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Neumann KM 184 vs. Schoeps CMC 6 with MK4 capsule Condenser Microphones
View Poll Results: Which mic do you prefer?
Cortland
8 Votes - 80.00%
Mac
2 Votes - 20.00%
No preference
0 Votes - 0%
I can't tell the difference
0 Votes - 0%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

Old 19th April 2015
  #1
Lives for gear
 
guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Neumann KM 184 vs. Schoeps CMC 6 with MK4 capsule

I recently conducted a shootout between a Neumann KM 184 and a Schoeps CMC6 (with an MK4 cardioid capsule). The source was my Larrivee OM-03 guitar. I thought I'd share the sound files so folks could appreciate the differences between them.

I conducted these tests as "scientifically" as I could. The mics were placed about 18 inches away from guitar facing the neck/body joint. Furthermore, the mics were placed as closely as possible to one another, capturing the same performance. They were run through a pair of Daking 500 preamps. I did my best to volume match the files afterwards.

I am posting these as 24 bit WAV files for your perusal. For the moment, I'm going to keep this a blind test so as to minimize biases (one way or the other). I'll post the identities of the mics after people have had a chance to weigh in. I'm posting a poll to see which mic people PREFER more.

Just as an experiment, I'd rather this not turn into a "guessing game" - IMHO that sort of dynamic can be counterproductive to getting unbiased opinions. There is no "wrong" answer here - both of these are excellent mics. Just vote for the one you like.

Thanks
Attached Files

Cortland.wav (5.03 MB, 10182 views)

Mac.wav (5.03 MB, 9731 views)

Old 20th April 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I preferred the Cortland. It was more relaxing to listen to.
Old 20th April 2015
  #3
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yummerz View Post
I preferred the Cortland. It was more relaxing to listen to.
But you did not register your vote in the poll. The only vote since yesterday is mine. It is for the Cortland too.

Last edited by didier.brest; 20th April 2015 at 10:24 PM..
Old 21st April 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
 
guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yummerz View Post
I preferred the Cortland. It was more relaxing to listen to.
I love the reason you gave - it's right from the gut.


Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
But you did not register your vote in the poll. The only vote since yesterday is mine. It is for the Cortland too.
Close to 100 downloads of the clips so far and yours is the only vote cast on the poll. I suppose Yummerz gave us his opinion as well. It would be nice to see more participation.

Come on folks. A little anonymous statement of preference never hurt anyone!
Old 24th April 2015
  #5
I thought they were both extremely close. I mean very close. I found myself straining to hear any difference on my studio monitors. If I had a gun at my head and had to choose, I would say that Mac was a 'tad' bit warmer or rounded in it's sonic qualities. Great playing by the way..
Old 24th April 2015
  #6
Gear Nut
 

I preferred the Cortland sample.

Last edited by ljudatervinning; 25th April 2015 at 06:02 AM..
Old 24th April 2015
  #7
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljudatervinning View Post
ops, sorry. Identification guess removed.


Thanks ljudatervinning

Last edited by guitarmax_99; 26th April 2015 at 11:48 PM..
Old 25th April 2015
  #8
Gear Nut
 

ops, sorry. Identification guess removed.
Old 4th May 2015
  #9
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Over a week in now. The files have over 300 views. And yet only SIX people have bothered with the poll.

Come on folks. Grow a pair and vote!
Old 5th May 2015
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I prefer, and voted for, the Cortland.
Old 25th May 2015
  #11
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Okay, time for the big reveal.

First let me say that as of the closing of the poll over 500 people had heard these samples - and only ten people bothered to express a preference by voting in the poll. I'm a little disappointed that participation was so low, and I don't really feel that the poll is a reliable measure of mass preference (ten people just isn't a large enough sample size for me to glean it statistically significant). However, sound files don't lie. Use them to make up your own mind about which mic you prefer.

Let the armchair QB's have at it.

Mac = Neumann KM-184
Cortland = Schoeps
Old 5th June 2015
  #12
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
Okay, time for the big reveal.

First let me say that as of the closing of the poll over 500 people had heard these samples - and only ten people bothered to express a preference by voting in the poll. I'm a little disappointed that participation was so low, and I don't really feel that the poll is a reliable measure of mass preference (ten people just isn't a large enough sample size for me to glean it statistically significant). However, sound files don't lie. Use them to make up your own mind about which mic you prefer.

Let the armchair QB's have at it.

Mac = Neumann KM-184
Cortland = Schoeps
I share your disappointment. You put in a lot of effort and hardly anybody reacts. I have posted samples many times, but the reactions are usually very meager, even though many people have listened to the snippets. Somehow people seem to be very afraid of showing their colors. Or they don't trust their own listening abilities?

I feel that we, as a community, should be much more involved with results, rather than collecting stuff only. If there is no goal in buying all this equipment, except for bragging rights, what's the purpose of discussing it at all? I voted Cortland, by the way, when the poll was still open. It was a pretty easy choice.
Old 5th June 2015
  #13
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
I share your disappointment. You put in a lot of effort and hardly anybody reacts. I have posted samples many times, but the reactions are usually very meager, even though many people have listened to the snippets. Somehow people seem to be very afraid of showing their colors. Or they don't trust their own listening abilities?

I feel that we, as a community, should be much more involved with results, rather than collecting stuff only. If there is no goal in buying all this equipment, except for bragging rights, what's the purpose of discussing it at all? I voted Cortland, by the way, when the poll was still open. It was a pretty easy choice.
Thanks Earcatcher. I appreciate your response. I think your observations regarding folks lack of participation is right on the money. I think this shall be the last time I bother with a poll should I post sound files again. At least folks can listen to these samples and educate their ears regarding these two mics. Hopefully they will be useful to someone.

