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Author Topic: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?  (Read 1344 times)

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Offline jj69

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Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« on: August 22, 2020, 01:15:15 AM »
Looking for the next step up from Church CA-14 cards.  Something more durable, to be used particularly for stealth. 

Requirements: it must be the same size or smaller than CA-14 (small enough to be clipped to a shirt collar), and should be able to run off a simple 12V battery box into a PCM-A10 without the need for a preamp (for loud rock shows). 

FYI, I've had bad experiences with AT 943 cards (steep bass rolloff). 

What else it out there worth using? 

Offline pillowman

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2020, 01:44:52 AM »
If you want to stay in the lavalier category I would go with a pair of AT853 mics.
For me the build quality is better and you have the advantage of interchangeable caps,
so you can add different caps for different situations. I think currently cards, hypercards and omnis are available.
for loud amplified rock stuff you need a pair with 4,7k mod or low sense mod however it will be called from the seller  :smash:
good luck and happy taping !
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Offline ero3030

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2020, 06:59:35 AM »
Go to the LMA and check shows out at venues u like to attend.   Check out different sources.  Something will sound good to your ears.  It's all about your preferences
needin some fishhead music!

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Offline guitard

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2020, 08:31:21 AM »
If you want to stay in the lavalier category I would go with a pair of AT853 mics.  For me the build quality is better and you have the advantage of interchangeable caps, so you can add different caps for different situations. I think currently cards, hypercards and omnis are available.  For loud amplified rock stuff you need a pair with 4,7k mod or low sense mod however it will be called from the seller  :smash:
good luck and happy taping !
pillowman

I bumped up from CA-11s to the AT853 cards with the 4.7k mod and was really pleased with the build quality (solid and sturdy) of the mics and how my tapes sound.

I got the AT853s new as part of a package deal (cards, 4.7k Y-cable, ext. cable, etc.) from TTS member tgakidis (Ted) in the yard sale four years ago for $200.  The cost has probably gone up since then, but I mention it as a reference point.
Mics: Schoeps MK41s & DPA 4060s (spares: CA-11 omnis and cards, AT853 cards)
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Offline johnmuge

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2020, 10:41:30 AM »
I agree the AT 853 w/ 4.7k mod is a great stealth setup for the price. I was pulling really nice recordings going straight into a Marantz PMD-620 with no battery box. Very stealthy and super easy to run.  I think the Nevaton MCE 400's sound better but they require phantom power and have full size XLR's but the mics are tiny. All we need now is live music to record.
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Offline jb63

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2020, 11:19:25 AM »
I agree the AT 853 w/ 4.7k mod is a great stealth setup for the price. I was pulling really nice recordings going straight into a Marantz PMD-620 with no battery box. Very stealthy and super easy to run.  I think the Nevaton MCE 400's sound better but they require phantom power and have full size XLR's but the mics are tiny. All we need now is live music to record.

I'd say this. Plus if you mod you PMD620, then you get a lower noise floor running mic in. I think I was running AT943 cards when I left this setup. I miss it, but not as much as I miss concerts.
this is definitely not normal

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2020, 01:53:55 PM »
I went from CA-14 cards to AT-853 w/4.7 mod as well, and have been very happy with the switch. I will say, though, that the difference in sound quality is negligible — I did side-by-side tests, in fact, and couldn't tell the two apart. The main advantage is build quality: I was having to replace my CA-14s every couple of years when the flimsy cable connections broke, whereas the AT-853s are rock solid.

Offline Scooter123

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2020, 02:32:41 PM »
The microphone is the single biggest factor in the quality of your recording.  If you seriously want to upgrade, go big or go home. 

This is what I did, I went from Church to AT Mikes to DPA to Schoeps. 

I listened to 100 of my favorite dowloads and made a note of the microphone used for each.  Surprisingly, Church mikes occupied a couple of those favorites, but what I found was about 30% of the best recordings were Neuman KM 184s or 84s or other varients; about 30% were Schoeps.  The Schoeps were easier to stealth, and there was an established group of Schoeps tapers with NBoxes in my area. 

I ultimately picked Schoeps and have 2 pair. 

But do the process yourself and judge with your own ears.  No one can tell you that a single microphone is best for you. 
Regards,

Scooter123

mk41 > N Box  > Sony M-10
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Offline jj69

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2020, 02:38:29 PM »
Thanks everyone.  AT853 is a great suggestion, and it reminded me of something... I actually have a pair of AT853 card caps and adapters that I bought years ago! I bought them to mount the caps on my AT943 bodies in hopes of solving the complete lack of bass in the 943.  Unfortunately, the 853 caps and adapters proved far too heavy for collar mounting. 

