xeawr

What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« on: October 31, 2020, 06:40:53 PM »
What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and you found that the capsule to tube/FET-cap was a ordinary ceramic one?

What would you think? What do you think was the motivation of the circuit designer?

I ask because I had a similar experience. No, it wasn't a Manley Ref of course, not even nearly as expensive, but still a microphone where the company very obviously had put some real thought into the engineering/design, but in spite of this I see two ceramic coupling caps...   ???


kingkorg

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2020, 10:34:03 PM »
Well, the capsule in Manley Reference C is cheapest capsule available, found in Sterling Audio ST51 for example. So i wouldn't be surprised if they used 0.1$ cap instead of 0.2$ cap.

My measurements showed no difference between ceramic and any other type in this position. I even did null tests with different types, and every recorded audio file cancelled totally with other files. Capacitor values were matched for value. So i dare to say they all sounded 100% the same.

Ceramic caps can be microphonic, so if your capacitor has any chance of receiving physical shock during recording you might have an issue. Then again, in that case capacitor microphonic would be the last of your worries.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2020, 10:38:55 PM by kingkorg »

gyraf

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2020, 04:31:48 AM »
..for a known-quality brand, I'd first of all suspect that the designer had access to some knowledge that I did not. In this case, e.g. that there are types of ceramic caps that outperforms all others in certain tasks..

/Jakob E.
..note to self: don't let Harman run your company..

abbey road d enfer

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2020, 04:39:53 AM »
What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and you found that the capsule to tube/FET-cap was a ordinary ceramic one?

What would you think? What do you think was the motivation of the circuit designer?

I ask because I had a similar experience. No, it wasn't a Manley Ref of course, not even nearly as expensive, but still a microphone where the company very obviously had put some real thought into the engineering/design, but in spite of this I see two ceramic coupling caps...   ???
What's wrong with ceramic caps in this position? There is about zero AC voltage across it.
Also "ceramic" covers a number of different formulations, that have very different properties. In particular CoG (NP0) is one of the most linear dielectric materials.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

Gus

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2020, 08:50:09 AM »
Sometime I wonder if part of the sound of tube microphones is from the microphonics of the tube and sometimes caps

gyraf

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2020, 02:26:54 AM »
I'll see if I can dig it up, but there was a late 1960'es AES paper on microphone sound that speculated if the signature sound of the u47 is really about the VF14s always being so microphonic. Which makes me smile every time the selfproclaimed microphone specialists over at GS talk about how important it is to find a tube with no microphonics :-)

/JAkob E.
..note to self: don't let Harman run your company..

Gus

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2020, 05:08:12 AM »
some links
http://www.thevalvepage.com/valvetek/microph/microph.htm

https://dalmura.com.au/static/Microphonics%20in%20valves.pdf

FWIW I installed a polystyrene cap instead of a capsule in a microphone the body and grill were installed and the cap worked as a low output level capsule. I could record sound
Others have posted about microphonic parts.

Jakob that sounds like an interesting paper.

Khron

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2020, 01:25:05 AM »
One must wonder if only and strictly that polystyrene cap was microphonic, or other culprits might've contributed (as well).

FWIW I installed a polystyrene cap instead of a capsule in a microphone the body and grill were installed and the cap worked as a low output level capsule. I could record sound
Others have posted about microphonic parts.

Jakob that sounds like an interesting paper.
Khron's Cave - Electronics - Audio - Teardowns - Mods - Repairs - Projects - Music - Rants - Shenanigans

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2020, 07:46:45 AM »
Well, the capsule in Manley Reference C is cheapest capsule available, found in Sterling Audio ST51 for example. So i wouldn't be surprised if they used 0.1$ cap instead of 0.2$ cap.

My measurements showed no difference between ceramic and any other type in this position. I even did null tests with different types, and every recorded audio file cancelled totally with other files. Capacitor values were matched for value. So i dare to say they all sounded 100% the same.

Ceramic caps can be microphonic, so if your capacitor has any chance of receiving physical shock during recording you might have an issue. Then again, in that case capacitor microphonic would be the last of your worries.
Shhh I'm pretty sure we're supposed to pretend the Reference C uses a premium capsule. Because if it costs as much as a U87ai it has to be full of top of the line components.

