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The inexpensive KM 84 solution.
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AmekGuy
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#1
5th August 2006
Old 5th August 2006
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The inexpensive KM 84 solution.

It's been an interesting week and I finally got an opportunity to try out some KM184s and Beyer MC930s which were being sold, against my sole KM84.

Unfortunately, the owner wouldn't let me take them with me to test them, so I spent part of the afternoon at his home studio running them through a Mackie 24/8, using a Vintech 1272 clone to ADAT. Using a 1960s Yairi nylon string gtr, I tested out the KM184s first, micing it near the 12th fret...followed by the Beyer MC930s. I also brought along my sole KM84 to see how it would sound when using a mistmatched stereo configuration with the other two sets of mics.

My initial observation was that the KM184s seemed somewhat hyped in the top end (not surprising), though they are very pleasant sounding and seemed to flatter the gtr source. Nice full round tones with a tight low end response. Not shimmering highs, but definately smooth. When mismatching the KM184 to my KM84, the 184 had less bass response and was much brighter. This mismatch would work fine if slight mic and EQ adjustments were made. Overall, the KM184 is a sweet sounding mic and worthy of testing on other sources.

Next up was the Beyer MC930 using the same setup. They exhibited a luscious low end with lots of detail and very smooth top end (not hyped like the 184s). Fairly flat response with a slight bump at 10 to 15kHz. When mistmatching the 930 to my KM84, it was almost impossible to tell both mics apart and they are the closest I have ever heard to an actual KM84, keeping in mind however the slight anomolies between the same type of mic. It is cardioid, has a switchable 15db pad and bass roll-off switch (6dB at 250 Hz). They are slightly longer than the KM84 body. Overall, tons of detail, focused low end and smooth shimmering highs.

In short, I ended up buying the used pair of MC930s for $600. New, they would cost around $1000, so I am more than pleased. Kudos to War. I don't think I would have pulled the trigger on these had I not read his positive comments on the MC930s. He wasn't kidding.

This is my first pair of Beyerdymamics and the quality and sound of these mics based on my initial testing is phenomenal. I am also looking at the Peluso SDC, which will be interesting to see how it compares to the KM84 and MC930s.

Have a great weekend. Out.
#2
5th August 2006
Old 5th August 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmekGuy
In short, I ended up buying the used pair of MC930s for $600. New, they would cost around $1000, so I am more than pleased. Kudos to War. I don't think I would have pulled the trigger on these had I not read his positive comments on the MC930s. He wasn't kidding.
That's a really good deal on a used pair in good condition, congrats! The MC930 are a very special pair of mics indeed that nobody seems hip to talk about. I've gigged with them before and man, detail and rich and nice off axis response...yum. They absolutely rocked on a recent jazz gig I recorded on drum OH, the piano was like 4' away from the drums and their pattern was just perfect for rejecting that piano very well also.

In many ways the MC930 are sort of "desert island" type of mics, you could record rock drums, ac gtr, or a classical group / choirs with them no problem.

War
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5th August 2006
Old 5th August 2006
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While I don't know the 930, I bought a pair of MC 803 (its predecessor) plus an MC 805 (hypercardioid) for about $ 200 each... Now if that isn't a bargain...
The two 803 even make an excellent stereo pair, their frequency response is almost identical... Very nice mics.

Daniel
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5th August 2006
Old 5th August 2006
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I'm a Beyerdynamic fan. Their mics have "that" thing, and make a nice difference to my Gefells. Their ribbons and M88 and M69 are cool, and I have two MC740s that are absolutely amazing. Some compare it to a tubeless U67 but I can't because I never owned a U67. Neumann was situated in the same town as Beyerdynamic, in the seventies, and the two guys were friends and obviously on the same level. Clean, not too expensive and with a character. I'll check out the MC930 too, thanks for the tip. thumbsup
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AmekGuy
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5th August 2006
Old 5th August 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil
I'm a Beyerdynamic fan. Their mics have "that" thing, and make a nice difference to my Gefells. Their ribbons and M88 and M69 are cool, and I have two MC740s that are absolutely amazing. Some compare it to a tubeless U67 but I can't because I never owned a U67. Neumann was situated in the same town as Beyerdynamic, in the seventies, and the two guys were friends and obviously on the same level. Clean, not too expensive and with a character. I'll check out the MC930 too, thanks for the tip. thumbsup
Nice to hear that you also like them. I had no idea that the Beyerdynamics were this good, as I would have purchased them a long time ago. The quality is also very high and they are well made.

