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SHURE KSM 137 / 141 audio examples?
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17th September 2009
Old 17th September 2009
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Talking SHURE KSM 137 / 141 audio examples?

There is an abundance of Beyerdynamic MC 930 threads with audio examples, but not so for KSM 137.

Does anyone care to share some stereo KSM 137 / 141 recordings, or any other recordings with that mic?

I quite like the old Shure SM81, would KSM 137 be an upgrade for distant orchestral stereo recordings and nylon guitar especially?

I am especially interested in distant ensemble recordings in ORTF or spaced omni pair, drum OH, percussion, strings, nylon & acoustic guitar, etc.

Did anyone directly compare those two mics (MC930 and KSM 137) in similar applications?
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17th September 2009
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Arrow No mc930 but...

Shure KSM 141 and Octava MK012 on old English organ. 40cm AB (omni).

This was near the end of the test session, and we needed to turn the central air on in order to not stress the organ. A little noisy, but hopefully still helpful. C'est la vie.

Sorry I haven't been able to post more samples from this session, guys. Hoping my schedule will clear up soon.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 10_ShureKSM141_SDC_AB.mp3 (1.45 MB, 1356 views)
File Type: mp3 10_OktavaMK012_SDC_AB.mp3 (1.45 MB, 1000 views)
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17th September 2009
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Hello Listener,

May I say that among the new crop of SD mics, the KSM 137 and 141 are outstanding.
I should know since I helped to develop and voice these mics.

The electronics and the capsule are indeed a step up from the venerable SM-81, still a good mic. The differences that you will hear include less noise, ability to add more snap to the sound with much improved transient response, more resolved sound and less bright sound than the SM-81.

They work very well as distant main pairs and are recommended as a budget alternative in this application.

Both KSM series mics are Shure's version of the Schoeps CMC microphones. The Shure KSM-141 is like the Schoeps CMC65.
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17th September 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
Shure KSM 141 and Octava MK012 on old English organ. 40cm AB.

This was near the end of the test session, and we needed to turn the central air on in order to not stress the organ. A little noisy, but hopefully still helpful. C'est la vie.

Sorry I haven't been able to post more samples from this session, guys. Hoping my schedule will clear up soon.
Were the 141 and 012 in omni or card ?

JMM
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17th September 2009
Old 17th September 2009
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This isn´t helpfull, I´m sorry!!
But I just wanted to say that I love my pair of KSM 141 that I bought from another Gearslut.
Mostly I use them as room mics when I record live shows, and sometimes as overheads when I don´t bring my M160´s.

Great sounding and sturdy mic´s for a great price!

/M
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18th September 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Both KSM series mics are Shure's version of the Schoeps CMC microphones. The Shure KSM-141 is like the Schoeps CMC65.
Hey Plush, I'm just wondering about this. Are you saying that the 137/141 uses the standard "Schoeps circuit" that is mentioned by some other mic manufacturers? I'm just wondering how close the Shure's come to the tone of some real Schoeps. I'm not looking to replace my Schoeps but I'm just interested to know. Of course most of the sound is in the capsule - how does the Shure capsule compare?
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18th September 2009
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Thank you all, the clips were quite illustrative for the difference between Oktavas and Shures and the endorsment by Plush sounds convincing.

I will probably get a pair. I have a feeling that I don't like "something" in the lower midrange of Beyerdynamic MC930. In most of the clips they sound nice, but something is bothering me in their midrange...

The 141 sound really smooth and balanced in those few clips I heard... I think I might like those more than Beyers...

Some more clips won't hurt if anyone can post them. Thanks.
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18th September 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
Hey Plush, I'm just wondering about this. Are you saying that the 137/141 uses the standard "Schoeps circuit" that is mentioned by some other mic manufacturers? I'm just wondering how close the Shure's come to the tone of some real Schoeps. I'm not looking to replace my Schoeps but I'm just interested to know. Of course most of the sound is in the capsule - how does the Shure capsule compare?
Yes, the circuit is indeed discrete class A like the Schoeps. It is not exactly the same because it is a Shure product and not a copy cat product. The capsule, however, is 3 times as thin as a Schoeps and that lends a very fast transient response behavior to the Shure KSM mics.

