*To jump from sample to sample use these times:
1. R. Towner: Green and Golden – 1:32 / 1:55 / 2:18 / 2:39 / 3:01 / 3:24
2. F. Sor: Variations on a theme by Mozart, Op. 9 – 3:47 / 4:19 / 4:55 / 5:26 / 6:00 / 6:33
3. J. Polak: Gagliarda – 7:07 / 7:19 / 7:30 / 7:41 / 7:53 / 8:04
4. F. Tarrega: Capricho Arabe – 8:16 / 8:59 / 9:43 / 10:27 / 11:10 / 11:53
5. E. Sainz de la Maza: La Muerte (suite Platero Y Yo) – 12:39 / 13:39 / 14:40 / 15:41 / 16:42 / 17:42

Today I’d like to share with you the latest microphone test comparing some of the most interesting microphones for recording classical guitar, including my latest purchase of the amazing Schoeps CMC6 microphones with wide cardioid MK21 capsules.

In all cases, the distance between the guitar and the microphones was 110 cm, the distance between the microphone capsules was 60 cm and the capsules were about 92 cm high from the ground.

The guitar I used for this test is a 2001 Michele Della Giustina with D’Addario Pro Arte treble strings and Savarez Cantiga bass strings I’ve been testing out recently.

Hope you enjoy the samples, it’s not a scientific test but I wanted to make it as fair as possible, so I used the same chain (Klotz XLR cables and ULN-2 audio interface) for all the microphones.

AB stereo technique, height 92cm, distance between microphones 60cm, distance between the guitar and microphones 110cm

Microphone pairs:
– Line Audio CM3 (cardioid)
– sE Electronics X1 and Rode NT1A Joly mod (both cardioid)
– stock Oktava Mk-012 with cardioid capsules
– Oktava Mk-012 Joly mod with cardioid capsules
– Oktava Mk-012 Joly mod with custom MJE-K47H capsules
– Schoeps CMC6 with MK21 wide cardioid capsules

Guitar: Michele Della Giustina 2001

Preamps/converters: Metric Halo ULN-2

Uncut audio files from the session

You can download high quality mp3 (320kbps) from the session here.

 

8 Comments

  • Great post!

    Somehow I don’t hear much of a difference on my monitors or headphones. I’m not sure when there are only subtle differences like this, any person that listens to music would even notice them. (An engineer obviously listens to different things compared to a person who simply listens to the music)

    Overall I do think at times, the bases sound a bit ‘booming’ (especially in the NT1 and MJE K47), but absolutely love how your treble strings sound like.

    I’m sure these subtleties can be easily fixed by some EQ (although this wasn’t the point of this test obviously)

    • Outstanding job.
      It’s really impressive how you get so much headroom and no ambience, despite the huge distance between the guitar and the mics (110cm!).
      If I try do the same with my pair of Oktavas MK-012 and my Focusrite ISA, the result is terrible.
      What is the secret? 🙂
      Best wishes.
      Bernardo.

      • Hey Bernardo, please send me a sample, I’ll have a listen. If you’re getting any hissing noises something is obviously wrong, but generally speaking the result will always depend largely on your guitar tone strength and consistency.

  • wish to have tabs and sheet music,possibly a teaching video so that I can learn to play your beautiful version Schubert Ave Maria.
    At 73 yrs old I would love to give it a try.
    303 973.3482

  • Excellent, you are missing a mic Larry Villella’s 3 Zigma Audio, lol-251… great sounding mic, for nylon..

    Personally as a long time player, I like the close up mic sound of a guitar, not the room… challenging…and also LDC’s sound better to me more natural, far less harsh and nasally than SDC… (a KM 184 good on steel, on nylon, nasal / pinched city).

    I have found it a challenge… too close to the body and too much boom / mud…I don’t like it pulled back too far… On my Seth Miller Hauser, I find I have to point the Zigma 251 at the fretboard (1.5 – 2 feet away), or upper bout ( no sound hole at all), or too much boom / mud. Next I will try over the right shoulder… With the right shoulder technique, how would I do a Side, for the Side recording? I supposed a good technique is to move the mic around and play and listen in the headphones…The sound I want to hear recorded is the sound I hear when playing… and, if I have to reach for the EQ after the fact, I don’t have the right mic and / or position…

  • Uros,
    Thanks for video, much appreciated, a fellow nylon player.

    Schoeps is the winner, fuller, bigger mids, and presence with no mud or boominess. You just want to keep listening to the sound of the guitar itself, and no EQ needed.
    Next , is the Oktava Mk-012 Joly mod with cardioid capsules, still a bit (a good bit) behind the Schoeps (but at under $400 a pair), pretty good.
    Rode NT1A, not good at all on nylon string, so many mics better than this. To me lifeless, dull, and a dud
    If you can there are more options to look at since the Schoeps is over $3000 a pair, and the Oktavas are under $400 a pair. How about something in the middle of that huge gap…

    Beyerdynamic MC930 $800 or so a pair (Reverb.com)
    Josephson C42, $1000 a pair
    3 Zigma Audio Lol-251, $400 per mic (lolipop) LDC

    What are you using for mic pre’s, just wondering.. I am also doing this mic thing myself, and realizing, the most important things is the guitar, then the mic. Preamp is a component, but
    not even close to the guitar and mic… Mic is very key, the right mic for your guitar.
    thx, john

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