Down But Not OUT! SPS200 Noise Problem

April 2, 2014 — 4 Comments

It has been some time since my last post. Unfortunately my SPS200 developed a major noise problem. It happened when I was testing my gear before going out recording.

I think this really shows the importance of testing everything before you go out. Had I not tested, I would have driven an hour and a half…walked 20 minutes…and climbed 15 minutes to my destination before realizing I can’t record. I was pissed about the microphone problem, but would have been doubly so had I not found out until I got there!

Sooooo…after a debacle with Fedex, I finally managed to get it shipped back to TSL in England and it has been fixed free of charge under the warranty. It will be shipped back today hopefully and I can continue on my adventures.

For those with a Soundfield SPS200 that has developed a noise problem, let me describe mine to you so you don’t spend your time wondering if it’s your recorder or some other problem.

(I’ll post up some sounds in a few days)

When I turned on my recorder, I suddenly had a HUGE dose of white noise on one channel. It didn’t matter which input on my Tascam DR-680 I used, it was always there. I tried the mic using a Mackie mixer I no longer use to make sure it wasn’t my recorder and the white noise disappeared. However, there was a slight hum on that channel, as well as an overall drop in level – maybe 7~10db.

After some searching and question asking, I learned over at that this is a known problem for lower serial number SPS200’s.

In my research I found that some people were having a noise/hum problem similar to mine, but was remedied by snipping a green wire within the 4 male XLR’s. TSL said doing this probably won’t fix my problem and would likely void my warranty, so I never tried it.

In the meantime I have been working on some other projects (DIY portable preamp for my SPS200…woohoo!) and have been swamped with work. I suppose this was the best possible time for the mic to break. Expect some new sounds when it comes back!

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4 responses to Down But Not OUT! SPS200 Noise Problem

  1. Hi –

    Any idea at what serial number the units stopped having the noise problem? I am considering a used unit…


    • Sorry, I’m not really sure. I haven’t come across any info on it in my searches. If it helps, mine was numbered in the upper 300’s. I’d try shooting TSL an email about it, but no idea of they’ll reply. Before this warranty issue, I emailed them twice about other questions and they never got back to me. I get the feeling they’re understaffed there. But the way they took care of my warranty claim was top notch. Can’t complain on that front.

  2. Thanks – I’ll send them an email now.

    Elsewhere, a few questions, please:
    1) what recorder are you using?
    2) Are you able to monitor A format?
    3) Any advice on an extension cable?
    4) Have you decoded it for height information? This is the one reason I am most interested – at the moment – in ambisonics as I already have, use and love my Schoeps DMS set up for surround.

    Many thanks-


    • I’m using a Tascam DR680. Unfortunately no A format monitoring. From what I’ve read, you’ll need a Nagra VI or AETA 4MinX (and possibly the Nomad?)

      I haven’t found it a major drawback for what I mostly do (ambience). Recording music would be a different story. But you could have a laptop with you to help there.

      Extension cable. Unless you’re handy with a soldering iron, I don’t see an economic option out there. Those suckers are expensive! I’ve successfully soldered a db25 cable, but putting together a 10-pin lemo that small can’t be easy. No idea if this would be cheaper, but maybe there’s an inexpensive 10-pin to 10-pin that you could cut one end off and solder the XLR’s to that?

      I’m using it mostly for surround but I’ve experimented with height information and have found it works as advertised. Although, I’ll admit that the included software isn’t as good as Harpex-b. Definitely take the 30 day Harpex demo if you get this mic – or any ambisonic mic for that matter. It’s not cheap but very good.

      Did you get any reply from TSL? I’m also curious.

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