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Author Topic: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!  (Read 27115 times)

Bubba#$%Kron

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Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« on: December 30, 2010, 01:40:45 pm »

When did they start making transformerless mics and why?  

Do you have to worry about using long cable runs with transformerless mics?

What are some of your favorite tranny-less mics??

Why did Bambi's mom have to die?

Thanks, Bubba
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"When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point."  -Alan Watts

ssltech

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2010, 02:02:25 pm »

Well, there's a lot of different mic types, but here's a few explanations:

First, many dynamic mics produce so little voltage (Shure SM57/58, Senheiser 412, AKG D12, etc) that any induced noise is significant compared to the signal. A step-up transformer makes the voltage HIGHER in these cases, while not making the impedance too ridiculously high.

Tube condenser microphones on the other hand frequently produce larger signals at the anode or cathode of the tube, so the signal-to-noise voltage ratio (in terms of surviving a long trip down a mic line) is pretty good... however, the impedance might be too high for even moderate length cables (the higher the source impedance, the more high end is lost to the inevitable cable capacitance, which increases proportional to cable length). -In addition, the tube produces a single, unbalanced signal. A transformer also has the wonderful benefits of galvanic isolation AND balancing.

Now, for phantom powered microphones, the simplest circuits are something like the KM84, where a single FET is used in a comparable way to a tube in a simple tube mic. It produces a single unbalanced output signal, and the transformer effectively balances the signal, as well as tweaking the impedance to suit the typical range of mic preamp loads.

Now... on to transformerless mics:

There ARE transformerless tube designs. You don't encounter them much, but they do exist. -A friend of mine builds all of his this way. With these, you do have to be mindful of cable length.

Many designs however (like the much-imitated Schoeps), produce a differential output signal which is itself essentially balanced. Therefore part of the 'need' for an (expensive when done right) transformer is suddenly less pressing.

In addition, they use fairly low-impedance drive circuitry, which is capable of driving longer lines with little loss of high end (in the case of many transformerless Chinese mics, a little HF rolloff might actually be a NICE thing! -although that's a personal taste issue, of course).

Some transformerless mics produce an unbalanced signal, but use the 'silent' pin (from which they still draw half of their phantom power current) as a matched-impedance connection to ground, which allows most balanced-input mic preamps to still cancel noise fairly effectively.

-So there are a few designs out there, and they can work QUITE differently, but off the top of my head, I'd say that the only transformerless mic designs that spring to mind which WOULD be particularly sensitive to long lines are the transformerless cathode follower tube designs which I've seen... and they're not a common topology, in my experience.

It's a good thing to ask however. -While I'd say that most mics manufactured for general sale have been engineered to be capable of driving fairly long lines without great problems, there may well always be one which catches you out!

But as to whether being 'transformerless' has any automatic bearing on ability to drive long lines... I'd say basically that the answer is no.

Hope that helps more than it confuses the issue!

Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

ssltech

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 02:18:43 pm »

Oh, and another thing about transformers: -think of them like gearboxes.

When I was little I was fascinated by the fact that I could put a big cog on one axle, and a small cog on another, turn a crank and get the smaller one to turn MUCH faster than the crank which I turned. -It was like getting 'speed' for free.

Of course, (using 'Meccano') I used to then connect another large cog onto the second shaft, then turn a third shaft EVEN FASTER... then a fourth and so on.

One afternoon, I built a step-up gearbox with an input-ouptut ratio of about 100:1. -If I turned the input shaft at 1RPM, the last shaft turned at 100RPM. -But I realised how HARD it was to turn the input crank. -I noticed that I could make the crank IMPOSSIBLE to turn by just applying the SLIGHTEST braking force to the output. -My young brain was puzzled by why this 'free energy' (as I thought it was) was being overcome.

Of course, with any gearbox -like a car transmission, or a bicycle derailleur gear set- as you INCREASE the speed multiplication and increase the 'speed ratio' you DECREASE the 'torque ratio'. Conversely, as you DECREASE the speed ratio, you INCREASE the torque ratio.

