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Author Topic: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...  (Read 13189 times)

klaus

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Re: AKG 451 E
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2013, 02:00:59 pm »

It has to do with the choices audio professionals at the highest level of their profession (recording studios) make. And my contention is that, while Sennheiser has single-handlely rescued a morose Neumann company from bankruptcy in the 1980s, and today builds great dynamic mics, highly intelligible airport PA systems, the best consumer-grade headphones at any pice point, the best theater hearing impaired installations in the world, etc., etc., its highly technology research-based approach to designing professional condenser microphones has not been widely accepted in our field. Which I attribute to the lack of soul these mics have.

Take that last statement for what it is meant to express: the characteristic of a microphone that really matters above all else in music recording is the ability to transmit and convert the musical event in such a way that the listener responds positively emotionally.
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Klaus Heyne
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Jim Williams

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2013, 12:26:16 pm »

Maybe for some, but the averge kid listening to 4 bit compressed MP3 audio probably misses that. Seems a bit romantic to me. Like my dad said:

"Nostalgia isn't what it used to be".
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boz6906

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2013, 01:33:49 pm »

This discussion is resonant with the 'two ears - two sounds" discussion, it's all about left brain - right brain.

Different people may seat their thinking in one or the other hemisphere, leading to a different perceptual world-view.

"According to the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory, the right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks. Some of the abilities that are popularly associated with the right side of the brain include:
Recognizing faces
Expressing emotions
Music
Reading emotions
Color
Images
Intuition
Creativity"

The 'righties" rely (mostly) on their visceral reaction to the sound, test equipment comes after.

"The left-side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language and analytical thinking. The left-brain is often described as being better at:
Language
Logic
Critical thinking
Numbers
Reasoning"

The "lefties" are more concerned with measurement and analysis before subjective feeling.

I don't think either is exclusive, it's more a case of emphasis (unless your corpus collosum is cut but that's another story... ).

No right or wrong, we need to integrate both approaches in order to efficently make progress.

Many people use strategies to integrate their thinking; rocking, tapping, humming, "scat" subvocalizations, etc.

Think Glenn Gould...
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klaus

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2013, 02:06:09 pm »

Great post. Thank you!
Now the next question becomes: what should be the relationship and interaction between the two sides of the brain when designing microphones, recording with them, or listening to music? Which part of our brains should be in service to which? How should they interact with each other?

My contention, which I have used (successfully) in my profession for thirty years, is: the analytical side shall be in service to the side of my personality that perceives music and is able to enjoy it, emotionally. If musical happiness is a right brain affair, then let it report back to the left side to make the changes that improve the microphones and the visceral perception of the music they record.

That, I contend, was the secret of  all famous, desirable microphones: their often less than perfect analytical, left-brain performance specs (think high distortion levels of, say, a U47!) is nevertheless perceived not as deficient, but as being closer to what we need to hear to make us happy listeners.

And that may be, why many modern microphone designers (MG, Sennheiser, and AKG included) are, in my opinion, on a path that led them to mediocre microphones, despite their increasingly technological sophistication.

So, who is in service to what? should be examined further: What should be the ultimate goal in a recording microphone? We often gloss over this most fundamental question.
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Klaus Heyne
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Jim Williams

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2013, 12:46:16 pm »

What should be the ultimate goal in a recording microphone?

To convert an acoustic signal to an electrical waveform?

The rest is window dressing, expect a thousand opinions on that subject. Otherwise, everyone would be in agreement on a single microphone choice.

Many times I have "auditioned" microphones in front of very capable singers. Sometimes the microphone selected had more to do with how the singer felt looking at it than the sonic results.
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Kai

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2013, 02:31:14 pm »

What should be the ultimate goal in a recording microphone?
There is a simple answer - musicality.
But what is that - for me it's if the mic helps the performance to sound more like music, less then isolated notes.
But that's not done with the one, single, perfect mic, which, IMO, doesn't exist.
Sometimes I need several different ones to choose from to use the one that fits best.
This might be the mic with the strong midrange to boost the voices special dramatic character.
Or the one with the boosted "airy" hights that makes me listen to the sexy, breathy voice sound of the girl singer.
Same applies, of course, to any instrument, e.g. the mic that started this discussion is one of my favorites for natural skinned percussion instruments, because it gives a special rounded but present attack in the full freq. range.
It sounds like the performer plays with a high intensity.
Compared e.g. to a Schoeps or Neumann it sounds more "dramatic", although in the measurement these mic's aren't much different.

And luckily often there is a performer where it doesn't matter what mic I use - out comes music anyway.

