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Andrej H

Gefell M310 and other super-cardioids/cardioids for dialogue AND music recording

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I occasionally record sound for some short films, documentaries, once even a big budget TV series, but that is rare - and in that case - the production rented equipment for me... 

I am looking for a good(*great) SDC mic for my smaller projects and regular use, one that would be useful for dialogue AND my main thing - recording instruments, narration, etc. 

I am a big fan of Sennheiser MKH40 that I rent occasionally, I like the smoothness, the pitch black silent background - absence of any self-noise, the response and the overall tonality - it just works for me... 

Now, for interior dialogues two most common standards are MKH50 (and Schoeps MK41)... so I was thinking of getting a used MKH50 instead of MKH40, but don't know if it sounds equally good for recording instruments and singing vocals as MKH40 that is super-useful in ANY application... 

Moving to the main question - I had a chance to rent Gefell M300 and found it a really nice mic, but when I compared it directly to MKH40 it lacked the rich low end and was too hyped in the high-end - even after EQing I couldn't get the same response as with MKH40 and also - it is not as silent in direct comparison - it is a very clean mic - but MKH40 is exceptional and I like that...
 

But M300 was interesting and good enough to spark my interest, especially because I can get a good price and since I saw the super-cardioid version has better specs...

The problem is that I can't demo M310, but on paper it has specs that are closer to the noise specs of Sennheiser and also the highs don't seem to be as hyped, just looking at the diagram... It could be a perfect mic for me, but I can't test it - I say perfect because I can get a new one for around 800+ EUR... Dose anyone have any experience with this mic? Compared to Schoeps MK41 or MKH40/50? There is very little talk about this mic and no test videos or test recordings around... I know it is not perfect to judge a mic upon those - but at least you get some impression... 

Also - would MKH50 work equally good for instruments recording as MKH40 or should I sacrifice a bit of "reach" in those dialogue recording sessions and have a more natural sounding mic for music? I don't do location work often, but when I do, I wish to have one great mic at hand... So I wonder how good is MKH50 with music recording - percussion, violins, vocals, cello, doube bass, flutes, native flutes, etc. does it lack something compared to MKH40 - more hyped, less natural, etc.?

I am now deciding wether to buy a used MKH40 (or 50) for around 900-1000EUR or a new Gefell M310 for around 800... 

And there is also an option to get good price for DPA 4018A (version with MMP-A preamp) - that I also never tested and wonder how it compares to MKH40/50 and if it is equally well suited for music recording as those - or at least the superb MKH40... I only used DPA4011A and 4006A once and I liked them, but though they were way too expensive back then... I wonder if 4018A is equally good for instruments/vocals as 4011A... 

Many questions, I hope someone with more experience with those mics can chime in... I listened to MKH40, MKH60, directly compared to Gefell M300, but can't test M310 - should buy it blind (or better - "deaf" smile.gif ), but I can rent DPA4018A - although some additional opinion doesn't hurt - from the actual use and experience...

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The AKG modular ULS system (it has been mentioned here sometimes) could be a good choice.

 

@ramallo has experience with them at least for live sound. 

 

The body is the c480b and you have different available capsules: ck61 (cardioid), ck62 (omni), ck63 (hyper) and ck69 (short and long shotgun).

 

The noise specs are spectacular.

 

https://www.akg.com/Microphones/modular-microphones-components/CK61ULS.html?dwvar_CK61ULS_color=Black-GLOBAL-Current

 

I am not sure how long are these units going to be available. Since Samsung bought Harman Group I consider all the AKG products at risk of extinction.

 

 

 

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I own an mkh50 and recently bought a M310, the M310 has now become my main mic i use for interior dialogue..its a great mic..very RF resistant..

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1 hour ago, r.paterson said:

I own an mkh50 and recently bought a M310, the M310 has now become my main mic i use for interior dialogue..its a great mic..very RF resistant..

Great to hear that, what makes M310 better than MKH50 for this in your opinion? Do you have any public work recorded with that mic that you can share? Thanks!