This is because power equals speed multiplied by torque. Power cannot be 'created' out of nowhere (as I'd hoped as a 5-year old!) but CAN be transformed to a different ratio of speed versus torque.

In an AC transformer, Voltage is like 'speed' and current is like 'torque'. Double the transformation of one and you halve the availability of the other.

So, a transformer for a microphone might need to be a STEP UP (voltage multiplying) transformer, as in many dynamic mic designs -ribbon mics being an EXTREME example- or a STEP DOWN (voltage dividing)transformer, but it can ONLY produce enough voltage and current at a low enough impedance, if there is enough actual POWER present initially.

The IMPEDANCE is probably the most important factor which affects long line driveability. So long as this is nice and low, the mic should be able to push a decent length of copper. If it's balanced (either voltage balanced, transformer balanced or impedance balanced) then the receiving preamp should be able to reject most noise picked up along the way.

Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

Peter Weihe

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 02:34:12 pm »

Great posts Keith,

thanks for your time and energy.

Peter
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Peter Weihe

Bubba#$%Kron

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2010, 02:58:12 pm »

+1   Thats very kind of you sir!!!  Fantastic info!!
Peter Weihe wrote on Thu, 30 December 2010 11:34

Great posts Keith,

thanks for your time and energy.

Peter

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"When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point."  -Alan Watts

ssltech

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2010, 04:08:11 pm »

You're welcome!

-I missed a couple of points;

As to 'When did they start making them and why?' I'm not sure when the first ones would have been, but the 'why' was very likely a combination of cost (GOOD transformers aren't usually cheap, and CHEAP transformers aren't usually good!) and the fact that high ratio transformers sometimes can start to limit the extension of a flat frequency response. -It can be easier to build circuits with ruler-flat response graphs without high-ratio iron in the circuit.

For a while there, the dual siren temptations of better paper-spec graphs (which the sales/marketing guys like) and lower manufacturing costs (which the bean-counter/production costing guys like) made a number of designs centered around transformerless topology highly interesting to manufacturers.

Unfortunately one man's "extended HF response" is another man's "harsh".

-And as for Bambi's mother, that ho had it comin'.
-You jus' can't let it slide when a bitch starts holdin' out on y'all... -elsewise they ALL gonna start skimmin' yo Benjamins.
-Hafta make an example o' tha first bitch dat step outta line, -dig?

Keef
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

wwittman

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2010, 04:26:09 pm »

Bubba Kron wrote on Thu, 30 December 2010 13:40



What are some of your favorite tranny-less mics??





Here is my list:






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Peter Weihe

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2010, 04:44:29 pm »

wwittman wrote on Thu, 30 December 2010 22:26

Bubba Kron wrote on Thu, 30 December 2010 13:40



What are some of your favorite tranny-less mics??





Here is my list:









Mine is also empty.

I have really tried to give them a chance, bought some of them and used them on many productions over some years along with my classic mics and finally ...
sold all of them.






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Peter Weihe

Edward Vinatea

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2010, 05:45:39 pm »

Hello all,

While Keith's abundant explanation is both generous and impressive, if I may, I'd like to give my side now:  

Many microphones {tranny or not} are only good for what/who they are intended to be used for. This applies especially for singers.

IOW, a condenser mic can sound terrible on a singer while the dynamic mic may subjectively sound like a better choice. Naturally there are wide differences in condenser mics including those with tubes, but you get my point.

Knowing the right mic for the task at hand: priceless.

So, in selecting a microphone for recording or a live application, I believe their specs could mean very little.

Regards,

Edward

YZ

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2010, 07:34:10 pm »

Edward Vinatea wrote on Thu, 30 December 2010 20:45


So, in selecting a microphone for recording or a live application, I believe their specs could mean very little.



So, Mr. Vinatea, you do believe that a "home stereo" microphone can be used to produce a stellar recording, don't you?


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regards,

YZ

arconaut

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2010, 07:52:13 pm »


Well, there are certainly many classic mics which were not designed for close-micing, even though they work perfectly well when used in that manner.

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ssltech

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2010, 09:05:48 pm »

You know, I really don't want to 'pile-on', but I fail to see where Ed's post addresses a single part of the original question, or any other question raised subsequently...

