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Author Topic: Schoeps VMS 5 U  (Read 4432 times)

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beenjammin

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Schoeps VMS 5 U
« on: February 10, 2015, 10:14:21 PM »
It seems as though the standalone preamp is becoming a thing of the past. That said, I wonder how the Schoeps VMS 5 U holds up today as a preamp. Are any of you still running this?

I record mostly nature and the odd street f/x. (I spend time in this forum because I learn so much from tapers and I've enjoyed many of your recordings.)

I've been running a Schoeps rig for two years now and love it. I have two MK2s, and one MK8, which I run through CMC 6 bodies. 

I have a few questions. I've long been interested in the active cables for the series. As I understand it, the VMS 5 U allows one to run active cables without the CMC bodies. Is this correct?

Also, I've read a bit about 60v powering to the capsules. As I understand it, this increases the transient response of the capsule. Am I right in the understanding that running active cables out of the VMS 5 U provides the MK caps with a direct 60v? If so, has anyone noticed a difference in sound quality?




Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2015, 11:08:55 PM »
Yes, running the 5u makes the bodies obsolete! You'd just run capsules>KCY>vms5u! I run a kcy only input version of the 5u, called the vms02ib! Whats nice about the vms5u is that you can run a kcy directly into it, OR run the capsules>bodies>5u as well if you don't have a need for the KCY cable ;) Eventually, I'd like to get a 5u, since it has a hardwired/permanent battery tray AND has the ability to run XLR inputs as well as the kcy input!

And yes, the vms preamps supply the capsules with the proper +60v of power, except the vms32ub, which supplies +12v power ;) All of the vms preamps have the same exact preamps in them as well!
Recording:
Schoeps MK4 (MP) & MK41 Capsules ->
Schoeps 250/0 KCY's X2 ->
Naiant +60v/Low Noise PFA's x2 ->
DarkTrain Right Angle Stubby XLR's x2 ->
Sound Devices MixPre-6 & MixPre-3 ->
SanDisk 128gb Extreme Pro & 64gb Ultra Plus ->
Westone G2 UM Pro 30 IEM's (Monitoring)

Portable Playback:
Campfire Audio Andromeda & Dorado IEM's ->
Linum G2 SuperBax & Bax 3.5mm | FiiO LC 2.5c 2.5mm ->
Shanling M5s & M0 | Sony NW-A35 DAP's

DAW:
Dell Inspiron 5570-5521 SLV Laptop
(Pentium i5/8gb RAM/256gb SSD) ->
Westone G2 UM Pro 30 IEM's (Mixing)

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/diskobean | http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/Bean420 | http://bt.etree.org/mytorrents.php

Offline StuStu

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 10:27:19 AM »
You could also run MKx>KC5>VMS5U since you already have the CMC6.
MK5, MK8, MK41, KM184D, CK77, B3 ---CMD 2U XT, KC5, KCY, AKI---KCY Tinybox, Ugly BB---AETA 4MinX, PMD661 MKII, R-26, M-10, MR-1

stevetoney

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 11:09:41 AM »
And yes, the vms preamps supply the capsules with the proper +60v of power, except the vms32ub, which supplies +12v power ;) All of the vms preamps have the same exact preamps in them as well!

This really isn't right.

VMS32UB has XLRs and provides 12V PHANTOM to the XLRs.  5u provides 48V phantom to the XLRs (as does the VMS52UB). 

So, I believe that a CMC6 body, which is capable of operating between 12v and 48v, would provide 60V of polarization voltage to capsules regardless of whether it is being supplied with 12V or 48V of phantom power. 

A CMC5 body requires 48V of phantom, so it won't work with VMS32UB, but would work fine from the XLRs of a 5u or a 52UB.   

So the nice thing about the VMS32UB for CMC6 owners is longer run times since it's providing 12V to power the mics instead of 48V.

