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I'm a little late in doing this, but I actually just finished updating to the 4.10 firmware of the Zoom F8. I didn't see the point to updating to that firmware since I wasn't intending on buying the Sennheiser Ambeo VR Mic, or any of that class. Seeing is how things are changing for me, I've had a change of heart. So my question is, what has everyone's experience been with this mic and is there a cheaper alternative that isn't a Rode mic? 

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Why avoid Rode? They purchased SoundField (a leader in this category) and their Rode NT-SF1 would be based on that knowledge and experience, wait for the NT-SF1 to ship and see the reviews of it. As my bet is if you're looking for a lower priced alternative to the Sennheiser Ambeo then the NT-SF1 will be your best choice. (and if the reviews are decently good, then I'll be buying one myself!)

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The Core Sound Tetra mic is ok, and they've been around for a long time and there are a lot of these out there working.  You have no idea if Rode will implement Soundfield's technology in a low-price mic, it might protect their investment better if they didn't (Behringer still sells Midas as Midas etc).   I liked the Senn Ambeo better than the Tetra, but neither come close to the Soundfield (or a multimic array built out of high quality mics).

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On 5/7/2018 at 6:22 PM, IronFilm said:
On 5/7/2018 at 7:37 PM, Philip Perkins said:

The Core Sound Tetra mic is ok, and they've been around for a long time and there are a lot of these out there working.  You have no idea if Rode will implement Soundfield's technology in a low-price mic, it might protect their investment better if they didn't (Behringer still sells Midas as Midas etc).   I liked the Senn Ambeo better than the Tetra, but neither come close to the Soundfield (or a multimic array built out of high quality mics).

Thanks Philip, and thanks David, 

I'll review all the mics mentioned and consult with my wallet before I make my mind.

Edited by Alejandro Reyes
had to check my grammar.

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20 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

The Core Sound Tetra mic is ok, and they've been around for a long time and there are a lot of these out there working.  You have no idea if Rode will implement Soundfield's technology in a low-price mic, it might protect their investment better if they didn't (Behringer still sells Midas as Midas etc).   I liked the Senn Ambeo better than the Tetra, but neither come close to the Soundfield (or a multimic array built out of high quality mics).

I agree with this and would like to add that the Zoom F8 firmware upgrade includes the Sennheiser Ambeo software. IMO that is a very good package and it does matter. My main Ambisonic mic is a Calrec Soundfield MK IV and it does sound far superior to any other Ambisonic mics but requires AC power. The Sennheiser Ambeo is a decent alternative, it's sensitivity makes it a good match to the so-so micpres on the Zoom, unlike the tetramic . Then there is the correction filter that matches the capsule dimensions of the Sennheiser mic. This does matter, I found out when decoding the MK IV with the Ambeo plugin vs the Soundfield plug in. As far as Rode is concerned, is that even shipping yet?

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I tried the Ambeo and is good for the price, nothing stellar, good for ambiences, but IMMO not for music. 

I have a Soundfield SPS200 and in my opinion is the best sounding ambisonic A mic that I tried, much better sounding than his bigger brothers (Probably the problem is the A to B converter box), and on par with the DPA4 (I had one). If you want a professional mic, the SPS200 is the option, if you want to try, the Ambeo is cheap option.

 

Just a note, every ambisonic A mic need a EQ and matrix for convert to B, the EQ varies between microphones (Is due by the distance between the capsule to the center of the array)

IMG_8362.jpg

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I don't know if I'd go as far as saying that the Sennheiser Ambeo won't work for music. In most of my music recordings for VR/ 360 video I had to use spotmics in addition to the ambisonic mic, since most of those were multi-camera shoots and the useful signal from the Ambisonic mic is reduced to the Omni mono W-channel when not on the main camera. The spot mics give the spatial cues independent from the camera being used via 360 panning so their timbre is of primary importance, the ambi mic's X,Y,Z channels only come into play when the co-located main camera is being used. I know that G'audio offers the option to virtually move the ambisonic mic around but I haven't tried that yet. For what I need from the ambi mic the Sennheiser Ambeo does just fine when used with spotmics. But yeah, it doesn't compare to our MK IV.

