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zwiggi

Mid-Range Hypercardioid Help

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NOTE: I'm updating this list as I receive feedback from this and other forums.

Hey everyone - long time listener, first time caller.

I've been scouring the internet for information on mid-range (ie. not Schoeps or Sennheiser) hypercardioids for interior dialogue. It's been quite a frustrating process, as everyone has conflicting opinions and there are barely any samples out there at all.

I HAVE NOT USED ANY OF THESE MICS, but I've rather collected what I've found from days of readying every post about hypers and film over eight different boards and my thoughts on the very few samples I could find. I'm LOOKING FOR YOUR THOUGHTS IF YOU'VE USED THESE MICS AND IF YOU HAVE ANY SAMPLES - since there seemed to be very few samples out there. I'm always a believer of listening, rather than reading with mics.

Please let me know what you think and if I'm off on any of these. These are in no way my own opinions, but a kind of "meta" version of what I've read. Please feel free to blast these out of the water if I'm off.

AT4053b - The few samples I found of this seemed solid, but quite bassy and didn't sound flat or "natural" - a bit more hyped. Seems robust and have heard good reviews on the other capsules. Has a high-pass (which helped a tad with the deep bass) and a -10dB pad. Low noise floor with relatively hot output. A few have compared this to being a low-end version of MKH50, not as much clarity. Mostly positive reviews. ~$600 new, ~$460 used

AKG SE300b/CK93 - I've only heard one recording of this, and it seemed "good" but not great. The low ends were pushed and it seemed like some of the detail in the mids was lost. I've heard that the cardioid capsule is usable, but the shotgun isn't as good as an MKH416 but more on par with an ME66. Has a -10dB pad and high pass. Many positive reviews, but it seems like most of those people only have this particular mic and didn't compare it to others. I've heard these tend to be a bit lower output and are a bit noisy. Also someone raised the concern that this is a electret condenser, so the quality might fade in 10 years as the charge slowly dissipate. ~$480 new, used around $275-300

AKG C480B/CK63 - I haven't heard too much about this mic, but seems to be the upgrade to the 300b/CK93 in the AKG line. It's a full condenser mic, instead of an electret. Quiet and flat with a -10dB pad and two roll offs (75 & 150). ~$1000 new, ~$600 used. Bit more expensive in USA than Europe?

Audix SCX1-HC - Many say this is a fairly "natural" sounding mic and is closer to the Schoeps MK4 - although it is unclear how many have done A/Bs. No high-pass or pad from my understanding. I haven't heard any clips of this yet. I've heard that these share the same capsules as the MBHO - but not really sure if I can believe it. Audix is machined and assembled in the USA, and from my understanding the MBHOs are machined and assembled in Germany - which doesn't quite match up with the rumor. Anyone have proof of this? Low noise floor. $500 new, $400 used

Peluso CEMC6 - Sounds a bit similar to the MK4, but brighter (possibly too bright for some). From what I gathered from guitar recording reviews, it seems to have a "metallic" attack - which I have no idea if that would be a pro or con with speech. The price certainly seems right. I saw one person mention this was being used on "Prison Break" and a Clint Eastwood film - but the guy mentioning it was a Peluso dealer. Does have two pads (-10 and -20dB) and two roll offs. Has issues with the SD302 and 442 - creates a motorboating effect unless low cut is used. These are assembled and designed in the USA from parts sourced in the USA and other countries. ~$400 new

Other interesting brands that have been mentioned include the Busman BSC1 and the MBHO mics, but I haven't heard ANY comments on sound quality for dialogue, handling noise, etc. Anyone have any thoughts on these? Am I missing any others?

Does anyone have any thoughts or clips of these? I'd love to hear some comparisons. Please keep the "you must save up for the Schoeps" comments out of this thread, it's been well documented that the Schoeps kicks butt, but I'd love to hear about the other mics.

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I disagree with your "review" of the AKG & Audix mics. The AKG Blueline shotgun is a very good mic, closes down a room like nothing else. The hypercardioid capsule is also a very useable mic. If you find the low end pushed then use your HP filter. Regardless of what you belive regarding the Audix it is a wonderful mic for dialog and does sound fairly close to the Schoeps 641 for 25% of the price. You do know that this is a group dedicated to recording dialog for films & TV and how those mics perform for music recording does not exactly fall in our area of interest.

