The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > RECORD

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 10-13-2017, 07:22 PM
lacatedral lacatedral is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Argentina.
Posts: 41
Arrow Rode M5 vs. Audio-Technica AT2020

Hi, after a while I came down with two options for a condenser mic, the Rode M5 which already comes as a match pair, and the Audio-Techinica AT2020.
Rode M5 is something about 290 USD while Audio-Techinica is about 140 USD (in Argentina).

So I could just buy the Rode M5 or buy two single Audio-Technica mics (or just one?).

It's for acoustic fingerstyle and classical guitar. The main use would be for recording, but if it works also for playing live, well, even better.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-13-2017, 07:44 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 5,758
Default

The Rode M5 has a 19dB (A weighted) self noise specification. That's a bit high, particularly for classical guitar or intimate finger style acoustic guitar. I could not find the self nose spec for the AT 2020, so I don't know what it is.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-13-2017, 08:57 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 855
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdelsolray View Post
The Rode M5 has a 19dB (A weighted) self noise specification. That's a bit high, particularly for classical guitar or intimate finger style acoustic guitar. I could not find the self nose spec for the AT 2020, so I don't know what it is.
I wouldn't worry about 19dB of self noise. Even a great room in a commercial studio has over 20dB of ambient noise. Plus the open circuit sensitivity on the M5 is 20mV. That's pretty hot. You're not going to need a lot of gain.

The real question is: do you want the realism & transient response of the small diaphragm M5s or the character of the large diaphragm 2020? If it were me, I'd go with the M5s. SDCs are just more "realistic" when recording stringed instruments. LDCs have a habit of imparting character (for better or for worse)...but it's very easy to add character after the fact...but nearly impossible to remove it if it isn't working for you.
__________________
-Steve
My Website

Too many acoustic & electric guitars, basses, mandolins, violins, dulcimers, trumpets & percussion instruments to list.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-13-2017, 09:51 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,513
Default

You might want to consider other options; both the AT2020 and Rode M5 mics use back charged electret elements. Those particular capsules have taken second place in the order of mic design in the past. I suspect the back charged electret is why the M5 is often said to have a higher self noise level than other similarly priced LDCs.

Either may be fine, but just don't jump into a particular mic based on pedigree or price. As an example, the AT2020 is a well-respected mic but it's capsule is firmly in the medium diaphragm size designation. It's always assumed that the AT2020 is an LDC based on the looks of the mic.

Just a thought.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-13-2017, 11:06 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 855
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
You might want to consider other options; both the AT2020 and Rode M5 mics use back charged electret elements. Those particular capsules have taken second place in the order of mic design in the past. I suspect the back charged electret is why the M5 is often said to have a higher self noise level than other similarly priced LDCs.

Either may be fine, but just don't jump into a particular mic based on pedigree or price. As an example, the AT2020 is a well-respected mic but it's capsule is firmly in the medium diaphragm size designation. It's always assumed that the AT2020 is an LDC based on the looks of the mic.

Just a thought.
I didn't realize the AT2020 was medium diaphragm. So I'm guessing it's 3/4"? I routinely do audio post for a podcast where the voice talent uses an AT2020. I think it does very well as a voice over mic. It could be smoother, but it's more than adequate. Audio-Technica tends to offer a lot of value.

That said, Rode has been competing with mics many times their price since they started. I still remember when they hit the scene with the original NT1. It was competing with the U87...and while it was a little rougher around the edges...it was a $200 mic that was coming darn close to the $1800 (at the time) studio standard.
__________________
-Steve
My Website

Too many acoustic & electric guitars, basses, mandolins, violins, dulcimers, trumpets & percussion instruments to list.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-14-2017, 11:18 AM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 3,365
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
You might want to consider other options; both the AT2020 and Rode M5 mics use back charged electret elements. Those particular capsules have taken second place in the order of mic design in the past. I suspect the back charged electret is why the M5 is often said to have a higher self noise level than other similarly priced LDCs.

Either may be fine, but just don't jump into a particular mic based on pedigree or price. As an example, the AT2020 is a well-respected mic but it's capsule is firmly in the medium diaphragm size designation. It's always assumed that the AT2020 is an LDC based on the looks of the mic.

Just a thought.
Back electret was a "lesser" tech when it first appeared, mostly because the charge deteriorated over time, reducing sensitivity and linearity. But those issues have been resolved and companies like DPA use back electret tech in very high performance (and high dollar) mics.

The AT2020 is not the quietest mic around, though. This spec http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wi...33a662b5ed0e2/ lists "Noise" at "20 dB SPL" so in the same ballpark as the M5.

