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SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:54 am

Not sure if I'm in the right place with this - mods please move if not.

Anyway, just wanted to say that as someone who is woefully afflicted with MAS - mic acquisition syndrome - this was a magnet to me when I saw it on sale on Monday.

An excellent £3.99 worth! Very informative articles, written in the usual SoS clear style. Particular 'high-five' to John Willett for his article on radio mics. Sets out the options very clearly and gives lots of practical tips about optimising performance.

My two disappointments were the mics that some manufacturers chose NOT to include - some mics that get mentioned in the forums again and again - and that some of the significant players in the mic manufacturing arena chose not to participate in this comprehensive survey. Their loss methinks... Of course SoS can't be accountable for those.

Nice one mes braves!
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:13 am

Sounds interesting - is it available online?

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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:28 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:Sounds interesting - is it available online?

Bob
Doesn't seem to be Bob

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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby BJG145 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:28 am

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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby ef37a » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:21 am

BJG145 wrote:Can order here -

<a href="/shop/Dept.php?DeptID=38" target="_blank">http://www.soundonsound.com/shop/Dept.php?DeptID=38</a>

Or! You can support your friendly local newsagent. I get all my SoS specials that way.

I was suprised after a quick scan to see that ribbon mics are not that different on the whole from many dynamic types for sensitivity? Tho' it has to be said that there was a distict lack of such figures for many of the ribbons listed.

The low output of passive ribbons is almost always mentioned in reviews but in fact it seems most of them are on a par with many dynamics (a dB down at most) and most of the ribbons for which figures are given beat the SM7b by 6dB or so!

I have to say that this is a much better effort than the last Monitor special where I was particularly dissapointed not to see figures for self noise given.

Dave.
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:43 am

ef37a wrote:I was suprised after a quick scan to see that ribbon mics are not that different on the whole from many dynamic types for sensitivity?


Yes, they have come a long way since the 1940s, with much more practical output levels thanks almost entirely to far better magnetic materials, or the use of active buffer stages.

www.microphone-data.com lists 81 ribbon mics, of which 19 have an output of 2mV/Pa or more and only 6 produce under 1mV/Pa (all of which are 'old school' ribbons like the Coles 4038 and Beyer M160). So most lie in the 1-2mV/Pa range which is similar to a typical moving coil mic.

However, in many applications it is common to 'work' a ribbon at a rather greater distance from the source to avoid proximity effects, or as part of a stereo pair whch tends to be placed at a distance too. So in practical use it is not unususal to require a fair amount of gain.

Tho' it has to be said that there was a distict lack of such figures for many of the ribbons listed.


Blame the manufacturers... they were all asked to complete an on-line submission form to provide the data.

...most of the ribbons for which figures are given beat the SM7b by 6dB or so!


The Shure SM7 has a sensitivity of just over 1mV/Pa, so is similar to the majority of ribbons, but it is intended to be used at zero distance from the source... which can't be said of most ribbons.

I have to say that this is a much better effort than the last Monitor special where I was particularly dissapointed not to see figures for self noise given.


Self noise would only apply to active and powered monitors of course, and again, we can only publish the data supplied by the manufacturers... few of which bother to specify it.

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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby ef37a » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:27 pm

"Self noise would only apply to active and powered monitors of course, and again, we can only publish the data supplied by the manufacturers... few of which bother to specify it."

Active monitors of course.
Re the lack of information. Considering the Byzantine forms some m'ftcrs require one to complete before you can extract even basic data, my reaction would be to bounce the form back and say "Oi! "All indicated fields must be completed"!!!

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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Mixedup » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:43 pm

ef37a wrote: bounce the form back and say "Oi! "All indicated fields must be completed"!!!

