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Pair of mics

Postby BigAl » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:17 pm

I am on the lookout for a pair of condenser microphones. I have owned a few over the years (most were sold for reasons related to redundancy) so I would prefer ones which are similar.
GT33 - I had a matched pair and I thought they were excellent, especially on acoustic.
AKG C2000B - I had one of these and I felt it was quite similar to the GT33.
Obvious contenders are the new C2000, AKG Perception 150/170, Rode NT5 / NT1-A, and more of the usual suspects.
Any comments would be welcome. It's for acoustic guitar, vocals and realistically any sound source out there (within reason).
I don't want to spend a ridiculous amount (by the way) so recommendations for a pair of AKG C414s will be ignored :blush:
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:41 pm

The more I use my NT5s (matched pair) the more I like them... used them slightly experimentally in A/B on Saturday night to record a choir/organ/string quartet combination. Results are excellent. The NT1As have a very low inherent noise figure, but I've never used them.

As long as you'll never be seeking to record quiet sources at a distance, you might like the Audio Technica AT2020. A good general purpose mic for vocs and acoustic guitar plus other sources too.

In passing, both the AKG 2000 and the Perceptions don't have particularly good self-noise figs either.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby BigAl » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:23 pm

Cheers Mike. The noise figures, probably won't be an issue as it's mostly fairly close up stuff.
The NT1A gets good reviews, although I always thought the Rode mics were supposed to be quite sibilant. Never used one myself. The NT5s may do the trick.
I'm maybe considering spending more money than I originally thought, but still not sure.
Any experience of the SE range?
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby BigAl » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:48 pm

While I'm on about pairs of mics, has anyone ever used a couple of half decent mics with a Focusrite ISA Two?
For general stereo recording or for acoustic guitar?
Or even lead vocals for that matter?
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby The Elf » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:59 pm

If you can run to a pair of NT55s you get the excellent omni caps and pad/filter switches. I don't know that I'd particularly want to rely on NT5/55 for vocals, but you could do worse.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby ESE » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:12 pm

beyer mc930 pair. I bought mine from digital village. In my opinion quite an improvement over my Rode NT5 pair. Great for stereo acoustic guitar and drum overheads. Very natural sound.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby mjfe2 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:32 pm

BigAl wrote:While I'm on about pairs of mics, has anyone ever used a couple of half decent mics with a Focusrite ISA Two?
For general stereo recording or for acoustic guitar?
Or even lead vocals for that matter?

Don't do it! (And read this/listen to the samples if you don't believe me http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/showf ... ost1009862#1009249) Spend the money would have spent on a Focusrite preamp on a decent pair of microphones instead. I'd second the beyer MC930s...very neutral and if you did use them on vocals they take EQ well.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:38 am

Let's not forget that for stereo recording in particular, a 'good' preamp like the ISA Two is well worth having, if only just for the ability to precisely match gains on the two channels (plus all the other nice features it has). I have an ISA 828 and wouldn't be without it -- not so much for its sound as for its usability.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby BigAl » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:06 pm

Cheers guys. I probably wouldn't use small diaphragm mics on vocals.
My recording in general for vox is a GT55 through an MP20 and I get great results.
I would like something at least as good.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby BigAl » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:25 pm

I see Audient do a two channel preamp. Anyone used it (or the eight channel version) ?

Decent price at around 400 quid (actually cheaper than what I paid for my MP20 at the time).
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby BigAl » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:45 pm

I just listened to some samples or acoustic using the MC930, NT5 and an Oktava. Beyer sounded best to me. Not the most scientific test, but there you go.
I'm a great believer in using the tools you have, regardless, so I'll use any mic really and just get on with it - but I'd rather pay extra to get something a bit better.
I'm sure they would be excellent through my MP20.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby whis4ey » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:12 pm

