Become a Site Supporter and Never see Ads again!

Author Topic: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL  (Read 6618 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ozpeter

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1066
Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« on: March 03, 2015, 09:55:10 PM »
In the DR-22WL thread, discussion has recently centred on the sound quality of its internal mics vs the H2N.  This has prompted me to run a test of the M10 vs the H2N vs the DR-22WL, with an expensive Sennheiser MKH series MS rig included as a benchmark.  How do the internal mics of these inexpensive recorders compare with high end mics?

There's two ways of conducting such a test - either you mount the mics/recorders as close together as possible and record simultaneously (which makes working with a live sound source possible) or you use them one at a time (which means the source has to be pre-recorded to eliminate variations in a live performance).  Right now, the second option is the only one I can choose.  There's a big downside, as recording the sounds of loudspeakers in a small untreated space gives less than stellar results no matter how you do it, but in this test I've included the high end rig as a benchmark.  In essence, a really good portable recorder would produce results similar to the high end rig (even though the result in itself is far from perfect).

The test file lasts exactly one minute and is a sample of jazz piano, bass, and drums.  This provides plenty of low (bass and kick) mid (piano) and high (cymbals) material to help reveal the qualities of each recorder.

In the SoundCloud file link at the end of this post, the first minute is the original test file (not through loudspeakers).  The second minute is the sound of the test file played through Tannoy 607 loudspeakers and recorded with a Sennheiser MKH series MS pair into a R-44 recorder.  The third minute is the same but recorded on the internal mics of a Sony M10.  The fourth minute is likewise on the Tascam DR-22WL and the last minute is recorded on the Zoom H2N (MS setting).

Recording speakers in a room adds colouration to the original file from the speakers themselves and from room reflections.  The purpose of the test is to determine whether, when compared to the "benchmark" of the Sennheiser recording,  the three recorders add even more colouration to the sound (most noticable in the piano) and how well they handle the lowest and highest frequencies. 

Note that colouration can be affected by the stereo polar pattern of the mics (if they capture more of the room then they are likely to capture more of the room reflection colourations).  The benchmark is an MS recording - the three portables use crossed cardioids, slightly spaced omnis, and MS mic arrays, so there you've got significant differences at the outset.  If you replay the test in mono you might avoid the distraction of the stereo image.

To help reveal the stereo imaging qualities of the recorders, the last five seconds of the test file has the right channel muted, so the sound should jump sharply to the left at that point.  Here the MS recordings excel, the crossed cardioids are not bad, and the omnis are pretty poor.

Don't make any judgements about noise performance.  There are no silent sections and in any event, the room in which the test recordings were made has a couple of PCs and several disk drives running.  In part two of the test (to follow in at least 24 hours) I will try to compare noise in a quiet room.

The best way to check the sound of one device against another (and against the benchmark) would be to download the file, load it into your DAW, split it at each minute, arrange each device's file on its own track one below the other, then play repeatedly while soloing each track for instant comparison at the same place in the song.

I won't comment further on my own views on the outcome right away but of course I do have an opinion!

Enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/ozpeter/shootout-single-file-no-fx

Offline Ozpeter

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1066
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2015, 09:55:34 PM »
Reserved for later noise test.

Offline Esla

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2015, 12:28:43 AM »
My first impression is they all sound pretty good!  Considering the 4 different types of mic configuration it is hard to determine if the difference frequency response is mic tone or room tone.  3rd Sony sounds the muddiest.  4th, Tascam didn't have the bass extension I expected from reviews.  Zoom image was most pronounced, perhaps clearer than the M50 and 22WL but left me desiring some beef in some kicks.  IMHO having only tried through one set of CIEMs thus far. 

I'll listen with fresh ears tomorrow.

Makes me confident in either the Tascam or Zoom for my entry level purchase.

