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Does Schoeps CMC64 have low output
Old 26th August 2020
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Does Schoeps CMC64 have low output

Hi, I just got a pair of Schoeps CMC64 and despite them sounding lovely the output seems very low, is that normal? In comparison to most of my other mics (C414s, TLM103, Octava MK12, AT4033 etc) the output does seem noticeably lower. On my desk (x32) I have to wind the gain up to max to get a reasonable level on an acoustic guitar (with close ORTF). They are brand new and I have no reason to assume they are faulty but I am a bit concerned they are not quite as they should be. I am not sure how to test them so see if they are responding normally. Any ideas?
Old 27th August 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
I don't have any tips for you other than perhaps carefully cleaning the connections between the capsule and body, and maybe the XLR pins, but I've never heard CMC54 / 64's that sounded noticeably quieter than any other standard condenser mic. You definitely shouldn't have to max out the gain on those - that seems crazy.
Old 27th August 2020
  #3
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tourtelot's Avatar
The CMC6 should be in the middle, output gain, between Sennheiser MKH and DPA and right in the range you are describing. These are new, correct?

If not, could they have been modded for lower output for some reason. Might be a question for someone like Pete Verrando.

Basic troubleshooting; change out cables, different inputs, different device from the M32, same cable and input as other mics that are working well? Are both CMC6s acting the same? Did you get a chart with them (can't remember if Schoeps does this)? Do you have other Schoeps heads to try? Any near-by friend with a CMC6. Just gotta work through the steps.

If you get through the basic stuff, it might be time to email Schoeps DE and ask for their thoughts.

If both (new?) CMC6s are acting the same, I would think something downstream is causing the problem.

D.

Don't go cleaning them without some instruction especially if they are new and under warranty. Even isopropyl alcohol can mess up either head or amp if improperly applied. Don't cause yourself more problems and a void warranty.
Old 27th August 2020
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks for your replys.

These mics (CMC6 + MK4 capsules) are brand new so they can’t need cleaning. I don’t have other schoeps capsules or dpa mics to try against (only the other mics I listed). It can’t be the cables/mixer/interface becasue that would affect the other mics in the same way when I plugged them into the same cables. I can’t see a dodgy cable isn’t going to lower the output like a pad without any hum/clicks, not on 2 channels in exactly the same way (these are pretty new ok quality cables as well).
I guess I am going to have to try some slightly more sophisticated tests to actually measure the schoeps output in comparison to my other mics.
Will report back later.
Old 27th August 2020
  #5
On a close source you shouldn't need more that 30dB of gain for a good level. Schoeps are rather typical when it comes to SDC sensitivity so you shouldn't see much more than 6dB required over your large diaphragm mics. Time to closely examine the signal chain I suppose. There has to be something pressed or not pressed on your mixer causing it. Schoeps are well tested before leaving the factory.
Old 27th August 2020
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

I have my mixer/interface gain turned up to 60db!!! I would even go higher if it had more! It runs directly from the channel to the computer so everything after the channel settings are unimportant. I double checked that all eq/fx etc turned off.
I have never had to turn the preamps up anything like that much before, except when I had a ribbon mic which I had to sell because the output was so low it was unusable.

I will measure the difference between a few mics accurately later today but I am wondering if it is some kind of impedance mismatch between the mic and preamp (but I know nothing about electronics). I have checked and the midas preamps do have a particularly high impedance (12kohm) and the schoeps a very low impedance (42 ohm) but this means precisely nothing to me.

Of course Schoeps are quality mics and are well checked, put that with the the fact that I have 2 brand new that are behaving the same makes me think it is not the mics themselves at fault.
Old 27th August 2020
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
brhoward's Avatar
 

What mixer/interface are you using?
Old 27th August 2020
  #8
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
There's a thought! Maybe not enough current capacity in the mixer's/interface's P48 to allow the CMC amps to deliver. They need 4mA each according to Schoeps.

D.
Old 27th August 2020
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
brhoward's Avatar
 

This sort of "low output" could happen if the outputs of your mixer are set to mic level. Like on a typical Mackie mixer (like 1202) the l/r master outputs allow you to buffer the line level signal back down to mic level.

I wondered if the OP is accidentally doing something like that. It sounds like the signal level is about 50dB lower than in should be if the signal level is still "quiet" with +60dB on the mic pre gain.
Old 28th August 2020
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brhoward View Post
This sort of "low output" could happen if the outputs of your mixer are set to mic level. Like on a typical Mackie mixer (like 1202) the l/r master outputs allow you to buffer the line level signal back down to mic level.