Alternatively, I used one of Jon's PFAs on the VMS32UB and a KCY.  They received 12V phantom at the XLR end of the PFA.  I'm not sure what voltage the PFA sent to the KCY from the binder connector of the PFA.  I assume the KCY then provided 60V polarization voltage to the capsules.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 11:16:15 AM by tonedeaf »

stevetoney

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 11:27:23 AM »
It seems as though the standalone preamp is becoming a thing of the past. That said, I wonder how the Schoeps VMS 5 U holds up today as a preamp. Are any of you still running this?

As to your original question, the VMS absolutely holds up and there are a good number of people here on ts.com that still use them.  I'm a huge fan.

I personally don't think we've gotten to the point of the standalone preamp being a thing of the past, though I think we're at the front end of a transition period. 

Manufacturers are slowly improving the quality of preamps they're installing in all-in-one recorders, but the best quality preamps installed in all-in-ones are still only being installed in the top end products of the higher end manufacturers.  The price point of the best quality stand-alone preamps is still substantially lower than the price point of these all-in-ones. 

Once the price point of the all-in-ones with internal preamps that sound equal to or better than a VMS5U, PSP2, PSP3, V2, etc.  then you'll see the market for these used stand-alone preamps start to bottom out. 

Until then, there will still be a strong market for the top quality stand alone preamps.  I think there's always going to be some market for the best preamps just because top sound never goes out of style.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 11:29:19 AM by tonedeaf »

beenjammin

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2015, 03:30:35 PM »
Thanks so much for the replies so far.

I'm glad that standalone preamps are still kicking. I'm attracted to the versatility they offer in pairing up with various DACs and bit buckets.

To those who have the VMS 5 U: can you speak a little about its qualities? I've searched this board and others, and have found that many appreciate the preamp, but haven't found anyone speaking specifically about what it is they admire about it. I assume that its very clean and transparent.

Also, to Jon Stoppable et. al. regarding the 60V polarization: thanks so much for speaking to this issue. I need to do my research into the science behind this, so please forgive my ignorance. If I understand correctly, running the active caps directly from the VMS, and thereby bypassing the polarization stage, makes the mics more sensitive and less noisy. The motivation in my question comes from reading about Rens Heijnis's work in retrofitting mics with 60V powering. He and others claim better clarity (more of that inky black background) and image placement. I did believe that transient response was also improved but stand corrected.

stevetoney

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 04:11:29 PM »
Jon can explain better than I can, but I'll give my limited knowledge.  I'm not sure about the retrofitting you're talking about, but it's my understanding that the design of the Schoeps capsules spec polarization voltage is 60V.  That's what the CMC bodies provide.  It's not modded to that value.  Perhaps you're referring to other mics and not Schoeps?  As Jon mentioned earlier, the CMRs that Schoeps sells provide a lower polarization voltage of 40V.  Schoeps' official position on the effect of the lower voltage is that capsule response is not affected, but sensitivity is affected.  Therefore, with a lower polarization voltage, you might need to turn your preamp up by a few db to maintain the same levels, otherwise there is no change.  Again, this is Schoeps official position...I have no idea what others' independent opinions and/or independent bench testing shows.

Regarding the preamps sound...I found the sound characteristics of the VMS5u to be basically identical to the VMS52UB, VMS32UB, and VMS02IB.  Yes, it's a very transparent preamp.  It is very detailed, yet very balanced.  It's not overly bottom ended, but not overly top ended.  I find the presentation to be fairly aggressive and 'in your face' without being harsh or grating...and as opposed to preamps I've heard that are laid back and 'soft' with a smoother rounder sound.  I like the flavor because I can pick out the detail in my recordings, which for the type of music I listen to is defined by being able to hear the string vibrations within the notes of the bass guitar.  At the opposite end are preamps that that are less defined, where those same notes are very bassy and warm, but the note isn't so defined that you can necessarily hear what's happening inside of the note.  These preamps might be more for the bass-heads and might be more for recordings to shake the walls. 


« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 04:14:59 PM by tonedeaf »

Offline Craig T

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2015, 04:30:36 PM »
This really isn't right:


So, I believe that a CMC6 body, which is capable of operating between 12v and 48v...


