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CM3 - really THAT good? Condenser Microphones
Old 11th July 2018
  #1801
Gear Head
 

I don't think film work is the best application for the cm3. I would choose a shotgun for better side noise rejection. You would need a very good shockmount as well because of potential handling noise. That said, I love my Cm3's!
Old 11th July 2018
  #1802
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jpgerard's Avatar
It will be difficult to get outdoors sounds out of the signal as the pattern is quite wide, at least at "normal" distances... but again, it all depends on conditions.
Old 18th July 2018
  #1803
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
I think the reason it came up is the the Schoeps MK41 is widely used in Hollywood for indoor dialogue recording, and since the CM-3 has been compared favourably with the MK41 here and elsewhere it's natural to wonder whether the CM-3 could compete in this application as well. I plan to test it; for outdoor work I'm using a Sennheiser MKH-8060 but I have a couple of CM-3s and will see how they fare for indoor interviews with the Sennheiser as a backup.
Exactly!
Old 18th July 2018
  #1804
Quote:
Originally Posted by Issadore View Post
I don't think film work is the best application for the cm3. I would choose a shotgun for better side noise rejection. You would need a very good shockmount as well because of potential handling noise. That said, I love my Cm3's!
"Depends"

I'm a professional sound recordist for film, and while I use shotguns a lot they're only one tool in my arsenal and I certainly don't use them all the time.
Old 18th July 2018
  #1805
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Issadore View Post
I don't think film work is the best application for the cm3. I would choose a shotgun for better side noise rejection. You would need a very good shockmount as well because of potential handling noise. That said, I love my Cm3's!
I've had the CM3's for many years and use them often...I will say that they are quite sensitive to mic-stand borne vibration, and really benefit from good shock mounting.

I'd imagine this caveat would be multiplied several x where film work is involved, either with boom pole or outdoor locations w/ wind buffeting ?

Whether this down to their extremely low mass body, or inadequate isolation between mic capsule and body I don't know...but there it is
Old 18th July 2018
  #1806
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I've had the CM3's for many years and use them often...I will say that they are quite sensitive to mic-stand borne vibration, and really benefit from good shock mounting.

I'd imagine this caveat would be multiplied several x where film work is involved, either with boom pole or outdoor locations w/ wind buffeting ?
I don't think anyone would use them outside; the Schoeps MK41 isn't normally used in outdoor situations for film either as far as I know -- these are mainly used for recording inside on set. On the other hand, I've tested the CM3 outdoors in a Rycote blimp with furry windshield and wind noise is minimal (and the blimp includes a shockmount).

I think the larger issue with respect to dialog recording is the CM-3's broader pickup pattern; they're "semi-wide cardiods." Still, they may be useful for some applications and certainly a more affordable option than the Schoeps for videographers with low budgets but high aspirations. ;-)
Old 19th July 2018
  #1807
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I've had the CM3's for many years and use them often...I will say that they are quite sensitive to mic-stand borne vibration, and really benefit from good shock mounting.

I'd imagine this caveat would be multiplied several x where film work is involved, either with boom pole or outdoor locations w/ wind buffeting ?

