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CM3 - really THAT good? Condenser Microphones
Old 17th October 2017
  #1651
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Sorry for the delay. Slammed the past couple of weeks.

The Neumanns were A (ORTF), the Line Audio was B (NOS). If the responses have revealed anything, it's that the CM-3's can compete head-to-head with the 140's, at 20% of the cost. The mixes I sent to the orchestra folks were full mixes, with EQ and other processing, and with outriggers and spot mics added. Responses were mixed there as well, with a slight favoring of the CM-3's.

One thing I've found interesting is that some people felt the CM-3's were brighter, while to my ear the 140's are clearly brighter and the CM-3's warmer. The different perceptions may be partly due to the material being recorded. While there was no definitive answer here, my take is that I'll tend to use the 140's on lighter material and concertos, and the CM-3's on the bombastic stuff.

Thanks to all for listening and commenting.
Old 17th October 2017
  #1652
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jpgerard's Avatar
I know, I've also noticed contradictory comments on most A/B's... so; good conclusion. Thanks for the test!
Old 17th October 2017
  #1653
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spambot_2's Avatar
It's all my cheap headphones' fault, I swear
Thanks for the shootout anyway, much appreciated.
Old 17th October 2017
  #1654
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spambot_2 View Post
It's all my cheap headphones' fault, I swear
Thanks for the shootout anyway, much appreciated.
No worries. Because the two mics have different polar patterns and were placed in different configurations, it wasn't a true A/B comparison, anyway.
Old 17th October 2017
  #1655
thanks for the results, I think it's a question of listening environment, my monitoring is accurate enough to be able to hear a difference, however it's not a huge difference and if I hadn't have heard A then I'd still think B was acceptable, you basically get what you pay for, the best mics I've ever heard are DPA and schoeps for classical recording, but look at the price!
Old 17th October 2017
  #1656
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pencilextremist View Post
thanks for the results, I think it's a question of listening environment, my monitoring is accurate enough to be able to hear a difference, however it's not a huge difference and if I hadn't have heard A then I'd still think B was acceptable, you basically get what you pay for, the best mics I've ever heard are DPA and schoeps for classical recording, but look at the price!
Yeah, I'd love to have a pair of Schoeps, in particular, or even MKH 8040's, but there just isn't enough of this type of recording in my area to justify the expense. Of course, when have I really needed justification for spending gobs of money? This is Gearslutz, after all.
Old 18th October 2017
  #1657
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

My 10-years-long standing European summer vacation church music festival video/audio recording gig (which gig provided the impetus for a second NT-1, a NT-4, pairs of Gefell M296, MKH8040, DPA4061, and TLM193) ended in Coventry in 2010, after a boffo week in Rome in 2009 (12 venues in 6 days, with two of us recording and cam-opping) and I was left to wonder about the joy of additional "new" tools in my future.

Thanks to ongoing gigs with two private high schools (both with rooms requiring more-than-a-little help from mics selection) and a couple of local churches, a pair of CM3s and a quartet of 4099s have come to my rescue (the Gefells, MKH and TLMs were too brutally honest about the space... and both gigs require amplification as well as a recording) and allowed a couple of more "Oh, Boy!" moments when the UPS truck arrived. Alas, this may be nearly it...

...but I think I hear a Focusrite Thunderbolt interface (to replace a slightly wonky '08 Apogee Ensemble FW) calling my name...



HB

Last edited by hbphotoav; 1st November 2017 at 05:25 PM..
Old 29th October 2017
  #1658
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Vesta's Avatar
 

Hearing this last orchestral sample, I am left wondering why they even bother recording orchestras with so many mics all over the place. The stereo pair of the CM3 or the other mic provided the kind of full, rich sound you'd expect from a commercial release. The low end was there, I could hear the strings, the winds and the brass clearly, with good separation. I even compared this with some other recordings I have of major orchestras. This isn't far off.
Old 29th October 2017
  #1659
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
Hearing this last orchestral sample, I am left wondering why they even bother recording orchestras with so many mics all over the place. The stereo pair of the CM3 or the other mic provided the kind of full, rich sound you'd expect from a commercial release. The low end was there, I could hear the strings, the winds and the brass clearly, with good separation. I even compared this with some other recordings I have of major orchestras. This isn't far off.
Yes, I think there's good reason that most 'experts' seem to agree that the main front array is the critical element. There have been a few instances where I wished I'd had some woodwind or harp spots, but it's never been a disaster without them.
Old 30th October 2017
  #1660
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesta View Post
Hearing this last orchestral sample, I am left wondering why they even bother recording orchestras with so many mics all over the place. The stereo pair of the CM3 or the other mic provided the kind of full, rich sound you'd expect from a commercial release. The low end was there, I could hear the strings, the winds and the brass clearly, with good separation. I even compared this with some other recordings I have of major orchestras. This isn't far off.
Remember also that a great deal depends on the acoustics of the space in which you are recording. And other factors as well, for example in a reverberant hall with a live audience vs. a pristine recording studio, etc.
Old 30th October 2017
  #1661
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jpgerard's Avatar
Depends, doesn't it?

