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Which mics to use for classical Saxophone recording? And many other instruments

  • Rode K2

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  • AKG C214

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  • AKG C414

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So recently i did a poll on some microphones, now im thinking, i want a multipurpose microphone...to record more than just saxophone, but still mainly classical saxophone, here are some of the mics i have in mind:
Rode K2
Sennheiser MD421
Mojave MA-201
AKG C214
AKG C414

can anyone tell me the difference between the 214 and 414? is there really big of a difference? sound wise.(besides the multiple polar pattern to choose from)

I've considered ribbon mics but i did manage to blow a store ribbon.......so.....thanks a lot
 

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The difference between the C214 and C414 is that the C414 has multiple patterns. The C214 is stuck at on a Cardiod pattern. That is generally what you want to use when recording. Other than that they are the same.

I have both a Sennheiser 421 and a AKG-C414. Generally, the 421 is my live perfomance mic. It works great, and is built like a tank. For recording, I use the 414. There is really no comparison between the two in terms of sound. The C414 captures stuff in better detail than the 421.

Though a new C414 is close to $1000. You don't need a new one. I have two, I have a ULS model and a EB model. The EB model is my favorite. Supposedly they are the same, but the EB seems to sound better on saxophone. I guess I'd have to get a plot of the frequency response for the mic to know for sure (I have the ULS's, it's basically flat).

Back on topic though. Generally, you should think of a microphone purchase like a horn purchase. If you take care of it, it is a lifetime relationship. You want a flat response from your mic. A lot of mics, like a Shure 57, which is a great mic, have rises in certain frequencies. That is not really something you want in a good studio mic especially for wind instruments. So, depending on how much you want to spend, the AKG mics are great. Sennheiser for close saxophone micing or live. Rode makes good mics too. I don't have any experience with the K2 though. I have a stereo NT4 that I love though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The difference between the C214 and C414 is that the C414 has multiple patterns. The C214 is stuck at on a Cardiod pattern. That is generally what you want to use when recording. Other than that they are the same.

I have both a Sennheiser 421 and a AKG-C414. Generally, the 421 is my live perfomance mic. It works great, and is built like a tank. For recording, I use the 414. There is really no comparison between the two in terms of sound. The C414 captures stuff in better detail than the 421.

Though a new C414 is close to $1000. You don't need a new one. I have two, I have a ULS model and a EB model. The EB model is my favorite. Supposedly they are the same, but the EB seems to sound better on saxophone. I guess I'd have to get a plot of the frequency response for the mic to know for sure (I have the ULS's, it's basically flat).

Back on topic though. Generally, you should think of a microphone purchase like a horn purchase. If you take care of it, it is a lifetime relationship. You want a flat response from your mic. A lot of mics, like a Shure 57, which is a great mic, have rises in certain frequencies. That is not really something you want in a good studio mic especially for wind instruments. So, depending on how much you want to spend, the AKG mics are great. Sennheiser for close saxophone micing or live. Rode makes good mics too. I don't have any experience with the K2 though. I have a stereo NT4 that I love though.
Cool! I went to long and mcquade today, appearantly they have a used c414 for sale for 750. i asked them what the difference was between the C214 and c414 and they said it was quite different. when i came back n saw the manual they recommended c214 over the 414 for saxophone recording.

im also thinking about upgrading my interface, mine now is a tascam US122Mkii, what would you recommend for a interface? (my budget is under 200-300)

thanks! and merry christmas!
 

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C414 is my mic of choice for just about everything. I've recorded dozens of auditions, from summer programs to major symphony orchestras, and from violin to bassoon, using two 414s.

If you want to record classical music, and you use one of the standard stereo mic techniques (blumlein pair, ortf, binaural, middle-side, jecklin disk), you'll need two microphones with multiple patterns. My personal favorite for mono compatibility is the middle side. You'll need one figure eight pattern mic for that.
 

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I highly recommend Schoeps wide cardiods MK21s used as a/b pair quasi ortf for excellent recording results. Better than cardiods and omnis for many applications for virtually any kind of ensemble for overall stereo pair - also work well as a/b pair for piano.
Just recorded a first class pro brass group for example using these mikes. I find myself using these most of the time even though I have lots of other fine mikes. I'm hooked on the wide cardiods as many are who do professional classical recording
 

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I highly recommend Schoeps wide cardiods MK21s used as a/b pair quasi ortf for excellent recording results. Better than cardiods and omnis for many applications for virtually any kind of ensemble for overall stereo pair - also work well as a/b pair for piano.
Just recorded a first class pro brass group for example using these mikes. I find myself using these most of the time even though I have lots of other fine mikes. I'm hooked on the wide cardiods as many are who do professional classical recording
I also prefer the Scheops, but most folks don't own these, nor are they common, although I prefer using the omni and figure eight capsule as a M-S. John Eargle liked to use his MKH 20s in a spaced pair or decca tree.
 

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John Eargle I actually had the pleasure of studying recording under him at some classes years ago when he was still at Mercury
great engineer and musician. His two books are still very useful to read.
The wide cardiods are not so common as you mention. I think this is do to exposure as most people do no even think about them.

IMO Unless one needs a tight pattern for isolation and close miking the smooth wide axis with no coloration of the wide cardiods plus the better bass response really work well

But they are pricey.
 

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John Eargle I actually had the pleasure of studying recording under him at some classes years ago when he was still at Mercury
great engineer and musician. His two books are still very useful to read.
The wide cardiods are not so common as you mention. I think this is do to exposure as most people do no even think about them.

IMO Unless one needs a tight pattern for isolation and close miking the smooth wide axis with no coloration of the wide cardiods plus the better bass response really work well

But they are pricey.
I had the pleasure of being his second engineer on a recording project a couple of years before he passed. Nice guy, too. His books are on my shelf, and are not 'pristine' :)
 

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I last knew he was teaching summer recording courses at Aspen but then lost track. I met him at Eastman where we were able to work daily with excellent ensembles as you can imagine.
As you know well one can still do great recording with well placed overall miking (main pair, flanks or tree) and minimizing any spot mikes except to enhance soloists.
 
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