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Best Stereo-Pair Small Diaphragm Mics for $1,500
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Nikos8190
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#1
14th March 2012
Old 14th March 2012
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Best Stereo-Pair Small Diaphragm Mics for $1,500

Hello,

I'm looking to purchase a stereo pair of good small diaphragm mics for around $1,500 (for the set) to record mostly strings and piano. I don't have many ideas for this sort of mid range price level because most of the stuff I'm relatively familiar with is too expensive for me. One I've looked at is the Chameleon Labs TS-1 MKII.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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14th March 2012
Old 14th March 2012
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My preferences would be, from most desirable to least:
1) Josephson C42
2) SE RN17
3) AKG C451

Just my $0.02
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14th March 2012
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A used pair of Sanken CU-31 (if anyone would ever sell them lol).
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15th March 2012
Old 15th March 2012
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Pair of Neumann KM184s or Omni KM183s. Great for strings and piano.
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15th March 2012
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I second on the KM184's.
Nikos8190
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15th March 2012
Old 15th March 2012
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Awesome, thanks guys. Anybody have experience with the chameleon labs?
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15th March 2012
Old 15th March 2012
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The chameleon labs are decent, I played with them at a trade show. I would recommend Gefell or josephsons first, then the neumanns. 184s are classic, but my 84 blows out of the water.
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchkash View Post
I would recommend Gefell or josephsons first, then the neumanns. 184s are classic, but my 84 blows out of the water.
+1. KM84s are easily the best mics mentioned in this thread - but it'd be virtually impossible to get a pair for $1500. KM184s are good, but they're toys in comparison to the KM84s, and I would certainly take Josephsons or Gefells over KM184 any day.
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15th March 2012
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I like my Beyerdynamic MC930s and Shure KSM141s on strings, piano, classical guitar, etc. Matched pairs come in at just under $1000.
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15th March 2012
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i have owned pairs of DPA 4011s, schoeps cmc64s, gefell m300s, neumann km140s, km184s, akg c481s and c461s, beyer mc930s, and many others over the years. the km140s are my favorite SDC mics for the chamber/classical recordings i do. the KM184 sounds basically identical to the KM140, and i recommend them highly.
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jon_nes View Post
I second on the KM184's.
Another big fan of KM184s here
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15th March 2012
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Since it's the low end forum, I have to say those are fairly expensive SDCs. $700 mics are not low end to me. I picked up a pair of Joe Meek JM27s for under a hundred bucks, they really sound great on acoustic guitar, room, etc. Also, the Oktava MK012, which I picked up on sale at GC for $50 ea, do a bang up job as well. I choose these over my AKG 460 often. Now THAT's low end pricing!
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sscannon View Post
Since it's the low end forum, I have to say those are fairly expensive SDCs. $700 mics are not low end to me. I picked up a pair of Joe Meek JM27s for under a hundred bucks, they really sound great on acoustic guitar, room, etc. Also, the Oktava MK012, which I picked up on sale at GC for $50 ea, do a bang up job as well. I choose these over my AKG 460 often. Now THAT's low end pricing!
True dat.. I have to agree that the stated budget is not exactly the lowest of low end.... but it was the OP's stated budget

He could indeed pick up a pair of Joly-modded Okatava MK-012s (that take a hard run at KM184s) ....and still have enough $$$ left over to get a decent LDC in addition.
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15th March 2012
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Yep, and at around this budget, i would always consider products from Miktek and Mojave Audio as well.
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15th March 2012
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+1 more for the MK-012's, modded of course. You can mod these yourself if you can run a soldering iron. Since I acquired these, I don't really want any more SDC's. Maybe one day I'll get some other ones, if for nothing else than a change of flavor, but I won't ever get rid of them!

Another option to look at are the Peluso CEMC6's. They're a bit brighter and would also come in well below budget!

