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Small Condenser Mic Comparison Condenser Microphones
Old 1st June 2010
  #31
Here for the gear
 

First I listened on my AKG 271MKii headphones and narrowed it down to 3, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13 --- funny enough here I found it was the Rode and the Shure that sounded best!!!

Then I listened on my Adam S2A monitors and narrowed it down to 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13... not that different!!!

After extensive listening I narrowed it down to three favorites. Maybe it'll looked different tomorrow - but today these three were:

1: Schoeps CMC64
2: Audio-Technica 4051b
3: Shure SM81

The above was all based on the flatpicking.

Listening on my S2As to the rhythm parts I've narrowed it down to: 7, 8, 12, 13 - so basically the same result - except for the DPA is now included among my favorites. It's very difficult to pick a top 3 (or top 4) out of those based on the rhythm-parts.


Considering the price tag of the Schoeps (and the DPA), I think I'll go and buy two AT4051bs or the Shure SM81 if I'm unable to find two fairly matched KM84s.


Thanks for the shootout - great job
Old 1st June 2010
  #32
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper View Post
But what did you like? If you found that you preferred the Audio Technica mics, then your dislike for the Neumann and DPA pretty much makes sense to me. It would mean you don't like much high end in your acoustic guitar, regardless of the quality of the high end.

Jasper
My favorites in no particular order were:

Schoeps CMC64
Peluso CEMC6
AKG c 391 b
Old 3rd June 2010
  #33
Lives for gear
 
Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sae2111 View Post
My favorites in no particular order were:

Schoeps CMC64
Peluso CEMC6
AKG c 391 b

Well, there goes my theory about what you like. Schoeps has some of the best high end I've heard, while the Peluso has some of the worst. I vaguely remember the AKG 391, but I think I preferred the hypercardioid version of it. I think. PiedPiper sent me the mic and a couple of capsules I do believe.

Jasper
Old 3rd June 2010
  #34
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper View Post
Well, there goes my theory about what you like. Schoeps has some of the best high end I've heard, while the Peluso has some of the worst. I vaguely remember the AKG 391, but I think I preferred the hypercardioid version of it. I think. PiedPiper sent me the mic and a couple of capsules I do believe.

Jasper
yup, AKG Blue Line. We both prefer the hyper card which is flatter than the brighter cardioid.
Old 4th June 2010
  #35
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
yup, aka Blue Line. We both prefer the hyper card which is flatter than the brighter cardioid.
Thanks for verifying that, Tim.

Yeah, for this test I wasn't a fan of the AKG.

Jasper
Old 4th June 2010
  #36
Lives for gear
 
Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper View Post
Thanks for verifying that, Tim.

Yeah, for this test I wasn't a fan of the AKG.

Jasper
'twer a long time ago now, but I'm assuming you made sure the low cut wasn't on. Although there's loads o low end on that mic, the low cut would make it a bit phasey.
Old 4th June 2010
  #37
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
'twer a long time ago now, but I'm assuming you made sure the low cut wasn't on. Although there's loads o low end on that mic, the low cut would make it a bit phasey.
Are you talking to me? Because I was talking about the AKG used in Jeff's test.

But yeah, Tim, no low cut and no pad was used on any of the mics in the test. I double-checked that every time.

Here's what was wrong with my test. I got to spend a lot of time with some mics, and not so much with others. A buddy of mine brought in his Beyer MC930 and I recorded it. Probably three to five takes, which would be no more than five minutes total. On the other hand, I got to spend a week with the Mercenary KM69.

I also thought the AT4051a and AT4051b were more or less the same mic. I thought I ran that by someone at Audio-Technica, too. But the frequency charts show a clear difference between the two. In fact, I'll upload it. The chart on the left is the AT4051a and the one on the right the AT4051b.

Anyway, I really should have tested an AT4051b as well as the a version.

Jasper
Attached Thumbnails
Small Condenser Mic Comparison-4051a.jpg   Small Condenser Mic Comparison-at4051b.jpg   Small Condenser Mic Comparison-at4051original.jpg  

Last edited by Mike Jasper; 14th June 2010 at 05:34 PM.. Reason: Found the AT4051 Freq Chart
Old 4th June 2010
  #38
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper View Post
Are you talking to me? Because I was talking about the AKG used in Jeff's test.

But yeah, Tim, no low cut and no pad was used on any of the mics in the test. I double-checked that every time.

Jasper
yup. thought as much.
Old 12th August 2010
  #39
Nice test, thanks.
Old 21st September 2010
  #40
Gear Nut
 

EQ or buy more mics?

Jeff Troxel's small diaphragm shootout is easily the best on the web. However, the first thing that's obvious when doing a shootout is the 'pre-Q' of the mic in question. The quality of the mic apart from the frequency response is therefore more difficult to judge than it should be.

As a kind of project, I looked up the manufacturer's published frequency responses for the mics involved, and then applied them in mirror image as an EQ, to get a theoretically flat response. Since most mics vary from this curve by 2db in either direction, the result isn't perfectly flat, but is closer to flat than it otherwise would be. Further, I didn't make an effort to actually match the mics by ear with EQ. For this reason, the bass especially is different from mic to mic depending on differences in proximity effect. Perhaps I will later.

