Anyone used a Shure VP88 stereo mic?

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The Sony ECM-S5 does all of that and is better sounding and
quieter. I have both and prefer the Sony. The Shure is harsh
and gritty compared to the Sony. At least mine is.
 
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Jim Gilliland wrote:
> Kurt Albershardt wrote:
>
>
>> How about an Audio-Technica AT825?
>
>
> Yes, I've mentioned that one a couple of times in this thread already.


Noticed that after I replied, sorry.



> It may well turn out to be a reasonable choice. Of all the stereo mics
> on the market, that's the one that I'm most familiar with.

It's the only one I'm familiar with in the $300-1000 bracket. Seems
like we could use a few more contenders in the mid-price range.
 
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Bob Cain <arcane@arcanemethods.com> wrote:
>Jim Gilliland wrote:
>
>> The Crown SASS-P is basically two PZM's mounted back to back, providing
>> a very wide pattern at high frequencies, and approaching omni at low
>> frequencies. It's a bit cheaper than the Shure, but not a lot cheaper.
>
>Ah, it _is_ a baffle separated omni pair. That won't reduce
>well to mono.

It's close enough that it reduces pretty well. There are comb filtering
issues in the top octave, but no worse than ORTF. You'll never notice it
on FM radio where the top octave is screwy from the subcarrier rejection
anyway.
--scott

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Bob Cain <arcane@arcanemethods.com> wrote:
>Scott Dorsey wrote:
>
>> This is the case for ANY single point stereo mike. If you have to be in
>> that close, maybe you want a 635A and just ditch the idea of stereo.
>
>I thought the SASS-P was a baffle separated omni pair. Wrong?
>
>I've always had a problem with a hole in the middle using
>baffled omni's in a Jecklin configuration. Getting closer
>is usually recommended to close it and it does seem to help
>at the expense of ambience.

It is, but it has a bunch of additional baffling on the sides and does not
really behave like a conventional baffled pair. For one thing, it does
like to be back farther.
--scott

--
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On Thu, 2 Jun 2005 09:24:07 -0400, Jim Gilliland wrote
(in article <429f0893$0$59339$c3e8da3@news.astraweb.com>):


>
> So the mid/side pattern controls on the mic itself will provide a LOT
> more flexibility than any standard stereo mic can. I'll be able to set
> the mic for narrow, medium, or wide stereo to best fit whatever mix of
> musicians I happen to have in that space. Furthermore, I have the fourth
> choice of setting the channel to mono on the broadcast board, effectively
> turning off the side mic completely so that the mic becomes basically a
> normal cardioid small diaphragn condenser.
>
> I think that this flexibility will far outweigh any concern over
> self-noise.
>
> Comments?

Jim,

The vp88 is noisiest in its widest setting. Don't go there and you should be
OK....

BUT... Like a lot of condenser mics, put it in a small room with hard
surfaces and noisy little machines and it WILL hear them.

Regards,

Ty Ford



-- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
stuff are at www.tyford.com
 
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On Wed, 1 Jun 2005 18:55:11 -0400, RickPV8945@aol.com wrote
(in article <1117666511.935377.229790@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>):

JIm,

Sorry to muddy the waters, but also consider the Sanken CSS-5, AT 435ST.

The AT 825 is a good all-round solution though.\

The tough part will be getting talent and performers in the right places. I
recorded Springsteen, Federici and Clemmons in a studio the size of two phone
booths using only two EV 1751 electret condensers on the typical radio
station boom arms back in 1972. I just sort of put them up about 3 feet apart
asked the guys to sort of play and sing at them, keeping Bruce in the middle.
I listen from time to time to the CD I made from the 1/4" and it sounds
pretty darn good for "live."

The point being, maybe two mono mics would work as well.

Regards,

Ty Ford




-- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
stuff are at www.tyford.com
 
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Richard Crowley wrote:
> The Sony ECM-S5 does all of that and is better sounding and
> quieter. I have both and prefer the Sony. The Shure is harsh
> and gritty compared to the Sony. At least mine is.

Thanks for that comment. I'll take a closer look at the Sony, hoping its
in the same price ballpark.
 