Whether this down to their extremely low mass body, or inadequate isolation between mic capsule and body I don't know...but there it is
Nah, you'd almost never ever use them outdoors.
And there are really good shock mounts we use which it could go on.
Old 19th July 2018
  #1808
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronFilm View Post
Nah, you'd almost never ever use them outdoors.
And there are really good shock mounts we use which it could go on.
It's also uncertain how they'd cope with humidity changes, in terms of crackling/popping...so on those grounds alone I'd go with more usual suspects like Sennheiser
Old 19th July 2018
  #1809
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
It's also uncertain how they'd cope with humidity changes, in terms of crackling/popping...so on those grounds alone I'd go with more usual suspects like Sennheiser
For outdoor dialog you'd normally use a shotgun like the Sennheiser MKH-416 or the 8060. The problem with shotguns indoors is if you are using a boom in a room with a low ceiling; the reflections present serious problems for shotguns which is why hypercardiods like the Schoeps MK41 are used indoors. The CM-3 would be the alternative in this case, but as I mentioned they're not hypercardiods so you'll likely pick up more than you bargained for. Still, if you can get them close with a boom they might work, especially if you also want to pick up more ambient sound at the same time.
Old 1st August 2018
  #1810
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CM3 fares quite well as a mono vocal spot, supported by a main pair of AB spaced KM183's overhead
Old 13th August 2018
  #1811
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jpgerard's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
It's also uncertain how they'd cope with humidity changes, in terms of crackling/popping...so on those grounds alone I'd go with more usual suspects like Sennheiser
So far, from years of sales... they're quite good when it comes to that. They're electrets, naturally more immune to those issues, more of a concern with DC polarized designs. But of course, as with any condenser... avoid sticking them in the rain!!!
Old 13th August 2018
  #1812
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
CM3 fares quite well as a mono vocal spot, supported by a main pair of AB spaced KM183's overhead
I enjoyed that studer. All around a beautiful color that matches the style quite well.
Old 15th August 2018
  #1813
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Thank you...and you know you're pulling in detail when a page-turn can be distinguished between plain paper sheet and a plastic sleeves folder
Old 15th August 2018
  #1814
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Thank you...and you know you're pulling in detail when a page-turn can be distinguished between plain paper sheet and a plastic sleeves folder
I want a mic that can hear page turns on an iPad.
Old 20th August 2018
  #1815
Lives for gear
Here's a recent CM3-only concert recording, of a Boccherini Quintet...in a nice acoustic with nimble playing, any page turns audible ?
Attached Files

Boccherini Quintet sample.mp3 (11.49 MB, 1522 views)

Old 4 weeks ago
  #1816
Lives for gear
Very nice !
CM3 tranlates well the good sound of the musicians.
A 320kb mp3 would have been also better.
And very nice interpretation.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1817
Gear Head
How does the CM3 work as a mid mic on a mid-side recording with a ribbon mic for the side? Has anyone tried it? I was wondering it because of the wide-caridoid characteristics (and because I'm a newbie, of course!)

Thanks!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1818
Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
How does the CM3 work as a mid mic on a mid-side recording with a ribbon mic for the side? Has anyone tried it? I was wondering it because of the wide-caridoid characteristics (and because I'm a newbie, of course!)

Thanks!
Okay, while I have the mics you describe, I have NOT tried what you describe with those microphones, but there are reasons why. I will first say I do not think it would make for a very good match for my purposes.

Often one seeks a side mic with a less exaggerated low frequency reproduction which the ribbon mic is NOT such a good candidate for... at least mine are not. And when I would like to experience full low frequency reproduction that a figure eight ribbon mic provides, I will use two of them together as a Blumlein stereo set---which I have done and I like it.

For my uses the "mid" mic should be cardioid or hyper-cardioid. the CM3 with its wide cardioid pattern is not something I would choose for the "mid" mic.

On top of all that, I doubt the CM3 and a ribbon mic would make for a very good match. I think they would sound too different from one another... for my tastes, based upon the mics I own.

All that said, if you own these mics, set them up and give it a shot.

If you are looking for a low cost M/S mic set, I humbly suggest this is not such a good option. I submit you should instead seek two closely matched ribbon mics or two closely matched figure eight condenser mics. Can you mix and match? Sure. But do not expect to acquire classic M/S results with a mixed set of mics with very different characteristics.

All this is my opinion on the matter based upon my experiences and the tools I use and what sort of results I seek. There, that is my GearSlutz disclaimer, which I sadly feel like I need to provide on here.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1819
Gear Head
Thanks for your response!
I own a pair of CM3 and I’m considering buying a pair of ribbons. My use is classical music, mostly strings and piano... and then I got curious if it would work or not
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1820
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
Often one seeks a side mic with a less exaggerated low frequency reproduction which the ribbon mic is NOT such a good candidate for... at least mine are not. And when I would like to experience full low frequency reproduction that a figure eight ribbon mic provides, I will use two of them together as a Blumlein stereo set---which I have done and I like it.
That's an interesting point about the LF character of ribbon mics (or is that for all fig 8 mics in general ?). I know that when used close in, the proximity effect of a fig 8 tends to be even more pronounced than that of a cardioid. But isn't that only with distances of 30 cm to 1 metre ?