After you've done a blind test of the files on the flatpicking website, why not try these and see if your answers change.

Personally, I was unable to pick out the DPAs, Schoeps, and Neumanns over the others in a blind test. In my view, moving the guitar one or two inches, or tilting it differently while playing, had a much bigger effect, and does the most to explain why some of the mics sounded better than the others. Many of the 'cheap' sounding mics lost their cheap sound when the presence peak was removed.

While the AT4051 may be no worse than the Schoeps, it's unlikely to be much better. I've consistently picked it as one of the best sounding mics in this bunch, and I wonder if that's simply because it was pointed a few degrees in the right direction, or the guitarist shuffled an inch closer when recording it. I've consistently picked the c42 as the worst, perhaps for the same reason.

You can make up your own mind. Make sure to do the test blind though. Somehow the more expensive mics always win when the test isn't blind.
Attached Files

troxel 2 at4021.m4a (745.5 KB, 1203 views)

troxel 2 at4051b.m4a (738.3 KB, 1246 views)

troxel 2 atm450.m4a (745.2 KB, 1032 views)

troxel 2 c42.m4a (780.7 KB, 1045 views)

troxel 2 c1000s.m4a (725.9 KB, 1016 views)

troxel 2 cmc64.m4a (751.8 KB, 1163 views)

troxel 2 dpa 4011.m4a (748.7 KB, 1163 views)

troxel 2 km184.m4a (759.0 KB, 1205 views)

troxel 2 nt5.m4a (771.8 KB, 1097 views)

troxel 2 sm81.m4a (743.0 KB, 1095 views)

Old 21st September 2010
  #41
Gear Nut
 

prEQ undo continued

I think these, from Jeff Troxel's first set, are an even clearer example of the prEQ undo effect. Proximity effect differences here appear to be less significant--perhaps the samples were recorded from further away.

Is anyone consistently picking the 4011 or cmc64 over the atm450 and nt5 in a blind test here? Not me...

I'm also convinced that this c42 is significantly brighter than reported in the manufacturer's specs.
Attached Files

troxel 1 - at4021.m4a (1.63 MB, 1076 views)

troxel 1 - at4051b.m4a (1.61 MB, 1109 views)

troxel 1 - atm450.m4a (1.64 MB, 1028 views)

troxel 1 - c1000s.m4a (1.60 MB, 1020 views)

troxel 1 - c42.m4a (1.64 MB, 1063 views)

troxel 1 - cmc64.m4a (1.61 MB, 1157 views)

troxel 1 - dpa 4011.m4a (1.62 MB, 1097 views)

troxel 1 - km184.m4a (1.58 MB, 1131 views)

troxel 1 - nt5.m4a (1.61 MB, 1079 views)

troxel 1 - sm81.m4a (1.62 MB, 1038 views)

Old 22nd September 2010
  #42
Here for the gear
 
ChadMault's Avatar
 

Thanks op!!! Seriously awesome sdc test!!

In this test...I'll take the Shoeps first given a choice. Second, the mic with the most value to me is the Josephson C42. Third, Charter Oak M900. The Km184 was alright, DPA has a cool mid detail, the rest sounded harsh/cheap.
Old 22nd September 2010
  #43
Gear Nut
 

I wish I had your ears... I could never get the Schoeps to come out first in a blind test, only when I was looking at the name.

I actually liked the ATM450...
Old 22nd September 2010
  #44
Why are these m4a? Not everyone uses iTunes...

High-res mp3s (at least), please?

Old 12th January 2011
  #46
Lives for gear
 
datune's Avatar
Well first I did the test at work, using nothing but some cheap ($30) sennheiser skype headphones, and I seemed to like nr.2 and nr.5 best.

At home, I prepared all the files and turned them into Cubase Sessions, enabled the "Solo Track when Selected" option, than asked my wife to move the 13 tracks around, to avoid being biased based on my work experiment.

I sat in front of my speakers (where there are NO screens to look at), and used my CC-121 to jump from track to track.

I listened and changed for almost 2 hours, with pause inbetween, and I ALWAYS seemed to pick the C42 as the preferred mic, followed by the Audio-Technica 4051b.

Thanks a lot for providing this shootout, much appreciated!
Old 4th January 2012
  #47
Gear Head
Sorry this reply is so untimely. I haven't checked this thread in a while and saw your comment about a higher quality sample. If you go to this site you can download WAV files of the audio samples in both 48KHZ and 44.1KHZ.
Old 7th January 2012
  #48
Lives for gear
 
Graal's Avatar
 

Hello!
You are a great man for making this shootout!

I seemed to pick as my favorites the more expensive ones. Not a problem though.

Favorites:
Schoeps CMC64
Neumann KM184

I also liked the Josephson and thought it might work nice in the mix, but not on it's own.
Audio-Technicas 4021 and 4051 and Rode NT5 weren't bad.