...and how many times would you bounce it back? And do you leave them out when they then decide against completing the form? Building up a database of this sort of information takes time and effort, and usually several revisions. It's pretty thorough considering, though I'm sure there's room for future updates.
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Guest » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:44 pm

ef37a wrote:Re the lack of information. Considering the Byzantine forms some m'ftcrs require one to complete before you can extract even basic data, my reaction would be to bounce the form back and say "Oi! "All indicated fields must be completed"!!!

We do. However we also have strict deadlines to meet in order to get the Guide published on time, so there's a limit as to how many times we can ask before we run out of time and have to go to print - whether or not we have every scrap of data we asked for
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby sthum » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:44 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:Sounds interesting - is it available online?

Bob


Bob.. If you ever want anything posted over from the UK just pm me.. We can sort something out!

I greatly appreciate your advice from before.. which led to my decision to buy a brilliant mic!

Bob Quote:

"If you have the Neumann KMS105 then the Shure 55 is unlikely ever to be used for sonic reasons.

Bob"

And you were right.. I bought both.. But still happy that I have a very cool retro looking mic in my studio, certainly good enough for sketching lyric ideas to music!

And as for the Neumann KMS 105.... WOW!!
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Guest » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:45 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:Sounds interesting - is it available online?

Bob
Doesn't seem to be Bob

M

Something we're planning for the future, but I don't yet have a confirmed date to tell you
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby ef37a » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:03 pm

'Twas a bit tongue in cheek Mix'!

Yes Jennifer I do understand but I wished more manufacturers would also understand that many of us look first for a well written, comprehensive specification when considering a purchase.

But then I was spoiled years ago by the likes of Studio Sound and Hi Fi News (Before Beardy Tweaks) who would regularly haul makers over the coals for poor, incomplete or ambiguous specifications and wo betide any equipment that did not meet its published spec!

I used to hugely enjoy the technical ding-dongs conducted at the lesiurely monthly or bi-monthly pace in those magazines and Wireless World (tho' I rarely understood very much in the latter!)

No matter Jen'"we" shall be out of everybodies' hair in a few more years.

Dave.(I too can post stuff onto the colonies if required, now and again!)
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:41 pm

ef37a wrote:But then I was spoiled years ago by the likes of Studio Sound and Hi Fi News (Before Beardy Tweaks) who would regularly haul makers over the coals for poor, incomplete or ambiguous specifications and wo betide any equipment that did not meet its published spec!


Those were the days! But we live in a very different world today, with completely different buying priorities, and market pressures.

If you want something that is specified precisely and exhaustively you really have to look at the German manufacturers. They still get it... but then culturally they still respect the 'engineer' and still have proper educational standards and technical universities.

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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:26 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
ef37a wrote:But then I was spoiled years ago by the likes of Studio Sound and Hi Fi News (Before Beardy Tweaks) who would regularly haul makers over the coals for poor, incomplete or ambiguous specifications and wo betide any equipment that did not meet its published spec!

Those were the days! But we live in a very different world today, with completely different buying priorities, and market pressures.

If you want something that is specified precisely and exhaustively you really have to look at the German manufacturers. They still get it... but then culturally they still respect the 'engineer' and still have proper educational standards and technical universities.

hugh

Re Studio Sound - one name, Hugh Ford. If he said it was good, you could safely go out and buy the damn thing. Sadly, after his death, that didn't last.

Re German engineering - and it is a criminal offence in Germany to claim to be an 'engineer' if you do not have an accredited and recognised degree in engineering. The same applies to any academic title, such as Dr., Ph.D., B.Sc. etc.
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:34 pm

I only said I thought it was good.....
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:15 pm

Yes, look what you're started now. All the BOF's are reminiscing...

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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby John Willett » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:33 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Not sure if I'm in the right place with this - mods please move if not.

Anyway, just wanted to say that as someone who is woefully afflicted with MAS - mic acquisition syndrome - this was a magnet to me when I saw it on sale on Monday.