Are you a veteran and can you place the single stereo pair at the best spot with confidence? Are you a beginner and prefer to rent a bunch of mics to make sure you can change the balance at a later stage?

Do you have good monitoring to place the stereo pair properly, or are you guessing because you only have a set of cans (headphones) that don't offer enough isolation, or not option to monitor in a separate room? Or perhaps you can't trust what comes out of your HP's at all?

Is the customer (producer, orchestra, etc) known to have very specific ideas that may or may not match your decisions, making it difficult to work with a single stereo pair?

Are you confident recording a stereo track from a stereo pair with no chance of altering the direct to room balance? Or the balance of the sections of the orchestra?

I'm a fan of single stereo recordings but you need to be really knowledgeable and experienced. And when it's a paid gig... it's tempting to add mics to be able to change things around a bit later. Artificial reverb can help but only to a point... and it can be a pain programming a reverb to match an existing recording's room.

So both are good approaches, it depends on the project. It's quite amazing that some engineers out there go and put two mics on a stand and get it right with minimum effort (apparently!). It's also amazing how many mics some folks use and sometimes end up with less than stellar results.

I'm guilty of having used multiple mics as a backup instead of committing and being more confident. Then I've also regretted minimalist mic placement sometimes, with no real choice but to add reverb and try to EQ things to sound better. But facing a stereo recording with poor mic placement resulting in a bad balance of the source (or bad placement of the musicians!) is no fun
Old 30th October 2017
  #1662
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpgerard View Post
I'm a fan of single stereo recordings but you need to be really knowledgeable and experienced.
Or just dang lucky. I consider any success I've had mostly a product of divine providence. And this forum, of course.
Old 30th October 2017
  #1663
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jpgerard's Avatar
Takes more than luck especially if it's repeatable Experience is key. You can read about technique and mic specs all day, the proof is in the pudding. It's a learning process and usually once you've made a big fat mistake you don't do it again - that's how I function anyway. Experience works wonders.
Old 30th October 2017
  #1664
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G-Sun's Avatar
Saw you we're talking about cm3 on vocal,
so had to try it out.
CM3 + dbx676 = wow, really stellar sounding
Old 2nd November 2017
  #1665
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jpgerard's Avatar
Always try mics on sources they're not popular on. There's no reason why a very linear mic wouldn't sound good on, basically, anything.
Old 7th November 2017
  #1666
Gear Nut
Here is a recent jazz recording with a pair of CM-3 close miked on a drifting-out-of-tune piano. Unfortunately there is a lot of reverb in the sanctuary for jazz so I have to close mike as much as possible. I used a cheap Nady ribbon on the cornet to warm it up, that particular horn sounds nasal without it. I had a Shure Beta 58 on the cornet too, just in case I did not care for the ribbon mic. Shure KSM141s were on the overheads, a Shure Beta 57 on the snare, Shure Beta 52 on the kick, Shure Beta 58 on high hat, and DPA 4099 on the bass. The piano and horn mics were running through a D.A.V. BG-8 preamp and all other mics were running directly into the Antelope Goliath preamps.

I had an extra pair of CM-3s but I think they would have picked up too much room to be used as overheads due to the wider polar pattern. I would like to try them as overheads in a less-than-live room.

Old 7th November 2017
  #1667
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrshv80 View Post
Here is a recent jazz recording with a pair of CM-3 close miked on a drifting-out-of-tune piano. Unfortunately there is a lot of reverb in the sanctuary for jazz so I have to close mike as much as possible. I used a cheap Nady ribbon on the cornet to warm it up, that particular horn sounds nasal without it. I had a Shure Beta 58 on the cornet too, just in case I did not care for the ribbon mic. Shure KSM141s were on the overheads, a Shure Beta 57 on the snare, Shure Beta 52 on the kick, Shure Beta 58 on high hat, and DPA 4099 on the bass. The piano and horn mics were running through a D.A.V. BG-8 preamp and all other mics were running directly into the Antelope Goliath preamps.

