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Shure MX418C vs Shure MX393C


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Hi everyone!


We have a range of Shure MX4xx mics at the minute, used on lecterns of various shapes and sizes, reinforcing challengingly quiet sources in acoustically unsuitable environments. You got it - this is church work.


With actual in-lectern mounting being impossible for a number of reasons, I'm wondering whether I can make a case for budget and space for a few Shure MX393's. Turns out they use the same capsules as the mics we already have, which makes sense in many ways given that we generally *like* these capsules for both their perceptive quality AND their better rear-rejection at high-frequencies (than anything else I've tried in the AKG catalogues at sensible prices and formats!)


Thing is, I've just never *seen* anyone do lecterns with PZM-type mics before, even if they're directional. Do they get clouted by paper/notes/laptops in use? Do they just not end up sounding as good as their similarly-capsuled mics-on-sticks? Do they pick up even more "movement" cues, or a lower signal-to-noise ratio than their conventional counterparts?


I'm really looking to see if anyone here might have anything to add to these thoughts from real-world experience of both types in conference/church settings, preferably where the internal capsules are so similar as they appear to be with the Shures...


Aaaaand go! (background below - dons fire-retardant suit)




We're getting into more and more trouble lately with...

  • Very real pressures to keep speech intelligibility as high as possible.
  • Many of those speaking at the lecterns are less able to project, and tend to talk from further away.
  • Inevitably, those quieter more distant people will be the ones who end up with the stand-mounted microphone blocking half their face as seen by both cameras and audience.
  • With IMAG and possibilities of video recording becoming more of a priority, the "look" onscreen is becoming more important than ever before.


Without wishing to be too cynical...


I'm sure the following all-too-stereotypical church situation is far from unique.


All of the above issues happen regardless of how much we technicians get involved with the rehearsal/preparation process. Frankly there usually isn't one, which in our case rules out other solutions such asradio mics and the like.


Typically, the people selected for the job are selected (for other, entirely valid and overriding reasons) precisely because of the attributes which lead them to struggle so much with basic public speaking, with or without amplification. Those same attributes ensure that those with the least hearing or listening acuity will be the ones who struggle most to hear the people chosen to talk at/to them.


So, since we can't change the talent, nor the reasons for selecting that talent, nor the ergonomics of the lecterns, nor mounting method/position of the current mics in any meaningful way, we need to look at something else.


In the past...


I've had some limited success with PCC160's and other cheaper variants in this type of application before, but could never get the warm, close-up (and high-gain) sound that a well-placed stand-mic *could* get when used in a fairly standard way. When placement of either was non-optimal, especially where the source is quieter than the room itself for any reason, the response was pretty similar from a quality perspective, though the stand-mount always won out in how "gracefully" it would handle the situation with regard to feedback and perceptive quality.


All that said - I recognise that invariably the comparisons I've done have been comparing completely different mics, each with completely different capsule behaviours at various levels, not just the boundary/pressure zone differences.


Which is why the Shure solution intrigues me. Guess I'm merely asking here *before* I "take one for the team" and try to persuade others to spend out on a couple for testing...

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