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RØDE NTR vs Samar VL37A
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
RØDE NTR vs Samar VL37A

Has anyone directly compared these two mics? Both of them are active ribbon designs with high–frequency extension. I am interested in both verbal descriptions comparing them and/or sound files of mic "shootouts' between these two.

My application would be classical recording; possible uses would range from single spot micing in orchestral settings to use as stereo mains for solo performances, small ensembles, and chamber orchestras. But I would also like to read/hear about comparisons using these two mics in any other recording situation.

Thanks.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Check the self noise specs. My experience with active ribbon mics is they hiss like a cat. Ribbon mics have a poor top end response and low output. Add active transistors/top boost and you get even more hiss than a flat passive ribbon mic. For classical recordings with high dynamic range that hiss will be heard.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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jnorman's Avatar
We included the stereo version of that Samar in the $30k mic shootout, which should give you an idea of how it sounds compared to a number of high end mics, as well as its apparent self noise. The NTR is not in that comparison.
Comparative samples from the $30K mic test session

Another very fine active ribbon you should consider is the AEA N8 - very modern sound with clean extended top end response.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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boojum's Avatar
I hesitate to post this short track. It is the perfect storm of horrible venue (drained swimming pool?) and not the best musicianship. However, it is a track of silence before the orchestra launches and you can listen for hiss.

The Samar VL373A was fed into my SD 788T at 24/48. The track here posted is the raw output from the 788T. It has not been altered in any way.
Attached Files
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
I've used both NTR and Samar Ribbons.

The NTR is the only ribbon that has been impervious to electrical and radio interference. No use buying a ribbon if you can't use it all the times. Buy the Rode with confidence knowing the sound, build, and usability are all 100%.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Marik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Check the self noise specs. My experience with active ribbon mics is they hiss like a cat. Ribbon mics have a poor top end response and low output. Add active transistors/top boost and you get even more hiss than a flat passive ribbon mic. For classical recordings with high dynamic range that hiss will be heard.
Jim,

This is a very wide generalization. Our active ribbon microphones usually have 4-5dB lower noise than their passive counterparts and widely used in some major classical studios and for location recordings.

The 'poor top end response' is also a bit exaggeration. Our MF65, VL37, and VL373 lines have +2dB at 25kHz. Very few condensers can do that.

Please visit our website media page and take a listen to classical unprocessed tracks and see if you can detect hiss (other than natural noise of the hall, which dominates), or lack of top end response:

http://samaraudiodesign.com/media.html

Also, take a look at this thread to see what a single stereo ribbon microphone is capable of:

Louder than Liftoff Silver Bullet first impressions

Best, M

Last edited by Marik; 4 weeks ago at 04:04 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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tourtelot's Avatar
Just more talk without research.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Just more talk without research.

D.
Whole thread ?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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tourtelot's Avatar
Nope. One poster.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
I hesitate to post this short track. It is the perfect storm of horrible venue (drained swimming pool?) and not the best musicianship. However, it is a track of silence before the orchestra launches and you can listen for hiss.

The Samar VL373A was fed into my SD 788T at 24/48. The track here posted is the raw output from the 788T. It has not been altered in any way.
@ boojum Man, your best work ever. Why the hesitation?

Actually, hearing the talk at the beginning it is kind of freaky the music didn't sound worse. It does have the smeary, glaring kind of a sound reminding one of film scores in the late 1930's.

Don't hear any hiss from the microphone.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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tourtelot's Avatar
All I can say is my Samar VL373A stereo ribbon serves me better than the Royer SF12 it replaced. And it doesn't hiss. "Active" for the Samar still needs 50dB of clean gain from a preamp. But it is a very nice mic.

Nothing necessarily wrong with the Royer's sound, very nice, but it was too fragile for location work, IMO. I found I needed to replace ribbons at a rate that was too costly to retain the mic. YMMV. I was told by Royer that my mic was, seemingly, susceptible to ribbon damage even after I had them install the Rock and Roll mod. Ie. more reliability at the cost of a tiny bit of performance. Ribbon tensions or something. My SF12 was a Spiden, one of the earliest SF12s.