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Ty Ford wrote:
> On Thu, 2 Jun 2005 09:24:07 -0400, Jim Gilliland wrote
> (in article <429f0893$0$59339$c3e8da3@news.astraweb.com>):
>
>
>
>>So the mid/side pattern controls on the mic itself will provide a LOT
>>more flexibility than any standard stereo mic can. I'll be able to set
>>the mic for narrow, medium, or wide stereo to best fit whatever mix of
>>musicians I happen to have in that space. Furthermore, I have the fourth
>>choice of setting the channel to mono on the broadcast board, effectively
>>turning off the side mic completely so that the mic becomes basically a
>>normal cardioid small diaphragn condenser.
>>
>>I think that this flexibility will far outweigh any concern over
>>self-noise.
>>
>>Comments?
>
>
> Jim,
>
> The vp88 is noisiest in its widest setting. Don't go there and you should be
> OK....
>
> BUT... Like a lot of condenser mics, put it in a small room with hard
> surfaces and noisy little machines and it WILL hear them.

Good point, it sure will. A dynamic mic might serve us better from that
standpoint, but I've never seen a dynamic stereo mic.

I think I need to make sure that I talk with the studio designers about
the wall surfaces - especially right behind the guest area.
 
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"Jim Gilliland" wrote ...
> Richard Crowley wrote:
> > The Sony ECM-S5 does all of that and is better sounding and
> > quieter. I have both and prefer the Sony. The Shure is harsh
> > and gritty compared to the Sony. At least mine is.
>
> Thanks for that comment. I'll take a closer look at the Sony, hoping its
> in the same price ballpark.

Sorry, I mis-typed the model number. Should have been ECM-MS5
Dunno if it is still a current model? I bought mine on clearance sale
(B-stock) from Sony.

Pretty amusing story here... http://www.trewaudio.com/goat.htm

Of course, there are always the Core Sound mics
http://www.core-sound.com/mics.html
 
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Ty Ford wrote:
> On Wed, 1 Jun 2005 18:55:11 -0400, RickPV8945@aol.com wrote
> (in article <1117666511.935377.229790@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>):
>
> JIm,
>
> Sorry to muddy the waters, but also consider the Sanken CSS-5, AT 435ST.

AT's site lists four stereo mics, but has no listing for anything called
435. The Sanken seems to be intended for use at somewhat of a distance
(hence its designation as a "shotgun" mic).

> The AT 825 is a good all-round solution though.\
>
> The tough part will be getting talent and performers in the right places. I
> recorded Springsteen, Federici and Clemmons in a studio the size of two phone
> booths using only two EV 1751 electret condensers on the typical radio
> station boom arms back in 1972. I just sort of put them up about 3 feet apart
> asked the guys to sort of play and sing at them, keeping Bruce in the middle.
> I listen from time to time to the CD I made from the 1/4" and it sounds
> pretty darn good for "live."
>
> The point being, maybe two mono mics would work as well.

How did you have them panned? That's a major constraint - our new
broadcast console will have no capability whatsoever for positioning
anything across the stereo field. There will basically be two options -
full stereo (with signals panned 100% left and right) and mono (with
identical signals going to both sides). We could add an outboard mixer
for this, but we'd far prefer not to. The goal here is to keep this as
simple as possible - so that we can interview guests in the main air
studio and allow them to play an an acoustic format without having to go
over to a larger studio.

The result, if it works, will be a simple stereo instrumental background
with close-miked vocals in mono over it. We may also incorporate a very
rudimentary reverb capability since the room will be fairly dry.

All mics will have compressors in their paths that will be set once and
left alone. That's standard procedure for the announcer and guest mics,
and I'm thinking that an RNC in "Supernice" mode may be an ideal tool to
do the same thing for the stereo mic feed.

The reverb will be configured to take the entire program bus as its
input, and to return via an extra channel on the board. Obviously, it
will only be used when we have live music going on, and even then only
when it's really needed (and when the operator actually knows how to use it).

The idea is to keep things as simple as possible. Nobody needs to learn
to use an extra console, mic positioning requirements are kept to a
minimum, very little extra gear is required. If this gets either
expensive or complicated, it'll get thrown out and our performace options
will become VERY limited.

