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Stereophony: Senn_MS vs DPA4006_AB
Old 1st July 2017
  #1
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Stereophony: Senn_MS vs DPA4006_AB

An age old debate, but I thought some might be interested in listening to a simultaneous stereo pair live concert recent recording. Senn MS 40/30 and DPA 4006 AB on the same bar. Ideally the 4006 should have been a bit closer compared to MS for equivalent direct/reverb ratio but it is still useful.

Mics all into Nagra VI, no processing or additions in any way, raw files. Group is Ensemble Q. An extract from a chamber reduction of Mahler Symphony Nr 4, 3rd mvt. Only 14 musicians on stage.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bz...k9iUnc3MDBtX3M

Have left the ID of the two samples off to encourage close listening.
Old 1st July 2017
  #2
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excellent recordings !!
Old 1st July 2017
  #3
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I believe that sample 1 is the the DPA omnis - lovely, rich tonality. But, for stereophony, I prefer the accuracy of the image presented by sample 2...the Sennheisers I assume. So, being a good Gearslut, I loaded both samples into my DAW and blended them à la Boojum/Jnorman...bliss!

Lovely recording of a great performance. Thanks for sharing David.
Old 1st July 2017
  #4
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Yep, I'm with Jim. Sample 1 has the 4006 bite and detail to the instruments that the Sennheisers lack, but an exaggerated stereo spread compared to the MS. I wonder how three 4006 in a Decca Tree would have fared. Lovely recording and piece!
Old 1st July 2017
  #5
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Many thanks Jim, Tom, and aracu for your comments. The differences are clear and very interesting. I hope to entice a few more Senn and MS enthusiasts, in particular, to comment before I summarise my notes.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 2nd July 2017 at 12:09 AM..
Old 2nd July 2017
  #6
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The width gives away the spaced omni pair in Sample 1. Tonality aside, those are clearly the DPAs. But my goodness, the MKH pair also sound lovely. Like Jim, I prefer the blended sound of both pairs together. Nice recording, David.
Old 2nd July 2017
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Ideally the 4006 should have been a bit closer compared to MS for equivalent direct/reverb ratio but it is still useful.
It's tricky because bringing them closer, the stereo image will get even wider. It's possible that the omni pair could have been placed closer together to consolidate the stereo image.
Old 2nd July 2017
  #8
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I am hoping Yannick will comment.
Old 4th July 2017
  #9
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Wow, these are both really great David! I agree that it's clear which is which, but I like both for different reasons. The MKH array has a lovely natural image and tone, and the 4006 pair have this weight and authority that especially comes through in the louder sections. I didn't find them distant-sounding at all. You were using the diffuse grids, I assume?

I also listened to parts of the other movements on YouTube. What a great arrangement, and performance! When is this ensemble performing the 8th?

Speaking of the YouTube videos, was your mix there a blend of both pairs, or just the omnis? There are occasional low bass rumbles from something in the hall in your omni sample that are also present in the videos, so the omnis must be in the mix at least in part.

Thanks for sharing these. I look forward to hearing more of your work.
Old 5th July 2017
  #10
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Oh yes, nice, nice recordings. Either would have been excellent. I downloaded this a couple days ago, but just listened. I came to the same conclusions already posted before seeing those other posts. The omnis are sample 1. Of course we could all be incorrect. After a few listenings I preferred the sample 1, but both have their charms.

For those of you who mixed them together did you reduce the level to compensate? When I reduced the level I found I liked either sample better than the mix. My best guess on the mix was it needed a 5 db reduction to mostly equal either of the original samples.
Old 5th July 2017
  #11
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Very interesting. I, too, much prefer one pair or the other on their own, much cleaner than blended. Not telling which pair I prefer yet. Soon though.

Have added a little of the beginning of the first movement as well, as sample 2, same mic definitions as Sample 1. This probably displays the difference in the two arrays even more profoundly.

Really hoping Yannick will tell me which he likes best.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 5th July 2017 at 08:17 AM..
Old 5th July 2017
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic View Post
I didn't find them distant-sounding at all. You were using the diffuse grids, I assume?
Normal silver grids on the 4006TL's.