I had an extra pair of CM-3s but I think they would have picked up too much room to be used as overheads due to the wider polar pattern. I would like to try them as overheads in a less-than-live room.

Sounds really nice! A very vintage ECM vibe. Not to distract from the CM-3 focus, but I'm especially impressed by the bass sound with the 4099. Where was it mounted?
Old 7th November 2017
  #1668
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
Sounds really nice! A very vintage ECM vibe. Not to distract from the CM-3 focus, but I'm especially impressed by the bass sound with the 4099. Where was it mounted?
Thanks Shawn! I used some of the vintage compressor and EQ hardware inserts from the Antelope interface. Their emulations do a pretty decent job. I used the iZotope Ozone tape saturation plugin with a 15 i.p.s. bias on the master stereo bus out.

For the bass I had the DPA mic pointed directly 90 degrees from the body under the strings in alignment with the center axis of the instrument. Since it's a live performance every Sunday I did not get much time for a sound check or experimentation. I may try to pull the mic a little further out from the body of the bass for a better overall "picture" of the instrument at the risk of picking up more bleed from the drums and point it off axis more toward the F hole. With the drummer and bass player liking to be practically on top of each other bleed is always hard to combat.
Old 7th November 2017
  #1669
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Very nice Chris! The players obviously feel very at home, comfortable together. The sound is nicely balanced, both in playing and the recording. And the composition is tasty too. Thanks for sharing
Old 8th November 2017
  #1670
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Very nice Chris! The players obviously feel very at home, comfortable together. The sound is nicely balanced, both in playing and the recording. And the composition is tasty too. Thanks for sharing
Thanks, they have played together for quite awhile. The trumpet player toured as a soloist for the Ray Charles orchestra for about 14 years. After listening to the song on some more sources I think it may be a touch on the dark side. I should have added in a touch more air on the stereo bus.
Old 23rd November 2017
  #1671
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Moke's Avatar
 

Old 23rd November 2017
  #1672
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrshv80 View Post
Here is a recent jazz recording with a pair of CM-3 close miked on a drifting-out-of-tune piano. Unfortunately there is a lot of reverb in the sanctuary for jazz so I have to close mike as much as possible. I used a cheap Nady ribbon on the cornet to warm it up, that particular horn sounds nasal without it. I had a Shure Beta 58 on the cornet too, just in case I did not care for the ribbon mic. Shure KSM141s were on the overheads, a Shure Beta 57 on the snare, Shure Beta 52 on the kick, Shure Beta 58 on high hat, and DPA 4099 on the bass. The piano and horn mics were running through a D.A.V. BG-8 preamp and all other mics were running directly into the Antelope Goliath preamps.

I had an extra pair of CM-3s but I think they would have picked up too much room to be used as overheads due to the wider polar pattern. I would like to try them as overheads in a less-than-live room.


Great! It reminds me of some of the Telarc Jazz CDs I have around: neutral, warm, and smooth.
Old 24th November 2017
  #1673
Gear Head
 

If one were wanting to experiment with M/S using a CM3 as the mid, what would be a good match as a side mic? Ideally in the same price range, but I suspect that is unrealistic.
Old 24th November 2017
  #1674
Audio technica AT2050 multipattern is a similar good bang for buck mic. Put it in bidirectional.
Old 24th November 2017
  #1675
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spambot_2's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moke View Post
this is from 2nd row center, from this past weekend. 20cm@110º wide-ORTF
I hope you'll enjoy.
I definitely enjoyed, if I had to offer an opinion on how to improve it, it would be about the performance instead of the recording.
Thanks for sharing!
Old 24th November 2017
  #1676
Gear Nut
 
