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CM3 - really THAT good? Condenser Microphones
Old 1st September 2013
  #751
I'm in the middle of a major drum sampling project, and took the opportunity to compare the CM3 to two high end mics on a ride cymbal. There are three different preamps in this comparison, too. In the second group, I switched around the preamps, as well as the mic order. Two of the preamps are high end, the other is a low end preamp. The CM3 is connected to one of the high end preamps in one group, and the low end preamp in the other group. What do you prefer from each group?

G1_A.wav
G1_B.wav
G1_C.wav

G2_A.wav
G2_B.wav
G2_C.wav

EDIT: I recommend lining each group up in your workstation and looping them continuously, soloing each one until you're confident in your selection for each group (not across groups).
Old 2nd September 2013
  #752
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Earcatcher's Avatar
G1_A and G2_C, for most realistic and 3D sound. However, I find the cymbal sounding tinny/papery in all samples, although less so in the ones I mentioned.
Old 2nd September 2013
  #753
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
G1_A and G2_C, for most realistic and 3D sound. However, I find the cymbal sounding tinny/papery in all samples, although less so in the ones I mentioned.
The room is really flat, so you may just not like that cymbal? Also these mics are closer than 'normal' so the additional overtones may be bothersome. Also it's not a popular ride by today's standards, either. You're making me second-guess my room though, which will prompt more thorough measurements LOL.
Old 2nd September 2013
  #754
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Earcatcher's Avatar
It may also be poor conversion. A cymbal is very similar to the typical keychain test, which will reveal a lot about the ultimate quality of your mics, preamp and conversion. I always test new microphones with similar sounds, preferably of very difficult to reproduce metal-ringing nature.

For sounds like these I would probably prefer good ribbons as they excel at pleasantly reproducing "ringing" tones.
Old 2nd September 2013
  #755
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
It may also be poor conversion. A cymbal is very similar to the typical keychain test, which will reveal a lot about the ultimate quality of your mics, preamp and conversion. I always test new microphones with similar sounds, preferably of very difficult to reproduce metal-ringing nature.

For sounds like these I would probably prefer good ribbons as they excel at pleasantly reproducing "ringing" tones.
I'm using Lavry A/D here, as well as highly regarded preamps (except the low end one mentioned). Same with the high end mics I mentioned; both of them are at the top in their respective categories. My room is heavily treated with ample bass trapping and mid/upper absorption, however, I may have a bit too much diffusion going on right now.

I agree, I like my R84s best with this particular cymbal (as well as my other cymbals), but what you're hearing here is just condensers.
Old 2nd September 2013
  #756
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The Listener's Avatar
All sound ok. First I thought I liked Group 1 A nad Group 2 A and B, but then it all started sounding rather the same to me.

It would be a better test to record the whole drum set with a pair - not just as overheads, but to capture the whole kit - it would be much more revealing.

You could probably use any of those combinations on cymbals alone... some sound a bit richer and brighter, but after several listenings - everything sounded similar to me.

Oh, and I didn't hear the "tinny/papery" quality like Earcatcher... maybe he just doesn't like the sound of that cymbal or the sound of the close recording of the cymbal. It sounded like a properly recorded cymbal to me.
Old 2nd September 2013
  #757
@John, Interesting. I'm hearing definite traits from all mics as heard in many other scenarios (I.e. coming to the same conclusions over and over). I'm at an advantage though because I know the sound of this cymbal extremely well (I bought it around 1981).

What's also interesting is that I'm hearing something from the CM3 that nobody else has mentioned (I don't think). This particular attribute does not fair well at all with my most revealing preamp (not included in this example as I thought it sounded pretty bad). I usually can work around most any preamp but not in this case. The CM3 actually sounded better on the low end preamp than on the high end one, and the difference was not subtle. Really surprising to me.

In the future I'll do a full kit. For the record, the high end mics are more than 10X the price of the CM3s.
Old 2nd September 2013
  #758
Quote:
Originally Posted by deefdeef View Post
hey guys - microphone newbe here

- got 2 CM3s few days ago & I have a strange "problem"
I have a fireface ucx & I have to put +40db on gain (mic channel) to get about
20RMS speaking directly (10cm) in to the mic. It's same for both mics.
Is this normal? feels kind of strange to put so much gain on.

besides I have to set headphones channel to 0db to hear something
- while I am listening music @ -20db set.