The point about many mics being 'only good for what/who they are intended to be used for' doesn't sit comfortably with me though... I know people who use a D12 round the back of an AC30. Many, many engineers LOVE to use a U47FET right in front of a kick drum... I really can't help thinking that this over-generalized point doesn't really help anyone much at all... unless anyone else can convince me otherwise.

I know this is Fletcher's forum, but... "Whatever works" really is an awfully good mantra. -I think that most people know this of course.

KNOWING 'what works' is the key... and FINDING 'what works' is of course made an awful lot easier with a combination of access to lots of options for experimentation, and "seat-time".

Now I appreciate that I did introduce various TYPES of microphones into my initial reply, but specifically to show how some designs (many moving coil, and ALL ribbon for example) need step-up trannys, while others (many tube microphone designs) use step DOWN trannys, because the balance of the 'problems' in each case varies significantly, and this affects impedance transformation (impedance ratio varies as the SQUARE of the voltage transformation ratio), and impedance is invariably the governing factor where people become troubled by the effect of long lines on microphone signals.

So while I felt obligated to consider various fundamental topologies, it was never to suggest any limitation of what can be used where; only to try to give a more comprehensive appreciation of the 'long-line-detriment' mechanism.

Oh, and thank you, Peter... I've enjoyed reading many of your posts on microphones over the years, and have a great appreciation for your own posts in the past.

Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

Edward Vinatea

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2010, 09:35:13 pm »

Well then, maybe it's time Keith gets his own forum at the REP.

Edward

Edward Vinatea

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2010, 08:07:37 am »

YZ wrote on Thu, 30 December 2010 19:34

Edward Vinatea wrote on Thu, 30 December 2010 20:45


So, in selecting a microphone for recording or a live application, I believe their specs could mean very little.



So, Mr. Vinatea, you do believe that a "home stereo" microphone can be used to produce a stellar recording, don't you?





A better question would be, why did Bambi's mom have to die?

Edward

YZ

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2010, 08:21:20 am »

Edward Vinatea wrote on Fri, 31 December 2010 11:07


A better question would be, why did Bambi's mom have to die?

Edward


Already asked by the OP, and none of your posts addressed any of his questions.

However, please enlighten us about a few points raised recently by you in this and another thread:

- do specs matter when choosing a piece of equipment during a recording session, or should the engineer rely on his knowledge and experimentation to decide which one to use in order to achieve the sound that the client is after and/or that will better serve the sonic goals at hand?

- your response to the above applies only to microphones or does it apply to signal processing gear too?

- if it applies only to microphones, why is it so?

There are other points, but the 3 above shall suffice for now.

Thanks.
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regards,

YZ

Seb Riou

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2010, 08:55:55 am »

Though a bit on the "hard" side, the Schoeps CMC5 (transformerless) is my favourite mic for stringed instruments .

I'd want a transformer on any highly percussive source, or one moving a lot of air.

But again I've just recorded a female singer with the above mentioned CMC5 , so as Keith stated : whatever works !

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Edward Vinatea

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2010, 09:10:43 am »

Quote:

Already asked by the OP, and none of your posts addressed any of his questions.


If I go sifting through your replies on this forum, will I also find instances where you didn't answer the OP?

Quote:

However, please enlighten us about a few points raised recently by you in this and another thread:

- do specs matter when choosing a piece of equipment during a recording session, or should the engineer rely on his knowledge and experimentation to decide which one to use in order to achieve the sound that the client is after and/or that will better serve the sonic goals at hand?


both, specs and experience are NOT mutually exclusive.

Quote:

- your response to the above applies only to microphones or does it apply to signal processing gear too?

- if it applies only to microphones, why is it so?


There are no absolutes in audio engineering, for the most part, you need to literally 'play it by ear'.

Quote:

There are other points, but the 3 above shall suffice for now.


As soon as I answer your 3 points, you'll want to raise more points. Don't waste your time making questions that you already know the answers to based on your empirical experience.

"Whatever works" is indeed the perfect mantra. Now live and breathe that.

