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Author Topic: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards  (Read 2551 times)

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Offline Massive Dynamic

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Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« on: March 01, 2017, 08:34:11 PM »
I do only a little open taping these days, but the omnis I have aren't the best tool in those situations. I am considering a couple of low cost cards, and these two are where I am leaning. Are there other possibilities I might be missing?

For reference, I like the HF presence of the 4v caps or VM-44 cards, and these are similar, with the S502 probably the brighter of the two. Low end response is comparable between the two based on published specs, but I haven't heard enough recordings to know which goes lower. Any recommendations on recordings I should sample to help me decide? Thanks.
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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2017, 12:51:22 AM »
I had the CM3s for a bit.  I was not impressed and they were sold fairly quickly.  Some on TS do like them though.  No experience with the Superlux FWIW.
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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2017, 02:13:23 AM »
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Offline voltronic

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2017, 06:28:34 AM »
The CM3s have a massive following from the classical recording folks on Gearslutz.  Some of the recent examples posted there will knock your socks off.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remote-possibilities-acoustic-music-location-recording/644759-cm3-really-good.html

More CM3 samples, including some of my own, in the Team Line Audio thread here as well.

There's also a whole lot of S502 samples on Gearslutz.  It's also very impressive as a Schoeps knock-off, but there are occasionally some manufacturing reliability issues.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remote-possibilities-acoustic-music-location-recording/568801-superlux-s502.html

Here's the thing: Unless you are going to always have the correct acoustics and placement position where ORTF is going to work, you should buy separate mics instead of (or in addition to) the S502.  Otherwise you're locking yourself into one stereo arrangement that may sound fantastic in some places but not in others.

Another consideration is that the CM3 is a subcardioid mic.  I find I like this myself, as the bass seems to be a bit better at distant placements compared to stardard cardioid (though not as good as an omni of course) while at the same time having better rear rejection if that's a concern.  They do have to be spaced a bit wider than cardioid mics.  Most owners of them seem to start at NOS spacing and then adjust from there.
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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 06:35:31 AM »
Don't have cm3's, but the convenience with the S502 is that is 'ORTF', which most always 'works'.
AFAIK that's why the french 'invented' this ORTF setup: to easily make good sounding 2track stereo recordings in [most] any situation.

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2017, 09:44:51 AM »
I think the CM3s are great mics.  Their pattern falls between a typical subcard and card, so I think they're usable in situations where you reach for a card.  That said, if you prefer the HF presence, you probably won't like the CM3 unless you eq it.
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Offline Massive Dynamic

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2017, 10:44:01 AM »
I think the CM3s are great mics.  Their pattern falls between a typical subcard and card, so I think they're usable in situations where you reach for a card.  That said, if you prefer the HF presence, you probably won't like the CM3 unless you eq it.

I read your and other's comments in the Team thread. The link to this CM3 recording was posted after Butch's passing, and it sounds bright enough for my tastes, https://www.mixcloud.com/butch-almberg/butch-trucks-and-the-freight-train-band-terra-fermata-stuart-fl-12272016/ (no notes on any eq performed)

I still might go the S502 route to start, and experiment with the CM3s if I don't find the mic to my liking. Prices are very good at Thomann.
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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2017, 10:46:38 AM »
Don't have cm3's, but the convenience with the S502 is that is 'ORTF', which most always 'works'.
AFAIK that's why the french 'invented' this ORTF setup: to easily make good sounding 2track stereo recordings in [most] any situation.

They designed it for placement over the conductor's head at a classical symphony, not at thall back of a bar or in a hockey arena.

110 degree angle will almost always give you too much reflected sound and not enough direct sound unless you are in the sweet spot FOB or onstage.
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Offline voltronic

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2017, 08:57:11 PM »
Don't have cm3's, but the convenience with the S502 is that is 'ORTF', which most always 'works'.
AFAIK that's why the french 'invented' this ORTF setup: to easily make good sounding 2track stereo recordings in [most] any situation.

They designed it for placement over the conductor's head at a classical symphony, not at thall back of a bar or in a hockey arena.

110 degree angle will almost always give you too much reflected sound and not enough direct sound unless you are in the sweet spot FOB or onstage.

+1 to this.  I would think ORTF would be pretty difficult to use for the typical amplified concert taper locations for these reasons.  And even though I'm exclusively an acoustic / classical recording person, I'm not using ORTF or similar setups either unless I am able to be close enough and in the right acoustic for it.
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Offline carpa

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 06:11:46 PM »
Very interested to this thread because the S502 cost half the price of CM3.  My average use could be  recording classical music on the stage or at home; mostly a solo piano or a violin-piano duo.
As it is me playing I don't have any stealth needs; instead I need fast positioning and use coupled with a soundcard+pc or Littlebox+Edirol RH.  For this reason a stereo mic is a plus for me. I have heard recordings with Rode nt4 but they are too harsh/bright to me; I far prefer the Shure VP88 but it costs too much for my budget.
Should the S502 be able to pull nice recordings it could be the way to go.

