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Old August 31st, 2004, 09:34 AM   #16
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I agree that the CS1 and CS3e don't sound alike... hardly at all. The CS1 is much thinner, but because of that it's really crisp on vocals... The CS3e is much warmer... but it's got something going on that I can't explain... like a "fuzz" or something... but that's not a deal breaker for me... read on.

There are definitely other mics I like the sound of better. The 416 and Mkh60 are two of my favorite shotguns that I'd put in the class of the CS3e.

In my opinion the issue comes down to this.

FIRST the mic must get clear, intelligible audio. SECOND the mic must be usable in the conditions for which it's required. THIRD the mic must sound good to me.

I see all 3 of these objectives almost equally... so if a particular mic isn't perhaps my favorite sounding mic... but it excells in the other two areas... that still bumps up it's desireability.

The CS1 has a clean and lean sound to it. No fat whatsoever... that makes it high in area 1. Also it has excellent side and rear rejection... that makes it high in category 2. And finally... even though it sounds really clean... it does sound fairly lean... so even though I've strongly considered the CS1 twice now... I ended up choosing something else.

I went with a 416 and a hyper to cover indoor and outdoor use... at a total cost of much more then a CS3e would have been alone. This was an evolution over the course of buying, selling, and trying out a lot of mics.

If I were in a situation where I really just wanted ONE mic for a broad use... I probably would go with the CS3e though... even though it's not my favorite sounding mic... it excells SO much in "area 2" of my criteria that it's still a solid choice.

If you slip off the deep end, and join the GSA by committing stupid money to mics... then I'd suggest the Mkh60 and a really good hyper... but this is a financially dangerous animal to begin feeding... the hunger never goes away until you end up with the best mics available. So unless you want to increase your budget by 40% I think you may be satisfied with a CS3e as a "do it all" mic.

Of course, as Beas stated... for this kind of money you should check out these mics before making a commitment.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 11:22 PM   #17
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I just posted a rather long (but good) story about my experiences using the 416, 4071, and the early CS3 on the DV board - http://www.dv.com/jive3/thread.jspa?messageID=300100546&#300100546

To address the issues raised here, the AT4073 is physically comparable to the CS-1 in length, but both are shorter than the 416 and the CS-3, which put them in a different class as medium shotguns. The 4071 is the longest of the crop.

Longer USED to equal higher directivity, but the Sankens broke down that rule. The AT's are great values for the money, but the Sanken do outperform them.

If you are looking for a main boom mike, I would recommend the CS3 over the CS1 unless you work primarily indoors. If you do work outdoors and can't afford the CS3, then there is a real compromise to make. The CS1 . while certainly adequate outdoors, will not "reach" as far as you may need. Nor will the 4073. The 4071, a good outdoor choice, will not sound as good indoors as the shorter mics.

I am a dealer for all three (AT, Sennheiser, Sanken), and each have their market and pro's and con's. which I am happy to discuss as having used all of them.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 08:43 AM   #18
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Well, well...I've been devouring all this plus whatever else over at the DV forum, and now I'm at a point where I think I might just set aside fifty cents a week into a CS3 fund. ;D I'd just as soon wait and get a uber-hotcha-whammo mic of my dreams than get a merely excellent but still short of doing as much as the CS3 does. I already have some quality mics to use, so maybe I'll step back from the brink for awhile and add to the fund.

You guys are a priceless guide!
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Old September 1st, 2004, 04:59 PM   #19
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Marty I wish you'd REALLY expound on this.

Better yet... I wish you had enough interest in this to do a quick comparison of several mics.

We are a humble lot... those of us testing these mics... and our funds are obviously limited. I can't just keep buying thousand dollar mics to hear what they REALLY sound like... but the problem with these forums is this very issue.

I can describe any meal in the world on and on... but it doesn't compare to giving you a TASTE.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words... well I figure a 30 second sound clip is worth more then 500.

It takes one minute per mic... or even per TWO mics to do a "This is a comparitive demonstration of the BLANK on channel one and the BLANK on channel two... we're listening for sibilance, tone, and over-all sound of each mic." Then if you want to show us just how much better one mic is then another at off axis rejection... you rotate the mics while counting and announce 90 degrees and 180 degrees. Simple, no?

I'm sorry to make a request like this... but here's what's in it for you. Credibility, loyalty, and appreciation. If you REALLY want to sell me a mic, why not take advantage of a PERMANENT free promotion of your store? You can even say, "This is Marty from..." and then continue the mic test.

Eventually a LOT of people will hear it and you'll do more to promote your business then a lot of other avenues provide... plus you'll be HELPING us all out. Win-win.

I've put my money where my mouth is over and over again... and more importantly I've put my MOUTH where my mouth is.

EDIT: I appologize if I this sounds arrogant or "jerky" of me... I didn't think that at all when I typed it but I think it may not sound as noble and hopeful as I intended it to.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 07:45 PM   #20
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If you go on RAMPS and read the personal tstes of the many pros, there are thos that swear by the CS-3, The 416, MKH60, The neauman KMR81 and the CK69. All of these people make their living at this game and all of these mics are in the $1000 to $1450 range.

I was the one that started the mic comparison clips and I did it NOT to be used as a final purchase criteria, but for some guidance in finding direction. Which mics do I want to rent and try out. Pleas do not read anything else into mic comparisons. To be usable the clips should be recorded simultaneously and by a decent recording medium. they should be uncompressed wav and listened to on a decent set of monitors or headphones. They should also be played through a prefessional audio card and amp.

If you play the clips through a creative labs card through a plastic gamers powered speaker you may not even hear the difference between a Schoeps and an Oktava. If you can't then why spend the extra money for a mic.

In my little world, I like the Schoeps MK41 and the MKH60. They are similar enough to be intercut with not EQ required. Others swear by the Neaumanns, The Sanken, even the AKG CK69. I just don't like the CS-3, but that's my ( and eeveryone elses) privilidge, others love it.

All of the mics I've posted clips for have been in my hands and I feel to make a proper choice that's what it takes.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 08:18 PM   #21
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Just to throw a curve into the proceedings, I've backtracked among several threads and my interest has been piqued by the Rode NT3. I know it isn't meant to be matched up against the $1k + gang, but in indoor and outdoor use how is it? As much as I crave the heights of a CS-3e, I also want to re-evaluate the lesser priced, perhaps overlooked mics. By the way, I own a Rode NT4 and think it's absolutely wonderful. What a tank!

P.S. I've listened to Bease's clips too. The Rode NT3 sounds solid.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 09:52 PM   #22
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For me the mic A/B tests aren't the end all proof of a mic... but to return to my food analogy... they give you a fair taste.

If we know what mic A sounds like and we intercut mic B... we can with some degree of certainty make a value judgement about mic B.

After that it all becomes opinion and practical use. A "taste" is not a recipe for perfection... but it's a hell of a lot more then a worded description.

The other thing about these little comparisons is while they may not be "law" for deciding what mic to get... they work pretty good in deciding which mics NOT to get.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 10:03 PM   #23
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If only it were that easy... to record some MP3 clips demonstrating the differences between microphones. If only.

There are research laboratories, multi-million dollar recording studios, major label music recording engineers, and trade journalists who have attempted to record the "Ultimate Mic Shoot Out". The problem is, that each mic will have a different sound character depending on which mic preamp it is paired with, in which room it is being used, even which speakers or headphones, amplifier, etc. you listen to them on.

While utilizing the technology of the internet for multimedia files is tempting and somewhat informative, there are way too many variables to trust what you hear on any sound file as being "accurate" enough for a valid comparison.

Microphones are tools like any other. Pick up a Craftsman hammer, pick up a Stanley. They will feel different. They will balance different. How can I demonstrate that to someone unless they pick them up for themselves? You wouldn't buy a car based on a videotape of a test drive would you? As you would any set of tools, you accumulate them over time. If you aquire one you don't like, you either send it back or sell it off, and aquire another. Over time, you build up your mic kit with the ones you like.

But no one will suggest that you buy a mic in order to hear it. Most of the mics we are discussing are rentable. A dealer may even rent a demo piece if they had it. Or they may offer a demo return policy. Ask a fellow shooter or sound tech who has one to loan or rent it to you for a couple of days. You should be prepared to put up a security deposit and pay for round trip shipping, but you get a mic you can use and evaluate for yourself with your own camera or mixer.

There is no substitute for personal experience, and no one can give theirs to you. I can relate mine, tell you of my impressions, explain my preferences, but all of that is subjective. Even though professional audio engineers have strived to develop a common "language" by defining terminology to describe intangible experiences such as audible impressions (ie: timbre, warmth, muddiness, crispness, edge, sparkle, etc.), preferences vary widely as to which widget sounds "best", even among the most experienced professionals.

Every recorded piece you hear is a demonstration of how the same widget may sound different when used by a different engineer. The Shure SM58 is the most common vocal mic in the world. How many live bands have you heard at clubs and concerts? How different do they sound?

Forgive my drivvling, but sound clips mean very little. I cannot simulate or recreate the situation or environment of any other time, place, or group of people.

Tell you what, Here is an open offer. I'll rent out any mic I have for $10.00 per day (not including shipping time) and apply full credit to what ever mic you purchase from me within 30 days. I'll even quote the price in advance. You pay the freight in both directions.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 10:06 PM   #24
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Marty said"If only it were that easy... to record some MP3 clips demonstrating the differences between microphones. If only."

Marty, if you read my post i stated that only a full and uncompressed file played on a pro system would give you some indication of a mics worth.

The intent of Matt and myself was only give people that had NO ACCESS to professional quality microphones a taste of what they might be missing. While not scientific my clip[s of a MKH60 and a Schoeps MK41 show a similar tonal quality and a seamless and open air. It's certainly enough to make them want tpo hear the mics first hand.

Some of your past posts indicate a less than perfect knowledge of the various mics and their characteristics. Do you want me to highlight these I will be happy to.

I have a new project, show how for a few bucks you can improve your sound imeasurably. I'm guilty along with others of constantly carping on the Schoeps perfection and the premise that the very best is a must.

Horse cookies to that notion! Barry has mentioned a mic that can really improve his sound a great deal. I'd like to present a comparison of audio from built in mic through the very best, in increments that start at 100 to 200 dollars.

The Rode NT3 is a heavy mic yet it's powered by a 9 volt battery(no phantom required) and it sounds as good as an Audio Technica 4053 (or so I'm told) $152 at B&H and your well on your way to excellence. It's not tiny, or cool but it sounds great.

What I'd like to do is quantify the value of certain entry level mics in the path to audio nirvana. I can already show that a $50 Oktava can almost equal an 850 dollar Neumann.

It's unfair to expect everyone to strive for the same level. If their work will be shown to people on a small screen TV via a standartd VCR then why risk heart failure and personal bankruptsy.


Barry if I can help than email me. maybe together we can do a service to the more moderate user.

I will admit that I'm a lost cause. Like my good buddy Matt G, I'm doomed to an lifetime of poverty in my search for audio excellence. You see, like Matt I can hear the difference and it means a big difference to me. To some it's meaningless and that shouldn't be a big deal.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 11:29 PM   #25
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I agree that the quest for the perfect mic must be tempered by its eventual level of showcasing...for me, I'm now outputting to DVD, which offers quite a noticeable leap in audio resonance, which is why I've entertained the notion of ultra-pro mics. Then too, I'm not producing a TV show or movie. The majority of viewership will be on ordinary DVD players, though occasional auditoriums will be sometimes utilized (some approach damn impressive movie theater levels). Still, for all I know a Rode NT3 brick will do just fine in a crunch and save me alot of $$$$ for other stuff, so I must consider that too. I'm impressed with Rode, and feel its more accessible price does not preclude quality sound if budget ultimately influences the final decision. Ideally I'd have a bunch of stellar mics if I had the cash, but I can see that a smart compromise ain't so bad either.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 06:41 AM   #26
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<<<-- Originally posted by Marty Atias : If only it were that easy... to record some MP3 clips demonstrating the differences between microphones. If only.

There are research laboratories, multi-million dollar recording studios, major label music recording engineers, and trade journalists who have attempted to record the "Ultimate Mic Shoot Out". The problem is, that each mic will have a different sound character depending on which mic preamp it is paired with, in which room it is being used, even which speakers or headphones, amplifier, etc. you listen to them on.

While utilizing the technology of the internet for multimedia files is tempting and somewhat informative, there are way too many variables to trust what you hear on any sound file as being "accurate" enough for a valid comparison.

Microphones are tools like any other. Pick up a Craftsman hammer, pick up a Stanley. They will feel different. They will balance different. How can I demonstrate that to someone unless they pick them up for themselves? You wouldn't buy a car based on a videotape of a test drive would you? As you would any set of tools, you accumulate them over time. If you aquire one you don't like, you either send it back or sell it off, and aquire another. Over time, you build up your mic kit with the ones you like.

Tell you what, Here is an open offer. I'll rent out any mic I have for $10.00 per day (not including shipping time) and apply full credit to what ever mic you purchase from me within 30 days. I'll even quote the price in advance. You pay the freight in both directions. -->>>

Marty, I sincerely appreciate your offer. Depending on shipping turnaround I may actually take you up on that. If it ends up costing me $100 to do a 10 minute test of a CS3e then I probably would only do it if I really intended to KEEP the CS3e... in which case I'll end up just buying the damn thing as usual... and if, after doing the 10 minute test I don't like it (which I probably will like it anyway) then I could return it (I assume that's a normal policy) and we'd still have a little tidbit about the mic in comparison to another mic.

Which brings me back to my main point.

Obviously I LIKE analogies... I use them all the time. In my use I think the analogy is logical and in your examples I don't think it is. You can't demonstrate a hammer over the internet... you can't demonstrate the FEEL of a car over the internet or via videotape. Now what do we use microphones for? Yes... SOUND. If I pit mic A against mic B... and we all know what mic A sounds like... as long as the test is IDENTICAL... which it is... they are ch1 and ch2 split recordings from equal distance under equal conditions... then we CAN in fact make a value judgement about mic B. Simple as that.

If one day we have a little box with a "wammer" inside and virtual reality gloves which can simulate gravity, inertia, and resistance... then I suspect you could in fact demonstrate a hammer over the internet... but we're simply talking about SOUND in an A/B environment. And what do we DO with that sound? We RECORD it and play it back for people in hopes of recreating a SONIC EVENT... now what do these A/B tests do for people? Exactly.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 10:49 AM   #27
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"Every recorded piece you hear is a demonstration of how the same widget may sound different when used by a different engineer. The Shure SM58 is the most common vocal mic in the world. How many live bands have you heard at clubs and concerts? How different do they sound?

Forgive my drivvling, but sound clips mean very little. I cannot simulate or recreate the situation or environment of any other time, place, or group of people. ">>>>

All clips are dialog and recorded flat. There is also a description of the equipment and circumstance. All due respects Marty, but a mic A/B comparison will be an accurate comparison of the sound of that mic. This is at least a start and will give the neophyte some idea of what the various mics will sound like.
"Tell you what, Here is an open offer. I'll rent out any mic I have for $10.00 per day (not including shipping time) and apply full credit to what ever mic you purchase from me within 30 days. "

Great idea. That's all the samples were designed for. Someone can get their selection down to a relatively small short list. Many of the people interested may not have a mixer or adequate cabling or suspension at this point.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 12:26 PM   #28
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I left out two litlle but key words in my post, so please allow me to restate:

"... sound clips mean very little TO ME." in the context of evaluating a purchase.

