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nickreich

Ambient ATE 208 Emesser

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Hi all, 

has anyone had any experience with the new version of Ambient's Emesser clip-on Figure 8 mic - the Condenser ATE208 version (it is usually clipped onto an existing shotgun mic to add MS Stereo capability). I tried the original electret version some time ago and found it too noisy for quiet effects work - but the concept was great and if the new one is quieter I'd be interested.  I can't find any user reports on the forums yet.

thanks,

nick

(cross-posted at the Sound Design group - sorry if you get it twice)

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Hey Nick, yes I bought one a couple of months ago and it's working well for me. The new condenser version has a very low noise, I can't hear any noise at all unless the pre's on my 442 are cranked to about +50dB. I had heard that the first version was noisy. It's been bench tested next to a MBHO KA800 which is a far more expensive mic, and apparently has the same frequency response.

I use it on top of my MKH60. I mainly do docs so it's just really for getting the atmoses wider and well , acceptable really. It's great because I don't have to do too much reconfiguring to get it going, it's always on the end of my pole and at most I have to swap over a couple of XLRs in my bag, from a radio mic output XLR to the "S" channel  XLR, to plug into my mixer. You can do that in 10 seconds and then be stereo!

I had a standard Rycote suspension kit before, and the Emesser and it's cable were  occasionally hitting the suspension, so I got a couple of the new Rycote Lyres and that problem was solved. If you need to do the same, ask for the grey ones that fit the MKH60, as oppose to the black ones. The grey ones are a bit firmer, and you will need them due to the extra weight of the Emesser.

I splashed out and got the Ambient Twister, stereo mic swivel adaptor, and that's worth it too, recommended for anyone who's recording  stereo in perspective to a camera, although if you are doing FX recording, not really necessary.

Having said all that, I recently hired a Schoeps ORTF rig with 2 CCM 4's for an Art film, and these were a world apart, in stereo detail, from my MKH60/Emesser set up. I reckon that configuration was as close to human hearing that I have ever experienced from microphones.

So the Emesser is not going to give you the kind of lush stereo detail you would expect from a couple of  perfectly positioned Schoeps, but I'm sure that has to do with the shotgun mic underneath it, and  MS versus ORTF, but hey it suits me very well right now for my standard work, until I can afford a couple of Schoeps. The Emesser itself sounds great, and I obviously saved money by not having to buy a completely new suspension/windjammer.

My biggest gripe though, was that when my Emesser finally arrived, it was Serial # 13. I went to collect it, came home, and one of my computer hard drives was unmountable. There was another piece of unfortunate news that day as well so I decided that I didn't want to have Emesser # 13 on my boom at all. I believe in rational explanations for things, but we need a bit of luck too right? Anyway Sebastian at Ambient was very accommodating, after being slightly perplexed, and swapped me over to #3, which is definately a lucky number! He even spent a fair while trying to help me out with my unmountable drive!

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thanks for the report and details about the lyres, Andy.

I own several CCM Schoeps (3 x ccm5, 2 x ccm41 and ccm8) but sometimes would use a cheaper option for very wild docus

What about the difference in output level? (MKH60 vs Emesser). Must be a bit too far, is it?

And relative to a CS3e? (if you did the test)

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Hey nick,

i was just logging in to post the exact same question about the Ambient ATE 208 Emesser. i was just doing a simple doc. where we were shooting a lot of GV stuff and i was thinking it would be great to have a simple stereo set up to flick on to gather some nice atmos and then go back to mono when i needed. got me thinking about this Emesseer. i too had a listen to the prior model which was too noisy to be useful for me.

thanks for the response Andy, it must be a very new mic as i couldn't find any other user comments on the net.

i use a CMIT as my outdoor mic and I'm wondering is it possible and not too awkward to leave the Emesser set up and still boom comfortably and switch to stereo and back to mono easily (I'm talking for simple over the shoulder gigs).

also what kind route would you go if you wanted an M/S schoeps set up? is it possible to leave a schoeps figure 8 mic in the same way you could with the Emesser. i would presume there is a fair difference in price.

i have the rycote suspension kit that is shown on the ambient website for the emesser (the S-series 375 Kit which I'm not a big fan of) so I'm presuming the emesser must fit in this windjammer then? would i need a new kit for a schoeps figure 8?

thanks for the responses guys

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What about the difference in output level? (MKH60 vs Emesser). Must be a bit too far, is it?

And relative to a CS3e? (if you did the test)

Hey Fernando, the Emesser's output level may be a bit lower than the MKH60, I generally turn the pre amp up a little bit further than the MKH channel to get what sounds like a balanced sound, but only slightly.

I never tried it with a CS3e I'm afraid.

I should also say that you can hear some noise if you turn the pre amp up to +50dB, after having checked yesterday it's more around just over +40dB before some noise appears.

Shug-

It is pretty easy to switch from mono to stereo with my set up. A lot of the time I can have the "S" channel plugged into CH2 on my 442, so when I want to go stereo I just fade up that channel or flick the MS link button on the side panel of the mixer depending on what the Post guys want (encoded/decoded MS). I put  a bit of tape over the voltage selector switch which is right next to the CH 1 + 2 link switch so you dont flick it instead. Bit fiddly those SD switches..

The boom is a bit heavier now, due to Emesser/Stereo Swivel but thats OK, you get used to it.

MS Schoeps set up would pretty much the same I would have thought , looks like you can use the same windjammer they recommend on their site for the CMIT with either an Emesser or CCM8 LG on top.

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sorry Andy,

i meant to address my earlier post to you and not to nick!

thanks for the info, the emesser really sounds like a pretty neat set up. would love to try and get a listen to one, i'll try a local store. and thanks for the info on how you run the set up.

i'm sure the schoeps set up sounds great, i've yet to hear one of their mics that doesn't. but that greatness ain't cheap.

cheers.

