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Topic: Stereo mics for my son's school

  1. #1

    Stereo mics for my son's school

    Every time there's anything sound related at my son's school, everyone looks at me to be the "expert." I'm sure some of you know the feeling.

    Anyway, they want to hang a stereo mic, or a stereo pair, from the ceiling of the auditorium so they can record school plays, the band, choir, or whatever. The main thing is it's definitely not a close mic situation. It's possible that at times, they may run the mics through the PA to amplify a performance, but that will be rare, if ever.

    Well, I don't know nothin' 'bout no stereo mics, other than as drum overheads (AKG 451s). So I went to Guitar Center and learned that the nothin' that I know is more than what the guy manning the Pro-Audio counter knows.

    But he did show me a pair of Rode NT5s.
    They look like they might be OK, but they seem geared towards close miking as opposed to stage miking.

    The pair would be about $400 which is about as high as I can go. Any thoughts on the Rodes or other recommendations?

    - Mike Greene

  2. #2

    Re: Stereo mics for my son's school

    When I was out in Colorado this summer for a festival, one of my roommates was in the Audio Recording Institute and we starting talking about mic's and monitor speakers and everything else, as I'm looking to upgrade some equipment. Apparently, this guy has worked with a ton of different mics...what I got from him was that he wasn't very impressed with the rodes. Seemed to think there were better options out there.

    Now, I'm just a messenger... I myself know about as much as you do concerning mics, but based on his info, I'd hold out a bit on those rodes and see what folks here recommend. This friend is an audio recording major in school specializing in classical recording (orchestras and whatnot), so my assumption was that the rodes weren't just a close-up mic.

    Anyhow, hope that helps a bit.

    Steven J. Kukla

  3. #3

    Re: Stereo mics for my son's school

    There's nothing wrong with the NT5s. I've worked quite a bit with them and their relative, the NT4, and they make good, clear recordings. Thinking of sample libraries, I remember that the Black Grand Ambient mic positions are NT5s - and they sound very nice indeed. I don't think you'll have any regrets.
    Trev Parks

  4. #4

    Re: Stereo mics for my son's school

    ...Just wanted to mention that my friend's opinion was simply that he didn't prefer the Rodes. As TP says, they may well work just fine. Just thought I'd share what I'd heard.
    Steven J. Kukla

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Stereo mics for my son's school

    For the money, those Rodes are pretty darn good. I have a pair, and they're very useful and sound nice (preferences aside, they're not shabby mics).

    I'd be hard pressed to name anything else in that price range that would work as well.

    But I would certainly advise that the microphones be easily struck from those ceiling positions, unless the environment is very clean and controlled. They might also consider the NT-4, if they're looking for a very easy and simple hang.

    If they're just going to leave them hung up there, I'd suggest putting the windscreens on them, so the diaphragms aren't getting all dusted and particled up...especially if they do any theatre in that auditorium, and any building gets done onstage. If someone were really picky about a particular recording, they could be pulled off and replaced. It's always great if they can be rigged to travel up and down, although you usually have to use a stabilizer line to keep the thing pointed in the right direction.

    If $400 is the total budget, you might actually need to get something really down and dirty cheap, like Oktavas, because the rigging and labor to do it is going to eat up at least some of your cash (unless there's a separate line item for that).

  6. #6

    Re: Stereo mics for my son's school

    Another possibility (doesn't get any easier with more choices, does it?) is one or two boundary mics. These would mount directly on the wall, floor or ceiling, and because they are at the boundary of the wall and the sound wave, there are no echos or reflections from the primary wall, and they are designed to work as somewhat distant mics. The Crown PZM30D is not bad , can be had for around $289, maybe $250 ea if you look. The Crown website has lots ot info on the concept and application.
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  7. #7

    Re: Stereo mics for my son's school

    Another possibility is the AT825 (around $400). Similar in design to the NT4 but a little less dark sounding to my ear. Your concern about the distance is a valid one because these are cardiod pattern stereos but if you keep them within 6 to 8 feet you can fix any reverse proximity effect with a little eq. You also have to be careful to hang them in such a way so as to maintain their stereo orientation. The traditional way to beat both of those issues is with a pair of A/B spaced omnis. Don't know how big the budget is but Earthworks matched omni pairs start at around $800 (TC20MP). Have used TC30's and 40's myself for choir and stage and they're spectacular.


  8. #8

    Re: Stereo mics for my son's school

    Thanks for all the input!

    I wound up going with a Rode NT4 for $325. I didn't know about it until Bruce mentioned it. Naturally, the guy at Guitar Center yesterday didn't know about it either, even though they carry it!

    - Mike Greene

  9. #9

    Re: Stereo mics for my son's school

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Greene
    Anyway, they want to hang a stereo mic, or a stereo pair, from the ceiling of the auditorium so they can record school plays, the band, choir, or whatever.

    - Mike Greene
    I've wondered about that too. What kind of microphones are used for this?

    The only reason to get a stereo microphone would be if you were only to use one microphone, and it would have to be placed in the center. Still, it would pick up musicians closer to it more than those who are farther away.

    Probably better to have several monophonic microphones, spread out. Of course the recording would be in stereo, with the recording from each microphone panned to about where the microphone is placed, from left to right.

    Yes, they could not be too close, as they would then pick up individuals more than the group. I don't know what kind of mics are good for that.

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