The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Mics for recording (classical) cello on a budget?
Old 28th October 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Mics for recording (classical) cello on a budget?

I'm an advanced classical cellist looking to record myself playing solo (Bach suites etc). Can anyone recommend a good single mic or stereo pair within a $150 budget? I've been considering the Rode M5 matched pair, but from what I've heard, it sounds a little bright for cello - anyone had any experience with it? (or would you recommend something better?)

This would most likely be my only mic for a few years, so it'd be great if it could also be used for chamber music applications, particularly cello + piano.

Something that could work in a variety of rooms (from smaller rooms to resonant recital spaces) would be best. I'll be pairing it with a USB audio interface - probably an M-Audio M-Track or similar.

Apologies as I'm fairly new to this. Thanks for your help!
Old 28th October 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
My advice to you is double your budget to ~$300 and decide whether you want to go cardioid or omni. The link explains which is which with a link to YouTube. The CM3 and OM1 have gotten rave revues here for their price. They are not top-of-the line but they are excellent. And, there are samples and discussions of these bad boys all over this forum.

Link: Line Audio - Swedish Made High Quality Audio Products - Available at NoHype Audio
Old 28th October 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Is your cello a budget-model? If so, a budget mic would be suitable and Boojum's advice is solid. When your instrument and playing is at a serious level you should consider a setup matching that quality.
Old 28th October 2014
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
No, my cello certainly isn't a budget model! I play at a semi-professional level.

edit: I should add that the reason for the tight budget is that I'm a tertiary music performance student, and there isn't much money coming in for us! So as much as I'd love to stretch the budget higher, I'm afraid it would be very difficult.

Last edited by pianother; 28th October 2014 at 06:01 AM.. Reason: addendum
Old 28th October 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
If you buy something cheap you are not going to be happy. You will sell it and lose money on the deal because not a lot of folks are looking for cheap used mics. Then you will have to buy the better mic(s) and eat the loss you suffered on the cheap mics.

Please, check the threads on the Line Audio mics. Trust us, we have experience with them. They are well-made, neutral and very, very good. It's better to postpone the purchase some than be saddled with the dissatisfaction of a mic or mics you do not want. The folks on this board with Line Audio will tell you they are good,and they are keeping them. And I am talking about some folks with nice studios and big budgets.
Old 28th October 2014 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
Is your cello a budget-model? If so, a budget mic would be suitable and Boojum's advice is solid. When your instrument and playing is at a serious level you should consider a setup matching that quality.
At your price point the NT5 is pretty much out on it's own. Don't mic the cello too close and if you still think it sounds too bright use a little bit of eq.
Old 28th October 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 
pkautzsch's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If placed well, about any modern SDC can sound fine. The most obvious difference is slightly different frequency response: a cheaper cardioid might be designed for close-miking project studio use and have a slight low cut implemented, or it might have a broad bump in the treble range. All this can be handled by listening and EQing accordingly.
The other big difference isn't that obvious in the beginning, but the more listening experience you have, the more it will cry out to you: it's THD at a certain level. Cheaper mics tend to distort at lower levels.
Third, it's matching or production tolerance. Buy 20 Schoeps and they all sound the same. Buy 20 NT-5, you might notice some slight differences. Buy 20 "made in China" $39 mics, each will sound different. This difference may or may not be bad.

In the "budget" range it's either CM-3 or NT-5, the latter giving you the option to get omni capsules later. But do yourself a favor and don't skimp too much on the mics. Save up for it a bit, it's the sound you'll have for some (or some more) years.
Old 28th October 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
AlexK's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The CM3 will knock the socks off the NT5 on Cello.

A Cellist I work with frequently prefers the CM3 over the MK21 after we'd done direct comparisons. She's normally quite picky about having Schoeps.
Old 28th October 2014
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks very much for your advice. It's refreshing to hear from people who care about sound quality rather than making a sale.

I've been told that the Rode M5 is very similar to the NT5 in terms of sound, although it's half the price; would you guys disagree? Would it be an unwise purchase?
Old 28th October 2014 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
elswhrco's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK ➡️
The CM3 will knock the socks off the NT5 on Cello.

A Cellist I work with frequently prefers the CM3 over the MK21 after we'd done direct comparisons. She's normally quite picky about having Schoeps.
Yep. Agreed.
Old 28th October 2014
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Look for a ribbon old or new
Unbeatable
Old 28th October 2014 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexK ➡️
The CM3 will knock the socks off the NT5 on Cello.

A Cellist I work with frequently prefers the CM3 over the MK21 after we'd done direct comparisons. She's normally quite picky about having Schoeps.
The Line Audio CM3 is what I would advise you look at first on your budget.

It's more of a wide-cardioid than a cardioid and, because of this, has a decent bottom end which will be good for a cello.

.
Attached Thumbnails
Mics for recording (classical) cello on a budget?-cm3-2012-52v.jpg   Mics for recording (classical) cello on a budget?-cm3plot.png  
Old 28th October 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'll make a lateral suggestion, which my fellow forum members will perhaps disagree with somewhat - think about a hand held recorder instead of paying for mics and an interface. It's a popular approach among musicians in your position these days. (But of course one you have already discounted, but I think it's worth mentioning).

