But why not compare it to an old industry standard? The Piano is very nice, but is it nicer than the tried-and-true Rycote WS 4. Specifically in our case; when used with a Schoeps CMIT-5U.
Both offer modular wind resistance in varying degrees depending on the atmospheric conditions. Most say the Piano provides more wind resistance with a clearer sound. We haven’t tried it in hurricane-like conditions yet, but we have used it on set in tandem with a second boom mounted with the Rycote WS 4 in strong winds.
So, is it better? The answer is yes… and no. Let’s break it down.
Wind Noise Mitigation
Both do their jobs very well. In a rough surging wind, we compared the Rycote Windjammer to the long hair Cinela PIA-FUR-POLY-H. We engaged the hi-boost on our CMITs and both sounded very good. In the end, the Piano took the gusts a bit better than the Rycote.
Edge: Cinela Piano
Having the right skins for your windscreen can make or break how well your windscreen works.
Now, the Rycote has three different options:
- Hi Wind Cover (the fleece cover)
- Windjammer(a.k.a the “Deadcat”)
- Duck (for rain protection)
The Cinela offers more skins than the WS-4. Six different ones, in fact. I’ve only auditioned the Neoprene and Pia-FUR-POLY-H, but I have the PIA-FUR-POLY-S and the PIA-KELLY on order. (Special thanks to Justin @ Pro-Sound for sending me this list of skins!):
- PIA-FUR-SP: Short Pile fur (classic range): lowest volume, clearest sound, second step of wind protection over the main fabric
- PIA-FUR-POLY-S: Long pile Polyester fur (new range): bigger volume, no inner lining, clearest sound as the PIA-FUR-SP, better wind protection than PIA-FUR-SP
- PIA-FUR-POLY-H: Long pile Polyester fur (new range): bigger volume, standard inner lining, sound begins to be affected (low and high range) but improved wind protection (like the “old” PIA-FUR-LP)
- PIA-FUR-POLY-BK: same as version “H”, but with reinforced lining: Sound is audibly affected, but wind protection is really important.
- PIA-KELLY rain cover
- Neoprene Cover (Comes included with the Piano along with one other cover of your choice).
Edge: Cinela Piano
Handling Noise Mitigation
During the testing, we didn’t have any issues with handling noise, but I also have two good operators. My intuition and from what I have heard: I would give the edge to Cinela. I will do some testing tomorrow to confirm.
Edge: Likely Cinela Piano
Stay on Target
The Rycote is a straight tube with rounded ends. The lends itself to finding the sweet spot like an arrow (assuming you point it in the right direction to begin with, right?). This can be critical in situations like walk-and-talks.
The Cinela’s fatter blimp shape doesn’t give you that immediate right-on-target feeling, especially on the end of a long pole. Also, the bottom of the Piano is black and pulls in the light, making it harder to see (especially at night) which makes it a bit harder to judge it’s depth of field.
Edge: Rycote WS 4
Weight and Size
The Rycote WS 4 weighs a bit more. It is longer, but thinner than the Cinela.
The Piano is lighter… but at the same time, it is bulkier; having a rounded shape as opposed to the straight lines of the WS 4. That being said, it feels like it is more aerodynamic, but conversely might be prone to throw a shadow in frame before the WS 4 in certain situations.
Edge: Tie, but leaning towards the Cinela.
To access the microphone in the WS 4:
- pull of the skin (if there is one on)
- twist off the end cap
- twist two thumb screws
- slide out the mic mount
- Adjust settings while CMIT is in the lyres
- repeat in reverse to reset the mount
To access the microphone in the Piano:
- pull off the skin
- pull apart the cage (there are pins at four points)
- use access hole on suspension to engage/disengage filters.
- Rinse and Repeat in reverse order to rebuild.
Edge: Cinela Piano by a nose!
The Cinela’s suspension are microphone specific. You can get other suspensions if you need. On the other hand, the Rycote lyre system is a bit more versatile allowing for different mics to fit in the same suspension. I think the Cinela suspension is a bit better at isolation and that is the trade off.
Edge: Rycote WS 4 is more versatile, but with a trade off in handling isolation.
To compare apples/oranges, I’ll compare the costs with each kit with two skins.
Now, you can get a Rycote WS 4 with a Windjammer and a Hi Wind Cover for a little over $700 from the usual suspects.
The Cinela Piano comes with the Neoprene Cover, a skin of your choice and it comes with a nice zippered case. List price is around $835, but the prices aren’t fixed like some of our other toys. Make sure you shop around and ask for a best quote price. I was able to find it for a very similar price to the Rycote. I won’t tell you my price, but I got mine at very good deal from Trew Audio Atlanta. Ask for Bryan and tell him I sent you. 😉
Edge: Your negotiating skills!
The Rycote and Cinela are both great tools with pluses and minuses. If extreme wind protection is needed, go with the Cinela. If you need to access your microphone to use it in other mounts and need to do it quickly and still have exceptional wind performance, the Rycote is your blimp!
Here are some initial things I’d like to see in a future Cinela Piano Revision:
- Engineer a way to open the shell quicker and easier. Also, use connectors that can’t get lost. In the meantime, please include extra grommets and bungee straps just in case!
- I’d also like to see the Hi Poly’s Colors reversed so the bottom is grey and the sides are black. It would help with depth of field. And black sides might help out with reflections and such.