Shure KSM32 or Cad M179 as workhorse mic??
Old 20th January 2009
  #1
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Shure KSM32 or Cad M179 as workhorse mic??

I'm looking for a good all-arounder. Up until now I've mostly been recording myself, and currently have NT1a, SM57s, SM58, AT3035. I need a high quality, versatile mic for male vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar (clean and distorted). It's not likely that I'll use it for much, if any, drum micing.

The m179 gets so much love around here that I had been planning on getting one (cost is about $150), but now I realize you can get a KSM32 used for about $250 -- so I'm torn. I've seen many recommendations for each mic on this forum, but never a comparison of the two -- maybe because their retail prices are pretty far apart.

Feel free to recommend other workhorse mics as well, preferably in the sub $500 price range. AT4050? Kel HM2d? Or would you consider a large dynamic for these purposes? Re20? Sm7b? Heil?

Also, I have a nice preamp (SCA) with 70db gain, so that's not an issue...

Thanks!
Old 20th January 2009
  #2
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SM7B is a great mic that covers TONS of ground. It'll handle anything you throw at it.
Old 20th January 2009
  #3
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I like my CAD but the KSM32 is in a league above it.

I'd say get a KSM32, Heil PR30, or Heil PR40.
Old 20th January 2009
  #4
I find myself using the KSM32 more and more. It's really a great mic, and I highly recommend it.
Old 20th January 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
I like my CAD but the KSM32 is in a league above it.

That's what I suspected, but wasn't sure since the KSM32 isn't mentioned that often around here.

I've also seen more than a few posts suggesting that the KSM32 isn't good on acoustic guitar -- any validity to that?
Old 20th January 2009
  #6
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ok let me clarify on the KSM32. It is a good mic on just about everything, it's a swiss army knife like a lot of Shures.

While it isn't the best mic on every source it gets a damn good sound out of proably 90% of sources, certainly never bad sounds.

It's a pretty transparent mic. You know anything you read on here is an opinion. A lot of people love and hate LDC mics on acoustic guitars. I usually like em but I usually don't like my acoustics that forward in the mix, but that's more than likely my taste and the music I'm doing.

No matter what gear you find there will be people that love it and hate it. I'd say for $250 you probably won't go wrong getting the KSM32, it will definitely outperform the CAD M179 on acoustic guitar, again not that the CAD is bad I just think the KSM32 is a notch better.

Worst case scenario you end up with a KSM32 and you don't like it, turn around sell it (make your money back which shouldn't be difficult, Shure's hold their value well) and try something else. Ultimately your ears will have to be the judge.
Old 20th January 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithMoonwannabe View Post
While it isn't the best mic on every source it gets a damn good sound out of proably 90% of sources, certainly never bad sounds.

It's a pretty transparent mic. You know anything you read on here is an opinion. A lot of people love and hate LDC mics on acoustic guitars.
Excellent description. It has never let me down, but has never dazzled me either. But for the $300 I paid for it, I can definately recommend it and consider it a workhorse mic. Very flat response, but has that "shure" sound.
BTW- It is NOT a LD. It has a 3/4 inch.
Old 20th January 2009
  #8
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Thanks for the responses guys. Now I'm thinking KSM32 or SM7b -- used cost is about the same even though the 32 has a much higher retail.

Seems like I'll most likely end up getting them both, so I'll probably just buy whichever I find the best deal on. But I'm leaning toward the SM7b at the moment since I have a couple Eddie Vedder-ish vocalists coming in soon, and the fact that I can use it live is a plus.
Old 20th January 2009
  #9
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I have a buddy that writes, produces, and records radio jingles for a living...all with a KSM27 and a PreSonus Firestudio in a less than perfect room. His stuff sounds great. He uses the KSM for everything you can imagine.

I have a Cad M179. It's not my workhorse mic, but it could be if it's all I had. If I ever start doing more stage work, I'll probably get a couple more. They are cheap, rugged and good.

I have an SM7b, and, although I share a lot of people's sentiments about what a great mic it is, I would not be happy with it as my single workhorse mic. It colors everything I record with it (in a good way) I find I need a brighter mic to compliment it. My 414B XLS does that nicely. Those two mics cover a lot of ground for me. You already have a couple of condensers that would compliment the SM7b. Although, I don't do rock, I can see why people love it for male rock vocals.

