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MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

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MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:01 pm

The recent acquisition of a pair of MKH8050s and their suitability for the studio and well as live sound work has led me to review my mic locker (always dangerous for an addict).

Whilst live concert recording manages to keep me poor, it's the area that interests me most and I'm looking to sell some of my mics and building up a few more pairs in the MKH8000 series.

I'm particularly interested in the new MKH8090, but there's precious little about them on the net.

For orchestral and chamber music recording I'll often use an ORTF pair of TLM193s with omni (KM183) outriggers (orchestral) or as a spaced pair (chamber music). I find the ORTF pair always too clinical (to my ear) until I add some omni to the mix.

I'm curious to know how the 8090s are likely to behave as the main pair, but I've never used wide cardioids before. I'd imagine the stereo imaging would be less distinct but the overall effect more spacious.

Also whilst I've read the stereophonic zoom article, I'd be interested in hearing of actual examples of useful placement and spacing.

I'd also be interested in knowing how the cardioid 8040 would compare to TLM193s as an ORTF pair.

I'm thinking 8090s plus 8020 outriggers with 8050 spots might be quite nice, with the option to revert to ORTF193s when a more focused sound might be required.

Thanks in advance.

Bob
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Re: MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

Postby mjfe2 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:34 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:For orchestral and chamber music recording I'll often use an ORTF pair of TLM193s with omni (KM183) outriggers (orchestral) or as a spaced pair (chamber music). I find the ORTF pair always too clinical (to my ear) until I add some omni to the mix.

I'm curious to know how the 8090s are likely to behave as the main pair, but I've never used wide cardioids before. I'd imagine the stereo imaging would be less distinct but the overall effect more spacious.

I find ORTF the same but I think the reason for that is the inherent colouration of cardioid mics and the low-end roll off, neither of which really improves with wide cardioids. I think choral recordings show up these defects more than instrumental ensembles. Personally I prefer a pair of KM183s (or equivalent!) with a Jecklin disk That being said, I've never tried the wide/cardioids in the 8000 series so maybe they're an improvement on what I'm used to hearing (beyer MC930, KM184, Schoeps MK21 etc).
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Re: MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:03 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:I'm particularly interested in the new MKH8090, but there's precious little about them on the net.

I've not heard them either I'm afraid.... and I've never found sub-cardioids (hypo-cardioids) particularly useful. Not as much rejection as a cardioid, but still lacking the virtues of a true omni.

I'm curious to know how the 8090s are likely to behave as the main pair, but I've never used wide cardioids before. I'd imagine the stereo imaging would be less distinct but the overall effect more spacious.

In an XY array you have to use them with a wider mutual angle to get a sensible stereo acceptance angle... and that places central sources even more off-axis. So using a near-spaced array is the only way to go... but the standard arrays (ORTF, NOS) are designed for cardioids, not hypos. using the Michael Williams (Stereophonic Zoom) charts, you'd need to use a 17cm spacing with 90-degree mutual angle to achieve an SRA of 180 degrees -- the equivalent of XY cardioids.

I'd be interested in hearing of actual examples of useful placement and spacing.

That will be a challenge -- I've never knowingly come across any stereo hypocardioid array recordings.

I'd also be interested in knowing how the cardioid 8040 would compare to TLM193s as an ORTF pair.

I use the MKH40s in an ORTF array quite often and I like what it does. The tonality will obviously be quite different becuase the 193 has that upper-mid suck-out while the MKH40 is pretty much ruler-flat.

I'm thinking 8090s plus 8020 outriggers

I wouldn't personally... I'd go for a Decca Tree arangement with three 8020s... especially since you don't really like what the ORTF array does for you with cardioids anyway and with a pair of hypos there you'll effectively get little more than a mono signal from the array!

H
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Re: MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:08 am

All very interesting but the obvious question to ask is why make wide cardioids at all?

What would be their expected application?

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Re: MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:45 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:All very interesting but the obvious question to ask is why make wide cardioids at all?


Beats me! Seriously though, they have less proximity effect than a cardioid, and a wider frontal pickup area, but still retain some level of attenuation for rearward sound sources (typically about 10dB).

I guess these things are useful, but I reckon its easier just to place an omni slightly closer to the source and get on with something more intersting instead!

The distance factor for a hypo-cardioid is 1.2 compared to a cardioid's 1.7 (hypercardioid is 2 and a rifle mic is about 2.5 at higher frequencies). In other words, if you had a cardioid mic 1.7 metres from a source, you'd need to put a hypocardioid 50cm closer for the same level of ambient sound, and an omni only a further 20cm in front of that.

Compared to an omni, a cardioid mic captures about 5dB less ambient noise overall, whereas a hypo-cardioid is about 3dB less (and a hypercardioid about 6dB less).

What would be their expected application?


I've never found really one!

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Re: MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

Postby mjfe2 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:13 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:All very interesting but the obvious question to ask is why make wide cardioids at all?

What would be their expected application?

Bob

Schoeps seem to market them as uncoloured cardioids. As I said, I've seen them used as a main pair on professional choral recordings, and as choir spot mics for a broadcast of Handel's royal anthems. But the guy who used them as main pair confessed that he's never really found any cardioid uncoloured enough for choral work and will always use omnis when the acoustic allows it.
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Re: MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:40 pm

mjfe2 wrote:Schoeps seem to market them as uncoloured cardioids.

I'd say 'less coloured' rather than uncoloured, personally!

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Re: MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:40 pm

Fascinating stuff and appreciated as always!

Bob
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Re: MKH8090 and using hypocardioids as main stereo pair

Postby Jeraldo » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:13 pm

Cardioids attempt to have a uniform pattern off axis, with no HF roll off (except at the very top frequencies, where patterns narrow). In reality, most have little HF peaks, with a more pronounced HF boost at obtuse angles. Schoeps even describes their MK4 (a very flat cardioid) as having a slight HF boost when used in the diffuse field. IOW, it is brighter off axis.

Subcardioids have a side pattern more like an omni, with a smooth HF attenuation as one moves off axis. Using Schoeps as an example again, they describe their subcardioid as "warm" sounding, and I believe this is more do to do the off axis response than the lower end.

The exception to this is the cardioid MKH40, which is a cardioid that has an off axis response leaning toward that of an omni with smooth HF attenuation at the sides, which contributes to its darker presentation.

All subject to correction...
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