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LDCs for Live Classical
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
LDCs for Live Classical

Taking this to a different thread, maybe to try and discover some new GearSpace "Facts"

Steve Remote said:

"I remember when I first heard the "TLM103s suck" statements; I recall Fletcher pontificating this opinion. I believe I owned four or six of them at the time, I ended up buying a total of 14 Neumann TLM103s.

I'm quite fond of that microphone. It's a great large diaphragm utility microphone."


Brent Hahn said:

"So that's what a newbie should buy for their first LDC?"

Harry Butler said:

"My first LDC, as a "newbie", was one original Rode NT-1, in 1998 or so. I liked it well enough to purchase a pair of NT-1A a couple of years later. The original NT-1 was Joly-modded several more years later, and is one of my favorite utility mics. As my "ear" matured, I started looking for something a bit more neutral (2007 or so), and Rich Mays ("Sonare", RIP) suggested a pair of Neumann TLM193. He was not wrong. They aren't anything but "lovely" in the roles in which I use them. When I wanted to explore the world of M/S, I found a clean, used AT4050 for "side" pickup, and a clean, used Shure SM27 for a "neutral" LDC "mid"... I've also experimented with SDCs in that role... but the SM27 holds its own.

All that said, my SDCs (Senny, Gefell, AT) still get the lion's share of lifting... but all the LDCs are welcome and find appropriate uses. No regrets."


Here's my experience. I had a pair of Neumann TLM170R, highly respected LDC microphone. I mostly couldn't find any application in which they worked any better for me than my SDCs, DPA, Schoeps, Sennheiser. I would occasionally use them as spots; first stand strings. Or solo instruments like cello. They sounded fine.

I sold them and bought two Josephson C617s which I believe, after performances return, will become my A-team. Good trade for me.

I do own two pair of MDC (is that a term), a pair of Gefell UM70S to match as flankers with the Josephsons, and a pair of Gefell M930 which I love on upright basses. Those are probably the only mics that are not SDCs I need in my locker. In fact, except for a few odd-ball mics like a pair of MD441s for pop drums, my locker is as full as it will ever be.

That and five bucks will buy you a Starbucks.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Wavefront's Avatar
 
I highly recommend Microtech Gefell M950 in addition to M930.

They are very special microphones with some of the same appealing qualities that the M930 has but, for my taste, a more natural sound (not merely a "more open" sound due to directivity differences). I have used them many times for main mics and often prefer them in this role to e.g. Schoeps MK21.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
I own a couple of sleepers, Neumann TLM127, a commercial failure for Neumann. I think the mistake they made was the need of a remote power supply when you needed wide-cardioid, hyper-cardioid and figure of eight settings. Without this remote control the TLM127 could only be switched between omni and cardioid.

Beneath an example of how two TLM127's sound on organ using a small A-B 30-40 cm apart and switched to wide-cardioid. I was rather surprised it worked out so well. So far I have never been able to get a good result with any other Neumann LDC on organ, the only ones that work are AKG's C414 and the C426 stereo-microphone.

Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
around here, it was pretty common to use (tube) ldc's on pretty much anything up until the mid-80's...

i like multipattern ldc's/mdc's quite a bit (for their unrivaled versatiliy) and today have various models from akg, neumann and austrian audio.

my first mic was a calrec sdc, then some beyer and sennheiser dynamics, then b&k, neumann and akg sdc's, ldc's came a bit later, only then schoeps (plus ambisonic systems and ribbons)...

i like the 170r a lot, as well as the oc-818!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
LDCs and MDCs that I have found suitable for main ensemble pickup: Sonodore LDM-54, Brauner Valvet X, Microtech Gefell M950, Microtech Gefell M296, Beyerdynamic MC 840, Sanken CU-44xII, Microtech Gefell M960 (only in ECA though), Violet Design Emerald LE (also only in ECA), Violet Design Amethyst Vintage.

LDCs and MDCs that I have found unsuitable for main ensemble pickup: Austrian Audio OC818, Ehrlund EHR-M, Neumann TLM170.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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JCBigler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
What is it that you guys dislike so much about the TLM170?

