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Rode NT1a MOD - Anyone tried it??
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#121
1st June 2010
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My goal is mics with classic workhorse versatility. This is why I've settled on the K47 type capsule with its subtle midrange focus. In addition, I've made other electrical and acoustical decisions that favor broad versatility from a single mic - rather than create widely different sounds with limited versatility from a broad palette of mics. Its the difference between being known for "a Sound" as opposed to a confusing array of possible choices.

Even though the NT1a mod and MJE-K47H capsule head use the same capsule and headbasket, Dr. Bill noticed differences between the two mics. These differences can only be attributed to the slightly different circuits found in the NT1a and 22mm SDC body used with the the MJE-K47H. These differences are far more subtle than differences between capsule types or headbasket designs.

So I wouldn't go so far to say one or the other mic would be a clear favorite for acoustic / vocal application or VO application. Either mic would excel in both applications.

I really see the choice being more about whether a recordist wants the flexibility of an SDC / LDC kit (the MJE-K47H), or perhaps the super low noise of the NT1a. Another choice driver would be if a recordist already owns a 22mm SDC mic or an NT1a and wants to make an investment in an existing mic.
#122
1st June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
My goal is mics with classic workhorse versatility. This is why I've settled on the K47 type capsule with its subtle midrange focus. In addition, I've made other electrical and acoustical decisions that favor broad versatility from a single mic - rather than create widely different sounds with limited versatility from a broad palette of mics. Its the difference between being known for "a Sound" as opposed to confusing array of possible choices.

Even though the NT1a mod and MJE-K47H capsule head use the same capsule and headbasket, Dr. Bill noticed differences between the two mics. These differences can only be attributed to the slightly different circuits found in the NT1a and 22mm SDC body used with the the MJE-K47H. These differences are far more subtle than differences between capsule types or headbasket designs.

So I wouldn't go so far to say one or the other mic would be a clear favorite for acoustic / vocal application or VO application. Either mic would excel in both applications.

I really see the choice being more about whether a recordist wants the flexibility of an SDC / LDC kit (the MJE-K47H), or perhaps the super low noise of the NT1a. Another choice driver would be if a recordist already owns a 22mm SDC mic or an NT1a and wants to make an investment in an existing mic.
Thanks for the quick and competent reply.

I'm torn between the NT1-a mod and the MJE-K47H (with Premium Electronics upgrade to the SDC body). How much difference is there in terms of noise floor between the modded NT1a and the MJE-K47H + SDC with premium upgrade?


PS: that picture of the removed NT1(a) headbaskets is hilarious. You could probably make some aweseme studio lighting fixture out of them by removing the inner mesh and sticking colored LEDs in there. Or how about turning them into doorknobs? Egg-holders?
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#123
1st June 2010
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Ha! Glad you liked the visual humor in that photo!

Unless you plan on doing quiet Foley work or whispered audio-book passages, the noise floor difference between the two mics is not noticable. Even on quiet acoustic guitar work there is no appreciable difference.

Rode spec's the NT1a at 5dBa self noise. I use a FET in my 22mm body mods that has a declining noise amplitude vs frequency characteristic. So it actually sounds like it has a lower self noise in the critical 2-4kHz band than its A-weighted measurement (which is dominated by the lower midrange spectral noise) would indicate.
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#124
1st June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Unless you plan on doing quiet Foley work or whispered audio-book passages, the noise floor difference between the two mics is not noticable. Even on quiet acoustic guitar work there is no appreciable difference.

Rode spec's the NT1a at 5dBa self noise. I use a FET in my 22mm body mods that has a declining noise amplitude vs frequency characteristic. So it actually sounds like it has a lower self noise in the critical 2-4kHz band than its A-weighted measurement (which is dominated by the lower midrange spectral noise) would indicate.
Excellent, thank you. MKE-K47H it is then. Maybe I'll find some use for the SDC capsule although I'm quite happy with the MK-012 but you never now.
#125
6th August 2010
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Dear Michael,

do you have any update regarding your MJE-K47H capsule fitting the Oktava-MK012?

best regards,
Lukas
#126
7th August 2010
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It will happen this Fall.

I had an overwhelming response to my NT1a mod and MJE-K47H "Stereo Bundle" which has required more bench work and less new product R&D.

