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Core Sound TetraMic
User Comments

(Last updated 01/13/2017)

Bruce Bartlett wrote a comprehensive review for ProSoundWeb.com: http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/a_look_at_the/.

"The TetraMic is a huge advance in recording technology, and a great value. Highly recommended."

For a comprehensive review written by Paul Hodges, please see http://www.ambisonic.info/tetramic.html.

"... over the main part of the frequency range all the component outputs are extremely flat; their on-axis curves are flatter than those of my AKG C414s..."

"Not a lot more to say, really - it just works, and works well; and what more can one want? I am very pleased indeed."

Richard Lee, one of the designers of the original Calrec Soundfield microphone, wrote:

As the last living Soundfield designer, may I say that, of the half dozen or so Soundfields I've seen [measurements of] this century, only [one] early Mk4 is IMHO properly aligned and EQ'd.

If anyone is conducting listening tests on 1st order Ambisonics, may I suggest they beg, borrow or steal a TetraMic for their recordings.

While it is not perfect, TetraMic does many things which I would have given my eye teeth for the Soundfield to do, more than 25+ yrs ago. It is the true examplar for Peter Craven & Michael Gerzon's invention.

From his files in the Micbuilder Yahoo Group files section:

...more extended [bass] than a Soundfield Mk4... Flatter responses and more consistent polar patterns...

Fons Adriaenson, one of the world's audio DSP gurus, analyzed TetraMic's performance and wrote:

...Actually, almost no classical (non-tetrahedral) directional mic would have a LF response and LF polar diagrams as good as this one.

...the results are really excellent, and much better than what could be achieved with analog A-B processors [as used by SoundField]. Note the perfect matching of the responses for the two directions, for both the omnidirectional and the first-order components, and also between them. This is confirmed by looking at the other directions.

Near-perfect omnis may exist (most still have a 'preferred' direction), but no real figure-of-eight mic will have such accurate polar patterns [as TetraMic] over almost the entire frequency range.

This means that after calibration this microphone is not only an excellent Ambisonic mic, but that it will also be a very good one for stereo recording.

Five years later he wrote:

Recently I've been using my TetraMic as an intensity probe in an industrial noise control project - works perfectly!

J.A., from CCRMA at Stanford University, wrote:

The TetraMic you sold us a while back has been working well; we're making solid spatial impulse response measurements of some interesting spaces.

I wanted to ask about the availability of another TetraMic and PPAc and associated cabling and connectors, etc. We have a recording session coming up in a couple weeks that could really make use of another TetraMic.

D.P., a researcher at a prominent international acoustics consulting company, wrote:

We are using Harpex to decode, and it sounds superb. I've run a bunch of tests with finger snap sounds at different directions and it all seems spot on.

I don't have any of my own TetraMic recordings (just heaps of impulse responses), so I also listened to some recordings... from Ambisonia and man they sound good. Localisation is fantastic.

I also saw your post about the guy who compared TetraMic with the new Sennheiser one... and the TetraMic definitely sounded better. I can't wait to get out and make my own recordings now.

(They've bought tens of TetraMics for their acoustic measurement systems.)

D.F., a sound designer for a video game company, wrote:

So I've been using the TetraMic pretty solidly for about a month and I wanted to give you my impressions. I'm a sound designer at a video game company, so my use of it so far is limited to sound effects recording and soundscape recording. I'm using it with a Sound Devices 788T-SSD.

First off, the thing is clean and flat. In the field I feel like I get great frequency response across the board, the low end is especially nice, there's plenty to work with, but not so much that I have to worry about my takes getting rumbly or blown out. The highs are crisp and natural without being harsh at all.

I love how small it is. I love that even though it's small it feels totally solid.

...

The decoding process is fun and excellent. I love being able to record an entire surround field and then accent it by adding in cardioids. Being able to define a stereo pair with arbitrary azimuth offsets is very cool as well.

The isolation when decoding to cardioid mono is quite good.

...

You guys have made a really cool mic that is a blast to use and gets great results. It's got a permanent place in my field rig.

Thank you!

T. B-C wrote:

I am getting an increasing amount of work for the Tetramic. It has worked impeccably.

Paul Ledford, a film sound mixer working on a project for a TV pilot, wrote:

Last Thursday I went down to New Orleans to listen on a proper film mix stage to tracks recorded with various surround microphones.

I must say listening to the TetraMic in 5.1 is awesome with a broad and natural fill to the surround monitoring. The movement with the field is without phase shifts and is just natural as your ears would hear it.

The brass band material along with a saxophone had clarity and depth with a huge low end. We found some very low freq handling noise when we had it on the boom, but I think that can be handled easily enough with EQ, as I do not think the low frequency material will make it to TV in any event and it is low enough as to not degrade the music experience.

Now once listening to 5.1 going back to stereo is a bit of a let down, but still good.

