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Sanken CS-M1 vs. Sanken CS-3e


Ashley Stracke
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I've been looking for a shotgun that will perform well in a variety of environments, has good off-axis rejection, and excels at picking up voices from a greater-than-normal distance. I've had my eye on the Sanken CS-3e, but I'm curious how the CS-M1 compares. 

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I’ve got a CS3e, it’s my go to mic for sports environments  I can always count on it to pull out great sound during on the fly interviews post game when players are on the move back to the locker room , inside the locker room when they are being bombarded by reporters, music from boom boxes, etc. It also sounds good in factory and other noisy background locations.

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The CS3e is an amazing and original design, and is really helpful in un-sound-favorable environments, which seem to be the only sort of environment I record in anymore.   Thus mine have gotten a lot of use, vs 416 and MK41, the two other directional choices I've carried.  I don't pick it for super-euphonic Schoeps-esque audio pickup or even low self noise, but its reach is pretty great for a mic its size (and WEIGHT!).

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I have both the 3e and M1(actually two 3e's).  The 3e is our go-to for regular boom use and sit-down interviews.  The 3e has more "balls" than the M1.  And even though the primary reason I bought the M1 was for an on-camera "nat-mic" for my F55, we have used it for voice work and one of my buddies rented mine to use as a plant in a vehicle for a commercial.

 

The M1 is a nice mic and you can tell (hear) it's a Sanken, but the only real reason to buy one over a 3e, in my opinion, is if you need its super small size(in my case, I wanted/needed something small for on-cam use, but also still high quality).

IMG_1619 copy.jpg

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The video earlier in this thread, while nicely done in its own right, does not illustrate some of the key differences of the two mics. What it does clearly show is the rising high end of the CS-M1.

 

In my world, when a really natural-sounding short shotgun is needed, the Schoeps CMIT shines. However, for run-n-gun work, the CS-3e is my go to. I seldom use the CS-M1 as I prefer the Schoeps 641 in the environments where I might otherwise consider the M1. For instance, when I tried the CS-M1 on a sharp female voice (on an interior set), I found it sounded much too strident, whereas the Schoeps 641 was ideal.

 

As I said, the biggest difference in the above video is the CS-M1's rising high end -- whereas the CS-3e is flatter. What isn't obvious in the video is the pattern differences. The CS-3e has a sharp cutoff, whereas the CS-M1 has a smoother pattern -- designed to be much more like a Schoeps MK41 capsule.

 

For exteriors, due to its sharp cutoff polar pattern, the CS-3e shines when needing to tune out off axis sounds and is even awesome when micing from below -- therefore it's great for those sun-n-gun days where fighting shadows is an issue.

 

Bottom line: As always, the key is choosing the right tool for the job.

 

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