Quote:
I also listened to parts of the other movements on YouTube. What a great arrangement, and performance! When is this ensemble performing the 8th?
This ensemble and performance is not on YouTube. Those are other ensembles nothing to do with this performance.
Old 5th July 2017
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
Oh yes, nice, nice recordings. Either would have been excellent. I downloaded this a couple days ago, but just listened. I came to the same conclusions already posted before seeing those other posts. The omnis are sample 1. Of course we could all be incorrect. After a few listenings I preferred the sample 1, but both have their charms.

For those of you who mixed them together did you reduce the level to compensate? When I reduced the level I found I liked either sample better than the mix. My best guess on the mix was it needed a 5 db reduction to mostly equal either of the original samples.
I mixed the sample 1 down 6 dB with the sample 2. That seemed to retain some of the bottom end while maintaining the stereophonic accuracy I like. I did not spend a lot of time at it, nor did I do an AB with the originals - it was just a quick experiment. I think either one of David's recordings is great on its own; I was just gratifying my personal preferences.

Last edited by jimjazzdad; 5th July 2017 at 02:37 PM.. Reason: Correction after the reveal
Old 5th July 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
This ensemble and performance is not on YouTube. Those are other ensembles nothing to do with this performance.
David, the videos I'm watching (technically a still image with audio) are most certainly your recording of this performance from June 24, and were posted on the Ensemble Q YouTube channel. You are even credited in the video descriptions.

The video of the first movement is embedded right there on the Ensemble Q page you linked in your post, and following that video brings you to the other movements. It appears that this YouTube channel is brand new and only contains this Mahler 4 performance, which would explain your statement that they are not on YouTube - they were not, until just two days ago.

So is this the DPAs alone, or is the Senn MKH array in the mix?
Old 5th July 2017
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic View Post
David, the videos I'm watching (technically a still image with audio) are most certainly your recording of this performance from June 24, and were posted on the Ensemble Q YouTube channel. You are even credited in the video descriptions.

The video of the first movement is embedded right there on the Ensemble Q page you linked in your post, and following that video brings you to the other movements. It appears that this YouTube channel is brand new and only contains this Mahler 4 performance, which would explain your statement that they are not on YouTube - they were not, until just two days ago.

So is this the DPAs alone, or is the Senn MKH array in the mix?
Oh, those videos. Ha. Sorry voltronic, I searched before and found some others and these weren't posted up yet. The group has been busy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pp4zuSweGM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9REZqwPXOw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvJZy-Yf-ew
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYdQOSbS2bI

I had better come clean with the results to answer your questions.

Everyone seemed to conclude incorrectly about the two pairs. The SennMS is the first mic pair and the 4006 is the second pair. The wider stereo image is actually coming from the SennMS, it sounds drier and slightly closer than the omnis but wider due to the higher localisation accuracy and the group's width. You can confirm and hear some image ambiguity from the omnis at the ends of some of the sections and when few of the solo instruments are playing, listen to the piano in particular.

But I like the DPA pair more, the bass is tighter, (SennMS bass sounds a little tubby at times), the imaging is still excellent, the tonal balance is slightly more pleasing to my ear, and they are slightly further away. But there's not much in it.

The video sound is the SennMS on their own, stills because the video recording failed (not my doing!). What is amazing is how similar the mic pairs are in most respects.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 5th July 2017 at 02:24 PM..
Old 5th July 2017
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Oh, those videos. Ha. Sorry voltronic, I searched before and found some others and these weren't posted up yet. The group has been busy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pp4zuSweGM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9REZqwPXOw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvJZy-Yf-ew
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYdQOSbS2bI

I had better come clean with the results to answer your questions.

Everyone seemed to conclude incorrectly about the two pairs. The SennMS is the first mic pair and the 4006 is the second pair. The wider stereo image is actually coming from the SennMS, it sounds drier and slightly closer than the omnis but wider due to the higher localisation accuracy and the group's width. You can confirm and hear some image ambiguity from the omnis at the ends of some of the sections and when few of the solo instruments are playing, listen to the piano in particular.

But I like the DPA pair more, the bass is tighter, (SennMS bass sounds a little tubby at times), the imaging is still excellent, the tonal balance is slightly more pleasing to my ear, and they are slightly further away. But there's not much in it.

