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Gefell M296 and DPA 4061 Comparo Condenser Microphones
Old 29th November 2009
  #1
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Talking Gefell M296 and DPA 4061 Comparo

Last week I had the opportunity to record the Delta Symphony Orchestra in Greenville Mississippi, with guest Steinway artist Marilyn Shields-Wiltsie. Aside from the problem of a significant temperature and humidity swing in the small auditorium (and the resulting piano tuning issues), the concert went well. I also used the opportunity to record both Gefell M296 (40cm spread on a stereo bar) and DPA 4061 omnis (1m carbon fiber rod) concurrently. The mics were approximately 9' (3m) above the stage, and 6' (2m) from the front edge, centered. The recording chain was mics->DAV BG8->Apogee Ensemble to hard drive, 44.1/24, through Logic Studio, with a 44.1/24 backup to an Edirol R-09HR from the Apogee's analog out. The .aif clips are matched for level, but otherwise "straight" from the Logic bounce.

Your comments are appreciated.

HB
Attached Thumbnails
Gefell M296 and DPA 4061 Comparo-hb7_7127.jpg   Gefell M296 and DPA 4061 Comparo-hb7_7117.jpg  
Attached Files
File Type: aif DPA Test.aif (5.63 MB, 3252 views) File Type: aif Gefell Test.aif (5.63 MB, 3101 views)
Old 29th November 2009
  #2
I liked the imaging of the DPA, and the brightness/quick response I think was needed in this rather bland sounding hall. I thought the Gefell's just sounded weak at this distance, too accurate for the acoustics.
Old 29th November 2009
  #3
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I preferred the DPA clip as well, listening in HD600, due to subjectively more open and resolved qualities.

No obvious improvement from the metal membrane in the Gefell in this situation. I have never used metall membranes myself but some people claim lower distortion from such capsules.

Thanks for posting!

/Peter
Old 29th November 2009
  #4
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Thanks for doing this test and posting full-resolution files!

Pretty close in terms of subjective quality I'd say, but there's no question the DPA recording is brighter - whether they are adding a layer of 'air' to what was there or whether they are more faithfully recreating what was in the hall on the day is something only you, who was present at the original session, can really say. I see what Peter means with the DPA seeming to 'resolve' the recording to a slightly greater depth, noticeable most on the big crescendos and the solo piano run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
The .aif clips are matched for level, but otherwise "straight" from the Logic bounce.
I'm always try to seek qualification on statements like this because as we all know any sort of digital processing will change the sound in some way - never turn your back on digital! What does this mean specifically here? Well, sometimes it turns out that folk have added some digital gain to one of the files in an A-B test to bring it up to the level of the other. This means that one file has been treated digitally and the other hasn't. Can you confirm that you at least ran both files through the same gain plug-in or moved both faders in Logic by some amount off 0dB, thus causing both files to be altered by similar (though not identical) processing?
Old 29th November 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
I liked the imaging of the DPA, and the brightness/quick response I think was needed in this rather bland sounding hall. I thought the Gefell's just sounded weak at this distance, too accurate for the acoustics.
Agreed, but I'm not sure it's about accuracy - No doubt that 4060/61 lack of thickness played a role here, but of course the difference in A-B setups plays a role too.
Once again we learn that using the right tools [or the tools right] is more important than using the most expensive ones!


::
Mads
Old 29th November 2009
  #6
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I used almost identical rig for an organ recital two weeks ago, only that the main mics were Senn 8020 and 8040 taped together to make syntesized hypocardioids (45 cm 110 degrees) and DPA 4060 pair was at the ends of a 150 cm 6mm carbon tube.

The DPA4060 sound is amazing, perfectly usable even when compared to the 8020, The Organ Mic pair! The slightly higher noise levels do not matter as organs have noisy blowers anyway. Even in dead quiet rooms with modern chamber ensembles I have gotten over 70 dB dynamics with those tiny mics so the noise is not a real problem with properly set levels (hot enough).

The only problem was the susceptibility to cell phone RF interference, I think those thin unshielded cables make a perfect RF dipole! There was distinct rythmic HF noise in some places on 4060 tracks totally missing from the Senneheiser tracks.
Old 29th November 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Thanks for doing this test and posting full-resolution files!

I'm always try to seek qualification on statements like this because as we all know any sort of digital processing will change the sound in some way - never turn your back on digital! What does this mean specifically here? Well, sometimes it turns out that folk have added some digital gain to one of the files in an A-B test to bring it up to the level of the other. This means that one file has been treated digitally and the other hasn't. Can you confirm that you at least ran both files through the same gain plug-in or moved both faders in Logic by some amount off 0dB, thus causing both files to be altered by similar (though not identical) processing?
The DAV BG8 increases gain in 3dB steps, the Gefells are noticeably hotter, and I was recording the DPAs about 3dB down from the Gefell level as a failsafe... so, to match for A/B listens I adjusted the channel faders in Logic (adding a bit to the DPA channels) so that the peak in each pair was +/- .2dB from each other on the Master channel's output meters. The Master fader was at -2dB or so; the channel faders were close to zero as I could keep them. There was no normalize, EQ, compression or effects.