Makes me wonder why people crap all over Behringer and MXL mics using the same one.

Now I don't particularly have a problem with the Reference C using a cheaper capsule, it's just not the sound I want in a $3000 microphone. I haven't used one personally, music stores in my area are pretty small and only deal in a couple brands, so I can only judge based on samples, but based on the ones I've heard it definitely has a pretty airy high end that I'd expect from mics using that capsule. It almost pains me to say that I prefer $100 and $200 mics.

kingkorg

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2020, 11:52:46 AM »
You can always make your own with a 30$ Alibaba body, and st51 capsule :D


EmRR

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2020, 04:07:42 PM »
Shhh I'm pretty sure we're supposed to pretend the Reference C uses a premium capsule. Because if it costs as much as a U87ai it has to be full of top of the line components.

We don't know a thing about how they select capsules.  They may disqualify 9 out of 10. 

At least 25 years ago, that's what Manley did with filter caps, by some number of criteria. 
Best,

Doug Williams
Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

"I think this can be better. Some kind of control that's intuitive, not complicated like a single knob" - Crusty

"Back when everything sounde

kingkorg

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2020, 06:41:12 PM »
I have modded about 15 of ST51, several Groove Tubes MD1B. All have the same exact capsule that measures the same. Couple of ST51 had wrinkled diaphragms, and still measured the same. I personally don't buy that selection stuff. But that's just me.

The capsule's origin is Feilo, which has it's office and distribution in USA. Feilo USA. If i have to guess they were just going for cheapest possible option, without having to deal with all the importing stuff.

Guts of ref C are very sloppy and very DIY as well.

Other Manley models are whole different story, and worth the money if you like/need them.

kingkorg

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2020, 07:06:06 PM »
This is a screenshot from ATK. ST151 is the latest 100 bucks model. Red response is Manley, orange one is Sterling.

Slight bump at 3K and dip at 6K with Sterling comes from basket shape. It has way too much going on around the capsule, and two layers of mesh compared to Manley. Even with that they sound exactly the same, do a blind test on the site. With 1.5db difference where they deviate the most, they can easily be used as matched pairs. Sterling has better low end response and goes lower with that ''rubbish chinese transformer'' everyone swaps for ''better'' ones. Manley has custom wound Manley transformer.

Have in mind one is a 3000, the other 100 dollars. One is magical all custom parts tube mic, the other is a STOCK Fet China mic.

 
« Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 07:09:41 PM by kingkorg »

Khron

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2020, 11:37:23 PM »
But-but-but... You can't measure the "magic mojo"!... ;D And especially if you shell out a 4-figure price, it's gonna sound [ahem] better... ::)


This is a screenshot from ATK. ST151 is the latest 100 bucks model. Red response is Manley, orange one is Sterling.

Slight bump at 3K and dip at 6K with Sterling comes from basket shape. It has way too much going on around the capsule, and two layers of mesh compared to Manley. Even with that they sound exactly the same, do a blind test on the site. With 1.5db difference where they deviate the most, they can easily be used as matched pairs. Sterling has better low end response and goes lower with that ''rubbish chinese transformer'' everyone swaps for ''better'' ones. Manley has custom wound Manley transformer.

Have in mind one is a 3000, the other 100 dollars. One is magical all custom parts tube mic, the other is a STOCK Fet China mic.

 
Khron's Cave - Electronics - Audio - Teardowns - Mods - Repairs - Projects - Music - Rants - Shenanigans

xeawr

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2020, 02:49:15 PM »
This makes an interesting read friends. I didn't mean to spark a discussion about the Ref C though.

Here is the mic in question: sE T2 / 4400a which retails around 500. Looking at the mic it seems really well engineered but I can't wrap my head around those ceramic caps. I have done endless comparisons (blind tests!) and even though I don't find the ceramic caps in this position bad per se, I also clearly hear more detail, less distortion and a more "direct" sound (more of the inherent capsule sound) with polystyrene, for the lack of a better description.

Polypropylene still has some of this direct-ness but is a bit more hifi.

PET is also nice, but is the smoothest of them all.