Happy new Year 2011!

Edward

YZ

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2010, 09:34:31 am »

Edward Vinatea wrote on Fri, 31 December 2010 12:10


As soon as I answer your 3 points, you'll want to raise more points.
Don't waste your time making questions that you already know the answers to based on your empirical experience.



May I reply to that with another quote from you:

Edward Vinatea wrote on Wed, 29 December 2010 18:04

people who are truly polite and smart usually ask about it before passing a judgment on me or jumping into conclusions.



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regards,

YZ

Edward Vinatea

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2010, 10:05:01 am »

YZ wrote on Fri, 31 December 2010 09:34

Edward Vinatea wrote on Fri, 31 December 2010 12:10


As soon as I answer your 3 points, you'll want to raise more points.
Don't waste your time making questions that you already know the answers to based on your empirical experience.



May I reply to that with another quote from you:

Edward Vinatea wrote on Wed, 29 December 2010 18:04

people who are truly polite and smart usually ask about it before passing a judgment on me or jumping into conclusions.





Mr. Yves Zimelman, I know you are in Brazil, but may I remind you that you are in an English speaking forum? If I am making assumptions of what you're trying to say, then I am sorry.

Empirical experience is not an insult but a description of one's source of knowledge. And in my opinion, hands on/observation/experience trumps over any technical specifications and/or AES text books any time.

Edward

Jim Williams

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2010, 10:15:01 am »

FWIW, and although not fashionable at this moment, I do use and enjoy my transformerless mics.

I have some Josephson's and used to have Schoeps CMC's, but those sounded too colored for me. My favorite 1/2" is the AKG460B and the 1" 414B is also good without the iron.

They may not be the soup of the day to record Justin Beaver or some other pop tart of the week for a mass MP-3 download, but for opera, classical, jazz, folk and roots music, they work great.
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Wireline

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2010, 10:24:59 am »

I've never done this, but what would stop someone from putting a 600:600 transformer on the audio legs of the output, leaving the phantom power line untouched?

I've seen plenty of examples in which people wired in some sort of  1:1 transformers into their mixbuss for ITB projects with what they describe as noticeable success...

Jes asking
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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2010, 12:03:14 pm »

I think a simple answer to Bubba's question is:

Transformerless mics can be less expensive to make and avoid the phase shift and saturation effects of a transformer, which can color the sound. Many of us are chasing those very effects, and therefore may not see the value in a microphone without a transformer.

It's not my favorite microphone, but I've used the Neumann TLM103 on a bunch of stuff (especially female voiceovers) with satisfying results.

I *adore* Schoeps gear, too. Neither of those positive statements is driven by the circuit topology, though. They're just pieces of gear that I found useful and pleasant to work with. I tend not to worry so much analyzing HOW something is designed and concern myself with the SOUND.

FWIW, YMMV.
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Dan Roth
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ssltech

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2010, 03:00:55 pm »

I'm with Dan.

His reply is wonderfully succinct. -I probably need to learn the art of brevity.

I too love me some Schoeps.

Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

Jay Kadis

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2010, 03:04:44 pm »

I have used the TLM-193 quite a bit.  It's a neutral sounding mic that comes into play when I want the natural sound to come through with detail but without exaggeration.

Fig

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2011, 01:41:39 pm »

Jay Kadis wrote on Fri, 31 December 2010 14:04

I have used the TLM-193 quite a bit.  It's a neutral sounding mic that comes into play when I want the natural sound to come through with detail but without exaggeration.


+1, Jay.

I become more and more enamoured with this mic each time I use it.

FWIW, I don't consciously choose a transformer or transformerless mic - I pick the one that flatters the source, or in the case of the TLM193 - leaves the source intact.

$0.02.

Osci-later,

Fig
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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2011, 02:06:07 pm »

Fig wrote on Mon, 03 January 2011 13:41

I don't consciously choose a transformer or transformerless mic - I pick the one that flatters the source


Exactly.

You pick the tool that best accomplishes the task and move on from there.  At the end of the day nobody cares about anything than the results -- you get results that suit the clients' aesthetic and chances are you will stay employed... if you don't get those results, chances are you get fired [or don't get called for the next gig].

