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China Mic Trip Pictures and Thoughts Condenser Microphones
Old 2nd December 2009
  #271
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Cultural Difference in Mic Engineering

Stepping away from the geo-pol subgroup and moving to the sub committee on cultural differences in microphone engineering...

Recently during the R&D and prototyping stages of creating my new mic line I encountered an interesting cultural challenge.

Things have been progressing very smoothly with my vendor as I provide them design information and they execute these designs and test prototypes. But the other day the engineers - who are normally very forthcoming with test results, claimed they could not send me the full test results I asked for because a technical aspect of a mic was not working and the mic could not be tested. However, I new this was an impossibility because they previously tested the mic and showed me partial results. In fact, I had done my own tests indicating what I had designed could be built. What I was asking for was a very detailed set of test results and this is what they did not want to furnish.

I believe the reason for this was not technical, but rather cultural. The partial test results supplied to me deviated from "perfect" - say in the way that a Neumann U 47 deviates from being a perfect transducer but is loved nonetheless for its character. I suspect my Chinese engineering team did not like the data they saw, only released a portion of it, then claimed the mic would not support detailed tests. I have a hunch that showing me less-than-perfect (in their eyes) data, would be a "loss of face" for them. I know when I was strictly a practicing design engineer as a matter of pride I only wanted to show my best results even though engineering management needed to see complete results in order to identify trends.

So I gently went back to my sales rep and told him I understood his engineers desire to present only perfect data, but they would not "lose face" if the data was not "perfect" because I just want to see abstract data and do not hold them personally accountable - in fact my esteem for them would actually rise if they would just conduct the tests I requested and present the data completely and honestly.

Its been a week of back and forth on this issue - but I think we've reached a breakthrough in understand that will respect both parties.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #272
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mingustoo View Post
In mountainous areas in and around Tibet, there is delicious yak cheese that is prepared with mountain spinach.
I had fried yak cheese in Li jiang. Fantastic! Then we climbed a mountain in the Himalayan foothills on a snowy day and along the way we stopped in a little charcoal heated tent for some yak butter tea. In any other circumstance I would have hated it, but in this context it was clearly everything my body needed.

-R
Old 2nd December 2009
  #273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Rick, if you're looking for the real deal, you need to come East a few miles out where I live. There's some real legit chinese joints. They scare me. heh heh Send me to Panda Inn.
Yeah, I've eaten out there in San Gabriel, etc. Good to have a Chinese guide with you. I've found interesting food, but still different from China. Partly because of local ingredients, perhaps.

-R
Old 2nd December 2009
  #274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
fresh water fish on a 6" slab of ice to be selected for lunch.
The best thing (other than Beijing duck) I consistently had in China was a whole, live mandarin fish, steamed with a little sugar, vinegar, etc. That and some sauteed greens (baby bok choy, rapini, etc) with a large bottle or two of Yanjing beer, and I'd be good for the day. Healthy, nutritious and delicious.

-R
Old 2nd December 2009
  #275
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In San Gabriel / Alhambra, there are (what is commonly rated by whoever rates that stuff) 3 of the best Chinese restaurants in the US of A. Places where you never see anyone but Chinese.... LOL My Chinese neighbors took me to a place.....lol I'm not in a hurry to go back. Maybe they were just trying to freak me by ordering the most outrageous stuff they could think of. hehhehheh I guess I'm just not an aficionado of the real deal.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #276
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I had some small fried scorpions served on rice crackers twenty years ago. These are eaten for their, ah..."tingly effects". Tastes seem to be changing, I didn't run into any of those on my recent trip.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #277
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"I believe the reason for this was not technical, but rather cultural. The partial test results supplied to me deviated from "perfect" - say in the way that a Neumann U 47 deviates from being a perfect transducer but is loved nonetheless for its character. I suspect my Chinese engineering team did not like the data they saw, only released a portion of it, then claimed the mic would not support detailed tests. "
--probably correct

Its been a week of back and forth on this issue - but I think we've reached a breakthrough in understand that will respect both parties.
--Most likely that YOU have reached a breakthrough in understanding but that they have merely begun to contemplate the strangeness of what you are asking the engineers to do. The engineers probably think it is a trap.
...have fun
Old 3rd December 2009
  #278
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I would think that if I had not spent a lot of time at the factory in October and worked to build a very communicative relationship with my sales rep since last February. In fact, the test engineers have been feeding my sales rep a lot of tech-speak nonsense. Being a sales person who doesn't understand the intricacies of mic design he just passes on the engineer's comments.

