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Author Topic: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?  (Read 23831 times)

Offline J. Mike Perkins

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7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« on: March 14, 2016, 08:44:02 pm »
I keep seeing photos of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, giving speeches in front of 7 identical mics, all lined up. I have attached some photos. 

Does anyone know what type or model these are? Does anyone have a clue why 7 is better than one (or two, as back-up)? Is there some special numerology significance for using 7 of something?  Is North Korea secretly developing a new multi-channel audio format beyond 5/1? 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 08:45:05 pm by klaus »

Offline klaus

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2016, 04:31:37 pm »
Leaving the mics shown in the third picture aside for the moment (they are different from those in the other two pictures, and their identifying details are obstructed by the foam socks), I can take a guess what they are probably not: MBHO, Schoeps, Microtech Gefell, Neumann. 

It would be reasonable to assume that the North Korean regime uses a Chinese brand, given that the Chinese keep the dictator powered up and in power-providing technical support and materials for the desolate economy of the isolated country.

I added a close-up. Maybe that will help? Visual characteristics of these likely (hyper) cardioid condensers: three upper, two lower vents.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 08:48:24 pm by klaus »
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Offline duskb

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2016, 02:00:16 am »
Aside from redundancy, which I don't think is solely the case here, I think this has more to do with a case of inflated ego and "monkey see monkey do".

The man lacks a complete sense of understanding his place on the world stage. Standing in front of a bunch of mics as he does there borders on the same level of ridiculousness that I'd expect from such a regime. "Look at how important I am..."

Fwiw, That looks like $700 worth of Chinese mics to me. I can only imagine what they sound like. My ear is cringing just looking at it.
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Online panman

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Esa Tervala

Offline klaus

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 12:51:11 am »
You nailed it!
Just a bit hard to understand why a dynamic mic is used (pardon, SEVEN dynamic mics!) when the sensitivity of a condenser is so much higher.

The other thing that is a bit puzzling: what do you gain when speaking in a stationary position, roughly in the middle of the array, by using multiplying mics? The reach of dynamics is already limited, and if you are head-on, i.e. off the side mics, I don't think you gain all that much by adding more, especially as they are all hyper cardioids.

P.S.: Should we now boycott Beyer?

« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 08:49:53 pm by klaus »
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Online Kai

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2016, 06:17:53 am »
Might be he wants a sound "larger then life" or just something different from the crop.
If all mics are used, there are certainly some sound colorations due to phase cancelations that change when he moves around.
Like a multistage Phaser FX.

Gefell builds a condenser mic line array to improve directivity, used, for example, in the German parliament, the "Bundestag".
This is not 100% comparable, but these 7 mics could point into the same direction.
It's likely that these 7 mics improve the feedback rejection in a PA situation.

And  - what about the "lucky no. 7"?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 01:00:18 pm by klaus »

Offline Mickeyrouse

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2016, 08:29:38 am »
I believe if I was handling his sound, I would use as many as I could squeeze in- ever think about what happens to the sound guy if the sound heads south?

Online David Satz

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2016, 08:34:21 am »
Dynamic microphones might reasonably be chosen for their ruggedness and (in an economy with very little hard currency) low cost. But another possibility is that the preamp or mixer has circuitry copied from decades-old Western equipment. If so, it could very well lack phantom powering, and its input stage could be overloaded by the ~20 dB higher signal voltages of condenser mikes.

Mainly, I think that this is a visual display. The President of the United States uses three microphones during a formal address; therefore, from the DPRK perspective, in which North Korea is "recognized by everyone" as the leading nation of the world, it makes sense for the Supreme Leader to have seven.

I highly recommend Without You There Is No Us by Suki Kim for insight into the way of thinking in the North, and just as an interesting read in general. But I very much doubt that the signals from all seven microphones are being mixed together and used all the time, because as people have pointed out, that would sound bad (generally thin, and varying whenever there is any head movement). Or who knows--some poor slob might be stationed at a mixing desk off to the side, watching the Supreme Leader and unfailingly selecting the signal from the microphone that's closest to his Supreme Mouth at every moment.

--Actually the original Beyer M 201 was a rather good-sounding mike for general music recording. As of the last time I checked with BeyerDynamic a few years ago, though, the "TG" version, which they said has reduced low-frequency response for close miking, is the only version that they import to the U.S. any more. (What I'm calling the "original" version, with low-impedance output and an XLR-3 connector, was the "M 201 (N) C".)

--best regards
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 08:44:46 am by David Satz »

Offline Vertigorecording

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2016, 09:21:57 am »
Obviously, they broadcast in 6.1. It's so obvious.

Offline boz6906

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2016, 10:36:54 am »
I'd say dynamics for reliability.

President Obama typically uses 2 SM57 with the Shure windscreen, they work very well, no phantom connection noise from humidity or intermittent connections, good presence peak for intelligibility.

Phase interference would be a real issue with more two mics...


Offline duskb

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2016, 10:11:48 pm »
http://www.beyerdynamic.de/shop/m-201-tg.html

you might be right and if so i stand corrected. The 201 is a solid mic but I'd be hard pressed to use it for that purpose.

Again, the use of that mic in that way reinforces backwards and crazy.
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Offline Peller

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2016, 06:51:30 pm »
Speakers in the British Houses of Parliament are still recorded using the AKG D222, a dynamic mic which must have been out of production for 20 years. It's quite a nice sounding mic, but quite fragile and prone to failure, so perhaps an odd choice.