There are so many wonderful mics out there these days it's almost folly to recommend any, but just for jokes check the specs on the venerable AT3035: http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wi...b02/index.html No longer in production but readily available on Ebay for under $100 each - checking Ebay for the latest and oops, looks like the NOS ones are gone and prices are starting to rise.

Fran
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-14-2017, 12:13 PM
Al Acuff's Avatar
Al Acuff Al Acuff is offline
Pickin' & Grinnin'
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Posts: 243
Default

The Shure SM81 is an electret condenser mic that gets overlooked because it's been around a long time. It's a classic instrument mic that has proved itself as an industry standard and it's worth considering. Also overlooked a lot is the AKG C535 EB mic which is a great multipurpose electret condenser.
__________________
Al Acuff
Al's Folk Music Blog
Alan Acuff Music
1949 Gibson J45
1953 Gibson L4C
1963 Gibson LG1
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-14-2017, 02:49 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,513
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
I didn't realize the AT2020 was medium diaphragm. So I'm guessing it's 3/4"? I routinely do audio post for a podcast where the voice talent uses an AT2020. I think it does very well as a voice over mic. It could be smoother, but it's more than adequate. Audio-Technica tends to offer a lot of value.

That said, Rode has been competing with mics many times their price since they started. I still remember when they hit the scene with the original NT1. It was competing with the U87...and while it was a little rougher around the edges...it was a $200 mic that was coming darn close to the $1800 (at the time) studio standard.
The AT2020 uses a 5/8" diameter diaphragm.

I will agree that back electret technology has been cited as being generally improved from what it was innitially, although I still have read that the self-noise is still considered generally higher than a "true" condenser requiring polarizing voltage.

It does seem like the companies who are known for producing great mics using back electret capsules (DPA, Earthworks, etc.) often have price tags that are closely mirrored with their capabilities. Rode (a company I like very much) seems like they are getting good press for mics like the M5, but I'm always suspicious by nature.

Maybe you no longer have to adhere to that "Low Price, Great Sound, High Quality... pick any two you like" adage.

Last edited by Rudy4; 10-14-2017 at 02:58 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-14-2017, 09:31 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 855
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Maybe you no longer have to adhere to that "Low Price, Great Sound, High Quality... pick any two you like" adage.
Well...maybe a little. I do believe that technology has made better items less expensive, but there is a reason when I walk into a commercial studio I see the same mics over and over...believe me, if they could get away with cheaper equipment & get the same results they would. The studio industry is shrinking, and they try to save money wherever they can. But they still buy the "name brand" stuff like Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser, DPA, Schoeps, etc.

Heck, even in my home production studio I rely on the tried & true. I've wasted enough time & money on the "sounds like a [fill in the blank] at half the cost". When you rely on these things to make a living you quickly realize it's not all hype & quality has a price tag. I mean, we know that with our guitars. We could all be buying $200 Yamahas, but the majority of us have multi-thousand dollar instruments...several multi-thousad dollar instruments.

Those de facto standards are the de facto standards for very good reason. Or, as I've heard it said (and learned to be true): cheap is expensive.

I fear we've hijacked this thread. And don't want to pull this way off track. So back to the original question of the AT vs the Rode: I really think either of those mics are adequate. the mics are only part of the equation, though. The rest of the signal chain will effect the sound as well. So don't neglect that either.
__________________
-Steve
My Website

Too many acoustic & electric guitars, basses, mandolins, violins, dulcimers, trumpets & percussion instruments to list.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-14-2017, 09:40 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 855
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Acuff View Post
The Shure SM81 is an electret condenser mic that gets overlooked because it's been around a long time. It's a classic instrument mic that has proved itself as an industry standard and it's worth considering. Also overlooked a lot is the AKG C535 EB mic which is a great multipurpose electret condenser.
The SM81 is a great mic & very reasonably priced IMO.

I don't have any experience with the AKG C535. I do, however, think very highly of the AKG C414 B/ULS (not the current XLS or XLII version, which I find too strident). The C480 is also a very capable all around mic for stringed instruments.

But I suspect all these may be beyond the OPs budget. The 2 mics originally mentioned were under $200.
__________________
-Steve
My Website

Too many acoustic & electric guitars, basses, mandolins, violins, dulcimers, trumpets & percussion instruments to list.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-20-2017, 09:21 AM
7thbassbA 7thbassbA is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 88
Default M5 sound very good

Better than my playing requires.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-21-2017, 11:38 AM
Ty Ford Ty Ford is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 1,244
Send a message via Skype™ to Ty Ford
Default

Yes, no, maybe, no, yes, WHAT? in no specific order to the above.

