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spumph



Joined: 14/09/05
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Steve Hill]
      #718904 - 20/03/09 05:56 PM
Quote Steve Hill:

This thing seems to be made of beechwood or something. I'm strongly tempted to put some $20 Chinese capsules in say a Brazilian rosewood horn and claim superior sound quality owing to denser wood. And sell them for a trifling £3,000 each, say.

I know a decent wood turner who knocks out hardwood fruitbowls and things for a living...




Man with Lathe and limited morals here...

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20-second-mistress



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: spumph]
      #721320 - 29/03/09 02:11 PM
has 0VU made the recordings with the simpson mic yet?
this thread seems to have died or is everybody on the edge of there seats!

cant wait to hear the results.

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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: 20-second-mistress]
      #721327 - 29/03/09 02:50 PM
I'm sure he'll report back as soon as he has. Be patient....
these things can take time to arrange.

hugh

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steve355



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #721620 - 30/03/09 02:39 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

I'm sure he'll report back as soon as he has. Be patient....
these things can take time to arrange.

hugh




Would such an event not merit an article in the mag? Sure, these mics are out of most people's price range, but SOS regularly features gear way out of my price range. I still read those articles avidly for the sake of interest.


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IvanSC



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: steve355]
      #721806 - 31/03/09 07:00 AM
back further in this mega thread Hugh had indicared that they were indeed approached re a review but declined due to doubts about the underlying science involved.
I for one am awaiting the results of Ow`s recording eagerly.
A part of me would love for these to turn out to be the super mics they are claimed to be.
Even if I could never justify buying a pair.

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SmokeHouseStudio



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: IvanSC]
      #721871 - 31/03/09 11:06 AM
Can you imagine the response if this had made it's way into the April issue?

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'Just another Idiot with an opinion'


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--
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #722011 - 31/03/09 06:02 PM
Steve Hill could never buy any for his studio though.

Woodworm.


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Steve Hill
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: --]
      #722013 - 31/03/09 06:07 PM
Quote Wonkey Wabbit:

Steve Hill could never buy any for his studio though.

Woodworm.






Mind you for the money I'd expect them to come treated against dry rot!

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Dynamite with a laser beam...


Edited by Steve Hill (31/03/09 06:07 PM)


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IvanSC



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #726748 - 17/04/09 08:18 PM
any news from ow yet?

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Aural Reject



Joined: 02/05/03
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: IvanSC]
      #726753 - 17/04/09 08:30 PM
I understand he's spectacularly busy at the mo...


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--
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Aural Reject]
      #726844 - 18/04/09 10:15 AM
Quote Aural Reject:

I understand he's spectacularly busy at the mo...




New glasses?


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Aural Reject



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: --]
      #726884 - 18/04/09 12:40 PM
Quote Wonkey Wabbit:

Quote Aural Reject:

I understand he's spectacularly busy at the mo...




New glasses?




Of the sunglasses kind, in case the new science is blinding


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Andy Simpson



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Aural Reject]
      #727786 - 21/04/09 06:31 PM
I think somebody asked about high res files at some point....

There are some .WAV files here:
http://www.simpsonmicrophonesarchives.com/WAV/

Andy

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20-second-mistress



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #728170 - 22/04/09 06:20 PM
hi,

was this the recording made by 0VU?

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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: 20-second-mistress]
      #728222 - 22/04/09 09:34 PM
No.


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20-second-mistress



Joined: 18/12/06
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #729983 - 28/04/09 08:32 PM
0VU did simpon send you a mic to record with?

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Aural Reject



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: 20-second-mistress]
      #729986 - 28/04/09 08:42 PM
Quote fused-sound:

0VU did simpon send you a mic to record with?




0VU's away on a session at the minute....not sure when he's back.....AFAIK he's not taken receipt of anything, but I could of course be wrong.


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narcoman
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #731145 - 02/05/09 02:02 AM
just dropping a "would like to see" note. I'm in Abbey Road again in a couple of months with another orchestral session - would be good to stick a couple of these babies up to see how they sit in.....

just a thought.


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TBTS



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Posts: 546
Loc: London
Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #731331 - 03/05/09 02:20 AM
as skeptical as i am about these, as most of you are...

even if the sound of these particular mic's don't end up being great, its interesting (for me at least) to think that there might just be one small piece of technology in them that might improve microphone technology in general, and for me it is thinking outside of the box like this that pushes technology on, regardless of price.