Any of you has some report on the cheaper Supberlux stereo mic with double power option ( Phantom / battery), the E523?

thank you

c

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2017, 08:12:12 PM »
Very interested to this thread because the S502 cost half the price of CM3.  My average use could be  recording classical music on the stage or at home; mostly a solo piano or a violin-piano duo.
As it is me playing I don't have any stealth needs; instead I need fast positioning and use coupled with a soundcard+pc or Littlebox+Edirol RH.  For this reason a stereo mic is a plus for me. I have heard recordings with Rode nt4 but they are too harsh/bright to me; I far prefer the Shure VP88 but it costs too much for my budget.
Should the S502 be able to pull nice recordings it could be the way to go.

Any of you has some report on the cheaper Supberlux stereo mic with double power option ( Phantom / battery), the E523?

thank you

c

Hi, fellow classical pianist here.  I understand the attraction of a stereo mic for ease of use, but most stereo mics (except the expensive ones) lock you into one angle / spacing which may sound fabulous in some circumstances and mediocre to awful in others.  One size does not fit all situations, and what will give you a great recording in a good concert hall may not be a good choice for at home and vice versa.

For instance, my favorite piano recordings by far are made with spaced omnis.  I'm talking about a concert grand on full stick in a great hall where you want to capture the acoustic space properly as well as render the full tonal range of the instrument.  But try that in a typical small home practice studio such as what I have, and you will likely end up with an awful recording swamped by an overabundance of early reflections.

Conversely, X/Y cardioids (such as what you get on cheap stereo mics) sound terribly narrow and flat in pretty much any classical concert recording situation.  But in the small home studio situation where you want to minimize the sound of the too-small room in your recording, you can set your X/Y array quite close and get a pretty decent recording.

Now, if you get a pair of separate mics, that gives you the ability to alter the angle and spacing to your heart's content, dialing in the amount of acoustic you want (or do not) want to capture.  No stereo mic will ever give you that level of flexibility.  If you don't know all of the arrangements or what adjusting angles and spacing actually does, hang around here and you'll learn a lot about those things.  Once you learn more about this, you'll quickly wish you had bought separate mics.

The best thing for home recording of a piano in this situation is probably a spaced pair of good figure-8 mics which will have deep nulls to cancel the ceiling and sidewall reflections in a home studio.  Then when you are in a nice concert hall, you can align them together for a mid-side Blumlein recording and be able to manipulate the stereo image and direct / diffuse ratio in post.  That's the closest thing to an all-purpose mic setup that would work for you, but it's also going to be the most expensive.  A pair of Sennheiser MKH 30 is on my to-buy list when I have a spare $2500...

Sorry this turned into such a long post.  Here's the TL:DR: The Superlux S502 will probably sound great in a concert situation as long as it's properly placed and you're in a good hall.  But it will probably not sound great in your home, since it's going to grab too many early reflections from very close walls and ceilings.
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Offline carpa

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2017, 08:03:23 PM »
Thank you for your answer.  I have never tried expensive mics but I remember that MS mics can be a good compromise; I pulled some mice recordings with a stereo MS sony ECM 979, which I don't own any more, and I tried a Shure VP 88 with appreciable results.
I've experienced the fact that my Natant x-x omnis may fit perfectly in medium -big halls in order to record a full sound, but may sound terrible in presence of very reflecting situations like a church or my home, in which I "packed" my Steinway D concert grand  in a small room.  In any case I need time to search for the best position, time which I often don't have in order to get a recording for archive purpose.
A musician's life is often like getting into the hall a couple of hours before the concert and being concerned with rehearsing the program, change suit, have a short rest,  go and play.  After the concert there are always  people to talk to, change back your suite, take the scores and be ready to go to dinner.
The Shure VP 88 or the Rode NT4 ( or the cheap Supberlux E523 or the AudioTechnica models, which I don't know)  all have both phantom power or battery option. I have time and space in my luggage and somebody helps me? I bring my littlebox, my Edirol R01HR, xlr cables and set everything fine. We are in video age,then, so if I want to have a video I need also at least to place a cell phone for filming.
I don't have time or have travelled on  a plane with a handbaggage? I bring my stereo mic, a violin music stand,plug the battery powered mic into the Edirol and go.
Since the moment my Sony ECM 979 died, I found myself most of the times bringing just my Edirol, place it on the ground or on a chair and press rec.  As we usually say that the best camera is the one you have with you, thus taking mostly pics with your phone than with your 1000 bucks Canon you have at home, I ended up thinking that the best recording set is exactly the one I can bring with me.
That's why I'm trying to explore the fastest solution with a certain quality, even accepting compromises. Should the VP88 have a lower price ( and maybe a lower noise floor....) I'd certainly go for it.
Probably the Supberlux E523 id really too cheap and, in the middle, I guess there is only the Rode NT4, but I don't like the recordings I've heard from it.



