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Offline Schr

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New Taper here !
« on: September 16, 2020, 02:02:30 AM »
Hi everyone, hope this message finds everyone well in these highly unusually and worrisome times !

Apologies if this is in the wrong section, but I couldn’t find the appropriate place to introduce myself!

I am a professional sound editor and recording enthusiast. In my early days with audio technology I did a lot of studio and live recordings of bands as the person behind the desk, and eventually ended up with a career in sound which I love. I am a sound effects editor for TV and film.

I’ve done a lot of recording for work but am now in a situation where I can’t use the microphones and equipment that my company own as I work remotely (although currently on a Covid hiatus)  and so I am starting to build up my own simple rig, mainly for adding to my sound library.

I stumbled across this forum reading discussions in my search for an affordable pre amp that would suit my new Line Audio CM3, as my homemade one (which was gifted to me and I have no idea who actually made it!) outputs A LOT of noise. I can see there is a lot of audio knowledge here and I can’t wait to tap into it to improve my understanding and make better recordings. The other mics I have on hand right now are the microphone madness bsm-07.

I always have a Sony M10 in my pocket and I also own a Tascam DR100mk2, which doesn’t get much use as I don’t particularly rate it. I think the size, onboard mics and noise level of the m10 is fantastic. (I’m interested to read further into the a10 vs m10 argument).

There you have it, look forward to delving further into the site.

Cheers. 

Offline heathen

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2020, 12:38:46 PM »
Welcome.  I encourage you to check out the Yard Sale.  You may find just the preamp you're looking for there.  I think you can expect to have a much better buying experience here than somewhere like ebay or Craigslist.  As long as someone has good feedback you shouldn't hesitate to jump on a good deal.

In the "Team Boards" forum you will also find a thread dedicated to the Line Audio mics.  Lots of good knowledge there, including first-hand knowledge about preamps to use with the CM3s (Voltronic in particular is someone whose advice you should give a lot of weight when it comes to the CM3s).

Feel free to ask questions!
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
Mics: AT4050ST | AT4031 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pres: CA9200 | DPA d:vice Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2020, 01:04:34 PM »
I would recommend the Shure FP-24 in the Yard Sale. A ton of people here (including myself) have used them to make excellent recordings and I don't think you can do better for the price.

Dsatz is selling one in the thread linked below.

https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=194118.0
Mics: nbobs/480+ck61/62/63; C568EB; MKE2
Recorders: MP6; A10

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2020, 01:50:28 PM »
I would recommend the Shure FP-24 in the Yard Sale. A ton of people here (including myself) have used them to make excellent recordings and I don't think you can do better for the price.

Dsatz is selling one in the thread linked below.

https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=194118.0

was gonna say this after reading the OP but you beat me to it. great performance for the money
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Offline Schr

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2020, 01:52:29 PM »
That’s awesome ! Thank you both !

The FP24 looks great and I can see it’s very popular in this board. If my set up was a cm3 > FP24 > M10 would that be sufficient for doing decent recordings ? I have seen people with longer chains than this, but my preference would be to keep it to a minimum.

I also saw someone selling an ART phantom power supply, and I was curious if this would provide a the mic with power it needed (reviews seem to say that it provides a clear sound) for a much lower price?

Cheers all  :)

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2020, 01:58:55 PM »
That’s awesome ! Thank you both !

The FP24 looks great and I can see it’s very popular in this board. If my set up was a cm3 > FP24 > M10 would that be sufficient for doing decent recordings ? I have seen people with longer chains than this, but my preference would be to keep it to a minimum.

I also saw someone selling an ART phantom power supply, and I was curious if this would provide a the mic with power it needed (reviews seem to say that it provides a clear sound) for a much lower price?

Cheers all  :)

If it supplies 48v, it should work with the CM3 mics. However, you'll then be relying on the M10's preamps, which are generally regarded as sufficient. Depending on what you're recording, they may be a bit noisy if gain is cranked. The FP-24 will stay clean throughout.
Mics: nbobs/480+ck61/62/63; C568EB; MKE2
Recorders: MP6; A10