However, I now realize that I CAN use the 853 caps by mounting them in the little canvas case I use at venues with table seating.  I put the little case on the table and stealth record that way.  Frankly, they should be the perfect solution for table mount recordings! 

That still leaves me with no viable alternative for standing room only shows.  Although a bit large, I loved that the CA-14's are featherweights that could be clipped to the starched collar of a black shirt, making them invisible in dimly lit rooms.  I still need something for that scenario. 

If I were open to investing more money, what about the little DPA mics?  Do they make a card, or just omnis?  Can they be powered by a 12V battery box, or do they require a dedicated preamp? 

Offline jj69

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2020, 02:46:08 PM »
If you seriously want to upgrade, go big or go home. 

While I'm sure your advice is sound, I think you may be forgetting the stealth aspect.  Aren't Neuman and Schoeps mics pretty large, certainly larger than CA14?  Remember, I like to mount on a shirt collar, so weight is a big factor. 

I should clarify that my goal is not just stealth, but also convenience.  I'm just done with having multiple boxes and wires everywhere.   I like using the tiny PCM-A10 with Bluetooth remote, with a tiny SPSB-4 battery box (12V) plugged directly into the side (no wires).  The only wire is from the mics to the battery box.  Tiny, low profile, low aggravation. 

Offline Scooter123

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2020, 02:47:46 PM »
DPA are great for close in stack tapes and low profile. 

They make a card, but it is not stealthy as Schoeps, nor in my judgment as good. 
Regards,

Scooter123

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Offline Scooter123

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2020, 02:54:34 PM »
Aren't Neuman and Schoeps mics pretty large, certainly larger than CA14?  Remember, I like to mount on a shirt collar, so weight is a big factor.   

Stealth:  There isn't a venue that I haven't been able to get a full rig Schoeps + NBox into ever.  That includes Royal Albert Hall a day after the Manchester bombing where we were metal scanned, bag checked, patted down, and wanded, and I pulled a great tape for a three night run of Eric Clapton. 

Weight:  The caps are dense, but not heavy and fit into a hat nicely.  If clip ons is you only option, then DPA omins would be your best upgrade.  The DPA cards are too heavy to put on a shirt collar.  I don't like clip ons as the mikes actually are visible and in today's panic mode, if the guy next to you sees a wire and perhaps a red light, they call security.  So I want 100% of my gear under wraps.  I have a friend that was busted in a foreign country when a person next to him saw a wire or two and a red light.  He spent the night in European jail and the gear was confiscated.  However, the coffee was amazing. 
Regards,

Scooter123

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Offline daspyknows

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2020, 04:45:06 PM »
Aren't Neuman and Schoeps mics pretty large, certainly larger than CA14?  Remember, I like to mount on a shirt collar, so weight is a big factor.   

Stealth:  There isn't a venue that I haven't been able to get a full rig Schoeps + NBox into ever.  That includes Royal Albert Hall a day after the Manchester bombing where we were metal scanned, bag checked, patted down, and wanded, and I pulled a great tape for a three night run of Eric Clapton. 

Weight:  The caps are dense, but not heavy and fit into a hat nicely.  If clip ons is you only option, then DPA omins would be your best upgrade.  The DPA cards are too heavy to put on a shirt collar.  I don't like clip ons as the mikes actually are visible and in today's panic mode, if the guy next to you sees a wire and perhaps a red light, they call security.  So I want 100% of my gear under wraps.  I have a friend that was busted in a foreign country when a person next to him saw a wire or two and a red light.  He spent the night in European jail and the gear was confiscated.  However, the coffee was amazing.

For Royal Albert Hall you forgot that we played security and got in completely unchecked.  That was quite the job by the two of us.

Offline Scooter123

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2020, 05:23:21 PM »
You have play security with any kind of rig, be it Church Mikes, DPA, Neuman, or Schoeps.  So that is, as my accounting experts used to say, a zero sum game.

Granted, some rigs are easier to stealth than others, but I'm fine with Schoeps + NBox 99% of the time. 
Regards,

Scooter123

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Offline Humbug

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2020, 03:55:52 AM »
I use a solution that allows AT853 / with adaptor to ES933 or ES943 body to be collar mounted, and can take this to pm if you are interested.

