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Sennheiser V Schoeps? Condenser Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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wallyburger's Avatar
 

Sennheiser V Schoeps?

Hi all, I have a Sennheiser M&S rig, MKH30/40, I got these based on a friends recommendation, and they've been fine, they do what it says on the tin basically.
However, in true Gearslutz style, my curiosity has been stirred up by comments I've heard about what seems to be the "Holy Grail" of M&S rigs, the Schoeps CCM4/8 combination. I have a friend who has retired from recording, and the only microphones he's kept are these two Schoeps, which he describes as "absolutely wonderful" Unfortunatly I live a long way from him so I can't try them out. I also read an article by the wildlife recordist Chris Watson in which he praises these microphones.
I dont really want to go out and blindly buy a pair, as I need a bit more encouragement before spending what would be a considerable investment.
Also, would the Schoeps be a leap in quality over my Sennheisers or just a subtle difference?
Any opinions would be very welcome.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Old 1 week ago
  #3
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The impression I get from previous discussions here and elsewhere is not that one is better than the other but that they have different characters. You will sometimes see the Sennheisers described as "clinical" whereas Schoeps will sometimes be described as having more "character" or "warmth."

It's similar in the camera world -- you'll see people vigorously arguing that Zeiss lenses are clinical while Leica lenses have more intrinsic character, for example.

Whether you think there's any truth to that is up to your own eyes and ears, but I think it also depends on your priorities: e.g., do you want a tabula rasa that you can adjust and fine-tune as you see fit (i.e., introduce "character" yourself in post), or do you want something that comes with "character" baked in? And what is "character" anyway? Maybe the more important question is: does one mic "hear" and capture something the other doesn't?
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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I would put it this way: if you find one of the two options a leap in quality you need to get your reality adjusted.

If you have a pair of MKH mics, there is no justification for the expense.

One option maybe lacks something, the other option maybe adds something too much. In any case, technically, the Sennheiser option is quieter, more reliable (especially in humid conditions) and has superior LF response.

Old 1 week ago
  #5
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I have schoeps cmc6+mk21 (2x), sennheiser mkh405 (2x), mkh30, mkh80 (2x) and mkh60.

my preference with Schoeps is:
- strings (spot or main)
- main orch pair
- acoustic instruments where you want a lot of hf detail
- medium/loud sfx atmos where you want to capture a lot of hf detail
- can be very nice on vocals too


my preference with MKHs:
- sfx gathering
- anything where very low noise floor is important (MKH80 particulary)
- things that need weight and benefit from SDC polar characteristics
- (wood)winds (spot or main)
- some vocals


In some way schoeps doesn't give me the weight I'm after in some applications on the other hand sennheisers don't give me the top detail. Schoeps is noisier.

For SFX gathering I'd chose MKH if I had to choose one. With classical music, schoeps would win.

If I remember correctly, Shoeps MK8 capsule has rolled off lowend and it isn't 100% symetric (edit: doesn't seem to be true statement about the symetry, see post #20 by DSatz). That doesn't bother many people and I wouldn't probably notice it in the real world use (without direct comparison) most of the time.


Last edited by matucha; 6 days ago at 02:09 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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I've only heard the Sennheiser MKH30/40, but happen to own the Schoeps. I'd be hard pressed to advocate that anyone they should sell what they have and buy the other. Instead, I'd say, enjoy what you have to the fullest.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallyburger View Post
Hi all, I have a Sennheiser M&S rig, MKH30/40, I got these based on a friends recommendation, and they've been fine, they do what it says on the tin basically.
However, in true Gearslutz style, my curiosity has been stirred up by comments I've heard about what seems to be the "Holy Grail" of M&S rigs, the Schoeps CCM4/8 combination. I have a friend who has retired from recording, and the only microphones he's kept are these two Schoeps, which he describes as "absolutely wonderful" Unfortunatly I live a long way from him so I can't try them out. I also read an article by the wildlife recordist Chris Watson in which he praises these microphones.
I dont really want to go out and blindly buy a pair, as I need a bit more encouragement before spending what would be a considerable investment.
Also, would the Schoeps be a leap in quality over my Sennheisers or just a subtle difference?
Any opinions would be very welcome.
Definitely NOT a "leap in quality".

