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Author Topic: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch  (Read 2825 times)

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Offline Emskidoodlepip

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Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« on: August 08, 2021, 03:06:13 PM »
Hi there—total newbie here glad to find such a welcoming community of tapers. I'm ever so sorry if I'm clogging the board with more typical newbie spam; I struggled to find similar up-to-date posts that would answer my question and I didn't want to necrobump, hence this new thread.

I'm cutting my losses (after too long selfishly attending shows and hoping that somebody else would put in the work and record for me) and finally getting into taping myself, and was hoping if anybody could advise. I'm posting in the Microphones sub-forum because it seems like that's the most variable part of a setup and I can "botch on" a recording device later, but I'm aware of my ignorance here so please do correct me here! Anyway, my criteria are:
  • I'm looking for a stealth setup ideally. I'd love a more open taping situation, but I'm from the U.K. where many venues sadly look down on taping, so I'd rather stick to stealth;
  • I'm also interested in low-sensitivity mics, as many shows I watch really push it volume-wise, around 120-125dB, and I often find myself watching from the very front;
  • As mentioned above, I live in the U.K., which in my experience creates difficulties in finding good kit, since most recommendations for sellers on this forum, of course, are over in America—so sellers over here would be very appreciated;
  • My budget is around £200-250 (in US$ that's about 275-350, I think?) for the entire setup, from microphone to storage device. I'd definitely really struggle to exceed that, but if you think that a particular bit of gear is worth the extra push I can give it a try!

I did see recommendations for not-too-dissimilar things elsewhere in the forum, but being sold on the other side of the world from me makes purchasing difficult, and with a differing budget perhaps I could do better for my money!

Offline DSatz

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2021, 09:37:46 PM »
If those are the actual sound levels, your hearing will be severely damaged by them, and by far the best favor that any of us can do for you is to convince you to stand farther back.
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline morst

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2021, 03:21:47 AM »
  • I'm also interested in low-sensitivity mics, as many shows I watch really push it volume-wise, around 120-125dB, and I often find myself watching from the very front;




If those are the actual sound levels, your hearing will be severely damaged by them, and by far the best favor that any of us can do for you is to convince you to stand farther back.
These concert taper types, well sometimes they wanna be where they wanna be, I guess???


EARPLUGS might help if there is anything left of your hearing!

I sure hope those numbers reflect peaks and not average- that's like aircraft noise or a hammer pounding a nail.


If you wear earplugs which knock off -30dB it still peaks at 95 dB.

Offline Emskidoodlepip

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2021, 04:35:38 AM »
Quote
If those are the actual sound levels, your hearing will be severely damaged by them, and by far the best favor that any of us can do for you is to convince you to stand farther back.

Thank you... I honestly appreciate the concern! I make sure to be wearing pretty serious ear plugs and I give my ears a good break from noise afterwards. Most shows obviously aren't quite that level, but bands like Sunn O))) or Swans won't really dip far below 120dB much.

That's definitely a reason why I've been struggling to find apt mics—many recommendations seem to mainly consider quieter shows. I'm guessing that versatility in a microphone from these types of very loud shows to quieter ones isn't really going to exist in good quality? If that's the case, I'd rather prioritise the loud ones, if that helps.

Offline if_then_else

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2021, 05:57:24 AM »
Quote
If those are the actual sound levels, your hearing will be severely damaged by them, and by far the best favor that any of us can do for you is to convince you to stand farther back.

Thank you... I honestly appreciate the concern! I make sure to be wearing pretty serious ear plugs and I give my ears a good break from noise afterwards. Most shows obviously aren't quite that level, but bands like Sunn O))) or Swans won't really dip far below 120dB much.

That's definitely a reason why I've been struggling to find apt mics—many recommendations seem to mainly consider quieter shows. I'm guessing that versatility in a microphone from these types of very loud shows to quieter ones isn't really going to exist in good quality? If that's the case, I'd rather prioritise the loud ones, if that helps.

A set of low-sense modded SP-CMC-4U (AT-853U) microphones should be sufficient for your purposes unless you're stack-taping at these ultra-loud shows. I've used them on some Part Chimp and Amenra sets (if only as my backup mics) and, at least SPL-wise, these bands are in the same league.
You might find these occasionally in the Yard Sale (even from Europe). But you will want to make sure they're actually low-sense modded.

I've used my MBHO actives (KA-300-NBs) + "Baby N'box" at a Stephen O'Malley solo set in June with great results. But, obviously. he wasn't nearly as loud as the full band. And the actives setup will definitely exceed your budget.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2021, 06:02:45 AM by if_then_else »

Offline Emskidoodlepip

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2021, 09:16:14 AM »
Quote
A set of low-sense modded SP-CMC-4U (AT-853U) microphones should be sufficient for your purposes[...]

That makes sense—thank you! I had been looking at the SP-CMC-4Us, but was mainly confused by SP's page as a newbie: I couldn't tell if the low-sense mod alone would give a sufficiently high SPL or if the AT8531/8s would be needed also, as the latter seem like they may put me well over budget, being almost as dear as the mics. Hmm.

Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2021, 01:06:33 PM »
Pretty sure the modded AT-853s will be fine, just make sure you use a battery box as well. I'll always rep the Church Audio stuff as well, but I know he's got a bit of a bad rap around here and is slowing down/stopping his mic production
Mics: Berliner CM-33, CA-14 card, CA-11 card & omni, AT-853, Sony ECM-907
Recorders: Tascam DR-60D, Tascam DR-05, Sony Hi-MD

Offline Emskidoodlepip

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2021, 05:28:28 AM »
Thanks so much for the help. So, a pair of low-sense (but otherwise unmodified) SP-CMC-4Us plugged into a single-stereo-input SP-SPSB-8-MKII in turn plugged into something like a H4n Pro would be an appropriate setup for 120ish dB shows for a 350ish US$ budget? Obviously the Zoom would put it over-budget but if it's the best low-budget solution for gain/ADC/storage in 2021 (how I mourn DAT...) then I'll gladly grab one on my next paycheque.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2021, 05:54:09 AM by Emskidoodlepip »

Offline if_then_else

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2021, 05:46:35 AM »
Thanks so much for the help. So, a pair of low-sense (but otherwise unmodified) SP-CMC-4Us plugged into a single-stereo-input SP-SPSB-8-MKII in turn plugged into something like a H4n Pro would be an appropriate setup for 120ish dB shows for a 350ish US$ budget? Obviously the Zoom would put it over-budget but if it's the best solution for gain/ADC/storage in 2021 (how I mourn DAT...) then I'll gladly grab one on my next paycheque.

Actually, the low-sense mod is built into the stereo jack.

You would need a separate battery box or preamp to go line-in on your recorder. Without the battery box / preamp, your mics might not be adequately powered for the high SPLs to be expected.

I've sold my SP-CMC-4Us years ago, but the pics are still in the Yard Sale (just to give you an impression).
https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=182219.msg2229514#msg2229514

Have a look in the Yard Sale section of the site first, in case there are any current offers from Europe (mics, battery boxes / preamps, recorders).
I might even have an old Marantz PMD620 deck lying around somewhere in my gear locker.

Offline Emskidoodlepip

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2021, 06:09:18 AM »
Quote
Actually, the low-sense mod is built into the stereo jack.

Quote
I've sold my SP-CMC-4Us years ago, but the pics are still in the Yard Sale (just to give you an impression).

I really appreciate the detailed response and helpful pictures! Thank you for clarifying the low-sense mod—I understand now.

Quote
You would need a separate battery box or preamp to go line-in on your recorder. Without the battery box / preamp, your mics might not be adequately powered for the high SPLs to be expected.

Apologies, as research and try as I might I'm still struggling to get my head fully around the most ideal way to power something like this: you're saying that the SP-SPSB-8-MKII (or SP-SPSB-10?) battery boxes would be insufficient alone and I'd need another battery box for my recorder? I'd seen "SP-CMC-4U > SP-SPSB-10 > recorder" recommended as a setup elsewhere, so I'd assumed that that would work in all contexts.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2021, 06:16:23 AM by Emskidoodlepip »

Offline if_then_else

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2021, 07:59:22 AM »
Quote
Actually, the low-sense mod is built into the stereo jack.

Quote
I've sold my SP-CMC-4Us years ago, but the pics are still in the Yard Sale (just to give you an impression).

I really appreciate the detailed response and helpful pictures! Thank you for clarifying the low-sense mod—I understand now.

Quote
You would need a separate battery box or preamp to go line-in on your recorder. Without the battery box / preamp, your mics might not be adequately powered for the high SPLs to be expected.

Apologies, as research and try as I might I'm still struggling to get my head fully around the most ideal way to power something like this: you're saying that the SP-SPSB-8-MKII (or SP-SPSB-10?) battery boxes would be insufficient alone and I'd need another battery box for my recorder? I'd seen "SP-CMC-4U > SP-SPSB-10 > recorder" recommended as a setup elsewhere, so I'd assumed that that would work in all contexts.


No. With "insufficient"  I was referring to plug-in power provided by the recorder (e.g. via mic-in).
Any 9V battery box or pre-amp should do the trick. SoundProfessionals, Church Audio, whatever.

Offline DSatz

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2021, 09:08:19 AM »
Emskidoodlepip, maybe you would mourn DAT less if you had, like, 200+ decades-old tapes that you needed to transfer ASAP on your own time, especially with the dwindling supply of reliable playback decks. It was never a physically robust recording medium or especially, an archival medium. But yes, in its day it was a huge step forward in convenience during recording compared, for example, with the PCM-F1 + SL-2000 combination that I used before.

(OK, I now step back and declare this thread no longer adrift.)
« Last Edit: August 10, 2021, 09:18:03 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline Emskidoodlepip

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2021, 09:52:10 AM »
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Emskidoodlepip, maybe you would mourn DAT less if you had, like, 200+ decades-old tapes that you needed to transfer ASAP on your own time, especially with the dwindling supply of reliable playback decks. It was never a physically robust recording medium or especially, an archival medium. But yes, in its day it was a huge step forward in convenience during recording compared, for example, with the PCM-F1 + SL-2000 combination that I used before.

Haha, well put. I s'pose that I was ignoring the whole playback aspect which is rather vital!

Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2021, 10:01:28 AM »
I’m not sure the h4n is a great stealth deck. Looks very bulky and obvious to me... something with a form factor closer to a Sony m10 or a10 would probably make more sense
Mics: Berliner CM-33, CA-14 card, CA-11 card & omni, AT-853, Sony ECM-907
Recorders: Tascam DR-60D, Tascam DR-05, Sony Hi-MD

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Stealth low-sensitivity setup from scratch
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2021, 10:43:02 AM »
I’m not sure the h4n is a great stealth deck. Looks very bulky and obvious to me... something with a form factor closer to a Sony m10 or a10 would probably make more sense

The A10 is crazy small and controllable over Bluetooth on a phone app, which has been a game-changer for me, since it can just sit in my pocket, in a bag, on a ledge, wherever, and I never have to touch it for the course of a show.

 

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