My understanding was that, at greater distances, such as orchestral or chamber groups necessitate, the LF falls off rather more rapidly, even more so than with cardioid mics ? So you have this dual LF character for ribbon/fig8 mics...and a 'distance caveat' has to be invoked when discussing them in this context (esp for fig 8 purposes). I'm unsure about these assertions, I look forward to some clarification from those in the know.....
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1821
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathieujm View Post
Very nice !
CM3 tranlates well the good sound of the musicians.
A 320kb mp3 would have been also better.
And very nice interpretation.
Here's the Finale...at 320
Attached Files

Boccherini Finale 320kbps.mp3 (7.01 MB, 891 views)

Old 2 weeks ago
  #1822
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
That's an interesting point about the LF character of ribbon mics (or is that for all fig 8 mics in general ?). I know that when used close in, the proximity effect of a fig 8 tends to be even more pronounced than that of a cardioid. But isn't that only with distances of 30 cm to 1 metre ?

My understanding was that, at greater distances, such as orchestral or chamber groups necessitate, the LF falls off rather more rapidly, even more so than with cardioid mics ? So you have this dual LF character for ribbon/fig8 mics...and a 'distance caveat' has to be invoked when discussing them in this context (esp for fig 8 purposes). I'm unsure about these assertions, I look forward to some clarification from those in the know.....
NOT all figure eight microphones have the low frequency response typically demonstrated by ribbon mics. For example, the Audient Emmeser Figure 8 mic rolls off the low frequencies by a pretty steep margin.

As for diffused frequencies over distance, you do make an interesting point. It is my understanding this is generally a consideration for high frequencies, thus why the diffusion balls added to some mics bump the high frequency emphasis and why distance mics for orchestra are often selected for their modest but noticeable high frequency bump.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1823
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
As for diffused frequencies over distance, you do make an interesting point. It is my understanding this is generally a consideration for high frequencies, thus why the diffusion balls added to some mics bump the high frequency emphasis and why distance mics for orchestra are often selected for their modest but noticeable high frequency bump.
Yes that's a fairly well documented phenomenon, the HF losses over distance, due to air absorption or 'molecular collisions'...and hence the diffuse field eq-ing of mics to put a HF presence lift to counteract it (which effectively increases the distance the mic can be used from source, while still retaining detail)

Ribbon mics, being 'motors' are typically less sensitive to air movement than condensor mics...hence their lower output and higher relative noise floor (and thus explains the recent uptake of active ribbons, and the need for Cloudlifters etc.)

However, my reply was more querying the "LF knee point"...to use a compressor analogy... of a ribbon or fig 8 mic. In other words, where does it undergo the transition from pronounced proximity, to relative neutrality/flatness, and then onto noticeable bass roll-off ?

That seems to be the mercurial (and less discussed) performance quirk of the fig 8 mic....and I'm guessing that "knee" is squashed into a relatively small distance from source ?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1824
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rojaros's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
How does the CM3 work as a mid mic on a mid-side recording with a ribbon mic for the side? Has anyone tried it? I was wondering it because of the wide-caridoid characteristics (and because I'm a newbie, of course!)

Thanks!
In my experience a ribbon mic sounds nice as a side mic in a MS configuration, but is too noisy with very quiet sources (I have very quiet pres with lot of gain, so that's not an issue).

I have tried Samar VL37 with different condensers (LDC, SDC, but not yet CM3) and liked the sound on a classical guitar, but not the audible noise. (see also here: Ribbon Mic too noisy for the side in MS-recording !?)

