Gear / Technical Help => Microphones & Setup => Topic started by: refrain on December 26, 2017, 10:12:24 AM

Title: New singlepoint stereo mic (AT BP4025) or new recorder (Sony D100)
Post by: refrain on December 26, 2017, 10:12:24 AM

In a bit of dilemma here, I have a SD mixpre6, and use a pair of oktavas (MK012) with cardioid heads, and swivels for XY and ORTF stereo recording, inside a rode blimp, or AB stereo with a pair of primo 172 omni mics clippy matched version (48v).
I usually record concerts, voices, efx, etc, always indoors, where I can set tripods and calculate distances, for that the oktavas really do the job, with some help from the omnis.

But for quiet outdoor ambiences, not urban, but really quiet stuff, I was thinking about having a second recorder, a handheld one, like the Sony D100 (because of its bulit-in microphones)
that I can always carry around with me (I usually carry in a daily basis, the SD mixpre6 with the primos 172 omnis - they have rycote furry's - but its impossible to take them out and set them quickly for recording).

The other option was to use the same recorder I always carry (mixpre6) and have a AT BP4025 singlepoint stereo, with a rycote babyball, I know its bulky, and perhaps heavy, due to its head.
Any clues? How's the BP4025 stereo image and sensivity? For outdoor use? I left Rode NT4 out, for its heavy weight and bright sound, and the shure VP88 for noisy floor, huge size and price.
Without going into Sennheizer or Schoeps territory...

Thanks in advance,
Title: Re: New singlepoint stereo mic (AT BP4025) or new recorder (Sony D100)
Post by: mjwin on December 26, 2017, 03:14:15 PM
Ah, an either/or which straddles 2 forum categories!  I saw your other post, but replied here as what I have to say is more about mics...

I think that if you want something which can be carried in a (largish) pocket, and is ready to go at the press of a button, you've already sold yourself on the D100. It seems to get a lot of love for the quality of its in-built mics, but I haven't used one and I don't know how quiet they are for truly low-level ambiences. It's an all-in-one solution, & there's much to be said for that. The only thing that I would add, is that effective wind protection for these devices can be hard to achieve. How important this is, is absolutely dependent on your local conditions.

The AT BP4025 is a great mic for quiet ambiences. The sensitivity is 25mV/Pa or  -32dB @ 1Pa, (so about twice that of the Oktavas iirc) and it has very  low noise (spec: 14dBA, rough measurements on my sample: 10-12dBA). AT  has really worked on this design: the internal capsules are partially masked & set at 120 degrees, giving it a wide capture angle for all-round ambiences.  What I really like about this mic is that the off axis response sounds smooth, and I think that's quite an achievement.  The FR plot looks a bit scary, but in practice, when something moves behind the mic, it sounds good.  I have recordings of street ambiences where people have walked directly behind me chatting, and the result is a natural sounding soundscape with none of the phasiness or strange colouration which you often get with directional mics (here's looking at you, NT4!) 

But... (There's always a "but"). The central image is so-so, and the mic has no "reach" to speak of.  I don't really think of it as a directional mic at all, as there's also no rear "null" as such. Although this is good in my example above, and for ambiences in general, it's not if you're recording street musicians and want to cut out noise from behind. In fact, that's one of the few instances where I'd choose the NT4.
There is another "But", though this is more about mic configurations in general, and that is that the coincident XY capsules will not sound as open as ORTF. But then you've used your Octavas in XY, so you'll know what to expect.

The BP4025 does just fit into a Rycote BBG, but it's easy to press the body too far into the ball so that the head just touches the internal mesh with the obvious consequences!  Personally,  I find the supplied foam plus additional fur sock (AT BPF-2) a more practical compromise and, with a gloved and steady hand, noise-free recordings can be made.  The whole mic can then be stuffed in a jacket pocket when you're done.  But I live on a very windy island, and invariably find that a full windshield kit is a better solution, for which my (original) Rode blimp gets pressed into service.  So it becomes a fairly bulky solution, but less so than my spaced omni setup in two full windshields plus mounting bar & tripod...

The next option "up" would be MKH8040 ORTF in the Rycote stereo windshield. But, as you say,  that's "Sennheiser territory"!
Title: Re: New singlepoint stereo mic (AT BP4025) or new recorder (Sony D100)
Post by: mnm207 on December 26, 2017, 09:55:48 PM
Since the first reply to your dual posts is here, I'll answer here as well though my answer is more recorder oriented. Ignoring absolute sound quality, for me the usability and convenience aspects are paramount. (I recall the D100 vs BP4025 comparison came up in the D100 thread not long ago and centered on stereo image and sound quality.)

I can't comment on the AT mic as I haven't used it. But, I use a D100 as my everyday carry recorder and while traveling. I'm abroad right now (Seoul currently, side trip to Cambodia/Vietnam last week) and have my D100 and a MixPre3 + EM172 pair with me.

The D100 is convenient, quick and fairly inconspicuous--though I still get plenty of looks (furry windjammer, Movo shockmount + handle). It's "ORTF" and XY mic patterns give some flexibility to control the width stereo image. The sound quality is very good and the slightly higher noise floor (at least compared to my MP3/EM172s) isn't significant in the settings I've been recording--for very quiet ambiances it might be for you. If the priority is convenience and speed of set-up then the D100 would be (is, actually) my choice.

I brought the MP3 + EM172s (as well as contact mics) on this trip as I expected more time to work deliberately while in Seoul. I prefer the MP3's UI and like the wider stereo image that the spaced omnis allow for ambiances and the option to clip them to my bag for being stealthy. I haven't had that time to work deliberately, and the D100 has been stealthy enough. The MP3 only came out once for a 3 person interview (indoors, w/ 3 dynamic mics). A mic like the BP4025 probably wouldn't tip the usability scale in favor of the MP3, at least not for me.
Title: Re: New singlepoint stereo mic (AT BP4025) or new recorder (Sony D100)
Post by: refrain on December 27, 2017, 08:22:57 AM
Thanks for the answers,

Some of the doubts were really adressed, thank you.
I think the AT mic is somehow out of the equation for now (sennheiser mics is something in the horizon, probably selling the oktavas and keep saving), which leaves the sony as a quick "all in one" solution for the present.

But, I really like the SD mixpre6 with the primos 172 sound, detailed, low noise and very sensitive, but the setting up on the go is really a mess, cables tangled, etc...
I saw some pictures of a version with a spaced double primo heads version inside a rode or rycote blimp, it could be a way for now, but big for daily use...

Thank you once more... still scratching...