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Offline acidjack

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Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« on: September 02, 2015, 01:40:50 PM »
Thanks to the earlier post about the Shure MV88 M-S mic for iPhones with lightning connectors, I decided to go out and grab one of these and give it a whirl.
http://www.shure.com/americas/motiv/overview

First impressions:

It's a compact, well-made mic that comes with a robust-looking windscreen. It's easily positioned just about however you need, since it rotates 90 degrees and you can plug it into the lightning connector in either direction (i.e., facing or away from the iPhone screen).

To operate it, you apparently don't *have* to use the free Shure "Motiv" software, but you'd be crazy not to. Again, the software is a free iTunes Store App, and it's quite easy to use. It's also the only way to get all the options you want (see below).

The show:

I went to tape a local punk show at a venue I visit regularly. My main rig -- Schoeps MK41V>KCY>PFA>R-26 -- was set up in the usual spot on the venue balcony, clamped to the corner of the SBD and aimed slightly down toward the stage. I tested the Shure mic during the first two songs.

The software is extremely easy to use and provides a lot of flexibility. You can go 16/44.1 or 24/48, and save in WAV, AAC at various bit rates, or ALAC. There are a variety of modes, including stereo (e.g., decoded M-S), raw M-S, mono cardiod, or mono Fig-8 (mainly useful for recording a face to face interview, I'd think). You can adjust the width of the decoded image on the fly, if you like. There are also settings to add compression -- "light" or "heavy" -- EQ (both manual and pre-set for various situations), and wind noise reduction. It allows you adjust levels with a single slider and contains level meters that are easy to read. 

Being a fairly informal comp, I kept things easy and just use the stereo/90 degrees setting, 16/44.1, no EQ, no compression. I would probably use the compression in the future, and for a loud rock show with a mostly non-panned PA, I'd probably narrow the image from 90 degrees, I think.

For song 1, the MV88/phone combo was held in my hand on the balcony to the immediate left of the MK41Vs, pointed ahead.

MV88: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc/mv88-song-1
MK41V: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc/mk41v-song-1

For song 2, I went down the floor and stood FOB/DFC, or roughly under and a bit in front of where the 41Vs were. I also aimed the mic upward somewhat so as to be aimed partly at the stacks. Most guitar sound was coming from the stage. 

Combo "playlist:": https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc/sets/mv88-vs-mk41v

Initial reactions:

This was a loud punk show, and I do not see evidence of distortion from the SPL limit of 120dB being exceeded. However, one thing that was bizarre to me is that I do not think the level meters are very accurate. I had them reading consistently in the "zone" (-12dB to -3dB) yet the final waveforms indicated mild clipping at several points. I would recommend running the mic less hot than it appears on the screen.

The software was quite easy to use; one thing I'd note is that if you disconnect the mic, you lose your settings (such as levels), so keep that in mind if you're going to disconnect at any point.
 
In terms of application, it's obviously even easier to just turn your phone into airplane mode (recommended by Shure) and run this mic than even to use some clip on mics, a BB, and a recorder. On the downside, it is somewhat noticeable to hold this thing in your hand. You could best "Stealth" by putting it in a shirt pocket or running it from a table or balcony. The fact that this occupies your phone the entire time is both a blessing and a curse, as you might expect.  For me, I'd see the best use cases being showing up to something where I don't have the time or inclination to run a full rig and then either running it onstage or clamping to a balcony. I guess the shirt pocket thing is also an option, and it's probably an improvement on, say, a Zoom H2 or an R-09 or something, but not something I'd want to do regularly.

In terms of after-the-show, it's very easy to get the stuff off your phone. As noted, you can export the native WAV or save as AAC or ALAC. If you have a Mac, you can simply Airdrop the files from iPhone to Mac. Otherwise, you can save the files to Dropbox, OneDrive, or Hightail. There's a function to email them to yourself, but I'm not sure that would work with the capacity of most email systems.

Quality-wise, as noted, this is a punk show in a relatively stripped-down venue, and these are MP3s streaming on Soundcloud. I don't think these can in any way be called a definitive test of the mic. Obviously the Schoeps have considerably more depth, but I think the MV88 sounds perfectly "good" for the price and convenience factor, and at least as good or better than the internal mics I'm familiar with.

Your thoughts?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 04:18:27 PM by acidjack »
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline aaronji

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 04:02:04 PM »
I will listen to these through my DAC/HA and decent cans when I get home...Earbuds and onboard sound card never quite cut it!  I am very curious...

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 06:01:36 PM »
Nice write up. I will check out the files and reply. I like the different scenarios you mentioned, it seems pretty straightforward.
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When you get confused, listen to the music play!

Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline aaronji

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 07:59:23 AM »
First of all, thanks for being Shure's beta-tester in the taping community!

Well, no real comparison there, although I guess that's not unexpected!  To me the Shure didn't sound great from the balcony, kind of muddy and something a bit grating in the low-high's.  A little light and loose in the low-end.  From the floor, the Shure sounded considerably better (although still not nearly as good as the MK41s).  More immediate, for sure.  How much closer were you?  The bass sounds better too.

I think, based on these samples, that it sounds decent and probably better than most internals I have heard.  Nothing that dissuades me from being interested (but also nothing that has me immediately clicking through Thomann.de).  Hopefully, you'll be able to post a couple of samples of more dynamic music at some point...

