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RODE microphone factory video tour
Old 19th October 2011
  #31
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Bibster's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
TNow, if Michael can do this and have a revenue stream from it why hasn't Rode improved their product?Thanks for any insight on this.
There is a lot of gear that is 'upgraded' or modded this way, sometimes there's only for pennies of new components in there...
I don't get why the manufacturers didn't put those (better) components in there in the first place?

I think the answer is money (as usual), but...
Spending 32c more on a device of which you sell (say) 100.000 is 32.000$... Now is that SO much on the total cost (of which I honestly have no idea) ?
OTOH: Once the device is 'better' you could sell it 5 bucks more expensive?

Of course, one (a company) has to stop somewhere: Once the 32c component is in place, there might be another 2$ piece etc. etc. etc.

So, they decide to go only 'that far' in optimising ?

your thoughts on this ?

P. (In no way an economist!)
Old 19th October 2011
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caramel View Post
I know that they manufactured in china in the early days, but have they not been making everything in OZ for at least a decade?
When I did the design on the original NT-2 mics in the mid 1990's the metal work and capsules came from China. The pcb's were made in Oz. Transistors from Hitachi and Siliconix were imported to Oz. Wima film caps came from Germany.

All the metal work and assembly is done in Oz now. The pcb parts come from various Asian sources. There are no more Wima film caps, Roederstein metal film resistors and Siliconix JFETS. Compare the sound of a 1999 NT-2 or NT-1 to a current model to hear those sonic differences.
Old 19th October 2011
  #33
Gear Head
 

Great video and I appreciate all the technical wizardry, such as all the automation, like any other geek would. However, with regards to the actual video content, I would have preferred to see more in the area of design and audio quality. After all, how good the end product performs is the most important part. Then you could reinforce the message with all the other stuff in the video.

My 1/2 cent.

//Tomi B.
Old 20th October 2011
  #34
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mljung's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
When I did the design on the original NT-2 mics in the mid 1990's the metal work and capsules came from China. The pcb's were made in Oz. Transistors from Hitachi and Siliconix were imported to Oz. Wima film caps came from Germany.

All the metal work and assembly is done in Oz now. The pcb parts come from various Asian sources. There are no more Wima film caps, Roederstein metal film resistors and Siliconix JFETS. Compare the sound of a 1999 NT-2 or NT-1 to a current model to hear those sonic differences.
A little off topic - I have the original NT-2.

The capsule is bright, but I wonder how it would be as a fig-8 mic, both because fig-8 usually have a roll-off, that could potentially work with that capsule and because I really like that pattern.

Jim, since you did the design, is there a simple modification to turn the omni-mode into fig-8..? And for curiosity reasons alone, why wasn't NT-2 designed to have a fig-8 pattern in the first place..?

::
Mads
Old 20th October 2011
  #35
To generate a figure 8 pattern you will need to install an extra DC converter stage that provides -60 volts to the rear capsule. The design has a + 60 volt bias that will not create that pattern. Since the backplates are connected you can't float one side and reverse the bias, that would do figure 8 with + 60 volts only. It will sound just like the cardiod position in front anyway. The capsule has a large resonance at 12k hz. That would need to be damped without the expense of losing 20 k hz. That requires a steep filter design. Best to use another mic if that sound won't cut it.
Old 20th October 2011
  #36
Lives for gear
Relentless selling.....

Ive seen that machinery at SSL and Calrec but without the Car Salesman.

Where was RnD ?

Its not enough to duplicate or replicate.
Old 21st October 2011
  #37
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mljung's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
To generate a figure 8 pattern you will need to install an extra DC converter stage that provides -60 volts to the rear capsule. The design has a + 60 volt bias that will not create that pattern. Since the backplates are connected you can't float one side and reverse the bias, that would do figure 8 with + 60 volts only. It will sound just like the cardiod position in front anyway. The capsule has a large resonance at 12k hz. That would need to be damped without the expense of losing 20 k hz. That requires a steep filter design. Best to use another mic if that sound won't cut it.
I see, it's quite a bit more complicated than I hoped for - thanks for explaining!

::
Mads
Old 21st October 2011
  #38
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bibster View Post
There is a lot of gear that is 'upgraded' or modded this way, sometimes there's only for pennies of new components in there...
I don't get why the manufacturers didn't put those (better) components in there in the first place?

