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Microphones for recordings and live streaming

  • 1.  Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Posted 5 days ago
    Increasingly we're going to have to face online concerts and live streaming for a while. The sound feed is vital and that's really down to microphones for a start.

    Some musicians came yesterday and I did some concurrent recordings with different mics. Which sound best?
    www.youtu.be/SFSYXmcPasw -  Testing microphones - Takstar TS5 - Takstar CM60 - Franken BM100 - UHER M537 - AKG D202 - AKG D224
    YouTube remove preview
    Testing microphones - Takstar TS5 - Takstar CM60 - Franken BM100 - UHER M537 - AKG D202 - AKG D224
    View this on YouTube >

    Thoughts would be appreciated. I have my own view on which sounds most natural but I think many like recorded sound to be the real thing on steroids. . . . And should one go for what sounds closest to real or that which people like most?


    Many thanks

    David P

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    David Pinnegar BSc ARCS
    Hammerwood Park, East Grinstead, Sussex, UK
    +44 1342 850594
    "High Definition" Tuning
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  • 2.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    Ts5 & bm100 for me listening on an iPhone 6. Couldn't really tell much difference between all. Limitations of smart phone.

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    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
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  • 3.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Posted 5 days ago
    Thanks so much. Very helpful.

    The TS5 gives a really good account of the violin and is very pleasant but it misses the bottom octave of the piano. It's the very best of dynamic voice microphones I've found in the character of the classic Shures which have a rising response from 3000-7000 Hz or so - and this is why it's really good with the violin, and it's among the flattest of the dynamics of this type. The capsule is around $12 or so and fits any rubbish handheld mic. The M-Audio Soundcheck is a second best to this but the Takstar insert is better. 

    It's really interesting to know the success of this on iPhone - but as you say the limitation of the i-Phone - but upon which many will listen.

    BM800 mics are around $25 per pair. Being Chinese they change the circuit boards but if one's lucky one gets a circuit board based on the original amplifier circuit. There's a hack to smooth the power supply to the input transistor and reduce the inherent noise, breaking the copper tracks in two places and inserting two resistors and a different zener diode. So I did this and installed two boards, and combined two units into one, but also replacing the elektret capsules which makes a world of difference, and arranged one for the mid-channel and the other channel with two back to back for the side information. Again it's great for the violin but lacks the bass of the piano but gives a really good stereo image.

    For more serious audio the Takstar CM60, UHER and two AKG units are more interesting and I can't decide which sounds most natural, and which sounds good but enhanced with monosodium glutamate. 

    By the way, the piano is my usual unequal temperament tuning. Whether its character comes through in the recording I don't know - for me it's usual - but it's the 1885 Bechstein.

    Best wishes

    David P

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 4.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    Well, David, I listened with my studio speakers.  I preferred the AKG 224 and the other AKG over the others.  The two condenser mics have a lot more "air" and are very crisp.  A bit much for me.  The AKG's seem to have a more balanced response.  The other dynamics were second choice, but sounded nice also.
    FWIW.
    Paul McCloud
    San Diego






  • 5.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 4 days ago
    Listening with my computer speakers (half decent) the piano sounds muddy on most, but the BM100 has more punch in the piano.

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    Blaine Hebert
    Duarte CA
    626-795-5170
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  • 6.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Posted 4 days ago
    Thanks so much for all ears on these. The diversity of opinions is extraordinary and fascinating. It appears that there are many ways to skin a cat and that fashions in record production are only that, what the producers think people want without knowing what they want. 

    It will be really interesting to see if any consensus of opinions emerge. And then to see what's possible with even the lowest budget equipment. The Takstar CS5 capsule is so cheap and can go into any cheap clone mic body, and the CM60 is cheap. The Frankenmic really uses the BM800 only for body donors using 1 inch capsules https://de.aliexpress.com/item/4000262163811.html  to replace the originals and http://www.audioimprov.com/AudioImprov/Mics/Entries/2019/9/7_More_Electret_Capsules.html gives the idea, although I mounted the capsule supports on some nice thick felt that most people here will have in their workshops. There's a nice video about the electronics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lpQ0BpjUtg

    Best wishes

    David P 
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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 7.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 4 days ago
    Here's my take. I was listening with Panasonic earbuds from Amazon. Not great, but a step up from computer or phone speakers.

    1. Emphasized the scratchier parts of the violin tone. (You can almost hear the rosin on the bow). On the plus side that helps the violin stand out from the piano.
    2. Muddy, not enough definition
    3. There was a slight hiss that was distracting to me. Aside from that I like the sound.
    4. Really loud hiss in my right ear. Aside from that it felt a bit muddy.
    5. cleaner sound, but it seemed to lose definition in the middle, felt muted. Probably my 2nd favorite, though if #3 didn't hiss I would have trouble deciding between the two.
    6. Felt like the most natural sound to me. Clean, but not too crisp. Probably my favorite

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    Anthony Willey, RPT
    http://willeypianotuning.com
    http://pianometer.com
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  • 8.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Posted 3 days ago
    Anthony - thanks so much for your analysis - with which I'd agree.

    Interestingly 2. isn't identified by others as muddy, and for me puts an edge onto the violin giving it slight abrasion rather than cream.

    3 has hiss inherent to the electronics.

    4. the hiss in one channel is caused by a loss in one of the mic leads, reaquiring the volume in that channel to be boosted, so the hiss issue is peculiar to the recording here rather than the mic.

    5 - losing definition in the middle - interesting.

    6. is a very respected studio microphone clearly prized for good reason - but it's a fragile construction so not a unit one wants to take on travels.

