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Comparative samples from the $30K mic test session
Old 3 weeks ago
  #91
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sd270 View Post
... When I go shopping I don't want zillions of choices, just a few will do. It seems natural to rebel against mental overload situations, we want to be sure in our decisions.
Indeed. Comparisons like this are extremely helpful when it comes to narrowing the field for particular mics in certain situations. My only better references have come, back in the day, watching/helping Rich Mays (Sonare) set up several sessions; then sitting with him in his control hutch onsite, listening on near fields (Tannoy Series 800A) and cans (Sony MDR-CD1700); then listening in his treated edit room (B&W Matrix 801 III, Bryston) to the rough takes/early mixes. Once or twice I even got a final CD a couple of months out, to add to my reference collection.

Apprenticeship was not an option as I was "learning by doing" OTJ for clients since the mid-'70s... so mentors and (since 2008) GS Remote have served me very well. At my level, a bit of luck (a Gefell M296 pair not wanted by a studio owner; a MKH4060 included as afterthought in a live PA/video rig buy-out), good advice, and auditioning in situ (DPA4061 and 4099, TLM193, AT4050, MKH8040), have left me with a most satisfying mics case.

Now, all I have to do is to learn to deploy them to best result. And, therein lies the rub.

One old guy's opinion...

HB
Old 2 weeks ago
  #92
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Thread Starter
As the OP, and with access to all the original complete files, I have listened to all of the mics many times now, comparing top end smoothness, low end response, balance, imaging and depth, as well as comparing my own feelings regarding MS vs blumlein vs ORTF vs AB configurations. With appropriate post processing, it is easy to get quite wonderful results from each of the mics as you might imagine, to the point where I had a rather difficult time deciding which mics and configuration I most preferred.

While I am most familiar with my own Schoeps CMC62 and CMC64 pairs, and certainly felt that both those performed as I expected, I finally decided that the Royer SF12 yielded the most pleasing sound (to my ears on my monitors) of all the various mics in this test. While all the ribbons consistently gave a bit of smoothness to the top end that the condensers needed a bit of eq finessing to achieve, and the omnis gave the most satisfactory low end response, the SF12 seemed to rise above all the others in terms of depth and imaging. It was clear in the SF12 that the piano was behind the flute, with wonderful separation and creamy smooth presentation of each of the instruments, and a palpable depth that none of the other mics managed to convey. Those things , combined with a completely effortless rendering of the high frequencies and the lowest noise of any of the ribbons, compelled me to select the SF12 as the overall winner, IMHO.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #93
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The SF12 is a super-awesome mic for acoustic music. I loved mine. I just couldn't keep it working. Traveling it from venue to venue killed it's ribbon four times (I believe that I took appropriate care of what I knew was a fragile mic) and I was spending more on new ribbons than I was making on the jobs I was using it on. I was sad to sell it but find that the mics I have bring home a fine product.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #94
Gear Addict
Had a session yesterday with a Scottish singer-songwriter. The venue was an 80-year old log cabin located in the woods on Cypress Mountain. There was so much snow on the ground, it took the owner several hours just to find it. We carried everything in on our backs on snowshoes. It sleeted/snowed the entire time we were there.

All the mics were ribbons. A pair each of Royer N8s and N22, and an R88 as the room mic. Nagra VI recorder. We even used the N8 on vocal without a pop screen. I fell several times on the pack carrying the Nagra and the Nuvo ribbons though the woods.

No damaged ribbons despite the rough handling and transit through the woods.

I wonder if the AEA ribbon mics are tougher than the SF12?

Last edited by bwanajim; 2 weeks ago at 10:08 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #95
Gear Addict
I tend to agree, Jim. Though for me, it was very close between the R88 and the SF12.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
I finally decided that the Royer SF12 yielded the most pleasing sound (to my ears on my monitors) of all the various mics in this test. While all the ribbons consistently gave a bit of smoothness to the top end that the condensers needed a bit of eq finessing to achieve, and the omnis gave the most satisfactory low end response, the SF12 seemed to rise above all the others in terms of depth and imaging. It was clear in the SF12 that the piano was behind the flute, with wonderful separation and creamy smooth presentation of each of the instruments, and a palpable depth that none of the other mics managed to convey. Those things , combined with a completely effortless rendering of the high frequencies and the lowest noise of any of the ribbons, compelled me to select the SF12 as the overall winner, IMHO.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #96
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R88 is hugely big. Too large to put in the sight lines I think.

