Beyerdynamic MCE 83 Review
Old 14th August 2010
  #1
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Beyerdynamic MCE 83 Review

Hello all,

I recently acquired a pair of Beyer MCE 83s which I believe are now called the Opus 83.

Basically, it's an inexpensive bare bones SDC without a -10db pad or low cut switch, yet, delivers a surprisingly impressive sound on acoustic sources. The bass response is full without ever getting muddy and the midrange is warm and pleasant. The upper midrange is quite smooth, which is to be expected with the mic's flat frequency response.

I tested it out on a nylon string quitar using a low-fi set up, that is, mic going directly into a portable 8-track digital recorder without any EQ or processing of any kind. It was pointed at the 12th fret from about one foot away.

The best description of this mic is balance, as the bass and high end seem to merge well together, presenting a fairly accurate depiction of the sonic source without coloration or an exagerrated brightness like so many of the mics today.

For an under $300 price tag, I think this is one of the best sounding mics I've heard in its class and seems a tad warmer than the Peluso CEMC6, which I also own. It definately has some character which seems to come through despite the 8-track setup, which says a lot about its overall quality.

I have experimented with a number of budget SDC mics over the years and found they usually exhibit a harshness in the upper midrange with the exception of the SM81, which is an excellent all around mic for recording applications and similar in price point.

In short, I think the MCE 83 represents a terrific value because of its balance, warmth and smoothness.

I've loaded a few low-fi MP3 guitar samples.
Attached Thumbnails
Beyerdynamic MCE 83 Review-sscn4663.jpg  
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Flamenco 2 Short.mp3 (1.74 MB, 457 views)
File Type: mp3 Nylon String Gtr 2 Short Version.mp3 (1.65 MB, 332 views)
Old 14th August 2010
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A few more MP3 samples with with 1) the electric jazz guitar (mic pointing 6 inches from guitar amp) and 2) full length version of the first flamenco sample.
Attached Thumbnails
Beyerdynamic MCE 83 Review-sscn4670.jpg  
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Electric Guitar Sample.mp3 (1.68 MB, 347 views)
File Type: mp3 Flamenco Full Version.mp3 (5.09 MB, 174 views)
Old 15th August 2010
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Nice clips. Not what I expected at all. A fast SDC attack, yet a very full body.
I'm curious what it would sound like on snare, or even as an overhead.
Old 16th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thwacko View Post
Nice clips. Not what I expected at all. A fast SDC attack, yet a very full body.
I'm curious what it would sound like on snare, or even as an overhead.
The attached MP3 clip features nylon string guitar and percussion overdubs all using the MCE 83.

MCE 83 mic > Eureka Pre > RNC (-2db) > 8 track digital recorder. No EQ was used.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 MP3 MCE 83 Sample.mp3 (5.11 MB, 345 views)
Old 16th August 2010
  #5
Les
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Nice clip.

How do you feel about the lack of an attenuator or low cut switch? Is that a feature set folks consider important or even essential?

I'll taint answers a little by noting this mic has a very low output for a condenser...3 something mV/Pa. About 6 db more output than a typical dynamic, and much less than the 20 mV/Pa often seen.

So it kind of has an attenuator on all the time...allowing good high SPL without throwing a switch.

One could say similar things about the lows...A flat plane wave response
cardioid would be boomy with a fairly close miced guitar, requiring low cut somewhere. This mic seems to already have that for a good balance, unless you did a low cut to the recording. (you said you didn't though)
Old 16th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les View Post
Nice clip.

How do you feel about the lack of an attenuator or low cut switch? Is that a feature set folks consider important or even essential?
Considering the low price point, I imagine Beyer was trying to keep the costs down, yet, they have delivered on the most important point, which is a very smooth sounding mic. While some people might appreciate those features, I don't I like to use the low cut switch.

Quote:
I'll taint answers a little by noting this mic has a very low output for a condenser...3 something mV/Pa. About 6 db more output than a typical dynamic, and much less than the 20 mV/Pa often seen.
In theory this might be the case, but in practice, I didn't notice anything unusual about the output and the Eureka had no problem handling it.

Quote:
One could say similar things about the lows...A flat plane wave response
cardioid would be boomy with a fairly close miced guitar, requiring low cut somewhere. This mic seems to already have that for a good balance, unless you did a low cut to the recording. (you said you didn't though)
The low end seems to compliment the top end and did not require cutting any lows EQ wise. It's pretty hard not to get a decent sound out of this mic and I also hit it with some volume on the attached sample during a lead guitar solo using a stratocaster through a cranked vintage Alamo tube amp.

Sources: 1. electric gtr solo 2. nylon string gtr (dbl) and 3. percussion:

MCE 83 > Eureka pre > RNC > Digital Recorder - no EQ just a bit of verb

P.S. you raise some interesting points, especially this one: "So it kind of has an attenuator on all the time...allowing good high SPL without throwing a switch."
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 MCE 83 -Gtr solo.mp3 (2.67 MB, 190 views)
Old 16th August 2010
  #7
Les
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Quote:
I didn't notice anything unusual about the output and the Eureka had no problem handling it.
Right, it should be enough to drive most all preamps just fine. I was curious about whether a "louder is better' opinion exists.

You see, I design microphones, and some are fairly low output as well.
It's a good way to improve dynamic range without resorting to an attenuator switch.

Thanks for the opinion!
Old 16th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les View Post
Right, it should be enough to drive most all preamps just fine. I was curious about whether a "louder is better' opinion exists.

You see, I design microphones, and some are fairly low output as well.
It's a good way to improve dynamic range without resorting to an attenuator switch.
You have some interesting ideas and I see what you were hinting at with the low output. I've noticed that you can really step into this mic and I will post a vocal sample using the MCE 83, illustrating exactly what you said.

Thanks for your insight.
Old 16th August 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les View Post
I was curious about whether a "louder is better' opinion exists.

Reflecting on what you said, I think the same principle has been applied to guitar pickups, where they are wound much hotter, thus increasing the impedance and emphasizing the midrange, which can also lead to harshness in the upper midrange. Although the pickups are louder, they have also sacrificed some of the beautiful dynamics of the lower output pickups. The best example I could give would be vintage stratocaster single coil pickups from the 1950's and 1960's. which usually had readings of 5.7 to 6k d.c. ohms. Undoubtably, they were a little noisier, but the dynamic range, from full lows to shimmering highs, were all there.

It seems that as we moved away from analog formats towards digital formats, output has become a deciding factor in microphone purchase. Yet, I'm not convinced that "louder is better."
Old 20th January 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thwacko View Post
Nice clips. Not what I expected at all. A fast SDC attack, yet a very full body.
I'm curious what it would sound like on snare, or even as an overhead.
They are fantastic overhead mics!!
Old 30th July 2013
  #11
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These are indeed great OH mics. They do well as a stereo pair for live recording, too!
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