rhythmboy

Microphones Reference Thread

10 posts in this topic

Hey ho, in keeping with the theme Jester set up for comp/expander reviews, thought I might add some fresh air to this thread and set up a similar one for microphones. Looks like many of you own one or two so It would be great to get some feedback from the real world. Like the comp/exp thread, I'd rather hear your personal views and so on rather than just specs. Also any mic is a go - owned or not, love or hate, cheap or $$$. Exotic vintage mics we don't see very often would be uber-ace  ;)

Once we get a few in here I'll do a sticky page with them all listed at the top. If you've already reviewed your mic elsewhere and just want to link it that's cool, if it's easy enough I can copy the link into the sticky eventually too. If I get really excited then maybe separate lists for dynamics and condensers, or above and below $500 or something like that.

Brands to trigger the memory - AKG, Shure, Rode, Neumann, DPA, Sennheiser, Behringer, Octava, Microtech-Geffel, Calrec, Soundfield, Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic, Electro-Voice, CAD, Studio Projects, Coles, Alesis/GT, Audix, BlueMic, Earthworks, Sony... any I've left out? ::lol:

In the next day or so I'll add some reviews of my own, in the meantime fire away!

RB

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Awesome idea...

jeebus... who would thunk i could be such a productive contributer :P I seem to get mentioned in all of these fine threads :D

I can't think of any you haven't listed from 'the big brands'. Maybe Peavey? They did some alright packages a few years ago.

I'll chip in some tomorrow when i'm at work and bored... hmmm... let's see:

AKG - SolidTube, C4000, C3000, C1000... some lapels and some headsets i'll have to think about the model numbers of... D112, C520, a couple of hanging mics (need to dig out numbers from my bwain!), C519/516, C418... oh so much AKG larv!!!

Shure - SM58, SM57, BETA 58, BETA 57, BETA 87, BETA 52, BETA 54 (+wireless version for all)

CAD - 95

Rode - NT1A, NT1000, NT2A

I think i've used something from about 60% of the brands up there, Rhythmboy. Crap... i'm going to be here a while ;D

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Cool Jester, whenever, I might start a template listing the models anyway and then folks can fill them up for me by posting their reviews. Likewise when I get off my butt I'll post some shortly too.

(edit) ahh ok why not now while I'm waiting for my dinner  :D

DPA 4003

Previously made by Danish audiophiles Bruel & Kjaer (B&K - aye beatmaster?), the 4003 is one of a series of studio and scientific reference microphones. The company underwent a name change (I don't know why) to DPA, so the mics are still the same really. The 4003 is classed as a 'standard' mic in their catalogue, but the specs still outgun most top-end studio mics by a long shot, especially when it comes to THD and SPL handling.

- Omnidirectional pattern

- 10Hz-22kHz +/- 2dB

- up to 154dB SPL handling @ 4kHz (OMG)

- THD <1% up to 135dB (OMG x2)

- 120dB dynamic range (OMG x 3)

- 130V 'phantom' power (OMG x 4)

I have used this mic twice for specialist reference recordings of percussion instruments, in stereo pair. Once was at La Trobe Uni in the 90's and earlier this year at Vic College of the Arts. On both occasions the mic was specially chosen for the very specs it has above. It is the flattest mic I have heard, it is so transparent that stuff just sounds the same when captured. It also has an extreme SPL tolerance, and when I'm smacking an 80cm bass drum flat knacker, I need it! It has no personality at all, and for reference recordings it's ideal, but interestingly not so for popular music. It's also a fave with Classical recording for the accurate capture of specialist hand made instruments.

My first set of percussion samples uploaded to the samples thread were recorded with a pair of these, so you can download and hear it for yourself  :P

DPA 4004

I just wanted to add some additional specs on the 4003's big brother, the 4004 scientific reference mic:

- 10hz-40kHz +/- 2dB @ up to 152 dB SPL peak

- THD <1% @ 148dB

- Max SPL 168dB @ 4kHz

- 124dB dynamic range

- 130V power via HA5000

- preamp freq range 20Hz-50kHz +/- 0.2dB

I can only imagine what cymbals would sound like recorded with this @ 192kHz....  :P

http://www.dpamicrophones.com

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bump!

