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CM3 - really THAT good? Condenser Microphones
Old 14th November 2014
  #1051
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antonemery View Post
Studer58, kind of a dumb question, but when you mean turn up the gain in my DAW I assume that means raising the level of the track with the volume slider after it has been recorded? I am using Logic X.

Room/computer noise could have also been my problem. If I have to turn up the gain more to get a hot enough signal with the CM3's won't it pick up more room noise compared to using less gain with my ADK A6's? I am in an extra bedroom with some acoustic treatment. I know my iMac produces some noise, and there is general house/neighborhood noise.

I'd like to give the CM3's another try. There is another thread here on GS with a classical guitarist comparing them to a 184 and I really cannot hear much of a difference. And i was thinking about getting a pair of 184's for $1000 on the local Craigslist.
Yes you're reading it right there, and DCtoDaylight adds more detail. So record at a lower input level to start with, so the peaks are tickling around -15 and then increase the recorded level afterwards in your DAW with a Gain Change. As you it's been noted, the wider cardioid pattern means you're collecting more of the room sound, and noise therein, than a tighter pattern.
Think of your recording input level as opening a window on a dusty, windy day...the wider you open the window the more air you let in, but the more dust as well !
Old 15th November 2014
  #1052
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Thanks folks. Ill try your advice and maybe post an example clip when I get the chance.
Old 15th November 2014
  #1053
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antonemery View Post

Room/computer noise could have also been my problem. If I have to turn up the gain more to get a hot enough signal with the CM3's won't it pick up more room noise compared to using less gain with my ADK A6's? I am in an extra bedroom with some acoustic treatment. I know my iMac produces some noise, and there is general house/neighborhood noise.
Gain does not affect the pick up ratio of direct to ambient sound. Directivity/polar pattern is what affect this.

There's no mechanism like that between dynamic and condenser mic's either which is often falsely spread on GS.
Old 16th November 2014
  #1054
At antonemery: I just wanted to mention, in case you did not already know this, the KM184 has a bright, high frequency peak. The CM3 is very flat. They really do not sound much alike. And of course, the CM3 is a wide cardioid mic.

It does need more gain than my other condenser microphones and when I am using the CM3s, I can hear the mic self noise show through sometimes if I need to crank them up. It is one of the flaws of the microphone, for sure. But for most things that I encounter, it is not an issue.
Old 16th November 2014
  #1055
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Hi! has anyone been using these as drum overheads? nice results when compared to other classic oh mics? Thanks!!
Old 16th November 2014
  #1056
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Thanks Puffer Fish. I did know that, mostly by reading what is said on the forums. I am hoping to have a friend come by soon who has a pair of 184's. I think in the future I want to be able to borrow or at least have the option of returning any mic that I buy.
Old 16th November 2014
  #1057
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jpgerard's Avatar
Antonemery, may I ask where you bought your CM3 if you didn't have the option of returning them? Both Roger at Line Audio and I are happy to take the mics back. Not that it ever happened to me, but first, EU laws stipulate that buyers have 14 days to return the items they bought if they change their mind, and I think it just makes sense... Re: noise, the CM3 has 16dBA of noise so obviously a KM184 will be quieter, with 13dBA of noise and a sensitivity of 15mV/Pa, a hotter output so again, you won't be boosting your preamp gain as much as with a CM3 and as such the S/N ratio at the output of the mic pre will be a bit better. That said, in practice, the CM3's noise is seldom a problem. If you need a higher output, quieter cardioid mic with a smooth response the MBHO 603/KA200 combo is the closest to the CM3 I have found so far but it's a lot more money than a CM3. It has a higher output at 20mV/Pa and 14dBA noise. The fixed capsule MBHO 440 is close to its higher priced brother but sounds a bit thinner and costs (roughly) only half of what the 603/KA200 or KM184 does, with a noise floor of 14dBA for 14mV/Pa sensitivity which is a pretty good average. The KM184 definitely has an elevated HF and a built in HPF and is definitely not "flat"... unlike the old KM84 which was much flatter throughout its response. Priced a bit under the 184 with a slightly bright but more linear response is the Beyer MC930. Noise is quoted at 16dBA like the CM3 but it's much higher sensitivity, at 30mV/Pa, will require less preamp gain than the above models resulting in a better usable S/N ratio. Then there are a few Audio Technica's with good specs but usually not terribly quiet either, or with noticeable treble peaks. Apart from those, AFAIK, you would need to jump to a higher price bracket to get SDC's with lower noise and still a flat/smooth response.
Old 16th November 2014
  #1058
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpgerard View Post
The KM184 definitely has an elevated HF and a built in HPF and is definitely not "flat"... unlike the old KM84 which was much flatter throughout its response.
Much flatter may be a bit exaggerated according to Martin Schneider from Neumann.

