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Re: Figure 8 mics

Subject: Re: Figure 8 mics
From: "Walter Knapp" waltknapp
Date: Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:53 am (PDT)
Posted by: "Mike Feldman"

> I was thinking of the MKH-80 & MKH-800 as dual-diaphragm mics; I don't
> see how they can be multi-pattern with a single diaphragm unless the
> "switch" is mechanical/acoustic instead of electronic.  I'll have to
> think about the dual-backplate, single diaphragm a bit but I don't see
> how to get omni out of a single diaphragm unless you seal a cavity on
> one side.  Anyway, this issue weighed against purchase decision on 80/800=
> Anyone here actually have one or a pair?  I wish I were somewhere close
> to a rental house.

I have and use a pair of MKH-80 as M/S. No, there is no
mechanical/acoustic switching, it's a electronic switch near as I can
tell, I'm not taking one apart to find out. I got one out and took a
close look under magnification. The capsules are very visible in this
mic. They do have two electric leads going to each side of the capsule.
Sennheiser says it's a RF Symmetrical Capsule Condenser Microphone
design, the same wording they use for their single pattern MKH (except
the 416). Their description of that indicates a single diaphragm. Though
looking at it I cannot verify that. A question for Sennheiser.

I carried on as I could not answer your question and just called
Sennheiser USA on this. In the case of the MKH 80 and 800 they use the
same push pull design described by Willitt but do so with dual
diaphragms. (Willitt's paper might should have made this clear) So one
should think of it as a three plate design with two diaphragms. the
center plate is twice the thickness of the outside plates. From Joe at
Sennheiser he says think of the dual diaphragm as a dual push pull
capsule that if sliced down the middle is of the same design as the
Symmetrical Capsule design of the single pattern mics. Otherwise he
confirmed what I'd observed, it's electronic switching. If you need more
info I'm sure he'd be happy to provide. He liked the idea of using the
pair of MKH-80 for M/S.

Note this does not change it for the single pattern MKH, they are single
diaphragm dual plate symmetrical push pull designs.

I don't worry too much about not completely understanding what's going
on inside the mics. What I do pay attention to is results, and the
MKH-80 are very desirable mics. Excellent, clear sound, high
sensitivity, low self noise, just the thing for nature recording. IMHO
they are better than the MKH-30 & 40 as a M/S pair. They do, however,
not have as flat a frequency response as the single pattern mics if you
are really picky about that. This is most noticeable in the omni pattern
diagram where above 16kHz they tend to be more directional, though not
as much as the figure 8 pattern from them. Only other down side is that
side address mics are a little more of a problem for field suspension
and windscreen, though not a big problem for these as they are so small
and light. I have mine mounted in a large Rycote stereo suspension.

Note the MKH-800 is essentially a redesigned MKH-80 with a attempt at
extended upper frequency range. Joe confirmed it's entirely changes in
the electronics and not the basic capsule design. Though other stuff
I've read indicated that they did have some problems with the housing
design. It gets up to 50kHz nicely, though not with flat frequency
response in that upper range. I've not used a MKH-800, though those that
have seem quite happy with it.


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