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Beyer MC930 vs. JZ BT-201 vs. Schoeps MK21 on acoustic guitar
Old 22nd January 2009
  #1
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Talking Beyer MC930 vs. JZ BT-201 vs. Schoeps MK21 on acoustic guitar

Just got an opportunity to try a demo pair of Beyer MC930, so I could not resist to play few tones on my guitar (classical nylon strings one) to compare Beyers, the new JZ BT-201 (with cardioid capsule) and Schoeps MK21 (I don't have MK4). All in AB position about 20 cm apart. Preamp Forssell SMP-2, AD Forssell MADC-2. Little bit of Bricasti Medium Hall.

Should you be interested you can listen to three quick takes (each time a "guitar duo" = accompanying and solo guitar - playback, of course ...). The comparison is as "non-scientific" as it could be: the performances are not 100% identical, the positions are not 100% identical (you know, when you change the mics and sit again ...). So take it just as a light microphone game ...


Beyerdynamic MC930

JZ BT-201 cardioid

Schoeps MK 21


.
Attached Thumbnails
Beyer MC930 vs. JZ BT-201 vs. Schoeps MK21 on acoustic guitar-358808287e.jpg   Beyer MC930 vs. JZ BT-201 vs. Schoeps MK21 on acoustic guitar-12_4_0.jpg  
Attached Images
Beyer MC930 vs. JZ BT-201 vs. Schoeps MK21 on acoustic guitar-schoeps2.jpg 
Old 23rd January 2009
  #2
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🎧 15 years
I hear a little more clarity in the low-mids with the Schoeps. There are spots where the other mics get a little muddy in comparison. Could be a placement issue? I've never thought my MC930's sounded muddy. Even so, the clips make me want to continue saving for Schoeps.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 10 years
I don't ever remember complaining about your comparative clips Ivo, but this time I wish you were using all cardis.

We should expect MK21s to capture more natural ambience with better lows and low-mids than virtually any cardioid made. It is almost like comparing cardis with omnis. tutt
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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As I said, I simply don't have MK4 capsules. Apart from comparing Beyers with JZ, you can simply take it as an educative comparison between cardioid and wide cardiod - with the demonstrated features you mentioned heh
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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🎧 10 years
Ivo,

My opinion not withstanding, what is YOUR opinion of the JZ vs Beyer (leave the Schoeps out for now)?

Thanks!
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsteaks ➑️
Ivo,

My opinion not withstanding, what is YOUR opinion of the JZ vs Beyer (leave the Schoeps out for now)?

Thanks!
First I would say that JZ BT-201 package (two bodies and 2x 3 capsules in one box) seems quite attractive to me and covers most of common studio needs ... The design and ergonomy (no screwing of the capsules) is great too ... After trying much more than just shown, I found the sound very decent, tiny bit more pronounced in the highs but in rather pleasant way ("air"). Similarly like Beyers, they do not have that amazing smooth depth like Schoeps (I also tried MK4 a bit before), but the same package of Schoeps would cost 5 times more ...

In general I felt that Beyer may sound tiny bit "bigger", especially in the lows than JZ (it also has the highest output of all), but JZ seem to sound a bit more natural and balanced ... the other capsules - wide cardioid and omni - sound in a similar way. (Funnily, their sound is also reflected in their boxes in a way - Beyer: big plastic box, JZ decent wooden box )) Overall, I quite like them and I strongly consider to keep them for cases when more mics would be needed.

Since I was not 100% impressed by MK4 capsule when trying it, I am also considering to try the new Schoeps MK22 capsule (something between MK21 and MK4) ...
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➑️

In general I felt that Beyer may sound tiny bit "bigger", especially in the lows than JZ (it also has the highest output of all), but JZ seem to sound a bit more natural and balanced ... the other capsules - wide cardioid and omni - sound in a similar way. (Funnily, their sound is also reflected in their boxes in a way - Beyer: big plastic box, JZ decent wooden box )) Overall, I quite like them and I strongly consider to keep them for cases when more mics would be needed.

