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Only can keep one pair of microphones
Old 26th December 2018
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Only can keep one pair of microphones

If you are only allowed to keep one pair of microphones with you, any microphone at all, for the rest of your recording career, what will you keep?


Feel free to give your reason.
Old 26th December 2018
  #2
Gear Nut
CMC5 + MK5.....

Second choice, TLM170R.
Old 26th December 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
Cmc64s
Old 26th December 2018
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

I went through this exercise early last year and ended up with a matched pair of Sennheiser MKH800s.

That purchase was the result of an objective process of elimination followed by a LOT of Googling and asking around. Not many people have them (so expensive), making it hard to find much user information or feedback about them. I had never used them or handled them before my purchase. I gathered a lot of opinions from people I respected and, more importantly, whose sound aesthetic I understood so I knew what they valued and what they didn’t - which really helped me put their comments into perspective. Then one acquaintance sent me an excerpt of a recording he made with them of an ensemble I had recorded a few times before, in a concert hall I had made dozens of recordings in, along with details of his mic technique and placement. That ‘reference’ recording was the deal maker for me.

Here was my process of elimination to arrive at my ‘desert island selection’.

1) They had to be immune to humidity, because I do a lot of recording in tropical climates. My Schoeps MS pair (CCM4/CCM8) was excellent, sonically, but terrible in humidity - crackling, spitting and carrying on. A lot of other mics do that as well in humidity.

2) They had to be versatile. I’d learnt that any given single miking technique was not going to work for all the situations I record in. I love the Schoeps MS pair, for example, for many reasons, but there were times when a coincident pair of any type was not appropriate. So that ruled out an MS pair, and also any of the all-in-one coincident stereo mics on the market.

3) They had to have excellent off-axis response. After using Schoeps and DPAs for so long, a good off-axis response was super important to me. It makes all the difference in the world between background noises being more or less obtrusive. That might sound counter-intuitive but when background sounds are captured with similar tonality to the sound source, they don’t seem as obtrusive as when they are dull or muffled due to a poor off-axis response. A lot of my recording is in areas where there are occassional background sounds like goats, chickens, motorbikes, kids, mobile phones and so on. These sounds are often unavoidable so the goal is to try and reject them as much as possible with polar response choices while at the same time ensuring that what does leak in sounds clean and intentional. A good off-axis response helps a lot in that situation.

4) Low self-noise because I often record very soft sounds...

I ended up in a situation where the MKH800s satisfied (1), (2) and (4) above, but I was dismissing them due to being dual diaphragm and therefore assuming they were not as good off-axis response as single diaphragms. BUT they are a smaller diaphragm and when I looked at the off-axis responses I realized they were comparable to single diaphragm mics. Not better or worse, just different due to being side-address rather than end-address.

So that’s how I ended up with them. I’m very happy with the decision. Five different polar responses, satisfy my four requirements and also weigh next to nothing (important for me as a traveler). They’re not the best mics for everything (I’m considering ribbons for my next sessions in Bali because it’s mostly loud pecussive metallic instruments, perfect for ribbons), but they never fail to deliver an acceptable result.

The question I’d like to ask you is “why are you looking for a single pair?”

For me, it was all about getting my rig down to something as small, light, versatile and high quality as possible. I’m using the MKH800s with a Nagra 7, which only has two mic inputs. If that ‘desert island rig’ was based around a recorder with four XLR inputs, I would’ve considered the MKH800 Twins instead.

Last edited by Simmosonic; 26th December 2018 at 06:06 AM..
Old 26th December 2018
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmosonic View Post
The question I’d like to ask you is “why are you looking for a single pair?” For me, it was all about getting my rig down to something as small, light, versatile and high quality as possible. I’m using the MKH800s with a Nagra 7, which only has two mic inputs. If that ‘desert island rig’ was based around a recorder with four XLR inputs, I would’ve considered the MKH800 Twins instead.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


Well, I have so many different microphones in my locker which also happen to include the MKH800s and Twins, so, this is not a question I need it to be answered for myself, per se. I like to have you guys/girls to share your reason for your "desert island" microphones.
Old 26th December 2018
  #6
Lives for gear
 
hbphotoav's Avatar
 

From my collection, MKH8040 pair. They are nearly as full-range response as my M296 pair, and I need ORTF more often than AB omni (not a lot of great sounding rooms amongst my clientele). The rest were purchased primarily for use as spots (TLM193 and CM3) and lav/close mic’ing assignments (4061/4099), or for use in PA work (most everything else). 90% of my recording gigs (not involving PA) could be handled with 8040s... my “Swiss Army” pair.

HB
Old 26th December 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
 
hughesmr's Avatar
From my collection, my Schoeps MK21 pr. My desert island mics. Just lovely on most anything I can throw at them. Surely not the best in every situation, but by far the best compromise mic I own (no, I have no multi-patterns in my collection)
Old 26th December 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 
fred2bern's Avatar
Sennheiser MKH800 Twins pair for me.
Not the best I have, but I can use these microphones everywhere and get something good, no matter the acoustics.

Fred.
Old 26th December 2018
  #9
RPC
Gear Addict
Another vote for MKH800s here. I have a pair each of the regular and Twin; which I'd include would depend on how many channels of recording you'd allow me. The Twins and a Mixpre-6 would let me do all the classic configurations plus saleable surround work. While they're not always the first mikes I'd choose (many of the ensembles I record benefit from something a bit less revealing), they're usually in the bag in case choice #1 doesn't work.
Old 26th December 2018
  #10
Gear Addict
 

MKH800 seemed to make a lot of sense.
Old 26th December 2018
  #11
I’d go with Schoeps switchables, mk5 or m934c.
Old 27th December 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Tommy-boy's Avatar
 

Schoeps mk5s. Card or omni covers a lot of ground. Slight hf lift is good for recording from a distance for ensembles and orchestras. Sound qulity is excellent. Plenty of detail, yet no harshness. I dont record in humid environments, so no worries on that front for me.

Also, i like the accessories. The ortf bar that just the capsules fit into is excellent. I often separate the capsule from the cmc6 bodies to have a very small visual impact when recording live events.


I own two pairs of mk5s and i take them out almost every time.

Tom
Old 27th December 2018
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
Pair of Schoeps CMC62--Rens Heijnis modified to work on 60 volts.

The MK2 capsule is the best capsule in the world.

The above is a REAL microphone. (under the definition of Onno Scholze)
Old 27th December 2018
  #14
I'd keep a pair of those high speed 460B transformerless mics. Then I'd build some more from scratch if I couldn't buy.
Old 27th December 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
Pair of mkh 30 s

Till my black pair of mkh 800 arrive.
Old 27th December 2018
  #16
Lives for gear
DPA 4003 130V omni mics. Always sounds great. Silence is inky black - low noise floor, and high spl.
Old 27th December 2018
  #17
Lives for gear
 

soundfield!
Old 27th December 2018
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
soundfield!


Soundfield gives you great versatility. But, you think it gives you the best sound? (Subjectively speaking, of course.)
Old 27th December 2018
  #19
4006 would be my choice, but on second thoughts: better to keep a pair of 4011 as they are more allround in any acoustics.
And I think they are some of the best microphones ever made.
Old 27th December 2018
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
4006 would be my choice, but on second thoughts: better to keep a pair of 4011 as they are more allround in any acoustics.
And I think they are some of the best microphones ever made.
Perhaps a way then to resolve this tie in chivalrous manner would be to choose instead the 4015? I know that some regard the 4006[*] as DPA's only great microphone (the omni capsule still being fabricated by B&K) but personally I find a lot of family resemblance in 4006-4015-4011 and I think the 4015 is a lovely sibling, with the wide cardioid pick-up and almost undiminished low bass a superb combination.
[*] or the 4003 is you're friends with Colin Clive and have a handy neighbourhood windmill to generate your 130V.
Old 27th December 2018
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
Soundfield gives you great versatility. But, you think it gives you the best sound? (Subjectively speaking, of course.)
your bringing up an interesting topic, full of myths and personal preferences though - several topic actually: one would be the combination of mic and mic pres (add converters), another depending on the kind if work (i'd happily keep my u67 with a summit mic pre and crane song converter if i'd be about recording monophonic sources, two sanken cos-11 and a sound devices recorder for interviews on location or maybe sell a kidney to keep more than two schoeps etc.)...

more seriously: i once taped together a a b&k and schoeps sdc to record several instruments (and singers) in a very large studio i have access to (and which mostly gets used for live shows of amplified music these days; capacity of 1200 to give you an idea on the size)), mic pres got the same setting for both channels (within 0.1dB), signals got converted to digital (using all high quality gear), fed to a daw and out to a 2-channel fft; i then adjusted levels and eq within a fraction of a dB using a highly sophisticated speaker processor and gues what - none of the musicians, recording engineers, assistants, the conductor or producer could tell a difference, even though the two mics 'sound' differently and i'm pretty sure that the pickup patterns are not excately the same...

so: do i bother for a small difference between several high quality mics? not at all! of course when setting up mics, i mostly start out with a selection of mics (i prefer mixing several brands) which (based on my experience) i think they might perform well in a specific situation/position.

however, after spending several years working in sound development of manufacturer of musical instruments, discussing results with musicians, engineers, composers, conductors (and also randomly chosen listeners), i'm pretty much convinced that one cannot separate sound and function - while i can easily adjust the sound of any given mic (i'm not much of a advocate of some 'puristic' approach), it's a bit tough to mimic the design and function of a soundfield mic and the plugins, hence my choice.

i wish though there would be a high quality version with digital outputs straight from the mic...

all the best for 2019 to you all!
Old 28th December 2018
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
your bringing up an interesting topic, full of myths and personal preferences though - several topic actually: one would be the combination of mic and mic pres (add converters), another depending on the kind if work (i'd happily keep my u67 with a summit mic pre and crane song converter if i'd be about recording monophonic sources, two sanken cos-11 and a sound devices recorder for interviews on location or maybe sell a kidney to keep more than two schoeps etc.)...

more seriously: i once taped together a a b&k and schoeps sdc to record several instruments (and singers) in a very large studio i have access to (and which mostly gets used for live shows of amplified music these days; capacity of 1200 to give you an idea on the size)), mic pres got the same setting for both channels (within 0.1dB), signals got converted to digital (using all high quality gear), fed to a daw and out to a 2-channel fft; i then adjusted levels and eq within a fraction of a dB using a highly sophisticated speaker processor and gues what - none of the musicians, recording engineers, assistants, the conductor or producer could tell a difference, even though the two mics 'sound' differently and i'm pretty sure that the pickup patterns are not excately the same...

so: do i bother for a small difference between several high quality mics? not at all! of course when setting up mics, i mostly start out with a selection of mics (i prefer mixing several brands) which (based on my experience) i think they might perform well in a specific situation/position.

however, after spending several years working in sound development of manufacturer of musical instruments, discussing results with musicians, engineers, composers, conductors (and also randomly chosen listeners), i'm pretty much convinced that one cannot separate sound and function - while i can easily adjust the sound of any given mic (i'm not much of a advocate of some 'puristic' approach), it's a bit tough to mimic the design and function of a soundfield mic and the plugins, hence my choice.

i wish though there would be a high quality version with digital outputs straight from the mic...

all the best for 2019 to you all!




I think in general, SDC omni are quite easy to be manipulated into sounding similar to one the other. They all have good low-end extension so they basically behave identically in that department. Since they are small in diameter, they all have pretty good dispersion pattern. For most part, a good EQ matching plugin can get them fairly close. So, I am not entirely surprised you can “fake” your way out of using one DPA and one Schoeps as a stereo pair. Actually, you can get them really close if you use convolution technique.

If I could only take one pair of microphones, one thing for sure, I would not have picked anything LD. LD microphones are simply not versatile enough and for most part they don’t sound good used as a main pair.

In regard to your wish of having digital out for any microphones, I worry that whatever AD converter built into a microphone it will be considered obsoleted by the time it hits the market, or shortly after. It cuts down the longevity.
Old 28th December 2018
  #23
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
I love my DPAs but that would mean a choice between omni and cardioid so I would pick my Schoeps CMC55.

Maybe, the CMC521 which sound pretty great on just about everthing.

Hmm.

D.
Old 28th December 2018
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
I think in general, SDC omni are quite easy to be manipulated into sounding similar to one the other. They all have good low-end extension so they basically behave identically in that department. Since they are small in diameter, they all have pretty good dispersion pattern. For most part, a good EQ matching plugin can get them fairly close. So, I am not entirely surprised you can “fake” your way out of using one DPA and one Schoeps as a stereo pair. Actually, you can get them really close if you use convolution technique.

If I could only take one pair of microphones, one thing for sure, I would not have picked anything LD. LD microphones are simply not versatile enough and for most part they don’t sound good used as a main pair.

In regard to your wish of having digital out for any microphones, I worry that whatever AD converter built into a microphone it will be considered obsoleted by the time it hits the market, or shortly after. It cuts down the longevity.
i was comparing single cardioids (as i hardly ever use omnis) and so far did not try to use different mics for a stereo pair, but since you brought it up... :-)

i don't agree on ldc's: the tlm170r is pretty hard to beat in many regards (i've been using some as additional mics in a multitude of applications where one would traditionally use sdc's just to compare and often went with the ldc's) - my pick for favourite mics would be a pair of those if i wouldn't have chosen the soundfield.

i also got a different view on 'digital' mics: the neumann solution d series has been serving me very well for a couple of years (i actually prefer to use them over the analog versions even though they rend some of my expensive mic pres and and converters useless) and i assume i'll be using pcm for another couple of years (and some of my 'old' converters hold up very well to newer designs)...

but hey, everone's got his/her own preferences; i encourage everyone to go with what's right to his/her ears (sound) and with what works well (function).
Old 28th December 2018
  #25
Lives for gear
In the hypothetical “you only get to keep two mics” world, I’d have to say MKH800. But in the real world, 6 MKH (2xMK20, 2xMKH30, and 2xMKH40) in those Rycote tubes doesn’t really take much more space than a pair of MKH800. And along with a Nagra VI/EMP or SD788, you have a compact system, that sounds great, can withstand the rigors of transport, rough handling, climatic extremes, and be relied upon to deliver professional results in an almost unending variety of real-world situations.

Last edited by bwanajim; 28th December 2018 at 02:28 AM..
Old 28th December 2018
  #26
Lives for gear
 

I woud choose a pair of Sonodore 65 for working in a wide variety of recording situations with a balanced frequency response and coherent stereo image.

Senn 800 or Schoeps 21 are great tools but add a lot of character sound for
use as a main pair.
Old 28th December 2018
  #27
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
Schoeps 21 are great tools but add a lot of character sound for
use as a main pair.
Hmmm.

D.
Old 28th December 2018
  #28
Lives for gear
I could make a pair of Line Audio CM3 work for me in a lot of situations, with some help from a low noise preamp, wind protection (for outdoor use) and a good pair of shock mounts (or a single one used around a stereo bar)

Alternatively, I could also make good use of Rode NT5 Omni pair for distant work, or MKH8020 for closer placement. Hard to choose between the pairs, as different settings dictate different mics...
Old 28th December 2018
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Pk View Post
Perhaps a way then to resolve this tie in chivalrous manner would be to choose instead the 4015?
The 4015? Wonderful microphone, IMHO. I had a situation around the turn of the century where I was ‘stuck’ with a matched pair of 4015s for some time while my other mic (a Royer SF12) was off for repairs. I really grew to love them, they did so many things well and were, for me, a kind of ‘on ramp’ to DPA’s 4041 - I had a matched pair of those for about a decade. Limited versatility but when they’re the right microphone for the job nothing else comes remotely close in my experience.
Old 28th December 2018
  #30
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whippoorwill's Avatar
I think mkh30/30 is one of the best all-round solutions (never heard the mkh800).
It provides a very clear accurate sound and it doesnt sound harsh up close despite being an SDC. Very useful for voices and it has a nice present thickness to the sound and I like to roll off the EQ for up close. At a distance it gets a bit grey and it has a bit of hardness like all of the mkh series, the mid texture can be a little impenetrable.
My Schoeps MK2 pair are my most used for up close as they are far more open sounding and neutral. Schoeps mk21 can be harsh/bright up close but cuts through complex sound sources nicely. Particularly sharp on-axis. Slightly bass light in comparison to the mk2. Those are my three favourite pairs (4 with ka40) in my small collection.
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