I would still say theat the MKH 40/30 is the best MS rig around (or with another MKH for mid).

When it comes to the top mics: ie: DPA, Gefell, Josephson, Neumann, Schoeps, Sennheiser - I would say that they are all pretty equal in quality - both in manufacturing quality and sound quality.

But they all come from different design directions and make the necessary compromises in different places.

EG: The sennheiser and Neumann figure-8 capsules are truly symmetrical, the Schoeps is not and has a drooping HF response on the rear lobe (which you can clearly see in the polar-pattern). But if you compare the Schoeps and Neumann, you will see why, as the on-axis response of the Schoeps is better than that of the Neumann. So you can see where each designer has decided to compromise (and, yes, I do know the designers of both mics personally).

So, I would say, all are equal in sound quality but you choose the microphones that do best the job you want them to do.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Thanks for all your replies, stupidly, I never really paid maximum attention when I had the good fortune to help out on a few sessions with the late Mike Skeet, and I'm sure more than a few of you are aware of his work, and his infectious enthusiasm for all things microphones, but as usual, you think someone is going to be around forever, and I could really do with his knowledge and advice right now!
I can't really remember accurately, the character of the microphones we used, including the Schoeps, but I can remember that the Schoeps had a bass roll-off, and we're very useful in circumstances where you had to deal with a boomy acoustic. But Mike, on the whole used to use MKH series a lot, they were some of his favourite mic's.
Another friend of Mikes dislikes the Sennheiser MKH series, and much prefers the Schoeps CCM combination for everything.
I think you're right, it's not worth spending money on the Schoeps given my situation, I think if I were a professional recording in lots of different situations then fine, but given my limited use, and the fact that I haven't noticed any issues with the Sennheiser's, based on what people have said here it's not worth spending the money on the Schoeps.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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I did a side by side Schoeps/MKH sum and difference recording.
The CCM was highly detailed ,we could hear water running in the central heating of a v large hall
The MKH had more weight and was more 'musical' to a non musician
On a practical level, the Schoeps are fussy about the humidity, MKH are steadfast under climatic diversity
Both are lovely mics for their proud owner.
Roger
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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wallyburger's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
I did a side by side Schoeps/MKH sum and difference recording.
The CCM was highly detailed ,we could hear water running in the central heating of a v large hall
The MKH had more weight and was more 'musical' to a non musician
On a practical level, the Schoeps are fussy about the humidity, MKH are steadfast under climatic diversity
Both are lovely mics for their proud owner.
Roger
I seem to remember we had problems a couple of times with the Schoeps regarding damp, they started to hiss really badly, but we're fine when they had dried out. No such problems with the MKH's.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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The old crutches of the asymmetric capsule and damp resistance get trotted out every time to raise FUD about these wonderful microphones. Funny that a lot of people still prefer them, particularly for music recording.

I live and work in a city with one of the most stinking hot, humid 5 months of the year around and I have experienced only one single occasion of a spitting Schoeps in 25 years. But I do keep them in ziplock bags and treat them with great reverence and respect. A lot of their work is conducted in air conditioning but also many gigs in un-airconditioned religious establishments.

Apart from 10 Schoeps, I also own and use 3 MKH30 and 2 MKH40 frequently, sometimes together, so am able to compare and contrast the two systems thoroughly. Get both is good advice for music recording.