The goal was to have neutral sounding pick-up with high spl handling capability and lightning fast transient response. Indeed I mostly use these mics for percussion and sharp transient instrument pick-up.
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18th September 2009
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tutt
I prefer the Oktavas on the organ clips. The Shures sound a bit hyped in the highs.
Quote
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19th September 2009
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1377/141 nothing like SM81 nothing like anything else

These are all very different mic's.

First, the SM81 is an old mic (nothing at all wrong with that!) with an extended lower range for a cardioid-if used w/o the HP filter, its response extends into regions normally occupied only by omnis. I always found the bass way overblown and uncontrolled. The sound is not very round. This is a minority opinion, everyone else seems to like the SM81. It's got an omni cap available-I haven't used it. (Thankfully, some years ago Shure updated the mic body. It used to be a steel pipe painted spackly metallic gold to look like a bad stereotype of a bad Cadillac. It weighed as much and could be used as a formidable weapon.)

The MC930 is a very nice mic, but it gives the very strong impression (if not spec) of a large bump in the mud range. Depending on what you're recording, this can be nice or not. The upper peak is well controlled but occurs at significantly different frequency points from mic to mic. The matched mic's are very well matched-though, so no worries with pairs. They are good mics.

The 137/141 is a rather strange beast. First, it is a medium size capsule mic, not an SD. The diaphragm is thin, and you can hear that. It's fast. The cardioid pattern/capsule has a more classic cardioid roll off like the 140/184/Schoeps cardioids-the impression though is that it is a little lighter on the bottom than the others. (IOW, not at all like the SM81.) However, what is really different about this mic in cardioid-which you will love or hate-is that it sounds really, really, really, really, close. As in telescopic. Did I mention it sounds close? In omni mode, I like the mic quite a bit. It is a very full round sounding mic. Very natural presentation.

Oh yeah, if things like this bother you, it's got an permanent HP filter at 18 Hz, in addition to the switchable HP filters.

It's big and clunky and silver looking, if that matters. I think the omni is a very nice piano mic, in the classical sense.
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19th September 2009
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Good ears

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
............ I have a feeling that I don't like "something" in the lower midrange of Beyerdynamic MC930. In most of the clips they sound nice, but something is bothering me in their midrange...
You're hearing correctly. It can help or hurt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
The 141 sound really smooth and balanced in those few clips I heard... I think I might like those more than Beyers...
If you want to use the 141s in cardioid (or the 137), make sure you're happy with the rather narrow sounding pattern.............

BTW-I don't mean to be discouraging anyone from either the Beyers or the Shures.
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19th September 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
tutt
I prefer the Oktavas on the organ clips. The Shures sound a bit hyped in the highs.
How can you know they're hyped if you didn't hear the source? I mean - if it is not "plasticky" hyped in a way that you can know it is not natural sound caracteristic. I don't hear that kind of hype here. Even when the organ plays loud it remains "cultured". To me - in those clips - they sound more open and more natural, while Oktavas sound a bit dull and closed in - they don't reveal all the space and harmonic details. But those clips are not ideal - there is also a lot of "non-musical" noise that is masked more by the dull sound of Oktavas, which is even a bit beneficial in this case. But I heard Shures as more revealing and therefore "natural" in that clip.

I really wish to hear more. Glad to know they work well for percussion, since I am a percussionist...

Although I get a little turned off when reading about their special "narrow" characteristics, because I am trying to get a pair to be able to record that kind of sound where you hear the "aura" surrounding the instrument - you know - not only in your face clear source, but sort of magical - being there, right besides the player feeling. I have heard some Schoeps clips producing that kind of sound... I wonder if it is doable by some other means, too.