There is a comparison of the CM3 and the KM 184 here where the KM 184 souds a bit brighter than the CM 3 but not that much. Look at the frequency spectra of both tracks on the here attached screenshot (KM 184 in red, CM 3 in white). By the way, I realized by listening again to this test that the left and right channel of the KM 184 are flipped,which I have corrected for taking the screenshot.

About the built-in HPF of the KM 184 : where does your information come from and what is the corner frequency of this filter ?

Anyway it is not apparent in the attached screenshot. Any cardioid microphone has a tamed low-end response with respect to an omni microphone . It is a pressure gradient response feature, except at close distance where the proximity effect is involved, also a pressure gradient response feature. The KM 184 is not different from its siblings from Schoeps or DPA on this point. Here attached the frequency response of the KM 184, the Schoeps MK 4 and the DPA 4011. The DPA curve is flatter at low end because it is measured at 30 cm while the Neumann and Schoeps curve are measured at 1 m.

Here below the links to the 4 tracks of a shoot-out (the CM3 is not in this test, recorded 2 years ago, because it was just for the big boys. ) of the KM 184, the KM 143 D, the Schoeps MK 4 + CMC 6 and the DPA 4021, the compact version of the DPA 4011 (see attached picture). This piano piano piece has lows down to the G 49 Hz. Could you pick out this built in HPF of the KM 184 ?

track 1
track 2
track 3
track 4
key
Attached Thumbnails
CM3 - really THAT good?-capture-4.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-capture-3.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-capture-2.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-capture-1.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-dscf1085.jpg  

Old 16th November 2014
  #1059
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jpgerard's Avatar
Hi Didier!

I've learned to take the info that Neumann/Sennheiser give us with a grain of salt, as with any manufacturer today. That said...

Re: KM184 HPF, look at the 184 graph, then at the 84 graph (I'm sure you have one somewhere). Focus on the sub 200Hz part. The 184 (or the modular KM100 equivalent) will typically hit -4dB at 50 Hz. The 84 was pretty much flat down to 100Hz then shelved smoothly hitting -2 at 50Hz or so. The 184 is definitely voiced , IMHO, to allow to be placed closer to the source compared to the 84 (compensating for prox. effect). It's is most likley built in the capsule itself rather than in the head amp. I think Recordinghacks had a handy comparison graph. Let me look. Got it:http://cdn.recordinghacks.com/images...-frequency.png
So... yeah, you'd think that the difference could be audible

Re: cardioid response, you'll notice the Schoeps hits -2 at 50Hz. To me the difference between the same curve with -2 at 50 or -4 at 50 is quite noticeable. Not worse or better, but definitely there. Omnis obviously typically don't shelve down as there's no prox. effect to compensate for. Re: your comparison, the low cut of the 184 is, as you've pointed out, typical of other cardioids. My point was that the 84 is flatter overall compared tot he KM184, and anyone who compared the 84 and 184 side by side (assuming proper KK84 in good shape) as you must have done so at some points, will attest that the 184 has more 10K boost and a more obvious yet gently sloping sub 200Hz response. I was not implying that the 184 has a steep 12dB/Oct. electronic filter in its circuit or something like that. I recall comparing both my 84's years ago with a clean 184 (late 90's I believe) and the difference was, again IMHO, not "subtle" although that term is totally subjective. But of course, a touch of EQ could compensate quite easily... Also, I find the 184 probably more handy today because of it's more taylored response. Requires less LF shelving and top "enhancement" than the old 84, most of the time. Matter of taste, of course, again. So I'm not dissing the 184. Just pointing out the difference with the 84 which was/is a "flatter" mic, just like the CM3 is "flatter" than an MBHO 440.
Old 16th November 2014
  #1060
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Hi Jean-Pol !

