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Tony Faulkner tires out some new Rode prototypes
Old 17th May 2016
  #1
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Tony Faulkner tries out some new Rode prototypes

Typical magazine tantalizing promo headline: "AT interviews multi-Grammy winning classical engineer Tony Faulkner backstage at the Sydney Opera House. It was all hush-hush as Faulkner implemented his signature stereo phased array techniques using some secret Rode mic prototypes"

AT is Australian publication Audio Technology, issue 115 AudioTechnology Magazine

Last edited by studer58; 1st June 2016 at 03:34 PM..
Old 17th May 2016
  #2
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Tony Faulkner: "I’ve always had a fascination with valve omnis like Neumann’s M50. Røde saw it as a challenge to come up with a microphone that had similar characteristics the characteristics that most of us like about those old microphones but without the grief associated with using them."
Røde TFM50?

Last edited by heva; 17th May 2016 at 09:09 AM.. Reason: fixed quote
Old 17th May 2016
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heva View Post
"I’ve always had a fascination with valve omnis like Neumann’s M50. Røde saw it as a challenge to come up with a microphone that had similar characteristics the characteristics that most of us like about those old microphones but without the grief associated with using them."
Røde TFM50?
Sounds like an interesting project.....

Regards, Christine
Old 17th May 2016
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heva View Post
Tony Faulkner: "I’ve always had a fascination with valve omnis like Neumann’s M50. Røde saw it as a challenge to come up with a microphone that had similar characteristics the characteristics that most of us like about those old microphones but without the grief associated with using them."
Røde TFM50?
Sounds likely...probably involving spheres and a valve power supply. I wonder if Neumann/Sennheiser will be examining the patent carefully ? https://au.zinio.com/www/browse/prod...carousel/?id=0
Old 17th May 2016
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Sounds likely...probably involving spheres and a valve power supply.
Nope. Not vacuum tubes. You missed the part where Faulkner said "...but without the grief associated with using them."
Old 17th May 2016
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
Nope. Not vacuum tubes. You missed the part where Faulkner said "...but without the grief associated with using them."
I'm not sure that modern valve (tube) gear is as fragile or difficult to maintain as the older units, and it's my recollection that getting uniform behaviour with the M50's was difficult due to the materials used in the capsule diaphragms, and the way they aged ?
Old 17th May 2016
  #7
He said "without the grief". Not "without the tube". Maybe a phantom powered tube mic like the gefell. All speculation I suppose.
Old 17th May 2016
  #8
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Whichever way Rode is doing this, I will be watching (from the safety of GS) developments closely

Regards, Christine
Old 17th May 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
He said "without the grief". Not "without the tube".
Decca clearly thought it meant "without the tube" when they replaced the electronics in (all?) their M50s with transistors. No arguing with Decca's results. Even Neumann seemed to agree -> TLM50.

That said, if anyone can tire out a mic, it's Tony F. Hard working recordist, that guy. Me? My mics never seem to even break a sweat.
Old 17th May 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Maybe a phantom powered tube mic like the gefell.
That's an interesting idea.

My main objection to vacuum tube mics is the bulky heavy power supplies. Studios? OK. Lugging out to remote gigs? I've got too much on my cart as it is.
Old 17th May 2016
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
That's an interesting idea.

My main objection to vacuum tube mics is the bulky heavy power supplies. Studios? OK. Lugging out to remote gigs? I've got too much on my cart as it is.
I couldn't agree more. That's the main reason I have never dabbled in tube mics.

Regards, Christine
Old 17th May 2016
  #12
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Correct me if I am wrong but IIRC the tubes in amps were 12V DC on the filament. Thats easy to get from 48V.
Old 17th May 2016
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
Decca clearly thought it meant "without the tube" when they replaced the electronics in (all?) their M50s with transistors. No arguing with Decca's results. Even Neumann seemed to agree -> TLM50.
The AC701k in an M49/50 is acting as an impedance converter and is not adding any gain. The sound of those microphones comes from the the Capsule and the Transformer. That is why Decca swapped out the tube for a transistor. Greater reliability, lower noise and the same sound.
As always, YMMV.
All the best,
-mark
Old 17th May 2016
  #14
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A.alden's Avatar
 

Exciting stuff!

Rode beefed up their transformer manufacturing to make the NTR; maybe we'll see similar transformers implemented here. Maybe using some of their new ribbon manufacturing tech they'll figure out a cost-effective way to make aluminum capsules. Maybe they'll even try making their own miniaturized high-efficiency tubes along the lines of the Korg nutube. The future is now!

Regarding the Decca modified m50s, why would Decca get rid of the tube and keep the transformer, while Neumann got rid of the transformer and kept the tube in the m150?
Old 17th May 2016
  #15
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Cat's out of the bag.

Quote:
Regarding the Decca modified m50s, why would Decca get rid of the tube and keep the transformer, while Neumann got rid of the transformer and kept the tube in the m150?
One of them got it wrong.
Old 17th May 2016
  #16
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Tony would not ever like to give up the tube in the M50 type mics.

When he talks about the grief of using M50 mics, I'm sure he is only talking about using something old which can break down. And it's not the tube that breaks down. It could be a capsule mounting, worn wiring, disconnected output plugs etc.

All part of nursing older gear.

Those who won't tote out a power supply on location don't know what they're missing.

Tube mic--tube sound--velvet pickup---ballsy bass.
Old 17th May 2016
  #17
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I just got a copy of the issue. It's a great read. Here's a nice juicy excerpt from the article:

TF: Also, it’s got to
have some bottom end, which the TFM50s have
really got. It’s like a train going past!
AT: They sounded pretty big to me!
TF: Yes, indeed. They’ve got the sphere behind the
diaphragm, they’ve got the tube circuit, they’ve got
a custom-made Røde transformer, they produce
a big sound and they’re reliable because they’re a
modern design.