When I have time I can check out the combo with CM3, but I also prefer mid mics with tighter polar pattern, generally.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1825
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jpgerard's Avatar
Yo, if I may:

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Ribbon mics, being 'motors' are typically less sensitive to air movement than condensor mics...
OK, word play Quite the contrary, and the main reason why they're so "fragile". They're pressure operated and need air to move the ribbon, which in turn generates a signal. Now, brutal air movement, like wind, is what I'm referring to. The condenser will react to much smaller pressure variations, being a much lighter transducer. The ribbon being much heavier, needs more force (acoustical) to get into motion. So the ribbon is more "sensitive" in that air movement will make it physically move and potentially damage it easier than a condenser, but the condenser will not only react to much smaller SPL variations, it can also take higher air movements. However, a ribbon can take high SPLs as long as the AIR movement is restricted. Confused? It's OK. It's confusing. You are correct stating that ribbons are less sensitive than condensers, in that "sensitivity" in the mic world is used to put a figure on a mic's output signal based on a given SPL. So obviously, all you have to do is boost the output of any mic to give it more "sensitivity" which has been used by some manufacturers using output transfos with higher turn ratios in their ribbons, giving more output in terms of dBs / 1PA but of course the motor is still as inefficient as other models. Another trick is a cheap active ribbon with, say 10dBs higher output than a passive model - but the cheap amp at the output just boosts the signal, perhaps adding noise and distortion. Hardly an upgrade... but the sepc sheets has a better "sensitivity" spec, marketing is happy, buyer thinks he's getting a better mic... but the S.N ratio is the same or worse... now, Adding to the confusion, the lower S/N ratio of the ribbon tends to drown low level details in noise, the condenser has the advantage of a higher S/N ratio yielding cleaner low level (low SPL) information to register and go through. So again - there's no miracle here, ribbons are inherently inefficient but loo, they're typically not worse than our beloved RE20's, MD441 and SM7's in absolute output per SPL (94dB SPL being the norm for measurements). Damn, long paragraph, sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
hence their lower output
Their lower output is mainly due to the inefficiency of the motor. That said as we all know, the actual output level is not a problem, the S/N ratio at the motor is more concerning. Condensers took over because they can generate a healthy signal way above the noise floor of the system, compared to a ribbon design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
and higher relative noise floor (and thus explains the recent uptake of active ribbons, and the need for Cloudlifters etc.)
Cloudlifters and Fetheads will never improve the S/N ratio of a ribbon mic: it's too late, the S/N ratio is fixed by the motor design. You'll get more gain, yes. you'll get a higher level at your preamp's input, so you'll avoid potential preamp noise issues, true. But it won't improve the S/N ratio of the ribbon mic. Active ribbons are passive ribbons with the equivalent of a Fethead/Cloudlifter etc. At its output. More level, yes, better S/N ratio, no. You need more efficiency from the motor to get better S/N ratio, it's the only way (unless you're tricky and stick an expander/gate at the output of the mic!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
However, my reply was more querying the "LF knee point"...to use a compressor analogy... of a ribbon or fig 8 mic. In other words, where does it undergo the transition from pronounced proximity, to relative neutrality/flatness, and then onto noticeable bass roll-off ?
It depends on a number of things and there's actually some graphs and data available online here and there as well as in most good mic books. Eargles's Microphone Book is great for that. Microphones by Borwick, great too. You're right assuming that prox. effect doesn't come into affect at a given distance from the source. For the typical good quality ribbon with proper loading, it's around a couple of meters. As you get closer prox. effect gently boosts the bass with a curve that is close to a first order passive filter in reverse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
That seems to be the mercurial (and less discussed) performance quirk of the fig 8 mic....and I'm guessing that "knee" is squashed into a relatively small distance from source ?
Also note that all Fig-8's aren't born equal. You'll get more prox. effect from a true fig 8: a symmetrical motor design ribbon, a true single diaphragm Fig-8 condenser. Offset ribbons and obviously, dual diaphragm condensers have different behaviour. As noted by another poster, yes, some Fig-8's have LF roll offs built in, either electronically, or in the capsule itself, acoustically.

