Tag Archives: ORTF pair

Dynamic Microphones for Classical Recording?!

Oktava MD-186 ORTF pair

In the late 1950’s Electro-Voice ceased production of both ribbon and condenser microphones. In an article in his series ‘MICROPHONE FACTS for the operating engineer’ Electro-Voice founder Lou Burroughs explained the decision and presented reasons why dynamic microphones were, in every way, superior. The feeling at Electro-Voice was that ribbons and condensers were too fragile and prone to failure and that dynamics were solid and reliable and sounded better. Towards the end of the article (referring to dynamics) Burroughs declares that ‘These are the microphones of the future’.

Today, although dynamic mics are still revered for their robustness and ability to handle high SPLs they are not generally considered to be sonically superior to all other microphones! Indeed, I can’t imagine many engineers taking a pair of dynamics out to record an orchestral concert of classical music instead of their usual selection of condensers and ribbons.

Compared to condensers Burroughs claimed that dynamics have a ‘smoother high frequency response’ and so, here (by way of an experiment) are a  couple  of clips from an orchestral concert I recorded recently using a pair of Soviet Era, Russian, Oktava MD186 dynamics! I was simply curious to see if Lou Burroughs maybe had a point?

CLICK HERE for End of Beethoven’s Fifth

CLICK HERE for Mozart Piano Concerto

Oktava MD-186 ORTF pair 2

BBC Engineer Recommends ORTF!

Some years ago a colleague of mine was given a useful piece of advice by an elderly ex- BBC engineer…….. When preparing to record an orchestral concert, if setup time is in short supply, the simplest and safest choice of microphone assembly is an ORTF pair, which can be guaranteed to give good results in almost any situation.

Recently I have had cause to test this theory, with only a 15 minute ‘window’ in which to set up mics and no proper sound check!!

Oktava MK012s set as ORTF pair ready to go on a tall stand behind the conductor.

Viewed upside down,Oktava MK012 cardioids set as ORTF pair ready to go on a tall stand behind the conductor, angled downwards to point towards the woodwind.

And so……………. was our old chum from the BBC right?

Here is a clip from the concert.