 

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I also use the Gefell M310 (you can see it in my avatar) mainly for indoor booming but also for outdoor booming of small groups of people, or soon ambient recordings (in a stereo setup) but I have no comparision to the Schoeps or Sennheiser. But I love the sound. For me it was a no brainer, costing about half of the price of a Schoeps, or a Sennheiser. In the future I want to use it also for music applications (mainly on acoustic guitars). 

 

I had the AGK C480 with a couple of capsules some years ago. For booming they have the disadvantage to be very sensitiv to handling noise. Much more than the Gefell I use now.

 

Greetings

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22 minutes ago, pillepalle said:

I also use the Gefell M310 (you can see it in my avatar) mainly for indoor booming but also for outdoor booming of small groups of people, or soon ambient recordings (in a stereo setup) but I have no comparision to the Schoeps or Sennheiser. But I love the sound. For me it was a no brainer, costing about half of the price of a Schoeps, or a Sennheiser. In the future I want to use it also for music applications (mainly on acoustic guitars). 

 

I had the AGK C480 with a couple of capsules some years ago. For booming they have the disadvantage to be very sensitiv to handling noise. Much more than the Gefell I use now.

 

Greetings

Superb! How is the bass response - I see it rolls off pretty high up, completely fine for dialogue but I wonder how "thin" it becomes for music? 

 

Those who substituted MKH50 (which is hefty in the lows) with this mic maybe?

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The bass response is quite good in my opinion. But this might not be an advantage for booming dialog, Surley in most cases for musical applications. Also the rolloff seems smooth and the off axis sound not very colorated. but I'm not an expert on that. I'm just starting out with sound.

 

You might hear some differences in a direct comparison with a schoeps or a sennheiser, but even then it's hard to tell wich one is which. There are only a few comparisions between the Schoeps Mk4/MK41, the Gefell M300, and the Neumann KM184 online, and I don't find them very helpful. To me the sound of the Gefell is rich and natural. Here's a link to a guy who compared them:

 

 

Greetings

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i used a mkh 8050 and my m310 in parallel for a interview last week - my observations- mkh 8050 has mouch more deep bass, for booming sometimes to mouch  and the typical sennheiser eq - ed sound that is working good for some voices for others not... m310 is mouch more neutral, i like it a lot but its also a little bit more open with the pickup, its also working better in my ms rig with a neumann kma 120. the m310 i used as a spot mic for orchester recording for the bass section, it was working good, better then the km 140s that i had for the rest of the orchester...

the bass response of the gefell is nice and tide, mkh 8050 gets boomy very quick...

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2 hours ago, pillepalle said:

The bass response is quite good in my opinion. But this might not be an advantage for booming dialog, Surley in most cases for musical applications. Also the rolloff seems smooth and the off axis sound not very colorated. but I'm not an expert on that. I'm just starting out with sound.

 

You might hear some differences in a direct comparison with a schoeps or a sennheiser, but even then it's hard to tell wich one is which. There are only a few comparisions between the Schoeps Mk4/MK41, the Gefell M300, and the Neumann KM184 online, and I don't find them very helpful. To me the sound of the Gefell is rich and natural. Here's a link to a guy who compared them:

 

 

Greetings

 

Yes, I have M300 here right now, comparing it to MKH40 (which I adore), but have no idea how they compare to MKH50 and M310... the latter seems to be a completely different mic from M300, just looking at the specs - on paper M310 has less self noise, higher sensitivity - needs less gain I suppose, has less hyped high end and a steeper low-end roll-off that starts already at 200Hz? That scared me a bit for recording double bass and percussion... 

M300 is an interesting, but a bit hyped mic and when I compared it to MKH40 it is by far not equally suitable for being on a boom - it sounds cool for percussion and certain instruments, but had too much high-end for certain rattles and kalimbas, etc. that sounded much better recorded by MKH40... but looking at the specs - M310 should be closer to MKH40 in high-end than M300, less hyped... only that roll-off question... 
 

But as I see in another response the low end roll-off of M310 is not a problem in real life... damn, I wish I could demo that mic... 

 

MKH40 still seems like a workhorse that will work equally good for music recording and dialogue recording... but this M310 is sure tempting... maybe a more "modern" sound, too? I wish to hear why it substituted the MKH50 as was mentioned... 