Eric

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I've been using a couple of AKG C480B/CK63 for quite a while now and been really pleased with how they sound- really quiet and flat. There's also a knuckle joint for the system which is great for plants.

They got a -10dB pad (and boost) and roll off at 75 and 150Hz

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If I really couldn't afford an MKH50, I'd probably go the Blueline. Note that there are two difference tiers, the 300 and 400 series. The 400 series is great. The 300 I don't have any experience with but is a lesser performer. C480B with the cardioid capsule was one of the first condenser mics I ever bought. I sold it long ago, and I think there is your main differentiation. Some day you will sell it to upgrade. The MKH50 or Schoeps equivalent conceivably you would never sell, ever, unless you got out of the business entirely.

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I disagree with your "review" of the AKG & Audix mics. The AKG Blueline shotgun is a very good mic, closes down a room like nothing else. The hypercardioid capsule is also a very useable mic. If you find the low end pushed then use your HP filter. Regardless of what you belive regarding the Audix it is a wonderful mic for dialog and does sound fairly close to the Schoeps 641 for 25% of the price. You do know that this is a group dedicated to recording dialog for films & TV and how those mics perform for music recording does not exactly fall in our area of interest.

Eric

Hi Eric,

Thank you for your honest feedback. I haven't used any of these mics, so any feedback on my "meta" collection of the reviews is very useful. All of this is from what I've read on different forums. I know that this is a TV/film dialogue-focused forum, which is what I intend to use this microphone for. The only reason why I mentioned the guitar reviews with the Peluso is because I couldn't find any reviews on people using it for dialogue, but it comes up quite often in this forum as an alternative to the Schoeps.

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I've been using a couple of AKG C480B/CK63 for quite a while now and been really pleased with how they sound- really quiet and flat. There's also a knuckle joint for the system which is great for plants.

They got a -10dB pad (and boost) and roll off at 75 and 150Hz

Hi Richard,

Thanks, I forgot to add that one and I'll edit to include. I've heard that the C480B some handling noise issues, have you had any issues with that? What do you feel like it sounds like? Is it more hyped, is it flat? Bassy? Open?

- Zack

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Have you looked at the Neumann Km185? $900

unless you find recordings done by the same person, in the same room, with the same setup and subject, "samples" likely won't help much. you can't be confident what you are hearing is indeed a factor of the mic. just a thought.

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I can speak to the Peluso, and the Audix. I tried out the Peluso as a lower cost alternative to a Schoeps hyper and its a decent sounding mic but seemed a little bright for my taste. Also, it didn't play nice with my SD 302, or 442. A phantom power issue causing a motorboating problem unless you used the low cut. I ended up returning it. I bought the Audix for use in tight spaces and its a very good sounding mic and very small. I purchased both the cardiod and the hypercardiod capsules. I don't use it very often but I like it enough not to sell it. My usual hyper is the Microtech Gefell M-300 with hyper capsule. Its about $1400 new and sounds very close to a Schoeps to my ear. I did an AB comparison with my CMIT-5U and it matched very well, at least at short range.

Best,

Bernie

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I can speak to the Peluso, and the Audix. I tried out the Peluso as a lower cost alternative to a Schoeps hyper and its a decent sounding mic but seemed a little bright for my taste. Also, it didn't play nice with my SD 302, or 442. A phantom power issue causing a motorboating problem unless you used the low cut. I ended up returning it. I bought the Audix for use in tight spaces and its a very good sounding mic and very small. I purchased both the cardiod and the hypercardiod capsules. I don't use it very often but I like it enough not to sell it. My usual hyper is the Microtech Gefell M-300 with hyper capsule. Its about $1400 new and sounds very close to a Schoeps to my ear. I did an AB comparison with my CMIT-5U and it matched very well, at least at short range.

Best,

Bernie

Hi Bernie,

Thank you for addressing both "elusive" mics - the Peluso and Audix. Sounds like the Peluso is definitely off the plate now with those issues. How do you find the Audix compared to higher end mics like the Schoeps and Gefell? You don't happen to have any recordings or references to anything recorded on the Audix?

