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Old 04-14-2016, 10:29 AM
Eclectic Guitar Eclectic Guitar is offline
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Default Sennheiser MD 441 for recording acoustic g.

The man at my local music store tells me that the AKG 414 condenser mic is known for making many a famous & great acoustic guitar recording.

I think I recall Sound on Sound Editor Paul White mentioning in one of his music production books that he often makes his best acoustic guitar tracks with just one AKG 414 -pointed either to the bridge or the bottom of the neck.

The trouble is AKG C414 condensers cost over a K note, way above my budget & as well, these days I'm forced to record in a somewhat noisy acoustically untreated room environment.

I've been told that all condenser mics -even the multi-pattern condensers with hypercardioid patterns & reflection filters etc. pick up all the room noise. -Otherwise my research would of led me to the very affordable CAD M179 ($279.00 can$) -20Hz to 20KHz multi pattern condenser with hypercardioid setting;

*I was advised that a good (unidirectional) dynamic cardioid mic is the thing for these acoustically hostile settings, -this is a valid enough solution for the vocal tracking, -the trouble is dynamic cardioids simply don't make it for recording acoustic guitars. The received wisdom, (in gearslutz.com) is that generally condenser mics are by far best for recording acoustics, (although in this forum I've noticed ribbons being used as well).

* Then I learned of the Sennheiser MD 441, an excellent clear high fidelity dynamic that is very good for various instruments as well as vocals.

Although not the cheapest dynamic cardioid mic, -could it be that this would be my go to solution ?
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:31 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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First, there are literally dozens of mics that are "known for making many a famous & great acoustic guitar recording."

Second, which AKG 414 did he mean?



Third, if you actually do a careful test with level matching and similar positioning, I don't think you'll get less ambient noise and reflection from a dynamic compared to a condenser of the same pattern. The reason so many people believe that a dynamic works differently from a condenser is that they position them very differently.

Fourth, the Sennheiser is one of the most condenser like (flat extended frequency response) dynamics out there, but has very low sensitivity so it requires a preamp with lots of very clean gain so your budget must take that into account.

Fran
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:59 PM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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You might want to consider making/buying a couple of movable bass trap panels that you can use to tame some of the reflections when you record. I built 6 2'x4'x4" panels for under $250 (including the rather high freight charge for shipping the rockwool to me).

I've been doing all my acoustic (and vocal) recording with the modestly-priced AKG P220 (previous generation to this one: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/P220 ) which is a pretty good bargain right now at $130.
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:17 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Originally Posted by Eclectic Guitar View Post
The man at my local music store tells me that the AKG 414 condenser mic is known for making many a famous & great acoustic guitar recording.

I think I recall Sound on Sound Editor Paul White mentioning in one of his music production books that he often makes his best acoustic guitar tracks with just one AKG 414 -pointed either to the bridge or the bottom of the neck.

The trouble is AKG C414 condensers cost over a K note, way above my budget & as well, these days I'm forced to record in a somewhat noisy acoustically untreated room environment.

I've been told that all condenser mics -even the multi-pattern condensers with hypercardioid patterns & reflection filters etc. pick up all the room noise. -Otherwise my research would of led me to the very affordable CAD M179 ($279.00 can$) -20Hz to 20KHz multi pattern condenser with hypercardioid setting;

*I was advised that a good (unidirectional) dynamic cardioid mic is the thing for these acoustically hostile settings, -this is a valid enough solution for the vocal tracking, -the trouble is dynamic cardioids simply don't make it for recording acoustic guitars. The received wisdom, (in gearslutz.com) is that generally condenser mics are by far best for recording acoustics, (although in this forum I've noticed ribbons being used as well).

* Then I learned of the Sennheiser MD 441, an excellent clear high fidelity dynamic that is very good for various instruments as well as vocals.

Although not the cheapest dynamic cardioid mic, -could it be that this would be my go to solution ?
You've been given a mixed bag of advice ...some good, some not so much.

There are various models of the AKG 414, some are better for recording acoustic guitar than others but I'm not a huge fan of that microphone. I own one and I don't reach for it very often.

As a general rule, cardiods will pick up less room than figure eight or omni patterns. Hypercariods will pick up even less but I've found they're harder to work with because they're less forgiving regarding mic placement.

I don't know a lot about the CAD M179, but in your price range I'm a big fan of the ADK A6. They're a bit forgiving when it comes to placement and they can produce nice clean tracks. Years back, Dream Guitars used to use a pair to record Al Petteway's demo recordings and that's where I first learned of them.

In another thread, someone mentioned the Audio Technica AT2020 as being another good candidate but I have no personal experience with that mic.

I'm sure the person who recommended the dynamic cardioid mic had the Shure SM7B in mind. That mic became all the rage when folks found out Michael Jackson used one for his vocals on the Thriller album. Jackson also had the use of some pretty spectacular mic pres and other gear and I haven't heard anything that's convinced me that mic is a good choice in a low budget studio focusing on acoustic guitar. I could be wrong about that though as I've never used one, but if I were you that wouldn't be on my wish list.

