Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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What is the difference between a Revox M3500 and a Beyer M201N(C)?

Had been thinking about buying a second Beyer M201………. but then I saw this immaculate 1970s Revox M3500 at a bargain price!

Both manufactured by Beyerdynamic these 2 microphones would appear to be very similar….. so what is the difference?

Frequency response plot of my Revox M3500 measured at a distance of 1 metre

Frequency response plot of my Revox M3500 measured at a distance of 1 metre

Frequency response graph for the Beyer M201

Frequency response plot for the Beyer M201 (Response at 1 metre is the bottom line.)

The low and mid-range frequency response is  similarly flat for both mics and both mics are characterised by the same tight hypercardioid polar pattern. BUT>>>>> The high end frequency response is quite different! The Revox has a distinct presence peak at around 5khz whereas the Beyer has a gentle lift at around 10khz. (This is due to  minor design differences in electronic components. )

In practical terms the difference is this :-     Although these 2 mics have a very similar general character, and are often used for the same tasks, the Beyer M201 is rather more accurate whereas the Revox M3500 appears to be somewhat brighter (which may sometimes be heard as an advantage!) Either way both of these microphones are superb perfomers, especially on drums and percussion.

Beyer M201 and Revox M3500 Grill pics

So why did Revox alter the HF response for the M3500?                    In the days of analogue tape recording, when using machines with no noise reduction facilities, it was common practice for engineers to add 3 or 4 db of boost to the incoming signal at around 4Khz whilst recording and cut by exactly the same amount during playback  This had the useful effect of reducing tape hiss by 3 or 4 db whilst maintaining the flat frequency response of the recording.  Cunning these old engineers! (This is of course roughly how Dolby B works, but done manually!)

The Revox  M3500 was intended for use with Revox 2 track recorders such as the A77 and B77. These machines did not supply phantom power and hence the microphone needed to be a high quality dynamic. The Beyer M201 was an obvious choice, with its wide, flat frequency response and ability to handle rapid transients. Also, these machines were  not blessed with any sort of built-in noise reduction or EQ facility. By redesigning the HF response of the M3500 with a boost at 4-5Khz  it is my guess that Revox were simply aiming to create additional brightness in the region of tape hiss that could be reduced during playback, thus improving the signal-to-noise ratio of their tape machine.

P.S.   I like the M3500 so much I just bought another one!