 ;)  Sorry, couldn't resist.  But seriously, this bit of info came up recently since the Tascam DR70D provides 24V or 48V phantom.  So what does one do when faced with a Schoeps question... ask DSatz.  His response was that the cmc6 does not really operate between 12V and 48V phantom, it is specified to operate at either 12V or 48V phantom.  If presented with something other than those options, it will switch to 12 or 48V mode which may not be compatible with the pre/phantom source due to current draw.
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Naiant Tinybox v2.2 / NBox(P) / Apogee Mini-MP / Church Audio ST9200 / CA-UGLY
Sony PCM-M10 / Tascam DR-70D

stevetoney

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2015, 10:40:29 AM »
Thanks for the correction Craig...and for busting my balls for correcting Bean.  ;)

Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2015, 04:16:35 AM »
And yes, the vms preamps supply the capsules with the proper +60v of power, except the vms32ub, which supplies +12v power ;) All of the vms preamps have the same exact preamps in them as well!

This really isn't right.

VMS32UB has XLRs and provides 12V PHANTOM to the XLRs.  5u provides 48V phantom to the XLRs (as does the VMS52UB). 

So, I believe that a CMC6 body, which is capable of operating between 12v and 48v, would provide 60V of polarization voltage to capsules regardless of whether it is being supplied with 12V or 48V of phantom power. 

A CMC5 body requires 48V of phantom, so it won't work with VMS32UB, but would work fine from the XLRs of a 5u or a 52UB.   

So the nice thing about the VMS32UB for CMC6 owners is longer run times since it's providing 12V to power the mics instead of 48V.

Alternatively, I used one of Jon's PFAs on the VMS32UB and a KCY.  They received 12V phantom at the XLR end of the PFA.  I'm not sure what voltage the PFA sent to the KCY from the binder connector of the PFA.  I assume the KCY then provided 60V polarization voltage to the capsules.

Well said ;) That's what I meant though ;D

It seems as though the standalone preamp is becoming a thing of the past. That said, I wonder how the Schoeps VMS 5 U holds up today as a preamp. Are any of you still running this?

As to your original question, the VMS absolutely holds up and there are a good number of people here on ts.com that still use them.  I'm a huge fan.

I personally don't think we've gotten to the point of the standalone preamp being a thing of the past, though I think we're at the front end of a transition period.   

Until then, there will still be a strong market for the top quality stand alone preamps.  I think there's always going to be some market for the best preamps just because top sound never goes out of style.

I couldn't agree anymore! People will always be after a certain sound, and that's achievable with different preamps and mics. But I don't see standalone preamps going away anytime soon IMO! Now standalone ADCs, that's a whole nother story! ADCs have already just about died off!


Regarding the preamps sound...I found the sound characteristics of the VMS5u to be basically identical to the VMS52UB, VMS32UB, and VMS02IB.  Yes, it's a very transparent preamp.  It is very detailed, yet very balanced.  It's not overly bottom ended, but not overly top ended.  I find the presentation to be fairly aggressive and 'in your face' without being harsh or grating...and as opposed to preamps I've heard that are laid back and 'soft' with a smoother rounder sound.  I like the flavor because I can pick out the detail in my recordings, which for the type of music I listen to is defined by being able to hear the string vibrations within the notes of the bass guitar.  At the opposite end are preamps that that are less defined, where those same notes are very bassy and warm, but the note isn't so defined that you can necessarily hear what's happening inside of the note.  These preamps might be more for the bass-heads and might be more for recordings to shake the walls. 


You and I pretty much like the same bands and styles of music, and prefer the same Schoeps sound, and you hit the nail on the head in this one too ;) 8) The VMS boxes have a super defined soundstage, very detailed with quick transients, and like you said, have an 'in your face' sound that is hard to describe! My recordings are louder than my Littlebox while at the exact same levels, and the imaging is to die for! I lusted after a VMS preamp for around 15 years, and the mint condition vms02ib that I finally scored (Thanks to whomever hooked me up ;) ) will probably never leave my arsenal! I mean, how can you go wrong with Schoeps capsules>Schoeps KCY/CMCx>VMS preamp? They were frickin MADE for each other ;D 8)

