Opinions on Earthworks Mics

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Brett Siler
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Post by Brett Siler » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:20 pm

I like the Avensons as well. They color on them is very minimal, they are still very "life like". I had a borrowed pair of Earthworks a few years ago, and like everyone else say they are extremely clear and great sounding mics.

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Post by ofajen » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:37 pm

I am still a fan of using true omni mikes in some cases, and I don't doubt they have a clean, accurate sound, but I have always wondered about the Earthworks line for quiet acoustic recording, due to their high self-noise. Does no one find that to be an issue? The self-noise spec on the TCs is 27 dB and for the QTCs its about 22 dB. My lowly SM80 capsules have a self-noise of 17 dB. Does no one think 10 dB of noise is relevant here?

There's really nothing to be done about it if you want to use those tiny 1/4" capsules and get response out to 40K, but that's why most high end omnis (DPA, Microtek Gefell, Schoeps, Neumann and Josephson) at least use 1/2" capsules or bigger and are satisfied with good response up to 20K and good noise performance, too. Maybe it's just me...

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LazarusLong
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Post by LazarusLong » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:23 am

You can get a spec sheet to say just about anything. I wouldn't sweat it at all.
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Post by ofajen » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:51 am

LazarusLong wrote:You can get a spec sheet to say just about anything. I wouldn't sweat it at all.
But you can't change the fundamental physics. The smaller capsules capture ultra high frequencies better, but the smaller diaphragm produces less signal and you end up with more self noise.

I'm probably more sensitive to the issue because my normal tracking methods use the Quick Sound Field and call for mike to subject distances of at least two feet and often more, which reduces the signal level at the mike compared to miking up really close, which some people do with the Earthworks mikes.

There is no sweat involved. It's just basic physics and what works with my techniques. It would not be an issue if your technique involves up close miking.

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Otto
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LazarusLong
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Post by LazarusLong » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:05 am

The theoretical range of 24 bit is 144.5dB, but the effective range is about 120dB due to physical limitations of current converter designs. So that 22dB self noise on the mic will be covered up by the even "louder" converters.

... if we're talking basic physics :)
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Post by dsw » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:18 pm

oh god, here we go
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Post by ofajen » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:22 am

LazarusLong wrote:The theoretical range of 24 bit is 144.5dB, but the effective range is about 120dB due to physical limitations of current converter designs. So that 22dB self noise on the mic will be covered up by the even "louder" converters.

... if we're talking basic physics :)
I'll try to make this short and sweet. We're just talking here about the self-noise of a microphone. A/D has nothing to do with it... it applies just as much to me recording to my tape machines.

The self-noise spec tells you the sound pressure level equivalent of the mike's noise (the sound level that creates the same output voltage as the microphone does in the absence of sound), so a sound that level will be as loud as the mike noise.

Another way to think of it is that it represents the lowest point (in real SPL level in the room) of the microphone's dynamic range, and is particularly important should you wish to record sounds that are quiet.

Self-noise is usually stated in dB(A), which is the equivalent loudness of the noise on a decibel scale frequency-weighted for how the ear hears, for example: "15 dBA SPL" (SPL means sound pressure level relative to 20 micropascals).

So if your acoustic guitar signal is 75 dB at the mike and the self-noise is 27 dB, the S/N is 48 dB. In that range, 10 dB lower self-noise is a significant difference, at least to me.

Hope that clears it up for you!

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Otto
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Post by Huntlabs » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:35 pm

Well I'm betting these mics will be quieter than my C61's... Hopefully I will have them next week and will try to post a few comments when I get them.

Again I'm looking for mics for classical guitar / stereo recording so I'm really picky.
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Post by ofajen » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:15 pm

Huntlabs wrote:Well I'm betting these mics will be quieter than my C61's... Hopefully I will have them next week and will try to post a few comments when I get them.

Again I'm looking for mics for classical guitar / stereo recording so I'm really picky.
FYI, the spec sheet for the C 61 on the AKG site shows a "residual noise" spec of 20 dB, but it's an older DIN spec from 1954. However, given that it appears to have a larger capsule more like an SM80, there is a considerable likelihood that it is significantly quieter that the TC series and comparable to or slightly quieter than the QTC series. I hope it works out for you. I don't doubt the Earthworks mikes will sound accurate, and I hope noise is not an issue.

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Otto
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