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CMC1 + MK41 Noise Floor


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Hello,

I have been testing and experimenting with my new CMC1 + MK41 mic setup.
The capsule is not a new one, as mine is still on the way and I got a old one from my supplier until it's arriving.

I also own a MKH50 and a MiniCmit. I put up all three mics, same capsule distance, and matched gain on my recorder while speaking, until it was nearly perfectly the same on all three.
I noticed a significantly higher audible noise floor on the MK41 than on the other two mics.
The MKH50 was the best, which did not surprise me, second came the MiniCMIT (they were very close to my ears) and lastly the MK41.

My room was not completely silent (computer noise) so this of course is not a professional test.
I did maybe give the MK41 1-2 dB too much gain, but even then I can see and hear that the noise floor is up to 6-8dB louder then on the other two mics at around 1K.
Also one can see the high end noise boost on the MKH50 and the MiniCmit, which look very similar in that manner (also sound more similar then the MKH50 and the MK41 compared to my ears), vs the flat top end noise on the MK41.
All the noise seems to be in the audible spectrum on the Mk41, and seems to be "shoved upwards" on the other two mics.

On the pictures (one speaking, the other one silence/room/noise only):
Yellow: MKH50
Green: MK41-CMC1
Purple: MiniCMIT

Does anyone here have some insight on the noise floor of a MK41 and what its supposed to be?
Is this by design, is it the older capsule (I will test again with my new one when it arrives)?
What experiences do you have on recording very silent sources (whispering, etc) with a MK41?

Every insight is helpful for me, as I am only trying to find out if my stuff works correctly ( for the price I like to check stuff 😉 )

Thanks and stay safe!

speaking.png

room noise.png

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39 minutes ago, BAB414 said:

Thanks for doing this test. May I ask how you generated those graphs?

Generated by the Spectrum plugin in iZotope.

This is not a professional test, as I said.
I just like to find out if it is normal for MK41 capsules to have audible noise floor, comparison to the other mics was just to have a reference, not for really comparing these models to each other.

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I don't have the knowledge to draw meaningful conclusions here, but one thing I can mention from similar tests I did, is that that preamp noise can also be a factor.

afaik the MK41 needs quite a bit more gain then the MKH50 for example, so make sure that you use *very* good preamps if you really want to be sure the test is about mic self noise (out of interest, what was the preamp/recorder btw?). 

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My experience is the same as Trey.  My Schoeps is marginally noisier than my 50, though not enough to notice in a dialogue situation.  But if I'm recording the sound of barnacles opening on a silent beach, I'm going to be using my 50...

 

Cheers,

Brent Calkin

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I would totally agree, David, except the one time I did record barnacles opening was 5 am on the North Coast of British Columbia, foggy, no wind, waves or swell.  Occasional birds.  The closest thing to a silent beach I have ever heard.

 

(But I take your point as well. A bit of a rarity)

 

Cheers,

Brent Calkin

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Hello Mano.

 

I received my brand new CMC1 & MK41 yesterday and very impressed with the microphone and the size is nothing but astonishing. I was unsure if to go with the CMC141 or DPA 4018C as they are two incredibly similar sounding microphones but very unusually the Schoeps was cheaper.

 

I own a DPA 4017 Shotgun Microphone which has an included test report stating the measured self noise is 14dB. Plugged into my MixPre-6II and without touching any gain controls but with the microphones at equal distances the output on the Schoeps is ever so slightly hotter (1dB) and the noise floor identical. Schoeps state 14dB noise floor on the MK41 which I believe is true and is in line with my 4017 or even slightly lower if I matched the levels.

 

This was however all done by my very unscientific ears for measurement but I get the impression your older MK41 is off in some way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I sold my two CMC6u bodies a few weeks ago and got a pair of CMC-1u to replace them.
After doing some tests with both and exchanging both MK41 capsules between the 2 bodies , one of the CMC1 is noisier than the other,
Will contact my dealer to see if I can get it replaced.
maybe your CMC1 has this problem as well

CMC1 noise.jpg

CMC1 noise2.jpg

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Schoeps are both on the paper and practically noisier than the MKH series (MK41 has 14db w CMC6 vs 12dB for MKH50)

They also are less sensitive than e.g. MKH50. (16 mV/Pa vs 25 mV/Pa)

Schoeps are quite sensitive to weather, temperature RF and humidity and its performance heavily depends on these conditions.

