Gearslutz (
-   Gear Shoot-Outs / Sound File Comparisons / Audio Tests (
-   -   Six cardio SDC pairs on grand piano (

didier.brest 14th June 2009 10:48 AM

Six cardio SDC pairs on grand piano
6 Attachment(s)
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. diddlydoo

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

James Lehmann 14th June 2009 04:20 PM

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.

didier.brest 14th June 2009 06:00 PM

1 Attachment(s)
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.

James Lehmann 14th June 2009 06:29 PM

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?

didier.brest 14th June 2009 08:38 PM

You can download the wav files from here.

Please, let me know how you rank these mics.howdy

mljung 28th June 2009 11:14 AM

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!


didier.brest 28th June 2009 11:48 AM

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.

mljung 29th June 2009 07:59 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by didier.brest (Post 4326316)
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?


didier.brest 29th June 2009 12:40 PM

1 Attachment(s)
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.

mljung 29th June 2009 01:03 PM

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]


didier.brest 29th June 2009 01:18 PM

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.

jdtrbn 29th June 2009 01:29 PM

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". confoosed
2 wasn't as clear as others. Anyway, I could imagine buying the one I get for the cheapest.

didier.brest 29th June 2009 04:44 PM

Yes, it is this nocturne made famous especially by the film The Pianist.
I just send to you 2 PMs.

camerondye 1st July 2009 06:08 PM

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

_Morph_ 1st July 2009 07:51 PM

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.

didier.brest 1st July 2009 09:21 PM

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. confoosed
I am going to correct that.

_Morph_ 2nd July 2009 02:54 AM

Don't worry, Didier.
It's a fine job you did here!

syra 2nd July 2009 09:14 AM

Nice :)

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


didier.brest 2nd July 2009 09:37 AM


jdtrbn 7th July 2009 11:52 PM

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. freshflowe

didier.brest 8th July 2009 07:19 PM

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.)

once a roadie 9th July 2009 12:36 AM

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.


didier.brest 9th July 2009 07:22 PM

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.

VicD 10th July 2009 06:56 PM

I like #2 and #5 best. please PM me.

didier.brest 10th July 2009 07:40 PM


once a roadie 11th July 2009 06:17 PM

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

Corran 11th July 2009 08:05 PM

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...

didier.brest 11th July 2009 09:03 PM


Maxjames 13th July 2009 03:06 AM

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.

didier.brest 13th July 2009 09:08 AM

Thank you for your great report!freshflowe