Since I was not 100% impressed by MK4 capsule when trying it, I am also considering to try the new Schoeps MK22 capsule (something between MK21 and MK4) ...
Ivo - now that you have the MK-21 and the bt-201 wide cardioid, could I/We persuade you to make a little comparison between the two..!
[maybe even including omni MK-2 + 201]

Moreover, I look very much forward to your findings regarding the MK-22 capsules..!

Best Mads
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mljung ➑️
Ivo - now that you have the MK-21 and the bt-201 wide cardioid, could I/We persuade you to make a little comparison between the two..!
[maybe even including omni MK-2 + 201]
I already did ... The results are similar ... Schoeps sound a bit more smooth, spacy, detailed, velvety, 3D ... (no wonder - so far it was always like that, whatever other mics I used, including almost complete DPA range). But for the price, JZ BT-201 are great ...
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➑️
I already did ... The results are similar ... Schoeps sound a bit more smooth, spacy, detailed, velvety, 3D ... (no wonder - so far it was always like that, whatever other mics I used, including almost complete DPA range). But for the price, JZ BT-201 are great ...
Do you even have samples of these tests...
Anyhow thanks for your observations thumbsup
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 15 years
I would love to hear a comparison of the mk21 and the JZ subs as well.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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OK, guys ... But please, don't complain it is non-scientific etc. ... Just few quick tones played on viola, flute, small drum, changing the mics (same - not ideal - mics position for everything, viola played from more distance, flute, drum closer). Don't analyse details, it may sound different when I play again even into same mic ... Just to get an approximate idea, since you asked for it:

VIOLA:

Schoeps MK21

JZ wide

Schoeps MK2

JZ omni


FLUTE:

Schoeps MK21

JZ wide

Schoeps MK2

JZ omni


DRUM:

Schoeps MK21

JZ wide

Schoeps MK2

JZ omni

PS: Quite interesting it is on monochord (fixed mics positions, very rich sound source):

MONOCHORD:

Schoeps MK21

JZ wide

Schoeps MK2

JZ omni

(Just be aware there is a huge price difference between these mics ...)
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➑️
OK, guys ... But please, don't complain it is non-scientific etc. ...
I certainly don't complain - it's sound-recordings with different mics/instruments - I will look forward to compare the samples, one can always learn a thing or two, 'scientific' or not!

Thanks Ivo
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 15 years
So, should we all chip-in and send Ivo a pair of MK4 for his tests? This seems to come up often enough, and I doubt he would mind. What say you? heh

Thanks, as always, for your generosity, Ivo.
Old 24th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VukOnCrack ➑️
So, should we all chip-in and send Ivo a pair of MK4 for his tests? This seems to come up often enough, and I doubt he would mind. What say you? heh

Thanks, as always, for your generosity, Ivo.
I had them here one week ago ... they have already gone ... they were nice, but I much prefered the other two (MK21 and MK2) in comparison for my purpose ...
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 10 years
Thanks Ivo for these nice clips.

I find the guitar comparison is showing that the Beyer are not far from the Schoeps. The Jz are noisy there and hyped in the high.

As usual, the viola recordings lost the instrument consistency with non top end mics.
I would have been happy to compare your viola recording using MK21 with one using the Beyer.

But even if it's not "scientific", adding reverb is not the easiest way to compare clips. Dry recording would have shown us better how these mics pick-up the ambiant sound. The interesting point here is that I find it seems easier to add reverb to a Schoeps recording than to a Jz one.

But it's not the same price...

JMM
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 15 years
I agree, these samples are wonderful!

I actually preferred the JZ's on drum and flute (both omni and subcard). The Schoeps didn't seem quite as clear and defined for some reason.

I thought they were both about the same on the monochord, with perhaps a slight edge to the Schoeps.

The viola was no contest. The Schoeps were far and away the best.

I plan to listen again later today and see if I still feel the same.

Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathieujm ➑️

But even if it's not "scientific", adding reverb is not the easiest way to compare clips. Dry recording would have shown us better how these mics pick-up the ambiant sound.
Well, as you could hear, the other clips (flute, drum etc.) are completely "naked" for change. As for the guitar reverb, it is a "philosophical" question - I always feel to hear and compare the "real" ready-made result, since this is the shape the listeners will listen to, not dry unprocessed samples ... But both attitudes have their pros and cons ...
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 10 years
I'm still listening! Although I agree with Dirk on the Schoeps vs the JZ on the Viola, I must say the difference in sound isn't five times greater with the Schoeps. The JZ is MORE than acceptable, and it most certainly holds it's own.

Thanks for posting those clips, Ivo!
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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🎧 15 years
how much do the JZ's run street$? capsules$? every online shop that sells JZ seems to only list the Blackhole mics..
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamJay ➑️
how much do the JZ's run street$? capsules$? every online shop that sells JZ seems to only list the Blackhole mics..
In Europe, they seem a little pricey (560€ one with the three capsules) in comparison to the MC930 (590€ the pair). Each capsule 90€.

JMM
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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According to the official retail price list, the complete stereo set with three interchangeable capsules is 1050 EUR.
I admit, I prefer the Schoeps for the main purpose, but I find these mics to be a great value for money (as additional microphones for my setup when needed). And they look great and the way of changing the capsules (non-screwing) is very cool ...
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➑️
According to the official retail price list, the JZ BT-201 cardioid pair is 405 EUR. The complete stereo set with three interchangeable capsules is 899 EUR, one microphone with three capsules 499 EUR, additional omni/wide cardioid capsule is 80 EUR. But I suppose the street prices may be still lower ...
Yes these prices exclude VAT.

JMM
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamJay ➑️
how much do the JZ's run street$? capsules$? every online shop that sells JZ seems to only list the Blackhole mics..

According to my current dealer sheet, US retail price is expected to be $1349 for the stereo set with 3 capsule heads and street will likely be about $150-$200 less. That is subject to change of course, but for right now I believe that information is accurate. I'm not entirely sure these have been released to the open market yet, although sets are evidently available...

There might even be better pricing deals available for slutz who buy from other slutz too...heh

I bought a pair of these for myself and I've been very impressed so far. I only deal product lines I personally own and use (or have used) and like.


Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 10 years
I got to listen to them too!

Ivo your playing is wonderful, simple, sincere and makes you dream/space travel. Your music is a good way to evade from the crisis news!!!

With this sets of samples I understood what Schoeps is about! JZs don't sound bad, even if I can hear noise in all the JZ samples, but Schoeps are just better. I agree with TNJazz that the JZ make drums sound better, but I hear the noise in between strokes (more in the wide cardioid) that I see it as a problem...

Schoeps instead have zero noise, a part of reality and a part of dream too!!!
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videoteque ➑️
Ivo your playing is wonderful, simple, sincere and makes you dream/space travel. Your music is a good way to evade from the crisis news!!!
Good idea, I will request US goverment to send me some modest financial injection ASAP (besides the banks) and for sure I will keep working hard on the anti-crisis music heh
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What is JZ's quality control like?

I think consistent quality is important in microphones. Otherwise you have to listen to several until you find one worth buying, or maybe you get lucky and get a good one right away. Schoeps and Beyer have excellent QC and they document the response curves of each mic.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek ➑️
...Funnily, their sound is also reflected in their boxes in a way - Beyer: big plastic box, JZ decent wooden box ...
Do you really think the box indicates their sound? Can you say how?

Until now all your posts simply chronicled a quest for music and these clips are no different, they're useful as always. But something has changed in how you analyze and explain things, and that saddens me. Do you rep JZ?

Based on these clips the Schoeps mics defend their leading position with no problem. By comparison, the Beyers sound scooped in the mids and the JZs sound bright. How close were the mics to the instruments, and were they all at the same distance?

