PDX10(p) & sound
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NEW:   Sennheiser introduces the E614 !!

1. General reading
        On my way to improve the quality of my soundrecording I have learned a lot.
First I readed a lot of articles. Interesting general articles to read are: A quick overview of all kind of microphones are found at Microphone Data

So you got dizzy now!!

2. PDX10(p) - frequency response
When recording on my PDX10(p) I heard a bass-rolloff.
I searched on the Internet and found this graph, which repesents the freqencycurve of the PDX10:
Graph by Sound Devices , LLC "Sound Devices, LLC"
This curve was originally measured by Sound Devices, LLC on the Sony PD150, but I recorded some whitenoise and got the curve confirmed for the PDX10(p).
A lot of camcorders seem to show this frequency response.

Is this bad or good?
For music you certainly want a more flat response. A separate DAT-recorder may be preferred. But most of the time we will record voice and add music in post. The curve is well suit for voicerecording and it avoids unwished rumble. It leaves some room for recordinglevel where basses have the highest amplitude.
Compare this graph with the soundblaster Creative SB Live! 5.1's frequency response.
So all together the curve will help us in practice. But one must take care for mics that also have a strong bass rolloff which is superimposed upon this curve. The total may sound very small. For instance the famous Sennheiser shotgun "ME66" has a strong bassrolloff ( -9db at 50hz) but also a high boost (+6db) and all together it may sound thinner as you might wish. I will discuss some mics later on.


3. My first Microphones
Sennheiser E835 cardioide First I did not know much of sound and microphones and I bought a Sennheiser E835 cardiod for voice-overs [review] and two Vivanco EM116 omnidirectional lavalier mics.
Those mics are not very expensive and give good results. Here are some recording samples: Vivanco Lavallier EM116 Sony ECM-NV1
4. Cardiod, Super-Cardiod, HyperCardiode or Shotgun?
In my search for better sound I visited some forums. My most frequented forum is the DV info forum where a lot of experienced people hang around, always willing to help you. And I readed again and again. First I thought: "I want a shotgun". But they have a lot of disadvantages. The avarage ones often sound weird as if one listens through a tunnel. They are rather difficult to handle and are no general solution! This has to do with there narrow pattern and the off-axis rejection of the sound wich is not always smooth. If used indoors in a reverberent location most short shotguns are prone to off-axis coloration. This is most true with cheaper shotguns. A super or hypercardioid or cardioid mic is to be used in these situations.
Cardioid microphone Super-Cardioid microphone Hyper-Cardioid microphone
I suppose here you now the difference between cardiod, super-cardiod, hypercardioid and a shotgun. If not read the articles mentioned at the beginning.

Most convincing to me are the remarks of Schoeps regarding shotguns and why they do not make shotguns at all and Alan Barkers page where he explaines why and when he chooses the cardiod Sennheiser ME64 above a shotgun.

So I began to be less confused: for general purpose I want a directional mic not being a shotgun. So my best choice would be a cardioid or a supercardioid. The latter has enough room for my video aperture to my opinion. Above that I constrain my choice to a small capsule mic for use with my cam.


5. My first jump into better sounding cardiods
I went to the store and was able to listen to the Besides I heard a lot of good things of the Oktava MC012. This mic is famous and praised amongst the visiters of the DVinfo forum [review]. And all the soundsamples that I have heard, sounded really great. But be carefull it is in the base a studiomic and it is sensitive for handling noise and very sensitive for windnoise. So precautions have to be taken. It needs a good shockmount and an expensive baby ball or windjammer is recommended and often used.

Another well mentioned candidate is the Rode NT5, which is sold as a stereo pair [review]. But take care: also those mics are made for studio recordings. I heard serious complaints about the handling noise and windsensitivity.
The NT5's have a considerable extended bassresponse but no low-end roll-off: A good shockmount is advised. Here the frequency resonse curve of the PDX10(p) is very advantageous. However to much unwanted bass or rumble may distort the higher frequencies of your normal recording.

