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Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

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Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:33 am

Hi,

I’m looking to add a few affordable multi pattern LDC’s for both recording and live choirs/classical ensembles. I have a pair of Rode NT55’s but prefer the results I get using LDC’s.
At the moment I’m using three Audio Technica AT4040’s and these work extremely well when I just need cardioid patterns. However, there are occasions where I would like different polar patterns depending on the project.

I’ve had a quick look around and the following options are of particular interest

Rode NT-2a
SE Electronics SE2300
CAD M179
Warm Audio WA-47jr
Lewitt LCT441 flex (slightly over budget)

Ideally I would like something with even higher output and lower self noise.

Has anyone had experience with any of these mics and the Audio Technica AT4040’s?

What would you recommend?
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:32 pm

dickiefunk wrote:Ideally I would like something with even higher output and lower self noise.

Has anyone had experience with any of these mics and the Audio Technica AT4040’s?

What would you recommend?

I have a pair of AT4040s and quite like them or close or loud sources, but they aren't the quietest LDC on the planet at 12dBA. So not really ideal for distant, quiet sources...

I also have a CAD M179, which has a very similar self-noise (11dBA). It's a good-sounding mic, although I have heard several complaints of long-term reliability issues and one of my own has died. Must get it fixed...

Of the mics you list, my personal preference would be for the Lewitt 441. I have a lot of time for those guys. They really know what they are doing, have a fantastic R&D team, and some very impressive mics. The 441Flex is a very quiet mic at 7dBA, which is more or less as good as it gets for a typical 1-inch LDC. Output level is only 3dB lower than the AT4040, so you'd barely notice the difference.

I've not used either the sE or WA mics, so I can't really comment on their sound quality. The sE2300 has been reviewed in SOS, but I don't think the WA mic has.

The sE has a similar sensitivity to the AT and a self noise of 9dBA, so 3dB quieter. The WA mic also has a self-noise of 9dBA, but the sensitivity is 8dB lower than the AT4040.

Finally, the Rode is as quiet as the Lewitt at 7dBA, and the sensitivity is 4dB lower than the AT. So based on your requirements I'd say the choice was really between the Lewitt and the Rode...
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:12 pm

Thanks Hugh. When you say the sensitivity is lower does this also mean the output is lower?
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby ef37a » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:29 pm

I understand the desire for very low self noise but why the requirement fo high output?

Most modern AIs are quiet enough for dynamics for close'ish work and it is a weak sister LDC that does not beat those by 20dB?

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:46 pm

I’m not just doing close miking. I will be mainly using these for recording vocal ensembles and choirs. I will often be using an A&H QU-PAC for these location recordings and live sound events.
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:24 pm

dickiefunk wrote:Thanks Hugh. When you say the sensitivity is lower does this also mean the output is lower?

Yes.

And if your desk is lacking sufficient gain, you can also use one of the many 'gain-boosters' --as long as it's a type that passes phantom power, of course -- such as the Triton Fethead Phantom. https://www.tritonaudio.com/fethead-phantom.html

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:23 pm

Ah ok. So the Warm WA47jr would require the least amount of gain?
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:41 pm

dickiefunk wrote:Ah ok. So the Warm WA47jr would require the least amount of gain?

No, the reverse! None of your shortlist mics are as sensitive as the AT mic -- they will all need more gain, ranging from 0.5 to 8dB more.

The WA mic has a sensitivity of 10mV/Pa whereas the AT4040 is 25mV/Pa.

The Rode NT2a is 16mV/Pa, as is the CAD M179. The Lewitt is 17mV/Pa while the sE2300 is 24mV/Pa.

So taking the AT4040 as your reference for gain, and rounding the numbers off, the sE2300 would need 0.5dB more, the Lewitt would need 3.5dB more, the Rode and CAD 4dB more, and the WA 8dB more gain.

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:46 pm

Ah thanks for explaining that. To be honest the only hiss I get is when I crank the gain on the preamps of the QU-PAC.
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:01 pm

In that case a phantom-passing gain booster might well be all you need.

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby ef37a » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:52 pm

dickiefunk wrote:Ah thanks for explaining that. To be honest the only hiss I get is when I crank the gain on the preamps of the QU-PAC.

Ah. Gotcha!

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Ramirez » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:20 pm

AT4050 worth considering seeing you like the 4040?
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Wonks » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:57 pm

If a £350 Lewitt 441 is a bit over budget, then a £550 AT4050 is certainly well over budget (remember this is for x3 mics).
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:09 am

https://www.astonmics.com/EN/product/Mics/Spirit

This is a nice multipattern mic that might fit your bill.

I wanted something similar to your specs and compared a bunch of stuff and settled on this guy. No regrets.

The multi patterns are crisp.

The mic picks up everything nicely.

Built like a tank.

Crystal clear sound. Works great in a mix.

I just wish I had another for stereo. Maybe?
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Ramirez » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:51 am

Wonks wrote:If a £350 Lewitt 441 is a bit over budget, then a £550 AT4050 is certainly well over budget (remember this is for x3 mics).

Ah, silly me.

FWIW I got mine used for around £250.
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