Choosing a tool based on some notion that one of the components [vs. the "sum of the parts"] will take you to the promised land is a fool's endeavor... at least it is in my twisted opinion, as always - YMMV.

Peace.
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If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2011, 02:22:08 pm »

holding costs irrelevant, I'm going to violate current religious doctrine and state that there actually ARE applications, at least in music, where a transformerless microphone yields superior results to transformer coupled mics.

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2011, 08:29:21 pm »

Most of the transformerless mics that I don't care for, which is the great majority of them, has less to do wit the lack of transformer, and more to do with other aspects of the design. And in some cases, the impedance converter used in lieu of the transformer may be a culprit, but I suspect it has more to do with the capsule, amplifier and filter circuits.  

The other thing to take into account, that I don't think anybody has mentioned yet, is that in tube mics, transformers are made specifically to work with that tube, and the tube and capsule have a symbiotic relationship, as well.  There is a delicate balance.  One of the reasons that many substitutes for the VF14 made the mic sound like ass has more to do with the tube not pairing well with the transformer, and less to do with the sound of the tube.

Now, as far as getting a flat frequency response out of a mic, for musical purposes, I can't imagine ever wanting that.
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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #28 on: January 06, 2011, 01:55:33 pm »

dbock wrote on Wed, 05 January 2011 19:22

holding costs irrelevant, I'm going to violate current religious doctrine and state that there actually ARE applications, at least in music, where a transformerless microphone yields superior results to transformer coupled mics.

As a mic manufacturer known for his tube/transformer old school mics, I say hats off to you, as this statement is a testimony of your professional integrity and honesty. Not so common these days.

I also agree with you that sometime, a X-formerless mic is preferable. But I want to ask : what are those applications to you?
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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2011, 04:10:43 pm »

Wireline wrote on Fri, 31 December 2010 10:24

I've never done this, but what would stop someone from putting a 600:600 transformer on the audio legs of the output, leaving the phantom power line untouched?

I've seen plenty of examples in which people wired in some sort of  1:1 transformers into their mixbuss for ITB projects with what they describe as noticeable success...

Jes asking



Any thoughts on this?
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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2011, 08:13:30 pm »

Quote:

I also agree with you that sometime, a X-formerless mic is preferable. But I want to ask : what are those applications to you?
So Far, Large D, inside a piano for fast passages of classical music. Small D on orchestra for fast passages. If there was a way to seamlessly fade between the xfmrd and xfrless mic that would be ideal.
I have not yet experimented with many instruments and applications for the xfmrless.

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2011, 02:28:00 pm »

dbock wrote on Fri, 07 January 2011 23:13

Quote:

I also agree with you that sometime, a X-formerless mic is preferable. But I want to ask : what are those applications to you?
So Far, Large D, inside a piano for fast passages of classical music. Small D on orchestra for fast passages. If there was a way to seamlessly fade between the xfmrd and xfrless mic that would be ideal.
I have not yet experimented with many instruments and applications for the xfmrless.


Hmmm... a single mic with two outputs, one with and one without trafo, both recorded in a DAW...  that may make the seamless xfade easier to happen.

Where do I go to copyright the product idea?...  Smile
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regards,

YZ

Marik

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2011, 03:43:02 am »

dbock wrote on Sat, 08 January 2011 01:13



So Far, Large D, inside a piano for fast passages of classical music.



A microphone inside the piano for classical, let alone LDC?  Shocked

Sorry, for classical piano I am more used to distant miking with nice 1/2" omnies, MS ribbons, or SDC cardioids for live.

Best, M
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Mark Fouxman
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Fletcher

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2011, 04:27:34 pm »

Why not?  I've done several classical piano gigs with LDC mics inside the piano.  There are no rules other than "please the client".
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

Marik

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2011, 05:41:02 pm »

Fletcher wrote on Sun, 09 January 2011 21:27

Why not?  I've done several classical piano gigs with LDC mics inside the piano.  There are no rules other than "please the client".


Yeah, I know pop or jazz engineers do record classical that way, but the "client was happy" factor does not really mean that this is the best possible artistic solution.

Recording classical piano is just completely different aesthetics, where we really want to hear the piano in the hall, rather than stick our heads inside the instrument. I'd love to hear one single major commercial recording done that way!

In fact, from what I remember, besides the marketing issues, one of the reasons for Horowitz' break up with RCA was his displease with their "up-in-the-face" recorded sound, which was mainly due to their close up (note, not even inside the piano) miking.

Speaking of transformer vs. transformerless, usually, in the debates some start bringing points about "phase shift", "saturation", "coloration", etc.

First, do people really know what "phase shift' one could expect from a well designed transformer (let alone, what's the significance of that "phase shift", and in that term what happens to the source signal before it reaches the microphone diaphragm, to start with)? Care to give some numbers... like degree vs. frequency?
Second, anybody cares to give saturation points of a good sized transformer? What are we talking about?
And the last, third, may I suggest, some transformer coupled can be much more neutral than some transformerless. Some transformerless can saturate and distort much earlier than transformer (and BTW, those distortions subjectively are much nastier), etc. etc. etc.
It is not about topology, but all about implementation, design goals, and compromises chosen.

Best, M

P.S. For the record, I do not care if it is a transformer, or transformerless mic. In the end of the day indeed, it is all about "right tool for the right application".
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Mark Fouxman
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wwittman

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2011, 11:32:01 pm »

yes
and the right tool for music is a mic with a transformer


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William Wittman
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meverylame

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2011, 12:26:24 am »

wwittman wrote on Sun, 09 January 2011 23:32

yes
and the right tool for music is a mic with a transformer


Where's the "like" button?

Oh, wrong site.
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Cheers!
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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2011, 01:19:56 am »

I have some good vintage stand alone trannys I'm gonna wire up in the next week, I also have an external phantom supply.  I'll do an AB test and post the results here .

Cheers

Fiasco wrote on Thu, 06 January 2011 13:10

Wireline wrote on Fri, 31 December 2010 10:24

I've never done this, but what would stop someone from putting a 600:600 transformer on the audio legs of the output, leaving the phantom power line untouched?

I've seen plenty of examples in which people wired in some sort of  1:1 transformers into their mixbuss for ITB projects with what they describe as noticeable success...

Jes asking



Any thoughts on this?

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"When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point."  -Alan Watts

ssltech

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2011, 08:30:58 am »

A 600-ohm transformer may well steal a noticeable amount of the low end... Even into a high-impedance preamp, the parallel inductance may not really be high enough,

-It won't do any harm however, so there's only one way to find out!


Keith
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2011, 10:23:58 am »

Transformers can have advantage with phantom powered mics that use simple zener-type voltage regulation. They can drive lower impedances with more voltage swing.

This can be overcome with switched regulators of course.

Les
L M Watts Technology
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Les Watts
L M Watts Technology

David Bock

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2011, 12:30:23 pm »

true there is nothing as sweet as a switched regulator in a mic. Surprised  Sad  Laughing
just hooking up a 600:600 matching xfmr is not the same as a mic designed with a xfmr output. Depending upon the circuitry you could be adding unintended artifacts like ringing. That test only proves how adding a transformer to a particular mic not designed to have it changes it, not the difference between the general classification of transformered and transformerless mics.

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2011, 01:25:49 pm »

>true there is nothing as sweet as a switched regulator in a >mic.  
Well, David, I choose to use tansformers in my solid state phantom powered circuits. They are not as high ratio as some of the early deigns though.

Les
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Jim Williams

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2011, 01:27:13 pm »

I recently reworked a couple of transformerless mics with good results.

I rebuilt a quad set of Milab VIP-50 mics for the San Francisco Symphony last year for Jack Vad. In those I used a new super low noise jfet and bipolar transistors in the head amp and used the new BB OPA1642 dual fet input opamps with great results. The entire resistor matrix was redesigned and I used dale CMF50 precision metal film non ferris resistors. Output loading was reduced and output more than doubled as output impedance was also lowered for greater drive capability. The BB opamps are also rail to rail so this mic will swing 30 volts before clipping.
The self noise was reduced about 8 db, quite an improvement as slew rate and THD also improved. They sound wonderful for classical recording as they have no self body resonance and have excellent off axis response.