Just heard the recording you made with the Gefell m210 (from a different post in the forum) and it sounds pretty solid. Definitely felt pretty natural and didn't have a lot of the bass I was hearing with some of the other mics.

- Zack

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Have you looked at the Neumann Km185? $900

unless you find recordings done by the same person, in the same room, with the same setup and subject, "samples" likely won't help much. you can't be confident what you are hearing is indeed a factor of the mic. just a thought.

Hey Wandering Ear,

I looked into the KM185 - but I read that it was better suited for instrument recording than dialogue. How do you think it works for dialogue?

I agree, the samples aren't going to be great for comparing, but I feel listening to something is better than just reading about how they sound.

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Hi Bernie,

Thank you for addressing both "elusive" mics - the Peluso and Audix. Sounds like the Peluso is definitely off the plate now with those issues. How do you find the Audix compared to higher end mics like the Schoeps and Gefell? You don't happen to have any recordings or references to anything recorded on the Audix?

The Gefell has my attention - but I can't seem to find anything with the M-300 in a hypercardioid pattern, just cardioid? Is it the M310 you have or the M-210 with the capsule? Sorry, I'm a newbie and I'm just trying to get all of the model numbers right to make sure I'm looking at the right things.

- Zack

Yes, its the M-210 that I have. The modular system with the hyper capsule. I think they call it the SMS2000 system on their website. Not sure if the design has been changed at all since I bought mine but I think its pretty much the same. I don't have any recordings or samples of the Audix. I can tell you its a very natural sounding mic and has smooth off axis frequency response. Very well made. On a par with the Gefell as far as workmanship. Its quiet too.

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Yes, its the M-210 that I have. The modular system with the hyper capsule. I think they call it the SMS2000 system on their website. Not sure if the design has been changed at all since I bought mine but I think its pretty much the same. I don't have any recordings or samples of the Audix. I can tell you its a very natural sounding mic and has smooth off axis frequency response. Very well made. On a par with the Gefell as far as workmanship. Its quiet too.

Hey Bernie,

Thanks for the response, I checked out the wrestling film that you used the Gefell in and I thought it sounded great. Can I ask why you choose to use the Gefell over the Audix?

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Hey Bernie,

Thanks for the response, I checked out the wrestling film that you used the Gefell in and I thought it sounded great. Can I ask why you choose to use the Gefell over the Audix?

I'm not sure. It might have been that I didn't own the Audix yet. I bought it for booming in bathrooms for the Bath Crashers show that I work on. We don't boom in that particular portion of the show anymore so that's why the mic doesn't get much use anymore. I appreciate the compliment on the wrestling thing. How did you find that? Post said the mic was almost too clean sounding. He had to add a touch of room to it so it wasn't so dry. I was impressed by how good the off mic comments of the Mom and Dad going up the basement stairs sounded.

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Hi Richard,

Thanks, I forgot to add that one and I'll edit to include. I've heard that the C480B some handling noise issues, have you had any issues with that? What do you feel like it sounds like? Is it more hyped, is it flat? Bassy? Open?

- Zack

I use the rycote lyres with my setup and handling noise is about the same as other mics, however I did use it on someone else's Rode suspension once and quite a lot of LF handling noise came through

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I'm not sure. It might have been that I didn't own the Audix yet. I bought it for booming in bathrooms for the Bath Crashers show that I work on. We don't boom in that particular portion of the show anymore so that's why the mic doesn't get much use anymore. I appreciate the compliment on the wrestling thing. How did you find that? Post said the mic was almost too clean sounding. He had to add a touch of room to it so it wasn't so dry. I was impressed by how good the off mic comments of the Mom and Dad going up the basement stairs sounded.

I found the film when I began searching for the different versions of the Gefell on the forums (210, 300, 310) since I didn't really know much about that particular mic. I think it came up when there was a conversation about a South Korean trying to find a Gefell 310 (which seems to be a very hard mic to find).

From the $600 price difference, I might try out the Audix first, unless you feel there's a big difference between the two.

