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Rycote Shockmount Tests: INV-7 HG vs INV-7; Cardioid vs Omni


Many of you know that I'm a hardcore Rycote devotee when it comes to shock mounts. I think they perform better and are more durable than anything else out there, as long as you use the model with the correct compliance for your mics.
There may be a bit of trial and error involved to find the right match. It needs to be soft enough that vibrations are effectively damped, but not so soft that the shocks become deformed and your mics are flopping around.

Much as I love their products, I have found that you cannot always trust Rycote's model recommendations for your mics.

I first fell down the Rycote Lyre compliance rabbit hole six years ago, as detailed in this thread. I only found out what was really going on after speaking directly with Simon Davies. The short version: Shore rating isn't everything when it comes to compliance.

From there, I did some experimenting with my Line Audio CM3s and determined that a pair of the softest 62-shore Lyres is what you need for the ultra-light Line Audio mics. A pair of those mics mounted in a lightweight stereo bar such as these from SRS needs only a pair of the 72-shore Lyres for effective damping.

The problem is that Rycote recommends the standard INV-6 with 72-shore Lyres for a single CM3. I can tell you from my experience that this will not give you effective damping. You absolutely need the 62-shore Lyres, full stop. You can swap in those Lyres separately, or you can purchase the INV-6 SOFT. I cannot understand why Rycote would recommend the stiffer Lyres for this mic, because they simply do not work here.

Recently I decided to do some testing with much heavier mics: DPA 4011A cardioid and 4006A omni. As most of you probably know, pressure omnis are far less vibration-sensitive than pressure-gradient directional mics so I knew that would be a significant difference right off the bat. What I found in my tests was not surprising, but once again I found you need to try things for yourself rather than just trusting Rycote's model recommendations. Rycote recommends the INV-7 HGmkIII for both the 4011 and 4006, but they also recommend the INV-7 for the 4011. These two mounts have very different compliance, so I knew only one of them must be the right choice.

I mounted all 4 mics on the same bar on my Manfrotto 1004BAC stand, with a 4011 and 4006 right next to each other on each side. The mics on the left were mounted in the INV-7 HGmkIII (68-shore Duo-Lyre) and the mics on the right in the INV-7 (72-shore single Lyres). The stand was set to its minimum height. First the 4011's - I did a voice announcement so I knew what was what later, then tapped the center of one tripod leg, the center of the lowest vertical, the top-center of the mic bar, then back to the tripod leg. I then swapped my cables to the 4006's and did the exact same thing.

In iZotope RX, I found the peak and RMS levels of my announcement from each recording and used that to roughly level-match the 4011 and 4006 recordings, then I exported just the stand hit portion of each file. As expected, the 4006 hits are much quieter. The results are attached. When listening, pan hard L for INV-7 HGmkIII and R for INV-7 or you could split the tracks to listen separately. I also included statistics and spectra for each file.

In retrospect, I wish I had level-matched and recorded all 4 mics together, but I think these results still demonstrate that the INV-7 HGmkIII is good for the 4006, but is too stiff for the 4011 - the INV-7 performs well for that mic.

For reference, a Line Audio CM3 weighs 31g, and a DPA MMA full-size amp with capsule weighs 160g according to my kitchen scale.


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