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Advice for Parabolic Gear (Wildtronics/Telinga)


Ian Berman
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Hi!

 

I'm in the market for a parabolic dish to record mono fx/ambience such as birds and environmental sounds. My top priority is maintaining a low noise floor and environmental isolation, as the sounds will be placed in mono within a game engine and spatialized relative to the player. It will also need to be relatively portable & able to be carried around easily, as I am traveling for the project. 

 

I've been looking at solutions, mainly the wildtronics pro mono and the telinga modular. It seems posts on here from several years back mainly discuss the telinga, but I believe they have released an updated model since then, and there are few impressions of the wildtronics system.

 

My understanding is that the wildtronics has an integrated mic, but I'm unsure how it compares to professional options. I already own a mikrousi and a 4060, but would also consider purchasing a lower noise omni such as an 8020, 4022 or mc59. The telinga is substantially more expensive, but if it's noticeably better in frequency response, wind protection, or source isolation alongside a professional mic, I would consider it.

 

Thanks :)

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I have the Schoeps parabolic dish set and it comes with a Telinga dish. I liked the set for its completeness, i.e. dish, and mic, and Rycote wind protection, and handle, and stand mount. That’s  quite useful. You can squeeze the dish into a fairly small shape and stuff it into a bag for portability. It sounds nice for what it is, and a Schoeps mic certainly doesn’t harm the sound and they provide a free plugin to compensate for the dish sound and both seem to work well together, but I am not a nature recordist and I have not compared this set to any other set, nor have I even used this much. So take my infor with a grain of salt. 
But I can say with certainty that Schoeps do sell a Telinga dish set, and in fact they currently offer a deal on a used set on their website…

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14 hours ago, Constantin said:

and in fact they currently offer a deal on a used set on their website…

Ooh, where do you see this? I was looking at the Schoeps site with great interest yesterday but didn't come across it. Maybe it's just in Germany?

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Following on from (without quoting) Ian's question and Constantin's most useful reply:

 

Thanks Constantin, I've just downloaded the Schoeps plug in which looks a simple to use tailored EQ for parabolic recordings in general - I think it would probably be used more as a 'how does it sound if I slide the slider this way?' as 'how far away? was it a diffuse field?' (and maybe even 'was it recorded with a cardioid or omni?' if listening to unknown recordings...). But as I said it looks a useful levelling out EQ tool to have for these kinds of sounds/recordings.

 

I have a Telinga dish (and Rycote hi wind cover) without any of the extra Telinga microphones or accessories - and constructed my own (somewhat Heath Robinson) handle / suspension unit to use it with a choice of my existing cardioid or omni microphones. Although I wouldn't recommend the bother of going down the DIY path if you have a suitable job that's going to pay for the system. That Schoeps system certainly looks nice (and I think for your purpose it would be a serious consideration Ian). The internal dish Rycote blimp/mic holding sponge looks a change from the older/original Telinga 'dish/handle only' package (and may indeed facilitate the ability to choose between omni, cardioid and sub-cardioid capsules? - the original design may have been restricted to forward facing omni mics?). Certainly it looks a very simple 'field ready' package now, especially compared to sports models (though they're designed to be 'stands ready' rather than 'field ready' anyway) ... the ability of the Telinga to wrap into a carriable package is certainly useful even if I have generally been rather nervous of doing so too often.

 

I would say you'd need the (optional) Rycote high wind cover - although this completely counters the ability to sight through a transparent dish! Similar fabric or sponge on the back of the dish might be welcome too in windy enough conditions to warrant the hi-wind cover. (A future project for me is to make a felt cover for the back of the dish with a central upper sighting window then experiment with more transparent nylon for the front in place of the opaque Rycote ... but I'll have to completely redesign my internal suspension and handle system too so I'm in no hurry)!