I just listened to some samples or acoustic using the MC930, NT5 and an Oktava. Beyer sounded best to me. Not the most scientific test, but there you go.
I have recently done the same, although I also listened to the AKG C451B, Neuman KM184 and NT55. As you say, not the most scientific test but helpful nonetheless
I found the NT5 a little 'tinny' .. maybe not the best word but certainly the high frequencies were there to be heard. A nice clear sound though and a very respectable price
The Neuman was nice and clean but at a price that was would be difficult to justify for me
The AKG was nice and clean too but again, more than twice the price of the NT5
I too liked the Beyer, but wondered if it sounded a little 'muffled? ... again maybe not the best word to describe what I mean' ... but it certainly was a little more mellow than the NT5. Once again, does the difference merit the price jump?
And I don't think the NT55 was worth the extra hike in price either
At the end of the day I am trying to decide between the Beyer, the AKG and the NT5 ... is there anything that I am likely to use these mikes for that would be greatly improved by the expenditure of an extra £300 or £400 or so on the Beyer or the AKG (or any of the other more expensive ones mentioned)?????
Do you know ... I very much doubt it
Common sense should make me go for the NT5 ....
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:16 pm

A while back I took part in a fairly extensive comparison of small-diaphragm capacitor mics. The ones that impressed us were the Neumann KM184 and 84 (which sounded very similar, contrary to popular opinion), the Audix SCX1, the Audio-Technica 4053 and the SE Electronics SE4, which we all thought was the best of the budget options.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby The Elf » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:27 pm

whis4ey wrote:And I don't think the NT55 was worth the extra hike in price either
At the end of the day I am trying to decide between the Beyer, the AKG and the NT5 ... is there anything that I am likely to use these mikes for that would be greatly improved by the expenditure of an extra £300 or £400 or so on the Beyer or the AKG (or any of the other more expensive ones mentioned)?????
I wouldn't dismiss the additional outlay for the NT55s. Once I heard the omni caps on acoustic guitar I knew I *had* to have them. I now have two clients that insist on me using them for their (very desirable) guitars - these mic's literally bring in the money!

The pads on the NT55 make them more suitable for overheads/hat/ride too.

If you've tried them and weren't impressed, then fair enough, but it's unusual to hear of anyone who doesn't love those omnis.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby The Elf » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:33 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:The ones that impressed us were the Neumann KM184 and 84 (which sounded very similar, contrary to popular opinion)

I've found the same, having had 184/84 on the same session, but you can't tell people. They *want* to believe that the older mic's sound better.

Neumann aren't stupid - they've constantly improved their mic's over the years, but to read some reports you'd think they achieved perfection back in the 60s and are on a mission to spoil their mic's further with each new model! :headbang:
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:57 pm

Yes, the whole craze for 'vintage' can be a bit odd. I do love my KM84s but there's no way I'd pay the current going rate for them.

Funnily enough the Rode NT5 was one of the mics that didn't really shine in our comparisons, although we only tried the cardioid capsules.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby BigAl » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:01 pm

When did common sense ever come into it? ;-)

I doubt there would be little difference either. There are many things you have to get right to get a good recording (good idea / song, good arrangement, good orchestration, good delivery, good dynamics, etc....) Get that right and the recording part is easy.

One thing about buying AKGs or Beyers is they may hold their value better if you had to sell them in the future.
Then again, I've sold a few items over the years and you never get what you think you should, unless you have something in high demand.

For the price of a pair of MC930s, you can get TWO pairs of NT5s, and still enough cash for a few beers and a curry for four.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby whis4ey » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:03 pm

My point on the NT55 was that if I was going to spend £450 I would probably be more inclined to spend £550 and get the AKG ... and then I would toss and turn in bed to try to make up my mind whether or not to spend the further £75 on the Beyer ..... problem being it is a never ending dilemma :)
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby mjfe2 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:39 pm

The Elf wrote:
Sam Inglis wrote:The ones that impressed us were the Neumann KM184 and 84 (which sounded very similar, contrary to popular opinion)

