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Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

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Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby ITHertz » Tue May 14, 2019 3:23 am

Hi,

I'm looking to get a mid-range (cost) mic with good off-axis response for recording acoustic instruments.

My list so far is:

Neumann TLM 193
Sennheiser MKH 8040
MiLab DC-96C

Also looking at a Mesanovic Model 2 but unsure of its off-axis response.

Thoughts on these?

Any others in this general price range that I should consider?

I'd prefer to get something new rather than secondhand.

Cheers,

Chris
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Bob Bickerton » Tue May 14, 2019 6:19 am

I have both the TLM193 as well as the MKH8040. I generally pull out the 193 for all things acoustic. It’s essentially a cardioid only version of the TLM170 and I’ve long regarded is as my desert-island microphone. It’s neutral with that certain Neumann fairy dust, though some people would describe its neutral character as ‘dark’. Great on strings and woodwind and a great vocal microphone too. If you’re thinking guitar, often people look for a little more high frequency lift from a microphone, but the 193 is still fine IMHO.

That’s not to say the 8040 isn’t a good mic by the way. Maybe it’s habit, but the 193 tends to come out first. The 8040s are often used as an ORTF pair if I’m using a tall stand, whereas I’m more careful about putting the 193s in precarious positions.

Can’t comment on your other mic suggestions.

Bob
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue May 14, 2019 8:27 am

All the mics on your shortlist are very capable, but I'm not sure they are all directly comparable. The TLM193 is a conventional large-diaphragm capacitor mic. The MKH series are small-diaphragm mics that use the RF principle. The Milab is technically a large-diaphragm mic but with a rectangular capsule that behaves somewhat differently from standard circular ones. And the Mesanovic is a ribbon mic with a figure-8 rather than a cardioid pattern.

All things being equal, small-diaphragm mics will tend to have better behaved off-axis pickup than large-diaphragm mics, at the expense of being noisier. Ribbon mics and other true figure-8 designs offer amazing rejection of off-axis sources, and I use them a lot for this reason, but you do have to think about them slightly differently because you always have the rear pickup lobe to consider.

I do like the Milab rectangular capsule and in my experience it offers quite a benign off-axis response, with the added advantage that (like a ribbon) it offers more rejection in the vertical plane than in the horizontal. If it's like the other Milab / Pearl mics that I've heard then I would expect it to be a relatively soft-sounding mic. My experience with the MKH series is limited but I'd expect that to be brighter and more clinical in comparison.

Luckily, or unluckily, there's probably never been a better choice of amazing mics available than today, so there are plenty more alternatives to choose from! On the large-diaphragm front you could consider the Sony C100 for example, and I've currently got review mics from Samar Audio and Austrian Audio which both seem to me very good indeed (not sure if those are in shops yet, though). There are tons of great-sounding ribbons out there too -- for acoustic instruments my favourites would include the Rode NT-R and the Samar mics.

Either way, off-axis response is important but probably not the only factor to consider -- the on-axis sound of the mics you've suggested is likely to be significantly different so the best choice may well depend on source and context. For example on an acoustic piano I'd generally favour quite a bright mic, whereas something like a banjo might suit a ribbon mic better.
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Ramirez » Tue May 14, 2019 8:37 am

Sam Inglis wrote:The TLM193 is a conventional large-diaphragm capacitor mic.

I think the 193 is a medium-diaphragm mic, and hasn’t got the upper frequencies loft of many LDCs.

There are a couple of Milabs at the studio - I’ve never used them much, but fascinated to try them again now! What do you find them good for?

I’ve never tried the 8040 but the MKH40 is one of my very favourite mics, on pretty much anything! The polar is fantastically controller, and what off-axis sound it does pick up doesn’t suffer much from colouration.
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue May 14, 2019 9:15 am

Ah, yes, it looks as though the TLM193 capsule is the same one used in the U89. If I understand right that uses the same principle as a large-diaphragm capacitor mic but with a smaller diameter?

I don't know how similar the various Milab / Pearl models are to one another. The one I have is a stereo mic from the 1970s. I like it on quite a few things -- drum overheads, acoustic guitars, even vocals sometimes. I often use it as a room mic.
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Bob Bickerton » Tue May 14, 2019 9:54 am

Yes, the 193 is medium-diaphragm mic. Think no high lift but less clinical than the 8040.

