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New Microphones, request for help!

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New Microphones, request for help!

Postby paradise2 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:49 pm

Hi,
As an audio engineer of the 'old school', and having struggled to find nice sounding (key point), really inexpensive microphones, I wondered if I could canvas the SOS readers what types of mics, costing less than £100, they would like to see?

I'm looking into to set up a business sourcing mics from Chinese manufacturers directly (rather than 're-skinning' them into a 'western' sounding brand name), and massively cut the sell costs.

My main thoughts would be:
- U87-style large diaphragm condenser mic
- as above, but with a USB input instead
- KM84-type instrument mic

But any other thoughts would be very helpful!
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby John Willett » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:57 pm

To be really honest, I would not like to see any such microphones on the market.

The Neumann U87 shape is a registered design, so any mic. looking like a U87 could involve you in legal action.

In China it is not illegal to blatently copy - but trying to sell such blatent copies outside of China can land you with problems.

There are plenty of microphone companies doing inexpensive microphones and we really don't. IMHO, need another one selling cheapo copies.

If you want a high quality SDC at around £100, then the Line Audio range are unbeatable at the price and Røde and Sontronics also do good mics at this price range, and all have good back up.

Getting direct from the Chinese copyist would result in what I would call a throwaway mic. and, generally, there is a lot of sample variation in these mics. :thumbdown:
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby James Perrett » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:02 pm

Do we really need another Chinese mic seller? There are hundreds already and I think that most reputable ones find that they have to do their own quality control when the mics reach them.
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby Watchmaker » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:10 pm

for $150 bucks I'd buy a pair of 57's and 12 beers :headbang:
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby blinddrew » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:46 pm

A couple of thoughts, firstly the branding almost certainly happens at source. So there isn't a re-skinning process to cut out of the loop, hence I doubt you'll find your cost savings there.
Secondly you'll be setting yourself up against the likes of Thomann, DV247 and Gear4Music - these are already high-volume, low-margin retailers and you're just not going to be able to compete with that kind of order book.
I reckon...
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby paradise2 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:54 am

John Willett wrote:To be really honest, I would not like to see any such microphones on the market.

The Neumann U87 shape is a registered design, so any mic. looking like a U87 could involve you in legal action.

If you read my post John, you will see that I wrote 'U87-style', which does not mean 'U-87 copy'.

In fact, if you do not think you would purchase any such mics, why bother posting your response - other than to be argumentative?

I find online forums very depressing - having worked for 25 years as a designer (audio was my former employ), the rubbish that gets posted on graphic forums staggered me when I looked once, and sadly it appears SOS is in the same category.

BTW, for record, my engineering and programming has appeared on U.K. top-20 albums.

I shall not post here again.
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:15 am

:cry:
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby John Willett » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:35 am

paradise2 wrote:
John Willett wrote:To be really honest, I would not like to see any such microphones on the market.

The Neumann U87 shape is a registered design, so any mic. looking like a U87 could involve you in legal action.

If you read my post John, you will see that I wrote 'U87-style', which does not mean 'U-87 copy'.

In fact, if you do not think you would purchase any such mics, why bother posting your response - other than to be argumentative?

I find online forums very depressing - having worked for 25 years as a designer (audio was my former employ), the rubbish that gets posted on graphic forums staggered me when I looked once, and sadly it appears SOS is in the same category.

BTW, for record, my engineering and programming has appeared on U.K. top-20 albums.

I shall not post here again.

No, SOS is *not* in the same category.

I did not post to be argumentative, but you did say "style" and this is what Neumann have protected, which is why I bought it to your attention.

It's just that what you suggested is really, IMHO, not a good idea in a market that is already over-saturated with cheap microphones.

If you have worked as a designer professionally you will know that there are already too many cheap mics floating around and thare are also a few already out there that do have excellent value for money mics at the low end for those starting out.

Most of these Chinese manufacturers do not design their own mics, but copy others and put their own name on them - I have been round the Frankfurt show and the place is saturated with one after the other of Chinese manufacturers making copy mics and only a very few having their own designs. It was depressing.

I'm sorry you took my post the wrong way, as it's not easy for someone telling you that what you think is a great idea is actually not (yes, I have been through this myself in the past). But, please don't do it, it really is not a good idea.
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby Brian M Rose » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:23 am

I hate to say 'Me too' and I do acknowledge that my posts can sometimes seem rather negative, but I agree that it's a case of scale-ability; that famous 'Dragons' Den' moment.
You can either be very, very small or you have to be very, very big. Working at a medium size Broadcast rental company (we were also registered resellers for a major manufacturer) realizing how small the mark-up was. To make a reasonable profit, you had to buy something like 40 pieces at a time; not £100 microphones, but £50K VTRs! So, we were on a hiding to nothing.
Fine, if you can buy microphones by the pallet load (or even container load) and you have the ability to market the same, the Dragons may be interested.
That having been said... Although the company I was working for for bleeding cash in all other departments, our Rental side was quite profitable. We kept it relatively small, but offered a high-end product with the kind of backup that went with such a product. It did actually work.
So the O/P may like to consider the same, looking a high end boutique products, rather than an over crowded mass-market.
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby Wonks » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:37 am

I don't think we need more sub £100 mics. Maybe you should set your sights a bit higher up the price scale, say the £150-£250 range. Still a lot of competition there, but probably more scope for some very nice sounding mics at a reasonable price, with the bonus of more profit per mic. You certainly won't have the buying clout of someone like Thomann, so, certainly initially, you won't get the sort of discounts they get.

Personally, I'd look at the mics being offered and rather than trying to source a load of 'me-too' mics, find the ones that are simply good in their own right and market them accordingly. Consistency of product will be a big issue, so you'll need to sort out how you'll manage that without having your own agent checking the output in the factories. Chinese electronic components at the cheap end of the scale tend to have rather large tolerances, which isn't going to aid consistency of product. Matched pairs of mics would be nice, but they do need to be properly matched if they are to gain critical acclaim. It's going to be cheaper to get the factory to do that with their much lower labour rates, but will they have the facilities to do so?
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby jaminem » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:45 pm

I don't work for these guys but...They are already doing this...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/Microphones/ ... ayproaudio
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Re: New Microphones, request for help!

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:19 pm

It will probably fall on deaf ears if the OP has already left the building but mics from reputable companies like SE and Rode can me had for prices as low as £100.
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