I can understand the desire to put the MJE-K47H on an existing '012, but a new CM-90 SDC and PE mod for it is only $139 so the K47H sound can be enjoyed right away if you can tolerate that addtional cost.
#127
7th August 2010
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Hi Michael,

What about Rode NT1000 mod, is it possible and how much?

I live in Finland, am I too far...?
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#128
7th August 2010
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Hei! Minulla on paljon asiakkaita Suomessa.

US Postal Service International Express return shipping to Finland is about $45 and takes five days. The mod for the NT1000 is a bit less because the headbasket does not have to be replaced, so my MJE-K47 capsule mod suite would revoice it toward a more midrange focused "Neumann-esque" sound with a sibilance free top. best, M
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8th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Hei! Minulla on paljon asiakkaita Suomessa.

US Postal Service International Express return shipping to Finland is about $45 and takes five days. The mod for the NT1000 is a bit less because the headbasket does not have to be replaced, so my MJE-K47 capsule mod suite would revoice it toward a more midrange focused "Neumann-esque" sound with a sibilance free top. best, M
That's very nice to hear, Michael! I'll PM today or when I have the time to do it, busy times.
#130
13th August 2010
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RODE NT1A Anniversary Edition - DISCONTINUED

According to Musician's Friend the RODE NT1A Anniversary Edition has been discontinued. I was just able to source one from B&H Photo for an international client but folks may want to act soon if you were thinking of getting one of these.
#131
1st September 2010
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Hey Michael.

Do you (or anyone) happen to have some sound clips of the modded NT1a on a female voice?

Cheers,

Joel
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#132
2nd September 2010
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I may.

During the big LA shootout week this Spring, Dr. Bill Pearson A/B'd a number of my mics against the classics in an "iconic" Hollywood studio and also in other, top-flight commercial facilities. There was at least one session with a female voice but I don't recall if the NT1A was up in that session. or not. And I won't have time to dig through those files soon (its like 300+ takes that Bill recorded). But, don't worry...

...I've actually got a couple of "beater" NT1A mics. These are perfectly functioning but have slightly blemished bodies. I'd be happy to send one to you for evaluation. If you like it you can get it at a great price - if not, send it back. But at any rate, perhaps you'll consider posting some audio of it with a female vocal. I believe it will do great job, but you can decide. Email me if you're interested.
#133
2nd September 2010
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I'm loving my modded NT-1A. It's my go to vocal mic. Very, very nice.
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2nd September 2010
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Hi Michael

Do you have any examples of the K2 Modded? I think im sending in my NT-1
#135
2nd September 2010
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Here ya go:
Female vox modded Nt1a
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Jolymod NT1A Dryfemvox.mp3 (994.6 KB, 618 views)
#136
2nd September 2010
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Wow.

I guess that answers the question!
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2nd September 2010
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so..opinions - I do not own a nt1a...would it be worth buying one and getting the mod done to it?

anyone want to chime in...i do want a good work horse condenser for vox, i have a sm7b plus se4400a and also a jade (original one) as well...

but just wanting something different

what do you think?
#138
3rd September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dominic hoenig View Post
so..opinions - I do not own a nt1a...would it be worth buying one and getting the mod done to it?

anyone want to chime in...i do want a good work horse condenser for vox, i have a sm7b plus se4400a and also a jade (original one) as well...

but just wanting something different

what do you think?

It's a beast brother I say do it.
#139
6th September 2010
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I have a late 60s U87 (with 7 pin tuchel!) and have had my NT1a modded by Mr Joly. The modded rode was a wee bit darker than the 87, but sounded lovely. very usable alongside the 87, my 67, arabella etc., unlike the original NT1a, which really stood out (in a bad way) compared to my high end mics. will try to get a couple of samples up comparing the 87 and the modded nt1a in the next few days.....will just be me singing, and I am totally not a singer guy! yikes! will do some acoustic guitar also.
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#140
7th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeldadrummer View Post
Hey Michael.

Do you (or anyone) happen to have some sound clips of the modded NT1a on a female voice?

