January 21, 2019

Sanken CSS-5 Self-Noise Testing

Someone commented on this video the other day asking how the CSS-5 performed in quiet situations, more specifically the difference between the self-noise in “Normal” and “Wide” modes on the mic. I’ve never thought of the CSS-5 as a very quiet mic (and don’t ever use it for recording quiet things), but I wanted to give him some examples, so I did a quick A/B compare.

Here’s the original video:


Here’s the A/B:

I just did a quick recording on my back porch, so there are some rural noises in there (distant a/c hum, kids and toys, occasional traffic, etc…).

What are your thoughts?


  1. Wow, a bit hard to tell, but I’d say it’s pretty bloomin’ good. I think it’s noise level is way better than my U87. Kind of hard to beat the MKH 50 and the other MKHs, IMHO though.

    • Yeah, most of the MKH’s are pretty quiet, save for the 416, and 816. I’m a huge fan of the MKH800.

      I’ve never done an A/B test between a U87 and the CSS-5 (not quite sure why I would…), but according to specs, the U87 is a bit noiser.

      However, for a proper comparison, you would have to compare a similar microphone setup. I suppose you could compare the CSS-5 to an MKH M/S setup, like a 30/50 or 30/60, which would definitely beat the CSS-5 on noise. Or the RSM191, MKH418s, Schoeps M/S setup, etc…

  2. Very good point. I guess I mentioned the 87 because I am just always used to always using a U87 – I’m a studio recordist who mainly records dialogue and not so many effects with different mics.

    Are there mics you want to A/B with the CSS-5 that you don’t have that I might have? Maybe we could figure out some sort of similar source material on a similar preamp or something. Might be fun.

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