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chriswoolf

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About chriswoolf

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    I'm just me...

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  1. Schoeps MiniCMIT

    Yes, the mount is specifically intended for foam-only indoor use. It is possible to make everything very small, light and compact for that reason. The entire mic and mount envelope is about 80x85x170mm - a bit less than 3.5" x 6.5". For work on confined sets, low ceilings etc it is very neat and agile. For windier locations you cannot avoid having to have something fatter. The relationship of windshield perimeter to capsule distance governing wind noise reduction is one of those irritating facts of physics that cannot be ignored.. Chris Woolf
  2. Schoeps MiniCMIT

    It is most amusing to see the comments, based on a single "design concept" picture... First of all, let me tell you all that this mount was designed in conjunction with Schoeps. Rycote has had an excellent long-term cooperative relationship with Durlach, and the companies shared 3D CAD files to enable this product to go ahead. A new version of lyre was designed specifically for the CMITmini mount and there is ample room for the 50mm diameter foam to fit, with plenty of wiggle room. The distance between lyre tips is 64mm. With short-bodied microphones there is very little "meat" to hang on to, so conventional clip arrangements are difficult to use. Masaki's system can work, but it is very dependent on the XLR fitting extremely firmly - any movement at the joint will be heard as creaking. It is the sort of method that an individual can control, but not something a manufacturer would be wise to use. The new cam-lever clamp allows the microphone to be held extremely securely - slide the mic in, drop the lever fully down, and there is no movement whatsoever. You can wave the microphone as vigorously as you like and nothing wobbles or shifts. The rigid clamp and stainless rods are necessary to give the proper mass transfer. Lyres are very flexible and efficient, but as with all sprung systems - it doesn't matter what design they are - the loading must be substantially the same on them to allow uniform orthogonal movement. Think what happens to the handling of a car when the spring loading is drastically uneven. In effect the lyres are clipped to the microphone at optimal positions, but without any clips being required - the grille slots are entirely free, yet the mic is balanced and secure. I do accept that I have had the great advantage of having both virtual and real examples of the CMITmini in my possesion, and the use of an actual prototype mount, so I can speak from experience;}. The mount works very nicely, thank you. And the microphone is an absolute delight too - congratulations to Schoeps. Together, they form a very neat, physically short solution for lightweight indoor pole use. For windier locations there will be related Rycote solutions that are equally compact. Now, I hope this response gets posted... Chris Woolf (with his Rycote designer hat on)
  3. New from Rycote: Looks interesting

    [Thank you, Simon, for doing the photos] The oblong pads to the left of the lower picture, and the one between the red-painted chips in the top one, fit in between the NC3MXX solder pins - the pcb is a special thickness to allow this. You can't do the same trick with other versions of connector. The red-painted sections are to give some protection to the anti-RF ferrites that are relatively easily damaged during assembly ... or dis-assembly. The turret tags are the connection to the microphone, and because the PCB fits inside the collet sleeve, the cord grip still functions as normal (max cable diameter 5mm). Chris Woolf "An AES42 fixes all." It does, it does! But we are a long, long way from getting any range of AES42 mics, and there's still the minor problem of having to provide around 2W to keep the mic cooked, as opposed to just 10% of that for P48. And IP connected mics could well overtake AES42. Oh dear. It makes me feel old! Chris Woolf
  4. New from Rycote: Looks interesting

    The Tac!t boards fit directly onto the pins of a Neutrik NC3MXX. You can't double them up in an NC5-MXX because there simply isn't room. There's a full balanced amplifier and filter happening in there. By using the NC3 as the housing it was possible to make a much more cost effective filter than the competition - housing and assembly costs are a significant factor. The Tac!its shouldn't be fragile in use. The bare boards - like any miniature surface mount assembly - are delicate and can easily be destroyed, but once assembled in the housing they are mechanically strong. There have been a very few cases of ones damaged in manufacture, that weren't trapped by test - and a few more where customers have disassembled the NC3 to have a peep... and wiped a component off the board in doing so. But Rycote will always replace anything that was faulty in manufacture. For those who are confident about handling raw PCBs we have let a few bare boards out for people to assemble them in idiosyncratic housings, but customers need good eyesight and tender, well-grounded fingers. It isn't a task for those that perform pigeon-shit soldering after a couple of beers. The Tac!t is powered by the P48 phantom as well as passing it through to the mic. Everything must be truly balanced for the filter to work as intended. If the supply is not to a proper P48 spec the Tac!t won't operate correctly, or might be destroyed. Chris Woolf (The Tac1t's daddy)
  5. Cyclone vs. Piano