 

What I would say to anyone looking to start doing parabolic recordings is to try to read up on both the physics and field practicalities beforehand. The best introduction I ever found (which interested me enough to get myself a dish to experiment) was in a 1977 book, Wildlife Sound Recording by John B Fisher, published in GB by Pelham Books Ltd ISBN 0 7207 1017 0. Its (single) chapter on 'Reflectors' quotes and owes much to an earlier magazine article (or 2?), Microphone Reflectors by G N Patchett, in June 1973 Wireless World, and Journal of Wildlife Sound Recording Society Vol 1 No 6. You might be lucky enough to find a copy of the book or be able to track down one or both articles but there's doubtless similar more recent stuff available on nature/wildlife recording platforms. Fisher's chapter discusses basic principles then outlines the effects of different parabola dimensions, focal depths and use of cardioid or omni capsules on the response curve (including any dip, shelf or peak away from the obvious response). It is of course looking out for any real world use reports from said nature platforms. There's probably some reading material in the Schoeps site, though I haven't looked hard. You'll want to do a bit of reading before deciding on forking out on any expensive new capsule regardless!

 

My final 'advice' however is to also take a fully blimped shotgun too, whether long like an MKH 8070 or 70 or 816 or something shorter, and not have to rely on the new toy when conditions in the field suddenly go askew.

 

Good luck!

Jez

 

 

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Aloha, for many years Dan Gibson produced the best all around parabolic reflector. Keep in mind the diameter is related to the low frequency response. Dan's parabolic was approx 19" diameter which would be equivalent to about 700hz no less for low frequency. You can then fit a bunch of omnidirectional mics  on this reflector to fit your needs. Hope this helps

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22 hours ago, Ian Berman said:

Ooh, where do you see this? I was looking at the Schoeps site with great interest yesterday but didn't come across it. Maybe it's just in Germany?


No, they just hide it a bit. 
https://schoeps.de/en/buyrent/used-article-sales.html

you have to go through a regular Schoeps dealer, but then it should be fine, although that list isn’t always up to date. The set there does not include a microphone.
I should add that my dish, which I got from the used list, too, looks very heavily used, but I don’t feel like it harms the sound too much. 
 

22 hours ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

and may indeed facilitate the ability to choose between omni, cardioid and sub-cardioid capsules?


yes indeed. It was originally designed (or sold by  Schoeps) for Schoeps CCM mics, but now that they have the CMC 1L preamp you can use that with any capsule you like. 
 

17 hours ago, Clay Reeves said:

Dan's parabolic was approx 19" diameter which would be equivalent to about 700hz no less for low frequency. 


Just FYI: The Telinga which Schoeps offer has a diameter of 23“. 

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On 5/27/2022 at 8:36 AM, Constantin said:

yes indeed. It was originally designed (or sold by  Schoeps) for Schoeps CCM mics, but now that they have the CMC 1L preamp you can use that with any capsule you like. 

I saw that -- considering buying the CMC 1L and a MK4 for combined use as 1/2 of a ORTF stereo kit as well (as I may also be in the market for that). Rigging and un-rigging it might be more of an annoyance than it's worth, though..

On 5/26/2022 at 4:11 PM, Ty Ford said:

maybe this will help.

Thanks for the post Ty, I was unaware of Klover but the mic comparisons are a great reference! I see now these are the ones used in sports broadcasts!

On 5/26/2022 at 10:09 AM, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

What I would say to anyone looking to start doing parabolic recordings is to try to read up on both the physics and field practicalities beforehand

Thanks for the thoughtful comment Jez, I will be sure to look into the resources you've mentioned!

On 5/27/2022 at 8:36 AM, Constantin said:

No, they just hide it a bit. 

Oh wow, had no idea about this page. Very tempting..

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1 hour ago, Ian Berman said:

Rigging and un-rigging it might be more of an annoyance than it's worth, though..


It‘s actually very easy. Just unscrew the Rycote zep, and pull on the cable and the mic slides right out. Unscrew from the Lemo and that’s it. It’s faster than taking it out of a regular windshield kit. 

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On 5/28/2022 at 6:52 PM, Constantin said:

It‘s actually very easy. Just unscrew the Rycote zep, and pull on the cable and the mic slides right out. Unscrew from the Lemo and that’s it. It’s faster than taking it out of a regular windshield kit. 

Amazing. Very tempted to go this route!

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