The video sound is the SennMS on their own. What is amazing is how similar the pairs are in most respects.
Wow! I'm quite surprised. Yours is a great example of why blind listening is so informative. There are some here who dislike the tonality of DPA mics, but I wonder how many biases may have been busted with your samples. I think you used them to beautiful effect.

I'm curious why the video uses the MKH pair when you preferred the DPAs. Client preference?

So the deep-bass rumbles I'm hearing in your Sample 1 (and the videos) must be from transmitted vibrations to your hanging bar, which the omnis are not picking up, I suppose due to their being less vibration-sensitive. I was assuming that those rumbles were from the extended bass response of the omnis picking up environmental noise, and that was further misleading me towards my incorrect conclusion.
Old 5th July 2017
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I had better come clean with the results to answer your questions.

Everyone seemed to conclude incorrectly about the two pairs. The SennMS is the first mic pair and the 4006 is the second pair. The wider stereo image is actually coming from the SennMS, it sounds drier and slightly closer than the omnis but wider due to the higher localisation accuracy and the group's width. You can confirm and hear some image ambiguity from the omnis at the ends of some of the sections and when few of the solo instruments are playing, listen to the piano in particular.
Well I am gobsmacked. Cool. I have a new appreciation of the differences in these two techniques. Thanks for doing this comparison David.
Old 5th July 2017
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Everyone seemed to conclude incorrectly about the two pairs.
Clever test. It might have been easier on us if the stereo width was matched
on both examples.
Old 5th July 2017
  #19
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Very interesting. Like two thoroughbreds in a race, first i thought one had its nose ahead, then the other, then back again, and so on. If you forced me to choose I might go for the sennheiser, because it had slightly more sense of depth to it, for me, the dpa's slightly sharp on treble heavy passages. But really, I might change my mind tomorrow so close is it. Such fine differences may, of course, be dependent on your monitoring system.
Old 5th July 2017
  #20
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Well this continues a streak I have. When I setup for recordings with pairs, I often or usually will listen and think I will like a spaced technique better. Yet whenever someone has posted examples like you have of different mikings, and I listen without knowing which is which I have always chosen a coincident technique over any kind of spacing.

I often use an MS though maybe only 40% of the time. Some of it is inexperience where the MS width can be adjusted afterwards to cover up for my placement sins. When it is all said and done I am usually happy with MS. At the moment of choosing I tend to be drawn to some spaced variations. Also I don't have the quality of microphones in use here so sometimes I am trading off on microphone vs technique. The chance to listen blind and make a judgement is something you don't get to do during the recording. So these sorts of offerings are very valuable and interesting. Thank you for making this available.
Old 5th July 2017
  #21
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I think that the real cool point of this demo is that we can make outstanding recordings using a variety of mics, techniques, and placements. Always something more to learn.

D.
Old 5th July 2017
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
Clever test. It might have been easier on us if the stereo width was matched
on both examples.
Believe me I tried that first. But it was impossible to match the image width and not distort the instrument positions too much. If the sides were turned down on the MS so that the extremes came in, it was obviously too mono and would have given the game away.
Old 5th July 2017
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic View Post
I'm curious why the video uses the MKH pair when you preferred the DPAs. Client preference?
No, I quickly sent them the first pair of rendered files, which were the MS, so keen were they for audition of this wonderful performance.

Quote:
So the deep-bass rumbles I'm hearing in your Sample 1 (and the videos) must be from transmitted vibrations to your hanging bar, which the omnis are not picking up, I suppose due to their being less vibration-sensitive.
There is no way any structureborne vibration is travelling down that 16m cable sling, and I must confess I do not hear any "rumbles" except those from the score. But I find the SennMS bass a bit artificial sounding compared to the DPA. The percussion were right at the front on the RHS, and they were way too close to the mics. Percussion should be at the back for a good reason. Do you hear "rumbles" from the double bass?

There is a cheesy electronic keyboard at the back (harmonium) where the amp was turned up too loud in a few passages.
Old 5th July 2017
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
I think that the real cool point of this demo is that we can make outstanding recordings using a variety of mics, techniques, and placements. Always something more to learn.