Bob
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 14, 2019 3:29 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Ah, yes, it looks as though the TLM193 capsule is the same one used in the U89. If I understand right that uses the same principle as a large-diaphragm capacitor mic but with a smaller diameter?

Yes, it's about 3/4-inch instead of a nominal 1-inch diameter, and uses edge termination instead of centre-termination. It also features aluminium backplates and the biasing voltages are applied to the backplates so that the diaphragms are at 0V which minimises the attraction of dust and charge leakage etc.

If the OP is primarily concerned about off-axis colouration then a small diaphragm capsule is definitely the way to go. I rate the MKH40/8040 cardioids very highly in that respect, but they are clinically accurate in comparison to the slightly warmer and more flattering Neumann.

H
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby ITHertz » Sat May 18, 2019 1:34 am

Someone on another forum has suggested one of these:

https://www.world.weissklang.com/v17?lang=en

Anyone know anything about them?

Cheers,

Chris
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Dan LB » Fri May 24, 2019 1:41 am

ITHertz wrote:Someone on another forum has suggested one of these:

https://www.world.weissklang.com/v17?lang=en

Anyone know anything about them?

Cheers,

Chris

Never heard of them. First things that spring to mind:
Vi7 logo looks quite like the Waves V9 one and the Weissklang logo looks like the Neumann one. I’d take my chances elsewhere. Just my first impression.

I could be completely wrong though!!
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby John Willett » Fri May 24, 2019 11:33 am

The MKH 40 and 8040 both have a 16mm diameter diaphragm - a bit larger than the normal SDC.

These are RF capacitor mics and, due to the way they are designed the designer can put more into making an excellent polar-pattern (as he told me himself). You will see that the polar-patterns of all the MKH symmetrical capsules is as close to the theoretical as you can get. Also, the RF circuit is inherently balanced, so you do not need any balancing circuit as it is balanced from the start.

The TLM 193 uses the same capsule as the TLM 170 and U 89 - so the 193 is identical to the 170 in cardioid mode, bith being transformerless - the 89 has a transformer.

All are excellent mics, but the MKH series are the most neutral and uncoloured in sound.
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Ramirez » Fri May 24, 2019 11:49 am

John Willett wrote:...the designer can put more into making an excellent polar-pattern (as he told me himself). You will see that the polar-patterns of all the MKH symmetrical capsules is as close to the theoretical as you can get.

I can attest to this. They are fantastically well behaved, the rear rejection is certainly a cut above other mics I use, and what sound it does pickup has no problematic colouration. I use them often when a choir requires a backing track, with the speakers firing into the rear of MKH40s and, in a well-controlled room, they never ever cause any issues.

I would love to try an MKH30.
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby georgeduke » Fri May 24, 2019 12:01 pm

Dan LB wrote:Never heard of them. First things that spring to mind:
Vi7 logo looks quite like the Waves V9 one and the Weissklang logo looks like the Neumann one. I’d take my chances elsewhere. Just my first impression.
I could be completely wrong though!!

The logo of Neumann (and also Horch) looks like the Telefunken logo. Does it mean, that Neumann sounds bad? Does the logo say anything about the sound? I'm sure that Neumann mics don't sound too bad with the Telefunken'ish logo :bouncy:
(I own three Neumann mics ;) )

I never had a Weissklang mic and just searched on the other forum (GS).
The mics seem to be pretty top-notch, the V17 was ranked among the Top 5 mics...
and users seem to be happy. Hmm...maybe something to consider...

I listened to the Audio demos. The V13 is a bit too flat (well because the V13 wants to sound flat :headbang: ) But I like mics with mojo.
The V17 however sounds really good, not too much coloration, from what I can hear it sounds similar to the U87.
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Dan LB » Fri May 24, 2019 1:42 pm

georgeduke wrote:
Dan LB wrote:Never heard of them. First things that spring to mind:
Vi7 logo looks quite like the Waves V9 one and the Weissklang logo looks like the Neumann one. I’d take my chances elsewhere. Just my first impression.
I could be completely wrong though!!

