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Gefell m297, any user reports?
Old 26th July 2018
  #1
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Gefell m297, any user reports?

Hello all,

I hope I may be forgiven for re-asking this question here -- there's already a thread in the "so much gear, so little time" forum -- but I thought it would get more attention from the people most likely to have information here in the remote forum.

I'm curious if anyone has hands-on experience with the Microtech Gefell m297, which is their wide cardioid offering in the SDC series featuring nickel diaphragms. Obviously the other mics in the series, particularly the m295 and m296 are well documented both here and elsewhere, but I have been able to find virtually nothing about the m297. Even the page on the MG website does not include the same specifications, polar and frequency response measurements, etc. that the others in the series do.

User reports in the context of classical location recording would be of particular interest.

Many thanks!
Luke
Old 27th July 2018
  #2
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The M 297 data sheet is here

All available Microtech Gefell data sheets are HERE - including some discontinued models that people want the data sheets for.

I am trying to get hold of the polar-pattern for the M 297.
Old 31st July 2018
  #3
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Just a +1 on also wanting to know more about the 297. I find the M296 invaluable so wondered how good the 297 might be. Although, and John can chime in here and clarify, I understand that the M295 and M296 are quite different in design and capsule (apart from the obvious polar patterns of course). Please do tell.

Haigbabe
Old 31st July 2018 | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haigbabe ➡️
Just a +1 on also wanting to know more about the 297. I find the M296 invaluable so wondered how good the 297 might be. Although, and John can chime in here and clarify, I understand that the M295 and M296 are quite different in design and capsule (apart from the obvious polar patterns of course). Please do tell.
The M 294 / 295 / 296 and 297 are all SDC microphones with a nickel diaphragm - so would essentially have a similar sound characteristic.

The 294 and 295 are cardioid - the 294 has a bit of a presence peak and the 295 has a more linear response with a bass roll-off - so, I would say, the 294 is more for diffuse field work and the 295 for the nearfield.

The 296 is omni as is also the 296s.

The 297 is a wide cardioid (hypo-cardioid).

The spec sheets of these (and all other Gefell microphones) are on THIS PAGE - and this does include the response curve of the 296s.
Old 31st July 2018
  #5
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Terrific resource, thanks John.

Can you elaborate on the diaphragms of each, are some larger than others? All single etc?

Haigbabe
Old 31st July 2018 | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haigbabe ➡️
Terrific resource, thanks John.

Can you elaborate on the diaphragms of each, are some larger than others? All single etc?
The one person who *really* knows is away at the moment (that's Gefell's Udo Wagner), having a well-earned holiday before the madness of IBC in Amsterdam in a few weeks time.

My understanding is that they all have the same size diaphragm, I am not sure if the tensioning is different, though.

It would be sensible in manufacture if all the capsules were essentially the same but with different damping and tuning to get the different polar-patterns.
Old 31st July 2018
  #7
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A strange frequency response for the series. A short but sharp HF bump then nothing much above 15kHz.
Old 31st July 2018 | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haigbabe ➡️
Terrific resource, thanks John.

Can you elaborate on the diaphragms of each, are some larger than others? All single etc?

Haigbabe
The capsule of the M296 is 22 mm in diameter. That is much larger than "normal" SDCs and about the same size as Sonodore LDM-54 and DPA 4041. I took pictures of the bare capsules of the M296 and the LDM-54. M296 on the left, LDM-54 on the right.
Attached Thumbnails
Gefell m297, any user reports?-22mm_capsules_a.jpg   Gefell m297, any user reports?-22mm_capsules_b.jpg  
Old 1st August 2018
  #9
Deleted 141eef3
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John, thank you for the information!

Earcatcher, this is an image I have tried to conjure in my mind's eye after reading other similar comparisons between those mics, but I am very grateful for the opportunity to see it more concretely!
Old 1st August 2018 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
The capsule of the M296 is 22 mm in diameter. That is much larger than "normal" SDCs and about the same size as Sonodore LDM-54 and DPA 4041. I took pictures of the bare capsules of the M296 and the LDM-54. M296 on the left, LDM-54 on the right.
Thank you Earcatcher, great photos!

I recently spent spent time in The Netherlands getting Rens to service some mics as well as build me his tube MPM-81, he spoke highly and with fondness towards the LDM-54. Do you own a pair? How do you find them?

Best wishes,

Haigbabe
Old 1st August 2018 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haigbabe ➡️
Thank you Earcatcher, great photos!

I recently spent spent time in The Netherlands getting Rens to service some mics as well as build me his tube MPM-81, he spoke highly and with fondness towards the LDM-54. Do you own a pair? How do you find them?