THANKS!
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 12:33:05 AM by Esla »

Offline Ozpeter

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1066
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2015, 01:30:08 AM »
One way of considering the sound from any particular device is to ask yourself, "could I fix that sound in post production with a bit of eq?" - if the frequency response seems very uneven throughout, then it's hard to fix, but if it's a bit lacking in just the high or low frequencies (or there's too much) then that's often fixable.

Offline Gene Poole

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 104
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2015, 08:34:10 AM »
Jeeze I hate websites that autoplay as soon as you click on them!  Especially ones that make it difficult to even find the mute/stop/pause/whatever.  I just got glared at by fellow employees here in cubical land wondering: "Shouldn't you be working?"

Excluding the benchmark Sennheisers,  My ears like the Tascam DR-22WL best, but I think the Zoom H2N duplicates the Sennheisers the best, but that may be just because they are both M/S (What is the configuration of the others?).  The M10 is the least pleasing of them all to me.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 09:01:48 AM by Gene Poole »

Offline ilduclo

  • Trade Count: (4)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 4489
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2015, 08:59:58 AM »
2 work hints:

1) headphones, not speakers
2) NSFW means just that

 ;D

yes, they all sound really nice!
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 09:07:06 AM by ilduclo »

Offline Gene Poole

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 104
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2015, 09:26:55 AM »
2 work hints:

1) headphones, not speakers
2) NSFW means just that

 ;D

Well, my laptop has possibly the worst internal audio circuitry of anything "Audio" that I own. For my serious listening, I bypass it altogether and use an outboard USB DAC into Beyerdynamic DT770s.

Offline 2manyrocks

  • Trade Count: (12)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1646
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2015, 09:55:38 AM »
Directional mics should record sound produced by the speakers with less room reflections than omni mics.  M10 has Omni's. 


Offline Ozpeter

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1066
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2015, 05:15:19 PM »
Quote
Excluding the benchmark Sennheisers,  My ears like the Tascam DR-22WL best, but I think the Zoom H2N duplicates the Sennheisers the best, but that may be just because they are both M/S (What is the configuration of the others?).  The M10 is the least pleasing of them all to me.

Which brings up the interesting point, that what is most accurate isn't necessarily what you might actually prefer.  At the end of the day, personal preference and taste does come into it. 

Offline sperho

  • Trade Count: (3)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 43
    • AudioVisual
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2015, 03:25:39 PM »
Great comparison - thanks for posting.  Same room acoustics and same piece of music - always helpful!  This thread caught my eye because I have an M10 and then saw that a Senn M/S rig was used as the reference which is great, because after much hand-wringing I just placed an order for the 30/40 setup!   I'll have to cut the tracks like you said and do the real-time changearoo comparison like you mentioned...

Online Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

  • Trade Count: (9)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 9009
  • Gender: Male
  • I dream in beige.
    • sloppy.art.ink
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2015, 03:37:50 PM »
When I got to the Senns, I was thinking...wow those mics sound pretty nice...those internal mics samples are going to sound horrible compared to this...Damn, I was surprised. I would not be disappointed  with any of these recordings

Only complaint I would have is that this was obviously recorded in a ideal situation. I wonder how these would all work in a normal concert environment.

Good comparison though. I might have to try some comparisons like this myself, but in a concert environment. I'd love to compare my M10 mics vs. Countryman B3's vs. Nevaton MCE400's vs. Beyer CK930's. With the gear I have now I could record everything by the internal M10 mics at the same time. Mental note...try that next time out.
-24      -12              -6             0       OVER
||||||||||||||||||||||||||| []  
|||||||||||||||||||||||||||| []

||| MICS:  Beyer CK930 ~ Nevaton MCE400 ~ Countryman B3 |||
||| CABLES: Kind Kables |||
||| PREAMPS: Naiant Tinybox | Naiant Littlebox | Naiant IPA | Church BB |||
||| DECKS: Sound Devices MixPre6 | Sony M10 |||
||| PLAYBACK: Outlaw Audio RR2150 > Epos ELS8 |||
||| PHOTO: Sony a6000 | Sony 16-50 | Sony 55-210 | Rokinon 14mm | Rokinon 8mm |||
|||Concert History || LMA Recordings || Live YouTube Channel ||

