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Re: Figure 8 mics (Sennheiser MKH pdf)

Subject: Re: Figure 8 mics (Sennheiser MKH pdf)
From: "Walter Knapp" waltknapp
Date: Sun Jul 30, 2006 10:34 am (PDT)
Posted by: "Rob Danielson"

> Nice .pdf!  My reading of the charts is consistent with what I gather 
> in the field. For example, there's a low-end rise in response 
> starting at about 35Hz for the MKH-80 in Figure 8 while the chart for 
> the 30 only goes down to 50Hz. In my surround work, I use 1-3 
> sub-woofers that are pretty flat down to 16Hz so I'm working with 
> that content regularly.

I keep my eye out for such info when on a manufacturers site. There can 
even be differences in what's available from different parts of the same 
manufacturer, like the USA site vs the Europe site.

The response chart for the MKH-20 goes down to 20Hz. Since these mics 
have the same capsule design you will probably find the MKH-30 has a 
similar dropoff at the low end to the MKH-20.

This low end area is where my SASS/MKH-110 does well. It's sensitivity 
goes down to 1Hz, though I don't have a frequency response graph for it. 
Definitely picks up more of the low end than the MKH-20. Of course it's 
capsule design is quite different. And it's a antique mic, several 
generations older design than current MKH.

> Possibly, but aren't the frequencies below 50Hz from distant sources 
> very diffuse in most settings?   When I play signals recorded in the 
> dead of night from a MKH40 and MKH30 split through a bi-amped speaker 
> system, the content below 40Hz for the MKH30 is less loud, less even 
> and more prone to exaggerated tones that create "bounciness."

I don't think this is explained by differences in sensitivity. Just 
where to look is interesting.

Even the low end shows some directional characteristics with my 

> My studio tests suggest the NT2000 might have a strong low end in fig 
> 8. Its not realistic for me to plan on buying more mkh80's/800's so I 
> have to find an alternative-- which will have me accepting other 
> weaknesses with the NT2000 or whatever mic I go with. Many factors to 
> determine and rank.  If the NT1-A mics I'm using for the rear pair 
> didn't handle moisture so well, I don't know what I'd be using there 
> to be honest. The response of the NT1-A's is weak under 250 Hz 
> (except for a big boost at 30Hz and lower) and the upper end is 
> grainer than I'd prefer. The NT2-A is less grainy on the top end, but 
> its more prone to moisture problems. The improved lower mid clarity 
> of the 80 over the 40, 30, 60 NT1-A, NT2-A, AT3032, MBHO and many 
> others I've tried is pretty evident when I mix. I rented a pair of 
> 20's and generated material I frequently mix with, but I don't have 
> nearly as many hours comparing the 80 to the 20 as I do with the 
> other mics. I agree with you that the 20's performance could be 
> between the 40 and the 80 in terms of flat frequency response and 
> lower-mid clarity.

Rode is much less forthcoming with graphs than Sennheiser. I don't have 
a frequency graph for the figure 8 of the NT2000. They only provided 
omni and cardioid. But looking at those two I expect the low end of the 
NT2000 is falling off similar to the MKH-30. Due to the larger diaphragm 
one should expect the sound to be somewhat different.

The 20's are definitely better than the 40's, though I pretty much use 
them only in the SASS. Could also be that they are lower self noise. 
Frequency graph is not that much different.

>>>It may also be a problem that most mic testing is done at fairly high
>>>sound levels and they don't entirely behave the same recording much
>>>lower levels.
> I believe the charts would show us some very relevant differences in 
> performance if the tests were run at low sound levels and possibly 
> with more detail. Eric tests off-axis frequency response in his lab 
> in 1/3 octave steps which I understand is much more painstaking than 
> what manuf's do. I'd also like to see the tests to state accuracy or 
> tolerances of the test gear.

Theory says no difference as Dan pointed out. But I'd still like to see 
that put to the test. Of course we are talking the entire recording 
system here.

> So, right, its back to recording and listening and trying to figure 
> out how to get the gear to do what we think its capable of doing.

Which is as much how we use it and the quality of the sites we record as 
anything. You have to spend time out in the field learning to record 
with each mic to get the best out of it. It's easy to get too wrapped up 
in spec tables and graphs.


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