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Beyerdynamic MC834

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Beyerdynamic MC834

Postby Ramirez » Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:53 pm

Hello all,
Does anyone here have any experience of this mic, especially in a stereo array such as ORTF as a main rig for choirs/ensembles etc.? I have a single one, but thinking of adding another.

I’m lacking a good stereo pair of cardioids, and had been thinking of buying a pair of Beyer MC930s. But it occured to me I could simply look for another 834 instead. Would the 930 give me anything over the 834? (apart from increased sensitivity according to the specs, and the 930’s pattern looks to be slightly better behaved at higher frequencies)

I asked Beyer for some details, and apparently the 834 is an SDC despite being in a housing that more resembles an LDC. The side address aspect appeals as it can make angling the mics for ORTF and such easier in my experience, as you can rotate the mic whilst keeping the capsule in the same place.

I’m not too bothered about them not being a matched pair as I won’t be using them co-incidentally (seeing as crossed cardioids at a 90-degree angle have such a wide acceptance angle, is there a reason why is the technique seemingly so popular? Am I missing something?!)

I like my single 834 as a flat, uncoloured mic for instrument and voices, which is why I thought it could do well as a stereo pair. I’ve always wanted to try a Neumann TLM193 - might this be the Beyer equivalent? I can’t find a lot of info, but I don’t think it was a cheap mic - more expensive than the MC930 I think. Why wasn’t it popular? Not a good mic, or did the side-address SDC thing not catch on?

Aled
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Re: Beyerdynamic MC834

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:22 pm

Ramirez wrote:Does anyone here have any experience of this mic, especially in a stereo array such as ORTF as a main rig for choirs/ensembles etc.? I have a single one, but thinking of adding another.

I have a couple of 840s which is the multi-pattern version (if I'm thinking of the right mic). They're good mics, ideal for the applications you cite, although they are physically quite large which may be an issue in some situations.

...been thinking of buying a pair of Beyer MC930s.

Nice pencil mics and amongst my favourites. Slightly darker sounding than the Rode NT5 and Neumann KM184 etc. Potentially much less visually obstructive than a pair of 834s.

I asked Beyer for some details, and apparently the 834 is an SDC despite being in a housing that more resembles an LDC.

You say that like its a bad thing! :D The smaller capsule helps it to have greater and smoother HF extension, and a better off-axis response than a typical LDC. The downside is slightly higher self-noise.

The side address aspect appeals as it can make angling the mics for ORTF and such easier in my experience, as you can rotate the mic whilst keeping the capsule in the same place.

Never found that's be an issue. I use a printable acetate sheet on which I've drawn a pair of lines crossing at 110 degrees with marks at 17cm spacing. I just rig the mics on a stereo bar, align the mics to the acetate, and mount on a stand. It's a matter of moments.

I’m not too bothered about them not being a matched pair as I won’t be using them co-incidentally...

True, but you are using them in a near-coincident array so the matching of polar patterns is still very important. However, I'd be surprised and slightly shocked if there was a significant variation in the performance of disparate 834s.

...seeing as crossed cardioids at a 90-degree angle have such a wide acceptance angle, is there a reason why is the technique seemingly so popular?

It's not a stereo array I use often, but if the acoustics (or noises off) mean you need to go close, it's one of the few stereo arrays that allows that. There's usually a pair of crossed cardioids suspended above the conductor at the Proms concerts...

I’ve always wanted to try a Neumann TLM193 - might this be the Beyer equivalent? I can’t find a lot of info, but I don’t think it was a cheap mic - more expensive than the MC930 I think. Why wasn’t it popular? Not a good mic, or did the side-address SDC thing not catch on?

Most people would probably want the flexibility of the multi-pattern MC840 for this kind of mic, rather than fixed cardioid. I don't think the MC840 has generated quite as much industry love as its forebear, the MC740, but I like mine a lot. I've not compared the TLM193 directly against the MC840/834, but I imagine the Beyer would be a tad brighter.
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Re: Beyerdynamic MC834

Postby Ramirez » Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:52 pm

Thanks Hugh!

Hugh Robjohns wrote:You say that like its a bad thing!

To the contrary! Cardioid SDCs is what I specifically want to look at and discuss, which is why I also mentioned the MC930. At the moment I'm between adding a second MC834, or spending twice as much and buying a pair of MC930.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Ramirez wrote:Does anyone here have any experience of this mic, especially in a stereo array such as ORTF as a main rig for choirs/ensembles etc.? I have a single one, but thinking of adding another.

I have a couple of 840s which is the multi-pattern version (if I'm thinking of the right mic).

