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Can I skimp a little on SDC spot mics?
Old 23rd May 2006
  #31
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mosrite's Avatar
 

Just looked at the frequency graphs for the KM184s...ouch, they are pretty down at 20hz. Might not be the best choice as a stereo pair in a lot of applications...
Old 23rd May 2006
  #32
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sonare's Avatar
According to the Neumann website the mic at 20kHz is ONEdB down from where the mic is at 1kHz. However, in the critical octave between 5kHz and 10kHz you see quite a rise.

Considering the small percentage of the population that can reproduce AND hear 20kHz I submit that is a fairly meaningless factor. The octave between 5 and 10kHz is much more telling as to what a mic might sound like. I use the word "might" because you can find 2 mics with identical curves from different comapnies that will sound different.

Bottom line: your ears are the final arbiter.

Rich
Old 23rd May 2006
  #33
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Remoteness's Avatar
Good point Rich.

Your ears (IMO) are the most important tools for transducer technology evaluations.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #34
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I think Mosrite meant they are pretty (-12 dB) down at 0.020 KHz heh
I wouldn't use them as main mics either.

I do use them as spot mics, but then they're kinda bright.

Over the years I'm liking figure of eights more and more as spot mics.
This rules out the skimping part, we're talking MKH30 or Royer SF1 here.
The great advantage of the SF1 is the beautiful, natural bleed, because the off axis response is so neutral.
Old 24th May 2006
  #35
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i don't know prices over where you are, but seriously i preferred the josephsons to the neumann km184's and they're considerably cheaper here. just something you might want to think about before you go out and buy the neumanns.
Old 24th May 2006
  #36
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Quote:
I think Mosrite meant they are pretty (-12 dB) down at 0.020 KHz
I wouldn't use them as main mics either.

I do use them as spot mics, but then they're kinda bright.

Exactly! 20hz not 20khz is what I wrote. I care very little for what they do at 20khz, but my dog might heh
Old 24th May 2006
  #37
The KM183s will behave much better down at 20Hz than the 184s & sound better all round.

Unfortunately as they are omnis they might be of limited use as spot mics & their use as a main pair would be limited to spaced pairs or as 2/3 of a decca tree (where they excel).

Great mics for the money. Sonically superior to the 184s but a lot less adaptable.

As with all these decisions you have to weigh the pros & cons (including price) against what you are looking for...

Good luck!
Old 24th May 2006
  #38
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Sorry I misread your post re 20Hz, but as others have pointed out you will not find cardioids with that LF response unless you are within a meter. So back to the drawing board if you want excellent LF response.

To summarize:

OMNIS- Pro: very smooth sound from top to bottom; their nature means more presence because you must be closer to the players; can be used with Jecklin disk for cardiod-pair imaging; simpler construction means less expensive
Cons: Fairly useless as spots, although when used that way you do not have proximity effect to deal with; imaging in A-B pair is imprecise

CARDIOIDS- Pro: the "all-around" mic; when used in ORTF or NOS pair gives excellent imaging; knowledgeable user will "work" the proximity effect
Con: you cannot skimp or the sound is inferior (almost always non-linearity resulting from the pressure gradient design); when used as main pair often sounds thin on bottom 2 octaves, very susceptable to vibration compared to omnis

CONCLUSION: I would opt for either a pair of omnis and a Jecklin disc, or a pair of subcardioids such as Schoeps or DPA. Those can be big bucks, however, but you get good imaging and bottom end with cardioid imaging. For a budget mic you will not easily beat the DPA 4091s (which sound almost as good as their expensive siblings) and a Jecklin!

Rich
Old 24th May 2006
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare
Sorry I misread your post re 20Hz, but as others have pointed out you will not find cardioids with that LF response unless you are within a meter. So back to the drawing board if you want excellent LF response.

Rich
Some people already did that: Sennheiser MKH40 (flat to 40 Hz, KM184 is already at -6 dB). Or Pearl CC22 (mono version of DS60) (-4 dB @ 20 Hz, -1.5 @ 30 Hz).

