Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

condensor mic with low high-frequency distortion

Last response: in Home Audio
Share
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 2:42:12 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

i've heard a lot of mics as overheads, and most of them SPLAT out on
cymbals, even when they are 6 ft above, or more. hash city. they are
obviously adding junk up high, and i'm wondering what mics have the
least of this effect. i've just never been happy with my cymbal
sounds, even when i like the sound of the cymbals in the room. i have
been thinking about a pair of DPA 4011s, are these clean in this
application?

SB
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 9:46:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 28 Dec 2004 23:42:12 -0800, seanbroderick20003@yahoo.com wrote:

>i've heard a lot of mics as overheads, and most of them SPLAT out on
>cymbals, even when they are 6 ft above, or more. hash city. they are
>obviously adding junk up high, and i'm wondering what mics have the
>least of this effect. i've just never been happy with my cymbal
>sounds, even when i like the sound of the cymbals in the room. i have
>been thinking about a pair of DPA 4011s, are these clean in this
>application?
>
>SB


Are you certain it's the mic and not the preamp or something else in
the signal chain?


Lion Dog Music - Seattle WA
http://liondogmusic.com
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 10:23:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:
> On the other hand, if you want a much more mellow overhead sound with
no
> splat at all, you might consider good ribbon mikes. Not much detail
up
> there either, but that's not always bad, especially for jazz.

I wouldn't say that. Maybe not as much detail as good condenser mics,
but good (modern) ribbon mics can translate cymbals quite well, even
the first several series of harmonics.

I do agree that something besides the mics is probably at fault. Poorly
designed EQ, or overly used EQ, bad gain staging (i.e. running out of
headroom somewhere in your recording chain), etc.

Someone else mentioned the key test. Turns out that (typically) small
diaphragm omni mics do well, as to tube mics. The best mic I ever heard
in the key test was the Neumann M 150 tube mic. Sounded just like
keys...

Also, playback systems can give you the impression of distortion in the
recording chain, if your speakers have poor crossovers or tweeters that
can't handle the signal. It may be worth checking out your entire chain
before pointing to the microphones.
Karl Winkler
Lectrosonics, Inc.
http://www.lectrosonics.com
Related resources
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 11:00:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Sean, I'd agree with the others here who would like to you find out
first whether it's really the microphone or something else in your
signal chain. It could be the microphone, no doubt about that. But if
it's preamp first-stage overload, that problem might be solvable with
an in-line resistive pad at the input.

That would be very nice, unless you were looking forward to spending
the extra money for new microphones. But even if you were, if your
preamp or other equipment is overloading, it would kinda spoil your fun
if you got a nice expensive pair of (whatevers) and they sounded bad on
cymbals, too (as they very well might).

I know I've said this many times here, but: the overload indicators on
most mike preamps don't monitor conditions in the first stage of the
electronics--and that's crucial when modern, high-output condenser
microphones are being used. I have seen some well-regarded preamps
happily pump out 25% THD before the overload light came on. The
overload light is usually attached to the output stage or the driver
stage before it, and those stages don't have to be overloading--they
can be correctly amplifying the extremely clipped waveform that the
input stage is sending in to them.

If you want to buy yourself a very useful, not-horribly-expensive
holiday gift, I recommend the NTI (=Neutrik) "Minirator MR1" test
generator. It sold for around $125 - $140 a couple of years ago; it's
probably somewhat more now due to the decline of the dollar, but it's
amazingly well worth owning. Using it and your ears, you can determine
the input overload point of a mike preamp. Then by knowing the
sensitivity of your microphones, you can figure out the maximum sound
level that any given preamp can handle with those microphones, etc.

The results might surprise you, unless you have a preamp whose inputs
are practically "overload-proof"--but there are not as many of those as
people may think. And if you leave your whole signal chain connected
while sending in the test signals, you might also find that something
else further downstream is clipping on everyday signal levels, too.
--best regards
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 1:08:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<seanbroderick20003@yahoo.com> wrote:
>i've heard a lot of mics as overheads, and most of them SPLAT out on
>cymbals, even when they are 6 ft above, or more. hash city. they are
>obviously adding junk up high, and i'm wondering what mics have the
>least of this effect. i've just never been happy with my cymbal
>sounds, even when i like the sound of the cymbals in the room. i have
>been thinking about a pair of DPA 4011s, are these clean in this
>application?

Try them, I think you'll like them. I think you'll like the Schoeps too.
Get some microphones and jingle keys into them... the top end problems on
a lot of cheaper condensers become very obvious with this test.

On the other hand, if you want a much more mellow overhead sound with no
splat at all, you might consider good ribbon mikes. Not much detail up
there either, but that's not always bad, especially for jazz.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 6:00:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Rick Ruskin wrote:
> On 28 Dec 2004 23:42:12 -0800, seanbroderick20003@yahoo.com wrote:
>
> >i've heard a lot of mics as overheads, and most of them SPLAT out on
> >cymbals, even when they are 6 ft above, or more. hash city. they
are
> >obviously adding junk up high, and i'm wondering what mics have the
> >least of this effect. i've just never been happy with my cymbal
> >sounds, even when i like the sound of the cymbals in the room. i
have
> >been thinking about a pair of DPA 4011s, are these clean in this
> >application?

