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Author Topic: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone  (Read 4427 times)

Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #90 on: December 04, 2017, 07:19:49 pm »

Your reference to dummy head recording is problematic:

Your problem then is with  great microphone companies like Neumann and Bruel and Kjaer. Good luck with that...
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klaus

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #91 on: December 04, 2017, 07:37:20 pm »

Your response, punctuated with "good luck with that" is not helpful. Neither is your dismissive tone counter-arguing opinions that differ from yours.

I do not have a "problem" with "great microphone companies" but in my post I brought up reasons why, in my opinion, and based on my personal experience, dummy head recordings have never caught on with the public, despite their promise of three-dimensional reproduction.

Your arguments why you think dummy head recording is significant, are welcome, especially if they are derived from personal experience. But snippy retorts are not the way to do this, at least not on my forum.

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Klaus Heyne
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Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #92 on: December 05, 2017, 09:46:41 am »

My apologies if my words were unhelpful.

It's been an interesting time discussing microphones with a few of you.
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mbrebes

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #93 on: December 09, 2017, 11:45:32 am »

There are few problems with the theoretical "accurate" microphone that have not been discussed but have been alluded to by some of the comments throughout this thread:

How do we measure the accuracy of a microphone?

1. We put the microphone in front of a speaker system, with all its linear and distortion errors (brought out by Jim Williams) that has been normalized for flat response using a test microphone that has been tested to be within a certain accuracy (yet another problem). We then measure the microphone with this "normalized" system to get a frequency response at one point directly in front of the microphone, with a given distance (already discussed), and at a given level.

2.  Off-axis measurements seem to be rudimentary at best, with usually two or three frequencies displayed.  In my experience with measurement microphones, I have found that they all have high end roll-off the farther off-axis you go. Microphones of the side-address variety might show some very interesting responses as they are measured close to the body of the mic.

3. I have never seen a measurement of the linearity of loudness in microphones or the loudness versus frequency.  I think we would find some very enlightening information from these tests.

My point is that the more we investigate the "accuracy" of a microphone the more we will find that there is no such thing, and no real way to measure it. 

We are left with using microphones that we like, for whatever reason, for specific situations.  Yes, my reality is not the same as the next person, but that's all we have.
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klaus

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #94 on: December 09, 2017, 12:49:20 pm »

We are left with using microphones that we like, for whatever reason, for specific situations.  Yes, my reality is not the same as the next person, but that's all we have.

And, aside of insecurities that some have about trusting their ears and musical judgement: what's really wrong with that?

It's the sensuality of the experience that makes it so much fun driving a car whose engine sits over the (rear) drive wheels and plants the car, for immediate and direct input/feedback to the driver. 'Objective' horsepower or torque data cannot not show that: you may be fooled by a front engine/rear drive car's superior power stats but ultimately inferior "seat of the pants" experience.

I understand that many people in the audio world do not trust what they hear, but I believe it's a cop-out to then try to defer to measurement crutches, to "verify" what they hear, to avoid getting egg on their faces for sticking out with an opinion possibly not shared by others.

I have seen this so often at demos of high-end audio components in rented suites at trade shows. Most of these systems are not particularly good, but you will rarely hear critical comments, especially if the system demonstrated costs a lot of money.

Listening education these days is woefully undervalued and underutilized. Yet, trust in one's hearing increases with deliberate and continued training efforts.
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Klaus Heyne
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Jim Williams

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #95 on: December 09, 2017, 06:23:53 pm »

I have seen this so often at demos of high-end audio components in rented suites at trade shows. Most of these systems are not particularly good, but you will rarely hear critical comments, especially if the system demonstrated costs  a lot of money.

I've been thrown out of several of those demo rooms when they didn't like my comments. Besides their ego hit they don't want the other lemmings asking questions either.
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Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #96 on: December 09, 2017, 11:14:36 pm »

There are few problems with the theoretical "accurate" microphone that have not been discussed but have been alluded to by some of the comments throughout this thread:

How do we measure the accuracy of a microphone?

1. We put the microphone in front of a speaker system, with all its linear and distortion errors (brought out by Jim Williams) that has been normalized for flat response using a test microphone that has been tested to be within a certain accuracy (yet another problem). We then measure the microphone with this "normalized" system to get a frequency response at one point directly in front of the microphone, with a given distance (already discussed), and at a given level.

