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Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby John Willett » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:17 pm

John Willett wrote:I will upload pictures of my own units as soon as I have them all sorted and cabled up to the Nagra VI.


OK - here it is. :D

My Nagra VI and the two DMI-2Portable interfaces for recording four digital mics. at once:

Image

The two DMI-2Portable are both powered from the Nagra VI and they are clocked from the very accurate word clock in the Nagra VI.
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby John Willett » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:36 pm

The DMI-2Portable is now on the Neumann website HERE. :D



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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby John Willett » Fri May 17, 2013 12:58 pm

For more information on digital microphones...

I have written two AES papers on the subject.

The first was presented at the 130th AES convention in London in May 2011 and the second (a bit longer) at the UK AES Conference "The Ins and Outs of Audio" in June 2011.

Both these papers list all the products for AES42 digital microphones from all manufacturers to give a complete picture.

You can download the PDFs from the links below:-

Digital Microphones - What's it all about?

Digital Microphones - AES42 and all that

I trust these will be useful in explaining AES42 digital microphones.
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby Mattyy » Wed May 29, 2013 3:11 am

Forgive me if I missed something. I read this thread. I read the SOS review. I wasn't able to find any audio samples anywhere.
I'm excited about the possibilities that digital mics present.
I would love to hear a shootout between perhaps these Neumann models and their analogue counterparts maybe?
Maybe someone could pit them against an industry standard, well known combo stereo small diaphragm pair/GML or Millenia pre.
If anybody knows of where I can hear high quality audio examples I would love to entertain the idea of saving for these.
Thanks.
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby John Willett » Wed May 29, 2013 10:17 am

Mattyy wrote:Forgive me if I missed something. I read this thread. I read the SOS review. I wasn't able to find any audio samples anywhere.
I'm excited about the possibilities that digital mics present.
I would love to hear a shootout between perhaps these Neumann models and their analogue counterparts maybe?
Maybe someone could pit them against an industry standard, well known combo stereo small diaphragm pair/GML or Millenia pre.
If anybody knows of where I can hear high quality audio examples I would love to entertain the idea of saving for these.
Thanks.

Forget "audio samples", they tell you very little - especially if they have been mangled into MP3 files.

What you get with AES42 digital microphones is the sound of the microphone without any of the colouration that analogue pre-amplifiers add.

You also get a better signal/noise ratio because the sound is digitised in the microphone and you do not have to back-off in the mic. pre. nor ADC to allow headroom for peaks.

Also - the signal is not affected by any stray RF pick-up like analogue signals, so you get a cleaner sound.

Each little thing in the analogue chain adds a bit of noise and distortion, mostly very low and is hardly noticed. But the lack of this on a digital mic. *is* noticeable.

I'll see if I can get a CD quality (16/44.1 uncompressed) sample hosted somewhere that I can link to (now I have a Copy account with free storage) I will try and put something up.

In the meantime, send me a PM with a snail-mail address and I'll send you a CD.
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby Mattyy » Thu May 30, 2013 5:58 am

I feel that good quality raw recordings are a great way to sell a product. A final CD, mixed and mastered might be fine for someone who wants to listen to music but to someone who is considering buying a rather expensive mic set and accessories, raw audio files are great - 16bit/44.1kHz or higher.

The idea of a mic that captures digital at source is incredibly exciting to me. Especially one built by one of the best microphone manufacturers ever.

Both in your review and in Hugh's there is mention of/photo evidence of a shootout being performed between the Neumann digital pair and a high quality alternative.

I'm willing to bet that there is more than just myself that would be interested in hearing small excerpts of those raw recordings.

:lol:
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby John Willett » Thu May 30, 2013 10:23 am

Mattyy wrote:I feel that good quality raw recordings are a great way to sell a product. A final CD, mixed and mastered might be fine for someone who wants to listen to music but to someone who is considering buying a rather expensive mic set and accessories, raw audio files are great - 16bit/44.1kHz or higher.

The idea of a mic that captures digital at source is incredibly exciting to me. Especially one built by one of the best microphone manufacturers ever.

Both in your review and in Hugh's there is mention of/photo evidence of a shootout being performed between the Neumann digital pair and a high quality alternative.

I'm willing to bet that there is more than just myself that would be interested in hearing small excerpts of those raw recordings.

:lol:

AES42 digital mics are made by Neumann, Sennheiser, Schoeps and Gefell though only the Sennheiser MDZ8000 is stereo enabled to do two mics into a single AES42 input.

Only the AETA 4MinX and SD 788T have direct inputs for digital mics, other portable recorders have to use an interface (like the Neumann DMI-2P).

I will see if I can host a track from one of the piano CDs I recorded with the KM183-D mics on my "Copy" account, but as that may take a little while to sort, send me a PM and I'll send you one of the CDs.

