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Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:12 PM  
Major Player
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ft. Myers, FL
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Testing Shotgun ME-80, MKH-60

I have a vintage black ME-80 that I am trying to test. It sounds fine, but it's a little low on sensitivity. I also have an MKH60 and ME66 to compare. I created a pink noise wave in Soundtrack and recorded this ouput on our studio monitors with each mic. Next I ran a spectrum analysis on the waveforms I recorded.
But there's a dip around 2k on all of them. I think this is the studio monitors.

What's the best way to compare these mics other than ears?

I am attaching the waveforms.

Attached Thumbnails
Testing Shotgun ME-80, MKH-60-digital-pink-noise.png   Testing Shotgun ME-80, MKH-60-me80.png  

Testing Shotgun ME-80, MKH-60-mhk60.png   Testing Shotgun ME-80, MKH-60-me66.png  

Dave Beaty is offline  
Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:46 PM  
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Well... the only proper way to measure the response of a mic is in an anechoic chamber with calibrated equipment, otherwise you're measuring your monitors, the mic, the preamp and your room combined. and besides its only the ears that really matter anyways.

just saying.

Gerry Gallegos is offline  
Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:57 PM  
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Gerry, Thanks. Is there anything I should be listening for with an older mic? Do they tend to simply fail or is there a reduction in frequency response / noise with age?

IOW, in evaluating an older mic you have not used before and don't have a chamber to test in, are your ears really the only thing you can check? I thought compariing several good mics with the ME-80 might reveal something. As in the MKH60 and the ME66 recording the exact same sound. Or is that useless?

Dave Beaty
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 03:26 PM  
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Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 262
depending on how the mic was stored or taken care of makes a difference in how a mic "ages" the sound will change with age due to all sorts of factors, moisture, dust, heat, and many others.
condenser mics use electronics as well and capacitors age as well changing characteristics of sound as well. Heck that is what drives the "vintage" mic market.
since you probably do not intend on refurbishing the mic, then I don't see a reason to measure it against another mic on paper response other than to see if it has certain anomalies as huge spikes or dips at certain frequencies. and you already made that comparison.
and like I said in my previous post, it is all in the ears, you cant hear a graph.
consider it another flavor in your pallet of tools.
if you need to cut in this mic along with others, then learn the differences by ear, the graph can lead you to the proper frequencies, but ultimately only your ear can tell when it sounds the same. that is the art of audio engineers, just like a DP selects a lens, not based on specs but on the look it creates.

at least that is my opinion.
Gerry Gallegos is offline  
Old November 22nd, 2010, 03:44 PM  
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 2,109

IMHO, the fact that you live in Florida would be a primary contributing factor in how your mic has aged. The actual mic diaphragm is always susceptible to humidity, mold and fungus, amongst other things and decades of being moved by hot moist air from people's lungs contributes to this also.

If you value the microphone and want to keep using it, a trip to an audio repair facility might be in order as they can better disassemble the mic to clean and check out the diaphragm and associated electronics path than you can. Typical deterioration symptoms in older mics would be loss of frequency response and loss of output. At its inner most core, all a mic is is a housing for holding a diaphragm and electronics. Most pro audio facilities charge around $50.00 to $150.00 per hour so you have to balance what the mic is actually worth versus if it is worth sinking money into for cleaning and or repair. Might be time to retire it if it is sounding too old or has too little gain left in it.

At least you also have an MKH60 which is a GREAT mic and the ME66, which is NOT a great mic too.

Good luck,

Dan Brockett is offline  
Old November 23rd, 2010, 10:20 AM  
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 210

Also keep in mind that if you compared a BRAND NEW ME-80 (if that were possible) and a brand new MKH-60 that they would sound different from one another. If you think the sensitivity is low on the ME-80, the only way to know for sure is to have a repair facility look at it, or compare it to a couple of other ME-80s and see if they are about the same. That mic is pretty old in the tooth, though still usable in outdoor shotgun situations. We still have one where I work, and while it's not an MKH-60, or MKH-416, it works o.k.

Have fun!

Rob Neidig is offline  
Old November 24th, 2010, 07:54 AM  
Major Player
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Neenah, WI
Posts: 547
I'd contact sennheiser on the ME-80 if you would like it gone over.

It's been my experience that they are more than reasonably priced when it comes to maintaining their gear for customers.

I have an ME-80 and ME-88 myself and just can't bring myself to take them completely out of rotation in favor of my 416 and 816...they just keep on working.
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