> Are you certain it's the mic and not the preamp or something else in
> the signal chain?

IME a very relevant question that should be answered before commencing
on a > $1K mic-procurement mission. It costs no more than $40 to answer
this question - simply get a mic attenuator (if you don't already have
one!) and listen to what happenens as you increase the attenuation.
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 7:21:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Satz <DSatz@msn.com> wrote:

> Sean, I'd agree with the others here who would like to you find out
> first whether it's really the microphone or something else in your
> signal chain. It could be the microphone, no doubt about that. But if
> it's preamp first-stage overload, that problem might be solvable with
> an in-line resistive pad at the input.

Depending on the ceiling height, it could also be caused by way too
early reflections smearing the cymbal sound.

--
ha
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 8:11:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hey Y'all,

i'm pretty sure it's not mic amp overload, since the flat topped
waveforms are pretty obvious in a digital editor, and i zoom in a lot.
also, many of the mics i've auditioned are too hot to not use the 20 db
pad on most mic pres, so the pad is in, and i always check to make sure
the ADC isn't overloading. but i've never dragged my scope out to look
at the preamp's in and out simultaneously, maybe i should. though i
don't have 4 scope channels, or 2 differential probes, which one needs
to look at balanced signals, so i guess i'm outta luck. i could borrow
another scope, i suppose.

what are some of creamier-topped mic pres out there? the API 3124 is
one i've used, but it's a bit harsh for cymbals. howz the original
great river unit for overheads?

the effect goes away when the cymbals are played softly, but i still
think it's the mics. i've tried km184s, rode K2, rode NTK, CAD E300,
AKG414TLII, beyer m160, soundelux E47. the beyers are softer, but
there's less detail as well, little "air", and more glare around 3k
than the others. i think the km184's internal amp is designed with too
much gain, that little opamp in there is croakin at the highest levels.
i wish there was a mod to trim 10db off those, i bet the signal at the
capsule output is clean, but that's a guess.

i might have to tell drummers to play the cymbals softer! that's a BIG
problem with many cats who otherwise have great time and chops. most
earplugs take so much top out that the drummer has no idea of the
cymbal to drum ratio they are generating. and that's ingrained through
many hours of practicing in those conditions.

does the coles 4040 have the top other ribbons don't? i was intrigued
by Scott Dorsey's review of those awhile back.
thanks for all the input, i'll let you know my findings.

SB
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 8:52:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< i've heard a lot of mics as overheads, and most of them SPLAT out on
cymbals, even when they are 6 ft above, or more. hash city. they are
obviously adding junk up high, and i'm wondering what mics have the
least of this effect. >>



I, too, have heard lots of mics as overheads, & none of them makes what I would
call a SPLAT, ever, even when considerably closer than 6 feet above. Sounds
like you're overloading your mic preamps.

Scott Fraser
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 8:52:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

ScotFraser <scotfraser@aol.com> wrote:
><< i've heard a lot of mics as overheads, and most of them SPLAT out on
>cymbals, even when they are 6 ft above, or more. hash city. they are
>obviously adding junk up high, and i'm wondering what mics have the
>least of this effect. >>


>
>I, too, have heard lots of mics as overheads, & none of them makes what I would
>call a SPLAT, ever, even when considerably closer than 6 feet above. Sounds
>like you're overloading your mic preamps.

Scot, check out some of the Shanghai mikes... they splat bigtime, mostly due
to the transformers.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
December 29, 2004 10:42:35 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

seanbroderick20003@yahoo.com wrote:

> i'm pretty sure it's not mic amp overload, since the flat topped
> waveforms are pretty obvious in a digital editor, and i zoom in a
lot.

Mic preamp clipping can create flat-topped waveforms that are pretty
obvious in a digital editor. So can ADC overload, at least for the
better converters. So can clipping of the buffer amplifiers and
impedance-matching amplifiers in condensor microphones.


> also, many of the mics i've auditioned are too hot to not use the 20
db
> pad on most mic pres, so the pad is in, and i always check to make
sure
> the ADC isn't overloading.

Perhaps in your application, 20 dB is not enough attenuation to avoid
clipping in your mic preamps and/or ADCs.

> but i've never dragged my scope out to look
> at the preamp's in and out simultaneously, maybe i should.

This may or may not be easy. It is true that if you mic a very loud
sound, it will create a signal that will be clearly visible on even a
fairly insensitive oscilliscope. However, you can't count on this in
every case. What you can count on is the fact that adding an additional
attenuator will reduce or eliminate clipping in your mic preamp or ADC.

> though i
> don't have 4 scope channels, or 2 differential probes, which one
needs
> to look at balanced signals, so i guess i'm outta luck. i could
borrow
> another scope, i suppose.

It's far easier to just add another attenuator, 10-20-30 dB whatever,
and see if this reduces or eliminates the clipping. Don't change
anything else - how hard the drummer hits, the mic preamp gain, the mic
settings or position. Just add the additional attenuator and see what
if it reduces or elimiantes clipping. If it does reduce or elimiante
clipping then your problem with clipping is in the mic preamp or the
ADC.