I have not heard a direct shoot-out, but a KM183-D and KM183 would sound almost the same (they *do* have the same capsule), but it's when you go through mixers down long cables and all the other paraphernalia in common use that the noise adds up and the digital mics show their mettle in the lack of noise and RF interference.
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 30, 2013 10:35 am

Mattyy wrote:The idea of a mic that captures digital at source is incredibly exciting to me.

Just to be clear, the mic doesn't 'capture digital at source'. What Neumann (and other) companies are doing is taking a perfectly conventional analogue mic capsule and feeding its output through a low-gain preamp stage and into an A-D converter within the microphone body to produce an AES42-compliant digital output.

It's basically still a conventional analogue mic - analogue preamp - A-D converter signal path... but one that has been very heavily optimised and condensed. The preamp stage design's focus is on accuracy and precision, rather than 'colour', and the gain structure is carefully optimised to achieve the best possible dynamic range. In the case of the Neumann mic, they also do a few clever things with converter gain ranging to achieve a real-world dynanmic range which is greater than can be achieved with a conventional mic/preamp/A-D converter path.

One of the really daft things we do with conventional setups is take a small microphone signal, amplifier it massively to produce a standard 'line level signal' and then attenuate it again to a the relatively small signal required at the input to a standard A-D converter chip! The digital mic approach avoids such nonsenses! ;)

H
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby Mattyy » Thu May 30, 2013 2:18 pm

I will see if I can host a track from one of the piano CDs I recorded with the KM183-D mics on my "Copy" account,..

Thanks immensely :lol: Can't wait to hear it in my studio. Looking forward to hearing what others have to say as well!

Just to be clear, the mic doesn't 'capture digital at source'.


Sorry. Understood that. Misspoken on my part. But worth it for the clarification and breakdown :lol:

One of the really daft things we do with conventional setups is take a small microphone signal, amplifier it massively to produce a standard 'line level signal' and then attenuate it again to a the relatively small signal required at the input to a standard A-D converter chip! The digital mic approach avoids such nonsenses!


Hugh is a technical heretic at heart ;) JK! But it makes a ton of sense to me. :lol:

Thanks for the info guys. Wonder if these will ever be for hire in my local...
:protest: :bouncy:
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby John Willett » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:11 pm

I know this is an old thread - I started it 9 years ago. ;)

But I have uploaded the papers and PDFs of my Digital Microphone papers on the Downloads area of my website HERE.

This page also includes some of my other papers and, also, the ones I did with the late Mike Skeet.

I will be giving the presentation "Digital Microphones - AES42 and all that" at the 140th AES Convention in Paris on Monday (6th June).
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby forumuser840717 » Sun May 09, 2021 10:34 pm

Resuscitating an elderly thread but Just in case anyone likes the idea of these mics, the following appeared on the Neumann website early in 2020:

The digital Neumann microphone technology (Solution-D) will no longer be part of the Neumann product portfolio from 2021. Last order date for dealers will be 31 July 2020. After that, the products will be available as long as stock lasts. Service for all Solution-D hardware products is guaranteed until 31 Dec 2030.

The Remote Control Software (32 Bit, available also as VST plug-in) for the digital Neumann microphones is compatible with Windows 98SE – Windows 10 and Mac OS 8.6 – Mac OS X 10.14.6. There will be no further updates of the RCS software.

I missed it until earlier this year but all the digital stuff is now under the "Historical Microphones" section of the Neumann website so it seems that's it for Neumann and digital mics. They looked like a good idea but perhaps were a solution looking for a problem and not enough people wanted them. I bought the KK capsules but with KMA analogue bodies (which are still in production) so didn't really help the cause of digital mics.

I liked the KMDs when I tried them and the digital control tricks were fun and interesting but they didn't offer enough advantages and added a lot of complication to run them alongside my other mics so I stayed analogue. Maybe there'll be some bargains around as any remaining stock is cleared, which might make it worth having a small all-digital rig for chamber music or something, particularly as Schoeps seem still to be working on digital with their new CMD42 in beta testing to replace the CMD2.
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon May 10, 2021 12:22 am

Hmmm... Didn't realise they've shelved the digital range. Not really surprised, though. Thanks for the update.
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby forumuser840717 » Tue May 11, 2021 2:08 am

Seems that Sennheiser also dropped the MZD 8000 digital output module for the MKH8000 series. Not surprisingly given the Neumann - Sennheiser link.
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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue May 11, 2021 8:11 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Hmmm... Didn't realise they've shelved the digital range. Not really surprised, though. Thanks for the update.

I remember how well these mics were reviewed when they first came out. What do you think led to their demise, then?

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Re: Neumann KM-D Digital Microphones

Postby Wonks » Tue May 11, 2021 8:16 am

Poor sales. If they sold in sufficient numbers, they'd still be churning them out or bringing out a revised model.
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