The Josephson C42 is also a great choice, but considerably more expensive. Of course for $1500, you could get the C42's and the MK-012's, if you bought them used.
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15th March 2012
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15th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmaier View Post
I like my Beyerdynamic MC930s and Shure KSM141s on strings, piano, classical guitar, etc. Matched pairs come in at just under $1000.
I'm a real big fan of the MC930's but wasn't really that crazy about them on piano. and was surprised when a rather inexpensive pr of AT4051's suited the piano better. But on most anything else I tried them on, I love them

Also, as an owner of a mint KMi84 for over 20 years, I usually find comments where "the 84 blows the 184 out of the water and kicks its ass" to be somewhat exaggerated and I don't own a 184 so have no attachment to them. As mentioned earlier, 184's or 183's could really be worth listening to on piano.They can be excellant mics on the right instrument. No self noise to speak of.

Josephson C42's were great when I heard them but it wasn't on piano, but rather acoustic guitar and drum OH's.

Joly modded MC012's are also pretty darn nice
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16th March 2012
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Originally Posted by tomdarude View Post
my friend dusty has some killer mics

Mojave Audio MA-100SP Microphones
I have a pair of ma-100s, I use 'em all the time. Dusty's cool too.
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17th March 2012
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I've been really enjoying my unmodded AKG C460B's for a couple of months now. I paid for them less than half of what you're looking to pay.
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17th March 2012
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+1 for Beyer MC930s. I definitely prefer them to KM184s on most acoustics and overheads.
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18th March 2012
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I just finished a mod on the Joe Meek JM27. The mic is similar to the KM84. Single Fet driving a transformer. The circuit design had a capsule polarization voltage of 32vdc. By changing the circuit to a KM84, the capsule voltage went up to 45vdc.

I changed the transformer to a Neumann BV13 type transformer.

The mic was much smoother and had that classic Neumann sound.












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#22
18th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olliejohn View Post
+1. KM84s are easily the best mics mentioned in this thread - but it'd be virtually impossible to get a pair for $1500. KM184s are good, but they're toys in comparison to the KM84s, and I would certainly take Josephsons or Gefells over KM184 any day.
No they are not, someone mentioned sanken! Ofcourse it's also a matter of taste but the word 'easily' definitely doesn't apply. I sold my pair of 84's and probably won't ever do that with the sankens. By the way, I still think the 84's are great microphones and both microphones are very well suited for strings and piano imo.

edit: While I like the 84's better overal, it has happened that I preferred the 184's on pianoforte. Depends on context.
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18th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jozef View Post
No they are not, someone mentioned sanken! Ofcourse it's also a matter of taste but the word 'easily' definitely doesn't apply. I sold my pair of 84's and probably won't ever do that with the sankens. By the way, I still think the 84's are great microphones and both microphones are very well suited for strings and piano imo.

edit: While I like the 84's better overal, it has happened that I preferred the 184's on pianoforte. Depends on context.
Sorry - I hadn't seen the Sankens.

I was more trying to make the point that the KM184 are really quite overpriced - they'd be half the price they are if they didn't have Neumann written on them. For the sellers budget, they can do a lot better than KM184s
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19th March 2012
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as i mentioned above, i have owned and/or used nearly every top-end SDC available for the chamber/classical music i record. anyone who thinks the KM184 does not fit in that category either has not used them or does not really understand how to use microphones. it is perfectly okay to prefer one mic over another for any given application, but to dismiss an extremely good mic like the km184 is foolish inexperience.

however, to the OP - it is always better to HEAR mics for yourself, rather than accept the online opinions of a bunch of people you dont know - opinions are like (you know the rest)...

i have posted comparative sample clips of various mics over the years here, and you may wish to actually listen to the KM184 vs the KM140 or the KM184 vs the Beyer MC930. here are links to those clips:

KM184 vs KM140

Comparative Samples - MC930, KM184, AT4051, and XXX
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20th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jon_nes View Post
I second on the KM184's.
Although, I tried out some Shure SM137's with a client on guitar. I swear they sounded almost as good as the 184's....
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