The MKH series are built like a tank and stop working only under the water.

Now days I am mainly busy with post production feature film mixing. All I can say that both mics are brilliant and the noise floor of the Schoeps is not an issue for us. We can mix easily MK41 with MKH50 even though they are completely different sounding.

So if you can deal with fastidious Schoeps mics (always have some spare ones) - perfect. Other wise get MKH50. Or if you want to get smaller MKH8050 with MZL8003.

 

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1 hour ago, Michael Goorevich said:

So if you can deal with fastidious Schoeps mics (always have some spare ones) - perfect. Other wise get MKH50

 

 

And if you want the better sounding mic on axis and more natural off axis, get a Schoeps mic. 
Schoeps has incrementally improved their mics, for example RF resistance has much improved. That whole weather thing is totally blown out of proportion, too. I have friends who successfully worked with Schoeps mics under the most extreme conditions all over the world. I have recorded sound with mine in a sauna, at an indoor pool, in a shower, in pouring rain. Never have I had an issue with that. 
 

1 hour ago, Michael Goorevich said:

Now days I am mainly busy with post production feature film mixing.


Maybe you should get out there again and work with a current Schoeps...

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I totally agree with Constantin  ---  I can count on one hand the number of times I have had any problem with humidity or anything else in the over 40 years of using Schoeps mics. I've worked in humid  climates and even done rain scenes without a problem. The one thing that really did affect the mic's performance, however, was working on stage with atmospheric smoke  --- this really affected the capsule, requiring a trip back to Germany to bring the mic back to proper spec. As for comparison to the MKH-50  ---  I have never been a fan (though I know many, many sound mixers use the -50 as their main boom mic). Even if the Schoeps had been problematical, I would never have wanted to give up that sound that I love.

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21 minutes ago, Jeff Wexler said:

The one thing that really did affect the mic's performance, however, was working on stage with atmospheric smoke

This happened to me. It was from an oil based fog machine. I’m glad I own two as the cap had to go back to the mothership.
 

The only other time my schoeps has acted up was during a scene with a practical bathtub. The steam caused a high pitch whining. Switched to a 416 (ugh, didn’t sound great for that room) and put the schoeps in a case with silica gel. It was fine about an hour a day.

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I have had Schoeps humidity issues on location, mostly when I wasn't paying attention to the cardinal rule of Schoeps use: never let the mic be much colder than the surrounding air.  The issue was always cold mic (from air conditioned interior) to hot humid exterior (Papua New Guinea, for example), or cold mic (from outside in winter) to hot humid interior (small car with 5 people in it with the windows rolled up).   Don't do these and you'll be fine.

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12 hours ago, Constantin said:

 

And if you want the better sounding mic on axis and more natural off axis, get a Schoeps mic. 
Schoeps has incrementally improved their mics, for example RF resistance has much improved. That whole weather thing is totally blown out of proportion, too. I have friends who successfully worked with Schoeps mics under the most extreme conditions all over the world. I have recorded sound with mine in a sauna, at an indoor pool, in a shower, in pouring rain. Never have I had an issue with that. 

 

Again from the film mixing post production POV when you listen on a large mix stage there is no clear advantage for Schoeps mics over MKH's. The better on axis and more natural off axis I am afraid could be only auditioned within the critical tests (you can hear it with your headphones on set) but are far from the real post situation where the Boom mic often has to be mixed with other lavs (e.g for getting natural perspective) with applied EQ and reverb plus passing it through the Cedar DNS One and prior dialog editing cleanups.

So thees nuances become not very obvious comparing to what you hear on set.

But again, Schoeps mics are in the upper league and in no way I am willing to decrease their role in the industry.

 

12 hours ago, Constantin said:

Maybe you should get out there again and work with a current Schoeps...