This company has already told me "your standards are higher the Neumann's" - so they know the level of detail I expect. They're used to customers buying off the shelf products and are unaccustomed to customers interacting at an engineering level with them - and expecting a candid dialog.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #279
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Michael,

I had already made up my mind that my next mic purchase would be an Apex 460 with your mod. About 650 USD total.

In light of this thread would it be better for someone like me to wait for your new products?

Will they be in the same ballpark as the modded 460 price and sound wise?

Thanks!
Old 3rd December 2009
  #280
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Without tipping my hand too much, I can say that the pricing of my new tube mic will be in that ballpark and will maintain that high level of performance. If you need a multi-pattern tube mic now I'd say go for the 460 - I love it! If you can wait a couple of months I'll have a nice signature branded mic with MJE-K47 capsule (with individual, anechoic chamber frequency response plot), low noise 6072 tube, my favorite signal path capacitors, specialty transformer, signed Certificate of Authenticity and a body badge for bling ; )
Old 3rd December 2009
  #281
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Without tipping my hand too much, I can say that the pricing of my new tube mic will be in that ballpark and will maintain that high level of performance. If you need a multi-pattern tube mic now I'd say go for the 460 - I love it! If you can wait a couple of months I'll have a nice signature branded mic with MJE-K47 capsule (with individual, anechoic chamber frequency response plot), low noise 6072 tube, my favorite signal path capacitors, specialty transformer, signed Certificate of Authenticity and a body badge for bling ; )
That just turned me on...
Old 3rd December 2009
  #282
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

Throw in some authentic Beijing duck and I'm there!

-R
Old 3rd December 2009
  #283
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SDC

Will you be doing SDC's,and what would be the approximate price?

Peter
Old 3rd December 2009
  #284
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I have a FET SDC in the works. It incorporates all the upgrades found in my "Ultimate Small Diaphragm" mod plus transformer-coupled output. A cardioid pair will be around $699.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #285
Rustic

Wow, I didn't expect to see pictures of Rustic in this thread. :D I was visiting Beijing in October and recorded four bands for the recordlabel Maybe Mars. One of the band was Rustic. Small world.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #286
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thanks for taking the time michael...


earlier you had mentioned tube sdc's,, which could match up great with your k47h ldc's....

are your prices for these tube mics going to be competitive with chameleon labs ts-1 $395.oo , or are your tube sdc's goingt o be a step above in quality resulting in a higher cost????????????

(if you can divulge this info)
Old 3rd December 2009
  #287
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rty5150's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
I have a FET SDC in the works. It incorporates all the upgrades found in my "Ultimate Small Diaphragm" mod plus transformer-coupled output. A cardioid pair will be around $699.
eagerly awaiting these clips. i was looking to grab up a pair of peluso next year sometime and these may end up in the locker instead.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #288
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfreddex View Post
Wow, I didn't expect to see pictures of Rustic in this thread. :D I was visiting Beijing in October and recorded four bands for the recordlabel Maybe Mars. One of the band was Rustic. Small world.
Tell us more! What studio did you use? Equipment? Process?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tapehiss View Post
...earlier you had mentioned tube sdc's,, which could match up great with your k47h ldc's....

are your prices for these tube mics going to be competitive with chameleon labs ts-1 $395.oo , or are your tube sdc's goingt o be a step above in quality resulting in a higher cost????????????

(if you can divulge this info)
Somewhere above I hinted at a co-promotion with another manufacturer's tube SDC and my MJE-K47H capsule head. But we're still in discussions and I can't say more yet.
Old 4th December 2009
  #289
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synthoid's Avatar
 

I was up at Ping An Li / Ping An Dajie (in Beijing) yesterday, buying some connectors and what-not, and I wandered past a store that had a case full of what looked like very nice high-end mics. A U95, a Blue, some others whose housings were easily recognizable. So I went in and started asking more. They were all made by a single Chinese manufacturer in Beijing. They wanted a lot for these mics -- from 3500 RMB at the low end to 5000RMB+ for the U95 clone and others.

So (haha) I started looking more carefully and I noticed that all the units had the same capsule. I quizzed them a bit and finally they confirmed that, indeed, all the mics have the same capsule (haha). The capsule looked to be a run-of-the-mill 1" LDC capsule. The build quality of the capsule itself seemed to be so-so; some of the materials they used were not what one would expect in a 5000RMB mic.

