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Rode TF5 tests
Old 21st September 2019
  #31
Gear Addict
 

It is Rode’s interests and responsibilities to put out some 1st class recordings showcasing their new microphones. To produce a proper demo recording takes a lot of resources and costs a lot of money. You need to hire a great engineer, a producer, a bunch of great musicians, a great sounding hall, etc.. The idea is that the demo recordings should sound so good that anybody listens to it would want to have that microphone being showcased for his own recordings. Rode did hire TF to do just that with their talk-ware of “TFM-50” a while ago. Was that affair successful? I will let you be the judge.

Clearly, this layer of task is way beyond the resource and ability of this freelancing gear reviewer/writer. Don’t be too hard on him, he is trying his best in his own way. You should channel your dissatisfaction at Rode.
Old 21st September 2019
  #32
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From a reader perspective on a cardioid mic, I'm looking for discussion and samples of off-axis response.
There's discussion of the Rode's provided graphs and some info for amateurs but no actual testing of that. Or samples (which are easy enough to do.)

Last edited by pentagon; 21st September 2019 at 09:06 PM..
Old 22nd September 2019
  #33
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Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
There's discussion of the Rode's provided graphs and some info for amateurs but no actual testing of that. Or samples (which are easy enough to do.)
Genuine question: Have you listened to the distant recordings of acoustic guitars?

That was the intention of sharing those: to show how the TF-5’s off-axis response behaves against two established industry favourites in a situation where the acoustics of the room become a significant part of the captured sound.

I was in a recording studio with relatively controlled acoustics. Certainly not a concert hall (the concert hall opportunity fell through when the mics arrived about a week later than anticipated), but what I did was pull the mics back from the guitar until the room sound became dominant, then moved them slightly forwards from there until the room sound was no longer dominant but was still a part of the sound - just as we would do in a concert hall or any other situation where room sound is desired in the recording without being too reverberant (or, in this case, ‘roomy’...)

In the interests of fairness and not playing favourites, I settled at a distance in which all three mics were still performing reasonably well in terms of capturing the room sound in an appropriate context. I started those tests about 20cm further back, but at that distance one of the two established microphones was clearly out of its depths against the others and I could imagine fans of that particular microphone crying “Not fair!”

If you haven’t already done so, please download the files, import them into your workstation, line them up and switch between them. They are the files numbered 9 to 16 on the magazine’s soundcloud page (https://soundcloud.com/audiotechnology). TF-5 versus KM184, and TF-5 versus 4011, on steel string and nylon string guitar, all at the same distance which was just inside the critical distance from the sound source in that room. The four short pieces played on the guitar include enough variety in dynamics and space between notes to hear how the mics are dealing with the incoming off-axis room sound.

Between those files and what I wrote in the review about having no significant tonality issues with sounds arriving at up to 60° off axis (when I wrote about using the TF-5s as a stereo pair at subtended angles of up to 120°) I hope you’ll get some indication of how the TF-5 performs in terms of off-axis response.

I’m keen to hear your feedback!
Old 22nd September 2019
  #34
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I'm sure you know this but "off-axis" room sound is not a test of off-axis pick up. A single guitar with a mic pointed directly at it is on-axis. All you are demoing is critical distance and reverberant pick up. This is not the least bit a test of off-axis.

When using a cardioid like this as a spot on orchestra the question is pretty simple: when micing the flute, what is the oboe going to sound like sitting on the periphery. It's a pretty simple test for a single person to do on a mic: rotate the sound source keeping it equidistant from the mic and going from on axis to off axis. A great cardioid mic will just sound like it is diminishing in volume but everything else stays the same as it goes off-axis. This is also an audio file to post.

Trusting a reviewer saying "no significant tonality issues" relies on the reader having confidence in the reviewer having good judgement. Or the same judgement. That's something that has to be established/earned. I mean, what do you consider significant verses non-significant? I wouldn't know.
Old 22nd September 2019
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
I'm sure you know this but "off-axis" room sound is not a test of off-axis pick up. A single guitar with a mic pointed directly at it is on-axis. All you are demoing is critical distance and reverberant pick up. This is not the least bit a test of off-axis.
You make an important distinction/definition of ‘off axis’ with the spot miking example. If I had more time in the studio I should’ve/would’ve moved the guitar to a few different angles relative to the mic placement and recorded those as well. It would’ve been relatively easy to do. Perhaps I still can do it, because I still have access to the TF-5s. It’s a good suggestion. Maybe a later TF-5 reviewer will do that; I’m not sure if any have so far. If anyone has, I’d expect to see it in Hugh Robjohn’s review, but that is currently pay-walled with SOS online and I’ve been able to check it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
I mean, what do you consider significant verses non-significant? I wouldn't know.
If it’s any help, I consider ‘significant’ meaning ‘noticeable and worth worrying about’ to the extent that you’d want to change something to fix it.

