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Thread: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

  1. #1
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    Do any of you have experience with the Avantone CK-40 stereo condenser mic?
    Opinion please.
    I'm looking to use it for stereo live sound vocals and for recording stereo three part harmonies live.
    It will likely be used in studio setting too.
    We've been using two mics in xy stereo pair live, but the look is crazy with two side addresses top to top stacked in live settings.

    We are working on collecting live shows for a live album, and don't want it to be mono.
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    I don't have that particular mic, but I have one that's the same design: AKG C426 B comb. A wonderful mic, now discontinued, but a few are around on the used market. So I can't tell you how that Aventone will sound, but can maybe comment on how it might be used.

    I don't see why it wouldn't work as a stereo version of a live LD condenser mic (with a caution below about survivability). It's nice to have a design like this that can rotate the capsules for a wider or narrower stereo field. I assume you'd use it in cardioid pattern as a live mic. In the studio you could use a Blumlein pattern (figure 8 with capsules at 90 degrees), which has a very nice open sound, However, you need really good room acoustics for that, and it might be too different from the live recordings if you're trying to keep everything matched.

    The one problem I might mention is that it's probably a more fragile mic than is normally used for live sound. The mic build quality may not be quite up to traditional standards at that relatively low price, and you would be using a specialized and somewhat fragile stereo cable between the mic and the interface box. I know the stereo cable is the potential weak point of my C426 so I'm very careful with it.

    Mics like this do get used for location work, but usually for things like Classical recordings, not the rough-and tumble of a typical bar gig (if that's what you're doing). If you decide to go with this mic, check to make sure a replacement cable is available, and if it were me, I'd get a backup cable. Or at least have a backup mono mic on hand you could substitute for vocals.

    Good luck with the project!

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    Default Re: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    It costs a lot more, but the Audio Technica 4050ST stereo mic might give you better results.
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  6. #4
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    It costs a lot more, but the Audio Technica 4050ST stereo mic might give you better results.
    I am worried that the MS technique with the figure eight pattern would be more feedback prone in a live setting. The side element would face the sound source of speakers to the side of the stage. Have you used that mic or stereo technique to do live sound?

    That AT is a little out of budget.
    Last edited by MontanaMatt; Nov-26-2018 at 8:42pm. Reason: Additional reply
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    I am worried that the MS technique with the figure eight pattern would be more feedback prone in a live setting. The side element would face the sound source of speakers to the side of the stage.
    If I read the specs right, that could be a problem for live sound, yes. A coincident stereo mic with X/Y cardioid pattern like the Aventone would offer more rejection. However! By moving the null at the rear of each capsule at an angle to get stereo, you may still need to be aware of where your monitors are. I assume that if you're dealing with two side-address mics for stereo vocals now, you're already aware of that. Anyway, this looks like a dedicated M/S mic and that's probably not what you're looking for.

    That AT is a little out of budget.
    I was reluctant to get into this with the previous post, but you do get what you pay for, especially with all-in-one stereo mics. It's a question of capsule matching. Ideally, you want a perfect match in frequency response for a tight stereo field. The capsules never match perfectly in practice, but the stereo field gets flubby (made-up technical term, hah!) if the capsules aren't close enough. My AKG C426 actually came with a frequency response plot for each capsule in that actual mic, showing how closely they were matched. Not perfect, but close. That's what you get with a mic that sold back in the day for around $5,000 new (I got mine at a much lower price).

    That Avantone mic has a mono version, and the stereo one is just $100 more, so I don't know how closely they're matching the capsules. I don't want to scare you off the mic, but LD stereo mics are really a specialty item, previously dominated by the big names like Neumann, AKG, Telefunken. You have to be careful with these mics that are probably built offshore and may not have great quality control.

    If you do get this mic, first get that extra cable. Then you might want to do some test recordings with a FFT frequency analysis plugin on each capsule separately (in mono) to see how closely they match. You might be able to get a tighter stereo field with some creative EQ if they're not closely matched.

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  9. #6
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    I saw a cool stereo Telefunken, basically the same setup as the Avantone, but it was too spendy for a live rig ($3k). We got good xy results with a pair of Kel medium diaphragm side address mics, setup top to top. It just looks wonky on stage, and takes extra time to set it up right. I’m still leaning towards going for the Avantone. I’ll let this tread percolate for a bit to see if any owners or users chime in on the ck40.
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    Here's one more idea, a bit "outside the box":

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...ser-microphone

    There is no rule that says you can't record vocals with a small diaphragm condenser mic. I know people automatically go to LD mics for that, but it's usually in an attempt to make things sound "larger than life." If you have good vocal harmonies, then an accurate capture would be fine. Many classic vocal recordings have been made with small diaphragm condensers. If you sound good, the recording will sound good, and the same goes for live sound.

    I think this mic has a good reputation in the bang-for-buck department (at least compared to the megadollar stuff like Schoeps), and it supposedly has matched capsules. You could put a foam windscreen on it for live sound, so it wouldn't look too weird. It would be much smaller than stacked LD's or a LD stereo mic, and would also be good for stereo recordings of instruments in the studio.

    Anyway, just another idea to throw into the pot.

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    Default Re: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    I am worried that the MS technique with the figure eight pattern would be more feedback prone in a live setting. The side element would face the sound source of speakers to the side of the stage. Have you used that mic or stereo technique to do live sound?
    I've had good results with the AT4050ST mid-side mic for live recording with a big caveat. I normally split the mid cardioid channel and use that mono feed for the house, while recording both capsules for a stereo recording in post-production. Of course that will work with any M-S set up, and you may find it easy to use a good multi pattern side address mic for the fig 8, and an end address cardioid for the mid channel. That doesn't look too bad for a live set up.

    Here's an example with the AT4050ST:

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    Registered User Jeff Budz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    I have owned a CK-40 for several years. It has a nice sound, but one of the capsules seems to be louder than the other on my unit. Adjusting the level slightly resolves the issue. Tried contacting Avantone about factory service and never got response. The mic is big and feels somewhat fragile, I wouldn’t use it for live. What is great about it is the figure 8 patterns. Put the mic in the center of a circle of musicians and put both capsules at 90deg and figure 8 and you pick up everything in a nice stereo field. It’s a good mic, but if I were to do it over again I would go with a different more expensive option.

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    Default Re: Stereo mic question-Avantone ck40

    Just as an aside, I have not been totally impressed by the QC of Avantone stuff. Quite variable... several of their models seem like paint jobs of generic (much cheaper) Chinese mics... The Audio Technica mics are indeed excellent. I don't use the AT4050-ST as Brad uses - but I do have and use the BP4025 (which also has two LD capsules) for ambient recording. It has an incredibly low noise floor and great sensitivity. It has a stereo field that is superb for ambient sound capture, but I don't think this particular mic would work well in a live situation... the 4050 ST would be a better choice in that role.
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