Moke's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spambot_2 View Post
I definitely enjoyed, if I had to offer an opinion on how to improve it, it would be about the performance instead of the recording.
Thanks for sharing!
Well, thank you.
They are a volunteer community-based orchestra. They try hard, and their local community fan-base loves them.
I think the hall sounds nice; at least doesn't do anything too weird or overt to the sound. I've recorded in worse sounding, infamous good sounding halls.
I tried to post a pic of the venue along with the links, the other day. But, some forum software glitch kept that from happening. I'll try again.
This is the arrangement:
2nd row center, at 8' above floor level. So, probably 5'+ above stage. This puts me far enough back from the stage that the balcony perspective has the videographers angle with the mics at the legs of the conductor. Sort of a compromise for both of us; he gets video footage without overt mics in the center, and the sound tracks, and, I get video. The orchestra has links to the video on their website.
CM3 pair on center, and, DPA4060 on rabbit ear extensions that are velcroed to the same stereo t-bar.
Attached Thumbnails
CM3 - really THAT good?-dscn4157.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-dscn4170.jpg  
Old 24th November 2017
  #1677
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
Audio technica AT2050 multipattern is a similar good bang for buck mic. Put it in bidirectional.
Interesting - that's a LDC. I'll have a look.
Old 24th November 2017
  #1678
Quote:
Originally Posted by blwatlongwood View Post
Interesting - that's a LDC. I'll have a look.
Your budget is the limiting factor. In that price range you have a couple of ribbons like the Fat Head or the LRM2, but while a ribbon can sound great on some material, I'd hesitate to recommend a low-end ribbon as your first/only bidirectional mic.

The AT2050 is a nice, versatile, relatively transparent sounding LDC, and you get a lot of utility for your money. I bought a pair and use them a lot more than I thought I would.
Old 24th November 2017
  #1679
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moke View Post
Well, thank you.
They are a volunteer community-based orchestra. They try hard, and their local community fan-base loves them.
I think the hall sounds nice; at least doesn't do anything too weird or overt to the sound. I've recorded in worse sounding, infamous good sounding halls.
I tried to post a pic of the venue along with the links, the other day. But, some forum software glitch kept that from happening. I'll try again.
This is the arrangement:
2nd row center, at 8' above floor level. So, probably 5'+ above stage. This puts me far enough back from the stage that the balcony perspective has the videographers angle with the mics at the legs of the conductor. Sort of a compromise for both of us; he gets video footage without overt mics in the center, and the sound tracks, and, I get video. The orchestra has links to the video on their website.
CM3 pair on center, and, DPA4060 on rabbit ear extensions that are velcroed to the same stereo t-bar.
Sounds surprisingly intimate and balanced for that position. In the posted files, are we hearing just the CM-3's or a mix of the four mics? Hall only, or added verb? And what is that T-bar? I've been on the lookout for something wider that what I have in case I'm ever brave enough to try a Faulkner or Boojum/JNorman setup.

Does this feel like a press conference?
Old 24th November 2017
  #1680
Gear Nut
 
Moke's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
Sounds surprisingly intimate and balanced for that position. In the posted files, are we hearing just the CM-3's or a mix of the four mics? Hall only, or added verb? And what is that T-bar? I've been on the lookout for something wider that what I have in case I'm ever brave enough to try a Faulkner or Boojum/JNorman setup.

Does this feel like a press conference?
Those are the discrete cm3 two-channel stereo tracks, as 20cm@110º; Bone dry; nothing done, no edits, save for a slight gain added to compensate for the safety headroom in live mastering.
If you follow the Check for Other Copies link, you'll find the four-mic mixed version and the other discrete spaced omni stereo fileset.

The t-bar,...
A pair of dissected $1-store Rabbit Ear antennae.
I took them off of their base mount, and, found an all-thread rod connector ferrule that matched the diameter of the rabbit ears. I epoxied the thread rod connector to the ends of both extension, and added a male thread set to one of them, to create a break down extension. They join butt-to-butt, and extend outwardly away from each other. In total, they're good for about a ~6'- spanning.
I use #2 pencil eraser caps as mic clips. I split them down the center length wise, just far enough to get them split. They self-close back onto the mic cable, and hold it tenaciously. But, this is a DPA thing, not a CM3 thing.

I've been trying spaced omnis again, after moving away from them many years ago. I find that a baffle and having omnis closer together is a far better way to go than having spaced omnis hearing too much of each other; A personal preference thing. But one based on many many years of comparative listening.

As far as trying to attach a name to what are normal mic stereo arrays, for notoriety, or whatever motivation there is, I just call them as I use them. Make notes, listen, revise, try again,... start cycle over. Listen and learn.

T-Bar - DIY fishing wader neoprene pouch - all-thread rod ferrules and male thread - pass through Manfrotto MiniClamp.
The rabbit ears also velcro well to the stereo t-bar, like in the above images.
Attached Thumbnails
CM3 - really THAT good?-dscn4200.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-dscn4201.jpg   CM3 - really THAT good?-dscn4202.jpg  

Last edited by Moke; 24th November 2017 at 11:52 PM..
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