It's a known fact that I use them as mains, in wide cardioid, in an NOS setup for my full orchestra recordings. I've also used them as spot mics for tympani, low strings and soloists. I like them a lot. One of the things that I like about them is the way the yoke mount mechanically attaches and positions the mic, versus most other LDCs that only have a friction sleeve for their shock mounts.

Other mics I've used in orchestra setting, but not for mains are the various flavors of AKG C414s for chorus mics, usually along with hanging SDC choir mics. And I've used my AT-3035s as mains for chamber music as well.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hey Doug,

I started with 414's and still pull them out occasionally for old time's sake, mostly for M/S work. Other than that, I always use Schoeps , DPA, or Sennheiser SDC's for mains. I've tried TLM193's and M130's the main pair, but I don't like them because the sound changes too much off-axis, which limits me to AB or NOS. So my LDC's get used as spots, if I bring them out at all. The '193's get used if I need front desk mics for strings, or if I need to spot a piano on a loud stage. But it's sometimes handy to have adjustable patterns, HPF's and pads, so I'll sometimes pack TLM 107's or 414's, "just in case".

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler ➑️
What is it that you guys dislike so much about the TLM170?
I wouldn't say I dislike the TLM170, but it is simply not very suitable for main tasks because it is not textured enough to paint a nice articulated image of what's happening on stage. Its somewhat bland character also has the effect that most of its spot use will make it virtually "invisible" when mixed with mains. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your needs. If you want some nice string grain this is not the mic of choice. But when you have a source with too much grain this one will give a perfectly smooth signal for blending in with the main pickups.

In addition to suitable mics for ensemble pickup I have listed less suitable LDCs for main pickup tasks on purpose, because people are always reporting about what they have, and this is usually what they use for any task. You never know what their alternatives were (if any) and along which line their choice tipped over from good to less good usability. TLM170 would not be my first choice when the other mics I listed are at my disposal. And they are, as all the models I listed are in my posession, in pairs.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
A pair of TLM170 make beautiful vocal mics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoXR1WTEf98
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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GIACOMO-_'s Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
TLM170 only for Patricia Petibon voice.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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fred2bern's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
TLM 170 are fantastic microphones and my favorite to spot (with a pair) a soprano or a mezzo with an orchestra.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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🎧 10 years
There are LDC mics I wouldn't use as main pairs, but work well as spots...and vice versa
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➑️
There are LDC mics I wouldn't use as main pairs, but work well as spots...and vice versa
This.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern ➑️
TLM 170 are fantastic microphones and my favorite to spot (with a pair) a soprano or a mezzo with an orchestra.
My favourites on soprano and mezzo are Sanken CU-44xII. Here is a sample with a pair of those on the singer, Sonodore LDM-54 as mains (ECA) and the TLM170 as spot on the cello, which I regrettted because it was so damn hard to bring the cello up with some texture in the mix. Spots on violins were two Schoeps Mk22 and Mk4 (viola). Theorbo had an MG M950, double bass had MKH20 and harpsichord a Sonodore RCM-402 as spot. Room mics were a pair of Schoeps BLM-3's in the arches of the small church, left and right, behind the ensemble. Most of what you hear is mains plus spots on singer, with a little support of the room mics. Instrument spots are all moderately low in level, just to allow enough of the beautiful colours of the singer spots, as a matter of balance.

Last edited by Earcatcher; 3 weeks ago at 03:01 PM.. Reason: Removed the sample. 888 Views in only four days and zero comments on its content; why would I even bother exposing my work?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➑️
... and the TLM170 as spot on the cello, which I regrettted because it was so damn hard to bring the cello up with some texture in the mix.
A profoundly accurate statement, as we found yesterday with a cello spot and couldn't solve it easily. We tried an MK22 but it did not suit the instrument. Wish I'd had a spare KM184 around to solve this problem. The tone from the 170 was best, but it integrated with the main sound too well.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 3 weeks ago at 12:13 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
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JCBigler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➑️
A profoundly accurate statement, as we found yesterday with a cello spot and couldn't solve it easily. We tried an MK22 but it did not suit the instrument. Wish I'd had a spare KM184 around to solve this problem. The tone from the 170 was best, but it integrated with the main sound too well.
So, you're saying you don't like it because it's too transparent?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
The thing about spots is, if you can hear them, you have too much. The TLM170 in David's scenario? If you can't hear it until it's too much, it doesn't work.