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Mutton Geoff



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #732796 - 07/05/09 10:18 PM
I wouldn't usually weigh in on discussions like this, but came across the thread by accident and feel that there are a few things I should say. There are quite a few valid points made here, and some others which simply seem to reflect standard industry prejudice. I made contact with Andy Simpson last autumn, because rather in the spirit of the last poster I was intrigued by his idea, and although I wasn't overly impressed by the audio clips on his site, I felt there was something distinctly different in the sound of them which merited further investigation. Andy spent some days in November with me at the NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) studio in Oslo while I was recording a concert production for broadcast. This was extremely interesting for both of us, but not necessarily an ideal demo situation for the mics. The clips that Andy posts on his site are his stereo downmix from three Model A mics suspended coincident (or as coincident as is possible given their size) with our own main pickup (in this case a wide RCA style tree of Neumann u89s). The height and placing of the tree was determined largely by our needs for the broadcast mix (ie. correct placement of the U89s) rather than to create an optimum position for the Model As. The recordings as they stand are not therefore the best showcase for the capabilities of the microphone, and I fully agree with an earlier poster who feels the need for a "demonstration quality" recording to judge from. However the NRK Model A clips are interesting if you compare them directly with our conventional main mics (maybe Andy can post these too), because then you'd have a reference which would mean something to most engineers. My personal opinion of the Model As... is complex. I think that the lowering of IM distortion by 30-40dB is very audible - in fact it is probably the characteristic that struck me as different when I first listened to Andy's clips. The ear is very good at perceiving low level information in the presence of high level information, thinking of how critical reverb quality is even at 40-50dB below program level it makes complete sense to me that non-musical distortion at that level would also be clearly audible. Comparing the U89s to the Model As you can clearly hear the IM distortion as a sort of glassy veil. You also realise how much low level musical information (upper harmonics) is being masked by the same distortion, having the effect of flattening out the timbre differences between instrumental groups. However the flipside of the huge gain in distortion performance is a very far from flat frequency response. Because the mic contains no active electronics, it requires large amounts of external EQ to iron out the horn characteristic. This makes it impossible to listen to the microphone via any standard analogue console, and requires a digital console or DAW which can provide a large amount of realtime phase-linear parametric EQ. The one reservation I have about the post EQ'd sound of the Model A, and it is a fairly big reservation, is that there is a feeling of a lack of freedom - that things are somehow closed in. This "closed in" quality of sound may well be the result of the digital EQ. Andy is against analogue EQ because of the inherent phase distortion and noise issues, but personally I'd love to hear the Model A through a well designed analogue EQ stage so I can make up my own mind. Whatever my reservations, I'm convinced that Andy is onto something here, and I'm sure he'll take it much further if he's given the means to do so. He's effectively fighting the entire microphone industry single-handedly by suggesting that the basis of microphone development has been fundamentally flawed for the last seventy years. We all have our prejudices and our blind spots, sometimes it's good to re-evaluate things from first principles.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Mutton Geoff]
      #732930 - 08/05/09 08:31 AM
Thanks for the post Mutton -- you've made some interesting comments and observations, although essentially you seem to be saying it sounds different (possibly in a nice way), but isn't (yet) practically usable. I'm not surprised by this, and it again begs the question as to who would part with around £10k for what is clearly still a R&D prototype?

The thing that worries me is that if the frequency response is all to cock (to use a technical phrase), the subjective impression is also going to be skewed. Small changes of EQ, as you'll know (along with every mastering engineer), can make a huge subjective change to things like the 'glassy veil' effect.

Quote Mutton Geoff:

He's effectively fighting the entire microphone industry single-handedly by suggesting that the basis of microphone development has been fundamentally flawed for the last seventy years.




I don't think he's fighting the industry at all. I'm quite certain that a large number of R&D teams have examined and evaluated his ideas since they are public domain, and maybe other companies will develop mics that employ his acoustic impedance matching ideas in some way. Clearly, finding ways to reduce IM distortion is of importance to the more progressive companies and has been for decades.

