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Old 03-16-2018, 06:28 AM
crafter ga6 crafter ga6 is offline
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Default Mics for noisy environment

Hi everyone
I'm looking at buying my first lot of recording equipment, which I will initially be using for recording acoustic piano and guitar. The problem I have is that I live in town right by a busy main road, and as it is a rented house I can't sound treat a room. Given the circumstances, what mics would work best? Would I be able to get any decent results with cardioid pattern condensers, or are there dynamic options that would do the job? I am looking at probably no more than 100 per mic.
Also if I do go for condensers, I know that either small or large diaphragm models can work with guitar, but what about piano?

Thanks
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:39 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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Condensor mics are more sensitive than dynamics, so are going to pick up more non-wanted sound.
Consider building/buying some 'bass traps' (4" thick rockwool panels) that you can use as portable gobos, to block sounds from the side/back of the mic(s) when recording.
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Old 03-16-2018, 08:59 AM
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I'd suggest moving away from thinking condenser vs dynamic mics. Yes, dynamics have lower sensitivity, but you will probably have to add more preamp gain using a dynamic mic so you will be applying this additional amplification to both the signal you want and as well as the ambient noise.

You may want to focus on how to get your desired signal level higher and/or getting the recorded ambient noise lower.
(1) A directional mic (cardiod, etc) should help in the ratio of desired signal to undesired noise.
(2) Soundproofing to lower ambient noise probably won't be practical, so your options may be limited to recording during times where the outdoor ambient noise is low (late at night?)
(3) In order to get your desired signal level higher relative to the ambient noise you could mic closer to your source. How close you mic to your source(s) can factor into what type of directional mic you choose (cardioid, wide cardioid, hyper cardioid, etc). Also, a directional mics distance from the source affects the magnitude of its proximity effect (boost of lower frequencies). You can get mics designed for close micing, or you can E/Q to offset the proximity effect.

So, I'd suggest recording when the outside ambient noise is lowest, getting directional condenser mics, and record as close as necessary to improve signal to ambient noise ratio. Note: As you record closer to the source the recording may not sound as realistic. That's a tradeoff.
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Last edited by ChuckS; 03-16-2018 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 03-17-2018, 04:15 AM
Arteur LeDart Arteur LeDart is offline
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contact or pickup mics of various types and prices are available for both instruments. Even if you only use them for backup of standard mics, they will save many a time when the motorcycle, boom box, dump truck, etc etc go by.
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Old 03-17-2018, 01:08 PM
Ty Ford Ty Ford is offline
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1. Plan to record anytime there isn't traffic, e.g. early in the morning and late at night.
2. Plan to do a lot of cutting and pasting and/or retakes.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old 03-17-2018, 07:49 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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Also check out iZotope RX, the home recordist's best friend for dealing in those occasional noises. However, a bigger challenge than noise may be room acoustics. You can edit out a car going by, but other than close micing, there's no way to get rid of poor room acoustics on a recording. There are some mics that work better for very close micing. Checkout the AEA NS22s for example, which work well at literally a few inches away, greatly increasing the signal-to-room or signal-to-noise ratio.
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Old 03-18-2018, 01:00 AM
midwinter midwinter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crafter ga6 View Post
I am looking at probably no more than 100 per mic.
For that money, get you a few used Shure SM57s. They're fine for your application. They're forgiving for your situation. They're ridiculously cheap and bulletproof. They can be used live. They are completely usable for what you want to record.

If you have some money left over, get a Cloud Lifter ($150USD new) to help with their relatively low output.
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Old 03-18-2018, 05:03 AM
Andy Howell Andy Howell is offline
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I would agree with Doug.

I live in a relatively noisy and busy area but I don't have problems with small condensers picking up unwanted noise. But then I don't know how noisy your road is or how close your room is to the road.

I would try and analyse what is going on first.

I recommend renting some mics for the weekend, or borrowing some if you can. Rather than a formal rental you might find your local store is more helpful in allowing you to test mics in your price range.Z

Test recordings will allow you to not only get a feel for the road noise but as Doug suggests get a feel for your room's natural acoustics.

If and when you find a solution that you are happy with the portable gobos/screens might be a very good idea.

Don't go spending of money without doing some basic testing!
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Old 03-18-2018, 07:22 AM
slide496 slide496 is offline
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Lavaliere mics - I use an audio technica - for the guitar they are focused clip on mics and not sure about a piano. Shure has some recommendations on their site for pianos
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Old 03-18-2018, 05:52 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Treat First, Then New Mic's & Gear

Aloha Crafterga6,

Don't waste a penny on new mic's or gear until you treat your space.

DIY Room Treatment First!