All that said, if I were starting over on a budget and were going to choose one mic for everything, a used KSM32 for $250 would be very tempting. If I already had some LDC's that I liked a lot, I might lean more toward the SM7b.
Old 20th January 2009
  #10
How about the Gauge Microphone? It sounds really great, almost as good as the Neumann U87 with a little less bass and more mid boost. It's good because I would remove some low end anyway, so it sounds betterto my ears.
Old 20th January 2009
  #11
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Quote:
Very flat response, but has that "shure" sound.
BTW- It is NOT a LD. It has a 3/4 inch.
The KSM32 is a workhorse. I've had one since they were introduced.

Keep in mind that they are a very flat response like said above. They sound good on acousitc guitar but that being said, because it is so neutral (like the Shures like SM81 sdc's are, I long for something more "silky".
For example, I have been testing out a BLA Auteur pre with the KSM and though very nice, I also love the sound of one of those el cheapo SP-1's (not modded) due to the smooth mid/ upper coloration.
The KSM is flat and very low self noise. Sterile isn't necessarily the first word I would choose. They are clear and accurate.

One more factor for my experience: A NICE acoustic guitar. Like Keith Moon W said in another thread, "you'll get crystal clear crap" . I only have a $600 Takamine - solid top "D-18 lawsuit copy" ... it's not a $3,000 Martin is it? There's some major silk factor missing right there! Otherwise my room is good.

Mark
Old 20th January 2009
  #12
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The Shure is a high-quality, professionally made, fine recording instrument.

Shures are consistent from unit to unit, and quality-controlled to the strictest of standards. They'll deliver a high level of performance (very fast and accurate reproduction of the source), and are made to handle the rigors of every-day use and to hold up over the long haul.

In comparison, the CAD is built like a tinker toy. A tinker toy that sounds really good to be fair. It's just a really cheap mic that sounds really good.

If you can get them for around the same cost, then I think it's obvious which one to go with.
Old 20th January 2009
  #13
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$250 is a great price on a KSM32. It definitely is a step above the M179 although I like the CAD a lot too(rocks on toms). I like the SM7b too but I think you'd get more use from the Shure...
Old 21st January 2009
  #14
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Can't lose with the 32.

I use mine for everything.......vox, amps, room, acoustic guits.
Old 21st January 2009
  #15
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eskatonic's Avatar
 

+1 on the KSM32 - I own a pair and they work great on just about anything.
Old 21st January 2009
  #16
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sorry I didn't realize they were only a 3/4" diaphragm. I hope I wasn't misleading. Nonetheless it's still a spectacular mic.

BTW CAD M177/M179 are terrific tom mics. That way War doesn't have to be a broken record.
Old 21st January 2009
  #17
PDC
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I like the 32...prefer the 44.
Old 21st January 2009
  #18
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I too prefer the 44, I love workhorse multi-pattern mics. But a $250 KSM32 is a steal.
Old 21st January 2009
  #19
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The 179 is killer for floor tom. My favorite floor tom mic to date. I haven't had it for long though. I used it on elec guitar and wasn't too impressed... but it didn't sound bad, it just wasn't the right mic for the job. I used a 414 instead. And I've used it once on ukelele, and had very nice results. I haven't used it enough to really know its strengths and weaknesses.

The KSM32 is a better mic in my opinion. It's not the best, but it won't fail you on any job that calls for an LDC.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #20
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does anybody use or enjoy the ksm 27?
Old 22nd January 2009
  #21
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The SM7 and KSM32 are not equivalent mikes; it's hard to imagine choosing between one and the other. The SM7 is a dynamic mike with very little sensitivity, compared to the 32, which is a condenser mike. The SM7 needs a lot of gain with softer sources, and is quite colored compared to the KSM32.

I would definitely not consider the SM7 a workhorse or general purpose mike. The KSM32 is pretty much the definition of "general purpose."
Old 23rd January 2009
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas3 View Post
The SM7 and KSM32 are not equivalent mikes; it's hard to imagine choosing between one and the other. The SM7 is a dynamic mike with very little sensitivity, compared to the 32, which is a condenser mike. The SM7 needs a lot of gain with softer sources, and is quite colored compared to the KSM32.

I would definitely not consider the SM7 a workhorse or general purpose mike. The KSM32 is pretty much the definition of "general purpose."
I can't tell you how much I agree with this statement, I'm getting so sick of SM7 lovers claiming it to be the holy grail of mics. It's not the most versatile thing around, I like the mic but I would definitely not turn to it on a desert island to cover every source. I'd need a preamp with like 100dB of gain just to get it to work on some things, lol.