I didn't feel for the DPA that much until I found out it was the DPA.
That made me go back and listen to it again. Still didn't feel for it that much.
Turned up the volume, because I felt the Neumann was louder. Now, this was a different microphone. I suddenly liked the DPA.
This is not a critique. It's just that I heard that mic differently. I know it wasn't placebo because the other ones kinda stayed the same. Still, I don't think it tops the Neumann and the Schoeps.

I gave a mark from 1-10 for each test and summed them up, with a maximum total of 30 points for each mic. These were the first results:

1. 25p
2. 24p (I feel now that I should have given it less)
3. 16p
4. 12p
5. 20p
6. 18p
7. 18p
8. 15p (I feel now that I should have given it more - 20 in total)
9. 16p
10. 14p
11. 13p
12. 25p
13. 13p

Again thank you!

Cheers!
Alex.
Old 27th January 2012
  #49
Here for the gear
 

My first choice is the 12, and in order 1, 8, 7, 11.
I didn't like the others...

It is very useful comparison.
I'm about to buy a stereo pair set but couldn't decide yet.
I was thinking about Octava mk 102s for cheaper solution just for now, and my more expensive choice was Microtech Geffell m300s.
I wish you had a set of M?crotech Geffell m300s in your list

Anyway, your comparison was very helpful for me, thank you for sharing...
Old 20th August 2013
  #50
Gear Maniac
 
Amphibian's Avatar
 

Great job on this shootout!
Old 28th August 2013
  #51
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amfortas2006 View Post
i found Charter Oak to be very noisy.

I liked Schoeps, AT 4051, DPA, Neumann in that order. Neumann seems to be much hotter then the rest (thus louder)

Peluso was also noisy. The other AT microphones were good (especially 4021).
I didn"t like Rode, AKG or Josephson on this.
You must be careful about what preamp you use with the M900. The microphone draws a good bit of current and we have found it to be noisy when used with inferior +48VDC supplies. This also effects the richness and balance of the sound. If the supply is weak, the microphones becomes noisy and thin. For instance, the M900 can't be used at all with small portable mixers running on batteries, such as the Sound Devices 302. This is why the engineering in these so called comparison tests posted on forums is always suspect as some of these things might not be taken into consideration.

If you want technical details of the microphone and suggestions about which preamps or outboard +48VDC supplies to use with the microphone, please fee free to call us directly at the numbers listed below.

Best Regards,
MD

CharterOak Acoustic Devices
47 Pearl St.
Enfield, CT. 06082 USA
PH - +1.860.698.9794
FAX - +1.860.698.9812
MOBILE - +1.860.655.3328

CharterOak Acoustics : High Quality Microphones & Signal Processors for the Recording Industry
Old 12th November 2013
  #52
Here for the gear
 

Apparently after a relaunch of the website this comparison is not online anymore – am I mistaken?
Old 18th February 2014
  #53
Gear Addict
 

does anybody knows where can i find and listen to those samples??the link does not exists.
Old 7th November 2015
  #54
Gear Maniac
 

Reviewing this thread with a friend who is buying some high-end SDCs, there is, for me, one major elephant in this room: Recordings with certain high-end mics (like my DPA 4011A matched pair) really sound bad when the performance and room are not absolute top-flight quality. I know that playing classical violin through my DPA will highlight every poor detail (along with all the great stuff).

Great gear necessitates an unbelievably high and consistent level of playing, along with a superb room. Having owned and used the DPA 4011A pair + Forssell SMP-2a, and used that combination in many rooms, with my own instrument and body/ears/mind in various states of performance-worthiness, I have learned something. More often than not, I have to step up my game many times over before what's coming out of the recording sounds GOOD. The tiniest little detail can throw off the 'feel' of a whole take.

Without bashing the OP or whoever recorded this, it must be said that some of the playing is not super clean. Also, there are annoying things about the mic placement / instrument resonance / room sound / ambient noise / tempo. While not terrible, they do contribute to making all the various elements not 'fit' together just right. Each of these mics brings out or hides different combinations of those elements, giving a 'perspective' that feels better or worse as a result. Listen very closely to the final chord and decay to hear some of these things.

Point: In listening again to these comparisons, I hear a lot more 'other stuff' differentiating these takes than merely the type of mic. It's distracting, and really disguises the mics' characters more than you think. In some ways, one needs to have been on BOTH sides of the mic - in the same session, many times - to appreciate this.

In many ways, I value my DPA mics precisely because they point out the stuff that sounds bad. Then I can fix it at the source: player, instrument, room, placement. The wonderful thing about the DPAs -- they tell me exactly what to fix the first time. I fix it - problem solved. (Where it was not possible to fix it, I hear that stuff again every time the recording plays...) But that puts them at a disadvantage in a 'shootout' with less than perfect player/instrument/placement/room/etc.

Last edited by Infinite5ths; 7th November 2015 at 11:21 PM..
Old 7th November 2015
  #55
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Infinite5ths View Post
In listening again to these comparisons,
Could you upload the files or tell us where they can be listened to ?
Topic:
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