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Superlux S241, budget cardioid for recording dialogue indoors
  • Just completed a test with the Superlux S241 and it is a very good sounding microphone indeed. I am impressed. Compared to the Oktava-012 it has a hotter signal, lower noise floor and a slight bump in the 10-12k region. Variable high-pass filter and pad are built in and accessible via micro switch on the barrel. It is somewhat heavier and slightly longer but with the Oktava you have to screw on the additional pad if you need it and and the high-pass module is only available with the 'film' version (i.e. extra cost). The S241 comes with a very well built metal pop-screen, foam windscreen and a shock mount unlike the Oktava's metal clip mount which certainly serves its purpose but offers zero protection from vibration - an imperative accessory on a mic reputable for its excessive handling noise. The stand out feature is its price: 85€ vs 152€ for the barebones Oktava (i.e. no high-pass module, windscreen or pop-filter). Perhaps VK can swing a further discount on P-V deals?... All I can add is at this price this mic is a steal and seriously worth considering if you're in the market for a cardioid mic.


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  • Good review on Superlux S241. I also have one on my shelf as all around back-up mic. It comes with good acsessory set; specialy I like the wind shield: it is not just a foam, but sort of foam skin sretced over small plastic frame... say micro blimp. Combination of: this wind shield, low handling noise, built-in low cut filter and sharp S-es, makes it also useful as handheld speak microphone. About the noise floor: In my very case it is NOT lover than noise floor of Oktava´s MK-012. I have three of MK-012 in constant use. (BTW, there is Oktava UP-012,- a preamp with built-in 75 and 100 Hz high-pass filter and -10 -20dB pad.)
    All in all: Superlux S241 sounds OK, it nice looking and cheap mic.

  • Shotguns also have small side lobes. In addition the interference tube that is used to give the tighter polar pattern is what causes reverberant coloration in indoor situations (not the pickup pattern).

  • My apologies, I did say shotgun. The patterns are the same except that with shotguns they are much narrower.

  • I was confused as you were referring them as shotgun pattern... anyway thanks for the information!

  • I was addressing the difference between cardioid and hypercardioid as it pertains to interiors.

    You might want to re-read my post or take a look at this chart and see if that helps:

    http://howtorecordmusic.com/microphone-polar-directional-response/

  • @spacewig Thanks for the information, but I was referring to the differences between the Cardioid and Hypercardioid polar pattern for audio recording in interiors.

    As you own the Superlux and the Oktava I wanted to know if you have found any noticeable advantage with the Oktava because of the Hypercardioid pattern. Thanks.

  • @Pedro_ES The polar pattern will make a difference. The advantage of using a cardiod mic in an indoor location where you have complete control is that you get a very high rejection of sound coming from directly behind the mic which will usually result in less of the room reverb being picked up. A shotgun pattern has a high rejection of sounds coming from the side but has a substantial lobe extending 180° from the front of the mic. This make's it trickier to use in smaller spaces (washroom, lobby, home office, garage, etc) as the rear lobe will pick up reflections bouncing off the walls or ceiling directly facing it leading to not only potentially unwanted reverb but phase issues (comb filter effect) that can compromise the integrity of your original sound source. This is very tedious, and often impossible, to correct in post.

    For this reason, unless you are working with a highly skilled and experienced sound guy, I think it's safer to use a cardiod pattern mic indoors. But keep in mind that with a cardiod pattern you have a much wider pickup pattern so you have to be able to control unwanted sounds that might creep into the take, i.e. fridge, vent, clock, electric hum, ambient sounds, etc.

  • Hearing the test I think the Superlux and the Oktava quite close in this situation, but @spacewig, have you found noticeable differences because of the polar pattern? Do you think that the hypercardiod pattern is very advantageous for interior recording or that this doesn't make a big difference compared to cardiod polar pattern?

  • Yes, the S241 is cardioid only.

  • @Flaaandeeers

    You can always contact them and talk, try ebay and their shop.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev I've seen that cheap hyper and was about to order one, but unfortunately the don't ship to South America :(

  • @Fran_Guidry

    It is topic mostly about specific mike. You can search, not long ago we talked about cheap hypers (something like - best mike under $1000). I provided link to cheap good hyper. @Rambo got one and like it also very much.

  • The Superlux is cardioid, right? The reason the MK012 became the bargain mic for dialogue is the hypercardioid capsule. The hyper has a better direct to reflected ratio, which gives a little extra margin when booming.

    Fran

  • What difference are you hearing? Be as detailed as possible.

  • @spacewig, the second one sounds better to me. Is that the Oktava? Thanks for the test.

  • @spacewig I don't judge sound by eyes. I just didn't have comparison files to be judged by ears. You uploaded files with names "Mic A" and "Mic B" but I wasn't really sure what those were.

    But now when I listen Mic 1.mp3 and Mic 2.mp3 them both sounds pretty good.

  • @dancerchris

    I have one chinese hypercardioid small mike. Was cheap and sold by australian seller (he sells under his own brand). I do not see it for long now.

  • Another well regarded FET pencil cardiod: Avantone Audio CK-1 ($150) It is a little more than the Superlux but has been getting some very good reviews on the audio recording sites I respect.

  • @MirrorMan I'm surprised with those cans you're not hearing the difference but it's not huge and I find the Superlux better suited for dialogue due to the slight bump in the air region. However, this in no way makes the Oktavas bad mics. As a matter of fact I think both are really more than adequate for the job of recording dialogue and only pretentious dicks who feel stupid about having spent 20 times the amount on their mics for maybe 2% sonic enhancement out-of-the-box will feel the need to trash them.

    @dancerchris That's a very hard price to argue with and cheaper than what I paid for them. As for power requirements, I would only use these mics indoors where one would usually have access to power outlets. Outdoors I only use a shotgun where you absolutely want to have a focused sweet-spot with all ambient sounds coming from outside this narrow zone attenuated as much as possible.

  • Hmmmm.... sounds interesting. I was about to pick up another shotgun but having this might be interesting. In US Performance Audio sells them for $107.14 shipped (cont. US).

    Only drawback is that it'll suck the juice out of phantom power batteries (+48v). Really more a studio mic than a field mic.

  • @spacewig I monitored both those recordings on Sennheiser HD 25-1 headphones and they sounded identical. I thought Oktava's were considered more or less quality budget mics, but now Superlux has lowered the bar.

    I use 2 Audio-Technica 4021 mics for recording ambiences and they're excellent. They are often compared to Sennheiser MKH40's, giving 95% of the quality for 1/3 the price.

  • @tonalt It's strange if you judge sound quality with your eyes instead of your ears. Listen to the two files below and tell me which one was recorded with the superlative Oktava and which one with the flagrantly inferior Superlux that's inspired no one to rave about it.

    @MirrorMan I own the S502 and it's a fantastic mic for recording stereo ambiance. It cost 22.5 times less then the mic it imitates but I've yet to hear of anyone who's used both say it sounds 22.5% worse.

    Mic 1.mp3
    862K
    Mic 2.mp3
    862K
  • There was a scandal a few years back where someone discovered Chinese imitation Oktavas were being sold as the real thing. I wonder if those imitations became Superlux ;)

    I have read good things about the Superlux S502 ORTF mics, also supposed to sound great for the price, but I haven't tried them myself. http://www.thomann.de/gb/superlux_s502.htm

  • @spacewig Ok. Superlux S241 has been on market at least from year 2008, so I find it strange no-one else than you have made same conclusion.