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Michiel

Tested: Schoeps MK41 vs Rode NT5

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In a that has made me rather unpopular among a certain group (or everyone), I #entry213279 (among other things) that the Rode NT5 sounded surprisingly similar to the Schoeps MK41 (with CMC 6-U preamp). 

 

I have made some tests, so you can judge for yourself. The recordings where made with both microphones atop each other. You hear the same recording twice. I will not tell (yet) which microphone is first, so it is a real blind test.

 

Test 1 and 2 where recorded on a Sound Devices 664, with 80Hz high pass on.

Test 3 was recorded in 2012 using an M-Audio Delta 1010 sound card and either a Sound Devices 302 or M-Audio DMP3 (Can't remember).

 

mk41 vs nt5 test 1.wav Voice

mk41 vs nt5 test 2.wav FX and ambience (16 bit because file was too large)

mk41 vs nt5 test 3.wav Voice and FX

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I listened to test 1 using my phone and earbuds on a train, this might affect my judgment. But I'm guessing the first bit of moon language (says the Finn) was the NT5 and the second one the Mk41?

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I haven't listened yet, but I'll point out that ideally placed mics can sound similar. The "less popular" one might actually might sound "better" than the other. Start getting a little less ideal (dodging lights and stands and fighting unpredictable head-turns, etc.) and you'll find the mics become less similar.

I would still put my money on the Schoeps for remaining smooth and consistent in adverse narrative recording situations. Or a 50, which is what I use.

But if all I did was park a mic over a talking head for interviews, then sign me up for the cheap mic.

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Start getting a little less ideal (dodging lights and stands and fighting unpredictable head-turns, etc.) and you'll find the mics become less similar.

 

spot on!

 

i am  a fan of using 'cheaper' microphones at times and, sometimes (rarely), they do sound even better than my go-to microphones (i guess due to their different off-axis responses with certain frequencies in certain situations/environments), but the NT5's rather harsh off-axis response is no match for an MK41 in any (difficult) situation.

 

try a slightly off-mic test with a moving speaker in a reverberant room with background passing noises/street/etc.

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spot on!

 

i am  a fan of using 'cheaper' microphones at times and, sometimes (rarely), they do sound even better than my go-to microphones (i guess due to their different off-axis responses with certain frequencies in certain situations/environments), but the NT5's rather harsh off-axis response is no match for an MK41 in any (difficult) situation.

 

try a slightly off-mic test with a moving speaker in a reverberant room with background passing noises/street/etc.

99 out of 100 times... you get what you pay for...  If they sound better than your go to mic, you probably picked the wrong go to mic... ::)

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It is so true that the beauty of a high quality (and expensive) microphone like the Schoeps is its performance in less than ideal placement or situations. There are times I have seen the position of the Schoeps when unable to get the mic in a good place, behind someone's head and almost entirely on the extreme edge of the so-called sweet spot, and amazingly continuing to sound wonderful. I think you will find that the NT5 you love would not produce that sort of sound when in these sorts of compromised positions.

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In addition to the above comments, I question the validity of your test. I have to say, I love blind tests. It's how I chose my first boom mic. But in this case, you're comparing a cardioid with a super-cardioid mic. That fact alone may account for listeners choosing one mic over the other. So many extraneous factors, such as room modes, come into play here, that it's impossible to say one mic's better than the other.
Aside from the sound of the Schoeps, there's the mic placement as Jeff just said above. Placenent as well as distance, from the source, which is where Schoeps continually surprises me.
That said, the Rodes are decent mics and very good value. A more relevant test for me would be to compare the NT5 to the Neumann KM184, which is the mic the NT5 was modeled on. But then you are on a quest to denounce the Schoeps mics (or so it seems), so...

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My Oktavas (specifically, with the cardioid capsule) sound surprisingly close to a Schoeps -- under specific, controlled, conditions.

On set, however, there's a huge difference.

Many beginners are fooled by such simple tests.

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Well, an MKH50 sounds a LOT better than a Schoeps MK41. In ideal or adverse conditions... And I have two of them

since 2007... Heh...  

 

But I also have a CMIT and a SuperCMIT now, for adverser conditions. Now what happens to my existing from 2007 - 2 x Sanken CS3e mics? Maybe they are not as good as the Schoeps 'shotguns' but maybe they are good somewhere else. Maybe i should sell them and get more [undecided mic brands]... Should i get Neumann KM184s or Rode NT5s... I wonder... Or the KMR81i or the 82... Or the MKH8060, or the MKH8070... 

 

Heh... 

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I used the nt5 once on a boom (nothing else available at the time) and it was horrible! It's very susceptible to handling noise, and if you can not get it in close enough, spot on, the results are useless.. oh how I wished I had the MK41 with me then.. For picking up acoustic guitar and as drum overhead mics, these little mics fare very well.