I'll try to borrow a pair and test them myself, but some more clips wouldn't hurt, either. I am sure many are interested to hear more...
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19th September 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
Although I get a little turned off when reading about their special "narrow" characteristics, because I am trying to get a pair to be able to record that kind of sound where you hear the "aura" surrounding the instrument - you know - not only in your face clear source, but sort of magical - being there, right besides the player feeling.
Others may disagree with my opinion here, but I think that cardioids are not the best choice if that's what you are after. Spaced omnis (or Jecklin), blumlein, or even hypercardioids (anything with some rear pick up) convey more of a "you are there" feeling to me. Again, just my humble opinion.
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19th September 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
Others may disagree with my opinion here, but I think that cardioids are not the best choice if that's what you are after. Spaced omnis (or Jecklin), blumlein, or even hypercardioids (anything with some rear pick up) convey more of a "you are there" feeling to me. Again, just my humble opinion.
Yes, I know omni might be suitable for this... KSM 141 is omni, too.

On the other hand I am becoming disenchanted and am slowly accepting "you get what you pay for".

I can get a used Sennheiser MKH40 48P for ca.800 EU. Maybe I should just get that one and later another one and be happy and forget about the "budget" SDCs?
mal
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20th September 2009
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I record mostly jazz and for some time was looking for drum o'heads that picked up all the detail but without being overly bright...used to use 414s mostly in the studio and live.....
Got some 137s and have found them to be wonderful in this application....very natural smooth sound, lots of detail but not artificial sounding in the top end...almost a bit 'ribbony' but not as dull!
Highly recommended and great value.
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20th September 2009
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Agreed

Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
Spaced omnis (or Jecklin), blumlein, or even hypercardioids (anything with some rear pick up) convey more of a "you are there" feeling to me. Again, just my humble opinion.
I think hypercardioids are greatly underutilized, and various stereo (and other surround) techniques which employ them are not well known.
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21st September 2009
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Who's used the 141 omni pattern on live classical piano? I'm recording a Steinway D in a few weeks and thought I'd give em a try.
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21st September 2009
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Let's bring another player in - Neumann KM183 - they are only ca. 300EU more for a pair than Shure KSM 141 - any direct comparison experience between the two?
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21st September 2009
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Neumann 183 omni is a good mic--in my mind a better one than the 184 cardioid version. However, the KSM 141 is an omni and a cardioid. Omni mics are fantastic and really useful if you record in great acoustics.

Still, for someone starting out, I recommend the omni/cardioid combination of the KSM 141 or the Schoeps CMC65. They are universal type mics useable to obtain fantastic sound. The Shure mic is a sleeper and not too many engineers really know anything about it. It is made in Wheeling , IL, not made in China.

The fact of the matter is that the source (the instrument, the room and the playa) is making the sound. The microphone is not making the sound. It is picking up the sound.
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21st September 2009
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I had a little bit of extra time before rehearsal today, so I set up a pair of KSM 141's next to a pair of CMC5MK5's. These are rehearsal recordings of the concert band in our large room with the microphones about five feet behind the conductor and 12 feet high. I couldn't get all four mics close enough together to do an ORTF comparison, so I went with NOS for the first pair of recordings. The AB recordings used a spacing of 40 cm.

I've never had a chance to use the Beyerdynamic MC930's, so I can't offer a direct comparison to those, but I can say that I've been very happy with my KSM 141 pair.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 NOScmc5mk5.mp3 (712.5 KB, 963 views)
File Type: mp3 NOSksm141.mp3 (712.7 KB, 1055 views)
File Type: mp3 ABcmc5mk5.mp3 (1.23 MB, 826 views)
File Type: mp3 ABksm141.mp3 (1.23 MB, 917 views)
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21st September 2009
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Thank you very much for these great samples!

I felt that in NOS-Cardio the Shures are very close to the Schoeps. I would not bet that I could recognize them in a blind test. The difference is larger in AB, I guess that they are both in omni ? Then I prefer the Schoeps that sound significantly fuller to me. I listened on Fireface 400 + Beyerdynamic 900 headphones.

NB I balanced the levels better by attenuating the Schoeps NOS take by 1 dB and the Schoeps AB take by 2 dB.
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22nd September 2009
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Don't forget to level match the A-B sample too.

It's really close. This comparison is a big help. Thanks EBS!
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22nd September 2009
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Thanks for the clips Evan.