The difference is that most mic manufacturers are producing microphones that can be used professionally, they sell them at prices people can afford, and some of the profits are fed back into R&D. It seems Andy hasn't yet reached the point where his mics can be used professionally, where he can sell them at sensible prices, or in practical numbers.

Quote:

We all have our prejudices and our blind spots, sometimes it's good to re-evaluate things from first principles.




Absolutely -- I quite agree.

hugh

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Steve Hill
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #732935 - 08/05/09 08:49 AM
Hugh's said pretty much what I was going to say. I'd just add that for commercial purposes time is (the client's) money. Faffing about with EQ-ing a recording that does not sound great on playback is not what's wanted! Clients often want to playback a take, or part of it, immediately, while they are "in the zone", to decide whether they need or want to do another take.

The acknowledged difficulties of using this mic are going to get in the way of a smooth workflow and, very possibly, upset clients. It's going to be a brave studio that uses it in those circumstances.

I would also add that this studio is not unique in still offering wholly analogue recordings, so adding a digital EQ into the chain is - for those clients - not really an option without introducing unwanted DA/AD conversion stages.

Basically, this mic should be sold with an analogue EQ which does the job, if it's to have any hope of success. Or if it has to be a digital EQ, sell it as a digital mic!

That said, I still look forward to 0VU having the chance to do some A/B recording in a concert hall. And in case it's passed Andy by, narcoman has also offered to do the same on an orchestral recording at Abbey Road.

If either of those guys tell me it's good, I'd take their word for it.

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Mutton Geoff



Joined: 07/05/09
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Loc: Oslo, Norway
Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #733006 - 08/05/09 12:49 PM
I don't fundamentally disagree with anything in Hugh or Steve's last posts. There are obviously some issues regarding the commercial viability of the mic given Andy's price tag. That seems to be the thing that has generated the largest amount of hot air here. Like (presumably) most of the rest of the people on this forum I'm not in a position to spend 30 grand (I'd need at least three Model As)on microphones. However, rather than getting angry with Andy on that basis I'd encourage anyone who is sufficiently interested and open-minded to engage directly with him and ask for a demo. He may be something of a fundamentalist, but he's also passionate about sound and music, so you should have some common points of contact. My experience is that he's perfectly open to mutually beneficial collaboration - leave the price question to one side for a while.

There's one aspect of both Hugh and Steves' posts which is interesting, and that is the immediate suspicion of any microphone that requires EQ. This illustrates to me how we're trained (as engineers) to think of everything in terms of spectral balance. One of the things that interests me most (and one of the reasons why I got in touch with Andy in the first place) comes from my love of old (I mean very old) recordings. I've often sat listening transfixed to Grieg or Joachim from acoustic 78s played back on a horn gramophone. Technically speaking these recordings should be far inferior to anything that we can produce today. They are mono, have a ridiculous signal to noise ratio, severely limited bandwidth and (due to the horn) a highly coloured frequency characteristic. What is it therefore that often makes me feel more in touch with the music on some of these ancient recordings than listening to (for instance) a Blu-Ray 192kHz surround disk? Most engineers would say that it's just nostalgia, that I like the sound of hiss and crackle, and the colouration of a metal horn. The raw output of the Model A sounds remarkably like an acoustic 78 (without the crackle), and in the same way although it is obviously completely "wrong" in terms of spectral balance, I got the feeling of things somehow being more "real". That doesn't maybe make a lot of sense, unless you accept that the ear-brain combination is more forgiving of severe tonal distortion (the horn response) than it is of non-harmonic (intermodulation) distortion. The interesting thing is that the "real" characteristic that I like in the Model As is perceptible regardless of the EQ setting - it's not something that comes and goes with EQ.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Mutton Geoff]
      #733091 - 08/05/09 04:08 PM
Quote Mutton Geoff:

However, rather than getting angry with Andy on that basis I'd encourage anyone who is sufficiently interested and open-minded to engage directly with him and ask for a demo.




I don't think anyone is 'getting angry' -- at least I'd hope not. And personally, I have the utmost respect for someone who is trying to develop what they see as a useful microphone technology. However... nothing I have read so far provides a sufficiently convincing argument for the theory of operation, and no one has so far come back with unqualified praise. Moreover, none of the people I've consulted with far greater expertise in academic acoustical physics and commercial microphone design than I have been convinced either.

