On June 8, 2013 Trew Audio in Toronto organized a Cinela Seminar. The guest speaker was none other than Phillipe Chenevez, the fabled acoustic engineer and guiding force behind the manufacture of Cinela microphone suspensions and windshields.
As the owner of a Cinela Piano, a mount and windscreen I use with my Schoeps CMIT, Super CMIT, and Sanken CS3e microphones, I was naturally inclined to go and if nothing else, relate to Phillipe my high regard for his work. For those not familiar with the Cinela Piano mount please visit my article titled “Windjammers” posted on my Blog.
The seminar began in customary style with the introduction of Phillipe. With the aid of a computer he talked for about 35 minutes explaining the superiority of the Cinela windscreen in terms of handling noise and acoustic transparency. These positive attributes were due to the isolation of the mount itself and the volume of air surrounding the microphone.
After Phillipe’s presentation I had occasion to have a quick chat with him. I was effusive in my praise for his mounts and windjammers and indulged in a little wishful thinking by stating that I would someday love to have a Cinela mount for my Sanken WMS-5, 5:1 surround sound microphone. I had last used that microphone on a nature doc shot in Saskatchewan. I had the Sanken in a proper Rycote mount with heavy fur but the prairie winds were strong enough on many days to overwhelm the Rycote. After that experience I bought a Cinela Piano for my 2 Sanken CS3e microphones and my Schoeps CMIT and Super CMIT. The true test of the Piano for me came last year while shooting at the Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten on the open water in brisk winds.
Phillipe thought for a moment when I talked about my surround sound mic and said I should send him the dimensions of the Sanken WMS-5. He said he had just purchased a 3D printer and this seemed like a project to try it out on.
With the aid of a digital caliper and micrometer and using Sanken’s own drawings and schematics as references as well, I e-mailed a list of measurements to Phillipe in Paris. Within a month Tyler Wade had the 3D manufactured mount in Trew Audio’s Toronto store. I bought a new Cinela Piano with a couple of furs to go with it along with the new Pia Kelly rain cover for the Piano. It is made of large open cell light foam and comes with a can of Nikwax spray that is applied to the foam just before use. As luck would have it, I haven’t had occasion to use the rain cover yet. I have however, used the suround sound Sanken on a commercial and it sounded stellar as ever but it was shot indoors so I basically used the Cinela Piano with the very shortest fur.
This photo shows the Sanken WMS-5 mounted in the Piano. I have removed the top half of the zeppelin cage. When Phillipe suggested using a 3D printer for making the cradle that the mic sits in I didn’t ask about cost. I really wanted the mount to work and would have willingly paid a premium price for it. Custom work is time consuming and can be a hassle. It is certainly not the time for harassing people and haggling for a bargain. That said, the premium I paid for the mount was entirely justified and surprisingly modest. So much of the equipment we use consists of limited run manufactured items and custom built components. I think Phillipe Chenevez is not only cutting edge with his mounts and windjammers but also in his thinking and manufacturing processes. I can’t thank the man enough for what he has done.
This photo shows in close up the mount made by the 3D printer. It is the actual cradle the mic sits in. You can see the striated black plastic that is in contrast to the smooth surfaces of the cage and the isolators that hold the microphone mount in suspension.
This is a frontal view of the mount.
What I found most remarkable about Phillipe’s mount was the wiring. He had one tiny cable running from a Tajimi connector in the back of the mic. It is basically 5 channels of audio and weaves through the cage coming to another Tajimi connector at the bottom of the zeppelin. (See picture below.) From its tiny size it seemed to almost conform to military or aviation spec. Bravo!
To this bottom Tajimi connector I attach my cable that breaks out into 5 XLR connectors that get plugged into my Cantar X2. Tajimi connectors are expensive and hard to come by so I supplied these to Phillipe in order to expedite the process of finishing this mount.
I would like to add a small addendum to my Cinela post. From May 4, 2014 to May 9 2014 I was working on a doc about storm chasers and drove with a team through several mid-western states like Oklahoma and Ohio to the panhandle area of Texas in pursuit of tornadoes. While we didn’t actually see a tornado I experienced some of the severest weather I’ve had to deal with on a shoot, from baseball sized hail to über high winds. The Cinela sat out the hail storm in the relative safety of our van but it excelled in capturing audio in the extremely high winds without artifacts of handling noise or rumble. I attribute this to Philippe Chenevez’s excellent design of an isolated suspension and the ergonomics of the shape of the cage. Cinela is the best windjammer on the market today, hands down!
Here I’m standing by the truck of the storm chasers.I’m using Cinela’s heaviest black fur. The microphone inside the zeppelin on this occasion was the Sanken CS 3e. The finish on the vehicle is Line-X which is reputed to be bulletproof against small arms fire. Needless to say, it handles hail very well.