And yes, the EQ (correction filter)  needed is dependent on the mic used , so a Zoom F8 user with the newest firmware is better off using the Sennheiser since the Ambeo plug in is integrated in the recorder.

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They used MULTIPLE VR cameras?! At once? I am a bit surprised, surely the cameras are in shot of the other cameras? I'd have recommended one ambisonic mic per camera, if they're all rolling at once. 

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10 hours ago, IronFilm said:

They used MULTIPLE VR cameras?! At once? I am a bit surprised, surely the cameras are in shot of the other cameras? I'd have recommended one ambisonic mic per camera, if they're all rolling at once. 

Yep, 360 cameras are cheap and they'll use every camera they can get their hands on, lol.

As far as cameras in each others' shot, nobody seems to care, I was actually told not to worry about hiding mic cables or even dress them to look neat, in fact I was told not to.

We only had one ambi mic for this , a Calrec  Soundfield MK IV, and DPA 4060s, now we have an additional Sennheiser ambeo. But many times there are 3 to 5 cameras. I'm not sure I'd use multiple Ambi mics because of the recorders and cabling involved. Truth be told, the clients seem more interested in exaggerated spatial audio, something that the spot mics are really helpful with.

Here's the Calrec  plus spot mics

https://www.facebook.com/netnebraska/videos/1969744153051575/

 

Here is the Ambeo with a spot mic on the organ, one camera only  this time.

 

.https://www.facebook.com/netnebraska/videos/2164905490202106/

 

 

 

 

 

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Interesting how(the cheapest) 360VR cameras have become so much cheaper than ambisonic microphones! Thus the relative imbalance in them being used there. 

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But it is not essential? You could just plug it into the four XLR inputs? And gang them together. 

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On 5/9/2018 at 7:38 PM, Werner Althaus said:

I don't know if I'd go as far as saying that the Sennheiser Ambeo won't work for music.

 

Probably because sound awful when compares with better mics, I tried the Ambeo in comparison with others the results are similar to his cousin the Sennheiser E914 (Shares the same capsule) if you compares with a Schoeps or a DPA, super strident with strings, thin, lack of detail.

 

Best

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13 hours ago, ramallo said:

 

Probably because sound awful when compares with better mics, I tried the Ambeo in comparison with others the results are similar to his cousin the Sennheiser E914 (Shares the same capsule) if you compares with a Schoeps or a DPA, super strident with strings, thin, lack of detail.

 

Best

 

I suggested this concern regarding capsule when it was announced (admittedly more in relation to price than sound) so am glad to hear some news of sound.

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What about the delicacy of the ambisonic microphones?,

I mean... you can take care with your mics and be extremely careful with them, but...

filming in location is a hard task. some times you have dust, or wet, or heavy vibrations in the truck in the transportations...

how hard or delicate are they?

I´m interested specially in how delicate is the Sennheiser Ambeo VR?

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James Longley hauled a SoundField mic all over Afghanistan for a year or so and didn't report any problems (I think the resulting film will be out later this year). Don't know how the Ambeo does, though I guess it's not like taking a ribbon mic into the fields....

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The Ambeo (anyhow) didn't seem any more delicate than any other fine mic.  Soundfield mics have been around forever and used in every sort of environment.  If it is a mission-critical thing on your project you need to have a Plan B with you.

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8 hours ago, Sprotnik said:

What about the delicacy of the ambisonic microphones?,

I mean... you can take care with your mics and be extremely careful with them, but...

filming in location is a hard task. some times you have dust, or wet, or heavy vibrations in the truck in the transportations...

how hard or delicate are they?

I´m interested specially in how delicate is the Sennheiser Ambeo VR?

 

I guess you could question that about any microphone.

 

You place it in it's foam lined box and that's it.

 

I flew to Italy with my SP200 and travelled to Calabria to record and orchestra without problems.

On returning to New Zealand it was then hired for 2 weeks to record sound fx in Antarctica.

 

No problem!