I think the answer is money (as usual), but...
Spending 32c more on a device of which you sell (say) 100.000 is 32.000$... Now is that SO much on the total cost (of which I honestly have no idea) ?
OTOH: Once the device is 'better' you could sell it 5 bucks more expensive?

Of course, one (a company) has to stop somewhere: Once the 32c component is in place, there might be another 2$ piece etc. etc. etc.

So, they decide to go only 'that far' in optimising ?

your thoughts on this ?

P. (In no way an economist!)
Yeah, why sell a mic which is generally regarded as shrill? Maybe, as you point out, at this price point it is a good buy. OTOH, Rode could goose it up and sell it as a different, and better mic. I am sure that they have looked at all these options. Maybe Michael Joly is someone's brother-in-law and they want to fatten him up a bit. Just joking.

Disclaimer: I have a pair of the Joly modded NT1-A's but have not run them much. I would like to run them against a pair of Schoeps CMC64's and Peluso CEMC6's just to see how they compare. I will as soon as I get a good show to do it with.
Old 21st October 2011
  #39
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
I have an NT5 pair here with omni and card caps. Rode has some of the most well-made microphones in the industry. Unfortunately, their sound does not quite match up with their build quality. Good, but not top tier. Fine support mics.
+1.

But there is still the Classic II, to be discontinued soon.

SOS review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul White
If you can only afford one really good large-diaphragm mic that has to sound good on everything, and you want the tube sound, this model deserves to come very close to the top of your shortlist, regardless of what price range you're looking at.

I tested one on yesterday. I set it on cardioid and compared the mono recording with older stereo takes, one recorded one month ago with a Manley Reference Gold Stereo set in cardioid XY and another one recorded two months ago with short AB pair of Neumann M 149 set in wide cardioid. Here I transformed both these stereo takes in mono by summing both Manley take channels and keeping only one channel of the Neumann take. This is not a shoot-out because the takes were recorded at too spaced times and the directivities are different. Nonetheless I think that the Classic II take is in the same ballpark than both other ones.
Attached Files

M 149 infracardio_mono.mp3 (3.91 MB, 858 views)

Reference Gold mono.mp3 (4.19 MB, 680 views)

Classic II mono.mp3 (3.85 MB, 745 views)

Old 22nd October 2011
  #40
Gear Addict
 
Jens's Avatar
 

Is that Fred Willard with an aussie accent? Classic!

- This machine costs a zillion dollars and it's super fast. Like a Ferrari!
- No other manufacturer has this equipment! That I know of.
- Bla bla bla, built in Europe - Followed by the funniest body gesture I've seen in ages.

Makes me wanna hook up my Classic II again.

J
Old 22nd October 2011
  #41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
When I did the design on the original NT-2 mics in the mid 1990's the metal work and capsules came from China. The pcb's were made in Oz. Transistors from Hitachi and Siliconix were imported to Oz. Wima film caps came from Germany.

All the metal work and assembly is done in Oz now. The pcb parts come from various Asian sources. There are no more Wima film caps, Roederstein metal film resistors and Siliconix JFETS. Compare the sound of a 1999 NT-2 or NT-1 to a current model to hear those sonic differences.
Jim, I heard the same about the original NTV. That the original version is a different beast. That the components and design were too expensive to keep in production. The guy who told me swears by it . He has a selection of the finest mics incl. Neumann ,Royer,Schoeps etc. The NTV has replaced his U87 as main vocal mic.
Do you have any insight?
Old 22nd October 2011
  #42
PDC
Lives for gear
 

Rode has the market on low end to mid level mics. They are in all of the stores they need to be in. There is no reason to build better mics, when they are selling what they have, and the dealers are making good money doing it. They come into the office with a Neumann, admit that they want to be as good if not better than Neumann, all at a lower price point. They think, in their minds, based on volume, that they are better than Neumann, and that because of how they do things, they are better than Neumann.

Some manufacturers have a misconception that people care how things are made. The world at large does not. If we did, we would all stop using iPads, our cell phones, electric car batteries, and all of the various child and/or abused labor made products. We don't care. We want what we want, and we want the best, for not much money.

Those Rode guys are stubborn folks. This is good and this is bad. If I were to bet that they couldn't give two cents about what we have to say, I would put my house on it. We are not their market. MI is their market. It doesn't matter that they have "famous" Oz artists using their stuff. The proof is in what they put out. If they cared, they would have changed long ago. This is ALL about money, not sound.