Cheers,

Joel
Here's one I did today, two mics side-by-side recorded together through a pair of Safesound P1 pre/comps. Compression was hitting at about 2 db. First in the snippet is the mxl V67g modded by JJ Audio, (retaining the stock capsule but adding a Jensen transformer upgrade.) Second is the Joly K47h capsule on a Joly-modded sdc body. (Same capsule as the modded NT1a.) We shot out six mics for this track today. The singer chose the V67g over the K47h, Gefell MT71s, Neumann TLM 102, Oktavamod MK-319, and a Charter Oaks 538b (which we used on her last CD - a full band production.)

I did a second session today with an older lady who cut her teeth singing big band music in Germany. She chose the Joly K47h mic over the V67g, which is understandable considering her frame of reference - the big midrange push of the U47.

From my experience, I'd say singers with a lot of presence in the midrange would achieve a more natural sound through the V67g. I tried the K47h on a couple of male baritones who ended up sounding warmer and fuller on the V67g. On the other hand, the midrange push of the K47h can be just what's needed in a dense mix where the voice needs to fight for space.

I'm glad I have both, and I have no intention of getting rid of either one.
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File Type: mp3 V67-K47 F vox.mp3 (649.8 KB, 475 views)
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#141
7th September 2010
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Thanks for the clips, I liked the Joly K47h capsule on a Joly-modded sdc body a little better. It did not sound as "cloudy" or "wooly" in the lower mids to me. However that said, they both sounded great and I would love to own either one of them !!
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#142
8th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lixisoft View Post
Thanks for the clips, I liked the Joly K47h capsule on a Joly-modded sdc body a little better. It did not sound as "cloudy" or "wooly" in the lower mids to me. However that said, they both sounded great and I would love to own either one of them !!
Thanks for the comments. I believe you're hearing the difference between the single backplate K47-style capsule with its lower phase shift and the dual-backplate K67-type which has more aggressive phase shift.
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8th September 2010
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Originally Posted by uncle duncan View Post
Here's one I did today, two mics side-by-side recorded together through a pair of Safesound P1 pre/comps. Compression was hitting at about 2 db. First in the snippet is the mxl V67g modded by JJ Audio, (retaining the stock capsule but adding a Jensen transformer upgrade.) Second is the Joly K47h capsule on a Joly-modded sdc body. (Same capsule as the modded NT1a.) We shot out six mics for this track today. The singer chose the V67g over the K47h, Gefell MT71s, Neumann TLM 102, Oktavamod MK-319, and a Charter Oaks 538b (which we used on her last CD - a full band production.)
...on her particular voice, the modded V67 delivers a bit more balanced vocal performance (more "body" to the vocal), IMHO...possibly due to the V67's transformer-based circuit...nothing I would refer to as "cloudy" or "wooly" to my ears...the singer made the right choice between those two clips...

...it reminds me of Michael's (Joly) response to me when I asked if he preferred modding the Nady 1050 over the MXL 960 (both U47-ish tube mics) and he told me that he liked the Nady better, primarily due to the fact that it, unlike the 960, was transformer based, therefore offering a bit more tonal/harmonic variation when pushed a bit...

...and the Safe Sound is an excellent vocal channel...love the compressor (and the expander too)...very transparent but yet, very good at delicately taming the dynamics of a passionate vocal performance...I run all my pres thru it...
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#144
8th September 2010
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Here's one I did today, two mics side-by-side recorded together through a pair of Safesound P1 pre/comps.
Interestingly I found myself preferring V67g modded by JJ Audio. To my ears it sounded warmer and agree with kidvybes that it has more body [very important]. It also handled sibilance better, although they were both a little "essy". No surprise for me that the 67 was chosen for the recording.

BTW uncle duncan, if you have the same snip recorded with Oktavamod mk319, it would be very intersting to hear!

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#145
8th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...on her particular voice, the modded V67 delivers a bit more balanced vocal performance (more "body" to the vocal), IMHO...possibly due to the V67's transformer-based circuit...nothing I would refer to as "cloudy" or "wooly" to my ears...the singer made the right choice between those two clips......
Since I'm always looking at frequency response graphs, I would attribute the beefier sound of the V67 to two things - the proximity affect, which is more pronounced in the V67, and the difference in the response curves between the two mics. The V67 shows a gradual rise up to around +4 db at 10k, which has the affect of de-emphasizing the mids, thus exposing more low end. The K47h looks flatter, with a slight presence mound between around 4k and 8k (with a nice little 10k peak for added air.) This would have the affect of exposing more mids, which is exactly what it sounds like.