To the OP, if you have a chance to get a 5u, DO IT ;) Also, if you're still on the fence, you might want to check out www.archive.org and bt.etree.org just to get an idea what the preamps sound like first 8) If I have the chance to get another VMS and I have the money(doubtful lol) then I would snatch it up in a heartbeat! Having [2] VMS couldn't be a bad thing haha :) 8) ;D And like Steve and I said, the preamps are SUPER QUIET!!! It would be a perfect match with your recording style of doing nature/FX!
Recording:
Schoeps MK4 (MP) & MK41 Capsules ->
Schoeps 250/0 KCY's X2 ->
Naiant +60v/Low Noise PFA's x2 ->
DarkTrain Right Angle Stubby XLR's x2 ->
Sound Devices MixPre-6 & MixPre-3 ->
SanDisk 128gb Extreme Pro & 64gb Ultra Plus ->
Westone G2 UM Pro 30 IEM's (Monitoring)

Portable Playback:
Campfire Audio Andromeda & Dorado IEM's ->
Linum G2 SuperBax & Bax 3.5mm | FiiO LC 2.5c 2.5mm ->
Shanling M5s & M0 | Sony NW-A35 DAP's

DAW:
Dell Inspiron 5570-5521 SLV Laptop
(Pentium i5/8gb RAM/256gb SSD) ->
Westone G2 UM Pro 30 IEM's (Mixing)

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/diskobean | http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/Bean420 | http://bt.etree.org/mytorrents.php

Offline ero3030

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2015, 10:17:07 AM »
To the OP.  Save your cash for a mic upgrade or to add to what u already have.   I paid 1,100 for a vms5u in 1999.  Nothing that special about it.  The kcy input made it pretty cool,  but with PFA's on the market,  your not limited too a VMS box for portability.  @ 2400$$ for a new vms5u,  not a chance in hell would i pay that now.    If u r in the market weather its for a pre or new mics,  u or anyone else needs to hit the LMA and lessen to a ton of shows with diff mics, pre's,  and diff venues.   Think of it like buying a car.  U can ask advice from a million peeps,  but it will still come down to what YOU prefer,  not what other peeps like.  If anyone buys a piece of gear just because other folks like it and not because you love it yourself,  thats f**ked IMO.  If u come home from a show and your recording isnt the thing u want to lessen too,  u have the wrong gear, or in the wrong hobbie.   Ed
needin some fishhead music!

" known for f**king up a good weekend on a Thursday nite "

stevetoney

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2015, 06:40:56 PM »
Everyone's entitled to their opinion.  It's debatable whether any preamp is worth $2400, but I think the VMS preamps are pretty special.  I've been a preamp junkie over the years and there's only two preamps that I've found that I like more.  But the key of course is reaching your own conclusion.

Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: Schoeps VMS 5 U
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2015, 12:59:06 AM »
Everyone's entitled to their opinion.  It's debatable whether any preamp is worth $2400, but I think the VMS preamps are pretty special.  I've been a preamp junkie over the years and there's only two preamps that I've found that I like more.  But the key of course is reaching your own conclusion.

Same here. The VMS and PSP2 are, IMO, the best two preamps out there for Schoeps!
Recording:
Schoeps MK4 (MP) & MK41 Capsules ->
Schoeps 250/0 KCY's X2 ->
Naiant +60v/Low Noise PFA's x2 ->
DarkTrain Right Angle Stubby XLR's x2 ->
Sound Devices MixPre-6 & MixPre-3 ->
SanDisk 128gb Extreme Pro & 64gb Ultra Plus ->
Westone G2 UM Pro 30 IEM's (Monitoring)

Portable Playback:
Campfire Audio Andromeda & Dorado IEM's ->
Linum G2 SuperBax & Bax 3.5mm | FiiO LC 2.5c 2.5mm ->
Shanling M5s & M0 | Sony NW-A35 DAP's

DAW:
Dell Inspiron 5570-5521 SLV Laptop
(Pentium i5/8gb RAM/256gb SSD) ->
Westone G2 UM Pro 30 IEM's (Mixing)

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/diskobean | http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/Bean420 | http://bt.etree.org/mytorrents.php

 

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