I considered looking at the Rode ribbons but decided that I already had a great stereo ribbon and that there was no need to look, especially how infrequently the Samar works. It does work, but comes out much less often than the SDCs and only for certain situations/ensembles.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
I had a pair of the VL37s for a few years. I absolutely loved their tone, but they were basically unusable out here in the mid-atlantic for ensemble recording. They just picked up too much RF. I've been very happy with the Røde NTRs. They sound lovely and I've had no issues with radio interference. I also miss the form-factor of the VL37. The NTRs are enormous.

this Concerto di camera in G Minor, TWV 43:g3: was recorded in the round with a pair of Samar VL37s

this Respiri was recorded with a pair of Røde NTRs in bleumlein
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
@ boojum Man, your best work ever. Why the hesitation?

Actually, hearing the talk at the beginning it is kind of freaky the music didn't sound worse. It does have the smeary, glaring kind of a sound reminding one of film scores in the late 1930's.

Don't hear any hiss from the microphone.
You are not the first person to comment so glowingly on the recording. I may hang up my spurs.

Actually, after some iZotope Ozone 8 pixie dust and a very little compression the sound is somewhat tamed. As I said, perfect storm. I credit the Samar in being able to come away with a cogent sound picture. And the current state of electronic ITB wizardry is such that the sound is borderline presentable. I honestly did all I could to clean it up. I know there are folks on this board who could have cleaned it up better, but what fun or learning would I gain from that? Gearslutz is my masterclass. And a tip of the hat to all of you for your lessons, and patience.
Attached Thumbnails
RØDE NTR vs Samar VL37A-img_20190616_151749.jpg  
Attached Files

Music on the Land.mp3 (13.95 MB, 816 views)


Last edited by boojum; 4 weeks ago at 11:18 PM.. Reason: add photo
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by avillalta View Post
I had a pair of the VL37s for a few years. I absolutely loved their tone, but they were basically unusable out here in the mid-atlantic for ensemble recording. They just picked up too much RF. I've been very happy with the Røde NTRs. They sound lovely and I've had no issues with radio interference. I also miss the form-factor of the VL37. The NTRs are enormous.

this Concerto di camera in G Minor, TWV 43:g3: was recorded in the round with a pair of Samar VL37s

this Respiri was recorded with a pair of Røde NTRs in bleumlein
The Respiri recording is beautiful! May I ask where you placed the NTR blumlein pair, specifically? I just bought my own pair of NTRs, and I’m encouraged by your recording to go out and use them on the next string gig I get!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise View Post
The Respiri recording is beautiful! May I ask where you placed the NTR blumlein pair, specifically? I just bought my own pair of NTRs, and I’m encouraged by your recording to go out and use them on the next string gig I get!
That's very kind, thanks. Maybe 7 feet (2 meters or so) up, one meter in front of the ensemble.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
this Respiri was recorded with a pair of Røde NTRs in bleumlein
Wow, what a fantastic sound... warm and very rounded. Particularly nice in the lower mids/upper bass.

This is a great example of how mic choice + setup can impart a distinctive perspective on a piece of music that adds a welcome extra dimension to the performance. I want to make records like this
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Maniac
The NTR is no slouch....
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by avillalta View Post

this Respiri was recorded with a pair of Røde NTRs in bleumlein
Congratulations! Such a nice recording!

As for the Samar, I've found a couple of videos and pages with comments on it. Just use Google to translate the comments.

On the guitar:


Voice and guitar:


https://umbrella-company.jp/contents...vl37a-moumoon/

https://umbrella-company.jp/contents...37a-review-ym/

https://umbrella-company.jp/contents...l37-sr-review/

https://umbrella-company.jp/contents/vl37-review-03/

https://umbrella-company.jp/contents...37-review01-2/

These are on the website of a company which sells the microphone in Japan, so let's take it with a pinch of salt: https://umbrella-company.jp/samaraudiodesign-vl37a.html
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