 

By the way, I'm not sure if you give a flying F or not, but the rather negative assumption you're allready unpopular on this board (as if that would be something that matters) followed by a blind-test to prove a point you brought up in a post which has rendered you 'unpopular' is probably not the way to become the most popular sound-person on the forum.. but hey, if you don't care, why bother bringing it up..

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It is so true that the beauty of a high quality (and expensive) microphone like the Schoeps is its performance in less than ideal placement or situations. There are times I have seen the position of the Schoeps when unable to get the mic in a good place, behind someone's head and almost entirely on the extreme edge of the so-called sweet spot, and amazingly continuing to sound wonderful. I think you will find that the NT5 you love would not produce that sort of sound when in these sorts of compromised positions.

++++

Regards,

 

Jim Rillie

doing tv series my go to is the CMIT, and when we can use it the MK41 and MK4, and of course the BLM02 in so many plant situations...All these mics in less than ideal situations work, and give us that real editable sound the way our ears hear it. It's uncanny!

Sorry I had to gush, but...

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I listened to test 1 using my phone and earbuds on a train, this might affect my judgment. But I'm guessing the first bit of moon language (says the Finn) was the NT5 and the second one the Mk41?

This would be my guess, too, after listenening on Laptop speakers. Maybe tomorrow I can listen again with headphones. If I care enough.

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" I have made some tests, so you can judge for yourself. "

still digging that hole..?

I have frequently pointed out that folks listening (blind listening) to the finished products of our work cannot identify what microphone was actually used, or even differentiate (Unless they already know what it was!)  That, BTW has earned me some negative feedback, though I remain convinced.

The important thing is that we achieve results at a professional level, and once again: it is not about the skies, but about the skier.

Glad you have satisfied yourself with your tests,  and I'm still ready to swap your Sheppy for my Roaddie

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I'll do a test with off-axis and distant voice as well in a few days and post it here to make the test a bit more complete.

 

By the way, this test is not meant to prove any point, but just for everybody to listen to. I can imagine you might think something is crap because it's cheap. For example, I still have that idea about Behringer, but I've been told they're making some nice products too now (don't ask me what).

 

PS Test 2 and 3 also have FX and ambience, not just voice. (I just added that note in the start post as well.)

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" I still have that idea about Behringer, "

Behringer bought a high end audio company (Midas), and their high end products are still expensive...

that said,

I don't think anyone actually said: "... think something is crap because it's cheap "

there are some excellent values to be had, but the rule is: Generally speaking, you get what you pay for"...

exactly why the expensive stuff is more expensive is somewhat complex, sometimes subtle, and a bit subjective.

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The entire signal chain of the test also makes quite a difference. Let's say you take two microphones, a very expensive, fantastic quality mic and a cheap, low-grade mic and put them both through a very cheap, low-end mic pre, bad A/D converters, and then listen back through an equally lousy signal chain to your speakers. Chances are you aren't hearing what a good mic can and should sound like.

Now, take those same two microphones and put them through a high grade signal chain and the differences will be striking.

A Ferrari is just as fast as a Pinto at a red light.

Production Sound Mixing for Television, Film, and Commercials.

www.matthewfreed.com

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My Oktavas (specifically, with the cardioid capsule) sound surprisingly close to a Schoeps -- under specific, controlled, conditions.

On set, however, there's a huge difference.

Many beginners are fooled by such simple tests.

In my controlled tests I found that the Oktava sounded nothing like the Schoeps. Never did a shootout in the field but if it's worse than I can't see how so many people make the comparison. And the handling noise was way worse than I thought. Invision and low cut helped but you shouldn't be able to hear a loud rumble just holding the Mic on your hand....

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So, now that we're talking Oktava, again, it must be remembered that if you bought your Oktava at Guitar Center or some other music chain, you have no way of knowing what you actually purchased. I have helped several people who made this mistake and their Oktava mics were absolutely un-usable. The 3 or 4 Oktavas that I have owned over the years were always purchased through the SoundRoom which does a thorough QC on all the microphones which pretty much guarantees you will get a good one. The good Oktava does sound surprisingly similar to the Schoeps in my experience.

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Like Jeff said, the Oktavas can vary widely from unit to unit and you need to know just what you're getting.

 

All four of my MK-012 Oktavas were carefully hand-selected (by me) and the electronics of each has undergone the popular circuitry (transient response, high end, etc.) modifications. 

 

IMHO:  In a studio situation, they're amazing for the money.  On location, they don't hold a candle to the Schoeps.  However, I usually carry one or two of them with me on location.  They're at the ready if there's a situation that threatens to damage a Schoeps.  In such a deployment, I refer to them as my "Schoep's Stunt Doubles."

 

 

 

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  They're at the ready if there's a situation that threatens to damage a Schoeps.  In such a deployment, I refer to them as my "Schoep's Stunt Doubles."

Nice.

CrewC

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I went through a pile of Oktavas at guitar center.Boy,there was quite a difference between them.I got 2 for $99 .I used them as "stunt" mics. for my Schoeps.They only had problems on extremely loud scenes.Those Oktavas saved me.

 

                                                                                           J.D.

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