Old 18th May 2016
  #18
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So it looks like this new Rode mic is going to be a full on modern technology redesign version of the M50 with tube and transformer and if I read this correctly will be called the TFM50.

Interesting they chose to use a transformer and a tube whereas Neumann dropped the transformer in the M150 and both the tube and transformer in the TLM50.

Looks like we will be lugging transformers around! A

Actually, I find it much more convenient to run my remote sessions "unplugged" off a 20,000 mAH battery, so maybe not for me. Nevertheless, I will be following developments with great interest.

Regards, Christine
Old 18th May 2016
  #19
Gear Nut
Watching with interest! I picked up a pair of the NTR ribbon, in no small part due to TF's gushing. How could I resist a new mic with his initials forming part of the model designation?

Now that Rode winds their own transformers, and has manufactured capsules and tube circuits, this shouldn't be a stretch for them.
Old 18th May 2016
  #20
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How are rode's capsules? The mics are so inexpensive and capsules are so important to the sound of a mic that I have been afraid to try them.....
Old 18th May 2016
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nnajar View Post
How are rode's capsules? The mics are so inexpensive and capsules are so important to the sound of a mic that I have been afraid to try them.....
Nate, check out this video...I think you will be seriously impressed by the insight it gives into the Rode production line.

What struck me was the effect the anechoic chamber had on the sound even of their lavalier mics....that was a heck of a dead room !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfTfNcnQTqc

FWIW I can't recall reading anywhere, on this forum or others, of anyone developing a fault with a Rode mic in the field...has anyone else here seen/heard otherwise ? By the law of averages it must happen...?
Old 18th May 2016
  #22
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Kind of the same factory tour, but different....this one goes deeper into the Rode capsule assembly process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Yd0Ejhl6U

The thing is, all the big guns in the microphone game are going to be employing variations on the same theme of assembly processes...clean rooms, robotics, laser cutting and engraving, circuitry board manufacture etc etc. Maybe some variations in the hand assembly vs machine assembly, and in the testing procedures.

So should we be impressed by this Rode tour ? I am, only because they have the balls to show (some) of their processes. Neumann, Gefell, Sennheiser, Sanken...let the cameras in please !
Old 18th May 2016
  #23
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Old 18th May 2016
  #24
Looking forward to another offering from Rode. What's the easiest way to read the article?
Old 18th May 2016
  #25
Old 18th May 2016
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
Looking forward to another offering from Rode. What's the easiest way to read the article?
https://au.zinio.com/www/browse/prod...Id=500654842#/ ...probably just buy the issue, tho I'd say it's worth an annual subscription !
Old 18th May 2016
  #27
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A.alden's Avatar
 

Definitely worth buying the issue. The article goes into depth about stereo positions, spacings, mic types, etc.

I was planning on getting some AEA ribbons later this year but the article makes me want to consider the NTRs further. Not to get too off topic, but since we're discussing Rode's collaboration with Tony Faulkner, has anyone used the NTR against the usual ribbon suspects (AEA, Coles, Royer)? The recordings I've heard sound very nice but how are they in practice?
Old 18th May 2016
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alden View Post
The recordings I've heard sound very nice but how are they in practice?
I'm loving them as string spotters.

I think Peter Freedman is fundamentally turned on by computer aided and high tech manufacturing, and this suits many processes in microphone manufacture. To state the obvious, labour is expensive, so the only way to control your manufacturing standards in a high labour rate country like Australia is to computerise everything. Its no surprise that this has happened in Australia, our physical isolation makes collaborating with other manufs difficult.

Rode is about taking back and controlling manufacturing standards and quality.

While I have just ordered some more Schoeps bodies and caps (probably the last I will ever buy), I am taking a keen interest in Rode's new offerings because the quality is there.
Old 18th May 2016
  #29
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I'm not sure how deeply PF gets involved with the detailed mic design (he has at least one designated mic design engineer, I believe), but he obviously implements the right tools and the testing environment. So, given PF has decided to get into this product, the actual designer of this microphone is the one to consider regarding the detailed decisions made the might lead to the eventual success of this mic. (The production engineering, as mentioned above, is also what makes it possible.)
Old 19th May 2016
  #30
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Rode are clever in that their market base has steadily widened over the years, in terms of the various sectors they have very successfully moved into...just consider how many on-camera mics, shotguns, lavaliers, home studio (esp the NT1a) and small pencil (NT5, M5 etc) mics and accessories they now make. Partnering with Rycote makes eminent sense in this context too.

The volume they produce of each must be astonishing, and the price (continually dropping) and the computer-controlled, mechanized manufacture processes (presumably ensuring the error/rejection rates are dropping and consistency between samples rising) How many home-bedroom studios are centred around the NT1a as the sole mic, which also just happens to have a miniscule self-noise floor into the bargain ?

Schoeps and Sennheiser make a similar range, and probably make more sales to broadcast and film industry professionals....but Rode now cleverly appeal to the home-enthusiast movie-makers, the podcasters, the amateur field recordists (us !) and this is a rapidly growing field.

Their penetration into the DIY movie-making area is considerable, and every other YouTube tutorial associated with this field champions the Rode stuff as "affordable, low-noise, consistent and unlikely to break in the field". It's 'above sufficient' for all practical purposes, even if not strictly state of the art... compared with those venerable names having a longer track record.

The TFM50 will undoubtedly be a niche product, and they can afford to price it accordingly, maybe even absorb a slight loss in volume sales (offset by the all the other products they ship in vast amounts) so let's be thankful we have a manufacturer who's prepared to take such commercial risks, keep the quality bar high and advance the state of engineering beyond what was possible (certainly affordable...then and now) when the M50 was the choice of professional recording engineers.
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