Regards
Kai

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klaus

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2013, 01:56:20 am »

Just saw "20 Feet From Stardom" a fascinating documentary about and with seminal background singers of the 1950s through today. Highly recommended. Not the least because studio mics used for the live recording portions of the movie were entirely one of three models: U47 (galore) C24 and U87. Go figure. The final scene features Darlene Love in front of a U47. There was not a dry eye in the movie theatre when she was done. 

Let's stop the endless equivocation and pretense that there are all these choices in microphones. There are really (and unfortunately, given the service headaches) very few contenders at this highest level of vocal performance. Once you have such a vocal talent in front of you, you obviously pull out the absolute best match for the job. And there are really very few to choose from. Just a handful. That's all. Producers and engineers in that league keep coming back to the same five. Or six.
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Klaus Heyne
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soapfoot

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2013, 02:10:46 pm »

Producers and engineers in that league keep coming back to the same five. Or six.

U47
U67
U87
C12
251

...

what else?
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DigitMus

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2013, 02:20:11 pm »

M49
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soapfoot

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David Bock

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Re: AKG 451 E
« Reply #40 on: September 07, 2013, 07:27:53 pm »

and I realized that all that supposedly better high frequency pass-through, courtesy of the bypass cap, was nothing but phase smear due to the paralleling of two diverse components with unequal time constants/arrive times.
Phase, especially at high frequencies, is something that is more easily measured than heard. Do you have any kind of measurement or documentation to support your thesis that parallel capacitors produce audible summed phase differences at high frequencies?
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klaus

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Re: AKG 451 E
« Reply #41 on: September 07, 2013, 10:35:02 pm »

Do you have any kind of measurement or documentation to support your thesis that parallel capacitors produce audible summed phase differences at high frequencies?

No, I don't. I hear it, and select the capacitors I use in my work accordingly (and continue to remove the bypass caps I used to install in my mods, for a while, in the 1980s and 1990s, once my hearing ability matured enough to recognize the shortcoming of that approach).

I could ask in return: Do you have any kind of measurement or documentation to support your thesis that "phase, especially at high frequencies, is something that is more easily measured than heard"?
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Klaus Heyne
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Jim Williams

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2013, 03:38:03 pm »

Decades of studies show the ear is not conductive to hearing phase, only phase summed errors. No need to re-examine that after all these years unless someone here thinks all those studies are inconclusive. They would also need more evidence than what they believe they hear, like actual measurements.

As for measurements, the Audio Precision rigs offer a great phase vs frequency measurement ability that allows the user to see the results of phase without guesswork. I strive to maintain a 2 hz to 200k hz operational bandwidth, that eliminates any phase shift from the audio band of 20~20k hz. A pair of capacitors wired together will show no phase errors in the audio band down to 2 ppm. (parts per million for those that skipped math).
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klaus

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2013, 04:10:35 pm »

Decades of studies show the ear is not conductive to hearing phase, only phase summed errors.
My point.  Besides: anytime you press a signal (electricity) through a component like a resistor or capacitor, you will get time delay, compared to the same signal passed through a straight piece of wire. Is there any argument about that?

If you now press that same signal through two paralleled devices of vastly different storage capacity, you inevitably incur phase shift, i.e. different time delays generated by the two capacitors. Any argument about that?
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Klaus Heyne
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boz6906

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Re: How an AKG 451 Discussion Went Global...
« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2013, 04:38:18 pm »

"anytime you press a signal (electricity) through a component like a resistor or capacitor, you will get time delay, compared to the same signal passed through a straight piece of wire. Is there any argument about that?"

Well, I do disagree, a purely resistive load should exhibit zero phase shift at any freq.

I also disagree with Kai's much earlier statement that capacitors only exhibit phase shift near the X-over freq.

All caps smear the phase relationship between voltage and current, regardless of freq.

"When capacitors or inductors are involved in an AC circuit, the current and voltage do not peak at the same time. The fraction of a period difference between the peaks expressed in degrees is said to be the phase difference. The phase difference is <= 90 degrees. It is customary to use the angle by which the voltage leads the current. This leads to a positive phase for inductive circuits since current lags the voltage in an inductive circuit. The phase is negative for a capacitive circuit since the current leads the voltage. The useful mnemonic ELI the ICE man helps to remember the sign of the phase. The phase relation is often depicted graphically in a phasor diagram."

This 'smearing' is why coupling caps are not as clear as a DC-coupled circuit.

We're really talking about two kinds of phase; phase of one freq vs. another in the signal and phase of voltage vs. current in the signal.

Both easily measured.

Neither sounds good...

I think in better vacuum tube circuits the coupling cap phase errors may be balanced by the output xfmer inductance, providing the load with a signal that has voltage and current back in phase.
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