Offline sperho

  • Trade Count: (3)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 43
    • AudioVisual
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2015, 04:08:10 PM »
When I got to the Senns, I was thinking...wow those mics sound pretty nice...those internal mics samples are going to sound horrible compared to this...Damn, I was surprised. I would not be disappointed  with any of these recordings

That was exactly my impression as well.  Sure, they all had some differences with respect to the original, but they are were quite useful if the purpose was to capture a generally, even if not necessarily critically, pleasing version of a performance.  Pretty amazing what kind of quality that $100-200 will put in your pocket compared to 20-30 years ago!  It'll be interesting to see what the noise test looks like...

Offline Ozpeter

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1066
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2015, 02:48:22 AM »
Quote
It'll be interesting to see what the noise test looks like...
I'm currently sidetracked by trying to remove a wasp nest in the garden (and nursing a stung hand for my trouble) - watch this space.... I suppose I should do a comparison recording of angry wasps...

My own view of the sound of the recorders is that each has a downside when compared to the Sennheisers - as you'd expect.  The M10 seems to me (and looks to me when running plots through Audition) actually to have the nearest frequency response to the Sennheisers, with the least irregular colouration and no particular emphasis on high, mid or low frequencies.  But I have my usual grave reservations about their stereo image, which for me throws the nice sound out of the window.  I believe that it's technically easier to achieve a smooth frequency response with an omni mic, all else being equal.

The sound of the Tascam device came as a surprise as to me it is a little (just a little) lacking at the bass end, and yet when previously I'd tested it using white noise and looked at a frequency plot, it seemed if anything bass heavy.  The upper high frequencies (or more precisely, the frequencies represented in the test by cymbals etc) are a bit bright and tizzy, and I think I hear a little extra colouration in some of the piano notes (notes sticking out compared with others).  Overall not a disaster and the stereo image is fine - for me, taking all things into account I prefer the overall result to the M10.

The H2N seems to me to be nearest overall to the Sennheisers - reasonable frequency response with no particular vices, and of course in this test it has the advantage of being used in MS mode like the Sennheisers, so you get a family resemblance.

Now wouldn't it be nice if there was a wifi version of the H2N with the overall frequency response of the M10.  Then we'd have the best of these three devices in one.

Of course there are dozens of other devices which might or might not be better than these - but I don't own them (yet...).

Thanks to posters so far for taking an interest.

Offline phil_er_up

  • Trade Count: (9)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1102
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2015, 07:46:11 AM »
Thanks for your time and effort. I had not seen this test and it is very informative.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 08:01:05 AM by phil_er_up »
Everyday is a gift. Enjoy each one!
Forward motion bring positive results.

Offline intpseeker

  • Trade Count: (8)
  • Taperssection Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 764
  • Gender: Male
  • In music the passions enjoy themselves
Re: Internal mic shootout - M10, H2N, DR-22WL
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2015, 10:11:43 PM »
This isn't at all scientific, but I had the M-10 in my shirt pocket for a small gig and was amazed at what it pulled. I wouldn't want to run it that way all the time but it was very 'listenable'.
Mics:        Akg 451 eb A51's, ck-1's, ck-2's, ck 8's
                Peluso CEMC6 MK2, MK4, MK21, MK41
                AKG 391
                CA-11 cards and omnis
Pre:          ST-9100
Cables:     XTC Silvers, DT47-12's
Recorders: ACM PMD660
                 Busman modded R-4
                 PCM-M10
                 DR-70D
                 Church modded R-09 micsketeer
“One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain” - Bob Marley

 

RSS | Mobile
Page created in 0.174 seconds with 42 queries.
© 2002-2018 Taperssection.com
Powered by SMF