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nt55 vs se8
Old 13th November 2018
  #1
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🎧 10 years
nt55 vs se8

I recently bought a pair of se electronics se8 and rode nt55 microphones.

I wanted to compare the self noise of each microphone so I did a test where I recorded ... nothing. You know - just the still air of my bedroom.

I was surprised that the se8 pair produced much more noise than the nt55 pair even when at a lower gain level.

Can someone explain if there are reasons why this might be or should I consider se electronics to be lying when they say the self noise is 13dBA vs rode's 16 dBA spec.
Old 15th November 2018
  #2
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
?
produce more self noise or reacorded more noise?
just curious.
Old 16th November 2018 | Show parent
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 ➡️
?
produce more self noise or reacorded more noise?
just curious.
I'm not sure I understand the difference. When I record the SE8 it is much more noisy than the NT55. And because I recorded it in a silent room I was able to compare the noise that the NT55 produced versus the SE8.
Old 16th November 2018
  #4
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Drumsound's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Are you going through the same channels, at the same settings? Just thinking out loud, but something in the chain could be creating the noise.

More importantly though, how did the mics sound when recording music?
Old 17th November 2018 | Show parent
  #5
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pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonotza ➡️
I'm not sure I understand the difference. When I record the SE8 it is much more noisy than the NT55. And because I recorded it in a silent room I was able to compare the noise that the NT55 produced versus the SE8.
Quote:
produce more self noise or reacorded more noise
one; a mic might have more self noise.
two; a mic might actualy pick-up more room noise.

you may think the room has no noise but the do.

i will assume one mic as more self noise?
Old 17th November 2018 | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 ➡️
one; a mic might have more self noise.
two; a mic might actualy pick-up more room noise.

you may think the room has no noise but the do.

i will assume one mic as more self noise?
The microphone self-noise is what we're talking about. The room was perfectly quiet in the recordings.
Old 17th November 2018 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound ➡️
Are you going through the same channels, at the same settings? Just thinking out loud, but something in the chain could be creating the noise.

More importantly though, how did the mics sound when recording music?

Yes I was going through the same channels and settings.

I isolated all other variables - It was clearly the se8 self noise. After I heard the amount of noise coming from them I could barely listen to the piano recordings.

I looked up a video that se electronics posted for their se8. I hear the same noise in that video. Sorry - they say it's the quietest in it's class but I think it's just an outright lie.

Long story short, if you can afford the little bit extra, a nt55 will get you much cleaner higher quality recordings.
Old 17th November 2018
  #8
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Pollo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I love my NT55. I even like it for my voice even though an SDC is not the first mic people think of for recording vocals.
I only wish I had two. Been thinking about buying another but they are just a little too expensive. Plus it wouldn't be a mached pair, not that I think that is of great importance.
Old 26th November 2018
  #9
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sE8s have a sensitivity of -32dBV, whereas the NT55 have -38dBV - a 6dB difference in output level given the same source and input gain.

If you recorded them at the same input gain, I would first reduce the sE8s down by 6dB to get an equivelant comparison. (Assuming the specified sensitivities are indeed correct).

But in case the sensitivity ratings aren’t 100%, you’d be better recording a piano or something again with both mics recording simultaneously at the same gain on each channel, then stop playing, record the silence afterwards for a minute or two. Then, invert one of the audio files and use the recorded piano to figure out the exact difference of the two input levels by lowering the sE track until the two combined out of phase tracks are as quiet as possible, then you have an even playing ground to compare self noise of both.

(By the way - you can’t do a short cut of just recording the sE8s at a lower gain because preamp noise changes at different gain levels so the above method is the most reliable way I can think of to properly evaluate.)

Would be interested to hear how you get in with that, good luck!

William
Old 10th December 2018 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by WJohnston92 ➡️
sE8s have a sensitivity of -32dBV, whereas the NT55 have -38dBV - a 6dB difference in output level given the same source and input gain.

If you recorded them at the same input gain, I would first reduce the sE8s down by 6dB to get an equivelant comparison. (Assuming the specified sensitivities are indeed correct).

But in case the sensitivity ratings aren’t 100%, you’d be better recording a piano or something again with both mics recording simultaneously at the same gain on each channel, then stop playing, record the silence afterwards for a minute or two. Then, invert one of the audio files and use the recorded piano to figure out the exact difference of the two input levels by lowering the sE track until the two combined out of phase tracks are as quiet as possible, then you have an even playing ground to compare self noise of both.

(By the way - you can’t do a short cut of just recording the sE8s at a lower gain because preamp noise changes at different gain levels so the above method is the most reliable way I can think of to properly evaluate.)

Would be interested to hear how you get in with that, good luck!