    So much of this depends on 
    a. individual perceptions of hearing - and I can't hear over 10k now :-(
    b. equipment that people are listening on.

    For online recitals it's key to find perhaps not what to any of us might think is so natural, but the common denominator that most people find most pleasing. And thus my survey.

    Built in mics of the Zoom/Tascam etc recorders can be great, but one doesn't always have luxury of positioning the recorder at the point one wants the mics, especially at live events.

    Best wishes

    David P

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 9.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Posted 4 days ago
    I take it you want something for your iPhone.

    Have you tried Zoom mics? https://www.zoom-na.com/products/handy-recorder/zoom-iq6-professional-stereo-microphone-ios
    I have the H4n and the Zoom iQ6 uses the same capsules. https://soundreview.org/studio/microphones/zoom-iq6-xy-microphone-ios-devices/

    The iQ6 does not require a seperate computer to download files and you can edit them on your phone, I think.

    A friend of mine regularly uses a Rode for his mini-came with good results on his Steinway Ampico.
    I believe Rode also makes an iPhone mic.

    If you are looking to make a custome mod, others here are more informed and experienced. I don't have
    those skills, so cannot say. I'm fairly happy with the Zoom for ease of use. I don't have an iPhone or I'd
    get one for my phone. A friend of mine who also uses the H4n has an iPhone, so I'm going to forward
    this to him as he won't have to lug around the H4n anymore.

    Perhaps this is more than you want to spend.

    I have a hand held that's pretty good. (Not as good as the best mics, ofcourse, but it does the job quite well.)

    R

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    Richard Adkins
    Piano Technician
    Coe College
    Cedar Rapids, IA
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  • 10.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Posted 4 days ago
    Zoom Q2n is all in one camera and mics.... https://www.amazon.com/Zoom-Q2n-Handy-Video-Recorder/dp/B01MTJ20QY

    These Zoom mics are fine if you want a quick set up. The H4n has 4 capsules in it and can be set up to record quartets and ensembes, or "room ambience".....etc....

    These may not be professional enough for you but then you'd need to lug along a mixer, etc.... I'm not sure what quality the streaming services offer as far as frequency response so maybe it is over kill?

    R

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    Richard Adkins
    Piano Technician
    Coe College
    Cedar Rapids, IA
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  • 11.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 3 days ago
    I have used a Zoom H2 and I can second the use of it for "quick and dirty" recording.  It is a very good machine.

    The older Zoom H2 can be found inexpensively on ebay.

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    Blaine Hebert
    Duarte CA
    626-795-5170
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  • 12.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 3 days ago
    I concur with the Richard Adkin's suggestions.  It is hard enough to obtain good live streaming sound quality, but using very cheap mics handy caps the sound from the get-go.

    The other ingredient here is the Noise Cancellation software built into the iPhone.  It eliminates dynamic range.  Here is an article concerning disabling it:  https://www.howtoisolve.com/how-to-enable-disable-noise-cancellation-on-iphone-xs-max-iphone-xs-iphone-xr/

    I set up the recording for a Master's Recital in April done remotely from the student's home.  I used a Zoom H2 into an iPhone 11 with the noise cancellation turned off.


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    Tim Coates
    Sioux Falls SD
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  • 13.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Posted 3 days ago
    Tim - you mention something of great importance to the whole of the musical world. For years people have been using devices starting with 1970s cassette recorders, and 1980s video cameras and now phones with automatic volume control, and radio stations have used compression to get sound up above background noise pollution, such as car engines.

    The result of this is that musicians have lost the sense of dynamics and the sum total of this has led to loss of subtlety of phrasing, every note interrupting the last note - I call it machine-gun playing. We're a good generation away from the days of unadulterated reproduced dynamics. . . . 

    Now that music lessons are being conducted over the phone . . . neither student nor teacher ignorant of turning automatic volume control or noise suppression off can be aware of dynamics properly at all.

    And not everyone has iPhones on which it's possible . . .

    Best wishes

    David P

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 14.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 3 days ago
    David, obviously I am not an Andriod user, but I have mentioned this to several people who are.  They have indicated there is a setting on Andriod phones that controls the Noise Cancelling feature on their phones.

    I have not ever done it on an Andriod, but I've told by users it can be done.

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    Tim Coates
    Sioux Falls SD
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  • 15.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Posted 2 days ago
    Of those selected, I like the TS5 and the D224 best.  I used to own a small recording studio, and you can sink a lot of $$ into this if you want to.  Are you recording to your phone?   An SD recorder?   If you can locate an old Shure SM53, they were a very good recording/live mic with a flat response rivaling modern condenser mics.  If you have a mixer (suggested), that would give you some extra EQ-ing options, and lastly --- to evaluate your finished product, a good FLAT response set of headphones or studio monitors.  If you're going to do any post-tracking equalization, listening to the product through a "normal" set of stereo or computer speakers/headphones will usually give you a false impression of what you're actually doing.  The Audio-Technica M70 headphones (a bit pricey) have won awards several years for the best mixdown/studio headphones.  If you're going direct to computer, iPad, etc., you might want to experiment with a USB condenser mic.  (ex:  A/t USB2020+).

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    Timothy Edwards
    Beckley WV
    740-517-7636
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  • 16.  RE: Microphones for recordings and live streaming

    Posted 2 days ago
    The choice of TS5 is interesting. Others have liked its sound also. It will fit into many cheap bodies -  https://de.aliexpress.com/item/32846074174.html 

    Best wishes

    David P 

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594