But if you are in the Congo or PNG jungle or on the street in Singapore get the MKH. My late father did a lot of really high fidelity recording of music in the Sepik river in the 70's with a Nagra IV and two MKH405's. I now have these mics and was involved in the digital archiving of the recordings. No microphone malfunction was heard in many hours of footage.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Latest CCM s have a new circuit heater to lessen humidity condensation.
Even a RF MKH 30 is prone because both sides of the capsule are open to air
When bubbling and burbling happen they take time to cure, in the sun , under a light, or even a hair drier.
So with time constraints and money pressures, always have a back up (a pair of DPA 4060 !)
Roger
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I live and work in a city with one of the most stinking hot, humid 5 months of the year around and I have experienced only one single occasion of a spitting Schoeps in 25 years. But I do keep them in ziplock bags and treat them with great reverence and respect. A lot of their work is conducted in air conditioning but also many gigs in un-airconditioned religious establishments.
Leaving MKH mics out for the moment, as they seem to have heightened immunity to moisture induced breakup and spitting...you can often invoke such behaviour in a condensor mic by simply taking it out of a warm environment (such as out of its travel box from a warm car journey of a few hours) and expecting it to function in a colder one with a different degree of ambient moisture/humidity. Sometimes it can happen if the reverse conditions are experienced also. It's the sudden delta (change) in temperature and relative humidity that provokes it the most, it seems from my experience...

I suspect it might also be contingent on the amount of small dust and other contaminant particles adhering to the capsule, which act as a focal point and collecting bridge for condensing moisture. Thus I assume a new-from-the-factory mic will be less susceptible to such behaviour, due to the cleanliness of the capsule.

Could a case be made for taking a low powered hair-dryer to remote sessions...and rotating an offending mic in front of the airstream (on lowest heat setting) at a distance of a metre or so, for 30 seconds ? I'd expect a pretty rapid change in popping/crackling/spitting after such treatment...either in the worse (or better) direction
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post

I suspect it might also be contingent on the amount of small dust and other contaminant particles adhering to the capsule, which act as a focal point and collecting bridge for condensing moisture. Thus I assume a new-from-the-factory mic will be less susceptible to such behaviour, due to the cleanliness of the capsule.
This is correct.

Which is why Schoeps used to suggest mics used outdoors be returned to the factory for cleaning now and again.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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The Beeb had a mic capsule cleaning department
MKHs did not require treatment
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Yes, and ribbons pick up tramp iron. One has to keep mics enclosed and in very clean environs for a long and happy life.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Yes, and ribbons pick up tramp iron. One has to keep mics enclosed and in very clean environs for a long and happy life.
One detail that stood out for me in Neumann U89's spec, which I thought should have been extended to other models also: "All exposed surfaces of the microphone capsule, including the diaphragms, are at ground potential. This technology makes them highly immune to electrical and atmospheric interference and contamination through microscopic dust particles"
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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whippoorwill's Avatar
I've been using schoeps equipment in fairly adverse environments recently, zero down to -15 degrees celsius and fairly humid. The thing I've always heard is if your equipment is cold, keep it cold for as long as you want to use it. I always pack silica packets in my pelican cases too.
No issues thus far, although I do worry and always try and keep an eye out.

I remember seeing a DPA 4060 dunked in a glass of water and then it was pulled out and it worked fine.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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I'm not exactly careful with my mic's, I don't keep them in boxes or draws etc, my MKH's are permanatly set-up on my piano, and have been for ages, I used to put little dust covers over them but I don't even do that now, so maybe I'm not destined to own anything too exotic!

Old 6 days ago
  #20
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John, you and I have a bit of history on this figure-8 business. Some years ago I showed you that in a number of your posts, you'd mischaracterized the published polar response curves for Schoeps' MK 8, claiming a front/back discrepancy at 16 kHz that was twice what the graph actually showed. To your credit, you looked at the graph more carefully and admitted that you'd been mistaken. And the way those graphs were labeled, I had to admit that it was an easy mistake to make (though to my knowledge, you never corrected any of your prior postings).