William
Your first recommendation is to lower the gain on the se8 to compensate for the difference in sensitivity. I mentioned I did that already in my original post - glad we're on the same page.

The noise on the se8 was still [much] louder than the nt55 when the se8 was set at a considerably lower gain level.

And then you say (funnily enough) I can't use the method you recommended as a short cut because the preamp noise changes at different gain levels. However I studied the noise characteristics of my preamp in isolation, and I learned that the preamp's noise floor is audible only at gain levels much higher than what I was recording for my tests. In other words - I was not hearing noise from the preamp at the levels I was recording. I was only hearing noise from the microphones! To be specific I could only hear noise from the se8's and barely any noise from the nt55.
Old 30th December 2018
  #11
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Reading back on my first comment, I should have clarified, first try recording both at identical gain settings and take the sE8 down by 6dB in post, or until the inverted phase gives the lowest output next to the nt55.

But it does sound like you’ve been thorough enough to conclude either wildly over optimistic specs from se or a bad copy.

Unfortunately I haven’t yet tried them yet myself to compared against my NT55s so I can’t be of much practical help.

Good luck!
Old 8th January 2019
  #12
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Gediminascom's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonotza ➡️
I recently bought a pair of se electronics se8 and rode nt55 microphones.

I wanted to compare the self noise of each microphone so I did a test where I recorded ... nothing. You know - just the still air of my bedroom.

I was surprised that the se8 pair produced much more noise than the nt55 pair even when at a lower gain level.

Can someone explain if there are reasons why this might be or should I consider se electronics to be lying when they say the self noise is 13dBA vs rode's 16 dBA spec.
Here is some self noise measurements.

Comparison between
MKH-600 self noise 15dB (A) by specifications
and SE-8 self noise 13dB (A) by specifications


Noise measured with 80Hz 24dB slope low cut filter:
and SE-8 has 6.3dB higher noise level.

Noise measured with A weighted filter:
and SE-8 has 5.8dB higher noise level.

Noise was recorded at the same time thru identical very low noise channels.
I did very precise compensation of sensitivity difference by placing two microphones side by side and recording 1kHz audio signal, then I compensated for the difference in post.
SE8 I bought from official Se Electronics dealer in Denmark.
In the pictures below look at the "RMS Integrated" field.
Attached Thumbnails
nt55 vs se8-80-24-bypass.jpg   nt55 vs se8-weighted.jpg  
Old 8th January 2019
  #13
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🎧 10 years
Strange i have also read in a other forum someone having problem with noise , do you have news from Se on this?

do you know any other sdc with low noise and high sensitivity for recording quiete sources in this price range?
Old 18th February 2019 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred_Abstract ➡️
Strange i have also read in a other forum someone having problem with noise , do you have news from Se on this?

do you know any other sdc with low noise and high sensitivity for recording quiete sources in this price range?
SE reached out to me. They said they'd send me new mics after they tested the mics to ensure their specs were fine. But they never did that. I'm left to think that the mics are noisey and their marketing team just doesn't care to include the truth about them in their marketing material. Also - BOTH mics I bought had the same noise profile. So I think the chances of 2 "defective" mics is very slim.
Old 5th April 2019 | Show parent
  #15
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Gediminascom's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonotza ➡️
SE reached out to me. They said they'd send me new mics after they tested the mics to ensure their specs were fine. But they never did that. I'm left to think that the mics are noisey and their marketing team just doesn't care to include the truth about them in their marketing material. Also - BOTH mics I bought had the same noise profile. So I think the chances of 2 "defective" mics is very slim.
I got an answer from Se Electronics

"We have experienced a batch issue last year, I assume that this is a unit of that batch"


Now I need to contact the seller and sort it out with them.
Old 17th May 2019
  #16
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Gediminascom's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I finally got new mics from Se Electronics, they send me stereo pair, and that was very nice!
New microphones has different circuit board, my old mic had version 0, new ones has version 2 and it is little bit different.
I compared new Se8 with Sennheiser MKE600 (EIN 15 dB A) and Rode M3 (EIN 21 dB A) and se8 had 4 dB higher noise then MKE600 and 2 dB less then M3,
so I assume that Se Electronics measure own microphones in different way, than Sennheiser and Rode.
Old 17th May 2019
  #17
Deleted 2be7eae
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I've got a pair of sE8 here and haven't experienced any problems with noise while recording fingerpicked acoustic guitar.
Old 17th May 2019 | Show parent
  #18
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Gediminascom's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 2be7eae ➡️
I've got a pair of sE8 here and haven't experienced any problems with noise while recording fingerpicked acoustic guitar.
Of course you can record with it, Se8 sounds fantastic!
But the noise is still higher, then in the specifications.
Old 26th June 2019 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gediminascom ➡️
Of course you can record with it, Se8 sounds fantastic!
But the noise is still higher, then in the specifications.
Did you have the opportunity to compare the noise level of the sE8 with the noise level of the Oktava MK-012 or the Line Audio C3/C4? I am considering the sE8 because of the low self noise declared, but after reading this thread I am a little confused...
Old 3rd November 2019 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonotza ➡️
Yes I was going through the same channels and settings.