Best wishes,

Haigbabe
Sure I own a pair! I took the pictures for the purpose of this conversation specifically, two hours ago. A lot can be said about the LDM-54, also in comparison to the M296. Think of the LDM-54's as very open, neutral, dynamic, articulated, musical microphones, with an eery amount of inner sonic detail. Especially with the optional Van den Hul cables they are also rather 3D sounding. Their off-axis drop-off of the higher frequencies is very smooth. Compared to MKH20 they are much less "forward" sounding, but have a lot of depth and give a more natural perspective. Low frequencies are powerful and clean. Highs are silvery and transparent, but never "hard", I would say "delicate". The danger is they hear everything. Noise is very low. Much of this has to do with the external high voltage power supply. Rens has made several versions of that powering scheme. I have the 130V version. I prefer to use these with a rather "slowish" preamp (low input impedance, such as NOS MOne) in order to avoid the mercilessness in sharp depiction that can occur. If you want to do M/S with this mic you need Sennheiser MKH30 for a good match.

In comparison I can say this about the M296:
- very smooth (schmeichelnd in German);
- quite a nice smooth change from front to sides, although there is a bit of a corner in the smoothness compared to LDM-54's;
- no ultra fast transients, never painful;
- a natural tone with some subtle cream;
- rather brilliant highs;
- lows have a sexy vibe to them (some would call that colored) and are generally louder than MKH20 and LDM-54;
- slightly (and I mean SLIGHTLY) tubby sound (like you're listening through a pipe), which seems to be caused by the practically closed center of the front;
- very low frontal transient impact, so you can aim them directly at a source without getting much more transient peakiness;
- works best with preamps that have a high input impedance (very nice and dynamical with ADT TM101; a more lean and open sound through Lake People F355, also great through Forssell SMP-2 which musical qualities it suits pretty well);
- watch out with low ohm input preamps as they will emphasize tubbiness and make this mic sound "lazy";
- if you want to do M/S with this mic you need Schoeps Mk8 for a good match.
Old 2nd August 2018 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
In comparison I can say this about the M296:
- very smooth (schmeichelnd in German);
- quite a nice smooth change from front to sides, although there is a bit of a corner in the smoothness compared to LDM-54's;
- no ultra fast transients, never painful;
- a natural tone with some subtle cream;
- rather brilliant highs;
- lows have a sexy vibe to them (some would call that colored) and are generally louder than MKH20 and LDM-54;
- slightly (and I mean SLIGHTLY) tubby sound (like you're listening through a pipe), which seems to be caused by the practically closed center of the front;
- very low frontal transient impact, so you can aim them directly at a source without getting much more transient peakiness;
- works best with preamps that have a high input impedance (very nice and dynamical with ADT TM101; a more lean and open sound through Lake People F355, also great through Forssell SMP-2 which musical qualities it suits pretty well);
- watch out with low ohm input preamps as they will emphasize tubbiness and make this mic sound "lazy";
- if you want to do M/S with this mic you need Schoeps Mk8 for a good match.
Thank you for your characteristically thoughtful and thorough response! If I may ask a related question:

My primary omnis are a pair of Schoeps MK2. After reading the above, and knowing your familiarity with these, could you briefly describe some situations you encounter in which you would prefer them (or MK2H/MK2S) to the Gefell m296's and vice versa?

John, if/when you can get a polar diagram for the m297, I'd certainly love to see it. Thanks again for looking into this!
Old 2nd August 2018 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch ➡️
Thank you for your characteristically thoughtful and thorough response! If I may ask a related question:

My primary omnis are a pair of Schoeps MK2. After reading the above, and knowing your familiarity with these, could you briefly describe some situations you encounter in which you would prefer them (or MK2H/MK2S) to the Gefell m296's and vice versa?
Hm, maybe I should start a thread "Share your tasting notes on microphones". I'm keeping records when I do direct comparisons and of course Mk2 and Mk3H are represented in the list that the above notes are coming from as well. I have directly compared MKH20, M296, Mk2, Mk2H, Mk21, LDM-54, RCM-402 and CU-44xII in order to find out what their respective strengths and weaknesses are. Maybe if I describe the Schoepses you can decide for yourself when they would be preferred over the M296, or vice versa?

Mk2 (with original CMC6):
- very good, supple crossing from center to sides (also in M/S with Mk8);
- full sounding, but rather clogged, little image sharpness, a bit flat;
- relaxed imaging, little image enlarging, well behaved;
- lows are a rather swampy.

Mk2H (with original CMC6):
- center a bit tinny due to high lift. Deep reach in center, but not so beautiful;
- cross-over to sides is good. Elliptic (point forward) depth image (also in M/S with Mk8);
- spectrally flat, thin sounding. Little articulation;
- close to the truth, but a little less in every aspect.

Mk21 (with original CMC6):
- excellent cross-over from center to sides (also in M/S with Mk8);
- rather shrill overall sound, natural lows, very detailed mids;
- for detail at a distance, but sound a bit snowy;
- reasonably dead back, little depth although lots of reach in the front center.