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2020, 02:16:05 PM »
go with the FP24, small handhelds like the M10 sound great with a hot line signal

you'll have to experiment a bit to determine the input clip level of the M10 (use a sine wave fed to the FP24 and experiment with increasing the gain with the FP24 and decreasing the input

this review says the input is 'rated' for 2.0V input (assuming thats RMS, thats +8dBu which sounds about right for a handheld

this review is kinda confusing but look at the input level chart about halfway down in the review
https://kenrockwell.com/audio/sony/pcm-m10.htm

according to that the 2V/+8dBu input level is at 4 on the PCM-M10

the 3.5mm TRS 'tape out' on the FP24 clips at +11dBu so thats a near perfect match for an M10
https://pubs.shure.com/guide/FP24/en-US
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Offline heathen

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2020, 02:21:07 PM »
CM3 > FP24 > M10 is an excellent rig, and DSatz is a good person to deal with.
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
Mics: AT4050ST | AT4031 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pres: CA9200 | DPA d:vice Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2020, 02:53:54 PM »
Welcome aboard the Taperssection ship of fools!

[snip..]sound effects editor for TV and film.

[..snip..] I am starting to build up my own simple rig, mainly for adding to my sound library.

I too think the Shure a better fit for your stated primary use of populating your sound library.

If you need to keep your costs low and were are only taping concerts from the audience, the ART would likely be fine.  It is not nearly as solidly constructed as the Shure, and as a phantom-only supply it will power the microphones, but that's all it does. It will work fine for louder material where not much gain is needed and for things where its good analog limiters and high-pass filtering are not needed. 

For recording low level sounds cleanly without noise the FP24 preamp will be superior in that it provides lots of gain with a low noise floor, particularly needed if you ever use dynamic mics.  It's professional grade equipment that is built like a tank and provides other functions which are likely to be useful for your stated use, primarily it's high-quality analog limiter circuit and switchable high-pass filters, which helps accommodate highly dynamic sounds (bangs, crashes, sirens, gunshots, trains..) and windy outdoor conditions.  If you monitor using headphones while recording, it is also very well setup for doing that.  In addition, it represents "accepted kit" in the professional sound world, and is a buy once, use forever type of thing.

Personally I'd go with the Shure.. or look at new recorders (other than your Tascam DR100mk2) that provide phantom, sufficent clean gain, and the features and user-interaction you desire.  Give that second option some thought if compactness of the rig and simplicity of setup (mics>mic-cables>recorder) is particularly important.



musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline Schr

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2020, 03:34:13 PM »
go with the FP24, small handhelds like the M10 sound great with a hot line signal

you'll have to experiment a bit to determine the input clip level of the M10 (use a sine wave fed to the FP24 and experiment with increasing the gain with the FP24 and decreasing the input

this review says the input is 'rated' for 2.0V input (assuming thats RMS, thats +8dBu which sounds about right for a handheld

this review is kinda confusing but look at the input level chart about halfway down in the review
https://kenrockwell.com/audio/sony/pcm-m10.htm

according to that the 2V/+8dBu input level is at 4 on the PCM-M10

the 3.5mm TRS 'tape out' on the FP24 clips at +11dBu so thats a near perfect match for an M10
https://pubs.shure.com/guide/FP24/en-US

Excellent, thank you for that information! Does indeed seem to be a good match.

With the FP24 setup > m10 ... would it be possible to power my microphone madness bsm-7s, or would I want to just directly power them via the m10? The website for those days they require a Voltage from 1.5 to 10 volts DC.

Thanks for your replies everyone, already starting to feel like I’m getting my head around this more.  Many, many thanks.

Offline aaronji

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2020, 03:38:42 PM »
The M10 can take a maximum of about 2 dBu on the mic input and about 24 dBu on the line input. See the links in this post:

DSatz and guysonic did some measurements about this years ago.  Basically, the mic input can handle ~ 2dBu and the line input can take ~ 24 dBu.  If you are below 0 dBFS with the gain at 1 (line) or ~ 1.5 - 2 (mic), you won't brickwall.  See these posts:

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=130924.msg1722931#msg1722931
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=130924.msg1722942#msg1722942
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=154969.msg2014600#msg2014600
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2020, 03:43:41 PM »
thanks for digging that up. +22dBU is outstanding for a handheld. The A10 is like +11dBu
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Offline Schr

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2020, 03:50:41 PM »
The M10 can take a maximum of about 2 dBu on the mic input and about 24 dBu on the line input. See the links in this post:

DSatz and guysonic did some measurements about this years ago.  Basically, the mic input can handle ~ 2dBu and the line input can take ~ 24 dBu.  If you are below 0 dBFS with the gain at 1 (line) or ~ 1.5 - 2 (mic), you won't brickwall.  See these posts:

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=130924.msg1722931#msg1722931
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=130924.msg1722942#msg1722942
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=154969.msg2014600#msg2014600

What exactly does this mean? Does that mean the signal coming out of the preamp?