    "I think it would have proved more popular to release the cyclone in a frame similar to piano, and same weight. The cyclone is rather large." This is an "apple and pears" affair, and also perception. The basic Piano is 175mm wide and 400mm long, but with the long fur the actual measurements (for shadow purposes) are 260mm x 460mm. With a CMIT5U installed - ready-to-run - it weighs 650gm. I've included the long fur because that is necessary to give comparable wind noise reduction to a Cyclone. The Cyclone is 160mm diameter and 460mm long in this version. Shorter versions are in the pipeline but it was important to bring out the most difficult-to-tool one first. Ready-to-run weight of this longer version is 720gm - 11% more than a Piano, but the equivalent shorter one will be near enough identical. So in comparable forms the Piano is actually a lot fatter and can only claim a weight advantage because it is being compared to a larger version of windshield. There is no great surprise in any of this. Philippe Chevenez is not a fool and can design perfectly good suspensions and windshields. The various different elements involved - suspension bars, brackets, connectors, basket frames etc - are unlikely to be radically different in form because the function of the devices are essentially the same. The dimensions are also going to have to be of the same order too. As I've explained many times, the distance of the perimeter (where the noise is generated) to the capsule (where the noise is heard) basically governs the wind noise reduction. Similar sized windshields are needed to give similar wind noise reduction - there's very little you can do to counter that. The use of 3D-tex doesn't change the physics of how windshields work, but it does allow some design changes and freedoms that were impossible before, and it does provide a material that is vastly more consistent in manufacture, and maintains performance over time and in adverse conditions. Let me state it unequivocally - the Cinela designs are good windshields - I'm not going to get into petty arguments about small differences in performance which are often flavoured by personal bias and anecdote. Under certain specific conditions the Cyclone will be a little better than the Piano, and you might be able to find a moment when the reverse applies. For 90% of the time you could use either, and in a true blind test you wouldn't know the difference in terms of wind noise reduction. What differentiates the Rycote Cyclone is consistency of performance - 3D-tex is a far more reliable material than fur and does not suffer the same manufacturing and longevity problems. And, most importantly, the Cyclone gets round the severe drawback of a suspended and "dressed" basket design, such as the Piano (and Rycote's older designs) - access to the microphone and the ability to strip it in moments to a bare suspension. For many users this convenience, coupled with top-rate performance and a level of engineering that far surpasses any other windshield developed so far, will be the clincher. But if your personal preference is for a Cinela, a Rode, an old Sennheiser design or a piece of foam and duct tape, neither I nor Rycote are going to deter you or rubbish your choice. Chris Woolf
  6. Cyclone vs. Piano

    "Chris - any idea why I´ve got even more handling noise in a Cyclone vs WS4? The low freq handling became much more obvious when the basket elements were put on the Cyclone suspension than without." [Matthias] [i'm sharing a reply to you publicaly because it may help others] Handling noise has two components: the mechanical route through the pole knuckle, mic support frame, mic suspension elements and also the cable - and an acoustic route where the basket is shaken by the pole-originated vibrations and acts as a (poor quality) loudspeaker. Note that the second path bypasses the microphone suspension system completely. The best mechanical microphone suspensions - Rycote lyres and Cinela's Osix - can isolate well down to ~60Hz, in some arrangements a bit lower than that. Both use thin tail cables to minimise that noise conduction path. However the acoustic path is a trickier one to solve. Rycote funded research into it back in 1998 but finding a really good way to solve basket has taken a while. In both the Cinela and the Cyclone the same approach is taken - the basket is isolated from the pole so that finger-noise and similar vibrations are not directly conducted to it. There the two designs part company. Cinela uses an approach that suspends the basket very efficiently but means that it is a fixture - you simply can't get rid of it. And it also puts a number of restrictions on the basket split. Rycote have held fire for a long while until it was possible to come up with a more elegant design (courtesy of my fellow designer, Tim Henson) that provides the required isolation but also enables instant basket removal. It also removes the constraint on the basket split. I've done a number of development studies for the efficiency of the handling noise reduction. I'll try to look out some identical circumstance comparisons in the next few days. One very important thing to recognise is that the slope and knee of any HPF makes a massive difference to the level of handling noise perceived. All handling noise effects are low (and very low) frequency ones. Add a relatively high HPF and the benefits of one system over another will become far less discernible. Drop the filter frequency down to give you the maximum bass and the difference will become much more obvious. Chris Woolf
  7. Cyclone vs. Piano