Thank you for your detailed reply. Note that the attenuation of the MK4 at 50 Hz, as depicted by the frequency response plot from Schoeps attached to my previous message, is rather close to -3 dB than to -2 dB. It is only 1 dB less than for the KM 184. Not enough to me for implying that the KM 184 would be shy in the low end when compared to similar microphones, especially the emblematic MK 4 from Schoeps. At least, I do nor hear that at all in my piano test, even when compared to wide cardioid microphones (KM 143 and MK 21).
Old 16th November 2014
  #1061
nkf
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As if god would hit you with a massive thunderbolt if you touch EQ to tailor your mic recordings. EQ is in German "Entzerrer", which would be a good description here. I have four kk184s for my KMD bodies and I use them in practise like I would use a Schoeps MK4 (which I also own). And I would always prefer a microphone, with a vey 'similar' sound and overall quality, which takes higher SPL and has lower self noise.
Old 16th November 2014
  #1062
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jpgerard's Avatar
Absolutely. The slight low shelf included in most cardioid mics since, if I'm correct, sometime in the 80's, really helps getting cleaner recordings and I don't mind it. However, when distance mic'ing, it can make a difference and some users at least love Omnis because Omnis don't roll off the low end, giving more realism / power / definition in the bass compared to most Cardioids. The KM84 had a bit more "beef" in comparison and I'm sure it's a part of its appeal today. But I wouldn't be surprised if Neumann was about to release a limited run of KM84's. If they can bring back the U47FET, they can certatinly bring back the KM84!
Old 16th November 2014
  #1063
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jpgerard's Avatar
Yes - High headroom, good sensitivity and low noise are what the major mic designers all struggle for. For me, as a user... any SDC with >130 dB SPL capacity and a 16dBA or less noise floor will perform without worries - most of the time on most sources. For quiet stuff, I tend to prefer higher sensitivity, say above 12mV/Pa and noise at or under 14dBA. But for really quiet stuff a LDC is usually the simple fix and I get lazier in the studio so that's what I reach for The flipside of high sensitivity mics is typically a bit less headroom (but not sytematically) and more annoying, a higher output level sometimes overloading the following mic pre on loud sources. I recall several friends commenting about the TLM103 for instance being too hot on a lot of sources and the lack of pad didn't help... Of course inline pads exist for a reason and a lot of mic pres have pads but purist prefer as few features as required... it's a balancing act. One feature of the AKG C480 that I thought was brilliant was its sensitivity switch. It was not a simple pad, it really changed the dynamic range. Clever.
Old 16th November 2014
  #1064
Gear Head
 

I just spend few hours trying out recording my practice piano with a pair of CM3 - and it was quite a revealing experience.

First, I found that the piano really has to be in a good shape to sound well - this piano isn't that great at all, so it's pretty difficult to get a usable output.
Second, what I think matter the most, even more than what mic you use, is the mic placement - moving the microphone even few centimeres really changes the sound a lot! I tried a lot of placements, and I'm not realy sure what's the favorite one, but I guess I'll just go with close miking, to be able to add reverb later when mixing it with other instruments (the room with the piano isn't that great neither). I'm also pretty sure, that to record piano really well, one needs more than 2 mics.

I'll post some samples later...
Old 16th November 2014
  #1065
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vasikgreif View Post
I'm also pretty sure, that to record piano really well, one needs more than 2 mics.
There are a lot of examples that denegate this statement.
Old 16th November 2014
  #1066
Gear Head
 

Ok, here go the examples, with photos with mic placement. No editing done, except of slight panning... Sorry for sloppy playing...

What's your prefferred one, and would you have any other ideas on mic placement and making the sound better (the piano needs get tuned for sure.)
Attached Thumbnails
CM3 - really THAT good?-1.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-2.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-3.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-4.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-5.jpg  

Attached Files

background.wav (7.58 MB, 1746 views)

example1.wav (7.58 MB, 1845 views)

example2.wav (7.58 MB, 1840 views)

example3.wav (7.58 MB, 1809 views)

example4.wav (7.58 MB, 1792 views)

example5.wav (7.58 MB, 1938 views)

Old 16th November 2014
  #1067
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

I prefer example 2. With a bit of reverb and EQ in the lows, you could get something acceptable within the limits of your room.
Attached Files

example2_processed.mp3 (1.15 MB, 2076 views)

Old 16th November 2014
  #1068
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I prefer example 2.
Agreed. No. 2 is easily my favorite.
Old 17th November 2014
  #1069
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jpgerard,

I bought the CM3's from you. My friend liked them and offered to buy them for what I paid, so no loss there.

