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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 Even their website is absolutely outdated.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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