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Tetramic?
Old 17th November 2008
  #1
Question Tetramic?

Do any of you have experience with the Core Sound Tetramic? it is similar in design and function to the soundfield ambisonic mics, and comes with processing software. would this be a good mic for classical work?

Core Sound — TetraMic
Old 17th November 2008
  #2
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mljung's Avatar
Looks interesting - self noise a little on the high side - but the price is good and maybe it's performance is too..!?

Old 12th November 2009
  #3
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I thought I'd bump this thread.

Anybody actually buy one of these and try it out for location work?

I'm very interested in one of these for those recordings where there are a lot of unknowns, or ones where different ensembles might call for different setups.
Old 12th November 2009
  #4
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Roland's Avatar
I think there is a danger of looking at this as a poorman's Soundfield mic. That's ok in one sense, but if it were a non-descript mono condensor mic, no-one would give it a second look without some serious endorsement or sound samples to back it up.

If it's a Soundfiled you want, buy a soundfield, they have some affordable options these days.

Regards


Roland
Old 12th November 2009
  #5
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Well with the Soundfield SPS200 (what looks to be the Tetramic's inspiration) going for almost 3k (SoundField SPS200 SYSTEM Software Controlled Mic System | Full Compass) I think this could be a good alternative. A "cheap Soundfield" indeed, so why not give it a chance?

They say the mic is supposed to sound like a DPA 4003 - an interesting claim, so I'd love to know what people actually think about the mic.
Old 12th November 2009
  #6
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What about live monitoring?

I actually spent quite some time with the Soundfield people at the AES primarily to see if the SPS200 would be a usable solution. The main problem I see is the lack of any realtime monitoring capabilities since there is no decoder to B format or stereo. The plus is that you can use your own pres - I was planning to use for channels of the Spider and converters.

The next step up ST350 which is the the portable solution also has sonic compromises (a fact confirmed indirectly by the Soundfield rep) and directly by the folks at Cranesong who use the Soundfield system a lot. For double the price of the SPS200, sonic compromise are the last words I wanted to hear. It looks like the 442 which costs a bit less than the 350 seems to be the best option for me since it uses the same mic as Mark V but has stereo monitoring only live. 442 gives you B-format and Stereo but it is not portable and you have to pay for the pres as well.

I wish Soundfield had an in-between solution with a decoder but no pres and portable without sonic compromises ...

Baithak
PS: Sorry to continue the OT from Tetramic to Soundfield

Last edited by Baithak; 12th November 2009 at 05:44 PM.. Reason: Oops more about SF than tetramic sorry ...
Old 12th November 2009
  #7
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume with both the Tetramic and the Soundfield SPS200 that you could monitor directly from a computer.

For example, with the four mic inputs on the M-audio Fast Track Ultra I have, I plug in the four XLRs from the mic, and boot up my DAW of choice and the plugin or whatever is included to decode the mic, and can from there monitor and change the balance at will.

Now if you are using it with a digital recorder like an HD24 I guess that's impossible (unless you are using an ADAT bridge for monitoring on a computer anyway).
Old 13th November 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I thought I'd bump this thread.

Anybody actually buy one of these and try it out for location work?

I'm very interested in one of these for those recordings where there are a lot of unknowns, or ones where different ensembles might call for different setups.
I purchased one a month or two ago. It is exactly what I needed. Here's my $.02:

Monitoring can be an issue. I think some of the Sound Devices machines have built-in B-format decoders, but I'm using R-44's. I don't find it that big of an issue for my use. The whole point is that I can adjust the pattern, angle, direction etc. in post anyway. I listen to the individual channels and try to make an educated decision.

Soundwise, I'm hesitant to say...I've been experimenting with different stereo pairs for too many years. AB, Jecklin, ORTF, MS, etc...never got exactly what I wanted. The problem is I'm recording in bars or living rooms, not studios - and I'm usually playing on the gig. I can't properly monitor what I'm doing. As such, this is a Godsend for me. Whether or not the capsules are up to DPA quality, I'm still getting better results in the end than if I had DPA's.

I find some peculiar things about the software for decoding that I think they could improve. I think the mic is a bit noisy. Len (the maker) would not tell me who makes the capsules, so I have made my assumptions...but again, I'm getting better results than I did with my Beyers, Sennheiser, etc. because of the nature of the decoding-in-post thing.

Make sense?
Old 13th November 2009
  #9
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Here's a clip if you want to hear it.

The piano is not a real piano. It is one of those fake grands where there are speakers inside of it. The Tetramic is between the "piano" and the drums, slightly above and facing downward about 45 degrees. They are decoded to a pair of hypercardioids at about 105 deg.