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2020, 03:53:13 PM »
With the FP24 setup > m10 ... would it be possible to power my microphone madness bsm-7s, or would I want to just directly power them via the m10? The website for those days they require a Voltage from 1.5 to 10 volts DC.

Not directly, but you can do so by using adapters that convert P48 (48V phantom power) to PIP (DC Plug In Power).  Those are typically barrel shaped and plug directly into the XLR inputs.  Alternately you could use a simple 9V battery box, which is inexpensive / simple to DIY.  That only powers the mics, yet with a more optimal voltage than the M10 provides, which typically increases the overload point and reduces distortion of loud material. 
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2020, 03:55:57 PM »
Chiming in to Welcome you! As we like to say, leave your wallet at the door to this hobby. (Although it's not as spendy as golf or boats)
We (kindms & I) use an M10 out of a MixPre (early Sound Devices pre-amp) which is functionally similar to the FP24. It sure is a great pre-amp and can run for about 5 hours on its own AA"s. (Which I think the FP24 can as well?)
Another thing yet mentioned would be your external power. We have found a single USB power bank to handle almost 24 hours of recording with the MixPre>M10 combo using p48. (of course we run the M10 with internal AA'S as it runs forever on them)
I will come back to type in the brand for you. Talentcell 8300. My apologies as well, I didn't realize you were looking for internal power only. M10/FP24 (or MixPre) fits the bill fer sure. Most folks around here dig the eneloop rechargaeable AA's.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 09:49:59 AM by rocksuitcase »
music IS love

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Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E|DPA 4060 SK
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline Schr

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2020, 03:57:28 PM »
With the FP24 setup > m10 ... would it be possible to power my microphone madness bsm-7s, or would I want to just directly power them via the m10? The website for those days they require a Voltage from 1.5 to 10 volts DC.

Not directly, but you can do so by using adapters that convert P48 (48V phantom power) to PIP (DC Plug In Power).  Those are typically barrel shaped and plug directly into the XLR inputs.  Alternately you could use a simple 9V battery box, which is inexpensive / simple to DIY.  That only powers the mics, yet with a more optimal voltage than the M10 provides, which typically increases the overload point and reduces distortion of loud material.

Ah ! This is what I’ve got! This is what I thought was a preamp but actually it’s just a 9v battery thing. It’s really noisy though.... is this something that could be fixed?

Offline Schr

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2020, 03:58:58 PM »
Chiming in to Welcome you! As we like to say, leave your wallet at the door to this hobby. (Although it's not as spendy as golf or boats)
We (kindms & I) use an M10 out of a MixPre (early Sound Devices pre-amp) which is functionally similar tot he FP24. It suree is a great pre-amp and can run for about 5 hours on its own AA"s. (Which I think the FP24 can as well?)
Another thing yet mentioned would be your external power. We have found a single USB power bank to handle almost 24 hours of recording with the MixPre>M10 combo using p48. (of course we run the M10 with internal AA'S as it runs forever on them)
I will come back to type in the brand for you.

Ace, thank you. I think primarily I will be using my CM3 for spot FX out and about (forest footsteps for example). I like the idea of using the USB bank but I suppose it does add to the clutter in someways.

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2020, 04:05:04 PM »
Chiming in to Welcome you! As we like to say, leave your wallet at the door to this hobby. (Although it's not as spendy as golf or boats)
We (kindms & I) use an M10 out of a MixPre (early Sound Devices pre-amp) which is functionally similar tot he FP24. It suree is a great pre-amp and can run for about 5 hours on its own AA"s. (Which I think the FP24 can as well?)
Another thing yet mentioned would be your external power. We have found a single USB power bank to handle almost 24 hours of recording with the MixPre>M10 combo using p48. (of course we run the M10 with internal AA'S as it runs forever on them)
I will come back to type in the brand for you.

This Talentcell battery ran my FP-24 all day at festivals:

https://www.amazon.com/Talentcell-Rechargeable-6000mAh-Battery-Portable/dp/B00MF70BPU
Mics: nbobs/480+ck61/62/63; C568EB; MKE2
Recorders: MP6; A10

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2020, 05:45:50 PM »
Ah ! This is what I’ve got! This is what I thought was a preamp but actually it’s just a 9v battery thing. It’s really noisy though.... is this something that could be fixed?