In our current studio, I have three mono mics on the board - all SM7s.
So last year when Rodney Crowell and Will Kimbrough came to visit, I put
each of them on an SM7, keeping the third one for myself. Whenever they
did a song, I had to pot down my mic, reposition it to a guestimate
position between their guitars, then pot it back up. Then at the end of
the song, I had to reverse the process so I could speak with them. Not
an ideal situation by any means! <g>
 
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Richard Crowley wrote:
> The Sony ECM-S5 does all of that and is better sounding and
> quieter. I have both and prefer the Sony. The Shure is harsh
> and gritty compared to the Sony. At least mine is.

Hmmm. I searched Sony's Pro Audio site for that model and came up empty.
So I tried an overall web search. The only thing I found with that
model number was a stereo conference mic that ran on a battery, used a
miniplug for its output, and sold for under $40. It was designed to sit
on a flat surface like a conference table.

It did mention using a mid/side approach, but it did not appear to have
any controls. Is that the mic that you mean, or did they once have a
different model with this designation?
 
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Jim Gilliland wrote:

> So the mid/side pattern controls on the mic itself will provide a LOT
> more flexibility than any standard stereo mic can. I'll be able to set
> the mic for narrow, medium, or wide stereo to best fit whatever mix of
> musicians I happen to have in that space.

Given an L/R output there is very little difference between
the M/S and the XY configurations and they can be treated
the same, but as you point out, the controls on the M/S are
certainly more convenient than doing the same thing with an
XY subsequent to the mic.

You can more directly determine the relative values of
ambient and mic noise by subtracting the mic spec in its
usual dB from 94 (unless the spec is already SPL equivalent
which it usually isn't.) The result is the equivalent self
noise in SPL which you can compare with a measurement of
your room.


Bob
--

"Things should be described as simply as possible, but no
simpler."

A. Einstein
 
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I have and use the 88, the SASS, the 81s (that someone else
mentioned) all the time. Used the 88 and the SASS last night
on two separate recordings in two very different spaces.

Both function very well. I find both to be exceptionally
acceptable in every situation I've used them in. You are
correct in concluding that the noise contribution from the
88 will be inconsequential in the context of your
application. Environmental factors will far overwhelm any
noise from the microphone. And unless all the other
components in your signal chain are pristine, you're
fretting over absolutely nothing. You're talking FM here.

You are likewise correct in observing the "H-M-L" switch on
the 88. Makes it quite versatile in the real world where you
want to narrow or widen the perceived field. Remember this
microphone was developed for broadcast television
applications. The stereo field for all situations for which
this mic is contemplated is certainly not textbook ideal,
consequently the foresight of Shure designers to allow a
little adjustment to match the field of vision a little more
realistically. It works.

Now, before you freak out about it, the mic is terminated in
a 5-pin connector. Standard issue includes a 5-pin to dual
XLR pigtail. And the user's manual shows the wiring of the
5-pin. If you don't get the pigtail, just make one. The
5-pin makes it nice as you don't have to run two separate
cables from the mic to your input device. Do the split at
the input. Get a run of Canare StarQuad (or whatever your
favorite flavor of this type cable happens to be), do what
you gotta do, and have a nice clean installation.

Get one - buy it, borrow it, rent it -- whatever. Just get
it and try it, and use your energies to find out how it will
work for your situation. Or won't.




TM


Jim Gilliland wrote:
>

> I'm back to thinking about the VP88, even though everyone says it's
> relatively noisy. Here's what I'm thinking.
>
> The self-noise of the mic is likely to be insignificant in this
> environment. Furthermore, the signal is eventually going out over FM
> broadcast, which is bound to be far noisier than anything coming from the
> mic. So I just don't think the noise issue is going to be particularly
> important in our usage.

> The VP88 uses a mid/side configuration with an internal m/s matrix that
> allows it to output standard L/R signals. And that m/s matrix offers a
> choice of settings for the level of the side mic, providing a choice of
> stereo settings - narrow, medium (normal), or wide.
>
> So the mid/side pattern controls on the mic itself will provide a LOT
> more flexibility than any standard stereo mic can.
 