@ FULLgain (+65db) I can hear clearly-loud the room ambiance, cars, mouse clicking
what I would expect from 0 db Gain.

the 48v is on of course... I don't seem to make anything wrong or do I?
Hey just a thought regarding your h/phone gain issue: have you set your UCX headphone gain to 'hi-gain' in the gain settings? If not, this makes a massive difference...
Old 3rd September 2013
  #759
Gear Head
 

hey unqlenol, thanks for helping - this issue really troubles me
but no the headphone setting is not the problem
I have them to the lowest set -10dbV and it doesn't matter anyway
because I compared with the same setting with my other material & music.
I never used small condenser before (my only mic was zoom h2).
Maybe I have a wrong understanding of mics in general.
I thought I'd hear everything louder even with 0 boost through mics,
instead I hear everything very quiet with the CM3s - only with max +65db boost
everything is kind of louder - but not much.
Do you guys boost your mics always? Maybe this is a complete normal thing, but I associate with "boosting" "making it worse quality".
Old 3rd September 2013
  #760
The cm3s are softer than most SDCs, but are still perfectly useable. Just turn up the preamp gain. I'm going to use 3 of them tonight for a jazz recording session, recording saxes and trombone.
Old 3rd September 2013
  #761
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by deefdeef View Post
hey unqlenol, thanks for helping - this issue really troubles me
but no the headphone setting is not the problem
I have them to the lowest set -10dbV and it doesn't matter anyway
because I compared with the same setting with my other material & music.
I never used small condenser before (my only mic was zoom h2).
Maybe I have a wrong understanding of mics in general.
I thought I'd hear everything louder even with 0 boost through mics,
instead I hear everything very quiet with the CM3s - only with max +65db boost
everything is kind of louder - but not much.
Do you guys boost your mics always? Maybe this is a complete normal thing, but I associate with "boosting" "making it worse quality".
Hi there deefdeef!

The matter of the CM3' low output has been mentioned here in this thread with concern to it's quality. It doesn't need to bother you, since it's not an attestation of poor quality if a mic has a somewhat lower output than most others.

BUT - of course, lower output means you're gonna need more gain from the preamp, which means your preamp better be a quiet one, otherwise it could add noticeable noise to your recording. In your case (Fireface UCX) you have nothing to worry about.

About the gain setting - when recording, it's not necessary to reach the hottest levels (-5 to 0 DBFS) since you wanna keep some headroom so your recording doesn't clip in a loud passage. When I record live concerts I keep a safety headroom of some 12 dB - that means, that the loudest passage in the entire concert (maybe 2 or 3 short peaks in those 2 hours music) will reach no more than -12 DBFS. So most of the concert the levels are "dancing" around -20 DBFS (Peak!) and correspondingly around -35 to -30 DBFS (RMS). Of course you don't need so much headroom in every situation but in today's digital world it's simply possibile to do, since the noise floor of your UCX (for example) is probably -110 DBFS or even less. Is the recording going to stay so low in volume - no! when you master your recording which was made in low levels you can chose how much louder it should get, and you can do it safely without the worry of clipping the audio material.

Mic placement and the "direct to reverberant ratio" - this also has an effect on your gain setting, expecially with directive mics (=all mics which are not omnis). You say that if you crank up the gain to 65 you hear a lot of noise of the environment - that could mean that you placed the mic to far away from the sound source, or the mic was pointing away from the sound source, or your sound source is a very quiet one. Note that if you use a classic ORTF (110 degrees, 17cm apart) then both mics a pointing about halfway from the sound source. This is intentional - the developer of this technique wanted to capture the room sound as well. But if your room sound includes noise you should consider using the AB technique rather then ORTF.

Why your "reference" recordings are much louder than what you record: possibly you are comparing your recording, which is not yet mastered, with a mastered sound track. Mastered could very well mean that the mastering engineer has boosted the "loudness" of the recording using different methods such as compression, limiting, clipping etc. As a general rule we say that if you wanna compare two recordings you have to match their levels very carefully first because "louder sounds better" (and sadly it's true...).

Hope those tips help you. Have fun with your CM3!
Oren
Old 4th September 2013
  #762
Gear Head
 

Oren, this is really awesome & exactly the informations I needed, thank you very much!
Old 4th September 2013
  #763
Quote:
Originally Posted by deefdeef View Post
hey unqlenol, thanks for helping - this issue really troubles me
but no the headphone setting is not the problem
I have them to the lowest set -10dbV and it doesn't matter anyway
because I compared with the same setting with my other material & music.
I never used small condenser before (my only mic was zoom h2).
Maybe I have a wrong understanding of mics in general.
I thought I'd hear everything louder even with 0 boost through mics,
instead I hear everything very quiet with the CM3s - only with max +65db boost
everything is kind of louder - but not much.
Do you guys boost your mics always? Maybe this is a complete normal thing, but I associate with "boosting" "making it worse quality".
Hi DeefDeef

Oren has already given you a very good answer regarding gain staging for recording. Regarding your low signal in monitor headphones, I would like to add that you may have not turned up your input monitor send to your headphone output. Know what I mean? In the RME mixer: let's say you are using input 1/2 in stereo. At the bottom of the input channel, below the slider, click 1/2 (note the drop down menu) then choose 7/8 and ensure that the slider is up and sending a decent level to the headphone output stage.

For the record, when I record say a classical piano and voice, my CM3s need around 35db gain from my RME as compared to some of my other SDC's which need 10db LESS to give the same level.