Last edited by Simmosonic; 22nd September 2019 at 03:08 AM.. Reason: Removing what might be interpreted as sarcasm.
Old 22nd September 2019
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
How is the TF-5 different from the NT-5? What are we getting for the extra price?
Although I had access to an NT5 during my testing process, I chose not to make the comparison primarily because such a comparison was done quite well in the German language review of the TF-5 which you can find online. From a written point of view, in my opinion the TF-5 is a very different and superior microphone to the NT5 within the parameters of being a small single diaphragm cardioid condenser from the same manufacturer.

You can find the German language review here:

https://www.bonedo.de/artikel/einzel...tf-5-test.html

If you click through the pages you’ll find they made a number of comparison recordings between the TF5 and the NT5 on drums and acoustic guitar.
Old 22nd September 2019
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
Clearly, this layer of task is way beyond the resource and ability of this freelancing gear reviewer/writer.
In the 15 years or so prior to and including 2016 I was regularly recording in a couple of Sydney’s best sounding concert/recital halls. Many of those recordings featured the world’s finest touring chamber musicians, and many of those recordings were for radio broadcast only – as such there was no absolute requirement for them to be anything more than good enough for radio, which meant they were great opportunities for experimentation and to review new products (particularly microphones, interfaces and recording devices). In those days I could happily put up a pair of review mics that I suspected were up to the task and, as long as they weren’t terrible, I could use them for the recording, form valid opinions for the review, and even notify readers of when those recordings were going to be broadcast so they could hear for themselves. Nobody ever complained about a review based on a recording of Stephen Hough or Imogen Cooper on a Steinway, or the Tokyo String Quartet playing the Paganini Quartet instruments. It’s interesting to note how just the names, places and instruments used for the recording seemed to carry so much weight – before people even gave the recording a listen, LOL!

In the case of this TF-5 review... If the mics had arrived on time I would’ve been able to take them into concert halls in Bangkok and/or Malaysia (I have the appropriate contacts in both countries) and come out with something more relevant to this particular group. As it turned out, I got them about a week later then expected, through no fault of Rode or the magazine. I found myself back in Bali, where it is virtually impossible to find a grand piano in decent condition in a large and quiet enclosed space (that alone is almost impossible to find in Bali) and where most of the string players I could find make their living by playing outdoors for weddings and similar and therefore are used to really ‘sawing’ the instrument to make it loud enough in open air. Not the kind of thing suited to a review...

So I settled on doing something I could do well here: an acoustic guitar in the controlled environment of a recording studio. It’s not what I was hoping for, and it’s obviously not what this little slice of the GS community were expecting, but I’m pleased with the results overall. The magazine the review was written for has a much broader market of sound engineers and recording musicians in general, for whom close miking acoustic guitar or a baby grand piano in a small room is exactly the kind of thing they do regularly.
Old 22nd September 2019
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmosonic View Post
In the 15 years or so prior to and including 2016 I was regularly recording in a couple of Sydney’s best sounding concert/recital halls. Many of those recordings featured the world’s finest touring chamber musicians, and many of those recordings were for radio broadcast only – as such there was no absolute requirement for them to be anything more than good enough for radio, which meant they were great opportunities for experimentation and to review new products (particularly microphones, interfaces and recording devices). In those days I could happily put up a pair of review mics that I suspected were up to the task and, as long as they weren’t terrible, I could use them for the recording, form valid opinions for the review, and even notify readers of when those recordings were going to be broadcast so they could hear for themselves. Nobody ever complained about a review based on a recording of Stephen Hough or Imogen Cooper on a Steinway, or the Tokyo String Quartet playing the Paganini Quartet instruments. It’s interesting to note how just the names, places and instruments used for the recording seemed to carry so much weight – before people even gave the recording a listen, LOL!



Your observation is correct and incorrect; it is the music and musicians ultimately carry the recording, they make the recording sounding good, not the recording equipment. Good playing and musicianship is what it really takes to make people wanting to listen to a given recording, not because what a particular microphone was used making it. I enjoy listening to Heifetz’s recordings and some of them are over 100 years old and intrinsically you can say the recording quality is horrible but when the playing is Godlike I can happily live with it. The oldest Heifetz recording was made without an electrical microphone, it was acoustically made. The names of the musicians, instruments, hall and microphone alone won’t do it, those are all external facts. Only good music itself matters. Anybody can hit the recording button and the Tokyo quartet will sound good on the tape. Don’t I know it.