But of course these are around 1150 euro, so you will not find a pair of cardioids at that price (maybe the Josephsons, but I don't know them).
Old 24th May 2006
  #40
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The Senns (cards and fig-8) got their surprisingly good LF thanks to on-board EQ-- nothing wrong with that. However, LF is not at the top of the list of important variables IMHO. THe DPA 4091s are still amazing at ANY price.

Rich
Old 24th May 2006
  #41
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sonare's Avatar
In looking over the posts on this thread I think something that is getting lost is whether you like the SOUND of the mics? You can line up half a dozen omnis that all have ruler-flat response but a sound of their own.

Granted, it is a PITA to audition mics, but consider the money involved. Also remember that one usually gets what one pays for. And if you need to get your money back out of the mics the more expensive ones keep their value. Schoeps on eBay are going for nearly new prices!!!

Rich
Old 24th May 2006
  #42
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liuto's Avatar
 

I never had problems with the low end of cardioid mics at least with chamber music. Depending on the rooms acoustic you can have rather full sounding recordings. If you look at the diffuse field response of microphones like KM84/KM184 or Schoeps MK4 you see that they are more ore less linear, despite their low frequency loss in the free field. This is due to the directionality becoming more omni like at low frequencies. That means you get more percentage of reflected sound waves at low frequencies.
Some time ago I recorded an organ concert in a medium sized church. When I gave the recording to an other engineer who made a sampler with some of the recordings he was quite astonished finding out that the recording was made with cardioid KM84. He was used to pressure transducers for this application but he was missing nothing in my recording.

Hermann
Old 25th May 2006
  #43
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Quote:
If you look at the diffuse field response of microphones like KM84/KM184 or Schoeps MK4 you see that they are more ore less linear, despite their low frequency loss in the free field. This is due to the directionality becoming more omni like at low frequencies. That means you get more percentage of reflected sound waves at low frequencies.
Good point Hermann.

Quote:
Granted, it is a PITA to audition mics, but consider the money involved
Dont worry about that, never buy a mic without hearing it first, thats a given. Having said that a certain ammount of narrowing down is essential.

As I mentioned previously I have heard the KM184s but not in a classical location context. On acoustic guitar they had a realism but didnt make me smile like the M300's that I compared them to.

I guess also since beginning this thread my idea has changed slightly in that I feel it would be beneficial to have a pair that can be used as spots and as a main pair (ORTF most likely) depending on the scenario. Obviously as a main pair the quality of the mics begins arguably more critical.

Quote:
Some people already did that: Sennheiser MKH40 (flat to 40 Hz, KM184 is already at -6 dB).
I have to admit being drawn to the MKH mics. Havnt heard them though. Problem is again the price (about double that of the deal on the KM184's). And once we're in that price range a whole lot of other options appear.
Old 5th June 2006
  #44
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Quote:
For a budget mic you will not easily beat the DPA 4091s (which sound almost as good as their expensive siblings) and a Jecklin!
Believe it or not I have only just investigated these. Rich, I know you've been recommending them for a while and I feel that they might work in this scenario. This would be my understanding:

The DPA 4091's with a Jecklin will cost me about the same as the Neumann KM184's on offer. The DPA's might work better as a main pair with the disc and as spots there might be a workaround to go with their omni directionality. Alternatively they could serve as omni flanks. I guess their omni state spells natural and a more extended bottom end.

But, I have heard that they are too noisy for classical work, do you disagree with this?
Old 5th June 2006
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrite
But, I have heard that they are too noisy for classical work, do you disagree with this?
Most of those comments come from spec-readers rather than people who have actually used them. Not to say that specs are useless, but a little-known fact is that there is no standard for it. DPA uses very conservative methodolgy, which makes the numbers less than thrilling, but to my ear I have never had a compaint about their noise. In a studio with a VERY low noise floor it might be a different story, but on location where you are lucky if the noise floor is 60dB below your peak it is a different story. So yes, I disagree with the notion that they are noisy.

Regarding sound character-- I have owned KM184 and currently own and use the 4061 and have used the 4091. I would RARELY use the KM184s now given the DPA option.