2.  Off-axis measurements seem to be rudimentary at best, with usually two or three frequencies displayed.  In my experience with measurement microphones, I have found that they all have high end roll-off the farther off-axis you go. Microphones of the side-address variety might show some very interesting responses as they are measured close to the body of the mic.

3. I have never seen a measurement of the linearity of loudness in microphones or the loudness versus frequency.  I think we would find some very enlightening information from these tests.

My point is that the more we investigate the "accuracy" of a microphone the more we will find that there is no such thing, and no real way to measure it. 

We are left with using microphones that we like, for whatever reason, for specific situations.  Yes, my reality is not the same as the next person, but that's all we have.

Hi Michael, I'm not sure how familiar you are with the calibration of measurement microphones according to international standards. It's a very technical area but you and other forum readers might care to read this  accessible Primer from Bruel and Kjaer:

https://www.bksv.com/doc/br0567.pdf

I dont claim to be an expert working in this field so I defer to people who are and will happily cite their articles.

Cheers
Tim
 
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klaus

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #97 on: December 10, 2017, 01:28:15 am »

I am actually more interested in YOUR take on these things than referrals to manufacturers' publications, not that that's not interesting reading in itself.

To keep with the experiential mission of this forum: do YOU use measurement microphones for your musical recording work? If so, how do you like their translation of the music?

If you don't use them, what can you contribute from your experience to the subject of "accurate" vs. the myth of "accurate"?
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Klaus Heyne
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Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #98 on: December 11, 2017, 09:23:33 am »


It's the sensuality of the experience that makes it so much fun driving a car whose engine sits over the (rear) drive wheels and plants the car, for immediate and direct input/feedback to the driver. 'Objective' horsepower or torque data cannot not show that: you may be fooled by a front engine/rear drive car's superior power stats but ultimately inferior "seat of the pants" experience.

With your exciting rear engined, rear wheel drive car, instead of a motor of 500bhp, lets reduce it to 5bhp and see if that makes no difference to the thrill of driving it. ;)

As with microphones, objective performance means nothing except when we havent got it any more. It's called taking it all for granted and then when we lose it, wondering why the playback sounds funny...or the car barely gets going...

Even today a U47 mic performs quite well because of its still respectable objective performance.
But like the car engine, try seriously derating its objective performance, and lets see if it still has "the magic"...
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klaus

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #99 on: December 11, 2017, 11:41:20 am »

The logic of your post escapes me. Are you saying that, once you sabotage a mic, it becomes obvious what its supposedly "objective" qualities were?

P.S.:
Quote
Even today a U47 mic performs quite well because of its still respectable objective performance.

How would you know the "objective" aspect of a mic's performance? You offer no proof for that claim. It might as well be a clever euphonic design, producing a sense of well-being and connectedness to the music in the listener, which is then assumed "objective".
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Klaus Heyne
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Timtape

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #100 on: December 11, 2017, 05:55:23 pm »

... It might as well be a clever euphonic design, producing a sense of well-being and connectedness to the music in the listener, which is then assumed "objective".

Yes adding distortion  can increase listening enjoyment - I sometimes  love it. It also decreases fidelity to the source. Are we agreed on that?

But point taken. Equally someone might listen to a recording and assume they enjoy it more because of the "toob/transformer/analog tape" type distortion - only to be reliably informed that there was no such distortion added, or discover that their perceived enjoyment was due to  something else - or was just imagined.

As discussed earlier, we human beings can tend to believe what we want to believe. It can take quite an effort to avoid such convenient presumption. Perhaps we're never completely free of it. 

Do you agree? 
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Jim Williams

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Re: The Myth of the Accurate Microphone
« Reply #101 on: Yesterday at 11:08:30 am »

For the average music consumer, the sound of the recordings are the least of their concerns.

That concern is reserved for folks like us, a distinct minority of listeners. The rest of the audience is quite happy with low fi bit reduced audio.

As much as we care about that stuff it is reflected in the complete absence of concern from the rest of the listeners.

It's important to keep that reality in mind less we get too caught up with our own opinions.

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