There are hundreds of past DIY Room Treatment threads here in this forum that show you through video's, & detailed lists how to make portable 4"x2'x4' Owens-Corning 703 rigid fiberglass, broadband absorbers to treat your space relatively cheaply as needed.

You absolutely don't have to change your space permanently. I'm a life-long renter & have made what I needed to control the many wildly different types of spaces in which I've lived. You make "rooms-within-a-room" for tracking and/or vocals. Store the panels out of the way when not needed for recording. It's simple!

Do your Homework & Treat First, Crafter. You REALLY need that for using ANY mic(s) & to achieve control & consistency in your home recordings. Otherwise....it's a waste of time & money, IMO!

Meter your space for noise & reflections so you know where the problem spots are.

Three useful treatment links:

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2009/...-on-the-cheap/

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2011/...els/alohachris

http://ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

In terms of mic's for your environment, even though condenser's are preferred for the studio, a live dynamic mic w/ hypercardioid capsule would keep most of the external noise out - close-miking only though. Sennheiser e-945, Neumann KMS-105, Audix OM-7, Heil PR-35, Electro-Voice ND-86, Shure KSM 9 or the venerable SM-57 represent the range of those types of mic's. The AKG C 535 condenser is also worth mentioning because it works well in noisy environments on vocals & instruments. I'd treat first so I could use better condenser mic's.

Laying 1/2" x 4'x8' sheets of Homasote Soundboard 440 in front of windows or internal noise sources can really help keep out the noise & cut down on room reflections. About $35/sheet from Acoustic Material Suppliers. I use that to make boxes to put around my computer fans & it works.

Of course, only record later night when external noise abates.

Good Luck!

alohachris

Last edited by alohachris; 03-20-2018 at 05:12 PM.
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  #11  
Old 03-21-2018, 11:44 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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For acoustic guitars, an iRig Acoustic Stage is cheap and easy to move from guitar to guitar. It will pickup external noise if that noise is loud enough, but less than most any other microphone. Also very easy to use. Sound quality is surprisingly good for a sub $100 item.

What kind of piano and style of playing? It's been a while, but for barrelhouse style upright, a couple of Shure SM57s worked for me in the past. For more reverberant and "open" sounding grand piano sounds I use virtual instruments exclusively now. For my style of nave piano playing I can get by with an inexpensive MIDI controller keyboard and the VIs hosted in Apple Logic (a subset of which are probably in Apple GarageBand).

My "real pianist" nephew says that the upper end Casio Previa piano keyboards (yes, Casio he told me, knowing that the brand name would surprise many) seemed to have the player feel and good enough sound built in for many purposes. And Casio's upper end is cheap by piano standards.

The advantage of virtual instruments or a good electronic sampled piano (like the upper end Casios) is that room acoustics and noise don't enter into the picture.
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:39 PM
crafter ga6 crafter ga6 is offline
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Thanks for all the replies.
I was planning to record the piano first, and thinking along the lines of what works for the piano will work for guitar. I originally thought of renting time in a studio, but most don't seem to have acoustic pianos (I have to have an acoustic piano to be able to play naturally) and my type of playing doesn't lend itself to copy/pasting multiple takes as I don't seem to play the same way every time. I also want to buy my own gear as I want to be able to just record when I feel like it rather than having to wait for a studio booking.
I'm now thinking of maybe buying an AKG D5 (I was planning to for live and possibly recording vocals anyway) and trying that out on the piano to give me an idea of whether dynamic mics will do it justice.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:35 PM
Cocobolo Kid Cocobolo Kid is offline
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You should look into the Kawai VPC1 88 key USB controller and the Modartt Pianoteq software. The VPC1 has one of Kawai's best grand piano actions and plays like a real grand piano. The sound and response of the Pianoteq software is phenomenal. Many accomplished pianists use this combination. A good playback system or good studio monitors is a must too. You will also need a computer/laptop and an audio interface. You will never need to tune this setup like a real piano, and moving it is a breeze.

John

Quote:
Originally Posted by crafter ga6 View Post
Thanks for all the replies.
I was planning to record the piano first, and thinking along the lines of what works for the piano will work for guitar. I originally thought of renting time in a studio, but most don't seem to have acoustic pianos (I have to have an acoustic piano to be able to play naturally) and my type of playing doesn't lend itself to copy/pasting multiple takes as I don't seem to play the same way every time. I also want to buy my own gear as I want to be able to just record when I feel like it rather than having to wait for a studio booking.
I'm now thinking of maybe buying an AKG D5 (I was planning to for live and possibly recording vocals anyway) and trying that out on the piano to give me an idea of whether dynamic mics will do it justice.

Last edited by Cocobolo Kid; 03-28-2018 at 08:48 PM.
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