Removing the attenuator and instead reducing the gain of your mic
preamp would be the next logical step, if you find that adding the
attenuator reduces or eliminates clipping.
Anonymous
December 30, 2004 9:37:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<seanbroderick20003@yahoo.com> wrote:

> howz the original great river unit for overheads?

I like it there, but then I like it most everywhere. It's a great
preamp.

--
ha
Anonymous
December 30, 2004 10:21:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Arny Krueger" <arnyk@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:1104378155.234444.172920@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>
> seanbroderick20003@yahoo.com wrote:
>
> > i'm pretty sure it's not mic amp overload, since the flat topped
> > waveforms are pretty obvious in a digital editor, and i zoom in a
> lot.
>
> Mic preamp clipping can create flat-topped waveforms that are pretty
> obvious in a digital editor. So can ADC overload, at least for the
> better converters. So can clipping of the buffer amplifiers and
> impedance-matching amplifiers in condensor microphones.

I read Sean's posting as saying that there *aren't* flat-topped waveforms,
since he'd see them pretty clearly if there were. Sean, am I wrong?

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
December 30, 2004 12:23:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Paul Stamler wrote:
> "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@comcast.net> wrote in message
> news:1104378155.234444.172920@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> >
> > seanbroderick20003@yahoo.com wrote:
> >
> > > i'm pretty sure it's not mic amp overload, since the flat topped
> > > waveforms are pretty obvious in a digital editor, and i zoom in a
> > lot.
> >
> > Mic preamp clipping can create flat-topped waveforms that are
pretty
> > obvious in a digital editor. So can ADC overload, at least for the
> > better converters. So can clipping of the buffer amplifiers and
> > impedance-matching amplifiers in condensor microphones.
>
> I read Sean's posting as saying that there *aren't* flat-topped
waveforms,
> since he'd see them pretty clearly if there were. Sean, am I wrong?

OK, I can see that reading as well now that you pointed it out.

That reading doesn't eliminate the possiblity of soft clipping or
clipping with other than flat tops. It doesn't eliminate the possiblity
of the odd sort of clipping we see in in certain ADCs, which can take
the form of a burst of hash as the converter slams back and forth a few
times sometimes oddly at a seemingly-arbitrary mid-band frequency,
before it finds itself.

In all these cases, the use a mic attenuator, followed by informed
analysis and additional fact-finding, can resolve the problem with
reasonable resources, time and effort.

OTOH, if the OP is just looking for an excuse to drop a few grand on
some new mics for his drum kit, who am I to get in the way? ;-)
Anonymous
December 30, 2004 11:00:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Arny Krueger wrote:

> In all these cases, the use a mic attenuator, followed by informed
> analysis and additional fact-finding, can resolve the problem with
> reasonable resources, time and effort.

Unless it's actually caused by early reflectons from the ceiling, which
can also offer an unpleasant "splat" and also vary with SPL from the
cymbals, in which case none of that will help. Faced with such a
situation I have found relief in PZM's affixed to the ceiling for OH.

--
ha
Anonymous
December 31, 2004 1:34:13 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"hank alrich" <walkinay@thegrid.net> wrote in message
news:1gpluda.1k8hq1p1i6ewxsN%walkinay@thegrid.net...
> Arny Krueger wrote:
>
> > In all these cases, the use a mic attenuator, followed by informed
> > analysis and additional fact-finding, can resolve the problem with
> > reasonable resources, time and effort.
>
> Unless it's actually caused by early reflectons from the ceiling, which
> can also offer an unpleasant "splat" and also vary with SPL from the
> cymbals, in which case none of that will help. Faced with such a
> situation I have found relief in PZM's affixed to the ceiling for OH.

I need to try that - thanks!

Sean (not the origianal poster)
Anonymous
December 31, 2004 1:12:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1gpkssg.1oqpdcmf49buwN%walkinay@thegrid.net>,
walkinay@thegrid.net (hank alrich) wrote:

> <seanbroderick20003@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > howz the original great river unit for overheads?
>
> I like it there, but then I like it most everywhere. It's a great
> preamp.
>
> --
> ha

He likes it here
He likes it there
Why - he likes it everywhere!

with a big fat nod to Dr Seuss!!

howdy hank!

--
Mike Clayton
Anonymous
December 31, 2004 9:55:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< Also, playback systems can give you the impression of distortion in the
recording chain, if your speakers have poor crossovers or tweeters that
can't handle the signal. It may be worth checking out your entire chain
before pointing to the microphones. >>



Could also be the monitor section of a less capable mixer dealing poorly with
complex waveforms. I've heard this when a +4dbm DAW interface was pushing a
-10dbm Tascam mixer.

Scott Fraser
Anonymous
December 31, 2004 9:58:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< Scot, check out some of the Shanghai mikes... they splat bigtime, mostly due
to the transformers. >>



OK, I will.
Err, no, maybe not.

Scott Fraser
!