So it is absolutely correct to assume that mixing a Wide Card. condenser with a ribbon / pure Fig-8 will result in a mismatch when setting up an M/S rig... not only because of the different prox. effects but also because the mics have naturally different responses with different resonant points and also different transient responses. But it's workable and a bit of EQ will yield interesting results. At longer distances, over a few meters, you could definitely get useable results.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1826
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jpgerard's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rojaros View Post
In my experience a ribbon mic sounds nice as a side mic in a MS configuration, but is too noisy with very quiet sources (I have very quiet pres with lot of gain, so that's not an issue).

I have tried Samar VL37 with different condensers (LDC, SDC, but not yet CM3) and liked the sound on a classical guitar, but not the audible noise. (see also here: Ribbon Mic too noisy for the side in MS-recording !?)

When I have time I can check out the combo with CM3, but I also prefer mid mics with tighter polar pattern, generally.
There are still a few true Fig-8 condensers out there - meaning single diaphragm capsules.

If you can't afford the relatively expensive true Fig-8 condensers and if you're bold enough, use 3 Cardioids: one for the mid, two for the sides, capsules as close to one another as possible in opposite directions, one being polarity reversed (so you get a Fig-8 pattern). With SDC's it's doable if the distance is appreciable as front/back SDC's will never have the same phase coherency as a good single diaph. capsule.

But Then you'd probably be better off with a dual diaphragm Fig-8 for the Sides.
Old 1 week ago
  #1827
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rojaros's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpgerard View Post
Yo, if I may:
...Cloudlifters and Fetheads will never improve the S/N ratio of a ribbon mic: it's too late, the S/N ratio is fixed by the motor design. You'll get more gain, yes. you'll get a higher level at your preamp's input, so you'll avoid potential preamp noise issues, true. But it won't improve the S/N ratio of the ribbon mic. Active ribbons are passive ribbons with the equivalent of a Fethead/Cloudlifter etc. At its output. More level, yes, better S/N ratio, no. You need more efficiency from the motor to get better S/N ratio, it's the only way (unless you're tricky and stick an expander/gate at the output of the mic!)
...
I can fully confirm that. I have Fetheads, Cloudlifters and Churchpipes here and they all make the ribbons sound different and interesting (probably has to do with how they interact with the preamps) but none of them improves the S/N of the mic ... if any, it can get slightly worse, because even very quiet preamps and buffer amps inevitably add their own kind of noise.

Yes, all these buffer amps are useful for not so quiet preamps following them so you don't go into the last segment of the amplification where things get especially noisy.
Old 1 week ago
  #1828
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jpgerard's Avatar
Right, now - if you're going to use very long cables... especially in noisy environments (RFI/EMI rich) it's obviously better to have a healthy signal level BEFORE the signal hits cable. So boosters help tremendously. I have customers using Fethead Phantoms on older condensers (old Calrecs, 451s, the odd unbalanced SDC, of course) to get a healthy, properly balanced signal before a long cable run, increasing S/N ratio at the cable's output (since the noise picked up is at the same level, having a higher level signal going through increases S/N ratio). But this is a CABLE issue, not a MIC issue. Again, you can't fix the noise of the mic with a device at the output of the mic.

Another popular fix where those boosters shine is with low quality preamps adding too much noise at the end of their range, with ribbons we need as much clean gain as possible and some mic pres just don't deliver. Having clean gain BEFORE the front end of the noisy mic pre will help.
Old 1 week ago
  #1829
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpgerard View Post
Right, now - if you're going to use very long cables... especially in noisy environments (RFI/EMI rich) it's obviously better to have a healthy signal level BEFORE the signal hits cable. So boosters help tremendously. ... Having clean gain BEFORE the front end of the noisy mic pre will help.
I record often at a large church in downtown NashVegas within shouting distance of a Mexican radio station in the AM band. Without Rode D-Plugs on my FatHeads, I get mariachi almost as hot as the Fauré after the 50' run to the snake, and 100' run to the back hallway... If I have time to do a full soundcheck (rare) I can put the BG8 on the platform and carry on without incident.

HB
Old 1 week ago
  #1830
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A little less Schantz and a little more mariachi would liven things up....
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