I am curious about the difference between having a transformer inside the mic and running a transformerless mic through a transformer-based pre. I've run my (transformerless) K47h through a couple of 500 series pres - one with a St. Ives transformer (Neve!) and one with a Lundahl - but I'm not hearing more beef, just the usual juicy high end we associate with transformer-based pres.

I wish I could post clips of the big band singer who chose the K47h over the V67g, but it's copyrighted material, which, I think, would be a violation of GS policy. Her voice is a little trashed, (she's almost as old as me!) which makes the midrange presence of the K47h the perfect solution.
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8th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mljung View Post
Interestingly I found myself preferring V67g modded by JJ Audio. To my ears it sounded warmer and agree with kidvybes that it has more body [very important]. It also handled sibilance better, although they were both a little "essy". No surprise for me that the 67 was chosen for the recording.
I usually run vocals through a Neve-ish preamp, which seems to smooth out the S's a bit, but to be fair for the shootout, I wanted to run the two mics through matching preamps, and I only have one Neve-ish pre at the moment. JJ Audio does recommend the ADK Hamburg capsule for the V67g, claiming it's a little less hyped up top, but that would have been another $100 bucks, and I'm a cheap bastid. Just today I was doing rough mixes of a C&W dude tracked through the V67g-Neve-ish combo, and the vocal sat perfectly in the mix with no EQ (or de-esser) required. I love it when that happens!

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Originally Posted by mljung View Post
BTW uncle duncan, if you have the same snip recorded with Oktavamod mk319, it would be very intersting to hear!
We had already tried the modded MK-319 at the beginning of her last project. It lost, by virtue of the midrange push of that mic. Her voice is already midrange city. The last thing you want to do is add more. So for this shootout I ran the 319 through a EM Blue preamp, which is really hyped in the highs and lows. I was thinking that adding a smile curve to the 319 might turn it into a different mic. Wrong! It just sounded like a super-trashy version of itself. I do use the 319 all the time on bright, scooped guitars, banjos, mandolins - sources that benefit from the added midrange.

I did post some clips of the 319 in the Mic for a Storyteller thread recently. That batch includes the K47h, V67g, and a half dozen other mics in the under $1k category - all running through a DAV preamp, recorded in pairs.
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8th September 2010
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Thanks for further info!

BTW since you also tried TLM 102 I'm curious, how did that fair compared to the others?

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8th September 2010
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Cool observations Unkle....thx.

bp
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8th September 2010
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Cool observations Unkle....thx.
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8th September 2010
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Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...always a pleasure to partake of his thoughts and insights...
Ever heard of the old expression "The blind leading the blind"? I'm as clueless as the next guy. I'm just basing my observations on years of experience buying the wrong mics based on "that mic sounds freakin' awesome" type of comments. Then I discovered frequency response graphs, and it all started making sense.

So, to address the inquiries about the MK 319 and TLM 102, here's a clip from the same section of the song, repeating four times with the V67g (dav pre), Oktavamod MK-319 (EM Blue gnarly pre) TLM 102 (Neve-ish pre) and the K47h (dav pre.) Since the pres don't match, it's not a scientific shootout, but it does give you a rough idea of the character of the mics.

I think on this artist I'd probably try the TLM 102 (or the Charter Oaks 538b) on a full production band track. In this piano/vocal clip, the sizzly high end of the 102 seems a little out of place, but in a busy mix, it could be cool. Of course, a busy mix could also bring out the good qualities of the K47h, which sounds a little pinched in this more open context. This singer does have a tendency to get a little harsh when she's singing hard. The 5k dip of the 102 seems to help to tame this harshness. On a different singer, the 5k dip could be subtracting needed presence. That's why I have so many freakin' mics.

I think in this shootout, the singer was a little closer to the mics, which almost makes the V67g too beefy. After we narrowed down the mic choice to V67g, we started tracking in earnest, (with the K47h next to it) and I asked the singer to be more aware of the proximity affect. That's where the previous shootout came from.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 v67-319-102-k47h.mp3 (859.2 KB, 337 views)
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