What do you think of their LDCs? How do they compare to some of the other mics out there?
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6th August 2006
Old 6th August 2006
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This is interesting news. I've been looking at these as well, but never tried them. Somehow these are generally not compared to the usual suspects such as M300, Josephson, Schoeps etc. but maybe this is that sdc cardioid I'm looking for. A sdc shootout including mc-930 would be very interesting...
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7th August 2006
Old 7th August 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmekGuy View Post
Nice to hear that you also like them. I had no idea that the Beyerdynamics were this good, as I would have purchased them a long time ago. The quality is also very high and they are well made.

What do you think of their LDCs? How do they compare to some of the other mics out there?
they're fine, IMO on the neutral side of things. I prefer my Gefells for that, because I generally work with colored mic & neutral preamp.
#8
9th September 2006
Old 9th September 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmekGuy View Post
I am also looking at the Peluso SDC, which will be interesting to see how it compares to the KM84 and MC930s.
Great review. Thanks!

Did you ever get a chance to compare with the Peluso?

- Jim
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9th September 2006
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Quote:
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Did you ever get a chance to compare with the Peluso?
Not yet, but I will post my findings when I do.
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10th September 2006
Old 10th September 2006
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That's an encouraging review.

I've had a pair of KM184 since they came out. They sound great on acoustic guitars and I did use them as drum overheads for years. I've recently fallen in favor of a pair of SM81's instead. I think it's mostly due to my ever changing technique. I've been getting closer and closer to the cymbals, and individually mic'ing instead of true "overheads". Then I do far mic'ing with a pair of CMV563's.

I do miss my pair of KM84's. I thought they were throatier than the KM184's. Yes, the 84's don't have as much low end but have better bite in the upper mids (nice for cymbal detail and acoustic guitar jangle). The 184's always seemed soft to me, but that's what makes them robust.

I'd love to check out those Beyer's cuz finding a pair of good KM84's for a decent price has become a lot harder.

-- Adam Lazlo

P.S. -- Earlier this year I decided to try a KM184 on a heavily distorted and de-tuned guitar amp coupled with an Audio Technica ATM23HE and it sounded amazing. Pushing the KM184 til it compressed and sustained sounded sweet. And I waited all this time to give it a shot.
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10th September 2006
Old 10th September 2006
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I used an MC 834 on a vocal session and was absolutely floored by it's performance. If I am not mistaken it's cardiod capsule is the same as the MC740 (front capsule) or at least based on the same design. But, like I said I am not sure. Can someone please clarify?

Thanks...
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12th September 2006
Old 12th September 2006
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Thumbs up

I recently used a MSP of the MC930´s as Overheads for rock drums, i liked them veeery much.
I once tried M300´s and normally only use my MK012´s. I liked them far better than my Oktavas and really can´t tell if I would prefer them or the M300´s. Different but both great!
930´s are indeed cool sounding mics IMO!
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13th September 2006
Old 13th September 2006
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I especially like them on nylon string and acoustic guitar in mono or stereo.
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14th September 2006
Old 14th September 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSR74 View Post
I used an MC 834 on a vocal session and was absolutely floored by it's performance. If I am not mistaken it's cardiod capsule is the same as the MC740 (front capsule) or at least based on the same design. But, like I said I am not sure. Can someone please clarify?

Thanks...
That is correct, the MC834 is the cardioid only version. Sort of an overlooked mic, sounds great...even looks different which is kind of cool for some. Not very popular though or well known at all.

War
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14th September 2006
Old 14th September 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
That is correct, the MC834 is the cardioid only version. Sort of an overlooked mic, sounds great...even looks different which is kind of cool for some. Not very popular though or well known at all.
Still curse myself for missing an ebay auction where one of these went for 200 Euros... Shame...

At the risk of repeating myself, if anyone's looking for a good SDC and happens to chance upon the 930's predecessor (803), don't hesitate...


D.
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14th September 2006
Old 14th September 2006
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even lower price...