So another criterium is coming in: the mic may not be to sensitive for wind and shall be reasonably isolated for handling noise.

And of course there are the Audio Technica mics. Audio Technica has a wide range of mics well suit for videorecording.


6. Narrowing down the choice - listening - the proof of the pudding
All mics have their own advantages and disadvantages. In general one can say that the cheaper ones have less transparancy with les detail and the sound will soon sound from a greater distance. Samson C02

But for instance the Samson's C02 are not disappointing at all. They sound very natural. They give great value for the money and can be a good choice. However they are less sensitiv as for instance the ME64, I like there sound.
Listen to this sound sample from "Keyboards Recording and Computer Magazine" and my own recording I made in the shop with the
  Samson C02 on the PDX10
I found a review which compares it also with the RODE NT1 and comments also that the NT1 is better for voice and instruments. Another xx-!-broken link-!-xx review says: it is a bit less warm and sensitiv as an AKG mic.

To me the Behringer B5's sounded a minor bit like tin on a distance bigger than one and a half meter. I think that the rejection pattern is responsible for that. It rejects the higher frequency's less resulting in a higher frequency reverb:
  Behringer B5 on PDX10.
In a forum I found this good review with some soundsamples where it is compared with the Rode NT1. It is comparable with the Rode NT1 but is a bit less sensitiv and with less presence for voicerecording. Here is another French review and a xx-!-broken link-!-xxreview on songstuff.com

The Sennheiser ME64 and the Neumann KM 185 have more detail:
  Sennheiser ME64 on my PDX10p
  Neumann  KM185 on my PDX10p
You hear me walking from the other side of the shop to a distance of 1,5mtr and close to the cam.
You can hear that the ME64 has less bassrollof as the Neumann. The Neumann has less high boost and its overall frequencyresponse is very natural and favourable for voices. The Neumann is a bit more refined, which you can hear.
The Neumann is supercardiod while the Me64 is cardioid. You hear less room reverberation with the Neumann.

If voice is important the supercardiod KM185 is your choice. If ambience is important for you then the cardiod ME64 is the right choice. But you can hear: they are very close.

NB.: The Sennheiser E644 is the same as the ME64 - see above. Regarding the streetprice of +/-260 euro, the E664 gives much value for the money.
But I must say that the longer I compare mics, the more I appreciate the Samson C02's for their neutral sound.
Without saying that it equals the Schoeps, to my surprise the neutral sounding comes clother to this
Schoeps CMC6u/Mk41 soundsample (left channel-mono)
as to this
Oktava MC012 soundsample (Right channel-mono).
(I thank Bryan Beasleigh here for e-mailing me those samples.)


7. Cheaper microphones - the challenge - the sport
My experience with the Samson C02 made me curious for other cheap microphones:
Marshall MXL 603
Another microphone that I want to mention here is the xx-!-broken link-!-xxMarshall MXL 603 a mic with good reviews:
"This is a flat-out winner, folks. Almost identical to the MC012 in sound, with a wide cardioid pattern, almost approaching omni. We used the as drum overhead mics, and they do a great job…They were also a perfect match to the Oktava MC012 - they sounded nearly identical." Harvey Gerst
and in another review it is compared with the (older) Neumann KM84,
but "the freak has a cymbal fetish." and it is subcardioid.

Remarkably Music-service in Germany gives this mic no more as 3 stars.

A good soundsample can be found at Keyboards.de at the bottom of the page
or in comparison with the Samson C02 or here from youngbloodstudio.

Beyerdynamic MCE530 cardiod Beyerdynamic MCE530
I found another mic the Beyerdynamic MCE 530 that has a very atracting price €99,- and seems to sound really great. It is sold as a stereopair also. Listen to these samples.
I found this favourable German review where it is compared with the Audio Technica Pro 37 R.
This mic has very good references.

CAD brings the famous Equitek but also the CAD GXL1200 cardiod condenser mic. I have not heard this one. This mic is very cheap, but CAD has a good reputation. So this mic makes me curious.


