The SoundField MKV is a fascinating "single point source" studio microphone system. The SoundField System is designed to capture all three dimensions of an acoustical event, based on a virtual "single point" of acoustic origin. To accomplish this requires a special capsule array and electronic processing working together. Sharing design principles with the entire 3 model SoundField family, the MKV has special features necessary for modifying microphone location in the post environment. The MKV is also the ultimate way within the SoundField product line to achieve a simultaneous B-Format and stereo XLR output, as the most complete expression of the SoundField concept.
The MKV consists of two basic parts that work only together, a microphone and a SoundField Processor/Preamp. The microphone itself looks and sounds the same as the SPS422B, but with special features in the Processor/Preamp. The MKV Microphone is not compatible with the ST250 Processor/Preamp.
Tetrahedral describes an equilateral triangle. This tetrahedral capsule array, combined with the SoundField Processor/Preamp, delivers a three dimensional representation of acoustical events with all 3 dimensions originating from the same central point. This is the core difference between SoundField and other stereo or multi-mike set-ups, in that all other microphone set-ups (other than a single mono mike) capture audio from different points in space. The 3 dimensional representation delivered by a SoundField is defined by X (front to back), Y (left to right), Z (up and down) and W (absolute pressure, like an omni). Collectively these four components are called "B-Format" and are delivered across four audio channels. While B-Format may be new to you, it is extremely important to the SoundField process, because B-Format requires that W/X/Y/Z all must begin from a central point in space to be phase accurate. Once in B-Format, the central point is defined, and all output variations (mono, stereo, Mid/Side) are derived using the same central point. Past problems such as stereo to mono summing revealing high frequency differences due to phase cancellation are gone.
The future of realistic multi-channel presents some serious problems in microphone technique as documenting an event in 5 channels with 5 microphones at 5 different locations will make capsule errors even more apparent. Phase cancellation between Front and Rear microphones as well as left to right will make such recordings difficult to translate to other forms such as mono or stereo. The potential of the SoundField in multi-channel is unlimited. Because you start with B-Format as a phase accurate 3 dimensional representation, deriving directional information from any or all of the three planes (X, Y & Z) is simply a matter of decoding. SoundField offers the single best solution for multi-channel that is both backward compatible and easy to operate.
When used in conjunction with the SP451 Surround Processor, the MKV System becomes a powerful self-contained Surround Sound recording package occupying just 3U of rack space. The SP451 will accept B-Format either 'live' from the MKV Processor or prerecorded off a multi-track.The SP451 houses up to three 'slot-in' MAP (Mic Array Pattern) cards which convert the B-Format information into 5.1 microphone arrays. A cardioid L/C/R, SL/SR card is provided as standard. The surround mic array positions offer width adjustment for both the front and rear pairs with the centre mic fixed at 0 degrees. Front and Rear width is variable between 0 degrees and 180 degrees. The Sub Woofer (LFE) is derived from the W omni signal and is low-pass filtered at 120Hz.Two further card slots can accommodate MAP cards to provide alternative current or future mic arrays. Front panel buttons enable the user to select and audition each array.
Where is the MKV made?
The SoundField MKV system is fully manufactured in Wakefield (England) UK. All SoundField capsules are hand made, the microphone hand assembled and the processor hand wired. The quality of construction and sonic performance is world class. Failure rates are extremely low, and it is a rarity to see a SoundField come back for service. With normal care, the SoundField should provide many years of problem free service.
How does it sound?
While SoundField specializes in imaging, it is no less effective in the studio or the field for faithfully recording the sound exactly as it is without additional bass or high frequency. The Mark 5 is a true "flat" performance microphone system free of sharp peaks or dips, bumps in response that change the tone of the real event. It is designed to be flat in distant miking situations, and sounds "warm" in close miking. It will compare favourably to the very best microphones in the world.