- all Schoeps mics flexible with most preamps. For M/S Mk8 is simply best because of best phase coherency with the other Schoeps parts, even though sonically one would expect the Mk21 to work better with MKH30.

For contrast, Sonodore RCM-402:
- totally credible, detailed sound without any hype;
- not as open and deep as LDM-54;
- unspectacular natural lows. Not swampy!
- for M/S the Mk8 is the best choice;
- mic does not like to be paired with ADT TM101 as it has too hot of an output (same counts for LDM-54 BTW. ADT performs best at amplifications above 38dB);
- good preamp: Lake People F355.
Old 2nd August 2018 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
Hm, maybe I should start a thread "Share your tasting notes on microphones". I'm keeping records when I do direct comparisons and of course Mk2 and Mk3H are represented in the list that the above notes are coming from as well. I have directly compared MKH20, M296, Mk2, Mk2H, Mk21, LDM-54, RCM-402 and CU-44xII in order to find out what their respective strengths and weaknesses are. Maybe if I describe the Schoepses you can decide for yourself when they would be preferred over the M296, or vice versa.
Thank you Earcatcher, very helpful.

IF you happen to come across the Nevaton MC-416 please consider adding these to your listening tests, it would be interesting to have your thoughts and observations. Have been using them lately and enjoying them. In fact I put them up specifically to compare them to the MG296 at a choral rehearsal last week. Today I’ve been using them for spots while recording a baroque group for LP. Other spots were MG UM92.1 and MG UMT70S, all did a great job.

Haigbabe
Old 2nd August 2018 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch ➡️
John, if/when you can get a polar diagram for the m297, I'd certainly love to see it. Thanks again for looking into this!
I have asked, though the person who would know is on holiday at the moment - but I will see him at IBC in Amsterdam.

I think the 297 data sheet was made by me - I took the basis of another in the series and overwrote any data that was different and added the frequency response curve that Gefell sent to me (that's why the curve is a raw measurement curve, rather than in the same layout as others). I then sent it back to Gefell.

But they never sent me the polar-pattern at the time.

As soon as this is available I'll pass it on - and/or add it to the data sheet.
Old 2nd August 2018 | Show parent
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haigbabe ➡️
Thank you Earcatcher, very helpful.

IF you happen to come across the Nevaton MC-416 please consider adding these to your listening tests, it would be interesting to have your thoughts and observations. Have been using them lately and enjoying them. In fact I put them up specifically to compare them to the MG296 at a choral rehearsal last week. Today I’ve been using them for spots while recording a baroque group for LP. Other spots were MG UM92.1 and MG UMT70S, all did a great job.

Haigbabe
Haigbabe,

It is not very likely that I will add the Nevaton MC-416 to my notes because I only keep notes of microphones that I have extensive experience with and that I have purchased with my own money, in order to avoid any expectation bias. When microphones are in my possession long enough to have forgottten what they cost I reassess them regularly in direct comparisons. This way I build up a slowly evolving deeper insight in what their properties are in relation to a sonic situation and in relation to each other. I try not to fancy any particular mic, but be critical in every relevant aspect. For us remote recordists particular aspects of microphones are much more important than for most studio uses, which will typically be the benchmark for published reviews. I never see anyone discussing off-axis transient impact, next to the more discussed off-axis frequency response. Yet, this transient impact is extremely important in shaping the correct stereo image. One of the unusual aspects of the M296, for example, is that it has a lower transient impact reaction on-axis than it has to the 90 degrees off-axis areas. This makes it very suitable to use on a cello (also for example) and get more tone, with lower grain from the bow, if that is what you need. An Mk2H would give almost the opposite effect, which could be useful just as well, depending on the needs of the moment.

We recordists of acoustic sources are tone and texture shapers. We also need to think in a very three-dimensional way and how to translate that image through only two replicators. We constantly have to react to the rooms we are working in and to the qualities of the musicians and their instruments. I feel that many recordists get by with a good basic set of routines that give a solid result under most circumstances, but I also feel that a lot of the potential of a given situation is being lost that way. If we want to change that we need a deeper understanding of what sound is and how it behaves in relation to our tools. So we need to know our tools as if they are close relatives: we love them for what they are and we keep in mind what their limitations are. Aunt Bertha may love sugar, but when she visits for tea we may keep in mind that she's a diabetic too.
Old 3rd August 2018 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
I reassess them regularly in direct comparisons. This way I build up a slowly evolving deeper insight in what their properties are in relation to a sonic situation and in relation to each other.
While we are waiting for some more concrete information about the m297, I would be curious to hear more about your general method(s) in making these direct comparisons. Do you typically set up mics to your satisfaction for a given session and then add a couple more for comparison purposes which you may or may not end up using? Or do you make certain assessments (about various degrees of off-axis response for example) under more controlled test environment conditions, perhaps using a repeatable sound source via loudspeaker playback for example?