I isolated all other variables - It was clearly the se8 self noise. After I heard the amount of noise coming from them I could barely listen to the piano recordings.

I looked up a video that se electronics posted for their se8. I hear the same noise in that video. Sorry - they say it's the quietest in it's class but I think it's just an outright lie.

Long story short, if you can afford the little bit extra, a nt55 will get you much cleaner higher quality recordings.
Hi! I have listened to these recordings. In the recordings of guitar and violin the noise is awful. But in the recordings of pianos it is DEAD SILENT. Maybe it is a problem with quality control or batch issue? I heard many recording of this mic and most of it is exceptonally quiet.
Old 3rd November 2019 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gediminascom ➡️
I finally got new mics from Se Electronics, they send me stereo pair, and that was very nice!
New microphones has different circuit board, my old mic had version 0, new ones has version 2 and it is little bit different.
I compared new Se8 with Sennheiser MKE600 (EIN 15 dB A) and Rode M3 (EIN 21 dB A) and se8 had 4 dB higher noise then MKE600 and 2 dB less then M3,
so I assume that Se Electronics measure own microphones in different way, than Sennheiser and Rode.
Hi! Do you think that all sE8 mics with 0 circuit board are inferior (bad batch)? Are you sure that comparing shotgun to cardioid is fair? Unless you record in perfectly isolated anechoic chamber you always record practical noise floor which include a room tone. But shotgun mic picks sounds from the room in a different way. It attenuates noise from sides better than cardioid mic. If that was in part the direction the noise came from, shotgun will always have an advantage. But noise is measured in special anechoic... container or something. Yet only 3dB lower that Rode M3 is a bummer!
Old 3rd November 2019 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_sm ➡️
Did you have the opportunity to compare the noise level of the sE8 with the noise level of the Oktava MK-012 or the Line Audio C3/C4? I am considering the sE8 because of the low self noise declared, but after reading this thread I am a little confused...
I own Oktava MK-012, Rode NT5, Rode NT1, MXL 603S ME and 1xsE8. I need 4xCM4 for it's form factor and I am planning to buy it. I need also versatile, clean and transparent pair of SCD. I was thinking about selling some of my mics and buy a pair of sE8. But after what I have just read, I am not so sure. Once I buy CM4 I will definately make a noise comparison of these mics. You can wait if it is not to late for you. So far I have compared a sound of sE8, MK-012, MXL 603S and Rode NT5 on... (don't laugh!) electric kettle as a source of changing frequency noise. If you are interested, contact me.
BTW I am not a musician. I make amateur recording of the choir I sing in. I can't make any comparison with instruments. So far I seek the most apropriate mic.
Old 1st August 2020 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_sm ➡️
Did you have the opportunity to compare the noise level of the sE8 with the noise level of the Oktava MK-012 or the Line Audio C3/C4? I am considering the sE8 because of the low self noise declared, but after reading this thread I am a little confused...
I tested sE8 against MK-012, MXL 603S ME and Rode NT5. Rode picked up a lot of something that looked like RF noise but sounded silent. Yet, sE8 was very noisy. Much more than Oktava and even than MXL603S ME. Also regular MXL 603S outperformed it. Huge hissing noise that made recordings of soft sources completely useless.
Old 3rd August 2020 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pablo_prz ➡️
I tested sE8 against MK-012, MXL 603S ME and Rode NT5. Rode picked up a lot of something that looked like RF noise but sounded silent. Yet, sE8 was very noisy. Much more than Oktava and even than MXL603S ME. Also regular MXL 603S outperformed it. Huge hissing noise that made recordings of soft sources completely useless.
Reckon there must be something wrong, maybe just bad QC - is this a general issue? Was it a stereo pair that was tested - are both equally bad?

::
Mads
Old 3rd August 2020 | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mljung ➡️
Reckon there must be something wrong, maybe just bad QC - is this a general issue? Was it a stereo pair that was tested - are both equally bad?

::
Mads
It was single mic. Bought second hand but I demanded replacing circuit board and it did not help at all. I don't think it is bad QC. Listen to sE own audio samples on different instruments. When they can, they cut or fade out silent sections so that it seemed dead silent. When they cannot, you can hear how nosy it is. If that was poor QC, they would have just picked best possible copy. It seems just manipulation.