Quote:

There's one aspect of both Hugh and Steves' posts which is interesting, and that is the immediate suspicion of any microphone that requires EQ.




No suspicion here -- pretty much all microphones involve EQ of some kind, whether acoustical, mechanical, or electronic. What I find of concern is the fact that the EQ apparently required for this mic design has not been incorporated into the current models. That makes direct comparisons impossible and leaves lots of get out clauses... It's simply not a practical or professional approach.

Quote:

What is it therefore that often makes me feel more in touch with the music on some of these ancient recordings than listening to (for instance) a Blu-Ray 192kHz surround disk?




Good question, and one that is often asked. I think performance has a lot to do with it. Back then, only the best were recorded -- those with real honed talent. Were that it was the same today. I think another facet is that the recording and reproduction chain was inherently very simple, and although that brought limitations in terms of bandwidth and s/n ratio, it also makes it easy for the brain to 'listen through' the media to focus on the performance itself.

Quote:

The raw output of the Model A sounds remarkably like an acoustic 78




...can't think why

Quote:

That doesn't maybe make a lot of sense, unless you accept that the ear-brain combination is more forgiving of severe tonal distortion (the horn response) than it is of non-harmonic (intermodulation) distortion.




I agree this is a possibility and I do find it intriguing.

Hugh

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Mutton Geoff



Joined: 07/05/09
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Loc: Oslo, Norway
Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #733117 - 08/05/09 05:23 PM
Quote:

Good question, and one that is often asked. I think performance has a lot to do with it. Back then, only the best were recorded -- those with real honed talent. Were that it was the same today.




Of course you're right, although I'd hope that I have enough experience to seperate performance from sound quality to a large extent. I have a some good friends that are doing some very interesting academic research into the way that the recording industry has affected performance tradition... There's enough material for a few doctoral theses in this. Get me started on the ills of modern production and editing practices in the classical recording industry and we'll really start annoying people!

Quote:

Moreover, none of the people I've consulted with far greater expertise in academic acoustical physics and commercial microphone design than I have been convinced either.




I'm not an acoustic or electronic expert either, but I'd be interested to know where you (and the experts) think the fundamental flaws lie.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Mutton Geoff]
      #733134 - 08/05/09 06:17 PM
Quote Mutton Geoff:

Get me started on the ills of modern production and editing practices in the classical recording industry and we'll really start annoying people!




Actually, I think I'd enjoy that conversation -- I suspect we are of like minds.

Quote:

I'd be interested to know where you (and the experts) think the fundamental flaws lie.




The lack of coherent technical and academic information troubles me, and I do struggle somewhat with the concept of impedance matching in this context, since that is really only a conern when transferring power.

A loudspeaker needs to be impedance matched to the air because you are trying to move acoustic power there, but a microphone isd -- to my mind at least -- more like a high impedance probe on a low impednace line. It is intended to sample the air pressure without materially affecting the acoustic wavefront, and therefore does not require matching -- that's why diaphragm size and bass response are not related in microphone design, while they certainly are in speaker design.

The capsule here (whether dynamic or electrostatic -- I don't think we've been told) must be pressure opereated (else there would need to be two horns). And that being the case, the mechanical impednaces involved are the sum of the capsule's internal air cavity, the diaphragm suspension, and the air in the horn. This will necessarily be stiffer than free air, so adds some additional damping.

All I can assume is that the frontal horn damping helps to balance in some way the rear internal cavity damping, and thus affects symmetry of operation and the intermopdulation distortion as a result -- in other words it works to some extent like the symmetrical RF capsule employed by sennheiser inthe MKH range. But having said that, I'm struggling to think it is that significant an effect, and horns typically only exhibit the impedance transformation effect over a narrow frequency range too -- three octaves at most.

Moreover, I'm struggling to see how any of this affects the time domain response, which is inherently good in pressure operated mics anyway. The net phase shift will be zero all the way up to the resonant frequency which will be over 20kHz in a small diaphragm mic. But where the hornm damping ceases to be effective, the damping will surely become worse with interesting results...

The polar response is obviously shaped by the horn, so it's essentially an omni with an enormous body shadow which will narrow the directivity in the nmid and HF regions.