A 9V battery box is a passive component device (resistors and diodes only) and will not change the noise floor in itself, assuming it is working correctly and does not have a bad connection or is susceptible to EMI noise.  The noise is either the self-noise of the microphones, the gain stage of whatever they are feeding (presumably the M10), or the cabling picking up EMI.  If its steady, its probably not EMI. 

I suspect it is the self noise of the microphones.  Can do anything to improve that other than switching to quieter mics.

Note that there are PIP low-voltage preamps which provide gain, and being active gain devices they add some noise.  These are a common around TS for powering small mics as an alternative to a passive battery box, phantom adapters, or powering directly from the recorder.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2020, 05:48:26 PM »
We (kindms & I) use an M10 out of a MixPre (early Sound Devices pre-amp) which is functionally similar to the FP24.

I've not used both, but I believe they are identical.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline Schr

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2020, 08:20:50 PM »
Ah ! This is what I’ve got! This is what I thought was a preamp but actually it’s just a 9v battery thing. It’s really noisy though.... is this something that could be fixed?

A 9V battery box is a passive component device (resistors and diodes only) and will not change the noise floor in itself, assuming it is working correctly and does not have a bad connection or is susceptible to EMI noise.  The noise is either the self-noise of the microphones, the gain stage of whatever they are feeding (presumably the M10), or the cabling picking up EMI.  If its steady, its probably not EMI. 

I suspect it is the self noise of the microphones.  Can do anything to improve that other than switching to quieter mics.

Note that there are PIP low-voltage preamps which provide gain, and being active gain devices they add some noise.  These are a common around TS for powering small mics as an alternative to a passive battery box, phantom adapters, or powering directly from the recorder.

It has not always been noisy,  I have a recording from using it several years ago that is very good quality. Thus I’ve probably broken it in some way ?

Offline aaronji

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2020, 06:19:27 AM »
The M10 can take a maximum of about 2 dBu on the mic input and about 24 dBu on the line input. See the links in this post:

DSatz and guysonic did some measurements about this years ago.  Basically, the mic input can handle ~ 2dBu and the line input can take ~ 24 dBu.  If you are below 0 dBFS with the gain at 1 (line) or ~ 1.5 - 2 (mic), you won't brickwall.  See these posts:

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=130924.msg1722931#msg1722931
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=130924.msg1722942#msg1722942
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=154969.msg2014600#msg2014600

What exactly does this mean? Does that mean the signal coming out of the preamp?

Yes, the signal going into the recorder can be pretty strong. The CM3 has a fairly low sensitivity (6 mV/Pa), so it will only be putting out about -1 dBu at their spec'ed maximum SPL (135 dB). You would have about 25 dB of gain that you could add between the pre and the recorder and still accommodate that sort of signal level (which you probably won't encounter much in practice unless you are close mic'ing loud stuff)...   
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Offline hoppedup

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2020, 09:36:58 AM »
90% of my recordings over the last 3 or 4 years have been AKG391>Tascam DR-60D. I have never owned a preamp for xlr mics. I have also run direct into a DR-40 and DR-70D. With the quality of inboard preamps and small recorders that provide phantom power, I'd just use mics directly into the Tascam. I'll probably never own an external preamp for xlr mics. YMMV.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2020, 09:55:07 AM »
I think the OP is doing soundscape or sound effects gathering which is why he is looking for quiet pre-amps. IMO the M10 fits the bill recorder wise and this noise Schr is describing is probably as gutbucket surmises. Self-noise with the mics/or battery box malfunction.
What are the specs on those mics Schr?
music IS love

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Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E|DPA 4060 SK
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2020, 10:18:31 AM »
90% of my recordings over the last 3 or 4 years have been AKG391>Tascam DR-60D. I have never owned a preamp for xlr mics. I have also run direct into a DR-40 and DR-70D. With the quality of inboard preamps and small recorders that provide phantom power, I'd just use mics directly into the Tascam. I'll probably never own an external preamp for xlr mics. YMMV.

^ This is the strong argument for compact, portable, simplicity.  mics>mic cables>recorder

The CM3 has a fairly low sensitivity (6 mV/Pa), so it will only be putting out about -1 dBu at their spec'ed maximum SPL (135 dB). You would have about 25 dB of gain that you could add between the pre and the recorder and still accommodate that sort of signal level (which you probably won't encounter much in practice unless you are close mic'ing loud stuff)...   