Spots are, as we know, tricky. Reverb is . . . tricky. Flankers are . . . tricky.

That's why we are audio engineers and not kazoo players who want to record themselves in their own bedroom. Not to disparage kazoo players. Some of my best friends are kazoo players.

We all find out what works for us in any particular situation, and if it doesn't work, we try and figure out why, try again next time, and do it better.

I hope the guy that bought my TLM170s is putting them to good, and artistic, use. They didn't work for me. They might work perfectly for you. That's why God invented vanilla and chocolate.

Good luck and awesome recordings to all.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler ➑️
So, you're saying you don't like it because it's too transparent?
IMO the particularity with the TLM170 is that it smoothens textures a lot. This makes it very suitable to "straighten out" or smoothen the grain of voices, or the sharp textures of blaring trumpets. In this example it brings elegance. But when used as a spot to get a little more texture than a main pair at a distance gives you, it does not work. You can only thicken the tone with it, but not bring out more detail. Cello is a typical instrument that is usually being helped in the context of a dense mix by emphasizing its transient texture. The TLM170 is not going to give you that.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➑️
We tried an MK22 but it did not suit the instrument. Wish I'd had a spare KM184 around to solve this problem. The tone from the 170 was best, but it integrated with the main sound too well.
The MK41 seems to be the Schoeps capsule to use as a cello spot if you need more definition. I happen to think the MK22 sounds nice, but it won't make a soloist cut against an orchestra.

David
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
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fred2bern's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➑️
The MK41 seems to be the Schoeps capsule to use as a cello spot if you need more definition. I happen to think the MK22 sounds nice, but it won't make a soloist cut against an orchestra.

David
I have very good results with the MK22 as a spot for soloist in front of an orchestra, especially on solo violins or violas.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➑️
[. . .] I do own two pair of MDC (is that a term), a pair of Gefell UM70S to match as flankers with the Josephsons, and a pair of Gefell M930 which I love on upright basses. Those are probably the only mics that are not SDCs I need in my locker. In fact, except for a few odd-ball mics like a pair of MD441s for pop drums, my locker is as full as it will ever be.

That and five bucks will buy you a Starbucks. [. . .]
This thread is an interesting read - thanks.

I am wondering what makes 'Live Classical' different from 'Not-Live Classical' with respect to LDC mics? Here is what I am guessing:
  • Space and seating constraints
  • Limited time to explore mic placement options
  • Extraneous room noise
  • Visual obstruction or distraction
  • EDIT: A different objective that is the desire to 'capture the live performance'. [1]

I am slowly expanding investments in LDC mics. And I would love to try:
  • All LDC mics against smaller - quintets to octets - chamber ensembles.
  • Mostly LDC mics against a decent chamber orchestra.

I see such configurations in non-live recordings and am not sure why it doesn't appeal for live work. . .even given the constraints above. Yes, I get the off-axis challenges that come with LDC mics. And it does seem like it would take some time to build and refine the skills and intuitions. . .but it also seems a delightful challenge for a recordist's art.

I'm going to pass on Starbucks and save the $5 for my LDC mic fund.


The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.

Ray H.

[1] I have a much stronger preference toward polished [non-live] recordings than to live recordings, and so don't appreciate nuances that are distinct to 'live performance' recording objectives.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➑️
I have a much stronger preference toward polished [non-live] recordings than to live recordings, and so don't appreciate nuances that are distinct to 'live performance' recording objectives.
It's been covered here numerous times before..usually in threads about editing/non-editing/over-editing etc ripping the life out of recorded music....

Nuances could include: risk taking, unique interpretation, an awareness on the part of performers that this a chance to thrill and challenge an audience (rather than recreate a museum exhibit behind glass)... amongst others.

If you're a wine drinker that thinks like a studio recording enthusiast, you'll likely always buy the same safe regular fare from your bottle shop...rather than take a chance on a new bold and adventuresome drop from a young vigneron whose experiments may fail to captivate popular taste...but occasionally excel and excite palates beyond wildest expectations !

The pleasure and excitement is in taking the chance with the latter...and being rewarded on occasions where the state of the (ordinary) art is exceeded, maybe even to set a new benchmark.