 

Well, I do it for 20 years and still enjoy go outside. I keep my equipment ready all the time (but I sold my MK41's and got MKH50's instead).

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There are more advantages to cmc than just better off axis sound. The swivel mount for example. It all comes down to what you're comfortable with and used to. I've mostly boomed with mkh50 but those few times I've used a schoeps it just opens up for new ways of booming, both thanks to the off axis response, but also the ergonomics with the swivel and wind protection and so forth. With a 50, I personally feel like I have to be more on axis and be more precise in my booming, which is much more taxing. With a mk41 on whatever mount, I can move a lot smoother, and feel confident I can get the off screen lines or responses much smoother. That's also true for the cmit. That might not impact the way post will use the material, but on the set you have other things to worry about. But again, I can do the same job with an MKH50 and a schoeps, it just changes the way I can work and how I do it. And ultimately, if your mixer wants you to drive a schoeps, or any other mic, you do it. It's a matter of taste..

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2 hours ago, Michael Goorevich said:

 

Again from the film mixing post production POV when you listen on a large mix stage there is no clear advantage for Schoeps mics over MKH's. 


I‘m sure that’s true. And we could probably add a few more mics to that list. Of course, the MKHs are great mics, too, at this level of

mics they will all work well enough. 
But I don’t like their sound. The 50 perhaps I like more than a 60, but nonetheless it’s not to my taste. And the good thing is that I can choose my mics according to my taste.

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4 hours ago, Constantin said:

But I don’t like their sound. The 50 perhaps I like more than a 60, but nonetheless it’s not to my taste.

Oh here I am absolutely agree with you. The MKH60 is completely different beast with different purpose of usage (shotgun). It sounds better for exteriors than 416 but... today I think there are plenty of better shotguns for exteriors on the market.

As for interior no shotgun usage will make my life easy. It fact it makes the mixing quite a challenge because of its off axis response and wild coloration of it.

So be it MKH50 or even 40 or MK41 its usually a pleasure to work with any of them.

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2 hours ago, Constantin said:


So, out of curiosity: How do you know for sure which mic any given take was recorded with?

I can't tell it of course. But from my experience as a sound recordist I can guess where the CS-3e was used with its killer focus but a bit thin sound or a 416 with a sharp and shrilling top end or a meaty mid range Schoeps mics or almost rumbling with its proximity effect MKH50 (with no low cut) or a dynasty of the DPA mics.

But again, I could be wrong in more than 50% because the sound I hear depends of many acoustic factors as well as on the recordist and the boom operator abilities to handle the situation. We all know how long is the way in order to bring a usable sound. So when I am lucky enough to work with the great recording in every aspect, the last question I ask myself is what mic its been recorded with. I just know that it wasn't possible without an experienced recordist using proper mics.

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  • 2 months later...
On 6/3/2020 at 2:19 AM, efksound said:

I sold my two CMC6u bodies a few weeks ago and got a pair of CMC-1u to replace them.
After doing some tests with both and exchanging both MK41 capsules between the 2 bodies , one of the CMC1 is noisier than the other,
Will contact my dealer to see if I can get it replaced.
maybe your CMC1 has this problem as well

CMC1 noise.jpg

CMC1 noise2.jpg

I just took inventory on a pair as well, CMC1cut6041 combo,  and have the same issue. One of the mics has higher noise floor and doesn’t “line up” with my 4 other Schoeps. It’s a noticeable difference. Did you end up going the warranty route? I’ve been told that Redding has sold out of the limited run of the baby blues, so it’s either a refund or warranty claim to deal with. 

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13 hours ago, Jobo said:

I just took inventory on a pair as well, CMC1cut6041 combo,  and have the same issue. One of the mics has higher noise floor and doesn’t “line up” with my 4 other Schoeps. It’s a noticeable difference. Did you end up going the warranty route? I’ve been told that Redding has sold out of the limited run of the baby blues, so it’s either a refund or warranty claim to deal with. 

Mine are standard nextel gray
Sent the noisier one back to the dealer and was repaired under warranty by Schoeps , got it back after a few weeks and now both have the same low noise floor

 

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