We're preparing to do an interior foley-type recording session that requires extremely low self-noise microphones. Schoeps? DPA? Earthworks? Your opinions are appreciated!
All hail Rob Danielson for posting these specs. These are pure specs, but check it out: CAD ES100S with a theoretical 3.7dBA self-noise level! :-) Not every available mic is mentioned, but this list is authored to describe what might be the best nature recording mics (as per Chuck's point, above), primary above all else is low self-noise.
I understand that the Earthworks are "true" and "transparent," but their small condenser elements are a wee bit noisy - they're not on this chart. I have not used the Earthworks, though, and they have lots to recommend them besides their self-noise level.
Me? I use an MKH50/30 pair in the field for MS ambience and nature recording. They are simply amazing, noise-wise.
When I am recording quiet sources, I use a couple of the Sennheiser MKH series mics (MKH800, MKH40) they are very quiet and used by a lot of nature recordists due to their low self noise.
Why is the nt1a limited to the studio?
If you dont need a directiomal mic, the nt1a works in a pinch anywhere
The Lewitt LCT540 has the quietest specs I've seen available in a commercial mic.
Røde claim 5dBA on their NT1A...
I have a Rode NT1-A which I am very impressed with! Super quiet, but limited to studio environment recordings if you're trying to do foley sounds.
Not extensive by any means, but I've got a comparison experiment up on my website: http://www.dynamicinterference.com/2010/08/11/noise-floor-tests-the-big-guns/
Amon Tobin uses Earthworks mics in Foley Room.
Neumann TLM 103. The most quiet microphone I know.
But I think the preamps are more important here. The Preamps from RME Fireface 400 are absolute quiet.
I have tried the CAD ES100s alongside a Rode NT1a........ The Rode is much quieter. I sent the CAD back and got a replacement thinking it might have been faulty but the replacement was still noisier than the NT1a. Data sheets can mis-lead but they also only give you part of the story. I find most Rodes that I have tried to be a bit harsh.