 

 

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Hi Andrej, I'm probably going to just be another voice and not much help but I will chime in anyway!

 

The MKH 40 is already a quite 'tight' pattern for a cardioid so just be aware that the 50 is even tighter. I own a 40 but would generally rent a 50 which I usually find more useful for much dialogue type work, but they have the same sound / characteristics.

 

If you have the chance to rent / try the DPA I would do that as (whilst not knowing the mic myself) my experience with DPA and B&K mics are that they can be quite spectacular with music / voice applications so could well be a perfect 'one mic' solution to start with.

 

And again I don't know the MG model(s) you're talking about but having used the UM70 in music in the 90s they are a company I have a great respect for - it was a lovely mic and often reached for in the studio against eg a Neumann 87/89 or AKG414. Just to say I would generally expect an MG product to be classy ...

 

Apart from the gain / noise floor one thing I love about the MKH is its robustness in bad conditions (like hot or wet weather)  which is partly why I bought one. But I would say - in your case - try what you can since you clearly are looking for a mic to do a couple of things excellently and a couple of other things well?

 

Good luck, Jez

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I say go with Schoeps and buy an mk41 and mk4 capsule. You get the best of both worlds quite literally. 

 

I do not have experience with today’s Gefell mics, but I have seen people send them in for repairs seemingly regularly. I know that it is not the same company as yesteryears, only in name, much like Telefunken and other coveted vintage manufacturers who closed up shop years ago and suddenly reappeared in recent times. 

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todays gefell mics are at the same level as sennheiser or neumann, its the former east german neumann part of the company - todays production is still in germany and they are high quality, not like telefunken or grundig that are owned by chinese - where you got this information from - it sounds like fake news!!!

the mics are used a lot for theaters, studio, music and movie recording here. i had more trouble with cmit and ccm8 then with my m310... 

 

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I think I'll go with MKH40 after all... I had it here, recorded an album with two of them, I get inspired by the sound when I record something myself and that means a lot... Seeing that many use it for indoor dialogue gives me confidence, that for those few jobs I do for dialogue recording, it will be perfect...
I am sure M310 is a fantastic mic, too, maybe I'll get it some day, too. Too bad there are so little shoot-outs and reviews around - it would be easier to judge... it is also not so easy to get it for testing here... I got lucky that one friend has M300 - which is also fantastic - but in direct comparison with MKH40 (and for my very subjective taste) it was not equally satisfying to me...

 

 

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if you like mkh40 you should try a 8040 before you buy, i find the mkh 8040/8050 for dialog/filmmaking more practical behause there are so small

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2 hours ago, haifai said:

if you like mkh40 you should try a 8040 before you buy, i find the mkh 8040/8050 for dialog/filmmaking more practical behause there are so small


I am sure they are great mics from all I read, never tried them, but MKH40 is a bit different thing I guess...? Anyway, I like the tonality of it, the bass that is tight, but strong, the pleasant high-end, neutrality, but at the same time some depth... and also the promise that they work in humidity, etc., I will try to test M310 in the future... looks like it could be a great mic, too. 

Just bought the MKH40 in a good condition and including the MZS40 suspension... 

I was biased towards it since beginning, but searched for other options, too... 

 

BTW - I recorded a special minimalist native flute album with only a stereo pair of MKH40 and no EQ in the mix (except the low cut in kalimba track, because close micing kalimba introduces exaggerated sub-bass) - the only thing I EQed were the delays and reverbs... It was a special project were I needed the mics to "disappear" - so I would just know that what I play will be superbly recorded and I need not worry about them and just play my heart out - no thinking of changing the position, etc. They provided:  https://nimetu.bandcamp.com/album/abri
 

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Nice recording! Usually I'm not a big fan of added reverb but with your flute sounds it fits well. I guess you recorded it quite dry. Just for curiousity... do you know what kind of reverb was used?

 

Greetings

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3 hours ago, pillepalle said:

Nice recording! Usually I'm not a big fan of added reverb but with your flute sounds it fits well. I guess you recorded it quite dry. Just for curiousity... do you know what kind of reverb was used?