    If you want to see some real differences between the Rycote and Cinela products I'm happy to share some other measurements with the group. These were carried out using a pair of CMC641s - one naked and the other covered by a windshield. The one in the windshield was artificially lengthened to make it sit as a short rifle would. I only used 641s as they were well matched throughout their frequency range and polar pattern. I used real hardcore wind - out on moorland and away from traffic, trees or any other noise source. The mics, on studio stands, were pointed upwards to prevent momentary wind direction confusing things. The wind was very strong - on a couple of occasions it simply blew the stands over. It was the sort of conditions when a news or docco team would have carried on but nobody else would. Each channel was recorded simultaneously with a stereo mixer and 2-channel recording as a .wav file. These were then analysed later (in more comfort!). The black horizontal trace on the attached file is a reference one - the two CMC641s transfer functioned to each other. The flatness of the trace gives a measure of the reliability of the comparisons. The other traces are also transfer functions - a bare mic to a covered one, and thus take account of the variability of the wind at any moment. Gains were left unaltered throughout, and great care was taken to prevent limiting at any point. The dark green trace is a Piano, the dark blue trace is a Cyclone, the pale green is a Piano with its long fur, and the pale blue trace is a Cyclone with a Windjammer. I'll leave you to work out which windshield works best. Note that all the windshield traces show some low level spiky behaviour. As far as I can tell (simple listening and other methods of analysing what's happening) the source is low-level whistles on the mic stands - everything was singing in this sort of wind. You don't see it on the reference trace because the quiet whistles are totally swamped by the wind noise. That is an important point to note. With the massive level of wind noise reduction and the high transparency of a Cyclone people are hearing things they didn't realise were there before. It is akin to the change from transformer to electronic output on microphones - some users found it disconcerting to hear the increased and less distorted bass response. They started noticing the weakness in the suspension systems they used... which was why Rycote spend so much effort improving them. Chris Woolf
  8. Cyclone vs. Piano

    It's always difficult to know what to do about replying to "knocking copy" - do you maintain a dignified silence, try to explain why it is incorrect (while gritting your teeth), or knock the opposition just as hard. I've never liked the last approach - it tends to be demeaning - but after keeping quiet for a while I'll go for the middle option. I've no idea how Cinela regulated their "swing" test- they don't say. Different swing rates, different microphones, different gains in the channel, different micro-environments around the windshields will affect the results. So I've done my own "swing" tests in my workshop. The environment remains the same - we're dealing only with the effect of swinging, so no air movements due to other things contaminate the results. I used a 2m pole and swung the microphone back and forth repeatedly over a 4m arc - I used the walls of the workshop as a guide to arc-width and I used a click in my headphones to give me the same rate of swing - 1.5s end to end. That's quite a fast swing to be doing repeatedly but I think it's roughly what Cinela were doing, even if no sane boom op would be doing this for real in a production. I then set a spectrum analyser program recording each swing set for 20sec. Sampling rate was 192k and bit depth 24 to prevent any risk of artifacts making a mess of things, and I used a 131072 length FFT to give decent LF response. The same CMIT5U was used for every test and the audio channel level was untouched throughout. You can see the results on the attached file. The blue-grey trace is a Super Softie - a creditable result but inherently less good than a Cyclone or Piano because the rear of the microphone is exposed. I put it in so that you can see that the test shows up real differences. The red trace is a Cyclone and you can see how it tracks the dark green Piano one very closely. The Rycote is marginally weaker around 150 Hz and a chunk better around 300Hz but I wouldn't want to claim significance either way. In these tests it is extremely doubtful that anyone could reliably distinguish the two. Adding fur (the orange - Cyclone + jammer, and light green - Piano + long fur) gives very similar results. Both are slightly improved from the naked versions - neither is significantly different from each other. Note that there are no whistles, or high(er) frequency artifacts generated in either windshield. Whatever differences Cinela were trying to demonstrate don't appear to be repeatable on a more scientific test. That comes as no surprise to me - I wouldn't expect there to be one. There are differences between the two designs but they wouldn't show in this sort of scenario. I don't have a Pianissimo to test but I would anticipate a slightly poorer result with that because it is smaller. Please remember that the efficiency of a windshield is not the "still air volume" - it is the distance of the capsule from the perimeter, and closely follows a cube power of that distance. Even slightly smaller windshields are inevitably less good purely because of this - physics decrees it. Chris Woolf
  9. Rycote Cyclone

    Nah! You're all sweet pussy cats really... I've lived with the design of Cyclone for a long time, so I know that I would never be so daft as to make something that melted like an ice-cream in the sun. I've poled a good many mics over the years, so the basic problems of heat (natural and tungsten), freezing cold and numb fingers, winds strong enough to remind you why you need proper aerodynamic balance etc, are all second nature to me. But, in fairness, most of you don't know that, so I don't mind you testing me out! Chris Woolf
  10. Rycote Cyclone