The things it does well, it does great, but what it doesn't do it can't do.
Old 23rd January 2009
  #23
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the 27

My first post of the year

the 27 is an incredible mic for the money, and is built like a tank (heavy mic)




Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlejon View Post
does anybody use or enjoy the ksm 27?
Old 23rd January 2009
  #24
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thanks again for all of the replies guys -- it's really helped me to put these three mics into perspective. In summary:

KSM32 - Rock Solid, good results on almost anything, fairly neutral, not a "mojo" mic, major bargain at current used prices ~$250-$300

CAD M179 - Also fairly neutral, holy grail on toms, not the best build quality, incredible bang for the buck at $150

Sm7b - "mojo" mic, fairly colored sound, not useful in quite as many situations as the above mics, unless you want to have it's babies, in which case, it's used on everything

Looks like I'll be getting all three, wife permitting
Old 23rd January 2009
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdmitch2 View Post
thanks again for all of the replies guys -- it's really helped me to put these three mics into perspective. In summary:

KSM32 - Rock Solid, good results on almost anything, fairly neutral, not a "mojo" mic, major bargain at current used prices ~$250-$300

CAD M179 - Also fairly neutral, holy grail on toms, not the best build quality, incredible bang for the buck at $150

Sm7b - "mojo" mic, fairly colored sound, not useful in quite as many situations as the above mics, unless you want to have it's babies, in which case, it's used on everything

Looks like I'll be getting all three, wife permitting
haha enjoy, and good luck with the wife (situation permitting lol)
Old 23rd January 2009
  #26
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If the SM7B is NOT a workhorse mic, I don't know what is. (maybe SM57 or 58) You can good/excellent results with lots of sources.

The original poster already has 2 condensers, which are more fragile by nature.

I once showed up to do a live radio broadcast with my band. For some reason the only mics that were available were SM7B's-like 8 or 10 of them. I guess they didn't want the crazy rock guys breaking the Neumanns.

The engineer did the best he could, using only SM7B's. We did the live broadcast and people said it sounded great. I have a cassette of the performance. Granted it's rock music with no delicate instruments, but it kicked hard.

I'm not saying I want to marry the SM7 and have offspring (lol). Maybe it's not the best mic in the world and maybe it's not a desert island mic, but you can't deny that it is a WORKHORSE.
Old 23rd January 2009
  #27
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I just don't think it is as versatile as a lot of other mics. It's very colored (to me that alone makes it less versatile), that doesn't mean it's a bad mic, but having coloration can limit you. If you aren't always doing music that requires "that sound" you can't use the mic. The SM57 IS A WORKHORSE, but it isn't heavily colored like the SM7b and it doesn't require substantial amounts of gain to operate at peak performance.

Another downside to versatility (for a low ender) is the need for a good mic preamp. To get the versatility on all sources you need a good preamp with A LOT of clean gain. That could be a hefty expense to add on to this purchase....making the total anywhere from $600-$1000 between the two pieces. And though it may work on some sources (I was thinking acoustic guitar) there are mics that will do the source a lot better.

I'd rather have a KSM32 in my mic locker than an SM7b just based on that fact. It does a good job on electric and acoustic guitars, it does vocals well, piano, orchestral, it can handle drum overhead duties without issues. There are just certain things most dynamic mics can't do as well, because they are less efficient by physical design. They can be advantageous in untreated rooms for vocals or if you just want that big fat meaty sound for your tracks, but to me that's all they do, they are a one trick pony.

With a transparent "swiss army knife" mic you can tailor it anyway you want after the fact. That way you don't just put it in overdrive all the time, you can have some variety.

Frankly I'd just suggest getting something like the KSM32 or an AT4050 and an SM7 or PR40 (actually the PR30 would probably be better in this instance for guitars). Might be attainable if the OP sells the NT1a and AT3035.
Old 23rd January 2009
  #28
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Good points...I fully appreciate the shortcomings of the SM7B. It's just been very useful to me personally. I do have a Great River pre, though.

I've been looking for a good condenser to pair with it. I'm currently using a Rode NT1 and NT1000.

You think the KSM32 would be a good/complimentary addition to the SM7B?

Or maybe an SM81?
Old 23rd January 2009
  #29
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yeah see that was my point, not that I wouldn't use the mic on anything. Cuz I really like them myself. I just know that if you don't have a nice pre you won't be able to get the full mileage out of it.

Well I think a nice transparent mic is always a nice compliment to a mic with a lot of vibe and mojo.
Old 24th January 2009
  #30
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+1 on everything that everyone said on the KSM32. Major swiss army knife and I love mine. Most surprising mic I have purchased. For mojo and character (nearly as versatile) the AT4047 fills the gap.
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