 

Greetings

 

Thanks. Yes, I wanted it to be very intimate and surreal, the space should feel almost real, but not like impulse real or real acoustic space recording... It was best achieved recording in a very dry (and silent) studio and adding special reverb/delays...

 

Much thought went into that... I prepared different FX combinations for different flutes and styles of songs/planned improvisations and played through them in the headphones... so I could react to the effect like I would in real space... I "played" them... I recorded everything separately live... so the effects didn't come after in the mix - they were part of the performance, so that is why they might fit so well... 

 

The effects units are classic "vintage" Lexicon PCM 70 and Roland SDE-3000A...

 

I used one preset I did on PCM70, that I called "Nice Flute Hall" for all the songs, but I changed Roland delay settings for each song... The send went into Roland that was feeding Lexicon directly, so the delay was triggering the reverb and it was printed as one stereo effect, not separately. I used different ratios between delay and reverb in each song - but the delay was always going into the reverb unit.

 

In mix I only had a dry stereo flute track (and some additional sounds in few places) and a stereo effects track... All I did in mix was choosing a ratio between dry and effects track that I also EQd to fit with the dry that I didn't touch...  Very minimalistic everything... but planned...

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One is never going to be disappointed in buying an MKH40; it will serve you well and long!

 

The only thing is that Richard has now got me thinking about this new MG 310! So thanks for the thread and notifying me of an interesting new mic!

 

Cheers, Jez

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you cant go wrong with any of the above mentioned mics. its really more about the player than anything in music. i cant speak to the geffel m300/m310 but i would assume they’re fantastic. i have a um70s which is fantastic but a LDC. haven’t had any issues with it and i’ve had it for about 15 years. in front of a good player all of the above mentioned mics will sound great. i do like the sound of a mk41/mk4. same with the senny 40/50. the neumann km184’s.

 

i’d say contact your local studio and book a day there and test out whatever mics (sdc)they have. i wont go into ribbons/tube/LDC’s as you were asking about SDCs. a lot of great vintage and new microphones out there. it seems like everyone is listening to earbuds for the most part.....

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Today I got my second M310 for stereo recordings and it seems to be pretty identical with the first one I got. I've tried to compare them on different frequencies with a tone generator and some white and pink noise and couldn't note a difference between the mics in my DAW. The tollerances in manufacturing seem to be very small. So I'm quite happy.

 

Any further suggestions how to compare them? 

 

Greetings

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MKH 40 and 50 are both great mics, the 50 with a little more "zip" on top due to its polar pattern. The only mic that gets very close to a consistent HF and upper mids response with varying capsules/ polar patterns is Schoeps IMHO. And why do folks keep referring to the MK 41 as hypercardioid, it's super cardioid.

Speaking about MG, they are a great company as long as you don't expect them to service vintage Gefell mics, they simply don't support them IIRC.

Anyway, can't go wrong with the MKH 40/50s

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pillepalle, can we have an updated picture then?

 

I agree (as usual) with Phil here, if they sound matched they are matched enough. If they don't then one has to solve it somehow.

 

Jez

 

Edit :

 

since it's Microtech Gefell, who make measurement microphones as well as the ones we are talking about, do they issue a frequency plot with their 'ordinary' mics?

 

Then it would be easy to compare them?

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@ The Immoral Mr Teas

 

Haha... yes I can update you with a picture soon, but they look quite similar  :)  Regarding the frequency plot they add only a generic one. The new micrphone has al lower serial number (#176) than the one I bought 3 month ago (#182) and they where both send to me directly from the factory, as the german dealer told me. 

 

They also sell matched pairs but then you have to buy their suspensions with the pair. At least the recording engeneres I've talked to in other forums told me that in most cases you don't need a matched pair (except on some brand that have large tollerances) and it is often a bit of a marketing gag. For decades no sound engeneer used matched pairs and made beautiful recordings. I think the biggest trouble you can have is when the senitivity varies and you have to use different gains. But in my case they seem to match quite well for music applications. And for ambience sounds decorrelation is what I want. So the matching is not so important anyways. 

 

@ Werner Althaus

 

Yes, there might be some old mics that they don't support because they have no spare parts any more, but generally their support is quite good. At least here in germany. 

 

Greetings

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