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Rode NT-SF1 and Soundfield SPS200 Condenser Microphones
Old 5th November 2018
  #1
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Rode NT-SF1 and Soundfield SPS200

Has anyone here got their hands on a Rode NT-SF1 yet? There's been a heavy silence since the spring, but several online sellers now appear to have it in stock.

Before I go ahead and buy one, I'd love to know whether anyone has tried it as a main pair for orchestral / choral / chamber music recording, and how it fared. I know that this isn't it's intended main role, but nevertheless...

It also offers a virtual shotgun mode: is this any good? Can I retire my NTG3 and AKG CK69?

What about the spec? How does it compare with the much more expensive Soundfield SPS200, on which it is clearly based. Is there a significant difference in the sound? Who is making Soundfield capsules now? Rode appear to have a huge investment in automated CNC / CAM technology, I can quite believe that their new capsule will be on a par with, for example a Haun capsule...

Any comments from users would be very welcome.
Old 5th November 2018
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Magus View Post
It also offers a virtual shotgun mode: is this any good? Can I retire my NTG3 and AKG CK69?
Ive used B-Format in shotgun to spot mic ww and brass at the back of orchestra recordings. It worked real well.

However one of the situations it has trouble with is if the nearfield around the mic has significantly louder sound, the shotgun, looking further away, has trouble rejecting that louder nearfield sound.

The shotgun mode is very good however. The shotgun can be zoomed in to provide a nice sound that can take a distant off-mic type voice and give it a nice present body quality.

Last edited by emenelton; 6th November 2018 at 04:59 PM..
Old 6th November 2018
  #3
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celticrogues's Avatar
 

I don’t think that mic is actually available yet. I’ve had one pre-ordered since July, and the expected delivery date keeps getting pushed back.
-Mike
Old 6th November 2018
  #4
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I'd love to know the reason for those delays, Mike. It's not as if Rode and Soundfield are inexperienced in the design and manufacture of microphones...
Old 7th November 2018
  #5
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amongst other soundfield microphones (which i rented), i've been using the sps200 (which i own) quite a bit as an additional main mic and on a boom: imo the digital steering options are quite useful but cannot provide what you'll get from a real shotgun such as the ck69 (pm me with an offer if you're about to sell)...



p.s. sennheiser's ambeo mic should easily be available if rode cannot deliver...
Old 7th November 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celticrogues View Post
I don’t think that mic is actually available yet. I’ve had one pre-ordered since July, and the expected delivery date keeps getting pushed back.
-Mike
Seems to be available here in the UK...e.g. Pinknoise currently have 4 in stock Rode NT-SF1 Ambisonic Surround Sound Microphone | Pinknoise Pro Sound Equipment

Cheers,

Roland
Old 7th November 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
amongst other soundfield microphones (which i rented), i've been using the sps200 (which i own) quite a bit as an additional main mic and on a boom: imo the digital steering options are quite useful but cannot provide what you'll get from a real shotgun such as the ck69 (pm me with an offer if you're about to sell)...



p.s. sennheiser's ambeo mic should easily be available if rode cannot deliver...
I don't think that I'll ever sell the CK69. The NTG3 perhaps.

What I'm really trying to find out is how the NT-SF1 compares with the Soundfield products. I have a mk4 Soundfield, which is lovely but somewhat elderly, and a little noisy.

I've been considering for ages buying a portable / field ambisonic mike. I've used and liked a couple of the more recent Soundfield products, and I thought that the SPS 200 was pretty impressive. Will there be any differentiation in terms of quality between the Rode and the SPS200? If so, what? Will the Rode replace the SPS?My perception (based on reading, and hearing some clips, not actual use) is that the SPS200is definitely a cut above the Ambeo.
Old 7th November 2018
  #8
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i guess we all would like to compare rode, soundfield and sennheiser side by side...

wise choice not to sell the ck69 imo :-)
Old 27th November 2018
  #9
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I just got a notification from B&H that my pre-ordered NT-SF1 has finally shipped! Should be able to run it through its paces in a couple of days.

-Mike
Old 11th December 2018
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
p.s. sennheiser's ambeo mic should easily be available if rode cannot deliver...
The AMBEO isn't as good as the SPS200 however, thus I've got my fingers crossed the NT-SF1 might come closer in performance to the SPS200
Old 11th December 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronFilm View Post
The AMBEO isn't as good as the SPS200 however, thus I've got my fingers crossed the NT-SF1 might come closer in performance to the SPS200
never got to compare them - can you elaborate? 'eq'/'sound', noise, software?
Old 11th December 2018
  #12
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Rode NT-SF1 |
YouTube
Attached Thumbnails
Rode NT-SF1 and Soundfield SPS200-dec-2018-sos.jpg  

Last edited by studer58; 11th December 2018 at 10:37 AM..
Old 11th December 2018
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
never got to compare them - can you elaborate? 'eq'/'sound', noise, software?
I've only used the SPS200 myself on shoots.
Some people seem happy with the AMBEO, but I think those are folks who haven't directly compared it with anything better? As for instance I've heard reported the AMBEO is quite a bit noisier?
Old 11th December 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronFilm View Post
.. I've heard reported the AMBEO is quite a bit noisier?
thx for the reminder, i've just been looking up specs: both sennheiser and rode seem to be far noisier than the soundfield - possibly the last thing i want from a mic array, at least when using it for recording of classical music...