Just a few thoughts... open to persuasion and correction on any and all.

hugh

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IvanSC



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #733135 - 08/05/09 06:18 PM
My $0.02

Don`t think anyone is angry at Andy`s pricing. Incredulous maybe but never angry.

And my only reservation regarding the mic needing eq is that it apparently is left up to the user to decide how much of what and where, as opposed to the more normal way of the eq or equivalent forming part of the construction of the mic.
I can see a certain amount of minor tweaking coming into play as with any other mic, but the iudea of having to set up a curve to allow for the inherent non-linearity of a mic at the get-go seems a little excessive & certainly off-putting for the majority of us.
This may sound simplistic but as Steve says, we don`t have the time or the latitude from clients to allow faffing around applying eq in an experiemental way every time we put up a mic.
It is almost as though Andy is so fixated on resolving the perceived inadequacies of existing technology regarding intermodulation distortion, he is overlooking the rest of the story, at least in part.

I have just re-read this thread & downloaded his wav files again, just to refresh my memory.
I am still keen to see what ow makes of them.

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Mutton Geoff



Joined: 07/05/09
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #733288 - 09/05/09 12:14 PM
Quote:

The lack of coherent technical and academic information troubles me




Yes. Andy doesn't give much away. However, as you've noted above, since much of the underlying theory is public domain I can understand that he might not want to reveal all his secrets. I understand equally well that this will make people suspicious that there's no firm technical basis to the mic.

Quote:

I do struggle somewhat with the concept of impedance matching in this context, since that is really only a conern when transferring power.




This seems a strange statement to me. Surely a microphone (or any transducer) is involved in converting power from one form of energy to another. The power levels (both acoustic and electrical) associated with a microphone are tiny compared to those involved in speaker design, but I don't see why that discounts acoustic efficiency as an issue. I'm not talking from a position of any informed knowledge here, I just don't follow the logic of the statement. Obviously acoustic efficency was an issue in the days before electrical recording... without the recording horn we would indeed have heard nothing but swish and crackle pre 1925!

I don't have a scientific understanding of horn theory, and my knowledge of acoustic design as it relates to speakers and microphones is basic and rusty. In electrical terms I can follow the concept of the horn as a resonant transformer. From this it follows that its efficiency varies with frequency. In the case of the Model A the horn is designed to be at it's most efficient round 2Khz, to coincide with the area in which the human ear is at its most mechanically accurate. I think your reaction, and that of most microphone designers is along the lines of "why would you want to do this?", ie. why would you want to create so many problems simply in order to massively boost acoustic efficiency for a range of frequencies? The focus of the industry (especially those companies that specialise in small capsule "measurement mic" designs) has been to attempt to avoid capsule resonance within the range of audibility (or at least to shift it up as high as possible)... and here's someone who's recommending the use of massive horn resonance smack in the middle of our speech range. Here's a prejudice of mine.. I'm allergic to the sound of a certain widely used small capsule measurement mic, despite the reputation it has within audiophile recording circles. My microphones of choice at work are fifty year old Neumann M49s. I suspect I'm not alone in the industry with my preference here. However, if you look at the frequency response plots this reaction simply doesn't make sense. The M49 is coloured and band-limited in comparison to most modern pencil condensers. I asked Andy Simpson about this, and his response was very interesting. He suggests (as with the Model A) that it's largely to with IM distortion again. The theory is that the classic mics from the fifties (U47, M49, Telefunken 251, and to a certain extent the smaller capsule M50) have resonance issues much lower in the audio spectrum than modern mics. In a less extreme way than with the Model A, the resonance boosts output for a certain range of frequencies, resulting in correspondlingly less IM distortion associated with that frequency range. Isn't that an interesting concept? At any rate it's the closest anyone has come to explaining scientifically why I like the sound of old mics when I know they are technically inferior. If I thought the Model A sounded better than an M49, I might buy a cardboard box for the kids, sell the house, and buy a clutch of Model As... I don't think Andy's there yet, but as I've said before, I think he might be on the right track.


