R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Rectangular capsule mics  (Read 2524 times)


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 59
  • Real Full Name: Ariel Remos
Rectangular capsule mics
« on: September 21, 2013, 10:47:25 pm »

Audio Technica has come out with a mic (5040) where they take 4 rectangular capsules & "flush" them into 1 "big" capsule.

I've sang into a lot of mics in my life but have always been curious about trying out something like a Milab/Pearl or, even now, this new quadrant capsule.

What is the difference of it over the traditional circular capsule?

David Satz

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 139
Re: Rectangular capsule mics
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 05:52:01 pm »

There's no particular sonic signature that results from rectangular diaphragms, nor any particular sonic feature that they lack by comparison with circular diaphragms. You could say that the effects of the diaphragm's shape are more of a practical nature (not to mention the curiosity factor which attracts, or distracts, certain people).

The usual talk about how the rectangular shape supposedly allows single resonances to be avoided is mostly a "straw man" argument, since the primary resonance of any professional condenser microphone's capsule (with a few special exceptions) is damped to the point where it isn't directly audible.

On the other hand, an oblong-shaped diaphragm does increase the surface area without being wider (in the usual orientation of the microphone). So there is a possible (but not guaranteed) increase in capacitance leading to a possible (but not guaranteed) improvement in signal-to-noise performance, as compared with a small diaphragm of the same width. But the directional pattern also becomes narrower at high frequencies in the vertical plane. (In some applications this can be a plus or a minus, while in others it won't matter.)

--best regards


  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1826
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®

Jim Williams

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 585
Re: Rectangular capsule mics
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2013, 11:56:59 am »

I've used Pearl (Milab) mics since the early 1980's. The capsules do sound very smooth but all suffer from a high frequency roll-off. That was corrected in the electronics via an EQ lift at 16k hz.

That tends to push the self noise up a bit in the upper octave, but lower noise semiconductors can minimize that effect.

Jack Vad (San Francisco Symphony) has a modifed set of 4 Milab VIP 50's. Those were modified with very low noise electronics and the EQ lift was re-designed to allow a doubling of output level drive from the mic. The self noise was reduced several db's so they are now usable for distance recording. Rail to rail fet opamps (OPA1642) were fitted to extend headroom.

Jack commented that these are the only high end mics he uses that have no self resonance from the body. This is due to the 4 aluminum plates that create the rectangular body, they are self dampening.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 28
Re: Rectangular capsule mics
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2013, 07:22:44 am »

I have an old Pearl ST8 stereo multi-pattern capacitor mic from the 1970s which uses their rectangular capsules. I like it a lot, and to my ears it has some distinctive characteristics, but I don't know whether these are the product of the capsule shape or some other aspect of its design. It seems to me to have a somewhat more 'focused' sound than many conventional large-diaphragm mics, by which I mean that its directionality in cardioid or fig-8 seems quite sharply defined, with fairly well-behaved off-axis response. The on-axis sound is typically slightly 'hard', with a hint of emphasis on the upper mids. In some ways the sound seems to me closer to a small-diaphragm mic than to something like a U87. It's hard to describe in words, but it feels tight and precise rather than expansive and lush.

I have used it to good effect on acoustic guitar, drum overheads and so on, but I've never felt the urge to try it as a vocal mic.

Pages: [1]   Go Up