I'm surprised how much I like the KSM 141s in both clips. Schoeps are always wonderful. I wouldn't sell or trade mine. I also have some Shures but hadn't decided when or where to use them. Somehow I had the idea that the caps were heavier even than the SM81s -- don't know why.

This thread opened my eyes to the fact that the Shures are damn fast, and the clips provided all the evidence I need to give them a second look.

Warmth in the Schoeps may be due to several things. All Schoeps have a soft harmonic distortion across the whole spectrum that, to my ear, sounds like a tube. I agree with didier that the midrange is also fuller. That said, the 141's should EQ nicely and they could be "warmed" (if desired) in with some tube gear in the mastering chain.

The Shures sound really good and they are more detailed.

Evan, thanks again for the nice clips, and thanks to all who made this thread so informative.
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22nd September 2009
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Yes, thanks for the clips! Also thanks for the valuable information from Plush.

No doubt the Shure is a nice mic. I do think the Schoeps clips sounds a tad better. It's almost undefinable - they just have a more full sound, especially in the bass.

I still wouldn't mind having a pair. I almost picked some up for a ridiculous price but Christian beat me to it. I will have to keep my eyes peeled for another deal. I'm especially interested that they have a good transient response because I'm still looking for a go-to pair of mics for drumset.
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22nd September 2009
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True story.
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22nd September 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebs.audio View Post
I had a little bit of extra time before rehearsal today, so I set up a pair of KSM 141's next to a pair of CMC5MK5's. These are rehearsal recordings of the concert band in our large room with the microphones about five feet behind the conductor and 12 feet high. I couldn't get all four mics close enough together to do an ORTF comparison, so I went with NOS for the first pair of recordings. The AB recordings used a spacing of 40 cm.
Great and informative clips, thanks!

I find that the Schoeps have more warmth and also a more "three-dimensional" quality in both samples. I'd definitely choose them over the Shures; they simply provide a more classic, "musical" sound.
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22nd September 2009
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Glad I can help. To answer didier's question, yes, the AB clips are in omni.

I'm sorry it didn't occur to me to do anything in post to try to level match the samples because they were so close to begin with. In the NOS samples, all four mics got 36 dB of gain from a Millennia Media HV-3D, then went line-level into a Metric Halo 2882. I added 7 dB of gain in Sequoia before exporting.

When I went to switch the mics into omni and change the spacing, I also took the Millennia Medias down to 30 dB of gain because I had forgotten that these mics aren't more sensitive in omni mode. As a result, those clips got 12 dB of gain in Sequoia.
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22nd September 2009
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Thank you for the very fine clips. This is the kind of informative demonstration that is most useful.

After level matching there was only a minor difference that can be a matter of someone's preference - but both recordings sounded in the equal quality level to me...

Sounds like only what you put in front of them matters, neither of those microphones could be an excuse for poor recording.

Shure KSM141's seem to be really very fine microphones. Not much doubt left.

Thanks Plush for the endorsement and information, too.
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22nd September 2009
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebs.audio View Post
I had a little bit of extra time before rehearsal today, so I set up a pair of KSM 141's next to a pair of CMC5MK5's. These are rehearsal recordings of the concert band in our large room with the microphones about five feet behind the conductor and 12 feet high. I couldn't get all four mics close enough together to do an ORTF comparison, so I went with NOS for the first pair of recordings. The AB recordings used a spacing of 40 cm.

I've never had a chance to use the Beyerdynamic MC930's, so I can't offer a direct comparison to those, but I can say that I've been very happy with my KSM 141 pair.

Evan- Thanks for those clips! It is evident how amazing the President's Own is listening to the balance of the group with just the stereo mics. Most groups aren't performing at that level!

Semper Fi,
Rob
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24th September 2009
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Plush, I have a question about the Shure mics: As often as you have posted remarks about their similarity to Schoeps and their overall quality you never seem to use them where you would use a Schoeps. To my ear they are similar to, yet somehow slightly "thinner" sounding than Schoeps. You often praise them but never seem to bestow your full endorsement.

The question, then, is: What, in your opinion, are their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to a CMC64 (or a more appropriate Schoeps equivalent)? Please be "blunt".

Thanks,
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