World Shakuhachi Discussion / Go to Live Shakuhachi Chat
You are not logged in.
I am planning to record myself and possibly make a demo. What would be a good choice of condenser mic to use?
Here are some of my choices AKG c3000b, AT 3060, Rode NT1000. Do you have any experiences with these?
http://www.subwaybusker.com (Movie to be released in Sept.)
Last edited by dcammaro (2007-06-11 05:28:12)
I'm not a fan of close-micing shakuhachi with large diaphragm condensers. All three of those mics have significant presence boosts that are really not flattering to shakuhachi. If you use any of them, you may need to do some EQing to help with breath sound and harshness in the high end. The transient response of all three mics will be roughly equivalent, the frequency range is probably 20 - 20k on all of them (more than you need), the output levels should not be an issue, and the self-noise will not be an issue as long as you use a shockmount. That leaves the presence boost -- check the frequency response charts and choose the flattest curve, though since you'll probably have to EQ anyway maybe this doesn't even matter so much.
The way I like to mic shakuhachi is with spaced small diaphragm omni mics in a good sounding room. With the better transient response and real stereo, this captures the real-world sound of shakuhachi. All instruments are collaborative with their surrounding space, but this is an especially important aspect of shakuhachi. Small diaphragm cardioids in XY is OK too, as long as there is some distance. I think close micing gives a distorted sense of the instrument and usually requires manipulation, such as pretty invasive EQing and the addition of reverb (and of course stereoizing a mono recording). Many shakuhachi recordings done with large diaphragm close micing sound fake; adding good reverb takes excellent software or hardware and years of engineering experience to get the high-end rolloff realistic.
When I have done close micing of a shakuhachi (having to work in a studio or other flat space) I use a ribbon mic, which really makes the instrument sound beautiful and is very true to its sonic intent. There have been times when I've mixed a little of the ribbon mic sound into a stereo recording.
Binaural is another good way to go if you think most listeners will be using headphones.
I agree with nyokai, distant micing works much better. In a good room, any stereo micing pattern will work fine. Mid/side micing makes for a good adjustable stereo image, is easier to position, and sums to mono perfectly.
I have recorded shakuhachi in many more terrible rooms than I have nice rooms, so I have had to do a lot of close micing. I find a good position to be something that more or less forms an isosceles triangle between the mouthpiece and the end of the flute. In some recordings where the flute is closer to the mouthpiece or the end of the shakuhachi, I can hear phasing when the player moves. If the mic is centred between the utaguchi and the bell, this phasing is minimised. If the player moves a lot, you can move the mic further back, maintaining the triangle shape, but this will bring more room into the sound.
This recording was done in a bedroom with a Rode NT2 using the ideas above. Large diaphragm, quite harsh in the higher frequencies, terrible for shakuhachi, but the circumstances were what they were at the time. This has had no eq or reverb applied to it, so you can experiment to see how you go with it.
I might be recording Riley Lee with a piano player and maybe another musician some time later in the year, probably in a very nice hall. For that I am planning to use a technique called Blumlein pairing, using two AKG c414s. Blumlein pairing sounds great but you really need a good room. Will post up some snips if it eventuates.
Last edited by caffeind (2007-06-11 10:52:58)
I'm very out of my league here talking about microphones, and this suggestion probably wouldn't be good enough for a demo and another caveat is that I haven't tried it with shakuhachi, but I've had good luck with cheap PZM mic's. They capture a very good likeness of what an observer would be hearing. They'd fit the requirement of distant micing, and for for purposes of seeing what you sound like live I think is something worth experimenting with. I know that they used to be popular among theater performers, but I don't know enough about sound engineering to say why they typically aren't used for recording (I guess realism isn't what recording is about, but then why do audiophiles love those Chesky recordings?).
