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Field Recording for Post - any real alternatives to MKH8040?


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Hi - I'm a post-production guy, specialising in sound effects and usually* working on bigger budget movies.

 

I do as much field recording as possible - partly out of need and partly because it's good to get out of the studio sometimes - and record a lot of quiet nature ambiences, weather, birds, sea etc. Also crowds, urban spaces, public buildings and so on (often in stealth mode with mics/recorder in a bag). 

 

I own a pair of Rode NT55 and an SD702 which have done me pretty well for a while (usually in spaced omni mode), but yes; should really upgrade those mics. 😀

 

I've used MKH 8040 and 8020 pairs and been very impressed, also DPA 4011s (even better but wouldn't fancy risking them in a storm) and Schoeps CMXY (good in some circumstances but noisy and not wide open sounding).

 

I'd buy 8040s in a moment but money's tight and I'm wondering which other mics might be worth considering slightly below that price bracket? Used to use KM84s in the studio a lot, thought they were great and tempted by those - never tried them outside though, so no idea if they're robust enough - but I'm wondering if there is there anything a bit less well know that's worth a try out? Gefells, Josephsons, Telefunkens .......how about those Lewitts with zero self noise?

 

Many Thanks for any advice....

 

 

 

 

*Not at the moment !! 🙄

 

 

 

 

 

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The Neumann’s are probably the highest quality around at a better price point. You can get a pair of used ones for around $1200. Personally I would be happy with sennheiser 8040s or Neumann’s. But luckily I have a pair of Schoeps mk4s and frankly, I don’t think a better mic exists than Schoeps. 

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If you like, have a look at MBHO in germany. They produce a wonderful modular system, but there's hardly any reliable info out there. Even their website is absolutely outdated.

 

As I have a set of cards, hyper cards and figure8 , I can say they're pretty nice allthough in terms of hot output and noisefloor the sennis are hard to beat!

 

Drop me a line if you need more info.

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As always this really comes down to personal taste. 
Out of those three companies, DPA, Schoeps, Sennheiser, they are the top of the crop and hard to beat - in my opinion. The Schoeps CMXY possibly didn’t sound open, because of the XY config. Try two separate mics with omni or cardioid capsules in a wider array. They are hard to beat, I think. 

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If you plan to spend that kind of money, why not rent the mics and do some tests?

 

as mentioned by others, a lot will come down to personal taste, but also the rest of your setup. For example when I tested some mics on a SD 633, the KM185 had a lot more noise then the MKH50 - somebody with a lot more experience then me told me that on high-end studio preamps it‘s a rather quiet mic.

That said, for very quiet sounds, the MKH series seem hard to beat.

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KM84s haven't been made in a long time, and they are now red-light mic collector items.  Studios pay a lot of money for versions in good shape, I would not want to risk them in field recording any more since they are not easily replaceable.  The Senn mics the OP mentioned are great, a slightly cheaper option is Neumann KM184 or 185--lots of those around used.   Schoeps are more expensive than the Neumann KM mics--I like them much better for music recording, for dialog or SFX you should see what you like for what you do.  A really good, really "fast", really clean but low cost mic is the Shure KSM137, also around used for much less $ than the German mics.

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  • 1 year later...
On 11/7/2020 at 1:18 AM, JonG said:

The Neumann’s are probably the highest quality around at a better price point. You can get a pair of used ones for around $1200. Personally I would be happy with sennheiser 8040s or Neumann’s. But luckily I have a pair of Schoeps mk4s and frankly, I don’t think a better mic exists than Schoeps. 

Please, Sennheiser 8040s or 8020s (with jecklin disk) for outdoor use? (sounds in nature, rivers, wind, birds, wolves, etc...). Thanks

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/17/2022 at 1:13 AM, JLMeadows said:

Please, Sennheiser 8040s or 8020s (with jecklin disk) for outdoor use? (sounds in nature, rivers, wind, birds, wolves, etc...). Thanks

I was student and later friend of Jecklin, if you ask him which microphone, he would definitely say DPA. 

 

DPA 2011/4011 and Sennheiser MKH are better for outdoor use compare to Neumann because they are pre-polarized electret condenser microphone (the Sennheiser even has the HF Circuit) which makes them more resistance to bad weather condition, extreme heat or humidity. But many people say external biased condenser sounds better and has less ground noise, it's a question of personal taste I guess. 

 

DPA 2011 or 2006 would be a very good alternative to Sennheiser MKH, with lower price. 

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On 5/25/2022 at 11:14 PM, Tong0615 said:

I was student and later friend of Jecklin, if you ask him which microphone, he would definitely say DPA. 

 

DPA 2011/4011 and Sennheiser MKH are better for outdoor use compare to Neumann because they are pre-polarized electret condenser microphone (the Sennheiser even has the HF Circuit) which makes them more resistance to bad weather condition, extreme heat or humidity. But many people say external biased condenser sounds better and has less ground noise, it's a question of personal taste I guess. 

 

DPA 2011 or 2006 would be a very good alternative to Sennheiser MKH, with lower price. 

I only read your message now. Thank you for your answer!!! I will try to try them both. My first instinct was to buy Sennheisers, but I'll take your advice.

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