Portable Recorder Sound Samples has samples of cello and other sources recorded on a variety of devices. To my surprise, the humble Zoom H2 sounds quite reasonable of those tested.

See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qBVzu2Hyhk which is recorded in a poor space but gives you some idea.

And https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXvOPWrQsrk was apparently recorded on a Zoom H2 (with much too much reverb added later) - see discussion at https://community.ardour.org/node/4195

Personally I'd veer strongly towards a stereo solution but we've had a long argument on stereo vs mono recently here!

Cellist here, looking to record myself for critiquing purposes, looking to get a Blue Yeti Pro usb/xlr mic for that reason, and i have questions. : audioengineering might also be of interest.
Old 28th October 2014
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I would agree with the Line Audio CM-3's. They may be inexpensive but they sound far from "cheap." The OM-1's get equal praise if you want omni's.
Old 28th October 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
 
pkautzsch's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A handheld recorder is just fine for performance checking. I would stay away from it for "serious" recording for demos or published CDs, as you might want/need more than one fixed mic setup depending on where you record.
However the more "commercial" your recording is aimed to be, the more it can be helpful to have someone else there taking care of the recording while you concentrate fully on performing.
Old 29th October 2014
  #16
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Having gone through the Line Audio CM3 thread and listened to the samples, I'm incredibly impressed and think they would be fantastic. However, I can't find any way of getting them here (Australia) for less than AU$400 for a pair - well outside my price range. I guess I could just buy one, but then I'd be stuck with recording in mono only.

Saving up is always an option, but I can get a pair of Rode M5s for less than AU$200 - that's literally half the price of the CM3. Nobody seems to have had any experience with them, and I can't find any recordings of classical music other than Rode's own promo videos.

Is the Rode M5 matched pair better than the Zoom H2n?
Do you think the difference in quality compared to the CM3s would be worth the $200 saving?
Old 29th October 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you have listened to the Røde M5 samples on Røde's website (https://soundcloud.com/rodemics/r-de...ed-pair-in-x-y) you may have noticed the very scratchy and sharp sound of these mics. As if someone has used a very cheap EQ to push the highs beyond the reasonable threshold. When you think you can stand that sound coming from your cello, go for it!
Old 29th October 2014 | Show parent
  #18
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
If you have listened to the Røde M5 samples on Røde's website (https://soundcloud.com/rodemics/r-de...ed-pair-in-x-y) you may have noticed the very scratchy and sharp sound of these mics. As if someone has used a very cheap EQ to push the highs beyond the reasonable threshold. When you think you can stand that sound coming from your cello, go for it!
You see, when I heard that string quartet sample, I thought that the tinny sound you refer to might actually be due to treble-heavy EQ rather than the microphone itself - and as Rode's choral sample sounded quite poorly engineered, I suspect this could well be the case. All the reviews of the M5 that I've read indicate that its sound is comparable to the NT5, so I'd love to hear from someone who's used them.
Old 29th October 2014 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pianother ➡️
You see, when I heard that string quartet sample, I thought that the tinny sound you refer to might actually be due to treble-heavy EQ rather than the microphone itself - and as Rode's choral sample sounded quite poorly engineered, I suspect this could well be the case. All the reviews of the M5 that I've read indicate that its sound is comparable to the NT5, so I'd love to hear from someone who's used them.
Well, I've owned NT5's and NT55's for years (still have the NT55's, particularly for the omni caps), and I would never use them close up on bowed strings, because of their overly bright character (which, by the way, may be very handy to have in a room with a lot of diffuse reflections, or for a guitar that needs to cut through a dense mix). And I don't think the M5's are EQ'd after the fact, but simply sound like that. Or do you think Røde would try to make them sound worse than they actually do, in their own samples?

What I don't get is that you try to sit first row for the price of a balcony ticket. Nobody here is going to bridge that gap for you, by lying about the truth of microphones. How much did you spend on your cello? AU$20,000? A microphone set to record it should be seen as an extension of the instrument. I would consider the Line Audio CM3's as the lowest cost/reasonable quality option for cello. (And yes, I also have a pair of CM3's, so I know how they sound in real life.) Ideally cello would be best recorded with a set of Schoeps CMC6MK22/CMC6MK8 to record it in M/S. I think it would suit your needs best.

Do you have a smart phone with a monthly plan? How much does that cost you? Please, be real! You want value, you need to pay.
Old 29th October 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
You can get the Line Audio from SoundTown in Perth, WA for $199 Aust each.