I'm almost certain that's not the case, seeing as the 834 is a single-diaphragm SDC. The frequency response graph of the 834 shous a less pronounced HF lift as well. They do seem to share the same housing however. I had read similar claims that the 834 was a cardioid only 740 (the 740 being the 840's predecessor as a multi-pattern LDC, right?), but here's the response from Beyer:

"Hello Mr Hughes,
thank you for your mail! Apart from both being true condenser microphones, MC 740 and 834 don´t have much in common: MC 740 had a large, double diaphragm capsule (therefore the switchable polar pattern), while MC 834 was a single small diaphragm mic (the rectangular body of the capsule makes it look a bit bigger).
We built it between the mid 1990s until the early 2000s, its suggested retail price was around 800,- € (approximately 1500,- DM).
Due to its very natural reproduction, it is an extremely versatile microphone for many applications! Enjoy using it!
Best regards,
Klaus Kirchhöfer
Tech Support professional Headphones and Microphones"


Thanks for the advice regarding the other points. I suppose my real question is whether or not the MC834 is as capable an SDC as the MC930, apart from the obvious size/orientation differences and the sensitivity difference according the specs.
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Re: Beyerdynamic MC834

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:35 pm

I’m unfamiliar with the MC834, but do have a pair of TLM193s which I often use as an ORTF pair for chamber music, orchestras and choirs. They are not that common, but I know their multi-pattern cousins the TLM170 are used often for this purpose (similar response).

I’ll often use the 193s instead of my MKH8040s in ORTF mode and the 193 is my go to instrumental mic in the studio. They have a fairly flat response with a little Neumann magic, and would probably qualify as my desert island mic.

I have the MC740, which is much brighter and a very good mic on certain voices. The 834 would appear to sit somewhere between the two in terms of frequency response.

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Re: Beyerdynamic MC834

Postby Smellthevalve » Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:15 pm

According to the spec. the MC834 can take 150dB of level with a 20dB pad but is 2dB noisier than the MC930. The frequency response graph looks almost identical apart from the MC930 picking up a dB or 2 less at 50Hz

the MC834 needs good shockmounting; although it feels very solid it picks up vibrations quite easily - you could probably get a better one than what comes with the mic, haven't used the MC930 so can't comment on that,

Someone posted comparison recordings of an orchestra between a beyerdynamic MC mic and Neumann KM184 on this site - might be worth a look? *edited to add I couldnt find anything just comparisons with other Neumann and Rode mics
I would say that the MC834 does something to the high frequency range that has been described as 'silky' but it might not suit some sounds
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Re: Beyerdynamic MC834

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:59 pm

Ramirez wrote:I'm almost certain that's not the case, seeing as the 834 is a single-diaphragm SDC.

Ah, OK, my bad presumption! Beyer have used the same case for several different mics with a variety of different innards! A cardioid-only version of the 840 would be cheaper and probably quite popular -- hence my assumption -- but it would need to retain a dual-skinned capsule to sound the same.

Its also the case that the capsule in the 840 is about 25% smaller than most LDCs which ive seen referred to as a SDC. In reality it lies midway between the two, but thatbexplains some of my confusion. The rest I'll put down to incompetence and a large malt whisky.... :D

I suppose my real question is whether or not the MC834 is as capable an SDC as the MC930, apart from the obvious size/orientation differences and the sensitivity difference according the specs.

I'd guess the answer is yes, but I haven't actually used it. However, I have used to MC930s and I really like them... And for public recordings I'd prefer to use them over the 834s just to minimise sight line obstructions.... And you'd be swelling your mic cupboard with two new mics rather than one, which has got to be better! :lol:
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Re: Beyerdynamic MC834

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:07 am

Can’t just find it now (Sennheiser has ‘Senitised’ the Neumann website), but I believe the TLM193/170 are also MDCs. No particular compromise over SDCs as I can hear, and they’re a tad quieter than SDC equivalents.

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Re: Beyerdynamic MC834

Postby Ramirez » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:36 pm

Thanks all,

A second 834 it is then, for now. I ordered one, and unfortunately it arrived faulty, so awaiting a replacement. Studiocare seem to have a stock of them at £270 if anyone else is interested.
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Re: Beyerdynamic MC834

Postby Ramirez » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:10 pm

...and the replacement has arrived and works fine. Rather amusingly, the serial number is only two above my previous one, and they were bought second hand over a year apart!

Curiously, they both share a seemingly slightly bent (but not damaged/stressed) body shape that the faulty mic (which did not have a close serial number) did not have.
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