Again these were my own findings based on numerous blind tests in different microphones. I think we can all agree that any mic manufacturer with a reputable history (Brauner, Neumann, AKG etc.) has settled with a polystyrene in this position. I would say they did so for a reason.

Why skimp on the cap choice here? Am I missing something?


kingkorg

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2020, 04:55:39 PM »
With all due respect, there is no way one can hear difference between caps of the same value in this position if only one variable is changed, position, source, even room temperature the comparison is not valid. I personally never trust my own ears, that is why i measure performance of the mics, and do null tests. Also have pretty advanced testing rig by now, including air humidity and temperature gear.

If you clearly hear difference, just use what you like best.

The whole Reference C discussion had as a goal the point that price of the microphone, name stamped on it, origin has nothing to do with what is inside of a product.

Se is not known to be using "high quality" parts. Their RNT tube mic uses the same 20$ capsule as Se X1. Now that is crazy.

I see nothing wrong with those capacitors there. It's C0G (NPO) capacitor.

Neve gear, and Neumann mics have tantalum capacitors in signal path, and people still use them.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2020, 04:58:48 PM by kingkorg »

Pip

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2020, 05:17:49 PM »
The Manley Reference Cardioid is a mic that a lot of people like and use to do quality work everyday. I don't think they give a monkeys about the capsule origin or cost. I do agree with the statement made earlier that OEM has little to do with product QC when it comes to their finished product. They may be rejecting 1 in 20 capsules on the test bench we will never know. It comes down to do you like the way it sounds enough to drop the coin.

I have many "vintage mics" and have had to go inside most of them at some point if for no other reason than curiosity. The build quality in a lot of these mics has much to be desired in many ways. Sloppy soldering and flux residue come to mind also component choice is another. Yet all of these mics have garnered, over time, raving accolades from users and become iconic because of this. Oh yeah and I like them too.

One mic that comes to mind, which is one of my favorites and a mic that has had its capsule design copied and reapplied to modern microphone offerings is the Sony C37P. The build quality is questionable IMO to say the least. I have had to replace all of the caps and had two of the capsules re-diaphragmed (I am fortunate to own 3) and live in fear of the capsule DC-DC converter circuit dying. They also have really ugly soldering and flux residue. But I love 'em.

The point that was made earlier about the Tantalum Caps that are used extensively in some tried and true sought after mics is a good one.

I agree that capacitors in certain parts of circuits will color the signal the best example I can give is interstage coupling caps in guitar amps. They make a difference to my ears but its my ears that matter no?

I love these debates but I also realize at the same time it doesn't matter! To each their own.

http://www.coutant.org/sonyc37p/
« Last Edit: November 05, 2020, 05:31:25 PM by Pip »
Pip
New York City
http://geosonixlab.com

abbey road d enfer

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2020, 04:57:15 AM »
I think we can all agree that any mic manufacturer with a reputable history (Brauner, Neumann, AKG etc.) has settled with a polystyrene in this position. I would say they did so for a reason.
Mostly historic reasons. When the now classic mics were designed, only polystyrene gave the proper combination of linearity, isolation and compactness. Today, ceramic capacitors have improved so much that they actually compete with PS. Just like modern electrolytics are way better than period tantalums. Many builders continue to use PS for exactly the same reason you invoke, including eluding questions that elicite lengthy and questioned answers.

Quote
Why skimp on the cap choice here?
It's not skimping. It's just using modern parts that fit within the constraints of industrialized manufacturing.
Are people who use high-quality film caps skimping over using PIO?

How can you be sure that what you perceive as more "direct" is not an artificially "enhanced" transcription?
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

Gus

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2020, 09:57:44 AM »
xeawr

Is that the stock soldering in the picture?
« Last Edit: November 06, 2020, 11:54:32 AM by Gus »

Khron

Re: What if you opened up a Manley Reference C and ...
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2020, 10:16:22 AM »
Are they? I recall having read the brown disc-shaped ceramic caps had black tops to indicate the C0G / NP0 material used, but that's about it.

I see nothing wrong with those capacitors there. It's C0G (NPO) capacitor.

Khron's Cave - Electronics - Audio - Teardowns - Mods - Repairs - Projects - Music - Rants - Shenanigans


 

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