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Andy Simpson



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Mutton Geoff]
      #733300 - 09/05/09 01:18 PM
Quote Mutton Geoff:

....I asked Andy Simpson about this, and his response was very interesting. He suggests (as with the Model A) that it's largely to with IM distortion again. The theory is that the classic mics from the fifties (U47, M49, Telefunken 251, and to a certain extent the smaller capsule M50) have resonance issues much lower in the audio spectrum than modern mics. In a less extreme way than with the Model A, the resonance boosts output for a certain range of frequencies, resulting in correspondlingly less IM distortion associated with that frequency range. Isn't that an interesting concept? At any rate it's the closest anyone has come to explaining scientifically why I like the sound of old mics when I know they are technically inferior. If I thought the Model A sounded better than an M49, I might buy a cardboard box for the kids, sell the house, and buy a clutch of Model As...




Hello Geoff,

To correct slightly (to my recollection at least) what I said was that I consider that the the polar response & audible-band resonance of the m49 interact to produce 'good' spectral masking ratios for the perception of 'depth'.

I don't suggest that the mechanical 'ringing' resonant tuning of the diaphragm reduces intermodulation distortion, rather the bandlimiting/roll-off does.

While generally condenser capsule nonlinearity increases with frequency, if there is a mechanical roll-off then the nonlinear distortion in that range is proportionally reduced, which reduces the significance of IMD components in all other areas (ie. 'difference frequency' components).

In other words, a 15k roll-off reduces nonlinearity in the least linear area and so the sub-15k area suffers less IMD interference from the >15k range.

I would also guess that back-plate distances for these old mics were greater than is common these days and that as a result fundamental linearity is likely also better on these old mics than the newer 'higher sensitivity' mics.

Close back-plate and wide bandwidth are a linearity/IMD disaster combination avoided in the old mics.

Andy

PS - Next time I'm in Oslo we can do an A/B against the m49s - if the Model A doesn't beat them I'll give you a set free of charge.

--------------------
www.simpsonmicrophones.com


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Mutton Geoff



Joined: 07/05/09
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Loc: Oslo, Norway
Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Andy Simpson]
      #733310 - 09/05/09 02:22 PM
Sorry if I've misrepresented things here Andy. You're quite right that you sent me a clear and detailed explanation of the relationship between spectral masking and depth perception. I should read my notes before attempting to write technical essays! Maybe a shootout between M49s (plus Brauner VM-1s?) and Model As would achieve a lot more than words here. I'm hoping to organise something in a larger acoustic than the radio studio under more flexible circumstances, and in an ideal world with full symphonic forces. When that happens I'm sure this forum will hear about it.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: Mutton Geoff]
      #733451 - 10/05/09 10:32 AM
Quote Mutton Geoff:

This seems a strange statement to me. Surely a microphone (or any transducer) is involved in converting power from one form of energy to another. The power levels (both acoustic and electrical) associated with a microphone are tiny compared to those involved in speaker design, but I don't see why that discounts acoustic efficiency as an issue.




There are direct parallels here in the electrical interfaces of loudspeakers and microphones. In the case of loudspeakers, we are interested in the transfer of power, so amplifier outputs are impedance matched with the loudspeakers they are connected to.

If the transfer of power was important in microphones, microphone inputs would have a 200 ohm input impedance (to match the nominal 200 ohm output impednace of (most) microphones). But we're not interested in transfering power, and they aren't.

Instead, we are interested in monitoring the changing signal voltage ~without affecting it. That requires a high impedance input and hence mic preamps have mostly a 1.5-5k input impedance.

It seems to me that a microphone has the same relationship to a passing acoustical wavefront as a mic preamp does to a microphone output -- it is there to monitor what is going on without changing it, and in that context, a high impedance is required, not a matched impedance.

That's not to say that Andy hasn't found some benefit in attempting to match the impedance through the mid frquency range with a horn. It may well be that this does have an effect on reducing intermodulation distortion.

The question is whether the downsides of this approach are acceptable, and if reducing IM is as important as he is suggesting (which I can accept) whether there aren't other ways of doing the same thing with less detrimental side effects.

I don't know the answers to these questions, but I know that some mic manufacturer R&D departments are working on these issues. ... but then we enter the thorny world of finances, and while everyonw and there dog is making cheap clone mics using severnty year old technology, and continually driving prices down as a result, R&D funding is at an all time low and development is very slow.