To date I have not heard any distortion or overload from the music when the band was on the move and got close ... The movement passing a static position is lots of fun as well.

In comparison to the Schoeps MS and the DPA 5100 ... Well the Schoeps was just stereo and I like that sound from the Schoeps, but the TetraMic seems to have more space for all the instruments .. I could hear the different players a little more clearly than the MS and the low end on the TetraMic was still huge ... We called it more hairy.

The DPA 5100 is a very nice microphone as well. Did great in the wind and very little if no handling noise. I think it has a nice natural spread across the 5.1 .. Not as much low end as the TetraMic .. Even with gaining up the LFE channel on it. All the instruments were there clearly, crisp and in a balanced and natural position.

I just think the TetraMic has more hair on the sound .. More energy.

D.W., a RED Digital Cinema Camera user in Culver California, writes:

Thank you Len, amazing and potentially very useful capability.

Just to report... We've had our Tetramic for a bit over a month and absolutely love both the microphone and the astonishing spatial sense we've been able to create in the recordings made with it.

Nine months later he wrote:

We've been using the TetraMic for many months now. The mic itself is very tough. Some of the connecting parts could be considered a bit delicate just given their small size but we've had no problems at all.

The microphone itself is as rugged as any good microphone. We have used it primarily out-of-doors and have had no problems. It's vulnerability to inclement weather is, in my experience, neither greater nor less than any other microphone I have ever used.

The TetraMic itself and the remarkable world of ambisonic sound that it ushers in, we have found to be utterly superb.

Paul Hodges, an Ambisonic microphone veteran from Oxford (UK), wrote:

The first impression, of course, was how tiny it is. I'm surprised at how small it really is - even after seeing the photos (the box is seriously nice, too)! I also have only listened in stereo, and only on headphones at that, but I'm very pleased so far. The sound is clean, and the extended bass is remarkable (once I used phones that went that low!). It's the first time the basses in the choir have sounded OK in the low registers (we don't have any really low basses) - there may be an element of acoustic reinforcement because the choir was placed hard against the back wall (well, in front of the organ). Not having to play about with equalisation is a great relief too; and there's clearly more bass than even my equalised mics were finding.

... over the main part of the frequency range all the component outputs are extremely flat; their on-axis curves are flatter than those of my AKG C414s...

Not a lot more to say, really - it just works, and works well; and what more can one want? I am very pleased indeed.

See http://www.ambisonic.info/tetramic.html for a full review.

John Leonard, the respected sound designer in London (U.K.), wrote:

I did my first real session with the TetraMic a couple of days ago; a last-minute informal concert recording for an up and coming string trio in a local church with almost no time to set-up or check. After the recording, I burned a stereo CD for the group with basic post-processing and got an almost instant "Wow!" as a first response from them; then I set up for a 5.1 surround decode and the results are jaw-droppingly good. Localisation and definition are superb with all the detail of the venue faithfully captured along with the passionate playing of the musicians.

I bought this microphone primarily because when I'm not working on theatre shows, I'm out making recordings in all sorts of situations and locations and lugging my other system around was becoming a bit of a chore, so I'm looking forward to the arrival of the 4Mic pre-amp and a full surround system that I'll be able to take anywhere, without having to worry about excess baggage charges or incipient back strain. It's an excellent advance in recording technology and I'm extremely impressed.

A few weeks later, on the Sursound mailing list he wrote:

...I've owned, listened to and recorded with many microphones over the years, including Neumann, Pearl (I used to own an S8 and an ST-8) Milab and Schoeps. Based on the tests and recordings I've done so far, I'd say that the TetraMic compares very favourably indeed, and in some cases -- some later year Neumann microphones spring to mind -- easily surpasses them.

And a few months later he wrote:

The TetraMic through the [Metric Halo] ULN-8 is stunning...

And a bit later...

Off to Holland for a few days and taking the small rig with me just in case anything interesting comes up. Without the TetraMic, I wouldn't have contemplated taking an Ambisonic rig with me on this little trip, but thanks to you, I can now just chuck everything in a backpack, which is excellent.

Recently he wrote to Svein Berge, the author of the wonderful Harpex B-format decoder:

Last week, I was asked, at very short notice, to record a site-specific community opera in a disused factory, with both audience and performers moving around the space, but with the orchestra in a fixed central location, around which was a circular runway, used by the singers in some parts of the action. I wasn't allowed to use wireless mics on the six principals and I was restricted to two positions in the orchestra area, neither of which was in any way particularly useful. As this was to be an archive recording only, I decided to use my Core Sound TetraMic in a central position in the orchestra pit, attached to a large chain, which was part of the scenic design, and a Schoeps Mid/Side set-up and a couple of spot mics immediately in front of the conductor's position. ... The TetraMic and the Schoeps mics fed my ULN-8, which I had to hide under the piano and set and forget as there was no opportunity to set levels during a performance as the orchestra space became closed off.