16 kHz is the standard frequency for polar diagrams, and Schoeps uses it, even though the MK 8's response has reached its high-frequency limit by that point and is actively rolling off. If an MK 8 or CCM 8 is used as the "S" microphone in an M/S pair, the stereo field will blend toward mono in the top 1/3 audible octave ("audible" if you're much younger than I); the "difference" signal will contribute less and less to the equation. But where a capsule's overall response is already ~5 dB down, one might question how much audible difference a 2 dB front/back discrepancy could make IF 2 dB were indeed the correct figure.

Why I said "IF": As it happens, well before I ever wrote to you, Schoeps had tightened their manufacturing tolerances and the typical, measured front/back difference at 16 kHz had become more like 1 dB. But they didn't update their published curves until maybe 15 years later (!).

So I think that once again, the actual asymmetry is distinctly less than what you think it is. In fact, it is well within the tolerance limit that Sennheiser uses. In other words, Schoeps could publish Sennheiser's "perfect" polar diagrams as their own, and not be lying. One manufacturer doesn't necessarily have "more perfect" results just because they smooth their graphs more aggressively than another manufacturer.

Finally, about the capsules themselves: Schoeps' MK 8 (and the same capsule is used in the CCM 8 compact microphone) doesn't use push-pull capsule design--but its construction is still that of a pure dipole. There are identically-sized and -shaped (and -perforated, and -everything else) plates at equal angles and distances on both sides of the diaphragm. Only one plate is active electrically, but the sound waves don't know that! Anything that you might say about Schoeps' figure-8 capsule design not being "symmetrical" must also be said of Neumann's KK 120--likewise an acoustic dipole that doesn't use the push-pull approach. You have repeatedly claimed (including in this thread) that the Neumann capsule is symmetrical in a way that the Schoeps is not; that is simply misinformation.

--best regards
Old 6 days ago
  #21
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The actual frequency response of an MS array cannot be calculated accurately unless it uses two perfectly symetrical fig 8 mics. Otherwise, the two virtual mics have a frequency response which is different from either the mid or side mic, and which changes according to the ratio used (of mid to side). The approximate 1 db asymmetry (in Schoeps 8) explained by DSatz can manifest if there is a ratio of 0 % mid to 100% side (which wouldn't work in actual practice). Any other ratio results in less than 1 db asymmetry.
Old 6 days ago
  #22
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To all engaged...lose the graphs, gimme the supporting audio samples (mp3s are fine)




Let's settle this
Old 6 days ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSatz View Post
John, you and I have a bit of history on this figure-8 business. Some years ago I showed you that in a number of your posts, you'd mischaracterized the published polar response curves for Schoeps' MK 8, claiming a front/back discrepancy at 16 kHz that was twice what the graph actually showed. To your credit, you looked at the graph more carefully and admitted that you'd been mistaken. And the way those graphs were labeled, I had to admit that it was an easy mistake to make (though to my knowledge, you never corrected any of your prior postings).

16 kHz is the standard frequency for polar diagrams, and Schoeps uses it, even though the MK 8's response has reached its high-frequency limit by that point and is actively rolling off. If an MK 8 or CCM 8 is used as the "S" microphone in an M/S pair, the stereo field will blend toward mono in the top 1/3 audible octave ("audible" if you're much younger than I); the "difference" signal will contribute less and less to the equation. But where a capsule's overall response is already ~5 dB down, one might question how much audible difference a 2 dB front/back discrepancy could make IF 2 dB were indeed the correct figure.

Why I said "IF": As it happens, well before I ever wrote to you, Schoeps had tightened their manufacturing tolerances and the typical, measured front/back difference at 16 kHz had become more like 1 dB. But they didn't update their published curves until maybe 15 years later (!).

So I think that once again, the actual asymmetry is distinctly less than what you think it is. In fact, it is well within the tolerance limit that Sennheiser uses. In other words, Schoeps could publish Sennheiser's "perfect" polar diagrams as their own, and not be lying. One manufacturer doesn't necessarily have "more perfect" results just because they smooth their graphs more aggressively than another manufacturer.