In my own very modest way, I am aspiring to build up a similar body of knowledge of the tools I have available, and I very much appreciate your philosophy in this area... If you don't mind sharing some details, I'd be grateful to learn what I can.
Old 3rd August 2018 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 141eef3 ➡️
While we are waiting for some more concrete information about the m297, I would be curious to hear more about your general method(s) in making these direct comparisons. Do you typically set up mics to your satisfaction for a given session and then add a couple more for comparison purposes which you may or may not end up using? Or do you make certain assessments (about various degrees of off-axis response for example) under more controlled test environment conditions, perhaps using a repeatable sound source via loudspeaker playback for example?
For direct comparison tests I set up speakers (full range or with subwoofers) and play different types of music. The same set to each microphone pair, so I can compare the different aspects. Sometimes I set up a number of pairs between which I can switch directly. For my off-axis tests I use headphones, fisrt in the same room, so I can move the microphones, then I step outside and listen in isolation on those same headphones and evaluate all sorts of aspects of the music as I know it from just having heard it play in the room.

I also have a number of tests that I use to judge the stereo image of different arrays, such as walking around with very high ringing temple bells. Since its the high frequencies that deviate first in a stereo image this is what I use to get a solid first idea.

From time to time I have single musicians in my little studio who are willing to play for me on their instrument for tests. I always use such opportunities to make direct comparisons with a real sound source, which is to be preferred over the speaker setup.

With all these findings I select a few options when making a real recording on location, of which I think they may be good choices. During setup I test these options further and discuss with the musicians what we think we hear. For a location recording that takes several days (such as a CD recording) I make sure we take ample time to find the setup that the musicians like most for their music. Of course I propose several options based on my knowledge, but I always try to respect their preference to a reasonable level. The discussion about what they like and why is very helpful for me to further categorize the aspects of my microphones and preamps.

The latest CD I recorded was done in the most ideal way: I set up my gear in the morning. Then we used all afternoon to get the sound we wanted and the next morning, with everybody fresh and with renewed hearing, we started the recording. During previous recording sessions I had noticed that the musicians would be tired by the time we had found our sound, so I wanted to avoid that by doing it this way. Worked out very well and the musicians liked it a lot too. Now they could really enjoy the balancing process, not bothered by a restless feeling of when we would finally start recording. They could adjust to the room, have some discussion with their fellows about it, have dinner together and settle in their rooms for the night. One even had a baby with her and we also had time to meet with the nanny this way and see if the baby would adapt to her. All these things matter a great deal to how a group plays and I like to give space to all these needs. We had a great week and the sound wasn't sloppy either.
Old 4th August 2018
  #19
Deleted 141eef3
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Thank you very much for this -- I am planning to rent out a chapel in the coming weeks specifically to do a comprehensive test of mics, arrays, and placements which I can currently achieve with existing equipment... your response(s) will be very helpful to keep in mind.

With gratitude,
Luke
Old 5th August 2018 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch ➡️
Thank you very much for this -- I am planning to rent out a chapel in the coming weeks specifically to do a comprehensive test of mics, arrays, and placements which I can currently achieve with existing equipment... your response(s) will be very helpful to keep in mind.

With gratitude,
Luke
Using a chapel for doing tests is always a good plan. Do bring some nice musicians with you as well.

Never forget: as important as the rationale is, only use it as a foundation for your intuition. Listen with your heart, your skin and your stomach. Even if you know nothing of the technical side of your microphones and preamps you will still be able to make a good recording as long as you have unprejudiced access to your sensoric judgement.

The recording below was made by me when I hardly knew what I was doing. It was just a test situation during a live performance in the chapel of a museum for me. In essence my recordings have not really improved since. My analysis however has made me much more efficient in getting the results I want and getting them on a more consistent basis. That's what all this testing is good for. And it's a great source of joy of course. Cats hone their hunting skills by re-enacting their moment of success endlessly, even long after the mouse has died. We gearslutters are no more than cats playing with a dead mouse. Follow your instincts and enjoy the process!
Attached Files

Romanian_Dances.m4a (8.72 MB, 1196 views)


Last edited by Earcatcher; 5th August 2018 at 06:47 AM..
Old 10th August 2018
  #21
Deleted 141eef3
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Thanks for sharing -- both the lovely recording and the advice/analogy. Very well put.
Old 4th December 2018
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Any impressions a few months later? Someone has tried the 297?
Old 6th December 2018
  #23
Deleted 141eef3
Guest
Also curious...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Bumping this thread to check if someone has tried the Gefell M297 microphone!
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