I've found the same, having had 184/84 on the same session, but you can't tell people. They *want* to believe that the older mic's sound better.
Neumann aren't stupid - they've constantly improved their mic's over the years, but to read some reports you'd think they achieved perfection back in the 60s and are on a mission to spoil their mic's further with each new model! :headbang:


I agree. I can't believe the number of Gearslutz posts where people say 'Neumann now make crap mics', lol. But as for KM84 vs 184, I thought the 184s did have a considerably bigger HF boost? The freq response diagrams to both mics are on the Neumann website.

whis4ey wrote:
I just listened to some samples or acoustic using the MC930, NT5 and an Oktava. Beyer sounded best to me. Not the most scientific test, but there you go.

I have recently done the same, although I also listened to the AKG C451B, Neuman KM184 and NT55. As you say, not the most scientific test but helpful nonetheless
I found the NT5 a little 'tinny' .. maybe not the best word but certainly the high frequencies were there to be heard. A nice clear sound though and a very respectable price
The Neuman was nice and clean but at a price that was would be difficult to justify for me
The AKG was nice and clean too but again, more than twice the price of the NT5
I too liked the Beyer, but wondered if it sounded a little 'muffled? ... again maybe not the best word to describe what I mean' ... but it certainly was a little more mellow than the NT5.


I love the beyers but I would confess that occasionally I've found them to be a tiny bit muddy. Mostly when used as a main pair on a classical ensemble, though it might have been down to room acoustics too. I'm not saying they lack HF detail though, and it's nothing that couldn't be sorted out by a gentle EQ dip in the lower mids.

Also, they're not entirely immune to mobile phone interference, which has caused me problems on a couple of live recordings in smaller spaces. The Neumann KM series on the other hand are completely shielded so I guess this is where you'd be spending the extra money.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby The Elf » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:53 pm

mjfe2 wrote:as for KM84 vs 184, I thought the 184s did have a considerably bigger HF boost?
I recall reading that Neumann said they introduced a slight lift around 9kHz in the 184, but it is extremely subtle in my experience. All I could hear was a tiny bit more air - like the mic had become more 'open'. This is similar to the difference I hear between the U87 and U87Ai.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby whis4ey » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:45 pm

Maybe some of you guys know .... am I right in thinking that with the AKG you have optional omni capsules available?
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby mjfe2 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:01 pm

whis4ey wrote:Maybe some of you guys know .... am I right in thinking that with the AKG you have optional omni capsules available?

Off the top of my head, no, I don't think they do. They're fixed aren't they? I think they're a reissue of a famous AKG mic body + capsule that was originally modular, but the cardioid capsule was so popular they turned it into a fixed mic. Most people on Gearslutz seem to find the AKGs too bright (they'd probably work well in the diffuse field though) and I usually see them used as hi-hat spots and things like that. I think you'll find the beyer 930s far more versatile, with a better low-end response. They come up second hand from time to time...
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:01 pm

The current C451B is as far as I know a completely different mic from the original C451 -- the original was a modular true condenser mic, the new one is a fixed-capsule electret.

I've owned a 451B and a C34 (the stereo version of the original 451) and frankly didn't like either of them much. They are so very very bright...
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby whis4ey » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:55 pm

Thanks peeps .... I am taking notice :)
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby BigAl » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:32 pm

Unfortunately, the price keeps going up......
I was going to ask about the AT4051B (had a few AT mics over the years, and still have some dynamics). It's even more expensive.
The joys of shopping... :headbang:
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:50 pm

BigAl wrote:I see Audient do a two channel preamp. Anyone used it (or the eight channel version) ?

Decent price at around 400 quid (actually cheaper than what I paid for my MP20 at the time).

Hi BigAl!

If you're referring to the Mico (dual-channel version) I've got one and am very pleased with it, as are quite a few other people here.