Offline Eddie Eagle

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2016, 01:42:02 pm »
Aside from the type of mic the illusion of many news agencies or types of coverage are part of their perceived "importance" image. More mics...More important imaging... the people are lead to believe Un must be important if there are so many mics covering his words of ....ahem, wisdom.
Death is Certain. Fishing is Not!

Offline gkippola

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2016, 09:06:03 pm »
I have several Beyer M201 mics, it is a very good sounding, quiet, and bullet proof dynamic.

Offline Recording Engineer

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2016, 07:48:56 pm »
Off-topic of Un: I've had an M201N(C) for probably 15-years that I bought well used. I've used it on most every electric guitar tracking session since. I've always wondered how the TG-version compares... I've also had an M88N(C) for just as long that I bought used too and I've always had on kick duties. I did try a TG-version of that one and it didn't sound anywhere close to the same as mine. I've always wonder if it's just mine is so old and that far out of spec or if they're really that different.

Offline hugovanmeijeren

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2016, 08:24:22 am »
I own both the M201N(C) as well as the M201TG. The same goes for the M88N(C) and M88TG.
I have not heard any sonical differences between the M201N(C) and M201TG, as far as I can tell, they sound truly identical.

For the M88 on the other hand, it's a different story. There is indeed a rather large difference between the M88N(C) and the M88TG. To my ears, the M88TG pronounces the low end in a rather unpleasant way, it is not smooth by any means. It is also much more sensitive to plopping noises (likely due to the windscreen that relies on a foam insert, instead of the triple metal mesh of the M88N(C)). The M88N(C) has a less pronounced low end and has a much smoother sound all together. It is still very good at reproducing bass instruments though.

Back on topic: I have also wondered why they chose the M201 in North Korea and was maybe even more interested in what the people of Beyerdynamic think of this.  ;) Personally I don't think the M201 is a bad choice for reproducing speech at all, I think it can work perfectly well for that purpose. The only thing is that you shouldn't use more than 1 microphone at a time... But hey, it looks very cool to stand in front of that many microphones.  8)

Offline John Willett

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2016, 12:51:19 pm »
Might be he wants a sound "larger then life" or just something different from the crop.
If all mics are used, there are certainly some sound colorations due to phase cancelations that change when he moves around.
Like a multistage Phaser FX.

Gefell builds a condenser mic line array to improve directivity, used, for example, in the German parliament, the "Bundestag".
This is not 100% comparable, but these 7 mics could point into the same direction.
It's likely that these 7 mics improve the feedback rejection in a PA situation.

And  - what about the "lucky no. 7"?

This is what I was thinking - wired as a line array would give more sensitivity and focus on the speaker with better rejection from the sides.

Offline klaus

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Re: 7 mics for Kim Jong Un - why? what are they?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2018, 07:54:34 pm »
Here is a January 2018 picture of the line-up. New mics, or same as before, but with wind socks?

Considering the recently tightened trade embargo affecting most goods destined for the DRNK: if these mics are new, one wonders how they were legally imported?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 08:54:43 pm by klaus »
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Offline Jim Williams

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2018, 11:55:31 am »
They look fatter than those pencil mics he has used.

Sort of like Kim, the only fat person in all of NK.

Offline hugovanmeijeren

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2018, 04:46:38 am »
I'm quite sure those are still the same Beyerdynamic M201 mics (see the typical Beyerdynamic label down the bottom of the mics). This exact type of wind sock is included in the box with every new M201.  ;)

Must have been the same deal: buy 1 get 6 for free. Beyerdynamic order code: M201.DICT-ATOR.starterpack

Online David Satz

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2018, 11:31:17 am »
I am worried for this person who seems to have more microphones than the Dear Leader. Surely that will not go down well.

Offline klaus

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2018, 05:28:40 pm »
He's betting on Lucky 13!
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Offline uwe ret

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2018, 04:45:32 pm »
One dozen (12), not a baker's dozen (13).

Offline klaus

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2018, 05:55:11 pm »
Don't count on the moderator's ability to count!
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Offline Mickeyrouse

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2018, 09:15:26 am »
TWELVE mics- now I AM impressed. Just imagine the potential for phase issues, especially if they're leading to the same input.

Offline ratite

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2018, 09:05:35 am »
Phase issues are products of the decadent bourgeois imperialistic West,they cannot occur in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea!

Offline klaus

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2018, 07:26:43 pm »
Another leader in front of 7 mics.
In this case, the seven mics connect to seven representatives of the fourth estate, rather than to the leader himself.

Bonus points for identifying the mics!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 08:14:59 pm by klaus »
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Online David Satz

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2018, 04:07:13 pm »
The fifth one from the left is a Schoeps CMIT 5U.

Offline klaus

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2018, 04:21:32 pm »
Wow! What gives it away?
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Online David Satz

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2018, 04:48:37 pm »
The clear, well-balanced midrange, the smooth frequency response even when sounds arrive from off-axis ... and the bright blue surface finish.

--best regards

Offline klaus

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2018, 03:21:19 pm »
So does that mean China needs to catch up to achieve MAD-like balance?

« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 03:32:40 pm by klaus »
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Offline Jim Williams

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2018, 11:40:55 am »
Maybe President Trump will gift Kim with a brand new set of Shure mics in his celebrity goodie bag?

Offline klaus

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2018, 01:28:41 pm »
... but what if Kim complains that they are made in Mexico? Should Trump have Kellyanne Conway find some vintage ones for him?
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 01:38:41 pm by klaus »
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Offline gtoledo3

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Re: 7 Mics for Kim Jong Un - Why? What are they?
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2018, 12:11:07 am »
Wouldn’t they be rebranded Alctron mics? Stock guts (or cheaper), red, and with a big Trump logo? The Yuge47?