Engineers from Bartlett Microphones recently ran a live comparison between their TM-125 stage-floor microphone and the well-regarded PCC-160, a mic they designed several years ago for Crown.
The setting for the shootout was the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at the University of Notre Dame.
Owner/Engineer Bruce Bartlett said, “We chose the center’s concert hall for our tests because it has a state-of-the-art sound system and acoustics, and it’s a very quiet venue.”
With help from the DeBartolo Center Audio Engineer Joshua Ingle, they listened to the sound of three variations of the TM-125 mic and a PCC-160 over the house sound system reproducing a person speaking. Tests were run for tonal balance, pickup angle, off-axis coloration and noise floor.
According to Ingle, the TM-125 matched the PCC-160 in gain-before-feedback.“The TM-125 also has a little more presence and more rear rejection”, he noted.
Bartlett said, “It’s essential to test mics in the real world. We learned a lot from this experiment. For example, the mic should be voiced to sound good when mixed with the live sound from the actors. A microphone with a flat response might look good on paper, but it sounds dull in this situation when combined with the actors’ voices coming off the stage. It’s better if the mic emphasizes the highs and rolls off the lows in this application.”
All the mics picked up over a broad angle in front—about +/- 50 degrees—and dropped off rapidly beyond that.
Bartlett demonstrated how lifting the mic off the stage floor made no change in pickup of floor thumps, proving that the mic is insensitive to mechanical vibrations. No hiss was audible from any of the microphones.