Hope that helps.
Nolan
Old 6th September 2013
  #764
Lives for gear
 

I use a pair of Shure KSM141's and a pair of CM3's both with a DAV BG-1. (I bought all this stuff with absolutely no influence from this forum whatsoever. ) The Shures need about 32db of gain whereas the CM3's need about 50 db with all things being equal. Also, those gain numbers may be off by plus/minus 3 db but moral of the story: CM3's need more gain than most SDC's.
Old 13th September 2013
  #765
Deleted User
Guest
Few more samples of Line Audio SDC's. Four mics stereo array only, no spots. No processing other than HPF and dithering.
Attached Files

piano.wav (5.94 MB, 651 views)

violin.wav (8.66 MB, 630 views)

organ.wav (5.77 MB, 533 views)

clarinets.wav (5.37 MB, 649 views)

Old 13th September 2013
  #766
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The Listener's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Few more samples of Line Audio SDC's. Four mics stereo array only, no spots. No processing other than HPF and dithering.
Great!

It also shows the fact that anyone can buy good and cheap mics like CM3, but not everyone will have access to such a lovely recording space as your hall in the examples...
Old 13th September 2013
  #767
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Given To Fly View Post
I use a pair of Shure KSM141's and a pair of CM3's both with a DAV BG-1. (I bought all this stuff with absolutely no influence from this forum whatsoever. ) The Shures need about 32db of gain whereas the CM3's need about 50 db with all things being equal. Also, those gain numbers may be off by plus/minus 3 db but moral of the story: CM3's need more gain than most SDC's.
According to the manufacturer's data the difference should be around 7dB:

CM3: 6mV/PA = -44 dBV/PA
KSM141: 14mV/PA = -37 dBV/PA
Old 13th September 2013
  #768
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Few more samples of Line Audio SDC's. Four mics stereo array only, no spots. No processing other than HPF and dithering.
Absoultely beatiful recordings! Wonderful sound and performances!
Old 13th September 2013
  #769
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Few more samples of Line Audio SDC's. Four mics stereo array only, no spots. No processing other than HPF and dithering.
That pudding tastes good.
Old 14th September 2013
  #770
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren View Post
According to the manufacturer's data the difference should be around 7dB:

CM3: 6mV/PA = -44 dBV/PA
KSM141: 14mV/PA = -37 dBV/PA
My numbers were based off two separate events with some estimation thrown in. I probably shouldn't have said anything.
Old 14th September 2013
  #771
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Given To Fly View Post
My numbers were based off two separate events with some estimation thrown in. I probably shouldn't have said anything.
Don't beat yourself too hard

Actually I consider the low output of the CM3 as an advantage rather than a disadvantage. It gives you more headroom and allows higher gain, improving the preamp's EIN and CMRR. To take the opposite case for example - when I record live concerts with my DPA 2006a (40mV/PA!) I often use around 24dB of gain. On some preamps like the wonderful DAVs this actually means engaging the PAD button.
Old 14th September 2013
  #772
Old 14th September 2013
  #773
Lives for gear


2 CM3 overheads + 1 cm3 on snare?

What's the video setup? It looks like there were four camera angles on the drums? (although the distant shot from the back makes me wonder if you were moving around with the camera) Did you shoot all the video by yourself or have more operators? What cameras were used?

The drummer is awesome.
Old 14th September 2013
  #774
Thank you. Snare mic is an ATM450 sdc, but I didn't use it in the mix. AT M8000 dynamic on kick.

Five cameras: ensemble, bass (band leader), drums, camera op 1 (me), camera op 2 (student). Loaded all the audio and video in an hour-and-a-half (or was it an hour?) before the show.

Allison's solos are exceptionally musical, and I've had the pleasure to work with her before at the Kennedy Center with her group BOOM TIC BOOM: Allisonmiller.com
Old 14th September 2013
  #775
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Mats H's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
Thank you. Snare mic is an ATM450 sdc, but I didn't use it in the mix. AT M8000 dynamic on kick.

Five cameras: ensemble, bass (band leader), drums, camera op 1 (me), camera op 2 (student). Loaded all the audio and video in an hour-and-a-half (or was it an hour?) before the show.

Allison's solos are exceptionally musical, and I've had the pleasure to work with her before at the Kennedy Center with her group BOOM TIC BOOM: Allisonmiller.com
Very cool! How do you like the ATM450? I've been eyeballing that mic for quite some time now but never tried it. It's supposed to be quite useful as OH mic or the way you're using it, for over the rim drum micing. How does it work with acoustic instruments?
Old 15th September 2013
  #776
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
Line Audio CM3s on jazz drum solo: Allison Miller, drum solo, with Ben Allison Quartet
Wow, nice audio and video work!
Old 16th September 2013
  #777
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jnorman's Avatar
nice work Christian!
Old 16th September 2013
  #778
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elswhrco's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
Line Audio CM3s on jazz drum solo: Allison Miller, drum solo, with Ben Allison Quartet
Woah! GREAT sound!
Old 16th September 2013
  #779
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elswhrco's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Few more samples of Line Audio SDC's. Four mics stereo array only, no spots. No processing other than HPF and dithering.
Beautiful! PM'd you
Old 16th September 2013
  #780
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
Line Audio CM3s on jazz drum solo: Allison Miller, drum solo, with Ben Allison Quartet
What mic pres?
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