Compact versions of mics

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by John Stafford, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Hello all

    I was wondering about mid sized mics. The DPAs that look like a capsule with a wire out the back (not the really tiny ones) and the Schoeps CCM compact mics spring to mind. Does anyone here think that these mics are compromised for the sake of size?

  2. 0VU

    0VU Active Member

    I have some CCM 21s and CCM4s, together with a pair of DPA 4028s and a 3552 compact omni stereo kit and my experience of them is that, far from being compromised, they're at least as good as their full sized equivalents. In many ways better. For me, any electronic disadvantages which may exist are more than outweighed by the practical advantages of their size.

    The small size has advantages and disadvantages but overall I like them.

    They tend not to fit standard mounting hardware, so often need their own dedicated hardware, which tends to be comparatively expensive; miniaturised interchangable capsule/head amp systems are rare (though using capsule extension cables in the many systems which have them neatly gets around that if you need it); the very fine cables, and to some extent, miniature connectors, tend to be less robust than "ordinary" sized cables/connectors.

    On the upside, they're much more discrete for live work and the smaller acoustic profile doesn't do any harm either.
  3. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    I've got a CCM4/CCM8 MS kit, and I'm a regular user of DPA's 4023s. When I was looking into the 4023s, I was wondering what compromises were made, if any, when using surface mount electronics. Here's a comparison:

    DPA 4011: 40Hz - 20kHz +/-2dB; 19dB(A); 10mV/Pa; 158dB SPL
    DPA 4023: 40Hz - 20kHz +/-2dB; 20dB(A); 7mV/Pa; 145dB SPL

    So, the 4023 has 1dB more equivalent noise and about 3dB less sensitivity. It's early in the morning so forgive me (and correct me!) if I get this wrong, but it means that on the same sound source at the same distance the 4011's signal will have 1dB less noise and require 3dB less gain (more gain from preamp means more noise, of course) to reach the same recorded level. As for SPL, both are still very high, what do you want to do - record a space shuttle launch?!?

    Personally, I don't consider either of these to be a problem when weighed up against the size advantages - especially in orchestral or field recording situations, where the S/N ratio of the venue/performers/audience is so high that a couple of dB extra noise in the signal path is a non-issue (in practical terms). But don't get me wrong, I would always choose a quieter microphone if size wasn't an issue...

    Also, these smaller capsules make it very easy to set up ORTF and similar, and both DPA and Schoeps have very cool mounting kits. They're also very easy to fly in a venue... Small, elegant, fast to set-up, and conductors love them because they don't dominate the stage. Speed of set-up has become a major concern for me - the less time you spend setting up, the more time you have for finding the right microphone position - which is far more important than a few dB of noise.

    My biggest concern with the small ones is if they have a fixed cable out the back of them. That's why I go for the slightly more expensive DPA 4023 with the detachable cable, in preference to the 4021 or 4022, which both have fixed cables. The Schoeps all have detachable cables, of course...
  4. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Please forgive the delay in repllying. Thank you both very much indeed for your informative posts. BTW Greg, I read a fascinating article about your travels in an Australian magazine. Sounds like amazing fun!

    Again many thanks.
  5. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Fun? FUN? Of course it's fun! [To avoid highjacking the thread, see my silly self-serving thread titled "Wanker pretends to need help..."]

    Have you made any decisions regarding compact microphones? If you can't, all I can suggest is borrowing some and trying them on a job. Personally, after using DPAs 4023s in their cool little ORTF bracket, setting up other mics in ORTF seems like frustratingly fiddly business.

    The downside is that sometimes you need to vary that ORTF angle or width a smidge, and you can't do that with the DPA bracket. But in terms of speed and accuracy of set-up, ease of maneouverability (how do you spell that word, anyhow?) and overall physical size, it is unbeatable IMHO.

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