Another was a pair of CAD E-350 mics. That one is all opamp designed so I replaced the older noisy BurrBrown OPA2107 difet opamp and the MC33178 dual output opamp with a pair of BB OPA1642's. That reduced current consumption, increased slew rate, lowered THD and noise. Input bias current is much lower with the OPA1642. Since the input impedance is 2 gig ohms, that helps. Along with some quality caps that mic sounds wonderful, very real in a room.

These transformerless mics have a non-euphonic reality sound about them. Everything sounds natural and correctly placed in harmonic balance, at least if you compare to the natural pre-recorded sound.

I fully understand why some mostly pop oriented recordists don't like them. They reveal good AND bad. Since pop music is all about illusion, euphonic, colored mics are prefered.

In the realm of classical, folk, roots and world music, those euphonic qualities can get in the way. Sometimes the illusion you want to present is an illusion of being there live.
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Jim Williams
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Eric H.

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2011, 01:49:47 pm »

Jim Williams wrote on Thu, 03 February 2011 18:27

I recently reworked a couple of transformerless mics with good results.

I rebuilt a quad set of Milab VIP-50 mics for the San Francisco Symphony last year for Jack Vad. In those I used a new super low noise jfet and bipolar transistors in the head amp and used the new BB OPA1642 dual fet input opamps with great results. The entire resistor matrix was redesigned and I used dale CMF50 precision metal film non ferris resistors. Output loading was reduced and output more than doubled as output impedance was also lowered for greater drive capability. The BB opamps are also rail to rail so this mic will swing 30 volts before clipping.
The self noise was reduced about 8 db, quite an improvement as slew rate and THD also improved. They sound wonderful for classical recording as they have no self body resonance and have excellent off axis response.

Another was a pair of CAD E-350 mics. That one is all opamp designed so I replaced the older noisy BurrBrown OPA2107 difet opamp and the MC33178 dual output opamp with a pair of BB OPA1642's. That reduced current consumption, increased slew rate, lowered THD and noise. Input bias current is much lower with the OPA1642. Since the input impedance is 2 gig ohms, that helps. Along with some quality caps that mic sounds wonderful, very real in a room.

These transformerless mics have a non-euphonic reality sound about them. Everything sounds natural and correctly placed in harmonic balance, at least if you compare to the natural pre-recorded sound.

I fully understand why some mostly pop oriented recordists don't like them. They reveal good AND bad. Since pop music is all about illusion, euphonic, colored mics are prefered.

In the realm of classical, folk, roots and world music, those euphonic qualities can get in the way. Sometimes the illusion you want to present is an illusion of being there live.


Jim, you are very right in the situation where the natural room sound is good. However, not many hall where classical concerts take places are that good, or music hall at all.
A lot of them, especially chamber music, take places in theaters, churches, and others newest auditoriums where the acoustical studies were kept at a minimum. In those case, I find that those pure transducer are often not good enough for the listener. That's where euphonic mic can help out the timbre.
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eric harizanos

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2011, 02:40:33 pm »

Mixing up threads a bit here, but aren't the Milab DC 196 mics transformerless?  I haven't had a chance to try one yet, but all the recommendations & reviews suggest that it's more euphonic than just natural.  I'm planning to try one out one of these days, regardless.
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David Bock

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Re: Transformer vs. Transformerless Microphones !??!
« Reply #45 on: February 03, 2011, 09:36:48 pm »

Quote:

Well, David, I choose to use tansformers in my solid state phantom powered circuits. They are not as high ratio as some of the early deigns though.

I apologize if you build a product that I'm unfamiliar with and it uses an internal switchmode psu. I was referring to some modern mics from Berlin. If you aren't building commercial mics, I'm not sure how I would be expected to know anything about them. I'm also a little confused by sentence "They are not as high ratio as some of the early deigns though.", what, or whose early designs? Why is ratio relevant?
thanks,
David
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