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 1 
 on: Today at 01:28:15 am 
Started by klaus - Last post by klaus
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"?

 2 
 on: Yesterday at 11:14:36 pm 
Started by klaus - Last post by Timtape
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
 

 3 
 on: Yesterday at 06:23:53 pm 
Started by klaus - Last post by Jim Williams
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.

 4 
 on: Yesterday at 12:49:20 pm 
Started by klaus - Last post by klaus
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.

 5 
 on: Yesterday at 11:45:32 am 
Started by klaus - Last post by mbrebes
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.

 6 
 on: December 05, 2017, 09:46:41 am 
Started by klaus - Last post by Timtape
My apologies if my words were unhelpful.

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

 7 
 on: December 04, 2017, 07:37:20 pm 
Started by klaus - Last post by klaus
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.


 8 
 on: December 04, 2017, 07:19:49 pm 
Started by klaus - Last post by Timtape
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...

 9 
 on: December 04, 2017, 06:39:16 pm 
Started by klaus - Last post by Timtape

Thr trumpet has a large amount of upper harmonics present, all the way to 50k hz. Seems no one ever complains about the sound of a trumpet until we stick our less than accurate stuff in front of it.

Forget microphones and gear  for a moment, and consider a more commonplace example. Some peoples' sibilants are  loud compared to their consonants and can annoy many people listening. A friend of my late mother used to speak her sibilants VERY loudly. My Uncle found it very uncomfortable and  humourously nicknamed her "sss".

In the old days, sibilants, cymbals etc caused major problems for disc cutting and for other low fidelity media, causing often massive audible distortion.  The recording gear, including mics steadily got much better and can now handle pretty much anything.

But an annoying sound is still an annoying sound! So no surprise recordings are often produced with EQ, de essing and other artificial manipulation of otherwise natural sounds not just because the gear might struggle to capture or reproduce it - though that can  be true with cheaper gear - but also because it is a more pleasant sounding balance to most listeners. That's why strict fidelity in recordings, while a good general rule, is not always desirable for the listener, just as a very sibilant person is not always appreciated in real life. 

Most microphones cannot deal with all those upper harmonics so they either distort them or in the case of a ribbon mic, low pass them.

We cannot hear ultrasonics. That is what the term means.  The only reason we could know trumpets have harmonics to 50kHz is because a specialised mic capable of that band faithfully captured them! And a specialised analyzer plotted them in a form we can see but not hear.  So if we cant hear them, why capture them? In practice there are very good reasons not to capture them. But that's another discussion perhaps.


 10 
 on: December 04, 2017, 01:41:26 pm 
Started by klaus - Last post by klaus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dummy_head_recording

http://www.neumann.com/?lang=en&id=current_microphones&cid=ku100_description

Your reference to dummy head recording is problematic:
You need to listen over headphones to re-create the binaural experience, and even with headphones, the results are, musically speaking, poor, despite the three-dimensional impression they give.

I never figured out why dummy head recordings lack musical warmth. Could be the plastic material of the simulated ear canals, could be the size and placement of the membranes...

An interesting direction for more a ergonomic type of recording that was never optimized to overcome its shortcomings. Probably too few takers to invest a lot of energy and money to try to perfect it.

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