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Hey Zwiggi,

I want to put a plus 1 on wandering ear's comment about audio samples. I know that it seems counterintuitive that reading people's opinions is more helpful than listening to samples, but I think that isolated samples are potentially misleading. Really, the only thing that would help you with comparison from samples would be to have all the microphones in the same room and simultaneously recording the same person speaking.

The differences in sound between different rooms, different voices, and different distances between mic and subject are way more important than the fact that a different mic is being used. Even the same mic in the same room placed 3 inches differently will potentially sound like an entirely different mic.

Anyway, you've started a conversation that will give you some good info on these mics, so I'm not trying to discourage you, but just wanted make certain you understood the potential pitfalls of the audio samples that you are trying to find.

cheers,

Brent Calkin

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AT4053b - The few samples I found of this seemed solid, but quite bassy and didn't sound flat or "natural" - a bit more hyped. Seems robust and have heard good reviews on the other capsules. Has a high-pass (which helped a tad with the deep bass) and a -10dB pad. Low noise floor with relatively hot output. A few have compared this to the MKH50. Mostly positive reviews. ~$600 new, can't find used.

I have owned both the AT4053B and the MKH 50 and I can tell you for sure that the MKH 50 is much less noisy, better sounding on the lower ends of voice and IMO clearer somehow. I would not say the two are comparable at all. The MKH 50 is def a next step up.

And FWIW they alway sell for less than $450 used everytime I had seen them for sale and have sold my own.

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Oktava MK12 hypercardioid is a very good compromise but you need to test them before buying one. You can use the same accessories than those for Schoeps.

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Hey Zwiggi,

I want to put a plus 1 on wandering ear's comment about audio samples. I know that it seems counterintuitive that reading people's opinions is more helpful than listening to samples, but I think that isolated samples are potentially misleading. Really, the only thing that would help you with comparison from samples would be to have all the microphones in the same room and simultaneously recording the same person speaking.

The differences in sound between different rooms, different voices, and different distances between mic and subject are way more important than the fact that a different mic is being used. Even the same mic in the same room placed 3 inches differently will potentially sound like an entirely different mic.

Anyway, you've started a conversation that will give you some good info on these mics, so I'm not trying to discourage you, but just wanted make certain you understood the potential pitfalls of the audio samples that you are trying to find.

cheers,

Brent Calkin

Hey Brent,

Thank you for bringing this all up, it's very valuable to hear this, especially since I'm starting out.

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I have owned both the AT4053B and the MKH 50 and I can tell you for sure that the MKH 50 is much less noisy, better sounding on the lower ends of voice and IMO clearer somehow. I would not say the two are comparable at all. The MKH 50 is def a next step up.

And FWIW they alway sell for less than $450 used everytime I had seen them for sale and have sold my own.

Thanks for comparing the two. I'd certainly love a MKH50, but I can't afford one new and I can't find any used ones anywhere. I've listened to quite a few samples and prefer it over the CMC641 to my ear. I understand the CMC641 is more natural sounding and the MKH50 is a bit (just a bit) hyped and deeper. From the recordings I heard at least from the "As I Hear It" shootout by Dan Brockett - http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/right_mic_brockett.html - I preferred the MKH 50 for the female vocal and the male vocal (with the rolloff engaged, I thought it was too "Barry White" with it off). Am I crazy for not preferring the CMC641 as the top dog in the high-end mics? I don't think I've developed my ear for comparing completely yet...

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Thanks for comparing the two. I'd certainly love a MKH50, but I can't afford one new and I can't find any used ones anywhere. I've listened to quite a few samples and prefer it over the CMC641 to my ear. I understand the CMC641 is more natural sounding and the MKH50 is a bit (just a bit) hyped and deeper. From the recordings I heard at least from the "As I Hear It" shootout by Dan Brockett - http://www.kenstone....c_brockett.html - I preferred the MKH 50 for the female vocal and the male vocal (with the rolloff engaged, I thought it was too "Barry White" with it off). Am I crazy for not preferring the CMC641 as the top dog in the high-end mics? I don't think I've developed my ear for comparing completely yet...

Really, listening to samples online isnt the best and in most cases isnt even a good way to pick out a mic IMO. Youre absolute best bet is to rent the ones youre thinking of getting (or buy from somewhere you can return it to if you cant find it for rental) and play with a few yourself to make a more educated decision.

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