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recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

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recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby plodsmeade » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:46 am

Hi all

I have an opportunity to purchase some mics for use in a variety of music/film/video/field recording contexts, both in the studio and outdoors, with multiple users. I'd like to cover as many bases as possible with high quality, neutrally voiced and robustly built specimens that will last a long time.

So, to allow for various coincident and non-coincident stereo techniques I thought it would be efficient to look at modular options: two output bodies and 5 capsules, 2 x cardioid, 2 x omni and 1 x Fig-8, which would cover X-Y, ORTF, AB, MS etc.

At the moment I think it would be feasible to go for Neumann KM-A plus 184, 183 and 120 caps. I've used these before and know they work well, as you'd hope I suppose.

I'm not that familiar with other modular systems. Any thoughts or recommendations in a similar price bracket?

I'll also need to spec a couple of LDCs for studio work, again high quality. For versatility I thought to go for two identical multi-pattern numbers so these can also be used for stereo work - although they will mainly be used individually for voice - and have been looking at the Neumann 107. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated too.

Also going to get an MKH416 probably.

This is a slightly ridiculous situation as far as my past purchasing power goes, and I am enjoying ordering lists on websites by price higher to lower for once. This pleasure will be short lived as unfortunately this is a one time thing. I won't own any of these myself :( but will get to use them :D

cheers
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Re: recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby John Willett » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:02 pm

You can also look at the Sennheiser MKH 8000 series (and, personally, I would go for the 8060 instead of the ancient 416).

Though Sennheiser have not yet done the fig.8 for the 8000 series - though I think they are now going to do it (I hope so, that's the indication I got when I spoke to them at IBC in Amsterdam and them saying they "want to complete the series").

The RF condensers that the MKH series are, are much better for outdoor use than others as they will work well in damp conditions that make others go crackly. :thumbup:
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Re: recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby plodsmeade » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:04 pm

Thanks John.

Noted about the 8060.

The 8000 series might be doable if a fig-8 appears. Not really modular in cost terms though are they. How damp is damp for a non RF to have problems? Simply a humid day?
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Re: recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby John Willett » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:00 pm

plodsmeade wrote:How damp is damp for a non RF to have problems? Simply a humid day?

I think the easiest way to answer this is to quote Hugh Robjohn's reply to a similar question on another forum from several years ago:-

Basically, AF capacitor microphones use the capsule as a capacitor to store charge. With one fixed plate and the other free to vibrate in sympathy with the sound, the capacitance varies, and the charge moves in or out of the capsule accordingly. This is measured by the head preamplifier and an audio signal results. Allwell and good, but the capsule is inherently in a high impedance circuit (over 1GigaΩ) – it has to sit there with stored charge until the diaphragm moves and any changes in the charge are perceived as audio. In a humid atmosphere the stored charge finds it easier to escape on water molecules in the air rather than through the input of the preamplifier, hence noisy and reduced output, and misery all round. The high biasing voltage also
attracts dust particles to the diaphragm, reducing its efficiency and linearity.

The RF system (as used in Sennheiser MKH microphones) uses the capsule (a low
impedance capsule) in a completely different way: as a tuning capacitor for an RF oscillator – which inherently employs it in a low impedance circuit where a high frequency signal is being passed through the capacitor all the time. Changes in capacitance (caused by sound moving the diaphragm) alter the resonant frequency of the circuit (circa 8MHz) and so its frequency becomes proportional to the audio signal. A simple RF demodulator restores the output to a conventional audio signal. More complex and sophisticated (but still very rugged), this system is highly immune to the effects of humidity and is thus the preferred design to be used out of doors (or when moving from outside to inside on a cold day!)

I think this explains it rather well (and why I keep a copy for easy reference to reply to
questions like this ;) ) :thumbup:
.
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Re: recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby Aural Reject » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:03 pm

They’re more expensive but you could add the Schoeps Colette series to your list.

Depending on your preferences, you could grab a couple of CMC6 bodies...and could add whatever capsules you need...MK5 capsules could potentially cover both your cardioid and omni needs...alongside an MK8....or you could get dedicated cardioid and omni (of three flavour choices) capsules...or wide cardioids...or the MK22 which sits in between...
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Re: recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:36 pm

plodsmeade wrote:The 8000 series might be doable if a fig-8 appears.

Yes... we've been waiting a remarkably long time for Sennheiser to get their act together with that one. I gave up holding my breath a long time ago!

How damp is damp for a non RF to have problems? Simply a humid day?

No, we're talking rain-forest levels of humidity, really, although taking a mic from a cold car to a warm studio will often cause problems for DC capacitor mics until they have fully acclimatised.

While the damp-handling properties of an RF capacitor mics are genuine and can be very useful in extremis it's not something I spend any time worrying about for normal work... and plenty of highly successful recording engineers -- both in the studio and on location -- swear by standard DC capacitor mics from the likes of Neumann and Schoeps etc.

And talking of Schoeps, I'd second the recommendation for their modular mics if budgets allow, and the Schoeps CMIT range of shot-gun mics are probably the best sounding of all.

At the other end of the budget range, you could look at the AKG Blueline series: https://www.akg.com/blueline-series.html
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Re: recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:18 pm

I ended up with a set of MKH 8000 series. Yes they are modular, sort of, but I didn’t buy them because of that, and here’s something to consider; if you buy a truly modular system, say two bodies and four capsules, obviously you can’t use all four when you want to, which may be more often than you think.

I often use a combination of an ORTF pair with omnis to supplement (which I now understand is known as one of Tony Faulkner’s arrays).

With the 8000 series the active part of the microphone and capsule are one of the same, with the modular options being ‘add on accessories’. I find it useful to split the body from the XLR connector at times (using their bespoke extension cable) and have made my own discreet stands as well as a nifty stereo array for bird recording.

Yes, they’ve been tardy in terms of developing the figure of eight model. I gave up waiting and bought the MKH30.

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Re: recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:38 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:I often use a combination of an ORTF pair with omnis to supplement (which I now understand is known as one of Tony Faulkner’s arrays).

:D I think that might be over-egging it a little.

An ORTF array used in combination with spaced omni outriggers is a useful compound array in which the outriggers supplement the low-end extension and spaciousness o the ORTF. I know Tony sometimes uses the combination -- as do many others --nbut I don't believe he invented it or was the first to use it.

On the other hand, I believe he did conceive, and was the first to document the stereo array comprising spaced parallel fig-8s -- an array which has specific benefits in certain circumstances -- and so that is justifiably called a Faulkner array.

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Re: recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby plodsmeade » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:13 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:While the damp-handling properties of an RF capacitor mics are genuine and can be very useful in extremis it's not something I spend any time worrying about for normal work

And if somebody tries to use DC mics in extremis aqua is that potentially damaging to the mic itself, i.e. can I recommend correct usage and the only thing that will suffer is the recording if that advice is not followed?

If so, that seems the best way to go given the lack of fig-8 with the Sennheiser 8000s, and the expense of individual MKH 20/30/40s. Interestingly, for my purposes the Schoeps is only two or three hundred more than the Neumanns due to the dual MK5 capsule (cheers Aural Reject). Two CM6 bodies plus 2 x MK5 and 1 x MK8 will do it. Understand where you're coming from Bob but that's probably not where I'll end up...

Any quibbles with the 107 idea?
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Re: recommendations for mic set, mainly modular SDC

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:26 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:I often use a combination of an ORTF pair with omnis to supplement (which I now understand is known as one of Tony Faulkner’s arrays).

:D I think that might be over-egging it a little.

Consider him stripped of that particular title......... :thumbdown: ;)

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