As for the MD441, honestly, I don't think a dynamic mic should or could be your best choice. The most versatile mic to start with would be a large diaphragm condenser. And ribbon mics are great if you have a room that's been properly treated. Otherwise, they're problematic because they pick up everything. Plus, ribbons need a lot of gain. If you don't have a very good mic pre, your tracks will be noisy. LDC is really your best bet.
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:55 PM
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Whatever mic you pick, I'd suggest a pair of them. Stereo micing tends to capture the spaciousness of an acoustic guitar, and even an inexpensive pair of mics can sound very nice. But there are fans of mono micing, too.

Also, aside from Fran's point about the many variants of the 414, if you're really sold on those, the 214 is a cardiod-only version that's quite a bit cheaper. I've used on for live micing, but never for recording.
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:40 AM
Ty Ford Ty Ford is offline
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What does more (or less) forgiving mean?

--

"I've been told that all condenser mics -even the multi-pattern condensers with hypercardioid patterns & reflection filters etc. pick up all the room noise. -Otherwise my research would of led me to the very affordable CAD M179 ($279.00 can$) -20Hz to 20KHz multi pattern condenser with hypercardioid setting;"


Well, "more room noise" can be the result of you not realizing that condenser mics, on average are a lot more sensitive than dynamic mics. As a result, If you've been using dynamics and plug in a condenser, EVERYthing is louder. That leads some people to think that condenser mics "pick up all the room noise."

Also, condenser mics, because they work differently than dynamics, do have an increased HF response. As a result, they do hear more of the HF. If that's where your room is making noise, you'll certainly hear it.

Then there's pattern. The TLM 103, for example, is a condenser with a very wide cardioid pattern compared to other dynamic and condenser mics. Because of this, it will hear more room sound than a mic with a tighter cardioid pattern.

The TLM 103 and AKG C414 (regardless of which version) are pickier about what mic preamp they sound best with. It's not always the more expensive preamp that achieves the best results. Cheaper preamps may be OK, but they may do so by not having the bandwidth or fidelity of more expensive preamps. As a result, they scrape off both some of the good and bad signal. You don't notice the loss unless you've heard the guitar, instrument or voice with a better combination. It just sounds better than another combination of mic and preamp.

The Sennheiser 441 is a great dynamic mic. If your guitar is really bright, the 441 might tame it and make it sounds better. If you play quietly, the result will probably be that you hear more system noise because you need to use more preamp gain to get the signal to an appropriate level.

Ribbon mics - not necessarily my favorite, but there are good reasons for them and the new ribbons like the Audio Technica AT4080 and Rode NTR are quiet and sound quite nice on pretty much everything including guitar. You'll probably end up rolling off some low end, but these two ribbons have enough sensitivity to allow that without bringing up the noise. They are both as sensitive as some condenser mics.

So, nothing is as easy as it seems and yes, if you do have a truly horrible room (square rooms are frequently the worst), all bets are off.

Yeah, sure.. Why not try the CAD M179. You'll learn something and can apply that to the next purchase.......and there will be a next purchase.

That's how that works.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Last edited by Ty Ford; 04-15-2016 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:19 AM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
Yeah, sure.. Why not try the CAD M179. You'll learn something and can apply that to the next purchase.......and there will be a next purchase.

That's how that works.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Ain't it the truth. Funny how recording starts as a peripheral interest but can evolve into something for which the name of the GearSlutz forum is so apropos.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Ain't it the truth. Funny how recording starts as a peripheral interest but can evolve into something for which the name of the GearSlutz forum is so apropos.
Great quote. Maybe this should be on a warning label. It could make those who play guitar as their primary interest realize that their time, money, and motivation to support playing guiter may be diluted or eliminated entirely. But, where to put the warning label?
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
Whatever mic you pick, I'd suggest a pair of them. Stereo micing tends to capture the spaciousness of an acoustic guitar, and even an inexpensive pair of mics can sound very nice. But there are fans of mono micing, too.

...[snip]....
I agree with Doug about stereo micing for recording solo acoustic guitar.

I prefer using SDC mics in a spaced pair arrangement and getting them set back a ways if the room allows, in the range of 16-30". Depending on the desired sound, and the room, I use either cardioid or omni capsules.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:45 AM
dmoss74 dmoss74 is offline
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you need to get in a quieter room. although good results can be gotten with dynamic mics (on an acoustic guitar), you are way better off with a condenser. and you could get a cheaper one to start, so as to develop your mic technique/engineering chops.

but yes, any extraneous noise will be easily picked up by any condenser.

i have a c-414, and love it for guitar. i also mate it with a c-214 (one pattern condenser, with the same capsule as the c-414). i use them in a mid-side configuration.

you can get one of those cheaper chinese small diaphragm condensers, to try first. but you really need to get your recording environment quieter.

one of the nicer features of the c-414 is how ridiculously minimal their noise floor is. it's practically non-existent.

look around on craigslist. i found my c-414 for less than half of what they go for new, and it is in mint condition. or see if there are any good gear stores in your area that might let you rent one (or any other mic) first. and regardless of which mic you use, you'll soon learn that eqing is a vital skill in getting a great sounding track on acoustic. there's no one spot (or nearly impossible) you can aim a mic at, where you still won't need to do some eqing of the signal. even when setting my c-414 to the 160 hpf, i still need to get some lows and low mids out of the mixed track.