The logo of Neumann (and also Horch) looks like the Telefunken logo. Does it mean, that Neumann sounds bad? Does the logo say anything about the sound? I'm sure that Neumann mics don't sound too bad with the Telefunken'ish logo :bouncy:
(I own three Neumann mics ;) )

I never had a Weissklang mic and just searched on the other forum (GS).
The mics seem to be pretty top-notch, the V17 was ranked among the Top 5 mics...
and users seem to be happy. Hmm...maybe something to consider...

I listened to the Audio demos. The V13 is a bit too flat (well because the V13 wants to sound flat :headbang: ) But I like mics with mojo.
The V17 however sounds really good, not too much coloration, from what I can hear it sounds similar to the U87.

Like I said..... it was a first impression and I'd usually go with a well established product with a good reputation - I'll certainly do some more research into them though :thumbup:
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby John Willett » Sat May 25, 2019 2:36 pm

georgeduke wrote:The logo of Neumann (and also Horch) looks like the Telefunken logo. Does it mean, that Neumann sounds bad? Does the logo say anything about the sound? I'm sure that Neumann mics don't sound too bad with the Telefunken'ish logo :bouncy:
(I own three Neumann mics ;) )

Telefunken never made any microphones.

Telefunken microphones wre badged versions of Neumann and AKG microphones.

Modern Telefunken mics have no relation at all with the originals - it's just a company that bought the rights to display the badge, as I understand it.
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Sam Inglis » Sat May 25, 2019 2:52 pm

I've never come across one of those Wiessklang mics in the flesh, but it's highly likely that they are generic Chinese-made large-diaphragm capacitor mics based on a copy of the Neumann K67 or K87 capsule. Some of these are better than others, and the best can be quite good, but if uncoloured off-axis response is your main priority this wouldn't be an obvious choice.
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby georgeduke » Sun May 26, 2019 8:01 pm

John Willett wrote:
Telefunken never made any microphones.

Telefunken microphones wre badged versions of Neumann and AKG microphones.

Modern Telefunken mics have no relation at all with the originals - it's just a company that bought the rights to display the badge, as I understand it.

Yes, in fact I didn't write anything like that :) ,
I'm not talking about the manufacturing, but only about the meaningfulness of a logo. I have equipment by companies with very strange logos that does an exceptional job. :lol:
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby georgeduke » Sun May 26, 2019 8:12 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:I've never come across one of those Wiessklang mics in the flesh, but it's highly likely that they are generic Chinese-made large-diaphragm capacitor mics based on a copy of the Neumann K67 or K87 capsule. Some of these are better than others, and the best can be quite good, but if uncoloured off-axis response is your main priority this wouldn't be an obvious choice.

I just did some extensive research, since I never had any Weissklang mic, but in fact it turned out that I have a colleague (in New Brunswick/Canada) that sells WK mics and even visited their factory in Germany.
Seems like they are well-respected in Europe and even some big studios ditched a few big names for WK mics. I don't know these studios (Hansa studios and Ocean Way)..never heard.
And in fact their capsules are completely made in Germany, They also sponsored one of the biggest classical music festivals, where several V17s were used alongside with Schoeps and Neumann.

I just have to do more research, but seems like I'm behind the times. :headbang:
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby Dan LB » Sun May 26, 2019 8:25 pm

georgeduke wrote:I'm not talking about the manufacturing, but only about the meaningfulness of a logo.

You seem to have missed my intended point. Admittedly I didn't really make it very clear as I was rather drunk at the time :lol:

The only reason I mentioned the logo in the first place was because I'm always wary (rightly or wrongly) of companies that come along trying to compete in the same market using similar logos to their competitors. The Weissklang logo (to me) looks like a vague rip-off of the Neumann logo which screams to me cheap copy /wannabe. It seems to be the case that that was an unfounded concern but I think possibly a poor branding decision on WK's part IMHO.

Dan

By the way George - welcome to the forum and I just wanted to say that I loved your work with Zappa in the 70's :bouncy:
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Re: Mid-Range Mic with Good Off-Axis Response

Postby georgeduke » Sun May 26, 2019 8:50 pm

Dan LB wrote:By the way George - welcome to the forum and I just wanted to say that I loved your work with Zappa in the 70's :bouncy:

Oh thank you. It was a great time back then :tongue:

No just kidding. I freaking love George's Piano skills and he deserves me using his name as nickname... :mrgreen:

Regarding the logo:
Yes maybe they should have chosen another logo. But in general, as long as the gear is good, I don't care...
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