August 11, 2010
Up, Up, and Away
by Peter Schneider

We recently got to listen to the new digital Schoeps, and it is truly impressive. It's a digital microphone, which means its output is an AES42 digital signal comprised of two channels:

  1. An ambient noise-attenuated signal using multiple capsule and a DSP algorithm developed by Illusonic. This DSP algorithm is extremely effective, boasting noise reduction of up to 15 dB
  2. A direct signal, basically identical to the analog CMIT5

A few caveats to be aware of: Although electrically similar to AES-3, AES-42 requires 10V phantom power to operate. Also, since the microphone has no pre-amp,  the digital signal is therefore quite low in typical dialogue applications and requires digital gain to be applied in the downstream device (the digital mixer or recorder). To put this in perspective, according to the specs, the microphone will output 0 dBFS in a soundfield of 125 dB SPL - the equivalent of a jackhammer at 1m! Finally, the mixer/recorder needs to have a digital sample rate converter on the inputs or else the CMIT will have to drive the sync for the entire recording.

Currently, among location recorders, only the Sound Devices 788T meets all of the criteria for using the SuperCMIT, although there are plans to introduce an AES-42 phantom power supply. Both Aaton and Zaxcom have announced planned support of the AES-42 standard, and their machines offer sample rate converters on their digital inputs.

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Published by Gotham Sound and Communications, Inc.
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