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:
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:
|"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?
|3. My first Microphones|
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:
|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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
The Sennheiser ME64 and the Neumann KM 185 have more detail:
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 Gerstand 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
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.
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
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
See the dutch rules for usage of wireless mics