For me it provided a clean, transparent sound with the option of creative tweaking courtesy of its HMX (harmonics) control on oen channel and the Variphase on the other, but the deal clincher was the built-in A/D converter.

Oh, and a quick Google of "mico sound" on the SOS forums proves how many other threads hae discussed this product:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=site%3Asoundonsound.com%2Fforum+mico#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=site:soundonsound.com%2Fforum+mico+sound&oq=site:soundonsound.com%2Fforum+mico+sound&gs_l=serp.3...2597.4756.3.5527.4.4.0.0.0.0.220.549.0j3j1.4.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.ot6ymK1H29o&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=9fd619bb931d9b31&biw=1920&bih=992

Nice one!


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Re: Pair of mics

Postby mjfe2 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:20 am

Sam Inglis wrote:A while back I took part in a fairly extensive comparison of small-diaphragm capacitor mics. The ones that impressed us were the Neumann KM184 and 84 (which sounded very similar, contrary to popular opinion)...

Would you say the comparison between these two is similar to the U87/TLM103 debate? I've read Hugh's review of the 103 a couple of times and feel like it's a no brainer if you want a cardioid U87....but then I get put off by all those people on Gearslutz who bash the 103 as an 'awful' mic, 'far too bright' etc. How can this be so if it's modelled so closely on the 87?!
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby The Elf » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:10 am

mjfe2 wrote:I get put off by all those people on Gearslutz who bash the 103 as an 'awful' mic, 'far too bright' etc. How can this be so if it's modelled so closely on the 87?!

Typically because one person on GS, who can't afford a 103/87, satisfies himself by telling everyone how rubbish they are - then the others, who have never even been in the same room as a 103/87, all agree with him (especially if he has a high posting count) to 'pal up' and make themselves seem knowledgeable. Eventually it becomes 'common knowledge' and dissenters are aggressively put down by the mob of wannabees.

Unfortunately this happens all the time over there and is very tiresome. Don't forget that GS is where much of the hysteria over pre's comes from... :roll:
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby John Willett » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:30 am

mjfe2 wrote:
Sam Inglis wrote:A while back I took part in a fairly extensive comparison of small-diaphragm capacitor mics. The ones that impressed us were the Neumann KM184 and 84 (which sounded very similar, contrary to popular opinion)...

Would you say the comparison between these two is similar to the U87/TLM103 debate? I've read Hugh's review of the 103 a couple of times and feel like it's a no brainer if you want a cardioid U87....but then I get put off by all those people on Gearslutz who bash the 103 as an 'awful' mic, 'far too bright' etc. How can this be so if it's modelled so closely on the 87?!

The KM84 and 184 are pretty similar, though the 184 is brighter and quite a few people like the old but not the new. Those people tend to like the Gefell M300 (made in the original Neumann factory).

The TLM 103 originally used the same capsule as the U87 (I'm not sure if it still does), but it was used differently. The TLM 103 is quieter than the U87 and does not have a transformer. The new TLM 102 is quite different and uses a totally new capsule. The original Neumann capsule is the M7 which is used in the Gefell UMT70S and MT71S - unlike the U87 / TLM 103, the only difference between the UMT and MT is the fact that the MT is cardioid only.
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Re: Pair of mics

Postby John Willett » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:32 am

The Elf wrote:
mjfe2 wrote:I get put off by all those people on Gearslutz who bash the 103 as an 'awful' mic, 'far too bright' etc. How can this be so if it's modelled so closely on the 87?!
Typically because one person on GS, who can't afford a 103/87, satisfies himself by telling everyone how rubbish they are - then the others, who have never even been in the same room as a 103/87, all agree with him (especially if he has a high posting count) to 'pal up' and make themselves seem knowledgeable. Eventually it becomes 'common knowledge' and dissenters are aggressively put down by the mob of wannabees.

Unfortunately this happens all the time over there and is very tiresome. Don't forget that GS is where much of the hysteria over pre's comes from... :roll:

Too true ! :roll:
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