As far as mics being shrill, what do you expect? They hired a designer of the cheap shrill AKG mics to work for them long ago.
Old 22nd October 2011
  #43
Gear Nut
 
Plugses's Avatar
 

very impressive vid. I just love watching this type of vids
Old 23rd October 2011
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plugses View Post
very impressive vid. I just love watching this type of vids
You need to get out more. heh
Old 23rd October 2011
  #45
Lives for gear
 

Speaking of QC, I didn't see any of the finished microphones being tested; you know, point the mic at a sound source and see how it performs. You do see this in a similar video showing how Neumann mics are manufactured.

I took my Rode NT1-A to a gig and positioned it a reasonable distance from the strings of a baby grand piano. When the pianist played, the audio from the mic broke up something fierce. My theory is that the diaphragm was bottoming out. I wound up using a different condenser mic I had brought along and there was no problem whatsoever. Count me as a Rode non-believer. I suppose I can use the NT1-A as my Skype mic.
Old 23rd October 2011
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caramel View Post
Jim, I heard the same about the original NTV. That the original version is a different beast. That the components and design were too expensive to keep in production. The guy who told me swears by it . He has a selection of the finest mics incl. Neumann ,Royer,Schoeps etc. The NTV has replaced his U87 as main vocal mic.
Do you have any insight?
When Peter first broke into the USA mic market, he had no low end competition from China. He needed to make an impression so the mics were built rather well with first rate components. They did attempt to make a NT-2 with cheaper transistors, caps and Asian resistors. He called 6 months later and said they decided to use the good parts I speced and raise the price from $699 to $749.

Low cost competitors from Marshall, etc, came to market. Rode made a decision to compete at the lower end rather attempt to compete with the European mics. That required redesign to eliminate labor costs and the use of very low cost surface mount components. Many others have also gone to surface mount like Sennheiser/Neumann, AKG, Shure, etc.
Old 23rd October 2011
  #47
PDC
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
When Peter first broke into the USA mic market, he had no low end competition from China. He needed to make an impression so the mics were built rather well with first rate components. They did attempt to make a NT-2 with cheaper transistors, caps and Asian resistors. He called 6 months later and said they decided to use the good parts I speced and raise the price from $699 to $749.

Low cost competitors from Marshall, etc, came to market. Rode made a decision to compete at the lower end rather attempt to compete with the European mics. That required redesign to eliminate labor costs and the use of very low cost surface mount components. Many others have also gone to surface mount like Sennheiser/Neumann, AKG, Shure, etc.
Jim....I worked at a studio that had some insanely cheap black LD mics you had modded and sold. What is the poop on those?
Old 23rd October 2011
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
Jim....I worked at a studio that had some insanely cheap black LD mics you had modded and sold. What is the poop on those?
Got $49.95?

MCA SP-1

PSSL.com ProSound And Stage Lighting - Buy DJ Equipment and Lighting Equipment

The sleeper mic of the 21st century. Schoeps circuits, 20 mm capsule with flat response to about 7k hz and a 3 db lift to 20k hz. I mod them with super low noise jfets and bipolar transistors, self noise is below 5 db. Coupling caps are MIT MultiCaps. Low end is extended to below 20 hz. Output levels are increased 5~6 db.

Yes, they often beat out multi-thousand dollar "N" mics in comparisons. I have 12 myself. Cheaper than an SM57, condenser sound, no noise and good reliability, I use them live all the time too. They excell on snare drum, guitar cabs, vocals, etc.
Old 24th October 2011
  #49
PDC
Lives for gear
 

How much to mod and what is the turn-around?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Got $49.95?

MCA SP-1

PSSL.com ProSound And Stage Lighting - Buy DJ Equipment and Lighting Equipment

The sleeper mic of the 21st century. Schoeps circuits, 20 mm capsule with flat response to about 7k hz and a 3 db lift to 20k hz. I mod them with super low noise jfets and bipolar transistors, self noise is below 5 db. Coupling caps are MIT MultiCaps. Low end is extended to below 20 hz. Output levels are increased 5~6 db.