D.
Especially easy in a great acoustic with superb musicians and wonderful music.
Old 5th July 2017
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
There is no way any structureborne vibration is travelling down that 16m cable sling, and I must confess I do not hear any "rumbles" except those from the score. But I find the SennMS bass a bit artificial sounding compared to the DPA. The percussion were right at the front on the RHS, and they were way too close to the mics. Percussion should be at the back for a good reason. Do you hear "rumbles" from the double bass?

There is a cheesy electronic keyboard at the back (harmonium) where the amp was turned up too loud in a few passages.
No, what I'm talking about is periodic noise, and below the double bass register. It's actually most audible in the softest passages where the instrumentation is sparse and only treble instruments are present.

Please look at the spectrograms to see where this occurs. Note the very bottom of the spectrum comparing between the two mics. [EDIT: I removed the attached images; GS compresses them so that they're impossible to see.]

I first listened to your samples on sealed headphones that have full range bass response, and this sound caught my ear right away. It's most audible in Sample1_Mic1 from 2:50 through the end, with a very prominent rumble that lasts from 3:07-3:12.

I now suspect this is periodic wind gusts from the HVAC. Directional mics are more affected by this, so that would explain it. I've heard this in my own outdoor recordings when using directional mics, despite windscreens.
Old 6th July 2017
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic View Post
No, what I'm talking about is periodic noise, and below the double bass register. It's actually most audible in the softest passages where the instrumentation is sparse and only treble instruments are present.

Please look at the spectrograms to see where this occurs. Note the very bottom of the spectrum comparing between the two mics. [EDIT: I removed the attached images; GS compresses them so that they're impossible to see.]

I first listened to your samples on sealed headphones that have full range bass response, and this sound caught my ear right away. It's most audible in Sample1_Mic1 from 2:50 through the end, with a very prominent rumble that lasts from 3:07-3:12.

I now suspect this is periodic wind gusts from the HVAC. Directional mics are more affected by this, so that would explain it. I've heard this in my own outdoor recordings when using directional mics, despite windscreens.
I heard just a hint of that in the sample 1 version. And only at the 3:07 to 3:12 mark. Your low end response must be better than what I have to listen with. It looks like it starts about 2:50 as you say. Looks to mostly be 10-40hz being elevated around 25 or 30 db.

I rolled off everything above 100 hz and sped it up by 400%. It sounds almost like something falling down that way. A box of something toppling to the floor.
Old 8th July 2017
  #27
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David, thank you very much for sharing these illuminating clips!

I too preferred the AB omnis, although like some other listeners the richness of the bass response was quite impressive with the MS samples, and initially confused me.

Listening somewhat further (and admittedly with your revelation of the IDs in mind) the DPA recordings, to my ears, offered a subtly more relaxed and "unstrained" presentation. While tonally rich and accurate in their imaging, something about the MS recordings felt slightly more "pinched" or artificial by comparison. Or, to put it another way, the DPAs felt closer to how I would subjectively imagine the performance to sound in the space -- even if, paradoxically, they less accurately portray this.

Out of curiosity, would you mind sharing the approximate height and distance for the two pairs? The clarity is lovely, with (for my taste) just the right amount of ambiance.

Needless to say both recordings are excellent, as is the lovely performance. Thank you again for sharing!
Old 8th July 2017
  #28
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Fascinating. Seems like the good old MKHs have fooled us again. Time and again on this forum I see them being mistaken for other mics. I seem to recall another test in which MKH8020s were mistaken for MK2s. Just goes to show what great mics they are. Not only great-sounding, but durable and able to handle extremes of shock, temperature and humidity. Seems around here we have a love/hate relationship with them.

Last edited by bwanajim; 8th July 2017 at 08:43 AM..
Old 8th July 2017
  #29
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This forum takes a lot of persuading that classic Sennheiser MKH and mid/side, sum and difference , is a sensible solution to many problems
Roger
Old 8th July 2017
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
This forum takes a lot of persuading that classic Sennheiser MKH and mid/side, sum and difference , is a sensible solution to many problems
Roger
There is a corrolary that there is a great deal of doubt here about Blumlein and MS in general. This is unfortunate as it prevents a good solution from being applied. The quality of recordings on this board done with these arrays is quite persuasive.
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