An excellent £3.99 worth! Very informative articles, written in the usual SoS clear style. Particular 'high-five' to John Willett for his article on radio mics. Sets out the options very clearly and gives lots of practical tips about optimising performance.

My two disappointments were the mics that some manufacturers chose NOT to include - some mics that get mentioned in the forums again and again - and that some of the significant players in the mic manufacturing arena chose not to participate in this comprehensive survey. Their loss methinks... Of course SoS can't be accountable for those.

Nice one mes braves!

Thanks Mike.

It really *is* an excellent and well worth getting publication.

However - some of the mic. info needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as I have found lots of errors.

It seems that the published info. was not checked with the manufacturers/distributors.

There seems to be a 50% error rate on Gefell mics with incorrect descriptions, prices and photos. The Schoeps SuperCMIT is described as "stereo", there are no Sennheiser SDCs at all, despite Sennheiser doing three or four different ranges of SDCs, etc...... And this is just after a quick look at the ones I know.

I know that everything could not be included, and all the articles are really excellent (Hugh's in particular are very good), it's just a real shame about all the errors on the mic. data pages.
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:16 pm

John Willett wrote: It seems that the published info. was not checked with the manufacturers/distributors.

Ahem... it was the manufacturers/distributors who entered the data! They were all invited to submit their microphones using an on-line data form.

it's just a real shame about all the errors on the mic. data pages.

I must admit, I've not had a chance to have a close look at the mic data yet... and if I need that stuff I tend to use www.microphone-data.com

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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby John Willett » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:03 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
John Willett wrote: It seems that the published info. was not checked with the manufacturers/distributors.

Ahem... it was the manufacturers/distributors who entered the data! They were all invited to submit their microphones using an on-line data form.

Interesting - I wonder how the errors I spotted got in then



Hugh Robjohns wrote:
John Willett wrote: it's just a real shame about all the errors on the mic. data pages.

I must admit, I've not had a chance to have a close look at the mic data yet... and if I need that stuff I tend to use www.microphone-data.com


And me.
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:35 am

sthum wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:Sounds interesting - is it available online?

Bob

Bob.. If you ever want anything posted over from the UK just pm me.. We can sort something out!

I greatly appreciate your advice from before.. which led to my decision to buy a brilliant mic!

Bob Quote:

"If you have the Neumann KMS105 then the Shure 55 is unlikely ever to be used for sonic reasons.

Bob"

And you were right.. I bought both.. But still happy that I have a very cool retro looking mic in my studio, certainly good enough for sketching lyric ideas to music!

And as for the Neumann KMS 105.... WOW!!

That's very kind sthum. I can hold off until its available digitally. I also go to microphone data.com for such information presently.

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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Johnny Stecchino » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:31 pm

John Willett wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
John Willett wrote: It seems that the published info. was not checked with the manufacturers/distributors.

Ahem... it was the manufacturers/distributors who entered the data! They were all invited to submit their microphones using an on-line data form.

Interesting - I wonder how the errors I spotted got in then



Hugh Robjohns wrote:
John Willett wrote: it's just a real shame about all the errors on the mic. data pages.

I must admit, I've not had a chance to have a close look at the mic data yet... and if I need that stuff I tend to use www.microphone-data.com


And me.


Well,
first of all thanks Mike, for the Monitors and headphones guide I needed to make a special request for being able to buy a copy (Lucy, thanks again!) so I immediately order one copy just 10 minutes ago before even reading all the thread... I don't want to be rude but now though after looking in what John wrote maybe it was better to wait for the web version (as Bob said he will maybe also for other reasons),though I always prefer paper than computer screen...

In any case, must admit that as somebody who is quite an ignorant on the subject I'm sure there will be for me much to learn from the guide. Maybe the best will be to do some cross checking for spec. with the link Hugh gave.
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Re: SoS Smart Guide to Microphones

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:03 am

Good to see that the puzzling omission of some Rode mics has now been realised and semi-rectified by the update on the website 'News' section.
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