I have almost abandoned ribbons, but still bought the Samar, hoping against hope that it will fulfill my needs. I will try it this weekend, trying to give it a fair shake. If I don't like it, it will be for sale in a week. Sounds like I have some reservations, eh?

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
As the OP, and with access to all the original complete files, I have listened to all of the mics many times now, comparing top end smoothness, low end response, balance, imaging and depth, as well as comparing my own feelings regarding MS vs blumlein vs ORTF vs AB configurations. With appropriate post processing, it is easy to get quite wonderful results from each of the mics as you might imagine, to the point where I had a rather difficult time deciding which mics and configuration I most preferred.

While I am most familiar with my own Schoeps CMC62 and CMC64 pairs, and certainly felt that both those performed as I expected, I finally decided that the Royer SF12 yielded the most pleasing sound (to my ears on my monitors) of all the various mics in this test. While all the ribbons consistently gave a bit of smoothness to the top end that the condensers needed a bit of eq finessing to achieve, and the omnis gave the most satisfactory low end response, the SF12 seemed to rise above all the others in terms of depth and imaging. It was clear in the SF12 that the piano was behind the flute, with wonderful separation and creamy smooth presentation of each of the instruments, and a palpable depth that none of the other mics managed to convey. Those things , combined with a completely effortless rendering of the high frequencies and the lowest noise of any of the ribbons, compelled me to select the SF12 as the overall winner, IMHO.
Well you almost picked the right one. The SF12s were my second choice.

You fellows did a good thing working all this up. I did wonder what your choice was and if you would ever inform us. Glad that you finally did.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #98
Gear Addict
I think the C426 was your first choice, right? It was also one of my top 3. Apart from sounding great, it's a great option when you need something rugged that'll run off P48. It also has the huge benefit of being able to change the patterns on the fly. I work with mid side alot, so being able to change the mid pattern and hear the results immediately while sitting at the recorder is a huge plus. I throw a Rycote furry on it and it's just the perfect thing for music field recording.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Well you almost picked the right one. The SF12s were my second choice.

You fellows did a good thing working all this up. I did wonder what your choice was and if you would ever inform us. Glad that you finally did.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
I think the C426 was your first choice, right? It was also one of my top 3. Apart from sounding great, it's a great option when you need something rugged that'll run off P48. It also has the huge benefit of being able to change the patterns on the fly. I work with mid side alot, so being able to change the mid pattern and hear the results immediately while sitting at the recorder is a huge plus. I throw a Rycote furry on it and it's just the perfect thing for music field recording.
Yes the C426 was my second choice.

I like to use blumlein or MS depending upon the conditions of the room/space.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #100
Gear Addict
You said that #3 was your first choice. That was the C426. The SF-12 was mic #1 .

Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
In order of preference:

Mic #3 Seemed to have the balance of distance, image size, cushion of air, and a richness that made it interesting to listen.

Mic #1 A good directness, closer sounding, but a clean sound with very nice dynamic contrast in the micro-dynamic sense.


Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Yes the C426 was my second choice.

I like to use blumlein or MS depending upon the conditions of the room/space.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
You said that #3 was your first choice. That was the C426. The SF-12 was mic #1 .
Yes you are correct. A bit of posting dyslexia I suppose.
Old 1 week ago
  #102
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Thread Starter
A bit off-topic, but I wonder if the new SD recorders have enough clean gain to drive the R88 or SF12 without having to use fetheads/mogaines/cloudlifters?
Old 1 week ago
  #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
A bit off-topic, but I wonder if the new SD recorders have enough clean gain to drive the R88 or SF12 without having to use fetheads/mogaines/cloudlifters?
I heard they have 76 db of gain on the preamps.

-Mike
Old 6 days ago
  #104
Gear Addict
Worth noting: My Nagra VI has more than enough gain (80db) to run ribbons, but there's significantly less noise when the Mogaines is inline. And does anyone believe that the new SD recorders are going to have better preamps than the NVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
A bit off-topic, but I wonder if the new SD recorders have enough clean gain to drive the R88 or SF12 without having to use fetheads/mogaines/cloudlifters?
Old 4 days ago
  #105
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My SD702 is noisier than my Nagra VI with my PGS ribbons
Old 2 days ago
  #106
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Thread Starter
The sample clips have now exceeded 100,000 listens. Sweet! Thanks to all who have contributed to and participated in this thread.
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