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Author Topic: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions  (Read 4028 times)

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Offline Ultfris101

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Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« on: January 16, 2014, 11:13:03 AM »
There are a few threads on this general topic but not much recently and I have specific interest that after talking with Page would be best satisfied with some decent, low noise transformer isolated splitters.

I want to do comparisons of preamps and recorders (anything in the gear chain really after the mics) and also have consistent redundancy.

It looks like I need to get two of something like the Whirlwind SP1X3LUNT Mic Splitter-L with Lundahl transformers (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/388467-REG/Whirlwind_SP1X3LUNT_SP1X3LUNT_Whirlwind_Mic_Splitter_L.html) or maybe the Radial with Jensen transformers (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/406291-REG/Radial_Engineering_R800_1022_JS_2_Two_Way_Microphone.html)

For comps this would allow me to run a single pair of mics through two chains for example one into a tinybox > tascam hs-p82 and one into usbpre2 > tascam hs-p82 or bypass external pre all together and compare to internal pres. I want to make sure this splitter has as little impact on the sound as possible.

For backup, rather than running second mic pair/pre/recorder, split to two recorders/pres in the bag for important shows (they all are in my opinion if I drag all the gear out and spend the time...) as an alternative to two full chains.

The Whirlwind box above is $238 on B&H and the Radial is $219. Not going to break the bank, but not nothing.

I'm wondering if anybody has experience  to share with these or other alternatives in these scenarios.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 11:33:48 AM by Ultfris101 »
Mics: Schoeps MK5,MK41 CMC6,KCY,KC5 | AKG ck63,ck1 C460B,C480B | DPA 4061 | Naiant X-R card,hyper | CA-14o,c
Pres: Sound Devices USBPre2 | Naiant Tinybox | Church Audio 9200, UBB
Recs: Zoom F8 | Edirol R-44 | Sony PCM-M10 | Tascam DR-2d
Video: Sony CX550(2), CX580, HX9

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Offline Ultfris101

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Re: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 11:54:51 AM »
So if I did this and called it a "Comparison" there would still be a robust debate. Maybe I want that? :P For the record, posting comps is really not my goal but will be happy to share samples with anybody who's interested if I pursue this.

It makes sense the the phantom source would still be a variable so switching that around if both gear pieces have the ability to turn p48 on and off would be necessary. Good point. thanks.

Recording as a hobby is already an expensive endeavor. This just seems like a way to eliminate the mics as a variable (saving money over an identical pair of MK5's and CMC6s for example) so I can educate myself on what impact the other variables have.

The other goal of duplicating mic signal to separate recording chains is important as well and would be a longer term regular use anyway. I'm coming to consider a second rig a necessity like I do data backups and home or liability insurance.

Recently I ran mics directly into a Tascam HS-P82 for a monthly show where I have consistently run either akgs or schoeps through tinyboxes to an R-44. I was surprised how different (not necessarily better or worse!) it sounded tho I probably shouldn't have been. With my limited experience I haven't had opportunity to really hear differences in pres and recorders. On top of it there are different FOH guys running the board for the recent show vs the previous ones so that's another factor that got me thinking about a more direct comparison under otherwise same conditions.
Mics: Schoeps MK5,MK41 CMC6,KCY,KC5 | AKG ck63,ck1 C460B,C480B | DPA 4061 | Naiant X-R card,hyper | CA-14o,c
Pres: Sound Devices USBPre2 | Naiant Tinybox | Church Audio 9200, UBB
Recs: Zoom F8 | Edirol R-44 | Sony PCM-M10 | Tascam DR-2d
Video: Sony CX550(2), CX580, HX9

LMA: http://archive.org/bookmarks/ultfris101

Offline ScoobieKW

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Re: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 12:20:39 PM »
any transformer will color the sound, the good ones will color less.

for your test purposes, the Whirlwind with it's two transformer isolated outs will be better as the same transformer is used for both of it's isolated outs, giving you one less variable in your test chain.

However, to do this, you will need a phantom power supply before the split. Again, the advantage is you are eliminating a variable.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 12:22:18 PM by ScoobieKW »
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Offline ScoobieKW

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Re: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 01:20:32 PM »
Usually isolated outputs are designed not to pass phantom power, so if you used two isolated outputs you'd need an external power supply between the mic and the splitter (if using condenser mics of course).

That's what I said. To clarify. Ideal test rig for your purposes.