Last edited by Pablo_prz; 3rd August 2020 at 10:36 PM.. Reason: Mistake
Old 4th August 2020 | Show parent
  #26
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mljung's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pablo_prz ➡️
It was single mic. Bought second hand but I demanded replacing circuit board and it did not help at all. I don't think it is bad QC. Listen to sE own audio samples on different instruments. When they can, they cut or fade out silent sections so that it seemed dead silent. When they cannot, you can hear how nosy it is. If that was poor QC, they would have just picked best possible copy. It seems just manipulation.
Strange, I generally regard sE as competent microphone makers. Hmm let's see if someone chimes in who knows more about this issue...

::
Mads
Old 4th August 2020
  #27
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🎧 10 years
You can't just "record room noise" and get an accurate reading of the noise in the room. You need to calibrate the gain first.

The easiest way to do this is to play back a 1 kHz tone from a smartphone for several seconds, with both microphones right next to each other and the speaker of the phone completely equidistant to both (you can tilt it sideways since some phones have several speakers now).

You then turn off the tone and make no noise for a few more seconds.

You then make sure the RMS value of both microphones when they're playing back the tone is the same. Only then can you compare the silence.

I did this with some DPA and Shure SDCs I have. They both say they have the same noise floor, but I wanted to make sure!

Sadly most SDCs are kind of noisy. 16 dBA is noticeable in very quiet recordings. It's not an ugly sound though, and I hear it in many professional productions, but it does limit the amount of compression you can add without it being very noticeable.
Old 12th October 2020 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack ➡️
You can't just "record room noise" and get an accurate reading of the noise in the room. You need to calibrate the gain first.

The easiest way to do this is to play back a 1 kHz tone from a smartphone for several seconds, with both microphones right next to each other and the speaker of the phone completely equidistant to both (you can tilt it sideways since some phones have several speakers now).

You then turn off the tone and make no noise for a few more seconds.

You then make sure the RMS value of both microphones when they're playing back the tone is the same. Only then can you compare the silence.

I did this with some DPA and Shure SDCs I have. They both say they have the same noise floor, but I wanted to make sure!

Sadly most SDCs are kind of noisy. 16 dBA is noticeable in very quiet recordings. It's not an ugly sound though, and I hear it in many professional productions, but it does limit the amount of compression you can add without it being very noticeable.
Sorry, but what you said is irrelevant. I have compared these mics directly head to head. Oktava MK-012, Rode NT5, MXL 603S, MXL 603S ME and sE8 (this one twice with two circuit boards). Same recorder, same room, similar placement in ralation to speaker generating white noise and pink noise. All recorded at the same time with signal triggered remotely from different room. First gain was chosen for each mic to peak at -12dBFS at noise sample, yet all recordings were later loudness matched, and same silent sections were listened to and analysed. Hiss in sE8 was devastating both times. Not even close to something you would expect with 16db(A) not to mention 13db(A). Not even close in performance to MXL603S ME not to mention Oktavas. NT5 picked a lot of strange RF-like noise from BT speaker visible on spectrum and in measurement but sounded dead-silent. MXL 603S also was significantly quieter. Sorry to say that but this sE8 is a scam and utter s**t! Which is a shame because this mic has great tonality; like no other.
Old 6th January 2022 | Show parent
  #29
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James Freeman's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pablo_prz ➡️
I tested sE8 against MK-012, MXL 603S ME and Rode NT5. Rode picked up a lot of something that looked like RF noise but sounded silent. Yet, sE8 was very noisy. Much more than Oktava and even than MXL603S ME. Also regular MXL 603S outperformed it. Huge hissing noise that made recordings of soft sources completely useless.
Yep.
My brand new sE8 (Version 3, 2021) is noisier than my Behringer B5 by at least 4-6db, and frequency response measures the same.

My thread:
sE Electronics sE8 vs Behringer B5

Sorry but I cannot recommend the sE8 for 300$ if it can't outperform the Behringer B5 which is only 70$.
Old 6th January 2022 | Show parent
  #30
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mljung's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Freeman ➡️
Yep.
My brand new sE8 (Version 3, 2021) is noisier than my Behringer B5 by at least 4-6db, and frequency response measures the same.

My thread:
sE Electronics sE8 vs Behringer B5

Sorry but I cannot recommend the sE8 for 300$ if it can't outperform the Behringer B5 which is only 70$.
I wonder where all that noise comes from. My sE8 omnis are as noisy as other similar sdc's but not more - so not excessively noisy. Either the Behringer is unusually lo-noise (I doubt that) or you should get a new sE8 or have repaired under warranty.
But you're not alone (both of you) others have complained about noise, so there may be a problem with some batches.
::
Mads
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