DIN is even possible with practice.

Shame the adaptors are no longer available.
UK based taper: SPCMC2(AT831)>CA9100 / PIPsqueak>iRiver H140
AT933(853C)>CA9100 / PIPsqueak>iRiver H140/iRiver H108 CF mod/Sony PCM-M10

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2020, 04:00:25 AM »
Running AT853 caps (with whatever body, 853 or 943/933) 3-wire into a preamp gets great results.

I rate Church Audio CA9100 and CA9200 3-wire preamps very highly.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 04:02:18 AM by Humbug »
UK based taper: SPCMC2(AT831)>CA9100 / PIPsqueak>iRiver H140
AT933(853C)>CA9100 / PIPsqueak>iRiver H140/iRiver H108 CF mod/Sony PCM-M10

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Offline swordfish

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2020, 05:25:05 AM »
The microphone is the single biggest factor in the quality of your recording.  If you seriously want to upgrade, go big or go home. 

This is what I did, I went from Church to AT Mikes to DPA to Schoeps. 

I listened to 100 of my favorite dowloads and made a note of the microphone used for each.  Surprisingly, Church mikes occupied a couple of those favorites, but what I found was about 30% of the best recordings were Neuman KM 184s or 84s or other varients; about 30% were Schoeps.  The Schoeps were easier to stealth, and there was an established group of Schoeps tapers with NBoxes in my area. 

I ultimately picked Schoeps and have 2 pair. 

But do the process yourself and judge with your own ears.  No one can tell you that a single microphone is best for you.

+1

Offline mrfender

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2020, 07:46:49 AM »
Running AT853 caps (with whatever body, 853 or 943/933) 3-wire into a preamp gets great results.

I rate Church Audio CA9100 and CA9200 3-wire preamps very highly.

Agree. There are many more here with better ears and knowledge but here's my $.02 

Just picked up some AT853s to test against my CA14s earlier this year and ran them side by side once before the shutdown.  Build quality is better and the longer cable length is nice but non-stealthy.  To my ears, the CAs were a little warmer/fuller (mics >CA9100>M10) but the ATs were a little clearer (mics>AT battery box>DR05). Slight differences that could be the result of recording equipment.  Two shows scheduled for same venue in late Oct (hopefully) so more testing to be done.
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Offline MakersMarc

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2020, 08:35:36 PM »
I liked my CA14 fine, never let me down, when located close in a good room. When it became clear that I was going to be  >:D 90% of the time (and frankly, as Scooter mentioned, sneaking in schoeps, a bnb and deck isn't any harder than a Church rig to sneak in), I wanted better tapes. Much better. So for me, schoeps caps/actives>baby nbox>deck. Yeah its expensive, but caps can be had used, a complete  >:D package should run around $2500 new, maybe 2k if the bnb and/or actives are used. That's a steal and a fraction of what a CMC64v>Sonosax or VMS setup still would run you. What, 6k?

I also like the DPA 4061 tapes I've heard, but omni indoors as your sole setup won't always go well. And you won't pay that much less than the Schoeps setup.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 08:37:40 PM by MakersMarc »
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Offline jj69

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2020, 02:04:37 PM »
Humbug,

Please PM me your solution!  I have those adapters and 853 caps.  The weight was just too much for me using standard SP clips.  I'd love to see your solution. 

Offline Scooter123

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2020, 09:43:47 PM »
DPA sound amazing in a small jazz club and produce excellent close in stack tapes. I owned a pair for a year.

But once you get in the middle of an arena, they pick up way too much ambient noise for me
Regards,

Scooter123

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mk4 > N Box > Sony M-10

Offline edtyre

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2020, 11:10:35 AM »
Get a hat! No matter what kind of mics
you use, moving the mics to the top of your
head will get you the best results! Stop trying to do
what is easy and convenient and start trying to get
the best results you can. Moving the mics up and using
the proper pattern and spacing (along with the right capsule
for the location) is key to making better recordings.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 11:12:13 AM by edtyre »
music>mics>pre>recorder

Offline Scooter123

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Re: Can anyone suggest an upgrade from Church CA-14 cards?
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2020, 01:06:04 PM »
+1 for Ed.

Ed makes the best tapes out there.  I don't think I've heard a bad tape from Ed. 
Regards,

Scooter123

mk41 > N Box  > Sony M-10
mk4 > N Box > Sony M-10

 

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