Line Audio CM3 Small Condenser Microphone - Soundtown

I have both the NT5 and the CM3...I'd choose the CM3 over the NT5 most times, smoother sound, better bass, wider pattern (subcardioid vs regular cardy) Set aside a few weeks of cello tuition income solely to mic purchase buying power....if you buy cheap now you'll regret at leisure for a long time later, and end up buying the CM3's anyway ! They may be cheaper to import directly from Line Audio...that's what I did a few years ago.
Old 29th October 2014
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Piedpiper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
The Rodes are great for the price, but, as has been already said, are decidedly bright, which might be fine in some contexts, but not yours. IMHO, there is little to no reason to go stereo for solo cello. If you are recording a duet, trio, quartet, etc., that's another issue. Stereo is a must then. But still, borrow the money for better mics if you have to. And not all "better mics" are "better" for this context. Whoever said any decent SDC will do is off the mark here. The Rodes are decent SDCs and are totally unsuitable for this, unless you want aggressive sound, which might work for cello in a dense rock mix but not for classical. Michael Joly makes some very nice mics, LDCs, SDCs and ribbons. I like the MJE Hulk 990 and his LR44, but both are more than your budget though killer value.
Old 29th October 2014 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pianother ➡️
Having gone through the Line Audio CM3 thread and listened to the samples, I'm incredibly impressed and think they would be fantastic. However, I can't find any way of getting them here (Australia) for less than AU$400 for a pair - well outside my price range. I guess I could just buy one, but then I'd be stuck with recording in mono only.

Saving up is always an option, but I can get a pair of Rode M5s for less than AU$200 - that's literally half the price of the CM3. Nobody seems to have had any experience with them, and I can't find any recordings of classical music other than Rode's own promo videos.

Is the Rode M5 matched pair better than the Zoom H2n?
Do you think the difference in quality compared to the CM3s would be worth the $200 saving?
As a fellow classical musician (guitar), I really like the Line Audio CM-3's because they are flat in the high frequencies which can make solo classical guitar sound thin and overly bright. They seem to sound good on most everything! However, I'll be honest, from a musicians standpoint, you have to spend a decent amount of money to get results that will satisfy your expectations as an accomplished cellist. A Sound Devices USBPre 2 is pretty much future proof and probably the highest quality 2 channel audio interface available. A stereo pair of Shure KSM141's has both cardioid and omni polar patterns and is highly praised. I realize there is a lot of money in those two products but unfortunately that is just the way it is. I think its important for classical musicians to understand recording and have a decent recording setup because its the only way to capture our performances. However, let someone else handle major performance recordings so you can be unburdened by the recording aspect. They will know what they are doing and so will you!
Old 29th October 2014
  #23
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Has anyone recorded a cello with a pair of CM3 and a pair of OM-1 for comparison and would not mind posting the results here? I'd love to hear them.
Old 29th October 2014 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
Is your cello a budget-model? If so, a budget mic would be suitable and Boojum's advice is solid.
Loving this...
Like using a cheap car
With budget fuel.
Old 29th October 2014
  #25
Gear Addict
 
apotheosis's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
See this one: OM1 + CM3 + NT5 on cello
https://gearspace.com/board/remote-p...ht=marcin+bach
Old 29th October 2014
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Many thanks, apotheosis!
Old 29th October 2014
  #27
Lives for gear
 
AlexK's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
FWIW, I would choose CM3s over KSM141s. The 141s are excellent but coloured up top which the CM3s aren't. NT5s aren't anywhere near the league of the CM3s. Not by a long shot. I'd be surprised if the M5 was any better.

The CM3s punch way above their weight and I don't generally tend to buy into hype.

I would also say I'm not typically a classical engineer.
Old 30th October 2014 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pianother ➡️
Is the Rode M5 matched pair better than the Zoom H2n?
Do you think the difference in quality compared to the CM3s would be worth the $200 saving?
The M5 is a rather new mic from Rode . According to the Sound On Sound review, it would be as good as the NT5. I agree with most people here that the Line Audio CM3 is better than the NT5. Whether the extra cost is worth is a subjective question that you only can answer for you. Here below a small piano test recorded on this evening for comparing the Rode NT5, the Behringer B-5, even cheaper than the M5 in Europe and delivered with a cardioid capsule (used in the attached test) and an omni capsule, the CM3 and the Neumann KM 184 as a reference.
Attached Thumbnails
Mics for recording (classical) cello on a budget?-dscf0201.jpg  
Attached Files

nt5.mp3 (3.86 MB, 12957 views)

b5.mp3 (3.86 MB, 12501 views)

cm3.mp3 (3.86 MB, 13202 views)

km184.mp3 (3.86 MB, 12914 views)

Old 30th October 2014
  #29
Gear Addict
 
apotheosis's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
FWIW, my girlfriend being a classical cellist, I would go for the OM1's -- the most natural frequency response affordable for concert musicians who bought two large instruments (myself being a harpsichordist) :-)
Old 30th October 2014
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Pianother, are you in Melbourne by any chance (like me)? If so, perhaps we could do some experiments with stuff I have to hand.
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 2081 views: 442154
Avatar for pencilextremist
pencilextremist 4th April 2022
replies: 84 views: 53256
Avatar for DaveyJones
DaveyJones 13th February 2022
replies: 23 views: 1947
Avatar for loopy
loopy 28th October 2015
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump