Best Fig8

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by John Stafford, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    I'm looking for a decent small diaphragm Fiure-of-eight that I can use for M/S with a wide variety of other mics.

    I've heard people say that the MKH-30 is the most versatile. Anyone agree? I've also heard that the Neuman km-whatever pops so easily that it needs a windscreen even indoors, and that the Schoeps single pattern Fig8 is light on bass, but I suppose that's not such a big deal unless you're using Blumlein. I have never used any of these mics, so this could be complete nonsense, and I'm not pretending that I know what I'm talking about!

    At the moment the only mic I have that can do fig.8 with is a Behringer B2Pro, which obviously isn't good enough, although I must admit I've had a couple of pleasant surprises with it.

    Thanks everyone!
    John Stafford
  2. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I'd say that to get your best Mid-Side pickup, you should use something along the same lines as your mid mic for the side... The sounds will match much better that way. (ie 2 schoeps, 2 sennheisers, etc...)

    I personally use stereo mics for all of my M-S work.

  3. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    I lust after one of those stereo AKGs that you have!
    It's very useful to know that it's better to use similar mics for m/s. I'll probably be buying sennheisers during the next year.

    Thanks for your help,
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    You're probably aware that I have no love for modern Neumann mics. As such, I agree with you above assessment and would add numerous other issues with their Fig 8. Personally, I think that either the Schoeps or the Senn's are by far the most versatile and would be well suited for many "mid" mics. If I had to over simplify the differences between Schoeps and Senn's it would be simply this:

    Collettes = accurate, smooth, detailed, ruthless
    MKH's = accurate, warm, detailed, forgiving

    Note, there aren't too many differences.

    FWIW, both the modular SDC mics available from AKG offer Fig 8 capsules and both of those mics are very good too.

  5. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Thanks Jeremy.
    I didn't know there was a second Fig 8 AKG. I must look into that as well.

    As I've moaned before, I missed the chance (through my own stupidity) to get an MKH 30 for a knockdown price, so I'm going to load up my credit card again and stalk, ready to pounce.

  6. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    One detail on the Sennheiser fig=8 is that the low end is electronically enhanced in the mic's electronics.

    My MK6 in fig-8 seems to have a bit more bottom than MK8s-- don't know if this applies to all, as the rubber shutters on this cap are not completely well and will not give a true omni anymore.

    I completely concur with Jeremy's lack of love for modern Neumann SDs, but really enjoy my TLM193s. If only I could find some M50c mics in a closet somewhere!

  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I'm using the Royer SF-24 soon on several sessions (It's not mine but I have access to it), and will test it out in a number of settings.

    Up until a few years ago, I had an AKG 422 stereo mic. The actual sound of the mic left a bit to be desired, but it was a good mic to have for placing a stereo mic source into tight places. (Horns and winds, very often.) I still have the cable and matrix box, but the mic and shock mount are was good for MS recording, too. The story of how it got "lost" is still painful for me. We're still not quite sure exactly what happened, but it was either theft or someone's stupidity (possibly even MINE) in leaving it behind after a complicated gig with a ton of gear.

    In the meantime, I've been looking at the Studio Projects stereo mic (I forget the model #) at the last two AES shows, and the only thing putting me off is the sheer SIZE of the sucker. It's not small at all! sells for $999 street, so that's not too unreasonable, either.
  8. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Just out of curiousity, Joe, what didn't you like about the 422? To me, the 426 and 422 are very close in sound (close enough that I've cut between the two) and I'd consider them my "desert island" mics. I also use an SF-24 a lot and like it quite a bit. I find it very useful, but there are times that I prefer the AKG...

  9. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    That's interesting about the enhancement in the bass on the Sennheiser.
    I've heard of other people who really like the 193, even if they're not convinced by the current Neumann range in its entirety. Do you have a favourite use for them? If I had bucket-loads of money I might like to play with the TLM-50. I wouldn't say no to a pair of M50s either!

  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Uh...preach on, brother.

    When my wife's "in the mood" and I'm not, I look at a picture of the M50c's and then I'm ready to go. :cool:

  11. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I like the 193s on anything that I want a gentle top end, such as instrument touchups (or "sniffers" as the Brits call them) and vocal solo. As a comparison, last year I setup a main array for a chamber orch/choir thing and ran M222/MK2H and TLM193 on separate tracks for mains, and my normal SF12 choral mic. The 193s were in between the others on topend. I could probably have lived with them for the choral sound, and I ABHOR the crunchiness most often heard with SD mics on a choral ensemble.

    I also use them to touchup piano in chamber stuff, mounted on a Atlas stereo bar looking straight ahead into the piano on low stick. Of course, appropriate delay must be used, but I do not need to rolloff the HF in the mix in order to have just that wee touch of clarity so often missing in Brahms piano quartets etc. Simon Eadon used a 170 on cello touchup on his Grammy winning Takacs discs.

    The 193 capsule is the same as the 170 (and one other whose number I forget). This was discussed over on Klaus Heyne's forum. The downside of 193 vs 170 is the lack of patterns, but generally I would not think of that sound for mains and thus don't miss the additional patterns. The upside is they are half of the 170 price!