Stuff you don't need to know: The U 89i is a medium diaphragm. The U 87i is an LD. Their sound differs a lot, but it's not about the size. The Schoeps CMC641 is a SD.

Other stuff you don't need to know: SD theoretically have less "scatter" when the sounds reach the smaller membrane more evenly than on a larger LD membrane. But how much is mitigated, corrupted or filtered by head grille design? Omni's are easier, but bad acoustics may forbid their use. The Gefell m296 SD mic ($1271 USD), with its nickel membrane, is absolutely stunning.

Cheaper mics are sounding better...... some yes.
The MXL, MCA SP-1 LD, for example, now runs about $55.00 USD. When I first saw it 3-4 years ago it was only $39.95!!. In the interim, I'm told, they have swapped out the brass body for an aluminum body. Does that change the sound of the mic? it MIGHT but it might NOT. At $55, it's hard to beat. If you could get Jim Williams to put his mod on it, (don't know that he's doing that these days, but you could ask), you'd throw a few more hundred at it and definitely get something better.

I just reviewed the Aston Origin ($299 for an LD cardioid) on my blog that sounds like it should cost more. The 11 dB-A selfnoise doesn't seem to be a factor because it's .7 dB hotter than a TLM 103. Mics with less sensitivity require more mic preamp gain and that brings up their selfnoise and the preamp noise. Maybe I should do some of the review recording in my living room rather than down in the studio where the environment is a lot tighter...but not dead. That might give folks with no budget or apartment rent restrictions a better idea of how a mic performs.

There are some other interesting things going on. A few years back, Audio Technical put out the AT5040. A mic that has FOUR rectangular diaphragms. I thought, "That's nuts! How will they ever get the phase right on THAT?!?! Well, they did and it's a pretty amazing sounding mic, even in my non-acoustically-treated living room.

In the end you'll probably anguish more over finger squeaks than mic performance.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Last edited by Ty Ford; 10-21-2017 at 12:23 PM. Reason: bad typing
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-21-2017, 12:16 PM
KevWind KevWind is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Out West
Posts: 8,894
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
I wouldn't worry about 19dB of self noise. Even a great room in a commercial studio has over 20dB of ambient noise. Plus the open circuit sensitivity on the M5 is 20mV. That's pretty hot. You're not going to need a lot of gain.
Would the room noise mask the self noise, wouldn't the 19 db self noise, be added to (as opposed to, subtracting from ) the ambient room noise, in the recording ?
__________________
" Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." Albert Einstein
Enjoy the Journey.... Kev...



http://soundcloud.com/kevwind

Last edited by KevWind; 10-21-2017 at 12:21 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-21-2017, 11:22 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 855
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Would the room noise mask the self noise, wouldn't the 19 db self noise, be added to (as opposed to, subtracting from ) the ambient room noise, in the recording ?
Basically, the mic's self noise is telling you how much of the low level signal you won't be able to use because it's all masked by noise. IOW, your source needs to be louder (significantly) than the noise floor so that you don't hear the noise floor. Think of it like this: in this case you can't hear the first 20dB or so of room noise because it's all masked by the mic's self-noise.

For reference, a normal conversation is about 60dB. The typical live room of a good commercial studio is about 30dB. Keep in mind that 60dB is not twice as loud as 30dB. Since dBSPL is a logarithmic scale, you double power every 6dB. And the SPL means that it's a measurement of Sound Pressure Levels (in Pascals) where 1 Pascal = 94dBSPL.

Generally speaking, self-noise of 20dB and under is pretty respectable. My U87 has somewhere between 23-26 dB of self noise (depending on the polar pattern selected) and no one would say "that's not a good mic buy".

HTH
__________________
-Steve
My Website

Too many acoustic & electric guitars, basses, mandolins, violins, dulcimers, trumpets & percussion instruments to list.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-22-2017, 07:26 AM
Ty Ford Ty Ford is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 1,244
Send a message via Skype™ to Ty Ford
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
Generally speaking, self-noise of 20dB and under is pretty respectable. My U87 has somewhere between 23-26 dB of self noise (depending on the polar pattern selected) and no one would say "that's not a good mic buy".
HTH
Yes, but a mic's sensitivity plays into this big time. If you have two mics with the same selfnoise and one is more sensitive than the other, it will make recordings with less selfnoise because it doesn't require the same amount of preamp gain as the less sensitive mic. Increasing the preamp gain increases preamp noise and mic selfnoise.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > RECORD

Tags
audio-techinica, condenser microphone, rode

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=