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Beyerdynamic M160 -- hissing beast?
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Sunn Ra
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#1
25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
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Beyerdynamic M160 -- hissing beast?

I've seen the subject breifly touched upon, but I'd really appreciate a little more detail into why my M160's sound like they're recording a faucet (albiet very prettily). I realize that ribbons have a relatively low gain-structure, so will a good preamp in-and-of-itself take care of the problem? If so any recommendations? (Additionaly) What about distance-from-source? For reference I'm using these as overheads and amp mics, primarily. Thanks for your time!
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25th April 2012
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What pre? My pair of 160s are really
Quiet even in high gain (violin) recording.
Sunn Ra
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25th April 2012
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Really? Dang. Maybe I have defective mics?
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25th April 2012
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Sounds like they are revealing your preamp's limits .........
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25th April 2012
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I didn't mean to imply that I even had a good preamp. 'Was actually part of my question (for the record I've tried the groovetubes brick, my only pre). Will a good'n solve my problem, assuming these mics aren't, indeed, defective?
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25th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunn Ra View Post
I didn't mean to imply that I even had a good preamp. 'Was actually part of my question (for the record I've tried the groovetubes brick, my only pre). Will a good'n solve my problem, assuming these mics aren't, indeed, defective?
I'd say definitely, assuming indeed they are not defective. Medium quality valve pre might be a bit stressed to go up to the clean gain you need.
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25th April 2012
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A good preamp will make you throw 80 dB gain on a ribbon listening to whisper quiet instruments, then you apply a treble lift, compress to taste .... and still hear no noise, no hiss, nothing but the instrument.
Contrary to popular belief, this is also true for tube preamps, good ones.
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25th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunn Ra View Post
I didn't mean to imply that I even had a good preamp. 'Was actually part of my question (for the record I've tried the groovetubes brick, my only pre). Will a good'n solve my problem, assuming these mics aren't, indeed, defective?
the groovetubes pre has a tube in it yes? do other mics seem noisy using the same pre?
where is the knob on the pre?
if you are using ridiculous (knob all the way up) gain on the pre - that is probably where the noise is coming from.
is that the only preamp you have?
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25th April 2012
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There is Cloudlifter, I occasionally use that is inserted between the mic and preamp that will significantly increase gain output from the mic using phantom power. You might want to try it out, until you get your hands on a high quality preamp.

Certainly not a substitute for a better preamp, but a good little tool for the studio.
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I would check with a different pre. Mine are dead quiet.
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25th April 2012
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone, much appreciated. Suppose I'll have to invest in a good pre (and I'll look into the cloudlifter -- thanks chaos). And yeah, balanceman, it's the only preamp I have. I use it for a bass di -- sounds great -- but it really has yet to relieve my hissage in the ribbon department. Have tried the knob at every available position, to answer your question. Not a lotta luck.
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25th April 2012
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Dynamics and ribbons shouldn't create any noise at all should they? If there are no active electronics in them how can there be self-noise? Just wondering...
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25th April 2012
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A properly functioning Beyer M160 is no hissing beast!

As has been said, either your mic is defective or your preamp is inadequate or perhaps even your gain structure going into your DAW is not calibrated correctly?
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#14
26th April 2012
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I've heard a m160 with a damaged ribbon, and it had some top end hissing.
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26th April 2012
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Not all M160's are equals

Hello,

I've heard dramatic difference between M160, much more than with any other mic I used.
Some are hissy, some are not. Some sound incredible, some don't.

ricordu
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26th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilDW View Post
Dynamics and ribbons shouldn't create any noise at all should they? If there are no active electronics in them how can there be self-noise? Just wondering...
True
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10th June 2012
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i just purchased an M160 and used in in two sessions in the past couple of weeks. I found this mic to be very quiet through my Cranesong Spider. I had it turned all the way up at both stages with no clipping when recording acoustic guitar. There WAS a lot of hiss to get this mic hot on acoustic guitar. But when I recorded a bari sax through my LA610 with a pretty good amount of gain and compression, it sounded awesome. Wouldn't criticize the my cranesong at all, but this my I feel is more suited to loud sources. Gonna try it on electric guitar this week. I bought it for horns and electric guitar.
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10th June 2012
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sorry ..lots of typos
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10th June 2012
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Quote:
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sorry ..lots of typos
Typos are the human equivalent of a hissing mic.
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10th June 2012
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I once had a pair of old 160's that with the DIN/Tuchel connector + switch and they were so erratic, different sounding and different in volume I finally gave them away, that was in the 90s, way before the internet and all the information. One also was more noisy. You need a really good pre to get the sound out of them that earned these mics their praise, but if yours is broken, no preamp will help you.
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10th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilDW View Post
Dynamics and ribbons shouldn't create any noise at all should they? If there are no active electronics in them how can there be self-noise? Just wondering...
The noise source is thermal noise which is depending on the resistance of the transformer winding and ribbon element of the M160 - which is extremely low hence low hiss. Dynamics suffer the same problem, but have a higher coil resistance than ribbons. But then ribbons have a lower output voltage so you need more gain for a comparable signal. That again will boost thermal noise.
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