In the case of this TF-5 review... If the mics had arrived on time I would’ve been able to take them into concert halls in Bangkok and/or Malaysia (I have the appropriate contacts in both countries) and come out with something more relevant to this particular group. As it turned out, I got them about a week later then expected, through no fault of Rode or the magazine. I found myself back in Bali, where it is virtually impossible to find a grand piano in decent condition in a large and quiet enclosed space (that alone is almost impossible to find in Bali) and where most of the string players I could find make their living by playing outdoors for weddings and similar and therefore are used to really ‘sawing’ the instrument to make it loud enough in open air. Not the kind of thing suited to a review...



Again, your explanation supports my claim that the review people are looking for here at GS is above your means, at least in regard to this one. Yes, the audience is tough here, but rightly so. You know what it takes but you were not able to do it. It is a simple fact. It is not necessary your fault and you don’t have to apologize for it. What people are looking for in a microphone review here is something Rode should have done themselves, with utmost thoughts and care. They want to sell the microphones so they should entice me; through my ears. I buy microphones with my ears, not my eyes.






So I settled on doing something I could do well here: an acoustic guitar in the controlled environment of a recording studio. It’s not what I was hoping for, and it’s obviously not what this little slice of the GS community were expecting, but I’m pleased with the results overall. The magazine the review was written for has a much broader market of sound engineers and recording musicians in general, for whom close miking acoustic guitar or a baby grand piano in a small room is exactly the kind of thing they do regularly.




I am glad you did what you did for the magazine, Rode, the readers and yourself. Hopefully someone will find it useful in making their decision buying/or not buying the TF-5.


All the best,


Da-Hong
Old 22nd September 2019
  #39
Here for the gear
 

I'm very pleased with the TF5 (and the NTFS1, as a long time user of soundfields)

I think Hugh's SOS review is excellent, very fair and balanced.
Old 22nd September 2019
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonhoneyball View Post
I think Hugh's SOS review is excellent, very fair and balanced.
It insists weirdly on the noise advantage induced by the high sensitivity (35 mV/Pa) of the TF5 with respect to his competitors, as a counterpart of higher current draw (7 mA). Preamp noise, lower because of lower gain related to higher mic sensitivity, does not much matter because it is lower than mic self-noise as soon as sensitivity is larger than a few mV/Pa.

Last edited by didier.brest; 22nd September 2019 at 05:34 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #41
Well now what do we have here?
Attached Thumbnails
Rode TF5 tests-bd55c33b-675c-4e6e-96d4-e627e73897ec.jpg  
Old 2 weeks ago
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
Well now what do we have here?
Why....it must be a new matched pair of triangle spot mics, of course !
Old 1 week ago
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
Well now what do we have here?
Well, what did you think?
Old 1 week ago
  #44
I think they’re really nice. Similar in character to a 4011, full and clear but not shrill or muddy, “hyper present”, but a bit brighter in general. Wouldn’t hesitate to use as a spot mic in most SDC-cardioid-spot situations. Probably wouldn’t be my first choice on strings or voice, though I’m sure it would do a fine and very useable job (my preference for these would be more of a Schoeps or Neumann-MDC tuning). Winds, brass, percussion, piano, no hesitation. Didn’t have a chance to try them as mains on any large ensembles, but I’m sure they’d be an effective ORTF or similar pair if that’s what you’re looking for.

I would say, given what they’ve achieved here, I would be very interested to hear what the Omni or wide card versions would sound like, especially if they decided to make a more free field tuned Omni. I’m sure the diffuse-field would kill, though, given what the nt45o can already do.

Last edited by king2070lplaya; 1 week ago at 07:09 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #45
Lives for gear
Kevin, it looks like the capsule is screwed on, allowing the possibility of swapping it out for an Omni or other pattern when they are produced....is that the case ?
Old 1 week ago
  #46
I think so? They were a demo pair so I didn’t try to unscrew the cap. But I believe that’s correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Kevin, it looks like the capsule is screwed on, allowing the possibility of swapping it out for an Omni or other pattern when they are produced....is that the case ?
Old 1 week ago
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
I think so? They were a demo pair so I didn’t try to unscrew the cap. But I believe that’s correct.
Then all we need are a set of specific pattern caps: wide cardioid, hyper, omni...and dare we hope for a fig 8 also ? That would make a worthy challenge to the Schoeps line, justifying the initially high entry price of the TF5

The Rode automated assembly line should be able to churn out such tightly spec-toleranced capsules at a rate of knots !
Old 1 week ago
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Then all we need are a set of specific pattern caps: wide cardioid, hyper, omni...and dare we hope for a fig 8 also ? That would make a worthy challenge to the Schoeps line, justifying the initially high entry price of the TF5

The Rode automated assembly line should be able to churn out such tightly spec-toleranced capsules at a rate of knots !
Hmm, well Rode never managed to produce more than two capsules for the NT5/NT55, which presumably would have had a rather larger market...!

