be another story.
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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eoats's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Thanks for your posts & msgs Gary.

As soon as I can I'll go for the AT over the Rode NT4.

How is it for handling noise?
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by eoats ➑️
Thanks for your posts & msgs Gary.

As soon as I can I'll go for the AT over the Rode NT4.

How is it for handling noise?
Handling noise it not bad. It has an 80Hz hi pass, but even without using it I didn't find the handling noise excessive.
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
AT4025 cheap

I just got an email from soundprofessionals selling new AT4025s for $397.
Sorry I paid $479 a couple of weeks ago!

Thanks for all the interesting insights.
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shureman ➑️
I just got an email from soundprofessionals selling new AT4025s for $397.
Sorry I paid $479 a couple of weeks ago!
That's a great deal! I also paid $479. I try to stop looking at prices after I buy something. There's nothing to be gained but regret.
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
My interest is piqued.

I find myself wanting a run-and-gun solution for recording environmental sounds and ambiences. A pair of SDCs would naturally offer more flexibility, but the idea of pulling out a single mic, stick it into a blimp (which I already have) and just hit record is very appealing. The question is how much of a sonic compromise it is; I want something better than the lowly Zoom H2 I currently use for these purposes (and find surprisingly capable, actually).

Gary, any chance you could offer a sample or two? Like you, I'm after a spacious image but without a hole in the middle. I've recorded A-B with omnis before but often found myself wanting more focus. The Sennheiser MKH M/S set I used to have was pretty great, but I can't justify that kind of investment again.

Thanks.
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by uosdwis ➑️
Gary, any chance you could offer a sample or two? Like you, I'm after a spacious image but without a hole in the middle. I've recorded A-B with omnis before but often found myself wanting more focus. The Sennheiser MKH M/S set I used to have was pretty great, but I can't justify that kind of investment again.

Thanks.
Here are a couple of snippets of recordings that may be instructive (Thanks to Audioease Snapper). They are 24 bit 48k bwav files, so because of files size limitations they are pretty short, but hopefully they are long enough. I can post longer files if I compress the audio, but that would color the recording quality.

The first is 60mph car byes recorded from the side of the road on Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu using a stationary mic (BP4025) pointed straight across the roadway. I don't notice any drop in level as the cars pass center.

The second is a flock of crows that parties around my house at 5:00am every morning. I'm sitting on my front porch steps with a stationary mic pointing straight up. Some of the crows are sitting in elm trees and some are flying around.

PCH car byes.wav

Flock of Crows.wav
Old 13th July 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Thumbs up

Thank you, Gary. Well picked examples.

I have to say, I'm impressed by the stereo image. The car bys are very coherent across the field and I'm pleased by the width.

Feel free to post more samples if you wish, even if they have to be compressed. There are many variables involved anyway and I'm just trying to get a feel for what can be expected.

$400 seems like a very good price!
Old 14th July 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
Here are a couple of snippets of recordings that may be instructive (Thanks to Audioease Snapper). They are 24 bit 48k bwav files, so because of files size limitations they are pretty short, but hopefully they are long enough. I can post longer files if I compress the audio, but that would color the recording quality.

The first is 60mph car byes recorded from the side of the road on Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu using a stationary mic (BP4025) pointed straight across the roadway. I don't notice any drop in level as the cars pass center.

The second is a flock of crows that parties around my house at 5:00am every morning. I'm sitting on my front porch steps with a stationary mic pointing straight up. Some of the crows are sitting in elm trees and some are flying around.

Attachment 182647

Attachment 182648
I'm not sure what the problem could be, but I can't open your files, and I'm dying to hear them. I've tried opening them on Windows Media Player as well as Sony Sound Forge. Wierd.

Would you consider sending them as an mp3 instead. I'm mainly interested in the stereo spread, so that should serve.

My apologies for being so generous with your time!

Thanks
Old 14th July 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Here are longer mp3s:
Attached Files

PCH car byes.mp3 (3.71 MB, 7131 views)

Flock of Crows.mp3 (5.98 MB, 7315 views)

Old 14th July 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
Here are longer mp3s:
Thanks! Those were excellent.
About how far are you from the highway in the carbye?

Those samples totally reassures me this mic does great stereo.
My experience must have been a fluke
Old 14th July 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shureman ➑️
Thanks! Those were excellent.
About how far are you from the highway in the carbye?

Those samples totally reassures me this mic does great stereo.
My experience must have been a quirk.
Pacific Coast Highway is two lanes in each direction. I was standing on the shoulder of the road maybe 10' to 20' from the cars passing left to right on my side of the road (depending on which lane they were in). The cars passing from right to left on the far side of the road are probably about 30' to 40' away.
Old 14th July 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the samples, played the crows at a realistic level and my cats have been quite odd all night. Having only used the bp for music, it was interesting to hear ambient outside sounds.

Tried the bp for the 1st time on my Saltarelle BouΓ«be melodeon last night, usually use a Studio vocalist ribbon on the treble and an M160 on bass, but the AT captured it quite well. I find it hard to tame the shrill sounds of accordions in my phone box studio, but there was none with this mic. Never go near a squeezebox with NT4s!!!!
Old 15th July 2010 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis House ➑️
Thanks for the samples, played the crows at a realistic level and my cats have been quite odd all night. Having only used the bp for music, it was interesting to hear ambient outside sounds.

Tried the bp for the 1st time on my Saltarelle BouΓ«be melodeon last night, usually use a Studio vocalist ribbon on the treble and an M140 on bass, but the AT captured it quite well. I find it hard to tame the shrill sounds of accordions in my phone box studio, but there was none with this mic. Never go near a squeezebox with NT4s!!!!
How bout a sample?
Old 15th July 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
hi, a couple of mp3s of my treasured 1887 Pollman Mandoline Banjo, played by me , a learner. Midas Venice pres and summing via RME into logic. BP4025 is 18" above the banjo set flat. Aether is "phantom hall". No eq used BanjoDry.mp3
Banjo+Aether.mp3
I also have a ULN2 but found mostly it didn't flatter the BP4025, a bit too stark for my liking. Dav pres or the Midas desk sweeten things just nicely. I'll admit this is not a great display of the stereo capabilities of the AT, but this is how I mainly use it these days, not cardioid, not omni but capturing a area in a way that can be just the ticket. I've still got a lot to learn.
Old 15th July 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis House ➑️
hi, a couple of mp3s of my treasured 1887 Pollman Mandoline Banjo, played by me , a learner. Midas Venice pres and summing via RME into logic. BP4025 is 18" above the banjo set flat. Aether is "phantom hall". No eq used Attachment 182907
Attachment 182906
I also have a ULN2 but found mostly it didn't flatter the BP4025, a bit too stark for my liking. Dav pres or the Midas desk sweeten things just nicely. I'll admit this is not a great display of the stereo capabilities of the AT, but this is how I mainly use it these days, not cardioid, not omni but capturing a area in a way that can be just the ticket. I've still got a lot to learn.
Very helpful - and entertaining - you play wonderfully!
Can you describe the room you were in?

The samples, especially the first, shows-off the BP4025, you, and the instrument very well.

Could you tell me a little more about the banjo, and maybe a picture?
Old 15th July 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks, the room's 12x24 feet with a sloped ceiling. There's some pics in a thread here on homemade studio furniture. The Pollman has a wooden lute shaped body with a 5 string neck, it was produced for the gentry. I'm learning a minor scale gypsy style piece that shows it off well. It's very quiet by comparison to a bluegrass model.

Denis.
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