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Six cardio SDC pairs on grand piano
Old 14th June 2009
Six cardio SDC pairs on grand piano

Each take is with the same mic placement, beside the tail end, 1.4 m above the floor, 19 cm AB steered to the pianist.

The mics are (listed by alphabetic order, not the order for the numbering of the files)
Audio-Technica 4041
Josephson C42
Oktava MK-012
Rode NT5
Samson CO2 (super-cardioid)
Schoeps MK21 (wide cardioid)

I will tell you by PM who are the mics of the files that you will rank.

Edit: I replaced 4 and 5 by a version with about 1 dB gain more for better balance with the other ones.
Attached Files

1.mp3 (2.78 MB, 16881 views)

2.mp3 (2.65 MB, 15029 views)

3.mp3 (2.74 MB, 14543 views)

6.mp3 (2.78 MB, 13364 views)

5.mp3 (2.72 MB, 11040 views)

4.mp3 (2.76 MB, 10385 views)

Old 14th June 2009
Lives for gear
James Lehmann's Avatar

Even more mics - wow!

I love your tests Didier but it's a real shame you don't post them as WAVs.

I think with the kind of broadband internet speeds that everyone has these day there's no longer any need to compress audio - especially with critical listening like this.
Old 14th June 2009
Hi James,

here included the link for mic 1 wav file. Could you let me know if it makes a significant difference with respect to 256 kbps mp3 to your ears? If it does, I will also upload the wavs for the 5 remaining mic pairs.
I uploaded the MP3s because I was not sure to ear a difference, which if any would be for me negligible with respect to the difference between two mics. I wanted to save storage capacity and bandwidth for Gearslutz. Moreover I just was made aware that the wav file limit for upload to Gearslutz is 6 MB, just a bit more than 30s in 2 x 44.1 kHz x 16 bit. So it's a truncated version of the previous mp3.
Attached Files

1.wav (5.88 MB, 6409 views)

Old 14th June 2009
Lives for gear
James Lehmann's Avatar

Hi Didier,

On close listening I find the high Db 'rings' too much in the mp3 version - the WAV version seems softer and more realistic with more 'bloom' and room sound.

I suspect there would be even more difference with the 24-bit original.

I'd like to help with file-hosting but you'd need to email me the clips first and I'm not sure I could do them all.

Maybe someone else could help Didier get these excellent WAVs hosted?
Old 14th June 2009
You can download the wav files from here.

Please, let me know how you rank these mics.
Old 28th June 2009
Lives for gear
mljung's Avatar
I made quick comparison of the MP3 files through my Sennheiser hd650.
Overall I preferred 3.

That said - we have to remember it's only lo-level [piano/pianissimo] piano sounds we're comparing here! So how these would fare under louder sound pressure, we don't know!

Old 28th June 2009
I just PM you the key.
We agree that such a test is just revealing the relative performances of the microphones on my piano, in my room, for this microphone placement and on this music. Nonetheless, I hope that it is interesting.
Old 29th June 2009
Lives for gear
mljung's Avatar
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Nonetheless, I hope that it is interesting.
Absolutely - thanks very much for the PM

One more thing Didier, when you say "beside the tail end", what exactly do mean?
More or less like the attached image [from Decca]
To get an idea of the instrument, do you have a photo maybe?

Attached Images
Six cardio SDC pairs on grand piano-piano_tail-end.gif 
Old 29th June 2009
The placement of the microphones is quite close to the one of your picture but they are steered towards the middle of the keyboard rather than to its left end. See attached picture where the microphones are different from the ones in the test and placed 20 cm higher.
Attached Thumbnails
Six cardio SDC pairs on grand piano-dscf0620.jpg  
Old 29th June 2009
Lives for gear
mljung's Avatar
Thanks for the extra info+image [Yes the microphones are different and I reckon you didn't use the anti-reflection screen, as seen in the image, in this SDC test either]

Old 29th June 2009
Yes, I used also the anti-reflection filter in the test. I have got a better result than without but not sufficient to remove the small room signature.
Old 29th June 2009
Gear Addict

This is Nocturne in C sharp minor (no opus number) by Chopin, one of my favourite piano pieces.

None of the recordings sounded bad. I'd say 1 was the best. 5 was strange, somehow 2d and not hi-fi to my ears but it sounded more "fun".
2 wasn't as clear as others. Anyway, I could imagine buying the one I get for the cheapest.
Old 29th June 2009
Yes, it is this nocturne made famous especially by the film The Pianist.
I just send to you 2 PMs.
Old 1st July 2009
Lives for gear
camerondye's Avatar

3 seemed like it gives a bit more

I think 2 is the Josephsons, a little brighter

The other 4 seemed to do the job equally as well in a little bit different way though...I like the way your piano sounds on all of them...really cool
Old 1st July 2009
Lives for gear

I liked 3 and 1 the most. The coloration renders the recording a nice piano sound. There are slight volume differences between files, but that's normal.
Old 1st July 2009
Thank you for your participation. I just send to you both the key.

The levels L/R in dBFS

1: -31.3 / -31.3
2: -30.9 / -31.5
3: -30.7 / -30.8
4: -31.9 / -32.1
5: -32 / -31.5
6: -31.1 / -31.2

4 and 5 miss about 1 dB.
I am going to correct that.
Old 2nd July 2009
Lives for gear

Don't worry, Didier.
It's a fine job you did here!
Old 2nd July 2009
Lives for gear
syra's Avatar

I liked 3,4,5 the most. Could you send me a pm?

Old 2nd July 2009
Old 7th July 2009
Gear Addict

Maybe it's time to reveal the answers?
Anyway, in two of your tests I've chosen a mic from a manufacturer I never thought I'd like, based on what I had heard from other people.
Old 8th July 2009
I think that it is better to let the people listening this as a blind test. The listening is not the same when one knows which is the microphone. Anybody interested in who is who has just to put a post here. (Send me a PM if you are not keen to share your mind here.)
Old 9th July 2009
Lives for gear
once a roadie's Avatar

Seeing I bought the MK-012s a few days before you started this, and I love them, please PM me the results. I won't spoil the fun.

Old 9th July 2009
PM send.
Yes the Oktavas are nice microphones but often better with their omni caps. You can listen to them in my omni SDC shoot-out.
Old 10th July 2009
Gear Nut

I like #2 and #5 best. please PM me.
Old 10th July 2009
Old 11th July 2009
Lives for gear
once a roadie's Avatar

I too posted a recording of the MK-012s omini on my upright...

Oktavamod MK-012 Set - Piano sounds!
Old 11th July 2009
Lives for gear
Corran's Avatar

PM the answers please?

Very interested, as I have Oktava 012's, Schoeps CMC64's, and others.

Liked #1 the least, others were closer...might say #2 or #6 were my fav, or maybe #3...
Old 11th July 2009
Old 13th July 2009
Here for the gear

Didier, You certainly did an outstanding job; all 6 are great piano recordings. Because I have not heard the actual piano sound, I can not say which one records the most accurately, but can only compare them in relative terms:

#4 seems to have the most audible distortion in loud passages, followed by #6. These are the only two of the bunch that have audible distortions.

#1, #3, and #5 are on the bright side, with the #5 being the brightest.

#2 is on the dark side.

Overall I like the #1 and #3 best, followed by #2.

Can you please PM me the key - Thanks.

Last edited by Maxjames; 14th July 2009 at 12:23 AM.. Reason: Added words in bold per my notes taken last evening
Old 13th July 2009
Thank you for your great report!
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