There is also a DPA4099 on the bass and little DI from the piano in this.
Attached Files

Tetra Clip.mp3 (1.63 MB, 4088 views)

Old 13th November 2009
  #10
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Leddy-I know you play frequently, so I'm impressed that you can go through all of these mic's (testing, comparing, and so forth) while still cranking out the music. I don't fare so well.

I only listened once and at low levels. I was a little surprised at how "right" the thing sounded, and also the mic's don't sound bright.

Could you fill in some details, like what sort of "virtual patterns" were used, and if any eq was applied? What platform do you run, and do you like the software?

And a related issue, how are your experiences with the MKH30 going, and have you tried a variety of mid patterns with them?

Back to the Core system, I think noise will be sometimes an issue just because there are so many mic's involved. That has been one of the complaints about the earlier versions of the Soundfield.

Does it seem the Core system has successfully matched their mic's (in terms of output, etc.), and do you feel that the relative levels of the mic's are well controlled throughout the process, including getting levels precisely matched on the R-44, or is there some way of checking this after the fact?
Old 13th November 2009
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEGG View Post
Leddy-I know you play frequently, so I'm impressed that you can go through all of these mic's (testing, comparing, and so forth) while still cranking out the music. I don't fare so well.

I only listened once and at low levels. I was a little surprised at how "right" the thing sounded, and also the mic's don't sound bright.

Could you fill in some details, like what sort of "virtual patterns" were used, and if any eq was applied? What platform do you run, and do you like the software?

And a related issue, how are your experiences with the MKH30 going, and have you tried a variety of mid patterns with them?

Back to the Core system, I think noise will be sometimes an issue just because there are so many mic's involved. That has been one of the complaints about the earlier versions of the Soundfield.

Does it seem the Core system has successfully matched their mic's (in terms of output, etc.), and do you feel that the relative levels of the mic's are well controlled throughout the process, including getting levels precisely matched on the R-44, or is there some way of checking this after the fact?
I have quite a bit of high rolled off - but that was mainly a placement issue. The mic is (EQ'd in the decoding software) flat down to ridiculously low frequencies, so I had to roll some off there too. I was hesitant to put up a sample - I've mixed in spot mics and EQ'd the thing. I don't want my own mixing shortcomings to leave a bad impression about the mic. I'm glad you mentioned the "right"-sounding comment. That's how I feel about it. The image is more natural to me than other stereo pairs I've tried, or at least I can dial it in that way in post. That's worth any sonic tradeoff (if there is one) to me at this point in my learning curve.

I've learned a lot from it. If I sold it tomorrow, I would be better at placing other mics from toying with this one and experimenting with the decoding software. I usually end up decoding to something around a hypercardioid pair. Cardioids don't have the spaciousness, and Blumlein usually has too much direct sound coming in the back. That's the whole thing right there. You can toy with that until it works for you - in post.

I have an older version of Cubase, so I have to decode the Tetramic files to a stereo pair, then import that and my spot mics into Cubase to mix. I guess I need to upgrade Cubase to be able to run a the VST decoding software. I have not gotten that far.

As for calibrating levels - I plug a little tone generator in each channel and record a signal I can use to adjust level later on if needed. I'd like to see some changes to their software to make this easier. I'm still working on getting this resolved.

I tried the MKH30 with many different mid mics. In the end, I prefer the flexibility of recordng with the Tetramic at the moment. Makes me wonder how a pair of the Sennheiser Twin's would compare, or the Soundfield, etc. I don't think I could go back to a conventional pair of mics. This is too much fun.
Old 13th November 2009
  #12
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Thanks for posting your thoughts and that clip. It does have a certain sound to it that sounds like you are in the room.

I am definitely interested in getting one now. I'm kinda surprised there aren't too many users on the forum.
Old 13th November 2009
  #13
bryan - i hope you manage to pick one of these up and post some comparative samples of it against some of your other mics - i would love to hear it side-by-side with some other good mics on some chamber music sources.
Old 13th November 2009
  #14
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I believe that it is always an XY mic of some sort, isn't it? If this is the case it it a drawback?
Old 13th November 2009
  #15
Old 13th November 2009
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
Here's a clip if you want to hear it.
I really loved this, Larry. I'm listening on headphones at work, so I can't make critical judgements, but the overall feel is perfect for this material. Thanks for posting it.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 13th November 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
I believe that it is always an XY mic of some sort, isn't it? If this is the case it it a drawback?
No, it's XYZW

No expert here, but technically it is near coincident, which is software modified to a single point mic. Describing it as an XY doesn't really do the system justice, and in reality it is XYZ plus W.
Old 13th November 2009
  #18
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^^^^ I should have been more precise in saying "single point." As single point it would seem the major attraction is the phase coherence.
Old 14th November 2009
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
bryan - i hope you manage to pick one of these up and post some comparative samples of it against some of your other mics - i would love to hear it side-by-side with some other good mics on some chamber music sources.
Well I'd love to as well. In fact I have a big SDC shootout planned soon, hopefully within the next year.