However, I do want to say that Bryan and Matts efforts to catalog the characteristics and differences of various microphones is to be applauded. Taken on an individual basis, there is valid information to be garnered from these clips. However, I wish that there were more information available regarding the equipment used, their settings, the room environment, the mic positioning, position of other objects in the room, etc.

I believe I was asked to directly compare certain microphones in a sound clip that demonstrate what I hear as the differences between them. Forgive me if my standards are too high, but to me doing it right represents a major project involving carefully controlled and repeatable conditions involving a group of people, and carefully selected equipment including a multitrack recorder. It would be a noble project to be sure, but also a major investment.

It is not how a recording is distributed, but how it is done that measures it's validity.


I am getting the impression that I am being somewhat misunderstood in terms of my equipment preferences, and my knowlege of gear is even being called into question, so I feel compelled to respond.

I have worked in professional audio for over 30 years in a wide variety of venues including music recording, live sound reinforcement, network and local radio, video studio production, video field production, and remote broadcast production. I've held both technical and production positions. Each venue presents different challenges and I've learned different things from each.

I have used more microphones than I can remember in all price categories from those under $100.00 to those over $3000.00. However, I do not profess to have used every mic available, and there are many current mics I am unfamiliar with. I do talk with a lot of people about thier experiences with the gear they use and have tried, and I try to gather certain concensus from that. I am careful to specify what is personal experience and what is not.

I am not so snobbish to insist that a good microphone cost more than any given dollar amount. I have several $80.00 MXL 603S (small subcardioid) mics that I think are wonderful for certain situations. I believe in using the right tool for the job, given what is available.

And there is A LOT available. At last count, I carry microphones from 14 manufacturers. I can think of at least a half dozen major brands I do not carry for a variety of reasons - the least of which is what I personally think of them.

Being an equipment vendor is an extremely competitive business. Mine is a very small company. I do not have the financial resources to match larger competitors like the B place in NY (and others). But they do not have the real world experience that I do. They are very profit oriented, I am customer oriented. They are happy to give certain product away at very low margins and make up for it in volume. I do low volumes and have to maintain my margins, but I offer services they do not such as after sale support, advice based on practical experience, etc.

My goal is to provide my customers with the equipment they ultimately want, not what I make the most profit on, or what I like best. However, not everyone knows what they want. Some understand that and are not embarassed to say so. Then there are some who are misinformed either by advertising or by someone else who is mis or unimformed but is non the less convinced. I could either just give them what they ask for (which I know they will not be happy with) or try to educate them first. I'm probably guilty of the latter more times than not.

In my primary market, my customers are broadcast professionals who's livelyhoods and families are dependent on getting it right the first time with zero margin for error. These guys are more ciritcal than film sound poeple. You simply cannot call "Take 2" on an interview with the Secretary of Sate or redo a live broadcast. They literally bank on their equipment. These are the customers who come through my doors and that's why I take my gear and my job so seriously. Everyone is cost sensitive, but for them, second best is not acceptable and no Octava will ever replace a Neumann.

I hope that helps explain where I am coming from. Of course, I realize that not everyone has these requirments, and I try to serve as many different customers as possible.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 01:03 PM   #29
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I do hope all of this busy dialog hasn't deterred people from the simple exercise of listening to groupings of DIALOG microphones. This was supposed to be a fun exercise and it's turned into somewhat of a bad taste for me.

Pure and simple, if ya don't like it then doen't listen to it.

I've set up some comparisons and repeated them several times. For an example, the clip of the MKH60 and the Schoeps MK41 was fed from a Sound devices 302 mixer at line level into a Marantz PMD670. Both mics are similar in tonal quality yet one is a shotgun and one is a hypercardoid. Both mics will intercut perfectly. My personal opinion is the CS-3 sounds very "foggy" and totally different from my Schoeps. There are people that love the CS-3.

These examples are for people that have never heard the mics and would like to. Please let's keep this a fun thing (if that's possible anymore)
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 03:39 PM   #30
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I'm having fun. :D
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