I really want to try a pair of the Beyer 930's. Maybe I can find a place to rent them.
Old 17th November 2014
  #1070
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I prefer example 2. With a bit of reverb and EQ in the lows, you could get something acceptable within the limits of your room.
Thanks didier. In fact, I cannot get that dark, as I need to mix this with the "background.wav" track. So, currently I'm trying to find a great natural reverb..
Old 17th November 2014
  #1071
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jpgerard's Avatar
Anton, that's what I thought - well of course if you found a buddy who wanted them it's ideal I'm fairly sure that most Beyer resellers will offer 14 days to return the mics. Some of the larger dealers extend this but you can't open the box, which of course doesn't make sense! Anyway, good luck with your mic hunt.
Old 17th November 2014
  #1072
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jpgerard's Avatar
Re: those samples, is it me or are there dynamic artifacts in all those files? to me it sounds oddly compressed. Regarding the placements, it's hard to tell which reproduces the instrement best. Samples 1 is a bit metallic, 4 a bit too fat to my ears, the others could probably all work but since I don't know what the original source sounds like... obviously your room is going to be a big part of the sound of your recordings, and it could be that what bothers me dynamically speaking is due to room size and reflections. I think you might want to treat your room a bit before spending more money on microphones.
Old 17th November 2014
  #1073
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpgerard View Post
Re: those samples, is it me or are there dynamic artifacts in all those files? to me it sounds oddly compressed. Regarding the placements, it's hard to tell which reproduces the instrement best. Samples 1 is a bit metallic, 4 a bit too fat to my ears, the others could probably all work but since I don't know what the original source sounds like... obviously your room is going to be a big part of the sound of your recordings, and it could be that what bothers me dynamically speaking is due to room size and reflections. I think you might want to treat your room a bit before spending more money on microphones.
Or buy a pair of your LRM1 ribbons.
these sound way better in a small room in my opinion.
so for piano LRM1>OM1>CM3
Old 17th November 2014
  #1074
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jpgerard's Avatar
I don't know, in a room that small, the reflections will hit the back of the mic anyway. I think that a hypercardioid would be better if no room treatment if possible. The best solution is probably to treat the room and may cost less than a pair of new mics anyway. Maybe?
Old 17th November 2014
  #1075
I have a CM3 and I love it (as well as JP's service in getting it to me!).

My favourite use for it is actually to mic larger drivers on bass cabs. While it isn't the 'biggest' sounding bass mic, it's stunningly flat response gives a great articulate growl, especially on 12" drivers. It is a revealing mic, so a bassist with sloppy finger work is going to get shown up, but besides that, I LOVE IT.

I often use it as a second mic on acoustic guitar as well, particularly to capture percussive elements from the guitars body. I've used it on some Hiphop vocals in the past as well, and it REALLY suited deep male voices. The only issue with this is it's quite sensitive to proximity and most MC's can't bloody well hold still. Very versatile and a firm favourite.

I run it into an Audient mic pre and they are certainly a great match up (very flat mic with a very flat pre).

For the money it's one of the best bang-for-buck mic's you can add to a studio inventory. Mines certainly not going anywhere, and I plan on adding a second soon.
Old 17th November 2014
  #1076
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I have a respectable amount of treatment around a Yamaha G3, but it is in a small living room, and I have never been satisfied with any recording in that room. Treatment may improve things, but a large piano in a small room is inherently a problem.
Old 17th November 2014
  #1077
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
I have a respectable amount of treatment around a Yamaha G3, but it is in a small living room, and I have never been satisfied with any recording in that room. Treatment may improve things, but a large piano in a small room is inherently a problem.
that's why I recommend a ribbon pair in a bad little room,
they totally reject sound from the side walls, and
sound way better when close miking than condensers do (cardio or onmi).

just try it and here for yourself.
Old 18th November 2014
  #1078
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I tried it with apex 205 ribbons as suggested in the ribbon madness thread.
Old 19th November 2014
  #1079
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
I tried it with apex 205 ribbons as suggested in the ribbon madness thread.
can't find that thread. what did you think about it?
Old 19th November 2014
  #1080
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I thought it was sheer genius. The living room in which I recorded is on a main street with plenty of vehicle noise. It is not acoustically isolated. I only have interior treatment, and vehicle noise is audible inside the room. By using ribbons in the mic configuration shown in the ribbon madness thread, the vehicle noise didn't come through on the recording.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/gear...=ribbon+drbill

Did my recording have that satisfying concert hall piano sound? No. Not the fault of anything except being recorded in a small living room, but grand pianos aren't exactly portable and probably many of us are unfortunately stuck with them in small rooms.

But as you suggested, ribbons can minimize some less than desirable room situations.
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