Rich
Old 5th June 2006
  #46
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Thats very interesting. I reckon the DPA's will have to be auditioned. I am a little confused by the types though. The 4090 and 4091's are both the same price, are both omnis and look the same in the pictures Ive seen. Whats the difference?

Also, the 4061's are even cheaper. As you've tried both what are the differences between the 4061's and 409x's?

Thanks again.
Old 5th June 2006
  #47
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The difference in 4060 and 4061 is sensitivity. Same with the 4090/91.

The difference between the 406X and 409X is the size and shape of the body of the mic. With the 406X you need their Microdot-XLR adapter as you are reducing the 48VDC phantom to the 6V that the mic uses.

When the cost of the adapters is figured in there is no siginificant difference in cost between the two. Remember, though that you must remove the grill from the 406X to yield a flat response.

To sum up: the 406X is remarkable for its size, and because of that it is actually omni at almost all frequencies, not just mid and LF. It has a rise in response about 12kHz that is flattened by removing the grill. It does look like a cheap lavalier to some clients, however, so DPA then built:

409X. Interesting body shape that tapers WAY down from XLR to capsule diameter, and very flat response. Predictably popular with the guys who want a measurement mic for RTF.

Unless you need the small size of the 406X I would opt for the 409X and have an easier time of it.

Rich
Old 6th June 2006
  #48
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I owned the DPA 4061s and never had any issues with noise. The only reason I sold them is because I felt that they were too delicate for my big lumbering carcass. They are fantastic though. In the price range you will probably find nothing better for this sort of work. Removal of the grilles allows for even flatter response. The DPA mma6000 is an excellent preamp as well(designed for the 4061/4060)..clean as a whistle, and runs off a single 9v.Alternatively you could buy the P48 adapters and use the 4060/4061 with whatever pre you so choose..mma6000 gets my vote though.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrite
Believe it or not I have only just investigated these. Rich, I know you've been recommending them for a while and I feel that they might work in this scenario. This would be my understanding:

The DPA 4091's with a Jecklin will cost me about the same as the Neumann KM184's on offer. The DPA's might work better as a main pair with the disc and as spots there might be a workaround to go with their omni directionality. Alternatively they could serve as omni flanks. I guess their omni state spells natural and a more extended bottom end.

But, I have heard that they are too noisy for classical work, do you disagree with this?
Old 6th June 2006
  #49
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DPA makes great mics, they are similar yet different from Sennheisser , Schoeps, Neumann etc. I like using 4061s for violin, viola, cello and stealth recording. I love my 4007 matched pair, and my "day job" has over 35 each 4006, 4011, and each of the 4020 series I work with on a regular basis.

That said, they are ONLY A TOOL in an arsenal or tools. They still have a flavor, subtle though it may be, that you have to compare to Schoeps, Senn, Earthworks, etc. You have to find a pair you LOVE the sound of, and the chart BE DAMNED. When people look at the Earthworks specification, they often say "Oh, its a NOISY mic". Well, try a QTC in a quiet studio on a quiet string instrument. Stunning! I only buy mics after USING one. I borrow, rent, or buy with a demo period (I have never returned anything during a demo period, though, unless it was defective, and that ONE item was replaced by the manufacturer and not the dealer.)

You have to listen to it and love it. Tone, vibe, attitude- this is what matters. No one is going to measure the quality of your song/recording on a graph, scope, or meter.

Jim
Old 6th June 2006
  #50
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I have tried the following against each other:

AT4051a
AT4041
Neumann KM184
Neumann KM84
Rode NT5
Josephson C42
Gefell M300
AKG 451
Shure SM-81

For me the KM84s were the pick of the bunch, and I own a pair. After that I liked the Gefells and the AT4051s best, and bought the 4051s (I also have the omni capsule for them, which I think costs about £120 inc VAT).

I liked the Josephsons too, but found them a little bright. I owned the KM184s for a while, and found them unnaturally bright and a bit harsh. I had the NT5s for about three weeks before I sold them on - great price, but not very nice-sounding at all.

You could get a pair of used KM84s for less than the Gefells.
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