The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Oktava MK-012 vs. Schoeps MK21 & RME FF400 vs. Steinberg MR816X
Old 24th March 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Oktava MK-012 vs. Schoeps MK21 & RME FF400 vs. Steinberg MR816X

I've got a Steinberg MR816X since yesterday. On this evening I recorded a quick comparison with the RME Fireface 400. Two microphone pairs, Schoeps CMC6-MK21 and Oktava MK-012 with omni caps, two takes with interface-mic association swapping between both. The 4 cables are Sommer Galileo 238, 5 m length. 2 PC, one with Wavelab, one with Cubase AI provided with the MR816X.

*Comments welcome.
Attached Thumbnails
Oktava MK-012 vs. Schoeps MK21 & RME FF400 vs. Steinberg MR816X-dscf0765.jpg   Oktava MK-012 vs. Schoeps MK21 & RME FF400 vs. Steinberg MR816X-dscf0766.jpg   Oktava MK-012 vs. Schoeps MK21 & RME FF400 vs. Steinberg MR816X-dscf0767.jpg  
Attached Files

MK012-FF400.mp3 (2.51 MB, 15068 views)

MK012-MR816.mp3 (2.72 MB, 13316 views)

MK21-FF400.mp3 (2.47 MB, 12628 views)

MK21-MR816.mp3 (2.77 MB, 11851 views)

Old 24th March 2010
  #2
Registered User
 

With the oktavas, the mr816 sounded better than the ff. I was hearing some strange harmonics with the ff/012 combo.

But the biggest difference was not between interfaces, but between mics- the schoeps sounded much more clear than the oktava and were able to handle the harmonic information in a much more intimate and compelling way.

Best combo might be the 816 and schoeps. I think if piano is your main instrument, you should look for a better front end. The 816 isn't bad, but there are better, more transparent pre amp options. (I have an 816 on loan, and can say this with some experience).

Cheers....
Old 24th March 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Yes the mic is more important than the preamp as a general rule. No exception here. But I did not expect a so large difference between the preamps of both these interfaces. I shall compare the MR816 preamps with a DAV BG1.
Old 24th March 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
ISedlacek's Avatar
Could you please post normal wavs ? mp3s are degrading sound in many ways and in case when subtle differences are the main point, it is not the appropriate format I think ...
Old 24th March 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Will do it. Not possible at this time. I dont hear differences between the original wav and good mp3s (highest quality in variable rate from lame encoder) from my piano recordings. The wav-mp3 null tests (not done for these takes) achieve a residue at -90 dBFS RMS. I would not claim that anybody couldn't detect the difference. But this difference is without any doubt much lower than the one imparted from the mic or the preamp.
Old 24th March 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

The wav files are in a 90 MB zip file that can be downloaded from here . The difference with the mp3 is -83 dB RMS and less than -50 dBFS peak, measured on the MK21-MR816 track.
Old 5th April 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Big_Bang's Avatar
 

This test is flawed, I am terribly sorry to jump in like this.
This is exactly why the FF has a "bad" rep... flawed tests.

The preamps on the FF are not that great! Workable, yes, but absolutely nothing fancy!
You should set up an independant pre and send a line signal to the converters.
what we are hearing is the difference in the pre's

RME converters are great! Used in oh-so-many-world-class mastering studios.
For recording, brilliant!

Its the pre's that do it no justice! On the thin side, absolutely. Use outboards and you'll be amazed.
The fireface is not meant to be great as a standalone recording interface, more like a centepiece for the studio.

One of the best interfaces available... just forget about the pre's!
Old 5th April 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Here it's the Fireface 400, not the 800. RME points out the quality of the preamps of the FF400 on their site. Actually they are PGA2500 like in the Orpheus, the Micstasy, the Apogee Ensemble and Duet.
Old 6th April 2010
  #9
I would also say that you're overstating the quality of the RME converters, at least in the FF800. I went from using a FF800 for 6 years to an 816x and the D/A in the 816 was immediately noticeably better. Tighter image, just more in focus in general.

I have no idea if this element was also improved in the FF400, but the 800 was released in 2004. It's pretty old at this point. Yes, a lot of studios bought it back then, but it should be seriously upgraded and released as a V2. If they're still selling the same unit as 6 years ago, that's not too good. For $699 the 816x sounds a lot better than the FF800 at $1600 and has 4 more preamps that are much better as well.
Old 15th June 2010
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I've got a Steinberg MR816X since yesterday. On this evening I recorded a quick comparison with the RME Fireface 400. Two microphone pairs, Schoeps CMC6-MK21 and Oktava MK-012 with omni caps, two takes with interface-mic association swapping between both. The 4 cables are Sommer Galileo 238, 5 m length. 2 PC, one with Wavelab, one with Cubase AI provided with the MR816X.