I've been in China for quite a while, but I still have yet to use a Chinese-made microphone!

-synthoid
Old 4th December 2009
  #290
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hmmmmm...

the lauten torches maybe???????

i look forward to these release!!!!!!!!!!
Old 4th December 2009
  #291
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beechstudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Tell us more! What studio did you use? Equipment? Process?



Somewhere above I hinted at a co-promotion with another manufacturer's tube SDC and my MJE-K47H capsule head. But we're still in discussions and I can't say more yet.
Sorry if I missed it somewhere Michael; but is your MJE-K47H capsule head compatible with the AKG c451 body?
Old 4th December 2009
  #292
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
I was up at Ping An Li / Ping An Dajie (in Beijing) yesterday, buying some connectors and what-not, and I wandered past a store that had a case full of what looked like very nice high-end mics. A U95, a Blue, some others whose housings were easily recognizable. So I went in and started asking more. They were all made by a single Chinese manufacturer in Beijing. They wanted a lot for these mics -- from 3500 RMB at the low end to 5000RMB+ for the U95 clone and others.
-synthoid
797audio product info - U95S
797audio product info - CR8288

...they've been doing the U95 clone for a while, but 797audio's capsules are actually some of the more consistant/better quality of the Chinese capsules...
Attached Thumbnails
China Mic Trip Pictures and Thoughts-1161244293_mark.jpg   China Mic Trip Pictures and Thoughts-1161248095_mark.jpg  
Old 4th December 2009
  #293
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by beechstudio View Post
Sorry if I missed it somewhere Michael; but is your MJE-K47H capsule head compatible with the AKG c451 body?
it is not.
Old 4th December 2009
  #294
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
I had some small fried scorpions served on rice crackers twenty years ago. These are eaten for their, ah..."tingly effects". Tastes seem to be changing, I didn't run into any of those on my recent trip.

you were there in '89? Wow, very different now.
Old 4th December 2009
  #295
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
797audio product info - U95S
797audio product info - CR8288

...they've been doing the U95 clone for a while, but 797audio's capsules are actually some of the more consistant/better quality of the Chinese capsules...
The part that surprised me though was that they seemed to use one and the same capsule in each of a dozen different clones. I would have thought it would be impossible to get anything approaching the sound of the original mic with a one-size-fits-all capsule. Anyway, I'm commenting without having heard any of these mics even once, so for all I know they might be pretty good...

The other thing that cracked me up was that this store looked like, you know, a goodwill store or a pawn shop or something, haha. For a brief (delusional) moment I though that they had stumbled on some old (real) U95s and other stuff and might be willing to make a good deal on them.

-synthoid
Old 4th December 2009
  #296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mingustoo View Post
you were there in '89? Wow, very different now.
There's a restaurant about 200m from my apartment that serves donkey pitas and bugs. The bugs look kind of like a june bug. a little bigger. there's a guy who does construction for me who loves them and says they are better than shrimp.

Go another 200m, across the street, and there's a Fauchon (a high-end French food purveyor / restaurant / bakery -- the original is in Place de la Madeleine). haha, you can eat bugs and then wash them down with Profiteroles.

-synthoid
Old 4th December 2009
  #297
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dylusion's Avatar
 

I like how AKG, a German founded company, has product being manufactured in China.
Old 4th December 2009
  #298
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dylusion View Post
I like how AKG, a German founded company, has product being manufactured in China.
Actually, many.

AUDI, VW, Mercedes-Benz, BMW...are just a few of the many German companies manufacturing there....
Old 4th December 2009
  #299
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just like america !!!!!!!!!!
Old 4th December 2009
  #300
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Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
There's a restaurant about 200m from my apartment that serves donkey pitas and bugs. The bugs look kind of like a june bug. a little bigger. there's a guy who does construction for me who loves them and says they are better than shrimp.

Go another 200m, across the street, and there's a Fauchon (a high-end French food purveyor / restaurant / bakery -- the original is in Place de la Madeleine). haha, you can eat bugs and then wash them down with Profiteroles.

-synthoid
Great story, you really nail the near simulataneous pre-modern / post-modern experience that urban China is now. A place where you can still eat bugs for lunch and ride a MagLev train at 450 km / hour bringing some Profiteroles home. When I first visited 20 years ago I had largely are rear-view mirror look at a receeding past - bamboo scaffolding, sidewalk bicycle repair shops, older people still wearing "Mao-style" jackets. This year - wham! Its like looking through a telescope into the future.
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