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Non-Scientific Microphone Comparison Neumann USM69 vs Others Condenser Microphones
Old 12th December 2017
  #1
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Non-Scientific Microphone Comparison Neumann USM69 vs Others

Hello,
I started to play around with my newly acquired Neumann USM69 LDC stereo microphone.

I made a pairwise comparison (didn't want to have all that cable clutter) with different other stereo mics that are in my mic locker.

I played partly different, partly same short pieces on classical guitar.
Recording was straight to Tascam HS-P82 using the internal preamps (more than decent, methink).

Recorded at 48kHz/24 bit, mixed down to 48/16 with iZotope Ozone 6 dither (no other preocessing whatsoever!)

All the pieces with N are the Neumann, all others, well, maybe you can guess...

After a while I will disclose what the other stereo mics were...

You are very welcome to comment, if you like to...

here's the Dropbox Link (you don't need to be member there).

Dropbox - MicComparisonFiles

For the interested: the guitar used is a 2015 Sebastian Stenzel Canadian quilted Maple/Spruce classical guitar.
Old 13th December 2017
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An "outtake" of this test:

Old 13th December 2017
  #3
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I listened to your youtube video which I assume is the Neumann USM69 and really liked the sound. Based on Tascam stuff that I have heard the mic pres are probably excellent and most important very neutral. I really like your playing style, vibrato and sound, reminds me of Segovia in a good way, lots of nice subtlety and touches.
Old 13th December 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd270 View Post
I listened to your youtube video which I assume is the Neumann USM69 and really liked the sound. Based on Tascam stuff that I have heard the mic pres are probably excellent and most important very neutral. I really like your playing style, vibrato and sound, reminds me of Segovia in a good way, lots of nice subtlety and touches.
Many thanks for your kind words about my playing.
Yes, you're right, it is the Neumann USM69 direct to Tascam; later a pinch of Audio Ease reverb added and mixed down to 48/16 via iZotope Ozone 6 dithering.

For the first time with all these digital recorders I feel I realy don't need an extra preamp between the recorder and mics, because for my taste they are doing their job pretty excellent and neutral. It simplifies my life a lot!
Old 13th December 2017
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Here is the same tune recorded simultenously along with the other recording, but this time with the AKG C522 ENG:

Old 14th December 2017
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Never heard of this mic but it sounds really good, more neutral than the Neumann. This is the X-Y version I assume.
Old 14th December 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd270 View Post
Never heard of this mic but it sounds really good, more neutral than the Neumann. This is the X-Y version I assume.
Yes, it's the XY version with the fixed capsulas. Yes it's a surprizingly well working mic; it lacks a bit the 'body' of the Neumann, and also the Neumann has a much greater 'richness' in the sound IMHO.

Here's another 'outtake' of the test (I'm using this word in a different sense as compared to film industry; I mean a take that I literally took out of the bunch and published it as a piece...):



It's also Neumann USM 69 and the same treatment as above...
Old 14th December 2017
  #8
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All my previous comments about your playing and also the compositions apply here. My favorite players for most music were Segovia and Sabicas, they both had great technical ability, tone and musical dynamics and phrasing that made the music move and breathe. Many players, to me sound very legato and not that interesting, color contrast with inner dynamics will keep me coming back to listen.
Old 14th December 2017
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@ sd270: Many thanks for your kind words.

Here is the same tune as above recorded with the Superlux S502 ORTF Stereo Microphone, the much discussed Schoeps copy:

Old 14th December 2017
  #10
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I've heard other recordings with this mic in comparison to the Schoeps. Cheap is cheap and it sounds like that to me, over discussed in my opinion. You get what you pay for, Schoeps for me, thank you!
Old 15th December 2017
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd270 View Post
I've heard other recordings with this mic in comparison to the Schoeps. Cheap is cheap and it sounds like that to me, over discussed in my opinion. You get what you pay for, Schoeps for me, thank you!
Just to ask: Does that also imply that you heard this recording too?
I have never had a chance to try the Schoeps, so I'm nobody here to make any claims ...
I just think that for the price of 129 Euro as compared to 3000 Euro for the Shoeps ORTF the S502 is not half bad

I'd use it, if I had no other mics ...
Thanks for response anyway...
Old 15th December 2017
  #12
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Very nice playing!

The Neumann sounds pretty good in all the clips to me. It is a little hard in the mid-range compared with most of the other mics, but not problematically so, and I think that would help it sound clear and present on bad playback systems.

N vs A is the hardest one to call. A seems to have a lot more air in the sound which is attractive but also emphasises unwanted noises such as string squeaks. The Neumann sounds a little bit tubby on this one, it perhaps could do with being in a slightly different position.

Su doesn't sound full enough at the bottom end to my ears.

The others all sound like spaced pairs to me, and they're so different from the Neumann as to not be comparable. RD is probably my favourite of them. Something weird is happening with CAFH, I wonder if there is some phase or polarity problem there.
Old 15th December 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
...Something weird is happening with CAFH, I wonder if there is some phase or polarity problem there.
I hear that. Wonder what that was. Did you try to flip phas on one of the channels? Maybe I did it unknowingly on the Tascam HS_P82...I might have hit the phase switch by accident on one channel.

I'll try tomorrow to inquire into that more closely..

Thanks for listening anyway and comments!
Old 16th December 2017
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I hear a similar Problem, to less extent, though, with CAD too. Tried to flip phases in different combinations. but it doesn't create the impression, that some position is right. I have no idea what that is...
Old 16th December 2017
  #15
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@Peller:
Quote:
Su doesn't sound full enough at the bottom end to my ears.
.
I listened to both versions of this take NvsSu. When I compare, the bottom of N is more mighty than that of Su, but when I just listen to Su without comparing, it's fine with me; if I had something to complain about Su then it was rather the higher range of the guitar sounds a tad less resolved or differentiated, less rich...

Last edited by rojaros; 16th December 2017 at 09:24 AM..
Old 6th April 2018
  #16
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I'm selling the AKG C522 ENG if somebody is interested, please PM me...
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