Recently I had the pleasure to try Schoeps V4 U a new studio vocal microphone.
It’s a very interesting gear, lightly and small with several original technical solutions.
Shoeps V4 U in his wooden case
Available in grey and blue color Schoeps V4 U is a FET microphone trasformerless and free of coupling capacitors with a newly designed electronics which offer a very high maximum sound pressure level (144 dBspl).
Characteristic of this microphone is the beveled collar on the 33mm capsule which cause directivity to increase steadly and smootly at high frequencies, as in a large-diaphragm microphone.
Schoeps V4 U capsule head (source Schoeps website)
The classic look of the V4 U is based on the CM 51/3. This microphone was manufactured from Schoeps from 1951-1953.
The V4 U is available in two sets: The “V4 SGV set” contains the microphone, a wooden case and the SGV stand clamp, the “V4 USM set” differs from the other one for the elastic suspension USM-V4 (Rycote made).
I tested it with a female singer tracking, my speech and a test signal coupled with SpectraFoo Complete spectral analyzer and I used my Neumann U87ai as reference to check V4 U nuances.
I made a cluster of three microphones to compare the different sounds on the same source, all microphones were plu into a Millenia HV-3C and a DAD AX32 AD/DA converter chained with my DAW Logic Pro by Dante ethernet protocol.
Three microphones cluster
The test was carried out in three steps comparative:
1) Spectral responses and output level (I fixed a reference gain) of all microphones with SpectraFoo complete.
2) Comparison between Neumann U87ai (worldwide vocal reference) and Schoeps V4 U to check on a female singer and male speaker differences.
3) Comparison between Schoeps Colette MK4 and Schoeps V4 U to check differences for at first glance similar capsules.
The spectral responses of microphones are showed bottom, the first graph is about the output level where U87ai is the reference.
Output levels comparison
After I overlapped spectral response of Schoeps CMC6@MK4 on Schoeps V4 U and I checked a better performance on low end by V4 U and a identical response on mid and high frequencies.
Spectral response between CMC6@MK4 vs V4 U
Neumann U87ai and Schoeps V4 U comparison was very interesting, because on mid and high frequencies V4 U has a flat and extended response while on low end it’s intermediate between the other two microphones.
Neumann U87ai vs Schoeps V4 U
Ok, after technical stuff I explain vocal tracking of a female singer and a male speaker (myself).
All three microphones are amazing and professional gears, simply my opinion is about what I found “ready to use”.
Neumann U87ai highlighted a slightly muddy sound on low end and a nastily mid-high frequency (about 3kHz); Schoeps CMC6@MK4 was smoothed on mid-high frequencies without harsh but with a lacking low end.
Schoeps V4 U captured a focused, depth and natural sound with a warm low end and it kept the same smoothed and extended high end of CMC6@MK4. Transient response was very fast.
Schoeps V4 U is a goal, it’s a very interesting alternative to vocal studio standard microphones (like Neumann, AKG, Brauner and others). It natural sound with a warm low end and a flat extended response is a powerful tool to capture vocal and acoustic instruments.
The lack of alternatives polar responses, filters and pads are a limitation for the multipurpose applications but it’s a tipical Schoeps phylosophy to maximize microphones perfomance.
Disclaimer: I tested this gear with care, nevertheless this test is inevitably affected by my opinion and possible analyzer gear and software imprecisions.
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