HB
Old 29th November 2009
  #8
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Haven't listened yet (I'm on location, recording "Elias"), but why did you choose to set the mics up differently? It would have been nice to compare similar configurations, IMHO. Why the narrow angled setup with the 296s?
Old 29th November 2009
  #9
Gear Addict
I would agree that the DPA's are brighter. But they also pick up more spurious noise: the chair creaks are noticeably louder on the DPA tracks. I also notice that the DPA's sound somewhat "scooped" in the midrange which may account for the level difference you mentioned as well as the perceived brightness. Both seem to evince the same stereo width. I notice a slight distortion on the crescendo on the DPA track in the high end. It is not there in the Gefell track; Was there any amplification used in the hall?

Thanks for presenting this comparison.

Danny
Old 29th November 2009
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mljung View Post
Agreed, but I'm not sure it's about accuracy - No doubt that 4060/61 lack of thickness played a role here, but of course the difference in A-B setups plays a role too.
Once again we learn that using the right tools [or the tools right] is more important than using the most expensive ones!


::
Mads
I was wondering if you might be interested in posting mp3 clips made with the
multipattern Milabs, I'm very curious to hear them in action.
Old 29th November 2009
  #11
Gear Guru
DPA plse make a flat 4061!

For me the 4061 and 60 rock. Great for invisible micing, inside pianos, inside guitars. Unfortunately they were originally intended for voice pickup on stage. Thus they designed in a HF boost. This is mechanical in nature and sounds more like a resonance than an Eq boost to me. I have been in touch with DPA on several occasions. My contact in there entirely agrees. He has been trying to persuade them to make a 'Flat' 4061.
They have perhaps responded sideways with the 4091.
It is possible to use the 60 series without the grille. DPA approve this. It becomes a lot flatter in that situation. It will work fine with the foam popper on it.
However I would love to see a dedicated tiny omni without the slightly harsh resonant sting of the 60 series.
DD
Old 29th November 2009
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
This is mechanical in nature and sounds more like a resonance than an Eq boost to me.
An EQ bost or cut is a resonance. :-)

Have you tried to tame the lift with an EQ? Still harsh or is the harshness actually the extra energy as such and not distortion? What about using the capsule at an angle?

KM183 for example has a serious bump in the upper range, effectively making it flat in the diffuse field. That mic sounds good and natural used right IMO.

Earthwork omnis has a resonance as well but they use EQ to make the mic flat. Extremly natural sound.

Just ventilating my thoughts.


/Peter
Old 29th November 2009
  #13
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

I prefer the Geffels that are cleaner even after taming the HF lift from the 4061s.
Old 29th November 2009
  #14
Gear Guru
Eq vs Dog whistle

I do Eq them of course. Particularly when they are inside the instrument! haven't tried different angles, but will do when next using the mic in air. I presume you are alluding to odd off axis response? I believe Eq and acoustic resonance sound very different. Despite the small size it appears that the short tube and grille cause the HF boost. A bit like a dog whistle, but smaller, and somehow working much lower in frequency. Perhaps there are turbulence issues and other distortions, all I am sure of is that I don't like it. There is a much better result to be had by omitting the grille and if necessary adding eq.
DD
Old 30th November 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
Haven't listened yet (I'm on location, recording "Elias"), but why did you choose to set the mics up differently? It would have been nice to compare similar configurations, IMHO. Why the narrow angled setup with the 296s?
Since both pairs are relatively flat in their overall FR (and each with a modest HF boost), I wanted to hear the difference between a narrow (40cm) and wider (1m) placement in front of the piano/orchestra setup. During the first rehearsal segment, I varied the fore-to-aft distance from stage edge (not enough presence from the piano) to almost 5m (too diffuse). The photographed position (2m) was where the client and I agreed the image was good, and the balance was best. They were concerned with the visual effect of more than one mic stand (therefore no spot setup on the piano... I was looking forward to trying a pair of 8040s in a setup suggested by Rich at Sonare) so I popped both pairs on a single stand. Had this been my gig and not theirs, and had they not requested I record all the rehearsals, I might have duplicated the placements... at least on a rehearsal section. But... what it was, it is.