Last edited by dmoss74; 04-16-2016 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:32 AM
Eclectic Guitar Eclectic Guitar is offline
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Default Re preamps;

O.P./Eclectic Guitar;

I should mention that I do have two Grace Design M101s (-preamps strong enough even for Ribbons & as transformer-less -very clean & quiet).

(So I'de be all-right should I still opt for the Sennheiser MD441 cardioid etc.)
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:38 AM
dmoss74 dmoss74 is offline
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Originally Posted by Eclectic Guitar View Post
O.P./Eclectic Guitar;

I should mention that I do have two Grace Design M101s (-preamps strong enough even for Ribbons & as transformer-less -very clean & quiet).

(So I'de be all-right should I still opt for the Sennheiser MD441 cardioid etc.)

those are great mic pres.
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
First, there are literally dozens of mics that are "known for making many a famous & great acoustic guitar recording."

Second, which AKG 414 did he mean?



Third, if you actually do a careful test with level matching and similar positioning, I don't think you'll get less ambient noise and reflection from a dynamic compared to a condenser of the same pattern. The reason so many people believe that a dynamic works differently from a condenser is that they position them very differently.

Fourth, the Sennheiser is one of the most condenser like (flat extended frequency response) dynamics out there, but has very low sensitivity so it requires a preamp with lots of very clean gain so your budget must take that into account.

Fran
Agreeing here, we've got a C414 comb from back in the day, a couple of C414EB P48s, and a fly pack of six Sennheiser MD441s floating around. I think we might even have a C414XL II in one of the studios. All nice mics. I probably wouldn't reach for any of them first when an acoustic guitar comes through the door. The MD441 is really quite a nice dynamic but the high-end and dynamic response of dynamics aren't anywhere as nice as that of a good condenser. Still, if a guy came in with a small guitar, was strumming it vigorously with a light pick, and I was trying to make it fit in a combo, an MD441 would be a good choice to moderate it.
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...snip... one of the nicer features of the c-414 is how ridiculously minimal their noise floor is. it's practically non-existent.
The Rode NT1 series are the current production mics with the lowest self noise, by the way, and they are reasonably inexpensive ($199-$269). We've got both an NT1A and the new NT1. They are both great mics for the money. Were it me, I'd spring the extra money and get the newer NT1 (darker grey ceramic coat). It has a smoother high-end than the older model. The sound is somewhere between a C414 and a Neuman TLM-170.



Back in 1980 my professor of Recording Techniques and Electronic Music taught me a profound lesson: you need to make music with what you have and not long for some new instrument or device to come along. Adopting that philosophy has kept me from pursuing the rotating door of either guitars or mics. Its kind of "Equipment checks in; it never checks out."

Bob
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:45 AM
dmoss74 dmoss74 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
Back in 1980 my professor of Recording Techniques and Electronic Music taught me a profound lesson: you need to make music with what you have and not long for some new instrument or device to come along. Adopting that philosophy has kept me from pursuing the rotating door of either guitars or mics. Its kind of "Equipment checks in; it never checks out."

Bob
sage advice.
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Old 04-16-2016, 12:20 PM
RayCJ RayCJ is offline
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I sure am glad that Bob, Ty and others spoke-up and said what I wanted to say but, refrained because I lack the hands-on technical credibility.

I was a project engineering manager (working with a company that I cannot legally discuss in public) for about a decade, working in the area of psycho-acoustics. We had a sound lab that cost a little over $1 million and it was dedicated for the development of one single product. I spent a little time in that lab, but not much. We had 4 folks working in the lab on a regular basis. Three were Ph.D's in either math or physics and another guy who didn't have a degree but was a "Golden Ear". -That's right... He had a known, verifiable gift of good hearing. He could hear levels of distortion that the rest of us could see on an oscilloscope but not hear. He could listen blind-folded and tell you exactly when he heard it.

Making a long story short, we had some specialized mics that were unbelievably expensive because they were custom designed and built. In all honesty though, most of our work-horse recordings and daily experiments were done with Audio Technica 2020-21 and 4040-41 mics. Our most often used reference speakers were Yamaha HS7 studio monitors.

Guess what I use at home? An AT 2020 and two, AT 2021's and Yamaha HS7 studio monitors. The mics cost about $150 each.

Ray
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