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Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:45 pm

ef37a wrote:Weird!

Not really... it just means most of the noise is coming from the mic or the ambient acoustic sound, rather than the preamp itself.

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby ef37a » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:48 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
ef37a wrote:Weird!

Not really... it just means most of the noise is coming from the mic or the ambient acoustic sound, rather than the preamp itself.

H

But that is 'pre pre'. If he reduces the pre amp gain (by ~18dB) why does that not decrease?

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:56 pm

There's the same gain overall from mic to speaker... more from the fethead, less from the interface pre.

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby ef37a » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:26 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:There's the same gain overall from mic to speaker... more from the fethead, less from the interface pre.

H

Nope, head is still not round this. I see a 'chain': mic>Fethead> pre> DAW meters. If the noise (total) is coming from the mic and you 'link out' the Fethead the noise must drop by ~ 18dB. If it doesn't then the noise is in the pre amp?

In other words, if the Fethead does not improve the overall signal to noise ratio, what good is it doing there?

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:34 pm

Let's say Mic pre on its own provides 60dB gain to get the necessary signal level. Putting the Fethead in the line adds 27dB gain, so Mic pre only need to provide 33dB gain to get the same end signal level.

End result is the same noise level, so the noise produced by the mic-pre and the Fethead are insignificant compared to the noise from the mic (plus background noise picked up by the mic).

If the mic pre was itself notably noisy at 60dB gain (compared to the mic & background noise), then the Fethead would improve matters, but in this case it doesn't.
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:06 pm

ef37a wrote:In other words, if the Fethead does not improve the overall signal to noise ratio, what good is it doing there?

None at all in this specific situation, apparently... Other than increasing the available total overall max gain.

It would only improve the overall SNR if the main preamp was quieter at a reduced gain setting compared to its max gain setting, which might apply to some preamps, but certainly not all.

It would appear in this case that either most of the noise is from the source (the mic itself, or acoustic noise), or it's from the main preamp and remains consistently high at a wide range of gain settings. Either way, the Fethead isn't providing a solution here, sadly.

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby James Perrett » Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:18 pm

dickiefunk wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:In that case a phantom-passing gain booster might well be all you need.

H

I’ve got a pair of the Triton Fethead Phantom which I’ve tried but haven’t noticed any reduction in hiss when matching the output?

Which is pretty much what I'd expect with A&H preamps. Even the humble Zed range of mixers manage an EIN of -127dBu which typical of a high quality preamp and only a couple of dB higher than the very quietest preamps. Unfortunately I couldn't find a noise spec for your mixer but I'd be surprised if it was worse than the Zed.

Looking at the AT4040's specs I would expect the microphone's noise to swamp the preamp noise.
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby ef37a » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:45 am

Yes James, I have a "humble" ZED 10, an early 16 bit one but I always thought the pre amps very good, certainly in terms of noise.

I was surprised that the OP's pres were at one point considered too noisy for the application but not having the data to hand, kept shtumn,

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:47 pm

It all goes back to Dickie's comment:

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

... and his suggestion that he needed a more sensitive mic to deal with distant choirs etc.

As we have probably all experienced, some budget preamps do introduce a lot of noise at max gain. However, although I'm not familiar with the QU-PAC, as James says A&H certainly do know how to build high-quality preamps. Oddly, though, the spec sheet I found for it doesn't provide an EIN figure, just THD+N for 0 and 30dB of gain... Both of those figures are okay, but not high-end performance... And why no figure for the max 60dB gain? Odd...

The problem we have here, though, is that diagnosing these kinds of 'noise' issue remotely is very difficult.

Obviously, if extra gain is needed to compensate for distant mic placement (or low level sources) an inline gain-booster can be a very practical solution.

And if the preamp gets noisy at extreme gain settings it can help there too, by allowing a lower (and hopefully quieter) gain setting.

But if the issue is noise, and its coming from the source rather than the preamp -- either from the mic or the natural ambient acoustic -- then an in-line gain booster won't help. And we have been told it didn't help in this situation.

The only solution for a noisy mic is a quieter one... However, the AT4040 has a self-noise figure of 12dBA, and that is leaning on the noisy side for a large diaphragm capacitor mic. The best are typically around half that at 6 or 7dBA.

But it's easy to get lost in the specs... the reality is that 12dBA is very much on a par with the very best small-diaphragm capacitor mics, and probably 6dB quieter than most. The much-loved DPA 4011 has a self-noise figure of 18dBA, for example, and plenty of choirs have been recorded using that -- including by me -- without noise issues!

So, since the use of a high-quality in-line gain booster didn't improve the noise performance we can probably assume the problem is not at the preamp. And, since the mic is no noisier than many often-used alternatives we can probably assume the problem isn't really the mic either...

Which only really leaves acoustic noise as being the real problem here...

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Wonks » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:52 pm

Simply use a louder choir. Problem solved. ;)
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Dan LB » Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:50 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:the reality is that 12dBA is very much on a par with the very best small-diaphragm capacitor mics, and probably 6dB quieter than most.

Which only really leaves acoustic noise as being the real problem here...

H

I was thinking the very same. Either that or there is something wrong with the AT mics themselves.
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby ef37a » Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:56 pm

Wonks wrote:Simply use a louder choir. Problem solved. ;)

"Out of the mouths"....? Can I very repsectfully suggest the mic pre chain is being asked too much of?

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:03 pm

Dan LB wrote:I was thinking the very same. Either that or there is something wrong with the AT mics themselves.

If there was a problem with the mics, it's unlikely that both mics would be affected identically.
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:59 pm

Just our of curiosity, could you recommend LDC’s that have both lower self noise and higher output around £400? This can be either multi pattern or fixed cardioid.
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:17 pm

https://www.microphone-data.com/

The microphone database is your friend for complex queries like this. You'll need to register, but you can then use the advanced search facility to find mics that comply with all your parameters.

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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:27 pm

Ah brilliant thanks Hugh, I wasn’t aware of this :thumbup:
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby forumuser653351 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:36 pm

In regard to the O/P, I use the Lewitt LCT441 flex and really like it. I've used it on double bass (pizz and arco), percussion, as a room mic, vocals and voice over. I also use it in figure of 8 for mid/side recordings. I'm sure it would be very nice for classical music and choirs.
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Re: Multi pattern LDC with high output £300?

Postby Ariosto » Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:23 am

dickiefunk wrote: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?
This does not really answer your questions as you want mic's that have varied polar patterns and high output, but I find LDC mic's rather disappointing in general. (There are probably expensive LDC's that are OK but I have no experience of these).

I find I like dynamic mics - including ribbons, for their sound. To my ear most reasonable priced LDC mics have hyped high frequencies and in some cases can also be unreliable if any moisture occurs on the diaphragm. For these reasons I am unlikely to ever purchase another LDC mic. The best mic's I have for spoken voice, vocal and instrumental are dynamics and especially ribbon mic's, although SDC's can be great (such as DPA) and are much more reliable. I prefer also omni mics but of course room sound can spoil recordings.

I dare say there are LDC's out there which may be reasonably good or excellent but priced at well over £1,000 for a single mic, and in some cases three or four times more expensive.

Higher output gain can be achieved with a good pre-amp or even the in line boosters which would provide your needs and allow decent sounding mid priced mics to be used. (But of course a decent pre would cost in the region of £400-£500, which may be outside your budget).
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