Even within the printed music score, such quantum interpretive leaps are possible....and, I'll contend, more often on the performance stage than in the sterile confines of the multi-take studio setting....

But... you may derive comfort from the safe and predictable, and who's to say you're wrong ?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➑️
[. . .] risk taking, unique interpretation, an awareness on the part of performers that this a chance to thrill and challenge an audience (rather than recreate a museum exhibit behind glass)... amongst others.

If you're a wine drinker that thinks like a studio recording enthusiast, you'll likely always buy the same safe regular fare from your bottle shop...rather than take a chance on a new bold and adventuresome drop from a young vigneron whose experiments may fail to captivate popular taste...but occasionally excel and excite palates beyond wildest expectations !

The pleasure and excitement is in taking the chance with the latter...and being rewarded on occasions where the state of the (ordinary) art is exceeded, maybe even to set a new benchmark. [. . .]
Thanks, @ studer58 -

I came back to expand - via an edit - the aspect of 'live vs. studio' as context and disclosure of my limited experience - not intending for it to be the focus.

But also neither understanding much - beyond off axis response characteristics combined with space and seating constraints and perhaps room noise - why LDC mics should necessarily lead to a sad result. It seems like there should be compelling solutions.

Now, I still love my Schoeps [. . . blah, blah, blah . . .] from my cold, dead fingers. But I would have thought someone sporting enough to go all in with high-end LDC mics in the scenario?

Aside: I am attracted to fast-action, gut-clenching, white-knuckle excitement! 'You only go around once in life, so you have to grab for all the gusto you can get!' On the other hand, I usually reach for an Arnold Palmer.


My goodness - I'm thirsty!

Ray H.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #24
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
if i wouldn't be using mics which have oh so terrible off-axis response, there wouldn't be any left: with the exception of measurement mics, any mic sounds different on axis, regardless of its capsules and basket size or pattern...

my main reason to occasionally use my mdc's/ldc's as mains is though that what goes up, stays up: i can remotely control my tlm170's pattern or use the dual outputs of my oc818's and adjust their pattern while mixing.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 04:44 PM.. Reason: typo...
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler ➑️
So, you're saying you don't like it because it's too transparent?
No, we just couldn't get the highlight we needed from it as a spot without pushing the gain too high. I like the 170 for most spot duties, but with cello perhaps more texture is needed.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 3 weeks ago at 10:35 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➑️
The MK41 seems to be the Schoeps capsule to use as a cello spot if you need more definition. I happen to think the MK22 sounds nice, but it won't make a soloist cut against an orchestra.

David
Thanks David, your suggestions are gratefully received being a cellist. Will give them a try next time. Didn't really consider them, previously, for cello.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #27
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➑️
The MK41 seems to be the Schoeps capsule to use as a cello spot if you need more definition. I happen to think the MK22 sounds nice, but it won't make a soloist cut against an orchestra.

David

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➑️
Thanks David, your suggestions are gratefully received being a cellist. Will give them a try next time. Didn't really consider them, previously, for cello.
hm...

do you really feel there's such a large difference between any of the schoeps capsules other than directivity (and everything which comes from that)?

i choose capsules/patterns depending on the distance, recording angle, spill from nearby instruments, ambient sound etc. but never in terms of 'grit'/'cut' - for this, i might change the preamp or drive a tube preamp a bit harder...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 11:09 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
TLM-170 can pick up incredible amount of detail and has an equally amazing reach if you could simply get rid of two inner layers of the pop filter cage. The difference is huge. This thing was clearly designed for very close distance pop style vocal recording, for which one definitely needs heavy duty pop filtration.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo;15413851[. . .
if you could simply get rid of two inner layers of the pop filter cage. [. . .]
There is a great Harley Chop Shop that might do the work. But I always thought of the TLM-170 more like a Bultaco - would be a shame to mod such a fine flat tracker.


Easy rider,

Ray H.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
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Jimbo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I have a pair of Lewitt 540S (subzero) that are really nice for mid/far-field recording. I've been really curious about their application for live classical.

The top end is open, clear, and smooth. I think it would work well.

Oh, and they are eerily quiet!
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