The Beyers low-mid and LF response is better than most other SDC cardis. That's why, IMO, the mids sound scooped in these clips. Ironically, it's aso why they work in more applications like acoustic music recorded at a distance. Of course top-grade SDCs are good too, like Sennheiser, Schoeps, Gefell, DPA, etc. From these clips the JZ's may be useful up close, but the brightness sounds to my ear like a KM184.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelPatrick ➑️
Do you really think the box indicates their sound? Can you say how?.
I let Ivo answer to this question. But for sure I would prefer the Beyer box to be smaller (I don't care about wood...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelPatrick ➑️
Do you rep JZ?
I think so :
JZ Microphones / Czech Republic

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelPatrick ➑️
From these clips the JZ's may be useful up close, but the brightness sounds to my ear like a KM184.
I don't remember a viola sound thru the KM184 similar to the sample with the Jz. Ok, the 184 is a little bright but it has a lot more cohesion in the sound than what I heard from the Jz

JMM
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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AdamJay's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
too much self noise for me on the JZ's. ever since i sold my earthworks tc30k's i've been looking for a great stereo set (non-omni, but interchangable caps would be a welcome bonus) that is nice and quiet with good depth.
I'll continue to save for the MC930's... The JZ's are a solid deal considering the various capsules, but the self noise is a deal breaker for me as i need something new specifically for quiet sources.

The schoeps, while they sound truley amazing, are way beyond what i can afford. I think the Beyers fit nicely just at the point where diminishing returns are set to begin. Great mics for the money.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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Yes, the self noise of JZ is something that may be not welcome ... and is quite noticeable when I listened again ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelPatrick ➑️
Do you really think the box indicates their sound? Can you say how?

Until now all your posts simply chronicled a quest for music and these clips are no different, they're useful as always. But something has changed in how you analyze and explain things, and that saddens me.
Michael, I hope you understand that as regards the boxes, it was nothing more than just a spontaneous joke ... Yes, Beyer box is very big - so is the sound: I never seen any mics with so high output ... (not that it is something bad) - and it was just funny to see the box put on my studio sofa at the same time. But that it has nothing to do with the box is quite clear to everyony I hope ) (I heavily overclipped the first samples I tried to make).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelPatrick ➑️

Do you rep JZ?
Yes, with a friend of mine, we set a small local virtual high end audio boutique with things we know very well, have experience with and before all that we like ... JZ is one of them. But I hope you are not suggesting that I am doing some promo here, since first - my original comparison was just illustrative (these three mics met here for a while), everybody could hear and have some impression. Only upon some repeated requests I spent another time to make further straightforward samples that anyone can just hear and judge (with all their pros and cons). As I again said - I like Schoeps the most by far (and I had so many other mics here before, including almost complete DPA line).
Second - I have no motivation to promote or lift one over the other (apart from my personal subjective liking), since if someone is interested here, I can help to get any of them, it makes no difference for me (Schoeps, Beyer, JZ, DPA, Earthworks and what not - and that happens very rarely anyway, it is just maybe 10% of my activities , that are based on my passion about these toys and some experience I can share).

So this for a straight sincere clarification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelPatrick ➑️
Based on these clips the Schoeps mics defend their leading position with no problem. By comparison, the Beyers sound scooped in the mids and the JZs sound bright. How close were the mics to the instruments, and were they all at the same distance?
Yes, basically at the same distance (with some natural tolerance, of course). That also could be a weak point, since it is likely, that any of these mics would sound at their best in the different positions. Another thing is that all these instruments (except monochord) were recorded at the same mics positions which would normally never happen, so the resulting sound is just an illustrative compromise ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelPatrick ➑️
The Beyers are sensitive to proximity and their low-mid and LF response is better than most other SDC cardis. That's why, IMO, the mids sound scooped in these clips. Ironically, it's aso why they work in more applications like acoustic music recorded at a distance. Of course top-grade SDCs are good too, like Sennheiser, Schoeps, Gefell, DPA, etc. From these clips the JZ's may be useful up close, but the brightness sounds to my ear like a KM184.
Yes, that was my first observation, JZ are simply having extra touch of HF ... For something it can be welcome (like acoustic guitar), for something less (viola).

As for the quality control, I tried one of the first prototypes and the present final products are well improved and settled comparing to them. Since I had some conversations with them regarding some minor prototype issues, I know they are quite hard working to improve everything to the perfect quality ... But these things are not easy ...
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