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Newbie question perhaps:

 

I am thinking about getting the Emesser as well. But my primary reason was for dialogue, on ENG situation. My reasoning being, when out and about, on a run'n'gun situation, it might be great to make sure that you've got all the sounds that might occur at the periphery. Then the post-sound engineer can decided what to keep or what not, by just flipping to shotgun mic when need be. Bad idea?

 

Also, could you tell whether the Emesser would work equally well with interior recordings as well as exterior?

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ATE 208
frequency response +/- 3 dB:
 200 – 16.000 Hz
sensitivity:
12 mV/Pa
signal to noise ratio CCIR:
66 dB
signal to noise ratio DIN/IEC:
79 dB - A
equivalent SPL rated at CCIR:
28 dB
equivalent SPL rated at DIN/IEC:
15 dB - A
max. SPL:
132 dB SPL

CCM 8
Frequency range 40 Hz - 16 kHz
Sensitivity 10 mV/Pa
Equivalent noise level (A-weighted) 18 dB-A
Equivalent noise level (CCIR) 26 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio (A-weighted) 76 dB-A
Maximum sound pressure level at 0.5% THD 134 dB-SPL
 

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Unless post are expecting MS, it can totally do their head in! I had a lot of trouble when, for a short while the BBC insisted on everything being recorded MS, even vox pops and static interviews, I've never had so many calls from post, they were totally unequipped to deal with what they were receiving. SInce then I've only used MS when expressly asked to, and then, like all good things, in moderation. I do think that run and gun really isn't the place for MS though.

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Thanks for the feedback Jon.

 

The idea came to me  a couple of weeks ago, while I was watching a documentary on the TV. It was called "Saving Face"  (I believe it was on Channel 4 or ITV). The sound was fantastic, a far cry from a similar documentary I am currently mixing, similar subject and region. While noticing some of the footage, I thought that there must have been an M-S set up, just because the sound was in context everywhere. I can remember clearly if I saw any radio mics now, but I believe I was checking but didn't see anything. 

 

As a side question: For all you guys that work in high profile documentaries are you being advised to take the time and hide radio mics?   

 

Again on the same premise, are these docs heavily directed, with time for the sound person to prep talent, plant mics, etc?

 

I also saw the boom operator - on a cooking program - holding a boom with a M-S but I am not sure whether what I heard was really the outcome of a Mid-Side recording.

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I'm rarely advised to hide mics on docs, I do it as a matter of course.

 

Don't confuse something being heavily directed with people giving you time to rig mics properly! You just have to make sure you get the time you need, ignore the tuts and the sighs and get it right, obviously the quicker you do it the better, but getting it right is the main concern.

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I just did a search on imdb to see who the sound recordist was and trace if she/he hangs around here to congratulate about the sound (and get some tips ;D )

 

 

 

 I couldn't help noticing that this doc won an Oscar! Not surprised really...not with that sound....

 

 

I'm rarely advised to hide mics on docs, I do it as a matter of course.

 

That's great to know. Many thanks for sharing this.

 

Sure, I am with you Jon. But I wouldn't expect on the documentary format, to have any time luxuries. Unless it is heavily directed (ambiguous term here but you know what I mean) that would offer you the chance of doing good mic placement - but still obviously... quick!

 

 

 


 

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Don't forget, documentary and run and gun arent always the same thing, I've done plenty of docs where you spend days and days with the same people, you have plenty of time to check out what they're wearing, and the best way to mic them, obviously I've also had too many days with producers, directors and cameramen breathing down my neck, wondering why we're not rolling yet :)

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Don't forget, documentary and run and gun arent always the same thing, I've done plenty of docs where you spend days and days with the same people, you have plenty of time to check out what they're wearing, and the best way to mic them, obviously I've also had too many days with producers, directors and cameramen breathing down my neck, wondering why we're not rolling yet :)

 

:)

 

I totally see your point Jon, thanks for the insight!

 

So, the consensus says "no M-S" (didn't mean to rhyme). Would it be only SFX gathering that you use MS mostly for?

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Yeah I guess so, I don't use MS at all anymore, sold my figure 8 mics years ago, it just doesn't seem to have a place in the doc world I move in now. I'm sure the next person to reply will disagree and use MS all the time, but I get along fine without it :)

 

Actually, I have just remembered I was asked for it last year on a Shane Meadows doc, the first time in years, but it was for a very specific scene.

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Sorry pindrop, but why the pasting of the technical info?

Well I'm interested in the subject and might buy an ATE 208 myself but a bit of investigation revealed a frequency response figure starting at 200 Hz - that's some fixed bass roll off!

There was also some discussion about noise and I thought it might be helpful for others to see the quoted noise specs whilst I was looking for myself - it's not hugely different from a CCM8, but the CCM8 is more than twice the price!

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Figure 8 can be very bad on low freq rumble / handling noise. As low freq could not be located it is not that much a problem and is picked up by the M / shotgun.

 

I think I read somewhere that this micdesign of the emesser also helps in S/N - the Schoeps fig 8 is a bit noisy.

 

And that is the reason I bought a used Sennheiser MKH 30.

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........ As low freq could not be located it is not that much a problem and is picked up by the M / shotgun.............

Yes good point but there may be circumstances with low freq (lets say a musical instrument, or a male voice off to one side) where the pickup may not be to the extent or be more colored than one might like?  Aren't there?

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Hi,

 

Are you mounting the emesser with the supplied clips and cable? How is handling noise? 

 

I think a connbox should be more appropriate but couldn't find any at rycote's website that is compatible with the ta3 connector of the emesser.

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