Finally, about the capsules themselves: Schoeps' MK 8 (and the same capsule is used in the CCM 8 compact microphone) doesn't use push-pull capsule design--but its construction is still that of a pure dipole. There are identically-sized and -shaped (and -perforated, and -everything else) plates at equal angles and distances on both sides of the diaphragm. Only one plate is active electrically, but the sound waves don't know that! Anything that you might say about Schoeps' figure-8 capsule design not being "symmetrical" must also be said of Neumann's KK 120--likewise an acoustic dipole that doesn't use the push-pull approach. You have repeatedly claimed (including in this thread) that the Neumann capsule is symmetrical in a way that the Schoeps is not; that is simply misinformation.

--best regards
Thank you for this information - I was not aware that the Schoeps fig-8 had a front plate (I wish you had let me know earlier).

I was just going by the published polar-patterns and my initial information was that the MK8 did not have a front plate.

Thank you for the information.

Though I woulkd have thought that, with a front plate, the rear lobe would have been identical to the front ???

Funny Jörg Wuttke never mentioned the front plate to me when I discussed figure-8s with him.

I always like to be absolutely correct in what I say and I am rather disappointed that you did not inform me of the front plate a lot earlier.
Old 6 days ago
  #24
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if i know i get to mix in surround AND can make use of the center channel (which is much different than using the phantom center), i like the schoeps m/s combo of mk4v and mk8 capsules a lot (and mostly prefer these over any other combination) due to the fact that there is some difference regarding their frequency response: imo they naturally mimic the behaviour of a directional speaker (system) very well with a slightly more pronounced hf behaviour on axis/of the center channel and a bit darker sound towards the sides.



p.s. can't stand the repeated whining regarding the slightly asymmetrical side pickup of the mk8 - get over it or use just any other fig8...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 4 days ago at 08:47 AM.. Reason: p.s. added
Old 5 days ago
  #25
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In order to improve the quality of the conversation I took two pics of the Mk8 capsule: front and back. Fire away.
Attached Thumbnails
Sennheiser V Schoeps?-mk8_front.jpg   Sennheiser V Schoeps?-mk8_back.jpg  
Old 5 days ago
  #26
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MK8 is not symetrical, that is the fact. The asymetrical response is easily heard either by themselves, or in MS. The difference is clearly measureable and is doucmented by Schoeps. If you don't hear the front and back difference of MK8 you should get your ears checked. Your liking or disliking of the sound of MK8 is entirely something else, however.

Best regards,

Da-Hong
Old 5 days ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
MK8 is not symetrical, that is the fact. The asymetrical response is easily heard either by themselves, or in MS. The difference is clearly measureable and is doucmented by Schoeps.
But does it matter to anyone? Not to me at all, even in MS. Some technical specs are not important. This is a shining example. And clearly not important to Schoeps, otherwise a design change might have been evident.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 5 days ago at 11:10 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
But does it matter to anyone? Not to me at all, even in MS. Some technical specs are not important. This is a shining example.

Yes, it does. I sold mine because of that. Can't use it, the MS image is always screwed up and there is no way you can fix it.
Old 5 days ago
  #29
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Schoeps seem to still be proud of what they have achieved.
Quote:
Production of the MK 8 is a special technical accomplishment, because in terms of physics, the available force due to the pressure gradient is minimal. Despite this, the MK 8 has excellent frequency and polar response, near-perfect front/back symmetry, and low inherent noise.
I find that minimal capsule spacing in MS to be the most important factor for MS sound quality particularly in musical applications and the Schoeps MS pair has a special coherence to it.
Old 5 days ago
  #30
Gear Addict
 

By all means keep worshipping the MK8, whether you refuse to, or unable to hear the deficiency.

Afterall, “near-perfect” does not equal to perfect, does it? They can be proud of it as much as they want to be if that is all they can achieve.
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