As for the Tetramic I will definitely be trying to pick one up but it depends on the money! (As I'm sure you're aware jnorman flutes are expensive and I'm looking at buying an upgrade...)
Old 14th November 2009
  #20
bryan - inre: "As I'm sure you're aware jnorman flutes are expensive and I'm looking at buying an upgrade" - indeed. sandy plays a 14k gold powell, whose annual maintenance costs more than most flutes... i would be interested in hearing about the flutes you are considering, as we have auditioned pretty much everything there is. PM me sometime.
Old 18th November 2009
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
Well with the Soundfield SPS200 (what looks to be the Tetramic's inspiration)...
Actually, TetraMic was announced before the SPS200. If anything, TetraMic is probably the inspiration for the SPS200.


Len Moskowitz
Core Sound LLC
Core Sound
Old 18th November 2009
  #22
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Thanks for chiming in Len. After posting that I did find some discussion about the SPS200 coming out after the Tetramic. Thanks for clarifying.

I don't suppose you have any samples you could post of classical music recorded with just a Tetramic?

All the Ambisonic recordings seem to be gone so I haven't actually found any in my searches.
Old 18th November 2009
  #23
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I was interested in the Tetramic for a while. But it is a la carte pricing and by the time I am finished I am up around the price of the Soundfield SPS200. I was also quite discouraged to see the "Less that $1000" price was only a tease, that there were additional parts needed for it to work. I considered that misleading.
Old 18th November 2009
  #24
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Was the SPS200 cheaper before? Currently at fullcompass it is $2850 (SoundField SPS200 SYSTEM Software Controlled Mic System | Full Compass) while the Tetramic with all accessories is around $1500 (Core Sound — TetraMic).

Now I do completely agree that the "sub-$1000" bit is completely misleading and frankly ridiculous. Why not say sub-$1500 and sell the whole shebang for $1499? Though I will be honest, I think $999 for the mic, cable, PPAs and clip would be an easier price to swallow, and least to me.
Old 18th November 2009
  #25
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The price has gone up ~$500 - $600. I think it is the drop of the dollar against the Euro. Schoeps is at $1,750 for a CMC64. I sure hope the dollar becomes more valuable.

I like the $999 price for the whole shebang, too.

BTW, I think I have read the mics are MBHO.
Old 18th November 2009
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
I was also quite discouraged to see the "Less that $1000" price was only a tease...
It's not a tease for the many folks who use TetraMics in their acoustic test and measurement systems, where they don't need Phantom Power Adapters. They need only TetraMic itself, so why should they pay for a package of accessories that are useless for them?

And it'll be the same when our 4Mic portable multiplexing four-channel mic pre/ADC is available. TetraMic won't need the PPAs in that application.


Len Moskowitz
Core Sound LLC
Core Sound
Old 18th November 2009
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I don't suppose you have any samples you could post of classical music recorded with just a Tetramic?
Here's an excerpt of a Blumlein decode of a recording that John Leonard (the noted London sound designer) did of an Orfeo String Quartet rehearsal using TetraMic and the new Metric Halo ULN-8:

Untitled Document edited.wav

We'll leave this up for a few days.


Len Moskowitz
Core Sound LLC
Old 18th November 2009
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
I think there is a danger of looking at this as a poorman's Soundfield mic.
You might have a look at what Richard Lee, one of the original Calrec Soundfield designers, had to say about TetraMic on the user comment page:

Core Sound — TetraMic

Some of the other comments may also interest you.


Len Moskowitz ([email protected])
Core Sound LLC
Core Sound
Old 18th November 2009
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I don't suppose you have any samples you could post of classical music recorded with just a Tetramic?
I've posted a link to a recording. It's awaiting the moderator's approval.


Len Moskowitz
Core Sound LLC
Core Sound
Old 18th November 2009
  #30
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
Here's a clip if you want to hear it.

The piano is not a real piano. It is one of those fake grands where there are speakers inside of it. The Tetramic is between the "piano" and the drums, slightly above and facing downward about 45 degrees. They are decoded to a pair of hypercardioids at about 105 deg.

There is also a DPA4099 on the bass and little DI from the piano in this.
Why did you angle the mic downwards by 45 degrees? Can you not adjust angles and so on after the recording is made or is that just with the SF software. I am a little confused here.

Thanks
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