..and nice too: M530

cheers,
Macmod
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14th September 2006
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Yeah, the MC834 is a great mic. Their relative obscurity means that sometimes you can get a really good deal on one. I've got 2 that I picked up on e-bay for about $250 each. A very realistic mic. The source has got to be good because it isn't a mic that "flatters" a bad source, IMHO.
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14th September 2006
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Quote:
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..and nice too: M530

cheers,
Macmod
.....what are your experiences with the mce 530?


i heard them once and found them a little too bright...........



cheers



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15th September 2006
Old 15th September 2006
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Quote:
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.....what are your experiences with the mce 530?


i heard them once and found them a little too bright...........



cheers



alex
Well Alex, I've bought a stereo pair and used them for recording acoustic guitar & drums and maybe they are a little bright as you say, but I still think a good value for the money. Since these are my only SDC's, it cannot compare them to others.

Best regards,
Macmod
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15th September 2006
Old 15th September 2006
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Thanks for the thread. I was looking for something better than the NT5's which sound amazing for their price. The Shure KSM 137 seems to be a better better and the Beyer MC 930's are even better.
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15th September 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSR74 View Post
I used an MC 834 on a vocal session and was absolutely floored by it's performance.
I will keep an eye out on eBay for the MC 834, as I am interested in hearing one.

BTW, the MC930 is quieter than the KM84 and also has a lot more output.
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15th September 2006
Old 15th September 2006
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Smile

hey amek guy.

sorry to hijack your thread,

but would you mind contributing some data on your solar set-up
to my current solar thread in high end?

i don't mean to put you on the spot, and it's cool if you're not into it.

i just thought i would ask, since you've metioned it here before.

much appreciated.
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15th September 2006
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Sqye,

My recording space is actually set up around standard 120 AC. It isn't solar like my living situation, but I hope to change that soon.

Thanks, I will check out your thread.
#24
15th September 2006
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Another thumbsup for the MC834 - on female vocal it is quite stunning.

Also did mid-side drum overheads with an R-121 on a rock gig a while back and got the best overhead sound I've ever got.
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#25
26th September 2006
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MC930 or M120 which is the mic of choice, they seem to be interchangeable on the same instruments?

Thanks
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26th September 2006
Old 26th September 2006
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I like a lot of their dynamic mics - the 201 in particular, but have not had good luck with their LDC's. I think I used a 740 (??? Can't remember the model) and it was terribly deficient in the low end and super hyped on the top. Sounded like all the things I don't like about digital. Nice for breath and air, but not much else. The compser also had a 103 and I was happy for it after trying the beyer.
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26th September 2006
Old 26th September 2006
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I've never heard the MC930s. But they seem interesting.
I do like the KM184. The Octava's are OK for the money but I think lack the detail of the KM184. Are the MC930s just another inexpensive SDC or will they provide comparable quality of more expensive mics like the M300/KM184?

Let me put it this way...3 pair of SDCs on the table. All new and all the same price.
Which do you choose? MC930s, M300s, KM184s?
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26th September 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockyroad View Post
I've never heard the MC930s. But they seem interesting.
I do like the KM184. The Octava's are OK for the money but I think lack the detail of the KM184. Are the MC930s just another inexpensive SDC or will they provide comparable quality of more expensive mics like the M300/KM184?

Let me put it this way...3 pair of SDCs on the table. All new and all the same price.
Which do you choose? MC930s, M300s, KM184s?
Both the M300 and KM184 are excellent mics, but neither of them sounds like a KM84, at least not to me. But the MC930 is much closer to the KM84 and I think it also has a bit more detail and low end response. It's the less expensive of the three mics so you should be able to pick up a pair new for around $1000.

I honestly believe that you can't go wrong with any of the three mics you mention, as they are all top of the line.
#29
26th September 2006
Old 26th September 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmekGuy View Post
Both the M300 and KM184 are excellent mics, but neither of them sounds like a KM84, at least not to me. But the MC930 is much closer to the KM84 and I think it also has a bit more detail and low end response. It's the less expensive of the three mics so you should be able to pick up a pair new for around $1000.

I honestly believe that you can't go wrong with any of those three mics, as they are all top of the line.
Thanks for the response and this thread for that matter.
All of interest to me at this time.

So...putting least expensive aside...which of the 3 pair would you go for as your first and only pair of SDCs. Especially, if acoustic guitar was the main concern?
#30
26th September 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockyroad View Post
Are the MC930s just another inexpensive SDC
No...
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