^ And this is the reasoning for sufficient clean gain, provided by an external preamp or the recorder itself.

Following on rocksuitcase's soundspace/sound-effects gathering comment, to my way of thinking, "sound library population" implies a wide range of material and the need to accommodate a wide range of SPL dynamics - more so than live music taping, as the material presumably ranges from close mic'ing loud stuff, to close mic'ing of very quiet stuff to distant mic'ing of ambient stuff.  The dynamics of live music recording is generally more predictable and most often narrower.. excepting close mic'ing dynamic instruments.

If sound library population involves much "catch it the first time else you won't get it" situations without a lot of opportunity to set levels perfectly, capturing fast high-dynamic transients, etc, good analog limiters like those in the FP-24 or something similar may be important.  If there is the luxury of being able to determine optimal level settings prior to recording, good limiters may be less important.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 10:20:32 AM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2020, 10:21:08 AM »

If sound library population involves much "catch it the first time else you won't get it" situations without a lot of opportunity to set levels perfectly, capturing fast high-dynamic transients, etc, good analog limiters like those in the FP-24 or something similar may be important.  If there is the luxury of being able to determine optimal level settings prior to recording, good limiters may be less important.
This seems to be what the OP will be considering. I forgot about the actual loud noises or sounds which may be gathered in sound effects gathering.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2020, 10:36:02 AM »
Yeah, to me a primary difference between effects recording and nature recording is the need to accommodate lots of relatively close mic'ing of crashes, bangs, plinks, gun-shots in addition to good low noise performance.

The caveat is that I'm an amateur music recordist with little expertise in either of those fields!  Schr, keep in mind that amateur live music recording is the primary background of most everyone offering advice here, so consider most of our suggestions in that light.
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Offline voltronic

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2020, 12:47:16 PM »
Welcome, Schr!

I will add to the chorus of people recommending you buy the FP-24 DSatz is selling.  It's an amazing little unit, and runs a long time off a set of good AA rechargeable batteries (go for at least 2000 mAh).

A word of caution: Make sure you are using the 3.5 mm TAPE OUT to connect to the LINE IN on your M10; and not the XLR Line Out on the FP24.  That puts out a much hotter level which can overload the M10.


CM3 > FP24 > M10 is a solid combination I used for years (and still do on occasion).  These two tracks were recorded with that exact chain:

Mixed chamber choir; medium placement
HS women's choir; close placement (pardon the digital piano)

Also be sure to hit up the Team Line Audio thread for more info on those mics and related accessories.


Good luck, and happy taping!

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« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 12:59:14 PM by voltronic »
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Offline Schr

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2020, 02:33:40 PM »
Thanks all for the great replies.

I think the OP is doing soundscape or sound effects gathering which is why he is looking for quiet pre-amps. IMO the M10 fits the bill recorder wise and this noise Schr is describing is probably as gutbucket surmises. Self-noise with the mics/or battery box malfunction.
What are the specs on those mics Schr?

BSM-7 specs:
Frequency response: 20- 20,000 Hz
Signal to noise ratio: 62dB, 1khz at 1pa
Open circuit sensitivity : -35dB (5.6 mv) re 1v at 1pa
Dynamic range: 95dB, 1kHz
Maximum Input Sound Level: 105dB SPL , 1kHz at 1%

Indeed it is a variety of dynamics that I record. They can be very loud bangs etc, or they can be the must subtle of sounds - say the quiet swish of silk or the subtle movement of jewellery.

The reason I absolutely LOVE sound devices for sound effects is the noise floor (I've mostly used a 702 but we had one of the bigger ones too). Sometimes we are busy performing sounds as well as recording them, and the inbuilt limiter is great for when we take our eye off the ball, but the low noise floor gives a lot of room for turning up in post-production.
 
When I bought my cm3 I probably should have bought a second matched one so they could double as general soundscape recording microphones. Alas I have the MM BMS-7s and I have actually really rated them in the past for what they can do for such a low price, so decided against it in the financial uncertainty of covid! I use those to record bird noise, general forest ambience and the like. Occasionally I wear them stealthily (probably like you guys in gigs) and walk around trying to capture general chit chat whether it be in pubs, libraries, out and about town etc! That worked excellently going from the 9v battery box into a Roland R26 (my favourite handheld recorder, sadly I do not own). I suspect the noise I am hearing is indeed the general sound of the microphones - it is also heard when plugging them straight into the m10's line input.