... I'm using Harpex to decode ... the ... recordings. I have to say first that the sound of the orchestra in surround, using just the TetraMic and Harpex is stunningly good and beautifully detailed; in fact I've spent rather too much time listening just to the orchestra rather than checking the vocals. ...I have an extra set of tools which is enabling me to focus on performers on the walkway that I couldn't reach with the boom, so I can do more passes of the playback, isolating those sections for feeding into the final mix.

Very many congratulations and thanks to you (and to Len, of course) for producing superb tools that make my job so much more rewarding. I think I'm happier with my set-up now than I've ever been since I started working in surround.

J.S. wrote:

Thanks for your assistance in my recent purchase of a Tetramic and related accessories. I've just returned from a trip to Europe where I was engineering a variety of concerts. I was able to use the Tetramic to record several high-profile concerts with excellent results.

J.C. wrote:

I have attached an mp3 of a recording made a year or so back. I like the sound, especially given that it was a live performance in a church with totally muddy acoustics. (Close-miking can be your friend - and so can having a TetraMic that turns into nice, tight Hypercards at the twist of a mouse.) My TetraMic was set as a steerable center channel with two MKH8040 flanking mics. (Two MKH 8020 in the rear were not part of this mix.) Being able to rotate the pattern of the TetraMic meant I could center the marimba image without having to accept a weak right channel signal. Fantastically useful tool in a live stereo recording.

A.L. wrote:

Since I have added a TetraMic to my collection I've used it on nearly every recording session. It's a great center mic, you can nicely extract directional "spots", and in some contexts it even constitutes a usable Hauptmikrofon--for (Ambisonic) surround as well as stereo.

D.H. wrote:

...very good sounding stereo decodes with a wonderful spatial resolution... I can hardly wait to start using the TetraMic more often.

J.O. wrote:

This is a great mic. I am thoroughly pleased.

...I can say that the TetraMic is much clearer and cleaner than my ribbons. I can't wait to get to a good organ recital in a place I have recorded before.

Great job...

W.M. wrote:

The TetraMic has produced very impressive sound fields, in my initial recordings with mic #2221. Thank you for developing this excellent device.

J.A. wrote:

I'm still enjoying the TetraMic, and clients have noticed a difference (un-prompted) from previous recordings made with MS or Blumlein configurations. I love the flexibility!

N.F., a soundscape designer in Australia, wrote:

...The recording session using Tetramic (and MOTU Traveller and MacPowerbook) last month went extra well. I love the mic and was very impressed by the way it handled the very windy conditions out at the airfield.

S.T., a TetraMic user in France, wrote:

TetraMic sounds great. I've recorded different soundscapes. I've got very good results.

L.H. wrote:

...this mic is wonderful.

S.K., in New Zealand, wrote:

We really love the Tetra mic and have been having amazing fun recording all sorts of things.

Hugh Robjohns, Technical Editor, Sound On Sound magazine in the UK wrote:

I was very impressed with the Tetramic -- it is well manufactured and easy to use, and its compact size is a real bonus."

Pro Audio Review magazine awards its PAR Excellence award to TetraMic

At the 2006 AES Convention in San Francisco, Pro Audio Review magazine selected TetraMic to be a recipient of the 2006 PAR Excellence Award.

Recording Magazine's December 2006 issue said:

... but we may as well spoil the surprise and let you know right now about the hands-down cutest new product at the [AES] show: the Core Sound TetraMic.

That photo isn't retouched -- it really is a four-element microphone for in-place surround recording that's a bit larger than a ball-point pen. There are four 12mm (roughly 1/2") cardioid electret condenser elements arranged in a tetrahedral pattern...

This pocket-sized surround recording setup is one of many cool field-recording devices from Core Sound, which has a decades-long history of providing high-quality and very portable location recording solutions.

Electronic Musician magazine wrote:

Core Sound held the buzz of the show with its TetraMic ($TBA), a "tetrahedral" mic for ambisonic recording. The mic has four small capsules on a metal shaft and is shorter than a pencil. The company says the price will be under $1,000.

David Battino, on O'Reilly Digital Media, wrote:

At every trade show, there's one product everyone says you have to see. The gadget that kept coming up at last month's AES conference was the Core Sound TetraMic.

This tiny microphone contains four capsules arranged in a tetrahedral pattern to pick up sound in the Ambisonic format. Basically, the mics together encode front-back, left-right, up-down, and level information that can later be presented in a variety of ways. According to Ambisonic.net, the technique produces a 3D audio image -- including elevation information -- that's "largely unaffected by listener position." In other words, with just four speakers, you hear a true surround recording, and there's no sweet spot. The four channels can also be decoded into conventional two-channel, 5.1-channel, 7.1-channel, and other speaker systems.

Before now, Ambisonic mics cost thousands of dollars. Core Sound expects to sell the TetraMic for less than $1,000.

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