*Comments welcome.
as for octava mic...

i choose ff400 but
when i normalized equally,
I choose mr816

the equally normalized file was included
Attached Files

ff400 vs mr816 normalized equally.wav (1.18 MB, 5329 views)

Old 15th June 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

The left and right MK012-MR816 RMS levels are -29.8 dB and -29.3 dB. The MK012-FF400 ones are -29.7 dB and -29.6 dB. The normalization that you did on a very small clip from these files is questionable because they are two different takes.
Old 14th August 2010
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Is it me??
There is a background noise each time your mic record the sound, slightly different but on both records.
Old 15th August 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

The fan noise from two laptops ? It is recorded at home , not in a studio.
Old 25th October 2010
  #14
Red face

Man, it's hard to judge with this particular performance, ekhem....
Old 25th October 2010
  #15
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
thanks didier - i actually preferred the oktavas in this comparison - i thought they were very smooth sounding. i also preferred the steinberg over the FF.

i do believe i would pull the mics back somewhat, perhaps to the piano lip or just outside, rather than inside the piano body - i hear a bit too much mechnical noise for me...
Old 25th October 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Joe, you may be misleaded by the perspective from pic 1: the mics are outside the piano (see pic 2). I would like to place them still further but my room is too small for doing so without getting too much room sound for my taste.
Old 23rd November 2010
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Jose's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Bang View Post
This test is flawed, I am terribly sorry to jump in like this.
This is exactly why the FF has a "bad" rep... flawed tests.

The preamps on the FF are not that great! Workable, yes, but absolutely nothing fancy!
You should set up an independant pre and send a line signal to the converters.
what we are hearing is the difference in the pre's

RME converters are great! Used in oh-so-many-world-class mastering studios.
For recording, brilliant!

Its the pre's that do it no justice! On the thin side, absolutely. Use outboards and you'll be amazed.
The fireface is not meant to be great as a standalone recording interface, more like a centepiece for the studio.

One of the best interfaces available... just forget about the pre's!
I agree, FF pres are crappy at least with acoustic guitars.
Old 23rd November 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Do you refer to FF800 or FF400 preamps ? The former owners of the FF800 who have got the UFX, which have the same preamps like the FF400, do notice that the UFX preamps are better as claimed by RME: listen to this test.
Old 30th November 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Oldone's Avatar
I would have to give the Schoeps an edge. More sustained air. The notes hang and recede slowly which gives a clearer image of what is happening at the source. The Oktavas are nice but softer less clear.
Old 30th November 2010
  #20
Registered User
 

Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I've got a Steinberg MR816X since yesterday. On this evening I recorded a quick comparison with the RME Fireface 400. Two microphone pairs, Schoeps CMC6-MK21 and Oktava MK-012 with omni caps, two takes with interface-mic association swapping between both. The 4 cables are Sommer Galileo 238, 5 m length. 2 PC, one with Wavelab, one with Cubase AI provided with the MR816X.

*Comments welcome.
i like Schoeps CMC6-MK21.

the FF400 mic-pres sounds warmer... ("more musical")
the Steinbergh MR816 mic pres sound less warmer but more trasnparent. ("more accurate")

maybe was mic placement..

the FF400 has more stereo?

could be the software.

in this test i like FF400.
Old 30th November 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPabloCuervo View Post
the FF400 mic-pres sounds warmer... ("more musical")
the Steinbergh MR816 mic pres sound less warmer but more trasnparent. ("more accurate")
My own feeling is just the opposite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPabloCuervo View Post
maybe was mic placement..
For a given mic pair, Schoeps or Oktava, it is the same for both takes, so for both preamps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanPabloCuervo View Post
the FF400 has more stereo?

could be the software.
There is no processing. The samples from both tracks shall be the ones delivered by the AD converters + the same mp3 conversion.
Old 5th December 2010
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose View Post
I agree, FF pres are crappy at least with acoustic guitars.
I mainly record acoustic guitar, and am thinking about purchasing the MR816X and using the MR pres for my recordings. Will the pres on that unit be good for an acoustic guitar?
Old 6th December 2010
  #23
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Both these units feature rather uncolored preamps. I do not agree on the FF400 preamps being crappy. They are the same preamps like in the Micstasy much used for classical music recording. See my previous post about possible confusion confusion between FF400 and FF800.
Old 6th December 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
 
pasarski's Avatar
 

I can't say much about converters, both interfaces sound good to me, but boy, I really like the Oktavas! Yes, Schoeps sound more detailed and dynamic but Oktavas make the recording sound like a soundtrack of a Russian arthouse movie, much more emotional and sweet to my eyes than the Schoeps sound. And they say Schoeps have character, which is true, but Oktava has heart, like Russians tend to have.
Old 6th December 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Thanks a lot for your very interesting comment, which made me to listen again to these tracks ....

and agree with you.
Old 7th December 2010
  #26
I liked the ff400 better with the schoeps. With the octavas both interfaces nice(little bright but balanced) so it was a tie. Overall the schoeps won but they did not kick the octavas butt by any means.


The ff400 and schoeps sounds a little clearer and richer. I can hear the hammers and feel the air better, like I am really there. (that might be a bit over the top but you get the point.)
I used to use a pair back when I was the recording tech at my music school. Boy I miss those mics!
Old 10th January 2012
  #27
Gear Head
 

Thank you for the files. I prefer MR816X.
Old 8th February 2012
  #28
bee
Lives for gear
 
bee's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
I was hearing some strange harmonics with the ff/012 combo.

Cheers....
I hear this as well. Just curious, are the Oktava's modified? Those Schoeps sound lovely.
Old 8th February 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bee View Post
I hear this as well. Just curious, are the Oktava's modified? Those Schoeps sound lovely.
No, they are stock from Oktavaonline.
Old 20th September 2012
  #30
Gear Nut
 

I think the MR816X sounds a little better. More musical and I like the definition more.

I own a FF400 and don't like the preamps at all. I would not use them in any music production.
Do you say that the FF400 has better preamps than the FF800? I thought the 800 was better, both better converters and preamps?
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump