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Superlux S502MKII
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Superlux S502MKII

Hello everyone, this morning I found this new page on thomann's website :
https://www.thomann.de/fr/superlux_s502mkii.htm
Has anyone tried this improved version of the Superlux S502 ORTF microphone ? From the technical spécifications available online, it looks like Superlux was able to improve the self-noise performance by bringing it down to 15 dB(A) (instead of 18 dB(A) previously); but what about its sound quality compared to the original S502 ? What are the main changes made in the electronic circuitry ?
Thanks in advance,
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Got one today, not yet tried it - it's going back to Thomann because the right side capule is not aligned properly. The capsule construction looks different [smaller then mk1? and silver color]

The exterior color is the same black, and it has the the same 'slippery' touch [which caused my mk1 to drop on a stone floor].

Further construction seems to be re-designed.

To be continued ...


ps. checked the thomann site: pictures there differ from the shipped mic.
Attached Thumbnails
Superlux S502MKII-img-4122.jpg   Superlux S502MKII-img-4120.jpg   Superlux S502MKII-img-4121.jpg  

Last edited by heva; 4 weeks ago at 12:55 PM.. Reason: pictures
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heva View Post
Got one today, not yet tried it - it's going back to Thomann because the right side capule is not aligned properly. The capsule construction looks different [smaller then mk1? and silver color]

The exterior color is the same black, and it has the the same 'slippery' touch [which caused my mk1 to drop on a stone floor].

Further construction seems to be re-designed.

To be continued ...


ps. checked the thomann site: pictures there differ from the shipped mic.
Hello Heva, sad news for the improperly aligned capsule; that being said, I have always been pleased with Thomann's customer service. I plan to order one because one of the output transistors in my S502 MK1 has probably gone bad (I get distorsion in the right channel, even after interverting the XLR cables). I hoped I could repair it, but as I cannot do it myself it would cost me as much as buying a new one, so...
Apart from the capsule's alignment issue, what do you think of the "new" construction of the MKII ? Does it appear sturdy enough, or more "fragile" than the original ?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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The build quality appears similar to the previous one; it has about the same weight and the same slippery feel.
Capsule construction and connection to the main body is different.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heva View Post
The build quality appears similar to the previous one; it has about the same weight and the same slippery feel.
Capsule construction and connection to the main body is different.
Thanks ! They probably upgraded the capsule only; I suspect the electronic did not change so much, the specs being exactly the same - except for self-noise.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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freq.response is claimed to be different as well; probably inspired by the mods some of us made.
Check the [very long] thread on the mk1 next door; at the end I've posted some pictures of the internals found on the net .
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heva View Post
freq.response is claimed to be different as well; probably inspired by the mods some of us made.
Check the [very long] thread on the mk1 next door; at the end I've posted some pictures of the internals found on the net .
Yes, I remember reading part of this thread, I will look at its last posts thoroughly; I was also in contact with Jean30, who extensively modified his own S502. He advised me to buy a new one because the modifications are not that easy to make and cost a lot if made by a professional. I must admit I don't like to throw electronic material in the garbage, this is the reason why I wanted to repair the mic before buying another one - if only a transistor is faulty, it is disappointing not to try to repair the thing. Regarding freq. response, I was quite happy with the S502 MK1, apart from the highs (>12kHz) that sound too bright for my taste (especially when used on Nagra IV-S' mic preamps, on the Korg MR-1000's internal mic pres the sibilants were less intrusive). Now that my S502 has become unusable, I can onl rely on my trusty Line Audio OM1 - wonderful little omnis for the price.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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didier.brest's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momboisse View Post
I get distorsion in the right channel, even after interverting the XLR cables


S502 has a 5 pin XLR on microphone side to two 3 pin XLR on preamp side. If you invert the XLRs at L and R preamp inputs and still get distortion on the same channel (the right one), does not this indicate that the distortion comes from the preamp rather than from the mic ?
Or did you mean that when you invert the XLRs, you hear on the left channel of the preamp output the distortion coming from the same right channel of the microphone that you heared previously on the right channel of the preamp output ?

Last edited by didier.brest; 4 weeks ago at 10:13 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post


S502 has a 5 pin XLR on microphone side to two 3 pin XLR on preamp side. If you invert the XLRs at L and R preamp inputs and still get distortion on the same channel (the right one), does not this indicate that the distortion comes from the preamp rather than from the mic ?
Or did you mean that when you invert the XLRs, you hear on the left channel of the preamp output the distortion coming from the same right channel of the microphone that you heared previously on the right channel of the preamp output ?
Hello Didier, this is what I thought the first time I noticed the problem : I thought that the distorsion was coming from a faulty component in the Nagra right channel's mic preamp because, when I exchanged the cables (cable corresponding to the right capsule of the mic plugged into the left channel of the Nagra & vice-versa), I still got distorsion in the right channel. But the same problem appears with different preamps (Korg MR-1000, Zoom H4, etc...); thus I concluded that the issue is not linked to the preamp, but to the S502 itself. The distorsion occurs when there is a faint blow of wind, or when you touch the capsule; otherwise, the sound appears to be clean, even though I can hear a 2-3dB (approximately) lower gain in the right channel. This is the reason why I suspect a faulty capacitor or - as Jean30 told me - one of the output transistors. As I am blind, I cannot open the S502 and test its components with measuring Tools myself. If you know someone in France that could be ready to do it, it would be great.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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If you blow (even very softly) onto the capsule of a cardioid SD mic (and if the wind outside or aircon indoors does the same) this 'distortion' will occur. It is normal and natural...just stop doing it

If that is the only condition under which you notice this, it is a perfectly functioning mic.

This is why companies like Rycote make expensive fur covered capsule protectors and blimps for outdoor use ! You will get the same result if you blow onto a Schoeps, Sennheiser or other top spec/price cardioid mic...it's endemic to the species.

In the case of the S502, you could try using the included (low quality/thickness) foam windsocks. Depending on the intensity of the air blast, they may or may not help....I'll suggest most likely not.

I have encountered situations where even a sideways (angle to perpendicular) indoor aircon stream of low velocity air could not be prevented from causing that kind of distortion in my (original) S502.

It is a failing of the aircon system, and/or the user of the mic..not the mic itself
Ditto for tapping on the screen of the diaphragm, even very lightly indeed.

Give your microphone music, not anomaly....
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Before shipping back the mkii some pics with the old version for comparison.
Weight of mkii is less then mk1 [188gr vs 245gr].
Attached Thumbnails
Superlux S502MKII-0add7fc4-867d-45f9-8bb3-870002af9db5.jpg   Superlux S502MKII-ebd07fa8-0b39-40b8-b63b-5d17624e8404.jpg   Superlux S502MKII-c03876f9-50f9-4522-8a9d-5cd73d09c861.jpg   Superlux S502MKII-6e5ed6eb-5471-4420-bb83-6c8796ce0b62.jpg   Superlux S502MKII-eb2a2de2-67e7-4690-b70d-b3e4fe2ebfce.jpg  

Superlux S502MKII-18405adf-3c54-4cf6-876c-21ac40fa4929.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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didier.brest's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momboisse View Post
when I exchanged the cables (cable corresponding to the right capsule of the mic plugged into the left channel of the Nagra & vice-versa), I still got distorsion in the right channel. But the same problem appears with different preamps (Korg MR-1000, Zoom H4, etc...);
Whatever the preamp, whatever the microphone channel, left or right, linked to the right preamp input, the noise is on the preamp output right channel: that's weird...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Whatever the preamp, whatever the microphone channel, left or right, linked to the right preamp input, the noise is on the preamp output right channel: that's weird...
What's not weird is when Momboisse says "The distorsion occurs when there is a faint blow of wind, or when you touch the capsule; otherwise, the sound appears to be clean, even though I can hear a 2-3dB (approximately) lower gain in the right channel. This is the reason why I suspect a faulty capacitor or - as Jean30 told me - one of the output transistors"

As I mentioned above, the 'wind distortion' is entirely predictable and expected...the channel imbalance could be due to poor parts quality, circuit assembly or poor matching of capsule output ?

Remaining in the right channel...yes that's weird...I also had trouble with poor soldering of the XLR5 and 2 x XLR3 cable supplied with the original S502. It could be as simple as pin 1 tied or not tied to chassis on one side of the cable, or generally poor quality assembly of the connectors, even an internal fracture of the (new !) cable ?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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didier.brest's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
It could be as simple as pin 1 tied or not tied to chassis on one side of the cable, or generally poor quality assembly of the connectors, even an internal fracture of the (new !) cable ?
It does not explain why the issue arises always on the right audio channel, whatever is the cable branch of the Y cable plugged on the right preamp input (and whatever is the preamp).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
If you blow (even very softly) onto the capsule of a cardioid SD mic (and if the wind outside or aircon indoors does the same) this 'distortion' will occur. It is normal and natural...just stop doing it

If that is the only condition under which you notice this, it is a perfectly functioning mic.

This is why companies like Rycote make expensive fur covered capsule protectors and blimps for outdoor use ! You will get the same result if you blow onto a Schoeps, Sennheiser or other top spec/price cardioid mic...it's endemic to the species.

In the case of the S502, you could try using the included (low quality/thickness) foam windsocks. Depending on the intensity of the air blast, they may or may not help....I'll suggest most likely not.

I have encountered situations where even a sideways (angle to perpendicular) indoor aircon stream of low velocity air could not be prevented from causing that kind of distortion in my (original) S502.

It is a failing of the aircon system, and/or the user of the mic..not the mic itself
Ditto for tapping on the screen of the diaphragm, even very lightly indeed.

Give your microphone music, not anomaly....
Hello Studer58, and thanks for your comments. Indeed, I definitely know the properties of cardioid microphones, how to use them and the possibility of distorsion being introduced by air currents (even very faint ones); my ears are alsaccustomed to different kind of distorsions produced b different mics Under various conditions. But what caught my attention (when the problem occurred several weeks ago - I discovered it by chance, when someone who helped me settling the cables during a concert recording inadvertently touched the right capsue, and I heard this ugly distorted noise, whereas when he touched the left one everything was clean) was, that the left channel does not produce distorsion at all under the same conditions. I mean : with the same tapping (or faint wind blow), the right channel distorts, but the left channel is perfectly clean (even letting you hear the "ringing" tone of the grill protecting the diaphragm being gently touched). To my ears, the kind of distorsion produced is very different from the distorsion you normally hear when a capsule is overloaded by a sudden blow of wind. Moreover, the gain loss in the right channel (even if it is not a giant one) definitely tells us that something is going wrong inside the mic, IMHO. Here is why I would like to have the mic's components checked. Now, I completely agree with you : normally I only give music, bird songs or natural sounds to my mics; I am sarticularly cautious with my audio Equipment, and I use my ears with care, too, not being able to use measuring equipments. :D
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Whatever the preamp, whatever the microphone channel, left or right, linked to the right preamp input, the noise is on the preamp output right channel: that's weird...
Yes Didier, I found it really weird myself; previously the capsules were perfectly matched without any gain imbalance, nor strange distorsion (there was distorsion when an unforeseen air current touched the diaphragm, but not that kind of noise I encounter now). Studer58 may be right - the Y-cable may be defective, I ordered a new one from Thomann (of a different brand) to see if it solves the prob;em. BTW, I really think some component went bad in the mic, thus compromising the circuit.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heva View Post
Before shipping back the mkii some pics with the old version for comparison.
Weight of mkii is less then mk1 [188gr vs 245gr].
Thanks Heva for the pictures; so the new specs listed on Superlux's website are incorrect, as they state a weight of 245 grams for the MKII. I would not be surprised if other specs have been changed too, without these changes appearing in the datasheet...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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I must say it's depressing that the general standard of quality control of this mic (both old and new iterations) seems to remain static. This points to failure of scrutiny at the manufacturing side, since many of these faults manifest themselves on new items, just out of the box...not usage failure after several months in the field. They can't even get the XLR5>XLR3 cable right !

It would seem the improved specs of the 502 MkII are largely down to the substitution of the capsule, and nothing more than that ? The product seems to be built to 'brink of disaster mode'

The microphone, when working, fights above it's weight and price. Just as often, it seems, it fails early and disappointingly...which isn't at all redeemed by a low purchase price. Lift your game Superlux !
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I must say it's depressing that the general standard of quality control of this mic (both old and new iterations) seems to remain static. This points to failure of scrutiny at the manufacturing side, since many of these faults manifest themselves on new items, just out of the box...not usage failure after several months in the field. They can't even get the XLR5>XLR3 cable right !

It would seem the improved specs of the 502 MkII are largely down to the substitution of the capsule, and nothing more than that ? The product seems to be built to 'brink of disaster mode'

The microphone, when working, fights above it's weight and price. Just as often, it seems, it fails early and disappointingly...which isn't at all redeemed by a low purchase price. Lift your game Superlux !
Yes, their quality control is really disappointing compared to other brands playing in the same price range. When the mic works, it's a fantastic piece of audio equipment - mine performed flawlessly for 3 years and a half. When you consider the exceptional quality of Line Audio mics (tuned by hand in Sweden by Roger Jönnsen for an incredibly low price), it's impossible to understand why Superlux is not able to increase its quality control. I would strongly prefer to pay some more $$$ for the S502 if we could be sure that it has been carefully tested and checked.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Apart from the issue with the capsule housing (and the weight error in the booklet) my impression of look&feel is positive, it looks even more like the esteemed example.
I’ll wait for the replacement to see how mkii performs.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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gregor z's Avatar
 

Does anyone know whats the trimmer for ? Left right balance ?
Attached Thumbnails
Superlux S502MKII-img_9224.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Does it hold the xlr in place?
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RightOnRome View Post
Does it hold the xlr in place?
Yes, 100% correct, not a trim pot, just a set-screw/grub-screw....and one that needs tightening when you first unbox the mic, I found on the original S502
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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gregor z's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Yes, 100% correct, not a trim pot, just a set-screw/grub-screw....and one that needs tightening when you first unbox the mic, I found on the original S502
Thank you
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