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Microphone Parts SDC-84

Small-diaphragm Capacitor Microphone By Sam Inglis
Published June 2024

Microphone Parts SDC-84

With vintage Neumann KM84s becoming ever more unaffordable, does this kit‑based tribute fill the gap?

Microphone Parts is one of those names that leaves you in no doubt as to what the company make! Based in California, they specialise in components for upgrading affordable capacitor mics, but also offer complete self‑assembly kits and fully assembled microphones. Most of their own designs are based to some extent on classic models from the likes of Neumann and AKG, and none more so than the SDC‑84. A small‑diaphragm capacitor mic loosely modelled after the Neumann KM84, it’s available as a kit, but you can also opt to buy it pre‑built individually or as a stereo pair, and it was the last of these options that was sent for review.

What’s In A Number?

Neumann discontinued the KM84 in favour of the KM184 sometime in the ’90s, and although its replacement has better specifications, many people still prefer the sound of the older mic, with its transformer‑balanced output stage. Unlike the 184, the KM84 was a modular microphone; you could pair a KM body with the 83, 84 or 85 capsule assemblies, which were respectively omnidirectional, cardioid and ‘speech cardioid’ with an inherent bass roll‑off. Microphone Parts’ offering can also be ordered with three different capsule types, but in this case the options available are omni, cardioid and hypercardioid. They say they have gone to considerable lengths to replicate the capsule used in the KM84, while a ‘new old stock’ JFET occupies the key role in the impedance conversion circuitry. There is an output transformer, too, but interestingly, it’s not modelled after the BV107 that was used in the KM84 and other Neumann pencil mics; rather, it employs the turns ratio and lamination material of the BV8 transformer from the Neumann U47.

It’s not intended as a slavish recreation...

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