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Next mic purchase for location recording newbie
Old 14th February 2003
Gear Nut
🎧 15 years
Next mic purchase for location recording newbie


I'm just now starting to get serious about location recording - particualrly "acoustic" recording, using various stereo techniques. I've read both Bartlett books - Stereo Microphone Techniques and Location Recording, which have been fairly decent, and I just recieved The New Stereo Soundbook, which at first glance looks to be a great resource.

I've been playing around with various stereo mic setups, and the one I've consistently liked has been a pair of coincident or near-coincident cardioids in XY or something ranging from ORTF to NOS, along with a pair of spaced omnis. However, I've always liked the stability of the center image with MS, and I've used that quite a bit for FX recording.

Now, having said that, my question is about my next microphone purchase. I currently have 2 Earthworks TC30ks for my omni pair - which I love, but I certainly need to improve my cardioid collection. For MS, I have a Shure KSM44 for the side (which I've been fairly impressed with on normal close up vocals, BTW) and an AKG C3000 for the mid (one of the original black ones). I also have an Audio Technica shotgun which I use as a mid mic sometimes for FX recording. And for XY, ORTF, etc., I have a pair of the AKG Blueline mics with cardioid caps - by far my least favorite of the bunch. I've also played with a pseudo-Decca tree. I also have an Earthworks M30 for system measurement, which, on paper anyway, is almost exactly the same as the TC30k - it sounds close enough for anything that I'm currently doing. I ordered some of the aluminum bar clips from AEA so I could build my own trees and bars without breaking the bank. The Earthworks certainly don't have the frequency shading that I've heard the M50s have, but I've gotten some decent results.

So here's what I'm currently considering - a pair of TLM 103s or an additional KSM44. Both have their advantages - if I got the TLMs, it would make my life easier for voice over type work, where I often have 3 voices to record. If I got the KSM44, it'd still be an additional mic for voice overs, but I'd also be able to work with Blumlein pairs, or use a figure 8 as a mid mic in MS. It'd also give me an additional pair of omnis to work with. But then there's the budget and quality issues. In cardioid mode, how does the KSM44 compare to the TLMs? And it'd certainly be cheaper to just get an additional KSM44.

The KSM44 looks attractive - cheaper and more options, but if the quality doesn't hold up to the TLMs, then I think I might have to go for the TLMs. Neumanns seem to be good for marketing, too

So what do you think? Are there other mics I should be looking at at a similar price? Am I going about this the completely wrong way?!?!

Thanks for your help!!

-Dave Wallingford
Old 14th February 2003
Gear Nut
🎧 15 years
D'oh! I should mention that I record a variety of subjects. But for the purpose of my question, it'll be for choir, jazz, string, and band ensembles of all sizes. I haven't really recorded any large orchestras, but I've been doing various choirs, big band jazz, string ensembles, concert bands, and a bit of bluegrass and barbershop groups. There have been some other acoustic ensembles which don't really fit into normal catagories.


Old 17th February 2003
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar
🎧 15 years
next mic purchase

I'm gonna hold off on the mic suggestions for a bit, and offer up my greatest "find" for anyone into stereo recording. When it comes to stereo mic mounts, there seem to be two categories: those $12 stereo bars that sorta work, sometimes if you're lucky, or the $300 precision metalworks from places like AEA. (the plastic Sabra stuff was a huge disappointment for me; looked great in photos, felt like a toy in person.)

But Shure makes this really unique product, the A27M, that is unlike any other stereo mount I have come across:


It is very simple, reliable and bulletproof - it consists of a couple of pieces of machined steel, it will be functioning long after we're all gone.

Its compact size may make it less suitable for very large mics (BLUE Bottle, RCA 44, etc.) but it is the perfect tool for small condensers like the Neumann KM series. With a street price of around $60, everyone should have one.

[email protected]
Old 17th February 2003
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Nice find Steve-o...

Here's a picture of it.
Attached Thumbnails
Next mic purchase for location recording newbie-a27m_large.jpg  
Old 25th February 2003
Gear Nut
🎧 15 years
Thanks for the info on the Shure adapter - I might have to pick one of those up!

I have to apologize - after rereading my post, I think I may have tread a bit too closely to the universally hated "best mic under a grand, $500, $100, $10, etc." posts. Hmmm... I guess the DUC doesn't really count as part of this universe, eh?

Anyway, I think I'll probably end up getting the TLM 103s. I think quality is more important here than versatility.


Old 27th February 2003
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Hi Dave,
Have you seen the Rode NT4 stereo mic? I got on at a reasonable price so I went for it. So far, all I have used it for has been drum overheads, both live gig and studio. I'm dying to try it on acoustic instruments. One of the reasons I got it was that it can use battery powered phantom, so it will plug directly into a minidisc player etc. It cost about Β£330.

All the best,

Old 1st March 2003
Gear Nut
🎧 15 years
Thanks for the tip on the Rode mic! I'm not sure it's quite what I'm looking for, but it does look very nice for portable recording when size is an issue!


Old 14th March 2003
Gear Head
jbchef's Avatar
🎧 15 years

You should seriously look also at the new Josephson C42s pair. I've used them as my main pair in ORTF and X-Y setting at the jazz bakery here in Los Angeles. Very glad with the result.


Jazz Bakery
Audio Engineering Associates
Old 14th March 2003
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
I will have a look Moko, although I've never heard of them.:eek:

Old 14th March 2003
Lives for gear
dave-G's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Sounds like you're trying to get one mic(-pair) to do two things; stereo pair for live acoustic recording, and voice-overs.. IMO, you're going to compromise one or the other. For the acoustic stereo-pair recording, I'd look to Schoeps, B&K (DPA) or the Sennheiser MKH line.. I love the Sennheiser MKH-80's, which are multipattern and sound great. For the voiceovers, could you perhaps just get a single TLM 103 if that's your VO mic of choice?

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