Long time no post here, thought I'd elaborate on a mic mentioned in the SP remix thread. I present the

SOUNDFIELD SP422B

Soundfield are primarily renowned for multi-capsule, multi-channel microphones for high quality stereo and surround applications. They are in the upper echelons of mics, in the $20k+ range and more of a dream device, but still, not uncommon in film location recording, classical recording and high end studios.

The SP422B is a mic designed mainly for music recording. It contains 4 capsules arranged to capture sound in a wide variety of patterns. A remote rack-mounted controller has pots which actively adjust the polar pattern from omnidirectional to figure 8, and then the width of that pattern. Then it has switch which rotates the polar pattern 90 degrees so the mic can either face 'end-on' or 'side-on' as desired. It also has a built-in MS encoder. There is an opional Dolby 5.1 encoder available as well so you can record straight to surround - awesome.

The system:

sps422_components.jpg

The capsules:

mic_array.jpg

I'm lucky to have recorded with this mic regularly, as a performer rather than engineer, but nonetheless I must say I was stunned the first time I heard my first recording back. I couldn't believe they made my percussion sound better than they did in the room just playing them, a 'better than reality' hyper-accuracy that makes the sound almost tactile out of the speakers. Really transparent, even frequency response and startlingly accurate stereo image and width. One of those mic you really need to hear just once to appreciate. If interested, look out for classical and choral recordings, where it is commonly used and is sometimes mentioned on the back of the CD.

In any case, definitely go to the site and check out the specs and design philosophies - it's a fascinating approach to surround recording that is relatively unmatched to this day.

http://www.soundfield.com/products/sps422b.php

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RODE NT1-A

I own three microphones at the present (all relatively cheap ones, as I am a poor uni student). I have a Shure SM57, an Audio Technica 2020 and a Rode NT-1A. I would like to get an AKG 414 as I have recorded with this mic before on my own voice and it seems to suit me well (I'll need to get some dollars together first!). However I'd like to talk about my NT-1A mic which is my most recent purchase. Although it only cost me about $350 it is a condenser mic and is not a bad purchase for a basic project studio. It is quite a bright microphone which sounds quite clear and has a fair bit of top end although it can be quite sibilant with certain vocalists (such as myself who talk with a slighltly pronounced ssss sound on the s's). Also I do find that the NT-1A compared to the AKG 414 sounds a little sharp on the high frequencies whereas the 414 has a more rounded, mellower sound. For this reason the NT-1A can cut through a mix well but can sound a bit harsh. However for the price I'm quite happy with it and for certain vocalists in certain mixes I think it can work well. I still have my eye on the 414 though....

nt1a_side_sml.jpg

http://www.rodemic.com/?pagename=Products&product=NT1-A

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^ Thanks Stefan, have taken the liberty of formatting the post look like the others. Cheers!

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GROOVE TUBE GT-1

A microphone that I have recorded with is whats known as a 'Groove Tube'.  This mic was used on both the acoustic guitar and the vocals.  The sound that was captured from the mic was quite a crisp sound but it did have a slightly 'warmer' sound.  The vocals were mainly male which I found made them sound quite nice and comforting as they were the 'warm' tone.  I have tried to look up the make and model of the mic but I have had no sucess.  If anyone knows the mic can they please let me know too!

I know it cost around $1500-$2500 secondhand.

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NEUMANN KM184

About a month ago I used a pair of Neumann KM 184's for a studio recording of an acoustic guitar, that was played in a alternative rock track. I used an XY setup over the 14th fret maybe 5 inches away and got a pretty good sound. I used a Taylor 512 steel string acoustic and a got a sound that was pretty close to that of the instrument (which sounds very nice by itself), although it wasn't the exact sound. Maybe I'll have to experiment with the mic position next time.

The KM 184's however are really nice mic's as you would expect from Neumann and they gave a nice woody sound with plenty of detail which made the guitar sit nicely in the mix. I'd recommend them to others who are doing a similar thing. The XY mic technique worked really nicely as well, although I might try pluging the guitar in next time just to get a bit of harshness out of the guitar in the top end to complement the XY 184 mic tracks as well...

http://www.neumann.com/?lang=en&id=current_microphones&cid=km180_description

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What about Neumann KMS 105 vs Shure beta 87 c ? What do you think will be the best, i will go with Neumann, but shure it's also nice and less money, feedback from stage monitors. What will be your choice ?

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