Cheers,

Roland
Old 1 week ago
  #49
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the update, king2070lplaya!
Old 1 week ago
  #50
Gear Head
 

Found this shootout of SDC overheads where the TF5 is used as a "control" set.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9NkAd8f4vk
Old 1 week ago
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyrictenor1 View Post
Found this shootout of SDC overheads where the TF5 is used as a "control" set.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9NkAd8f4vk
Interesting!
Seems as if there's a tiny bit too much high freq energy on the TF-5 (just as the documentation shows) - still to my ears, they were among the two or three best in this shootout (full sounding - good weight).
So still interested

::
Mads
Old 1 week ago
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mljung View Post
Interesting!
Seems as if there's a tiny bit too much high freq energy on the TF-5 (just as the documentation shows) - still to my ears, they were among the two or three best in this shootout (full sounding - good weight).
So still interested

::
Mads
I wonder if the TF-5 is really more intended for diffuse field application, as it was designed with input from Tony F? (who I suspect is more interested in a mic to put up in front of an orchestra than a good mic for drum overheads...) Distance would tame the HF 'energy' of which you speak.
Old 1 week ago
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
I wonder if the TF-5 is really more intended for diffuse field application, as it was designed with input from Tony F? (who I suspect is more interested in a mic to put up in front of an orchestra than a good mic for drum overheads...) Distance would tame the HF 'energy' of which you speak.
Yes that could definitely be the reason for the lift - even if the term (diffuse field) is more used with omnis, it could give good meaning in this case too. Would be nice to hear them as a ORTF/NOS pair in that role... or as a part of a full Faulkner array.

::
Mads
Old 1 week ago
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
I wonder if the TF-5 is really more intended for diffuse field application, as it was designed with input from Tony F? (who I suspect is more interested in a mic to put up in front of an orchestra than a good mic for drum overheads...) Distance would tame the HF 'energy' of which you speak.
Yes, good point...especially when, in an orchestral setting, the instruments with similar spectral energy to a drum kit would be the percussion section...which is typically far more spread-out and distant (a dozen or more metres/yards away typically) at least as far as main pair pickup is concerned, so a benign HF lift would either be neutral or helpful ? It's certainly not of the same order of lift or harshness as a regular NT5 cardioid !

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 05:37 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #55
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mljung's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
It's certainly not of the same order of lift or harshness as a regular NT5 cardioid !
No not at all, it seems pretty 'sweet'!
I hope the relatively high price - translates to very high quality consistency with super tight tolerances in all areas - that it can be trusted, also in the long run, like Schoeps, Dpa and other high-quality brands...

::
Mads
Old 6 days ago
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mljung View Post
No not at all, it seems pretty 'sweet'!
I hope the relatively high price - translates to very high quality consistency with super tight tolerances in all areas - that it can be trusted, also in the long run, like Schoeps, Dpa and other high-quality brands...

::
Mads
I think you could safely assume so, judging from Rode’s several recent factory show-off videos on YouTube, which display very up to date assembly and finishing processes (though not much mention of testing) Pair matching doesn’t figure much in their product advertising as it did in the past,leaving one to assume that sample to sample performance specs are now of a sufficiently high level such that matching is no longer required?
Old 6 days ago
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I think you could safely assume so, judging from Rode’s several recent factory show-off videos on YouTube, which display very up to date assembly and finishing processes (though not much mention of testing) Pair matching doesn’t figure much in their product advertising as it did in the past,leaving one to assume that sample to sample performance specs are now of a sufficiently high level such that matching is no longer required?
You're probably right
But to prove how serious they are, I hope Røde will include measurements for all top-line (TF) microphones, just like other classic/classy brands are doing - and promise tight tolerances, as part of the selling point!

::
Mads
Old 6 days ago
  #58
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by mljung View Post
You're probably right
But to prove how serious they are, I hope Røde will include measurements for all top-line (TF) microphones, just like other classic/classy brands are doing - and promise tight tolerances, as part of the selling point!

::
Mads
Quite agree....the buyer deserves tested, objective proof for each item...tied to serial number, to vindicate the trust the company is asking for by the buyers, and if Sennheiser, Schoeps, DPA, Josephson, Gefell et al provide these routinely in their product packaging, why not Rode also ?
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