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T Maki wrote:
>
> Now, before you freak out about it, the mic is terminated in
> a 5-pin connector. Standard issue includes a 5-pin to dual
> XLR pigtail. And the user's manual shows the wiring of the
> 5-pin. If you don't get the pigtail, just make one. The
> 5-pin makes it nice as you don't have to run two separate
> cables from the mic to your input device. Do the split at
> the input. Get a run of Canare StarQuad (or whatever your
> favorite flavor of this type cable happens to be), do what
> you gotta do, and have a nice clean installation.

Nothing to freak out about there - I've already had to do exactly that
with my AG825 (which also uses a 5-pin XLR). I bought mine from a store
clearance rack at a very good price ($175), but it didn't come with a
cable so I had to make my own. The starquad worked perfectly.

> Get one - buy it, borrow it, rent it -- whatever. Just get
> it and try it, and use your energies to find out how it will
> work for your situation. Or won't.

Thanks for your comments - very helpful.
 
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Kurt Albershardt wrote:
>>
>>> How about an Audio-Technica AT825?
>
> It's the only one I'm familiar with in the $300-1000 bracket. Seems
> like we could use a few more contenders in the mid-price range.

The Rode NT4 falls into that bracket. And it turns out that the VP88
isn't as expensive as I thought it was - I got a quote for it that was
under $600.
 
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In article <d7nn6g02boo@enews2.newsguy.com> arcane@arcanemethods.com writes:

> Given an L/R output there is very little difference between
> the M/S and the XY configurations and they can be treated
> the same, but as you point out, the controls on the M/S are
> certainly more convenient than doing the same thing with an
> XY subsequent to the mic.

Huh? I read that three times and I can't figure out what you said. The
VP-88 is an M-S mic setup with a built-in X-Y combiner. There are
wide, medium and narrow stereo width settings (more or less S relative
to M) for the X-Y matrix combiner or, when selected, direct M and S
outputs. There should definitely be a difference between the M-S and
any of the converted-to-L/R (X-Y) settings. You must have meant that.


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However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
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Mike Rivers wrote:
> In article <d7nn6g02boo@enews2.newsguy.com> arcane@arcanemethods.com writes:
>
>
>>Given an L/R output there is very little difference between
>>the M/S and the XY configurations and they can be treated
>>the same, but as you point out, the controls on the M/S are
>>certainly more convenient than doing the same thing with an
>>XY subsequent to the mic.
>
>
> Huh? I read that three times and I can't figure out what you said. The
> VP-88 is an M-S mic setup with a built-in X-Y combiner. There are
> wide, medium and narrow stereo width settings (more or less S relative
> to M) for the X-Y matrix combiner or, when selected, direct M and S
> outputs. There should definitely be a difference between the M-S and
> any of the converted-to-L/R (X-Y) settings. You must have meant that.

Sorry. Seems like the older I get the more obscure I get.

I wouldn't have thought of calling the internals an "X-Y
combiner" but that works. Trying again, my point was that a
real XY (LR) signal (e.g. two coincident cards) can be
treated as a matrixed MS signal for nearly all intents and
purposes. It can be de-matrixed to MS and the controls you
describe can be applied in the process of re-mixing it back
to XY. This, however, implies a DAW or a special mixer
setup. The convenience of having these controls on the MS
mic is probably a good thing for a broadcast application and
makes it a better choice than a real XY which doesn't.

OTOH a mixer can be set up to give continuous width control
rather than the discrete set on the mic and can do so
regardless of whether the mic is XY or MS.

Any clearer?


Bob
--

"Things should be described as simply as possible, but no
simpler."

A. Einstein
 
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On Thu, 2 Jun 2005 11:50:56 -0400, Jim Gilliland wrote
(in article <429f27df$0$48321$c3e8da3@news.astraweb.com>):

> Ty Ford wrote:
>> On Wed, 1 Jun 2005 18:55:11 -0400, RickPV8945@aol.com wrote
>> (in article <1117666511.935377.229790@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>):
>>
>> JIm,
>>
>> Sorry to muddy the waters, but also consider the Sanken CSS-5, AT 435ST.
>
> AT's site lists four stereo mics, but has no listing for anything called
> 435. The Sanken seems to be intended for use at somewhat of a distance
> (hence its designation as a "shotgun" mic).