HB
Old 30th November 2009
  #16
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mljung's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
I was wondering if you might be interested in posting mp3 clips made with the
multipattern Milabs, I'm very curious to hear them in action.
PM sent
Old 30th November 2009
  #17
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the 4060/61 are ok, but I would never use them for anything quiet or "acoustic"

the noise is just too much.

the 296 are in another league entirely.

I do enjoy the 4060 on double bass and mandolin, though..
Old 30th November 2009
  #18
Quote:
the 4060/61 are ok, but I would never use them for anything quiet or "acoustic"

the noise is just too much.
You know, after using 61's for a while, I can't validate that argument any more. Yes the stats say the self noise is rather high, and true these mics are not dead silent. But in any location job, where noise from the environment is usually several times higher than the self noise of the microphone, the mic noise might as well be non existent.
Old 30th November 2009
  #19
Gear Guru
Noise

I have never had a noise issue with the 60. I have had overloads in a strummed guitar though. The 61 is a much safer bet with only 3dB more noise. To my knowledge these are the quietest of all the mini mics suitable for inside instruments. They achieve this by using two long diaphragms. For what they are, I think they are remarkable. Anyone using the Sanken one? This seems similar in principle.
DD
Old 30th November 2009
  #20
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
I have never had a noise issue with the 60. I have had overloads in a strummed guitar though. The 61 is a much safer bet with only 3dB more noise. To my knowledge these are the quietest of all the mini mics suitable for inside instruments. They achieve this by using two long diaphragms. For what they are, I think they are remarkable. Anyone using the Sanken one? This seems similar in principle.
DD
I have used the Sanken CU-41?(i think) and I am really fond of it.
Old 30th November 2009
  #21
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
You know, after using 61's for a while, I can't validate that argument any more. Yes the stats say the self noise is rather high, and true these mics are not dead silent. But in any location job, where noise from the environment is usually several times higher than the self noise of the microphone, the mic noise might as well be non existent.
It definitely was *not* non existent in any job that I ever used them on.

again, I'd have no qualms using them as an inside-instrument mic, but as a main pair for a orchestral/etc pickup? Not me.

Of course, I don't think that was their intended use anyway.
Old 30th November 2009
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyL View Post
... I notice a slight distortion on the crescendo on the DPA track in the high end. It is not there in the Gefell track; Was there any amplification used in the hall?

Thanks for presenting this comparison.

Danny
No amplification. Just a noisy AC airhandler turned on (without warning) at intermission, and street noise.
Old 30th November 2009
  #23
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Thank you Harry.
This really shows how far you can come with these mics. Very light to carry and place and a quite respectable sound. It might not be an engineers first choice as main mics when there are no limits, but these really pack in more punch than their weight.

Just an association, coming to my mind:
I am firmly committed to believing that the single most important factor in acoustic music recording is mic placement (that is, from the things we as recorders can influence, the performer of course comes before everything else) . And these small mics, perhaps three of them in a Decca tree, hanging on a ligth-weight but safe carbon fiber rod construction could be packed in a backpack and be just the solution in some situations. Situations where the alternative, given the limits, might be an ORTF setup in the audience space.

// Gunnar
Old 1st December 2009
  #24
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Both pairs sound good... the Gefell pair sounds like it was placed better and
recorded a more symetrical image, while the DPA pair l/r needs to be balanced
in post.
Old 2nd July 2010
  #25
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I know I'm jumping in waaaaaay late, but what piece was that?

Definite personal preference for the Gefells. Thanks for posting the clips.
Old 2nd July 2010
  #26
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That was a while ago, but I'm fairly certain it's from the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.16.
Old 2nd July 2010
  #27
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amfortas2006's Avatar
 

Are the grids on, on 4061?
I like these 4061. I also have a pair of 4063 (with MMA6000). They are noisier then Schoeps, but with a bit of editing, really good!
Old 2nd July 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amfortas2006 View Post
Are the grids on, on 4061?
I like these 4061. I also have a pair of 4063 (with MMA6000). They are noisier then Schoeps, but with a bit of editing, really good!
Grids are on. I figured a bit of high shelf rolloff, if they were too bright, would be better than a boost if I tracked without grids and needed some air. Since the client preferred the sound of the Gefells, the question became moot.
Old 3rd July 2010
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
That was a while ago, but I'm fairly certain it's from the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.16.
Thank you.
Old 15th March 2011
  #30
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fafalio's Avatar
 

for the price i think 4060 are good.
gefell are more more expensive so the comparison is unbalanced.
gefell sound more clean and polished. and 4060 are more noisy.
but it is for me not a very good comparison, the AB vs ORTF is very notable overall in the ambient and air around (more on the 4060)
as great Everest said "reverberation in a way of particular sound distorsion".
in DPA i listen the possibility to go "inside" the sound, reaching the music instrument. it is very very evident in the high end series(4006, 4011).
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