A word of caution: Make sure you are using the 3.5 mm TAPE OUT to connect to the LINE IN on your M10; and not the XLR Line Out on the FP24.  That puts out a much hotter level which can overload the M10.


Another question for all you all you m10er's in the know... with regards to setting the input gain to "4" when using with a preamp... is this with the recorder set to high or low mic sensitivity, or does that not matter when using the line in?


CM3 > FP24 > M10 is a solid combination I used for years (and still do on occasion).  These two tracks were recorded with that exact chain:

Mixed chamber choir; medium placement
HS women's choir; close placement (pardon the digital piano)

Sounds excellent!

The caveat is that I'm an amateur music recordist with little expertise in either of those fields!  Schr, keep in mind that amateur live music recording is the primary background of most everyone offering advice here, so consider most of our suggestions in that light.

Totally understood :) I am very much listening to the technical advice and combining it with my experience of sound effects recording in the past 5 years or so!

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2020, 05:50:52 PM »
Another question for all you all you m10er's in the know... with regards to setting the input gain to "4" when using with a preamp... is this with the recorder set to high or low mic sensitivity, or does that not matter when using the line in?
The PCM-M10 line in sensitivity is not affected by the mic sensitivity switch.
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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2020, 06:09:54 PM »
BSM-7 specs:
Frequency response: 20- 20,000 Hz
Signal to noise ratio: 62dB, 1khz at 1pa
Open circuit sensitivity : -35dB (5.6 mv) re 1v at 1pa
Dynamic range: 95dB, 1kHz
Maximum Input Sound Level: 105dB SPL, 1kHz at 1%

Self-noise level is not indicated above, but can be inferred from the highlighted specs.  I'll do my best to decipher that for you, but the quantification of noise is complicated. If DSatz happens upon this thread, I humbly ask him to correct me anywhere I've gone astray..

A microphone's self noise is expressed in terms of equivalent noise level, most commonly as an RMS A-weighted measurement, less commonly as a quasi-peak CIRR / ITU-weighted measurement, sometimes both. The two measures give different numbers.  RMS is essentially the average level over a short time interval (good for characterizing consistent noise) and quasi-peak is the peak level within the audible range (better for capturing transient noise spikes which peak above the general average). A-weighting verses CIRR or ITU noise weighting refers to different filtering curves that attempt to provide a meaningful match with the human perception of noise at low levels.  Due to the differences in curve weighting and time-interval, a CIRR or ITU quasi-peak self-noise measurement value will be significantly higher than a A-weighted RMS measurement.  It's a more accurate estimate of actual human perception of the noise, but is less frequently reported because it doesn't look as good on a specification sheet. Okay, with that out of the way..

The Signal to Noise Ratio of a microphone is a measure of the interval between the level of self-noise (RMS, A-weighted) and a 94dB (1 pa) reference SPL.  The signal to noise ratio of BSM-7 is listed above as: 62dB, 1khz at 1pa. 94-62 = 32, so we might assume an (optimistic) RMS A-weighted self-noise level of 32dB at 1kHz for the BSM-7.   

We can't determine the more realistic CIRR or ITU noise level rating from the specifications provided, but consider as an example the miniature low-voltage DPA 4060 omnis I use, which are small low-voltage powered microphones like the MM's, yet more costly.  They perform very well and are popular with music tapers.  Their self noise level is specified as:

Equivalent noise level, A-weighted: Typ. 23 dB(A) re. 20 µPa (max. 26 dB(A))
Equivalent noise level, ITU-R BS.468-4: Typ. 35 dB (max. 38 dB)

^
As you can can see, in this case the ITU noise spec is 12dB higher than A-weighted.