    Having just said that, I did a flute/basson disc last year that was simultaneously tracked with M222/MK21 (ORTF), CMC6/MK2H (AB 19 inches), and TLM193 NOS. The 193s won hands down, but this was done on a stage with a METAL shell (nice and light, but there is a reason only brass and perc are made of metal).

    A project I did a few years ago in the UK gave me the opportunity to choose between M150 and M149 for mains on an organ disc, and I chose the 149. The 150 was a bit too bright for my tastes, and I have heard the opinion from others that it is brighter than M50 (also cheaper, but you get what you pay for, plus the M50 will only go UP in value- not the case on 150. I just turned down a new matched pair for $7500.)

    I find it interesting that in all other forums the micpre choice seems to be on a level with microphone choice. Glad sanity is prevaiing here!

  12. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Like Ben, we use mainly stereo mics for MS work, SF24, also the AKG 426 which we also love.

    But I completely disagree on the Neumann assessment. Some of the best Blumlein recordings I have in the archive are done with a beautiful pair of KM120's, these are fantastic mics. We also have the Schoeps fig 8's and they are great of course.

    The Neumanns have a very smooth and coherant lower mid, which to my ear the Sennheisers do not have and to a lesser extent the Schoeps.

    The SF24 is a very interesting sound, perfect on string quartets.
  13. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member


    Because you (and a couple other folks) have mentioned the SF-24 for string quartets, I'll be using it for that in a couple weeks... I have a chamber music performance with a string quintet, clarinet quintet and a woodwind quintet on it. I think it will sound quite nice...

  14. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest


    Having recorded a chamber music festival with a SF12, my advice is go M-S or you are likely to be folding in a lot of stuff. Get close enough for good presence and the 1st vln is WAAAAY over on the left and the vla is WAAAY over on the right.

    You already know my thoughts on the transient response on this mic. One man's smooth and natural is another's lifelessness.

    Have you ever tried the MK21s in ORTF for stg qt?

  15. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I don't own schoeps (I have to rent them) so no I haven't. I can pretty much guarantee that for the room that this ensemble plays in, Schoeps would be the last mics I'd go for. It simply isn't a good enough acoustic. (It is a historic site- the lobby of an art decco apartment building that was once owned by William Randolph Hearst)

  16. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I know where you are coming from. I also feel at times that the Royers are "viscous" and in this case, a condenser is pulled out and the problem is solved.

    BUT, in a good room with a group of scratchy (relative term) instruments, the Royer sounds warm, smooth and all the other terms people use, where the condensers and I mean any condensers including the Schoeps or B&K, sound way too crisp, tonally unfaithful and just wrong. In these cases the Royer is a winner.

    Its good to have one in the kit I can tell you. Mixed with condenser outriggers it is a real ear opener.

    But you need a great room with plenty of natural reverb. In a dead room forget it.
  17. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I couldn't agree more. Further, I'd take the Royer over ANYTHING for choral. Except M50c in a great acoustic.

  18. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    This is interesing Ben. If you don't use Schoeps in an ordinary acoustic, then what do you use?

    I have to record a music festival every year in country Australia, where the hall is, ahem, crap, to be kind to it. Very muddy midrange, no reverb, the doors are left open, crows, trucks, magpies, town folk wandering and wondering what the hell is going on etc.

    I have tried lots of mics and techniques and always end up having to EQ stuff out to make it half reasonable. I suspect an MS pair of Sennheisers may tame the savage beast, hoping to try that this year.

    What are everyones favourite techniques in dead, tonally bad rooms. High directivity and close I suspect, with added SIR/Concertgebouw later on.
  19. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    The 426 is my go-to mic, especially in rooms that are of questionable acoustic. Seems to sound good in the crappy rooms and awesome on the good rooms. It seems rare that I do a "standard" mic pattern with it- often I'll start Blumlein, but then I narrow the angle or change the pattern to somewhere half-way between fig-8 and cardiod. Similarly with Mid-Side. Sometimes a hyper in the center is needed and sometimes an omni.

    More recently, I've also been using the SF-24, too. I have 4 B&K4006's as well that go to great use on gigs. Beyond that, I have my original mic rig (some SM-81's which don't get much use anymore, a pair of KM-184's and a pair of TLMM103's.) and a pair of Microtech M930's which I like quite a bit.

    If the session has the budget, I have pretty much an unlimited collection of gear to pull from colleagues or rental houses (hey, it is LA).

  20. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Okay, don't laugh too hard, but for "difficult acoustic" halls, I rely on a pair of Groove Tubes LDCs. I know these are a little less prestigous than their German bretheren, but for up close and personal ensemble mic'ing, they do phenominally well!

    Just out of curiosity Ben, how do you like the M930's? I've been drooling over those since they were introduced - especially the ORTF kit (I like the XY kit too!) Someone once equated them to the TLM103s, which frankly made me want to gag. The only reason I've clung to this analogy is because I've never seen anyone refute this obvious comparison and similarity.

    I have to believe though, that M-G has put a bit more work into these beaut's and have a better product on their hands.


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