Mic > cable > P48 supply > Splitter with two isolated outs > Recorder A and > Recorder B

This way the only difference  between the two recordings is the recorder/preamp.
Busman BSC1, AT853 (O,C),KAM i2 Chuck Mod (C), Nak 300 (C),
M10, UA-5, US-1800, Presonus Firepod

http://kennedy-williams.net/scoobiesnax/

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Re: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 02:36:35 PM »
Mic > cable > P48 supply > Splitter with two isolated outs

Yeah, I spaced on that last night, a deneke ps2 is the easiest way to do that, maybe others though.

I told him about the isolated splits as I figured that would be better than just pigtail cabling with P48 only turned on with one unit (then you would need to make sure that you have a system that can handle p48 on the line that it didn't source, and also a funky load with two different units).
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Re: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 03:15:01 PM »
Ok, so what about pig tails and phantom blockers (as a safety mechanism) on one cable exit?
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

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Re: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 04:54:12 PM »
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

Online DSatz

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Re: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2014, 10:52:45 PM »
If you want to make listening comparisons of mike preamps, one way would be to get a test head that lets you inject signals into the microphone body. Then you can play back whatever recorded signals you want through test head into the microphone's electronics and from there, into the preamps that you want to compare, record the results, and listen or measure all you want. That's the only way I know to really present the exact same microphone signals to different preamps.

You could even split the signal, use it to feed two test heads and two microphone amplifiers, invert the polarity of the output from one of the preamps, sum them and see if you can make them null each other out. That's a good way to isolate any differences.

music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline Ultfris101

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Re: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 07:52:11 PM »
thanks for all the input. This helps. I was seeing the PS-2 mentioned in other threads and now I see how it fits in.

If you want to make listening comparisons of mike preamps, one way would be to get a test head that lets you inject signals into the microphone body. Then you can play back whatever recorded signals you want through test head into the microphone's electronics and from there, into the preamps that you want to compare, record the results, and listen or measure all you want. That's the only way I know to really present the exact same microphone signals to different preamps.

You could even split the signal, use it to feed two test heads and two microphone amplifiers, invert the polarity of the output from one of the preamps, sum them and see if you can make them null each other out. That's a good way to isolate any differences.

So for a controlled source that can be repeated I can see this being the only way. For tests at home to get comparable results across a wider range of gear this would be the way to go. This doesn't sound cheap and probably not something I'll invest in, but for educational purposes, have any links for these?

This touches on another line of thought I've had such as recording some artificial sound source that can be reproduced consistently. The idea of recording the same track on a CDplayed  through speakers or line in and compare results to the original. Not like recording a live classical ensemble but running a band through amps > soundboard > PA is not exactly recording a live ensemble either. And at least it would be consistent.
Mics: Schoeps MK5,MK41 CMC6,KCY,KC5 | AKG ck63,ck1 C460B,C480B | DPA 4061 | Naiant X-R card,hyper | CA-14o,c
Pres: Sound Devices USBPre2 | Naiant Tinybox | Church Audio 9200, UBB
Recs: Zoom F8 | Edirol R-44 | Sony PCM-M10 | Tascam DR-2d
Video: Sony CX550(2), CX580, HX9

LMA: http://archive.org/bookmarks/ultfris101

Online DSatz

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Re: Mic signal splitters - experience/opinions
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 08:55:20 AM »
Decades ago, microphone test heads were standard products that any decent-size studio would have on hand for use by their staff maintenance engineers. But the technology and (even more) the economics of the studio business have changed since then. The only manufacturer I know of that still makes test heads (a/k/a "measurement adapters") available to the general public is Schoeps; the one for the Colette series is called the MEC.

Neumann used to sell test heads for their various models up through the fet 80 series (MA 87 for the U 87, MA 84 for the KM 83/84/85, etc.), but hasn't done so since they started building their microphones with custom integrated circuits in the 1980s. I've never seen test heads on an AKG price list, but I'm sure they were available behind the scenes "back in the day." Perhaps they and other manufacturers can be approached with private requests; they all have to make them for their QA and repair departments to use, and many manufacturers have overseas repair stations, so it's a question they all have to deal with one way or another. They might even be persuaded to lend you one. Smaller, less mass-production-y companies can sometimes be surprisingly flexible.

Alternatively, with some care test heads can be improvised. Electrically they are just series capacitors with the same capacitance as the capsules they're meant to replace. The mechanical construction (w/r/t shielding and stray capacitance) is important, especially given the ultra-high impedance of a condenser microphone's input stage, but it doesn't need to be the ultimate concern for listening tests where the noise floor or the lowest possible distortion aren't the main issues.

--best regards
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 10:27:07 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

 

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