Comparing self-noise A-weightings, the 4060 is significantly quieter than BSM-7 (nominally by 10dB but could easily be more), yet 4060 is not the quietest microphone available by far.  It is generally considered quiet enough for professional use on actors in stage-productions and for close instrument mic'ing for live classical concert use, yet not quiet enough for professional classical recording with the mics further away in quiet performance conditions without an audience.  In my experience it's self noise is not low enough for very quiet close-mic'd nature and environmental recordings that will be amplified and used at levels considerably higher than that of the original sound.  In such a case the microphone's self-noise is amplified enough that it does become apparent.  However, their self noise is low enough for all of my music recording needs including live classical music performed in specially built quiet halls with near-silent audiences.  In that case, the acoustic noise floor of the hall is higher than the self-noise of the microphone so the noise of the hall determines the noise floor of the recording.  The same would remain true if I substituted a quieter microphone. [edit- I'm not proselytizing for DPA 4060 here, only using it as comparative example, both in terms of specs and in my personal experience with its self-noise level]


A microphone's dynamic range is the difference between it's self-noise level (RMS A-weighted) and its maximum SPL level.   Since max SPL is always higher than 94dB, the mic's dynamic range will always be higher than its SNR.

BSM-7 has a specified dynamic range of 95dB @ 1kHz, and a max input  level of 105dB SPL @ 1kHz, before distortion exceeds 1%.  But 105-95= 10dB, not 32dB as figured by the SNR spec above, so what gives?  I think that has to do with the 1% distortion constraint.  The microphone can accept higher SPLs before eventually clipping, but only with increasing levels of distortion  Doing the math the other way, a 32dB A-weighted noise floor and a 95dB dynamic range suggests outright clipping at an SPL of 127dB, which is reasonable for that type of microphone.

Whew! Apologies for the long post, but thanks for the mental exercise.  I hope that sheds some light on mic self-noise.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 06:17:27 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Schr

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2020, 07:47:29 PM »
BSM-7 specs:
Frequency response: 20- 20,000 Hz
Signal to noise ratio: 62dB, 1khz at 1pa
Open circuit sensitivity : -35dB (5.6 mv) re 1v at 1pa
Dynamic range: 95dB, 1kHz
Maximum Input Sound Level: 105dB SPL, 1kHz at 1%

Self-noise level is not indicated above, but can be inferred from the highlighted specs.  I'll do my best to decipher that for you, but the quantification of noise is complicated. If DSatz happens upon this thread, I humbly ask him to correct me anywhere I've gone astray..

....

Whew! Apologies for the long post, but thanks for the mental exercise.  I hope that sheds some light on mic self-noise.

Wowza!! V interesting, go you. Is there a way that I can test this maths, by making a recording in a quiet room and looking at it in pro tools for example?

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2020, 11:31:33 PM »
Welcome! This is a great place, as you can see!
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #33 on: Yesterday at 10:00:34 AM »
Is there a way that I can test this maths, by making a recording in a quiet room and looking at it in pro tools for example?

You can set things up in such a way that you are pretty sure all other sources of noise are lower than the microphone's self noise - both those in recording environment and the signal chain, make a recording, then analyse the resulting file to determine its noise floor level.  That may mean finding the quietest part of your home, burying the microphone in a sealed box under a bunch of heavy cushions or something, turning off the air-conditioner and any noisy appliances and doing it late at night. Also need to know the gain through the recording chain, which you subtract from the whatever you determine the noise floor to be when looking at the waveform.

TS member Jerryfreak recently started a new thread dedicated to the measuring performance of audio interfaces and has expressed the intent to extend the discussion to DIY testing of recording gear in general. He's done a good bit of DIY microphone and recorder testing recently and posted about it in other threads here, and is better versed than I in setting up the correct testing regimen.  I'm interested in seeing a thread dedicated to DIY testing of microphones, and would love to see a new subforum for collecting threads on testing methodologies and results.
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Offline Scooter123

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #34 on: Today at 03:19:37 PM »
Welcome

The CM3s are one of the best microphones in the sub $500 range.  Very flat.  A little large for my purposes. 
Regards,

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Re: New Taper here !
« Reply #35 on: Today at 03:43:07 PM »
BSM-7 has a specified dynamic range of 95dB @ 1kHz, and a max input  level of 105dB SPL @ 1kHz, before distortion exceeds 1%.  But 105-95= 10dB, not 32dB as figured by the SNR spec above, so what gives?  I think that has to do with the 1% distortion constraint.  The microphone can accept higher SPLs before eventually clipping, but only with increasing levels of distortion  Doing the math the other way, a 32dB A-weighted noise floor and a 95dB dynamic range suggests outright clipping at an SPL of 127dB, which is reasonable for that type of microphone.

sadly, statement of this spec is not standardized. some manufacturers like schoeps list max spl at 0.5%. others like DPA use 1%

worth noting that, as peaks go, 1% distortion on transients is probably still not very audible
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