I wondered if the OP is accidentally doing something like that. It sounds like the signal level is about 50dB lower than in should be if the signal level is still "quiet" with +60dB on the mic pre gain.
Thanks, I think this is it, sort of.
I did some checks and it turns out the output of the cmc6 with mk4 is pretty much the same as by c414 and At 4021. But, because I am not usually recording such quiet sources, I didn't really notice that I had to wind the input gain up so much.
Good news, nothing wrong with my new Schoeps!
But it could well be I have not my desk up optimally.
The desk/interface is Behringer x32 (with midas preamps). I basically use the computer as a multitrack tape machine so all the input channels just go directly to the computer (the desk has built in a 32 channel interface) where I record in Logic. I only use the mixing functions for monitoring and various foldbacks. I don't think I have ever seen an overall level switch that can change between various output levels, but there could be one on hidden away in some menu I never look at.
It could be the desk is just designed more for live use, but it is not so much of a problem - if the level is a little suboptimal for recording I can always add extra gain in logic.
Old 28th August 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
With the mixer being a Behringer/Midas X32 you wouldn't expect this sort of problem. Have you had the system working well with other mics and then immediately substituted the Schoeps, changing no other factors ? I don't think it's the phantom current (4mA is a pretty trivial and conventional draw)...sounds more like an engaged pad somewhere in the chain, as brhoward says, or even the phantom power not being on ? The impedance mismatch between mixer and mic seems unlikely to account for this difference.
My advice: RTM (Read the Manual) ...
Old 28th August 2020
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
With the mixer being a Behringer/Midas X32 you wouldn't expect this sort of problem. Have you had the system working well with other mics and then immediately substituted the Schoeps, changing no other factors ? I don't think it's the phantom current (4mA is a pretty trivial and conventional draw)...sounds more like an engaged pad somewhere in the chain, as brhoward says, or even the phantom power not being on ? The impedance mismatch between mixer and mic seems unlikely to account for this difference.
My advice: RTM (Read the Manual) ...
I tried it with the mic plugged straight into the mixer with a different cable (no pad on the schoeps) and then using the interface to the computer this sends the signal before any channel eq/compression etc, so even if I had inadvertently eq'd the heck out of it that wouldn't affect the signal being recorded. So there is no way I could have got a pad in there. Without the phantom power there is no detectable signal, so that was definitely on.

In retrospect I am fairly sure the desk has always been this way. Once I had a ribbon mic but I couldn't get enough gain to make it useable, that mic got sold. Normally I record piano/drums/bass/sax so probably I have not noticed that I have been turning the preamp gain up higher than would be expected with these relatively loud sources. Neither have I recently used any other desk or had anything else to compare it to.

I have just been through the x32 manual (again) and can't find anything relevant in there. I could be missing something quite possibly.
Old 28th August 2020
  #13
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Plush's Avatar
User error. Check cables and input setting.
Old 28th August 2020
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
User error. Check cables and input setting.
Well it could be, but I checked with 4 quality mics, 3 good quality cables. the signal goes directly from the preamp section of the x32 channel to the x-USB card (and digitally to the computer) so literally the only thing that affects the level is the gain setting of the preamp, which is at +60db. I tried other channels as well, the same.

Maybe I am missing something but I can't figure out what that could be.
Old 28th August 2020
  #15
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TVPostSound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by beeboss View Post
Well it could be, but I checked with 4 quality mics, 3 good quality cables. the signal goes directly from the preamp section of the x32 channel to the x-USB card (and digitally to the computer) so literally the only thing that affects the level is the gain setting of the preamp, which is at +60db. I tried other channels as well, the same.

Maybe I am missing something but I can't figure out what that could be.
The fader?
I believe with the X32 the fader is part of the signal flow.
Fader at unity is unity gain staging.
I might be wrong, its been a minute.
Old 28th August 2020
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPostSound View Post
The fader?
I believe with the X32 the fader is part of the signal flow.
Fader at unity is unity gain staging.
I might be wrong, its been a minute.
The fader would be a part of the signal flow if I were recording the main output of the mixer, but as I am recording using the USB card interface the channels output directly to the computer after the preamp stage (before eq/compression/fade etc) the position of the fader makes no difference. Channel output is pre-fader.

I could set it to post-fader but that is no use to me as I use the computer as a multitrack tape machine. mixing on the desk is only for control room monitoring and various musician foldbacks.
Old 29th August 2020
  #17
Lives for gear
 

the schoeps cmc6/mk4 got about 10dBu less max. output than the tlm103 but then the latter is almost 'line' level (and quite typical for ldc's) - besides, the tlm has a hyped mf/hf fr and therefore 'sounds' louder even when trimmed to measure the same...
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