Your point about resonance is a good one. I share your awareness of the HF resonance of capacitor mics. It is a well known problem and different manufacturers have found various different ways of dealing with it. One significant advantage of ribbon mics, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that their inherent resonances are subsonic (~15Hz) as opposed to (low) ultrasonic. They also have a gentle and early HF roll-off which, as Andy points out, helps to reduce any IM problems in a very gentle and natural way.

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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jayzed
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #733507 - 10/05/09 03:07 PM
Wow, I've been away from the forum for a while, I didn't realise what I was getting into with my initial (admittedly plagiarised) question. It seems the discussion has continued but there's only been a little more light shed (for whatever reasons) on the sound and function of the microphones. I do look forward to the planned tests by 3 (is it now?) different engineers.

Someone mentioned 'audiophile' use at one point. I'd like to point out that for some people (including me at times) this is now unfortunately a term of derision - due to magic rocks, green marker pens and several feet of power cable costing into the thousands. I was reading the list of distributors for one range of products and couldn't help imagining a bunch of shady chancers but this is probably unkind in most cases.
I believe that Mr Simpson is genuine in his passion for these microphones (although I am more than willing to admit my potential credulity here) but do think that he has done himself no favours with the pricing. I understand his valuing of his ideas but it's not always true that any publicity is good publicity. Take the Genwave eq., I had to look up the name as I'd forgotten it but I haven't heard this mentioned for some time despite the controversy generated, mainly by its' price.


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IvanSC



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #745319 - 19/06/09 09:12 AM
Wondering if the meet with oW actually took place.

--------------------
Me? But I`m such a loveable old bugger!


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David



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Posts: 322
Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #748006 - 27/06/09 11:05 AM
Why doesn't SOS just review the mics instead of slamming the guy online?


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Aural Reject



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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: David]
      #748007 - 27/06/09 11:14 AM
Quote David:

Why doesn't SOS just review the mics instead of slamming the guy online?




I'm sure they would if they were sent. Until then the data in the public domain all there is to work on.


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David



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 322
Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #748009 - 27/06/09 11:25 AM
Well according to Hugh's posts above they won't be considered because they're too expensive for the average SOS reader. That's fine, I just think it's uncool to speculate negatively without even trying them out.


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Aural Reject



Joined: 02/05/03
Posts: 4208
Loc: Lancashire
Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: David]
      #748016 - 27/06/09 11:53 AM
Quote David:

Well according to Hugh's posts above they won't be considered because they're too expensive for the average SOS reader. That's fine, I just think it's uncool to speculate negatively without even trying them out.




They've reviewed SSL control surfaces valued at tens of thousands...and they don't really fall within the reach of (probably) most of the readership either.

If these things are as good as proposed, send them and let them be reviewed. if there's anything either of sonic or scientific interest I'm sure it'd get published, but the review would have to fight for paper real estate the same as everything else.


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IvanSC



Joined: 08/03/05
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #748017 - 27/06/09 11:56 AM
If I recall correctly, it was more that hugh decided the science behind them either wasn`t valid or was unprovable one way or the other

I have given up on the ow recordings and assume that either it happened and nobody wants to publish the results, or it just didn`t happen.
Shame, because I feel we have given Andy all th erope he could ever need & thus far the whole thing has been neatly sidestepped by all concerned.
Aren`t we all going to be kicking ourselves when it is decided these mics are the bees knees and the price doubles!

--------------------
Me? But I`m such a loveable old bugger!


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Bob Bickerton
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Joined: 20/12/02
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Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: David]
      #748020 - 27/06/09 12:01 PM
Quote David:

That's fine, I just think it's uncool to speculate negatively without even trying them out.




Last time I read this thread (which seems an awfully long time ago) there seemed to be a large degree of 'speculation' from the manufacturer on the abilities of the product, poor audio samples on their website and a reluctance to provide serious scientific information to back up their claims against fairly reasoned discussion.

Anyway, the subsequent silence (I'm assuming 0VU was never given mics to try) says it all!

Bob

--------------------
www.bickerton.co.nz


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table for two
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Joined: 24/03/02
Posts: 5884
Re: A wonderous thing - the £10K mic made of wood. new [Re: jayzed]
      #748025 - 27/06/09 12:06 PM
Sometimes on paper, just on paper, it seems something just should not do what it claims. But then it turns up a surprise.
Just for proper sceintific rigour as it were, empirical evidence is required.


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