Saturday, 26 May 2012

the nice folks at SANKEN have supplied one of their impressively spec'd CUW-180 mics - it arrived today & first impressions are....cor blimey !

This thing is small - only 160.6mm x 78.7mm & light as a hefty feather (224g). It arrived in a custom vinyl case, well padded & with a standard mic stand clip & a rycote suspension cip (see photo) + 5pin to 2 x 3pin xlr cable.

eager to have a listen, I placed the mic in to a standard Rycote wind jammer mount / handle & made a quick test recording indoors. I had the much cheaper Rode NT4 in the rycote first, so I took a listen, swapped it for the CUW-180 & listened again. The NT4 is clearly not a realistic competitor for the Sanken but i'm somewhat of a fan of that particular entry level stereo, single unit mic - it does a good all round job for the price. Having said that, plug in the Sanken &....blast off. The first thing that is obvious is the audible power - its louder, more defined & the sound (& indeed the build) is far more sophisticated, which is perhaps to be expected given that the CUW-180 costs at least £2000 more than the Rode.

There are two simple questions that will be of interest to those considering a new mic:
1. how does the Sanken sound
2. how does it compare to other mics of the same cost

1. i'll be taking the CUW-180 out & making lots of test recordings with it in the coming months & will post extracts so you can hear for yourselves.

2. this is where it gets a bit more complicated. For one thing there aren't a lot of stereo, single unit mics out there in this kind of bracket (high end). In fact there also aren't any others at all that allow you to rotate the capsules in the way the Sanken does. Therefore, the only way for me to assess this mic will be to compare it, where possible, to other mics in general - to give a basic idea of whether, should you have the budget, you'd be advised to consider this alongside some of the other well known high end mics.

Of course, i've only had this mic for a few hours but I have to say that already i'm impressed & looking forward to getting out into the field with it.

Two Microphones In One Body For X-Y Stereo Recording

・ A single microphone body with two cardioid condenser capsules that can be rotated freely up to 180 degrees

The CUW-180 combines two exceptionally engineered cardioid condenser microphones in one compact body. Each of the two capsules is independently adjustable through any angle up to 180°, with 15° detent, providing a versatile microphone for a variety of X-Y stereo and Surround recording applications. Thanks to precise diaphragm layout of two capsules, the perfect phase coherence between Ch1 and Ch2 is kept even in any angle of two capsules.

It is important to note that two microphone capsules in one body create an ideal stereo configuration because the actual physical design takes into account the effect of the microphone body itself, as opposed to two separate microphones which are not physically designed to work adjacent to one another. The CUW-180 provides ideal X-Y stereo recording of classical ensembles, guitars, brass, drum overheads, etc. The microphone is also well-suited for talk shows with two persons sitting face-to-face, providing fully independent level controls. Each signal is available through the standard AES configuration XLR-5M connector.

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