Edit - since I'm in here fixing a typo, here's a website that explains a bit of why PZM mic's aren't good for voice recording. http://www.record-producer.com/learn.cfm?a=2912
I can't say that I really understand it, but I guess the reasoning is simply that it doesn't sound as good as other recording methods... but then they say it works for other instruments.
Last edited by radi0gnome (2007-06-11 11:58:29)
Chesky records only with 2 mics. They record all their albums in one church.
I have some friends signed in their label. They sound great!!!
Last edited by geni (2007-06-11 14:08:46)
Chesky recordings sound great. Blumlein pairs are used on their recordings.
Last edited by caffeind (2007-06-11 22:03:51)
Mid/side micing makes for a good adjustable stereo image, is easier to position, and sums to mono perfectly.
Yep, I love M/S for shakuhachi, especially with a ribbon for the figure-8 and a small diaphragm condenser for the cardioid. I try to use M/S especially when I record shakuhachi outdoors.
What is the best way to record a duo? Shakuhachi & upright Bass?
and Shakuhachi & el bass? So, i can get the best sound possible?
I have song up shakuhachi & basses on myspace acount..(home recorded anyway.)
For upright bass, a ribbon mic is great. Its exact placement will depend on the particular bass, but probably pointed at the bridge or the top of the f hole area. A large diaphragm condenser would be OK too. I'd do a stereo recording of the room plus the mic on the bass. Use a gobo to make sure the bass mic doesn't pick up the shakuhachi much -- a ribbon mic will help with this as well, since it has very little bleed from the side.
For electric bass, I always mic the cabinet (good large diaphragm condenser or ribbon) AND take a DI from the pickup, mixing them later. Remember to adjust those two tracks for phase -- they will almost certainly be out of phase. And I would still do a stereo pair for the room.
In both cases, I'd mix in a little of the bass tracks, but use the stereo pair as the main source.
Holy, you guys are all microphone gurus! Heavy.
I haven't shared much of my playing as yet, but I think I'd like to. So coming at it from the other direction... I have an inexpensive stereo condenser mic (Sony ECM-MS907) that I'd like to make the best of through placement and room for solo shakuhachi.
What might the dos and don'ts be with such a modest mic? I would probably record to MD.
Back to this question. I am currently thinking of buying a stereo mic set
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/pr … sku=273177
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/pr … sku=271290
Has anybody have any experience with them?
If I understand correct they do their best when placed close to shakuhachi in "V" pattern.
Thank you for any comments.
Thought i'd chime in here. I own 2 of these mics and love them.
also, i would like to say that i've had a MUCH better experience dealing with Sweetwater over other online companies and Musicians Friend is the only company I flat out boycott from multiple bad experiences.
just my 2 cents
Thanks for the advice, tablaninja
Your choice of microphones will be influenced partly by what you're feeding them in to. Connector types and powering options (phantom, plug in power, none) make some of the choices for you.
I've used mostly Audio-Technica AE5100 mics they're not terribly fancy, but they do the job. Lately I've been on something of an experiment using dynamic mics. I'm starting to think that with the right preamp and placement, they sound awfully good.
Stereo is great, but unless you have a true need for stereo, think mono for a while. It makes a lot of things simpler.
B&H in New York, bhphotovideo.com has been a good reliable source for me. No complaints about Sweetwater either.
My favorite mic to record is Dynamic. Beyrdynamic M 88 TG. I would like to get a Apogee Mini & i would be all set
I found a matched pair of mics for $60 for both.
http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-Matched … 2MX88GSRVI
Also I got Lexicon Lambda USB preamp.
Reviews were not bad for both. I will try. Anyway, for the purpose of my home recording seems to work fine.
Funny you should mention the M88TG, that's exactly what I've been using on my dynamic mic kick. I'm running it into an Oade modified Marantz PMD-660. I set the volume control at max (a.k.a. no attenuation), and it works great. I normalize in Audacity if I need to. Works very well for sort of medium distance recording.
Your setup sonds great!! I actually don`t own a M88TG, I borrow from a friend (producer).