 

mike

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On 7/27/2018 at 3:44 PM, Sprotnik said:

What about the delicacy of the ambisonic microphones?,

I mean... you can take care with your mics and be extremely careful with them, but...

filming in location is a hard task. some times you have dust, or wet, or heavy vibrations in the truck in the transportations...

how hard or delicate are they?

I´m interested specially in how delicate is the Sennheiser Ambeo VR?

 

I don't know the Ambeo durability, but the Soundfield SPS200 durability is great.

 

My first work with the SPS200 (Sea, fast motorboats)

 

 

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I had an ST250 that Soundfield modded for me with a polycarbonate array holder as an experiment to see if the effects of extreme temperatures on the different metals of the capsule and the clamps could be negated. (Mine used to go out of alignment from time to time and this was an effort to stop that happening.) It seemed to work quite well and all was good until an officious security chap at an airport refused to let me take it on board as hand luggage with the rationale that it could be used as an offensive weapon. Despite very careful packing in my checked baggage, it arrived in New Orleans in a tangled masss of broken polycarb and capsule cables. As it was a one-off, it had to revert back to the usual holder, but with a modified cable that could provide a 12v supply to the heaters whenI wasn’t running on mains power.

 

My SPS200SB got some reasonably heavy-handed treatment, but the built-in Cinela  Zephyx coped well with that. So far, my ST450 has behaved well under duress and both my TetraMic and OctoMic from Core Sound have been pretty much bomb-proof. For long-haul, mics travel in protective cases; easier with the Core Sound mics, because they’re tiny. While I had the Ambeo on loan from Senneheiser, it didn’t strike me as being particularly fragile and was being passed around to various testers in a simple plastic case with a bit of foam for shock protection. 

 

Anything else I can help with?

 

John

 

 

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thank you all for all that info.

I have no experience with ambisonics, but I would like to try it in new projects.

which ambisonic system do you think is the best choice for being in a backpack, mostly for recording ambiences and sfx?

i´m thinking about docs and so, so it would be one man with a backpack doing it all (portable, durable, easy to mount, good sounding, with wind accesories...)

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33 minutes ago, Sprotnik said:

thank you all for all that info.

I have no experience with ambisonics, but I would like to try it in new projects.

which ambisonic system do you think is the best choice for being in a backpack, mostly for recording ambiences and sfx?

i´m thinking about docs and so, so it would be one man with a backpack doing it all (portable, durable, easy to mount, good sounding, with wind accesories...)

Soundfield SPS200 with his Rycote kit

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I'm not a huge fan of the Ambeo, for various reasons, but there's no doubt that the combination of ease of use, price and hyperbole has made it the go-to mic of choice for a lot of VR work. A Rycote BBG works well with it and for more severe weather, there's a Rycote Cyclone with a mount to fit. The SPS200 also fits the bill, but is pricier, although once the Rode version appears, I suspect that the SPS may quietly disappear.

 

However, you should note that both these microphones use a generic A-B conversion program and the Ambeo version is not that accurate, in my view. Len Moskowitz's TetraMic comes with individual calibration files for each microphone and is, to my ears, more accurate in terms of imaging and much better in terms of frequency response, although this can cause problems with location work as the mic is sensitive to cable and handling noise. This has been addressed with the new OctoMic, which uses a much more robust connector for the microphone. Both mics use an Ethernet Balun (like the InstaSnake stuff) for providing power and signal over long distances. The OctoMic produces pesudo second-order Ambisonic signals post processing (2nd Order horizontal, 1st Order vertical) and requires eight channels of matched, low-noise preamps: the Zoom F8n and the Sound Devices MixPre 10T are perfect matches. I can fit all the bits and pieces that I need into a small Sachtler bag, with an AudioRoot BDS and two Remote Audio MEON 98Wh batteries and work all day.

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5 hours ago, soundmanjohn said:

The SPS200 also fits the bill, but is pricier, although once the Rode version appears, I suspect that the SPS may quietly disappear.

 

 

I hope not, the SPS200 is the best sounding ambisonic microphone that I tried (Includes DPA4 and ST350). IMMO the Rode is for Ambeo market (Entry level), I hope that Rode will maintain the Soundfield line
 

I agree with the Ambeo, I don't like too (very harsh and lack of detail)

 

 

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