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Small Diaphragm Condenser Suggestions for Chamber Ensembles?
Old 1 week ago
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Small Diaphragm Condenser Suggestions for Chamber Ensembles?

Hello all,

I’m in the market for a good general purpose kit for recording live classical music. I own a videography business and would like to offer decent quality audio in addition to video for recitals and other performances. I need something for a variety of chamber ensembles (strings, winds, piano, choir, organ) and soloists (typically with piano accompaniment). Would a pair of multi-pattern mics like the Shure KSM141 do the trick, or would I be better off with a dedicated pair of cardioids (Beyerdynamic MC930 perhaps) in conjunction with a dedicated pair of omnis (open to suggestions). Recordings will take place in churches and recital halls. I have a Tascam X8 and a Zoom F3. I would like to stay under $2,000. What microphones would you suggest?
Old 1 week ago
Gear Guru
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
two pairs of sdc's will give you the option to use them on their own or to combine them - personally, i'd also get a fig8 for m/s though. and for recording in surround or ambisonic (or an other immersive) format, different mic arrays are required.
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
I do allmost all my chamber ensembles recordings with a pair of MC930 and a pair of OM1.
For video, MC930 are great because of their high sensitivity and great off-axis sound. And you can put them farther from the ensemble than the omnis.
Old 1 week ago
Gear Maniac
🎧 5 years
I have several SDC mics from ADK; their 3-Zigma CHI line. The capsules are swapable and they have a couple models of amp bodies. They can be purchased directly from the manufacturer and prices have dropped over the last few years (in the range of $250-$350 each).
Old 1 week ago
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nightchef's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I picked up a pair of KSM141s earlier this year, and they are really lovely mics--very clear and detailed without brittleness or peakiness. They sound great in both cardioid and omni, and the off-axis response is very good. You might want to include them even if you're adding another pair.
Old 1 week ago
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Yannick's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Today I would still recommend a MS pair, Sennheiser MKH40 and 30.
It is visually unobtrusive and very flexible in different settings.

As a bonus, for video, mono compatibility is very good.
Old 1 week ago
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David Rick's Avatar
🎧 15 years
KSM 141 pairs are presently on sale for Black Friday. It's hard to go wrong at the price.
Old 1 week ago
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jnorman's Avatar
IMHO, you might be better served by replacing your tascam with a sound devices MixPre 6, and getting pairs of line audio CM4s and OM1s. At first, you can mount all 4 mics on the same bar, ala boojum/jnorman array, to give you a choice of main pairs during post (or blend as needed), until you get a good idea of what works best for you, your ears, and the venues you are working in. Once you have gotten a fair amount experience, you can consider whether upgrading to Schoeps, etc, is worth some more money…
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by Jahank42 ➡️
[. . .] I would like to stay under $2,000. What microphones would you suggest?
I don’t have any idea to stay under $2K aside from a pair of multi-pattern LCD workhorse mics [like the AKG C414 XL II, which I like. . .but which also gets a lot of hate in these forums]. You can generally negotiate these well under your budget, I believe. If you invest in learning, these will support very strong recordings for everything on your list. [1]

I am far more fond of Schoeps; but they break your current budget, I am far less fond of budget SDC alternatives.

Pursue a deep high-end mic locker over time. Most any high-end condenser pair you choose is a step on that path.

Good to see videographers lean in on getting great sound.

Ray H.

[1] EDIT: Maybe think of your first good microphone pair similarly to your first good camera, lens, or pair of lights. You eventually need more as your budget and creativity demands expand. But at $2k, I would lean toward a good workhorse pair, each with 9 very useable patterns [plus pads & filters] for similar reasons that I would lean toward a good zoom lens. A wide array of patterns will, I think, facilitate the fewest constraints on your artistic options.
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