    It is indeed the design intention. Moving to a new material has meant a great many changes - the shape, the dimensions, the basket suspension technique - all of which are mandatory, but also highly beneficial. While fur is a remarkable and useful material it has distinct drawbacks, and getting away from it allows us to do several new things. Instant access to the microphone has been something that everyone who has played with the pre-production samples has been impressed by. The magnetic assembly method is radical, and incredibly easy to use because you don't need to put fur over it. Rycote will produce a Windjammer for the Cyclone, if people want to go out into staggeringly windy locations, but these would be the sort of places where previous types of windshield could not have coped at all. It will be a rarely bought option, rather than a necessity included in the kit. High wind covers have been something of an anachronism since fur was introduced - they only add a very small increase in wind noise reduction. However they do frequently get used as dust covers and washable outer layers on conventional windshields. Since 3D-tex is easy to wash (and dry) we don't anticipate a call for them with the Cyclone, with the great benefit of keeping acoustic transparency very high at all times. Chris Woolf
  11. Rycote Cyclone

    Oh dear! How to produce and read specifications... I have a marked distaste for specifying anything I can't test reliably. Therefore I tend to to be very conservative about what gets written into a spec. It was suggested that I checked a range for the Cyclone of -40°C to + 40°C. I couldn't freeze anything harder than -20°C so I set that as the lower limit... and somehow 40°C was translated into 100°F (38°C), due to someone's penchant for round numbers. These are environmental temperatures - what the operator will be suffering. They are not the point at which things auto-destruct. That isn't how specifications are written. In practice I can tell you that you can dry water from 3D-tex at 60°C quite safely - that's the maximum temperature that a hand or hair dryer should heat your skin to. But even that isn't the temperature at which any of the materials start to soften or melt. You can use the Cyclone in bright sunshine without any qualms, and while we've seen more than a few furry Windjammers frizzed from being held near to a tungsten lamp for a while, 3D-tex is vastly less vulnerable. But I don't have an environmental chamber for prolonged testing at elevated temperatures, so I can't specify all that. Hytrel (just one of the very high spec plastics we use) retains its properties down to well below -20°C - but if I give a "guess specification" down to -30°C someone will complain that the cross-linked PVC insulation of the cable has become solid at that temperature, and renders the suspension somewhat pointless. Most equipment comes with an environmental spec which the manufacturer knows will completely safe - it doesn't mean it will stop working beyond that. Rycote people aren't daft, and we wouldn't make something that wasn't entirely fit of purpose. Chris Woolf
  12. Rycote Cyclone

    Sadly no. Rycote will be doing two shorter versions for mics such as the MKH50 and for compact capsules, but the very long mics don't sell in large enough numbers to warrant the immense tooling costs of a giant Cyclone. Of course if you all want to order several 100.... In truth I believe that intelligently directional microphones along the lines of the Super-CMIT (which fits the Cyclone) are more likely to be used in the future rather than very long interference tube designs. Chris Woolf
  13. Rycote Cyclone

    For anyone near LA or NY Redding Audio have organised some open house events - Tuesday Oct 21st in the morning at Location Sound Corp, and in the afternoon at Trew Audio (LA). And then in NY on Thursday Oct 23rd in the morning at Professional Sound Services, and in the afternoon at Gotham Sound. Full details: http://www.reddingaudio.com/news-events.php I'll be there to talk to anyone about Cyclone, 3D-tex and anything Rycote-related. Good to meet some of you in person. Chris Woolf
  14. Rycote Cyclone

    I'm sure they'll be very hospitable, and maybe even be able to show you one, but full production is due in October, I believe. Chris Woolf
  15. Rycote Cyclone

    Happy to show you! Rycote will be introducing the Cyclone at IBC - we are on the same stand as Schoeps. But many of you won't want to trek several thousand miles to Amsterdam so Scott Boland (Rycote's US uncle) is organising some in-store open houses in late October in both LA & NYC. He's keen that everyone gets a chance to play with the device, and also talk to me about it. Obviously I'm declaring my interest - I had a big hand in designing it - but actually I want to congratulate Rycote for backing not only the manufacture but also the research needed for such a radical product. They could have chosen the safe, evolutionary, small-steps path - instead they have been prepared to look afresh at the problem of shielding microphones and be revolutionary, as they did with the lyre suspension. It's been a long development, starting nearly twenty years ago with research at Southampton University into the transmission paths of handling noise. And it was the best part of a decade ago that I drew out the shape, and listed the basic parameters needed. It often surprises people (and company managements) how long the process of finding ideal materials and techniques to put an idea into practice can take, and it has been no different with the Cyclone. Devising something like 3D-tex to replace the highly effective traditional fur, yet improve on its reliability and consistency, has not been for the faint-hearted, and although basket suspensions to minimise handling noise have been demonstrated previously, producing one that allows instant access to the microphone has required considerable ingenuity. So too has the concept of a Z-split and a magnetic "self-building system" that allows the user to swap between completely bare mic and full basket in seconds. Throughout this long gestation Rycote has been prepared to stick with the R&D, and let true science, endless testing, and precision engineering rule. That takes courage as well as deep pockets. I take my hat off to them. www.rycote.com/cyclone Chris Woolf
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