...and while we're at it: the 4-capsule array on a single mic body imo is still by far the most convenient way of acquiring surround sound from a single position - however, due to the proximity of the capsules, it does not represent movements in the sound field very well; not that this would be something of great importance for recording orchestras but in this regard, ortf 3d does a much better job!

now if only there would be slightly less expensive but technically acceptable model for ortf 3d (and no, i'm NOT gonna use two ortfs from a copycat!)

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 11th December 2018 at 02:13 PM.. Reason: remarks added
Old 11th December 2018
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
thx for the reminder: i've just been looking up specs and ambeo seems to be far noisier - possibly the least thing i want from a mic array...
Yeah ambisonics is tough because you can be adding the noise floors together from all your sources
Old 14th December 2018
  #16
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Roland's Avatar
I’m slightly surprised that the noise floor of the Sennheiser is greater than that of the soundfeld mic. The original soundfields were not the quietest mics and Sennheiser with their MKH range were considered to be about the quietest in the business. That being said I would be surprised that any of these would be a deal breaker for normal applications. I would suggest anyone serious about buying an “ambisonics” microphone/system, do your homework, listen to demo’s, narrow your choice and insist on a trial (or hire to run your own tests), before you buy. Having been around these forums for a good number of years, it sometimes dismays me to see how many pretty poor pieces of kit get unwarranted rave reviews. I’d be generous and put this down to people’s frame of reference.
Old 14th December 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
I’m slightly surprised that the noise floor of the Sennheiser is greater than that of the soundfeld mic. The original soundfields were not the quietest mics and Sennheiser with their MKH range were considered to be about the quietest in the business. That being said I would be surprised that any of these would be a deal breaker for normal applications. I would suggest anyone serious about buying an “ambisonics” microphone/system, do your homework, listen to demo’s, narrow your choice and insist on a trial (or hire to run your own tests), before you buy. Having been around these forums for a good number of years, it sometimes dismays me to see how many pretty poor pieces of kit get unwarranted rave reviews. I’d be generous and put this down to people’s frame of reference.
Yes, Sennheiser MKH series mics are very quiet ( I have, and love them), but the Sennheiser Ambeo mic is not based on the MKH technology. It uses
a cheaper and noisier design.
Old 14th December 2018
  #18
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Roland's Avatar
Another race to the bottom!
Old 14th December 2018
  #19
RPC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie View Post
Yes, Sennheiser MKH series mics are very quiet ( I have, and love them), but the Sennheiser Ambeo mic is not based on the MKH technology. It uses a cheaper and noisier design.
A Sennheiser RF Ambisonic microphone would cost as much (at a guess) as two MKH800 Twins. I assume they'd rather sell a good number of Ambeos than a single digit number of MKH-VR (or whatever they'd call it). It would make a great flagship, though!
Old 14th December 2018
  #20
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Plush's Avatar
Yes, Rudy!

I was told by the head of Sennheiser mics that if they did the Ambeo with Neumann capsules (or MKH capsules) that the price would be $12,500.

I said good--go ahead and make it.
Old 14th December 2018
  #21
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I suspect the noise floor of the original Soundfield mics was due more to the analogue decoder box than to the mic itself. Certainly the current ST450 MkII is commendably quiet given that it has four capsules.
Old 14th December 2018
  #22
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Also the Soundfield DSF-1 is the quietest( and has the best phase accuracy)
of Soundfield mics and it’s also presumably due to the improvements in its (digital) preamp/processor vs eg the earlier analog 422B/MKV.
Old 15th December 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Yes, Rudy!

I was told by the head of Sennheiser mics that if they did the Ambeo with Neumann capsules (or MKH capsules) that the price would be $12,500.

I said good--go ahead and make it.
$12,500 seems like an excessively high price for
a mic only. The top of the line Soundfield DSF-1
MKII which includes the mic PLUS preamp/processor is only $12,800.
Old 15th December 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie View Post
$12,500 seems like an excessively high price for
a mic only. The top of the line Soundfield DSF-1
MKII which includes the mic PLUS preamp/processor is only $12,800.
...especially when considerig that they have all the components already and could even save a mic body (compared to two mkh twins) - dunno though whether all electronics would fit into a single body?

to me it sounds more like "we know that some of you folks might buy a very small number of these mics but we're never gonna make them, unless you're willing to pay big bucks for custom orders"!

maybe we should team up, start a petition - or have some bots flood their page?

my bid would be €7500 for a digital version...
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