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Opinions on figure-8 condensers
Old 11th August 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
Opinions on figure-8 condensers

Hello, all!

I'm currently strategizing for my next mic purchase (I've got the bug now!), and I would really like to get a pair of figure-8 condensers. I want to have them in my locker for occasions where it would be helpful to have such a pair, as in a Faulkner array or for reinforcement purposes. My experience concerning figure-8 mics is with ribbons and multi-patter mics, since bidirectional condensers are not quite as prevalent.

With that being said, I'm looking at the following mics. Any opinions on these? I had considered getting a pair of the Schoeps MK8 capsules to go with my CMC6 bodies, but I'd like to be able to use that pair elsewhere.

- Pearl CB22
- Sennheiser MKH30
- Neumann KK 120 + KM A

I'm also considering a few active ribbon designs, such as the AEA N8 and sE VR2. Any opinions are welcome!
Old 12th August 2019
  #2
Do consider the Rode NTR as well. They are excellent.
Old 13th August 2019
  #3
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Advanced Audio CM414 (Better than AKG's current mics IMHO)
Coles 4038. Not intuative to use as a figure 8 because of the design. It works well.
U87, U89

I don't know the mic's you listed.
Old 13th August 2019
  #4
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So it would seem, perhaps from his first "choices", the OP was looking for pencil mics. Any of the three mentioned, Schoeps, Sennheiser MKH and Neumann are awesome mics. I am not familiar with the Pearl other than by reputation which seems to be good. I own and use the Schoeps and the MKH. You are already there, mostly, with the Schoeps amplifier so an Mk8 would seem a good way to go.

But if you are looking for a less expensive microphone, you might look into these:

https://b9audio.com/

I had a chance to demo the stereo figure-of-eight condenser and it sounded really good. The only reason I didn't buy one is that I already had mics in my locker that did the same thing. I was NOT dissatisfied with the sound. No affiliation, but I was impressed with the product.

Also, although not inexpensive, the Samar line of figure-of-eight ribbons is really really good. I have one of Mark's stereo ribbons and it is killer.

https://www.samaraudiodesign.com/

They are not really pencil mic sized but smaller than a U87

D.
Old 13th August 2019
  #5
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I have the Schoeps Mk8's. They work well with a Mk21 for MS. And a Mk4 works well, too, with the Mk8, but I prefer the Mk21. I also have the Samar VL373A which works really nicely in MS. I have not tried Blumlein. The Pearl DS 60 is a sweet sounding mic which has a "ribbony" sound, perhaps because of its rectangular diaphragm. But they are no longer made and were expensive.
Old 14th August 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
But if you are looking for a less expensive microphone, you might look into these:

https://b9audio.com/

I had a chance to demo the stereo figure-of-eight condenser and it sounded really good. The only reason I didn't buy one is that I already had mics in my locker that did the same thing. I was NOT dissatisfied with the sound. No affiliation, but I was impressed with the product.
Wow, these look to be Schoeps clones/"inspired", right down to the coating. But it did send me down a rabbit hole to see if Schoeps ever made a dual figure 8 stereo mic, and they did - the CMTS.

I assume the OP has found avillalta's clip recorded with the Rode NTR in blumlein:

RØDE NTR vs Samar VL37A
Old 15th August 2019
  #7
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I've gotta say, experiencing a few Rode mics, and overall, not being too impressed, I certainly would give the NTRs a good test if I didn't have mics that fill that role already.

Just an aside, if anyone has two Schoeps Mk8 heads, SRS made me a 3D printed mount to use these in Blumlein.

The mount is not on the page, only the one that uses two active cables (that seem nice and tidy and I have the Schoeps stuff to use it) but the one I had made just clips up two Schoeps amps and two Mk8 for a Blumlein pair. Here is the Active Cable mount but talk to Scott and he will hook you up.

https://www.shapeways.com/product/WD...ionId=63600260

D.
Old 15th August 2019
  #8
The Rode NTR is an impressive mic that I happily use next to my DPA, Neumann and Schoeps mics.
I recorded harpsichord solo with them (Youtube Couperin NTR and you'll find them), or solo voice pickup (prefered by some singers above the usual vocal mics), or violin or piano spots...
Old 15th August 2019
  #9
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Stradivariusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
The Rode NTR is an impressive mic that I happily use next to my DPA, Neumann and Schoeps mics.
I recorded harpsichord solo with them (Youtube Couperin NTR and you'll find them), or solo voice pickup (prefered by some singers above the usual vocal mics), or violin or piano spots...
I know those recordings. Impressive sound and well used by Apotheosis.
Wish I had a couple of them. Only ting - they are biiiig and heavyyyyy...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
The Gefell UM70s (I'm told) have the front and rear capsules set close together, which makes them useful as fig8s.

I've only used them once in Blumlein crossed fig8s, on a quartet of french horns.

You could look at the sE VR1 ribbons, which I consider excellent microphones. I say the VR1 as opposed to the active VR2, because you can choose which preamp you use them with.

As full range they can be useful as a main pair.

Also the Coles 4050 ribbon stereo mic.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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Hard to beat a pair of Gefell UM70s mics. They are among my favorites and they don't get used as much as they should. I just seem to reach for the "usual". I'll need to correct that in the coming months.

D.

And below, from the other Doug, I feel the same way about my MKH30s. They don't get the love from me that they should. I do have an embarrassment of Figure-of-eights but I tend to trot out other arrays first. maybe this is a nudge to try some new things, perhaps in parallel with my "usual".

