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 11 
 on: December 09, 2017, 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.

 12 
 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.

 13 
 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.


 14 
 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...

 15 
 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.


 16 
 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.

 17 
 on: December 04, 2017, 11:36:03 am 
Started by klaus - Last post by Jim Williams
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.

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.

 18 
 on: December 04, 2017, 04:35:15 am 
Started by klaus - Last post by Timtape

Quote from: soapfoot
I select microphones, typically, that sound most to me like the source sounds in the room. I maintain that there's a decidedly imperfect correlation between that characteristic and a microphone's measurable parameters. Otherwise there would exist such a thing as the "perfect microphone," and I've yet to encounter it.

How a source "sounds in a room" can vary enormously, not least on the characteristics of that room,  the placement of the source in the room, and our placement in the room, in relation to the source. There is no one sound - unless maybe the room is an anechoic chamber. So which sound is preferable? It's a choice of course.

Placement of the mic in relation to the source in the room is equally important, often far more important that the mic's spectral characteristics. Mic placement makes a huge difference, and again is a choice. 

Related to this, and recalling Klaus's candy wrapper example, I've been surprised that this subject hasn't been referred to in the thread:

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

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

 19 
 on: December 03, 2017, 10:10:44 pm 
Started by klaus - Last post by soapfoot
1) I know the difference between an overloading microphone and a subjective personal preference.

2) I've never had a problem with frequencies above 15k on trumpet on any microphone. If anything is problematic, it's usually a strident (upper) midrange (well within the capabilities of a 44BX).

I disagree about "deliberate inaccuracy."

I select microphones, typically, that sound most to me like the source sounds in the room. I maintain that there's a decidedly imperfect correlation between that characteristic and a microphone's measurable parameters. Otherwise there would exist such a thing as the "perfect microphone," and I've yet to encounter it.

 20 
 on: December 03, 2017, 09:13:57 pm 
Started by klaus - Last post by Timtape

 ...in the context of a distorted electric guitar in a production I often prefer a good 57 to more expensive microphones which sound subjectively preferable in "solo",

As we know, compared to condensers, dynamic mics are almost immune to distorting under high SPLs. If the condenser mic overloads badly, it will probably sound horrible, adding unpleasant distortions that aren't coming from the amp cab.
So in this context, the SM57 which isnt overloading under the high SPL, is actually truer to the sound of the amp cab. It's more accurate to the source.

Re: the RCA 44BX on a trumpet. The trumpet  can have incredibly piercing highs especially when played full force and - unlike the player - we're standing in front of it! It's natural to sometimes want to tame some of those highs in a recording as it can sound more pleasing. Using a mic with  somewhat rolled off highs can be one way to achieve  that.
In this case we're talking about deliberate (but often perfectly valid) inaccuracy to the source.


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