Offline acidjack

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 10:40:30 AM »
First of all, thanks for being Shure's beta-tester in the taping community!

Well, no real comparison there, although I guess that's not unexpected!  To me the Shure didn't sound great from the balcony, kind of muddy and something a bit grating in the low-high's.  A little light and loose in the low-end.  From the floor, the Shure sounded considerably better (although still not nearly as good as the MK41s).  More immediate, for sure.  How much closer were you?  The bass sounds better too.

I think, based on these samples, that it sounds decent and probably better than most internals I have heard.  Nothing that dissuades me from being interested (but also nothing that has me immediately clicking through Thomann.de).  Hopefully, you'll be able to post a couple of samples of more dynamic music at some point...

On the floor I was maybe 3ft forward of the MK41Vs and about 3-4ft below them. To add to the "roughness" of the comp, this room sounds not-great with any mics -- hence my use of supercardiod mics despite being in a 100-capacity fairly small room. On the floor, I was aiming the MV88 up somewhat, which I think helped to roughly average out with the MK41Vs aiming down. Also, I believe the house mix got tweaked a bit after the first song, which is always negative for a comparison.

The real opportunities with this thing aren't well explored by the comp situation I had -- if it was my main recording, I would almost certainly use raw M-S and do everything in post. That would probably optimize the bass response and clarity. I did have this at a 90 degree field for this recording which at least in terms of studio technique is probably too narrow for recording a full band. At least, it'd be nice to play with the direct/reverberant balance myself rather than having to guess.

I'm going to another show tonight -- again it's rather loud guitar bands in a DIY space, though one I'm told sounds good. Once again the Schoeps will be on the balcony, so maybe I will try and run the Shures for a couple songs again, this time in raw M-S, and see how the recording sounds when I make it "as good as it can sound." 

I certainly agree, jazz or really anything else would be a much better test.
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline aaronji

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2015, 05:56:17 AM »
I would definitely love to hear some more samples, if you find the time!  The size of the mic, and the minimalism of the whole rig, is pretty appealing.  I would get an extension cable for in between the phone and the mic; there would be lots of flexibility for mounting under that scenario.

Offline noahbickart

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2015, 12:24:11 AM »
Given that the microphone uses the lightning connector, how might one power such a rig? How long is runtime on airplane mode?

something like this might be handy:
http://www.amazon.com/Lightning-Extension-iPhone-Through-Female/dp/B00YGXQCIG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441686218&sr=8-1&keywords=lightening+cable+extender
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v, mk4v, mk22, mk3 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10
Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> Adcom SLC 505> Marantz Ma500 (x2)> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-400
Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701

Offline aaronji

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2015, 04:39:16 AM »
^ I haven't found a cable longer than 6 ft...

As to power, I am curious about that too.  In the other thread Jon Stoppable said, "It wouldn't necessarily need that much power.  It's doable on less than 100mW."  So potentially low power, at least. 

Offline acidjack

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2015, 02:01:10 PM »
Another rough comparison. 16/44.1 sample of Phil Cook playing at Hopscotch Music Festival in Fletcher Opera Theater. Larry Tucker recorded the complete set with Peluso sub cards (form the balcony, but on an arm that made them much lower) which will be posted soon. This was on a balcony, recorded in raw M/S. I did nothing but decode the M/S.

https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc/phil-cook-hopscotch-shure-mv88-16441-sample
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline capnhook

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2016, 05:03:20 PM »
Niiice M/S decode.  Thing has a good use that way, 24 bit too....I'll get one for the bag.  Thanks.

Gaffer tape the phone anywhere.  Easy.
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Offline Thierry

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2016, 11:48:37 AM »
There is a recording of an AC/DC on Dime, taped with the MV88 - sound is killer.. I guess stealth taping is going to be so much easier with this device. Do you guys reckon it'd be better than my current setup?

CA 14s (card + omni) -> CA 9100 -> M10?

Offline acidjack

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2016, 05:57:36 PM »
There is a recording of an AC/DC on Dime, taped with the MV88 - sound is killer.. I guess stealth taping is going to be so much easier with this device. Do you guys reckon it'd be better than my current setup?

CA 14s (card + omni) -> CA 9100 -> M10?

I think the CAs probably sound better overall still, but the MV88 isn't far off and is easier to use for sure.
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline Thierry

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2016, 02:27:57 AM »
There is a recording of an AC/DC on Dime, taped with the MV88 - sound is killer.. I guess stealth taping is going to be so much easier with this device. Do you guys reckon it'd be better than my current setup?

CA 14s (card + omni) -> CA 9100 -> M10?

I think the CAs probably sound better overall still, but the MV88 isn't far off and is easier to use for sure.

Yeah that's why I'm asking, the stereo spreading of the MV88 is much better. Can anybody tell me more about the application? Is it possible to lock the iPhone when you are recording?

Offline sounder

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Re: Shure MV88 iPhone Mic samples and rough comparison
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2016, 01:17:40 PM »
hey ,thought id chime in on mv88 ,check out soundcloud dougluthernew recording1 rusted root smac full show mv88 m/s 90 frblfc gain12.5 db no windscreen tc sounder

 

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