Last edited by tourtelot; 3 weeks ago at 09:20 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise View Post
Any opinions are welcome!
If I were in this position, I'd have already bought a pair of the MKH 30s. All you need to convince yourself is to listen to some of Roger's (user name "Rolo 46") amazing recordings. He's dropped some nice ones on this forum over the last few years. Search and ye shall find. Or you could just shoot him a PM and ask.

The thing that the MKH-30s bring to the table is that they use a single diaphragm and are beautifully symmetrical (that is, both lobes of the figure 8 are about as identical as you can make them). This makes them excellent mics for M/S and Blumlein. They are small, light weight, just about impervious to conditions, and oh yes they sound wonderful. And that takes us full circle back to Roger's recordings.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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emrr's Avatar
Of those I only have MKH 30. The Rolo 46 recordings pushed me over the edge there.

I have owned KM140's, and if the KM120/KK120 general sound is similar, it has a very nice midrange voicing.

I would also consider Pearl ELM-B against the CB22. As I understand it, the ELM-B longer capsule will differentiate treble more horizontal or vertical depending on orientation, as a ribbon will, if you want some aspects of ribbon pattern. Or ELM-A if you want pattern versatility combined with the aforementioned. I'd like, really, to try any of those Pearl mics, I had ELM-A and TL44 on my research list until I came into a deal I couldn't pass on an MKH 800 Twin.

I feel the MKH 30's have delivered a superior mic pattern over any other MS option I've used myself, next best I own being Samar MF-65 ribbons, followed by various other ribbons I have. LDC's have always seemed lesser in imaging when I've tried them. I'm usually in smaller studio rooms.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Here for the gear
Thanks for the feedback!

I'm curious about the B9 mics. Were you able to get any sense of the build and longevity of those mics? They sit in that spot between "cheap enough to replace if need be" and "expensive enough to want to last for a long time". They seem like quality mics, but I have no first-hand experience (and, as far as I can tell, no way of getting first-hand experience before purchasing). The fig-8 condensers in particular would solve a lot of problems that I have in my mic collection. And if they are indeed of a high enough quality, I could see putting in a purchase request for the Blumlein mic to join the mic cabinet at my job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
So it would seem, perhaps from his first "choices", the OP was looking for pencil mics. Any of the three mentioned, Schoeps, Sennheiser MKH and Neumann are awesome mics. I am not familiar with the Pearl other than by reputation which seems to be good. I own and use the Schoeps and the MKH. You are already there, mostly, with the Schoeps amplifier so an Mk8 would seem a good way to go.

But if you are looking for a less expensive microphone, you might look into these:

https://b9audio.com/

I had a chance to demo the stereo figure-of-eight condenser and it sounded really good. The only reason I didn't buy one is that I already had mics in my locker that did the same thing. I was NOT dissatisfied with the sound. No affiliation, but I was impressed with the product.

Also, although not inexpensive, the Samar line of figure-of-eight ribbons is really really good. I have one of Mark's stereo ribbons and it is killer.

https://www.samaraudiodesign.com/

They are not really pencil mic sized but smaller than a U87

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Yannick's Avatar
 

I am also curious about the B9 mics. But the specs are not too promising: self-noise is 5 dB higher than MKH30, bass response is measured flat at 60 cm (MKH30 at 2m or even 3m), the fig8 pattern is not very tight at all frequencies.
Granted, they cost only half.

But a mic one does not use often is always the more expensive mic.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Stradivariusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
But a mic one does not use often is always the more expensive mic.
That's a great sentence!
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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avare's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
I am also curious about the B9 mics. But the specs are not too promising: self-noise is 5 dB higher than MKH30
Tha MKH30 spec is 13 dBA. How many of the venues you record in have noise levels below 24 dBA?
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
Tha MKH30 spec is 13 dBA. How many of the venues you record in have noise levels below 24 dBA?
Often. Even if the hall is noisier, it is mostly LF and not hiss.
I find electronic hiss infinitely more disturbing than some hall signature - except for AC & lighting buzz.

One venue is the concert hall of the Brussels Conservatory - when the traffic stops it is essentially quiet. No ventilation, no electronic buzz, no heating.

I also do tapes/samples for composers. The difference between 13dBA and 18dBA is huge. I even prefer my MKH80s for these jobs, as they are 10dBA.

IMO 18dBA is too noisy for a main pair and classical music recording.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by tuba_noise View Post
Hello, all!

I'm currently strategizing for my next mic purchase (I've got the bug now!), and I would really like to get a pair of figure-8 condensers. I want to have them in my locker for occasions where it would be helpful to have such a pair, as in a Faulkner array or for reinforcement purposes. My experience concerning figure-8 mics is with ribbons and multi-patter mics, since bidirectional condensers are not quite as prevalent.

With that being said, I'm looking at the following mics. Any opinions on these? I had considered getting a pair of the Schoeps MK8 capsules to go with my CMC6 bodies, but I'd like to be able to use that pair elsewhere.

- Pearl CB22
- Sennheiser MKH30
- Neumann KK 120 + KM A

I'm also considering a few active ribbon designs, such as the AEA N8 and sE VR2. Any opinions are welcome!
MKH 30 - nothing better

Truly symmetrical at all frequencies (unlike some) and an excellent polar-pattern and a flat frequency response.

I have had mine for over 30 years love them.
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