The CSS-5 is a stereo/shotgun. That means it's either a stereo or a shotgun.
IN stereo mode you put it as close as you want it.

From the AT site,

http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/b92dc794916f0fa7/index.html

Likewise a stereo/shotgun, one or the other. Not both at the same time.


>
>> The AT 825 is a good all-round solution though.\
>>
>> The tough part will be getting talent and performers in the right places. I
>> recorded Springsteen, Federici and Clemmons in a studio the size of two
>> phone
>> booths using only two EV 1751 electret condensers on the typical radio
>> station boom arms back in 1972. I just sort of put them up about 3 feet
>> apart
>> asked the guys to sort of play and sing at them, keeping Bruce in the
>> middle.
>> I listen from time to time to the CD I made from the 1/4" and it sounds
>> pretty darn good for "live."
>>
>> The point being, maybe two mono mics would work as well.
>
> How did you have them panned? That's a major constraint - our new
> broadcast console will have no capability whatsoever for positioning
> anything across the stereo field. There will basically be two options -
> full stereo (with signals panned 100% left and right) and mono (with
> identical signals going to both sides). We could add an outboard mixer
> for this, but we'd far prefer not to. The goal here is to keep this as
> simple as possible - so that we can interview guests in the main air
> studio and allow them to play an an acoustic format without having to go
> over to a larger studio.

Panned? we don't need no stinkin' panning! The mics were cut left and right.

How big's the room?

Regards.

Ty

call me 410.296.2868


-- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
stuff are at www.tyford.com
 
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In article <d7p3cb01mm2@enews2.newsguy.com> arcane@arcanemethods.com writes:

> Sorry. Seems like the older I get the more obscure I get.

I thought I had that problem too, but I keep forgetting what I said.

> I wouldn't have thought of calling the internals an "X-Y
> combiner" but that works. Trying again, my point was that a
> real XY (LR) signal (e.g. two coincident cards) can be
> treated as a matrixed MS signal for nearly all intents and
> purposes. It can be de-matrixed to MS and the controls you
> describe can be applied in the process of re-mixing it back
> to XY.

Actually, the source for "de-matrixing" doesn't have to originate as a
pair of cardioids oriented in the X-Y position. You can do this trick
with a stereo multitrack mix. If you want to make the image narrower,
it's of course easier to just pan the left and right toward the
center, but you can make the image wider by converting to sum and
difference (the yin and yang of M and S) and back again. And the real
interesting thing comes with applying different EQ to the sum and
difference before re-combining them to left and right.

> The convenience of having these controls on the MS
> mic is probably a good thing for a broadcast application and
> makes it a better choice than a real XY which doesn't.

Right, and that's one of the neat features of this mic. Perhaps the
mic would be less confusing to the novice if it the switch was simply
labeled Wide-Medium-Narrow and "Don't use this switch position until
you've read the manual" which would explain how to use the separate M
and S outputs.

By the way, I've used an M-S setup for simultaneous live PA and
recording where the mid mic (cardioid) by itself fed the live sound
and the recording was in stereo. This was at a music camp where people
were coming up for one or two songs, mostly solo or duo, never more
than four, and did it old-time-radio style with one mic. By goosing up
the mid mic while someone was talking, I could get enough level in the
PA to hear them, and it also narrowed the stereo image of the
recording, reducing the amount of hall reverberation from the
amplified speaking voice that was recorded.


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However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
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Ty Ford wrote:

> From the AT site,
>
> http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/b92dc794916f0fa7/index.html
>
> Likewise a stereo/shotgun, one or the other. Not both at the same time.

Thanks. That looks like it would be a useful mic for my concert
recording projects (for the audience). It could work in our studio, too,
though I'd prefer something physically smaller.

> Panned? we don't need no stinkin' panning! The mics were cut left and right.
>
> How big's the room?

The room will be about 10x12.5, but the area for guests (performers) is
only about 3 feet by 10 feet. The wall will be close behind them. The
area will be wide, but not at all deep.

Here's a picture:

http://users.adelphia.net/~gilliland/sightlines.gif

It's really intended first and foremost as an interview space.
 

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