Yes, they often beat out multi-thousand dollar "N" mics in comparisons. I have 12 myself. Cheaper than an SM57, condenser sound, no noise and good reliability, I use them live all the time too. They excell on snare drum, guitar cabs, vocals, etc.
Old 26th October 2011
  #50
Lives for gear
 

he's a bit too arrogrant but i still generally appreciate seeing videos like these.. of course its a platform for salesmanship but like someone else said, what company isnt going to talk up their products as best they can.. Id say there is too much cockiness in it, but at least you get some insight into their processes..

I personally like to know how things are made.. I like the fact he shows us the SMT machine because i have much larger confidence with that than with humans, machines dont grow apathy and cut corners. That is a selling point for me to know the median consistency is going to be high.
Old 26th October 2011
  #51
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Got $49.95?

MCA SP-1

PSSL.com ProSound And Stage Lighting - Buy DJ Equipment and Lighting Equipment

The sleeper mic of the 21st century. Schoeps circuits, 20 mm capsule with flat response to about 7k hz and a 3 db lift to 20k hz. I mod them with super low noise jfets and bipolar transistors, self noise is below 5 db. Coupling caps are MIT MultiCaps. Low end is extended to below 20 hz. Output levels are increased 5~6 db.

Yes, they often beat out multi-thousand dollar "N" mics in comparisons. I have 12 myself. Cheaper than an SM57, condenser sound, no noise and good reliability, I use them live all the time too. They excell on snare drum, guitar cabs, vocals, etc.


Audio Upgrades ??????? Your webpage says you no longer do this.
Old 28th October 2011
  #52
Gear Addict
 
Bibster's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
Audio Upgrades ??????? Your webpage says you no longer do this.
Yeah, throw this mod in the wild!
Old 28th October 2011
  #53
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bibster View Post
Yeah, throw this mod in the wild!
Bibster, I got a note from Jim. He does this mod and this mod only now. I have more than enough mics/I don't have enough mics. I really ought to let it pass, but . . .
Old 30th October 2011
  #54
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I tested one on yesterday.
Here attached a new take recorded with a pair of Rode Classic II in XY cardio and the original stereo version of the Manley Reference Gold Stereo take already linked to in my previous post. The mono tracks in my previous post are raw. Here there is a bit of processing, the same for both recordings (noise removal, EQ, reverb).

Added on Novenmber 5th: Classic II in Blumlein. May be compared to this Sontronic Apollo take.
Attached Files

Classic II cardio.mp3 (7.28 MB, 700 views)

Reference Gold.mp3 (6.17 MB, 789 views)

Classic II Blumlein.mp3 (6.86 MB, 640 views)

Old 30th October 2011
  #55
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Black View Post
I'm not sure that there are any other mic manufacturers here unfortunately . . .
BeezNeez make excellent mics in Oz.
Old 30th October 2011
  #56
Here for the gear
 

lovely tour. thanks for posting
Old 9th November 2011
  #57
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Last piano test of the Classic II: compared with the Brauner Valvet, in small AB omni. No noise removal neither reverb here (just a bit of corrective EQ below 200 Hz because of my untreated room).
Attached Files

Classic omni.mp3 (6.40 MB, 646 views)

Valvet omni.mp3 (6.42 MB, 646 views)

Old 3rd January 2015
  #58
Lives for gear
I just watched this video and was impressed and at the same time unimpressed. I had just watched the Brauner vid where they are hand making, like a fine piece of art. Rode is automated assembly line.

Rode has a facility that can be precise down to the nanometer!!! Brag, brag, brag, precision, precision .. Then they toss the parts in a parts bin and let them roll around!!! lmao..

Their investment says a lot about HOW MUCH of the market they are taking! And how BIG the market actually is!

They are invested to score over the next few decades, with their inhouse gear.

But their modern designs don't sound that great to me. Someday though, they are ready to pounce!

My favorite mic of theirs is my personal fav, the Rode Classic, made in the 90s before they got so precise.

I won't be surprised if they contract out their facilities to other manufacturers, and also build lustier mics under a different name.
Old 4th January 2015
  #59
Gear Addict
 
GIACOMO-_'s Avatar
 

RØDE: horrible mics for horrible sound.
Old 4th January 2015
  #60
Lives for gear
It seems they've brought Chinese manufacturing in house.

The Rode classic sounds outstanding though! A great mic, and they knew it.

They even made the label "rode" in really really small letters so as not to ruin it..
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