Iff money isn't the problem one can easily choose for Schoeps or Neumann mics. They are great. But I am very impressed to hear how good some cheaper mics can sound. I still want to compare the Beyerdynamics and the CAD GXL 1200. I think it is a challenge and sport to find a quality mic which doesn't eat all of your budget. I keep you informed.

For now I think the Beyerdynamics MCE530 has my preference. It has much details and sounds very clear without being harsh. It is sold in Germany for € 99,-, which is next-door. ( In Holland : € 165.--). The only disadvantage of this Beyer is its sensitivity.
In between I have read so much promising reviews of the Behringer B-5 ( € 118) that my choice is moving towards the B-5. This mic has a lot of features and seems to be very sensitiv, detailed, solid, and a true condensor. The soundsamples are convincing.
But I certainly want to experiment with the Samson C02 too ( €137,-) and give it a chance for its clean sound. The ME64 and the Oktava's sound a bit hollow to me, as can be heard in the samples of Bryan.

If money wasn't the problem i would buy a Schoeps CMC6/Mk41 or the Neumann KM185. They are extremely superb and both supercardiod, which practically seriously competes with a shotgun! The rival hypercardiod is the NT3, but it is heavy and big. However its sound is very pleasing, it has this hollow sound too. All Rodes have their typical sounding. It can be flattering for musicproduction but it is not what I want for videoreproductions where voices are dominant and intelligibility without coloration is more deciding.

But nothing is sure; I write this page while learning. Things have to settle down. I keep you informed. And in the end I will rewrite this page for a better overview.

New Sennheiser E614

    March 2004:
    In between Sennheiser has introduced the E614 - a new super-cardioid back-electret condensor with a near flat frequencyresponse well suit for live- and home-recording. it has a very good impulse-response and can stand very high SPL's.
    xx-!-broken link-!-xxx Sennheiser NL advices a price of € 199,- incl BTW. The German mothersite xx-!-broken link-!-xxSennheiser.com indicates that this mic is suitable for all kind of instuments including piano but also choir! It seems to turn out to be a fairly general mic. The only disadvantage for on cam video purposes is its sensitivity: 3.0 mV/Pa, which is a to low level for most videocams.
    See also ProAudo Visie (dutch) and from Mojo Pie

    This mic is very promising: it is super-cardiod and that has my preference. It has a flatter frequency responce and may sound less harsh as the ME64. But its lower sensitiv is a practical disadvantage.


NB: This page is still under construction

  • will be continued!
    Soon I will write down my experiences which are rather revealing at least to me.
    I will rewrite and re-arrange the whole page for better reading.
  • I will discuss more mics and assemble more relevant soundsamples or links to them.
  • Stereo: yes or no and when?
    This subject is well covered at DVinfo forum by Robert Knecht Schmidt.
  • Shotguns, when to be used and wich flavors exist? For now i refer to Brian Roberts posting who promotes the xx-!-broken link-!-xxx AT897 which seems to represent an unbeatable common sense.
  • Wireless
  • DAT recording
The subjects will be regarding budgets which are reasonably related to the PDX10 investment searching for the best quality without overdoing.

Links to soundsamples
All kind of microphones

    Mictests, comparisons, soundsamples on the Internet:
  2. A Simple Mic Comparison
  3. Gesangsmikrofone im Test
  4. Small budget microphone shootout
  5. MIC + PREAMPTEST also availble in MP3
  6. xx-!-broken link-!-xx Chris G.'s Microphone Shootouts!
  7. Human Beatbox
  8. Samples / Snippets Michael Vernal
  9. Beaser's mic sample clips 1
  10. Beaser's mic sample clips 2
  11. Sony Microphones Review
  12. Sennheiser ME66 & MKH416 by Ken Tanaka DVinfo
  13. Samson C02 - Akustik-Gitarre
  14. Mic Tests, Behringer B5 & Rode NT1
  15. Echo chamber, zürichs mix- & masteringstudio