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Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2017, 09:19:31 PM »
carpa/voltronic, the room is not our friend in attempting to record piano at home.  In the right acoustic, cm3s are terrific piano mics.  In lesser situations, you might consider a pair of inexpensive ribbons.  https://www.gearslutz.com/board/gear-shoot-outs-sound-file-comparisons-audio-tests/150891-ribbon-madness-some-comparisons.html

Sorry to the OP-don't know anything about the S502 to contribute.

Edit further thoughts, the ribbons are useful to null out bad room effects, but if the goal includes recording on the road, then cm3s are the best most affordable piano recording option IMO.  Ribbons are too fragile and bulky for that. 

Also suggest finding the piano recording in the cm3 thread at gearslutz to hear what these mics can do.

« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 11:10:31 PM by 2manyrocks »

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2017, 11:33:14 PM »
ok.....without getting too granular, ..........

in 99% of all the mics out there.   a stereo pair is going to offer the user
more options to make a nice stereo recording.

If you are concert taping maybe consider:   the ease of one stereo mic vs. setting things up, ie: cable variances, shock mounts, T bars,
clamps and so on.   
The Superlux S502 can do some great things in the right circumstances.   
owning one for under two bills is, IMO....totally worth the money......
LMA recordings and what-not


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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2017, 10:59:25 AM »
Keep in mind that you can buy custom mounts so you don't have to fiddle with mic set up.  https://www.shapeways.com/product/KU38YRKZ6/nos-line-audio-cm3?optionId=56179289

It is notoriously difficult to make a satisfying solo piano recording.  The piano, tuning, room, performance, mics, mic position, and recording have to be just so. 

The easiest mics to carry and get great sound would be dpa 4060 or 4061s, but more $. 

Shop carefully.  Most expensive route is to buy something that doesn't work and then have to buy what does.




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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2017, 03:56:49 PM »
Quite different sounding mics, to my ears.

The s502 is detailed, almost to the point of being a little too bright. The CM3 is probably truer to the source, but could borrow some of the s502's high end.

Either mic would need some work in post- the s502, less high end; the CM3, more. Also keep in mind that the wide cardioid of the CM3 will pick up a lot of the room; that said, you're not committed to ORTF (I agree with noah that it isn't ideal at a distance). Really depends on your preference.
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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2017, 09:26:10 PM »
Also keep in mind that the wide cardioid of the CM3 will pick up a lot of the room;

I think it might be a wash in this situation.  Keep in mind that the wide cardioid pattern of the CM3 actually has better rear rejection than cardioids with their rear lobes in the polar pattern.  So while the CM3 remains fairly consistent up to 90deg off-axis (which in a small room might not be the greatest), standard cardioids may be more susceptible to reflections from too-close walls to the rear.
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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2017, 07:30:13 AM »
Keep in mind that the wide cardioid pattern of the CM3 actually has better rear rejection than cardioids with their rear lobes in the polar pattern.

Cardioids have substantially better rear rejection than wide cardioids, at least the ones with which I am familiar...

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2017, 12:14:20 PM »

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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2017, 03:13:17 PM »
polar plot:  http://www.lineaudio.se/CM3.html

I guess I stand corrected.  I was going off usage of the CM3, finding it less picky about a wall close to the rear creating reflections than a similar array with cardioids.
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Re: Superlux S502 vs. Line Audio CM3 for budget cards
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2017, 07:29:08 PM »
I ended up buying a Superlux E524d stereo microphone from Thomann expecting just what I needed for a fast and no brainer setup. While knowing I could achieve better result and have more flexibility with a couple of mono cardioids I chose this one for three reasons: 1) It's cheap ( 111 euros)   2) no worry about positioning 3) power options with either phantom power or 1,5 volts battery.
Just gave it a fast try in my studio and it works just fine. Low noise and appreciable overall sound for  rehearsing or concert recording just for my archive.
Used both with phantom into my Naiant littlebox and line in of Edirol r09hr and battery powered into Edirol's mic in passing by two Shure Af95  matching transformers.
I don't have pro stuff to make a comparison, but I found it completely another world compared to Edirol internal mics and to a consumer Sony ECM 907 stereo mic both in terms of low noise and sound, bass presence and much more detailed and full tone ( of course I could expect it ).
My Naiant omnis x-x provide a slightly more full and natural sound but I guess they may suffer in bad acoustic situations, and always need phantom power.
Don't know how this superlux stands against Audiotechnica or Rode, but they cost three or four time the price, so I think it could be a good solution for those who need a fast stereo setup and power flexibility.

 

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