Honestly, I find myself liking both mics (they are both certainly very usable). But, to my ears, the Schoeps had a more mellow quality in the 6k-8k range, and I could see why some might prefer that. From this perspective, the Neumann was slightly "pinched" (exhibiting a slightly "nasal" quality to it if that makes any sense) while the Schoeps seemed a little more natural.

BTW. it's interesting to hear these two mics on cymbals, where the differences between them are perhaps more easily discernible. For me, the tone of the ride cymbal in particular can be significantly affected by the choice of mic. And the funny thing (to me) is that on some rides I prefer one SDC and on other rides I prefer another SDC. We actually just did a session where we chose the km184 over the CMC6 on drum OH (and yes, we were surprised). I guess it's nice to have options :-)
Old 5th July 2015
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
At least folks can listen to these samples and educate their ears regarding these two mics. Hopefully they will be useful to someone.
I'd be one of those folks.

These 2 mics are right up my acoustic guitar list and this comparison shows their characteristics pretty well, thanks!

I like the clarity of the Schoeps and roundness of the Neumann.
But yes, the Schoeps is more... relaxing.

Glad that you used the same take.
Beautiful tune and playing.
Old 29th October 2015
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the comparison. The Schoeps blows the Neumann out of the water. Far more detail, much more natural "in the room" sounding, no hyped, thin upper mids. Very revealing! I have a pair of KM140s and there is no comparison with the KM184 either; I wanted to be able to buy a pair of 184s as well as they were much cheaper than my 140s but unfortunately the 184 is quite inferior to the 140 and also to the Schoeps. The Schoeps are similar in price to the discontinued 140s but have a different character; I would love to compare them.
Old 29th October 2015
  #16
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerwielder View Post
Thanks for the comparison. The Schoeps blows the Neumann out of the water. Far more detail, much more natural "in the room" sounding, no hyped, thin upper mids. Very revealing! I have a pair of KM140s and there is no comparison with the KM184 either; I wanted to be able to buy a pair of 184s as well as they were much cheaper than my 140s but unfortunately the 184 is quite inferior to the 140 and also to the Schoeps. The Schoeps are similar in price to the discontinued 140s but have a different character; I would love to compare them.
I think the KM 140 being better than the KM 184 is a myth. Same capsule. Neummann themselves say that the KM 184 electronics have marginally better specifications.
Could you made some shoot-out available to our ears for supporting your claim ? Like this one for instance.
Old 29th October 2015
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I think the KM 140 being better than the KM 184 is a myth. Same capsule. Neummann themselves say that the KM 184 electronics have marginally better specifications.
Could you made some shoot-out available to our ears for supporting your claim ? Like this one for instance.
I wish I could, Didier, but I don't have the KM184s any more. I tested them against the KM140s when recording acoustic piano and acoustic guitar. I wanted to get another pair of KM140-type mics and the KM184s were a lot cheaper. So I really wanted to like them. I used all the mics through a Neve stereo pair. There was a very big difference between the KM140s and KM184s, with the KM140s lacking the fizzy top end of the KM184s and having far more detail and density. If the KM184s had been in any way comparable to the KM140s, I would have bought them, but they weren't, so I returned them to the supplier.

The fact that you can almost never find KM140s for sale, while the market always has plenty of used KM184s available, supports the view that users don't want to part with their KM140s. I wish Neumann still made them as I now regret not buying more capsules at the time. The omni capsules were beautiful.

I have never used KM84s, so I can't comment on whether they are also better than KM184s. The KM140s are newer than the 84s and had separate capsules, which made them a really useful mic so I never had any use for KM84s. To this day I have not found or heard a better small diaphragm condenser mic than the KM140.

Sorry I can't post any comparisons for you, I only have my memory to go by and that of my tracking engineer.
Old 4th November 2015
  #18
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jnorman's Avatar
all I know is I owned pairs of both km184s, km140s, gefell m300s, dpa 4011s, and schoeps cmc64s - doing pretty much all classical work - and the only ones I still have are the km184s. there is just something about the Neumann sound that I like for a main ORTF pair. the DPAs were also very good, very accurate, and super clean, but I once had a pianist (7'4" bosedorfer) who selected the sound of a pair of AT4051s over the DPA 4011s for her solo CD - go figure. the cmc64s were pretty good as spots, but I never really loved them for mains. I think the mk41 is a better overall capsule than the mk4. the m300s were quite similar to the km184s, and I liked them okay, but some guy offered me almost twice what I paid for them and I let them go... I am fairly fond of mkh 40s for lots of duties, better as spots than mains but pretty good at that too. I kinda like omnis these days. oh, and btw, I did a direct shootout between my km184s and my km140s and found them to be pretty much identical - I don't really care what anyone says about mics anymore - it is all dependent on what my ears tell ME - opinions are like... well, you know the rest.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Here for the gear
More than three years later, but thanks guitarmax for this. I prefer the 'cortland' Schoeps for its quiet and decaying notes. If I wanted perhaps flatter mids, then the 184, but actually I usually don't... I just like the slightly scooped Schoeps feel and sparkling highs (assisted no doubt by the Daking pre). Very helpful comparison!
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Gear Head
 
pecass's Avatar
Just don't get me wrong but:

Schoeps CMC + MK 6 1900 $

Sennheiser KM 184 849 $

They are not the same league.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pecass View Post
They are not the same league.
Not for the price but for the sound quality, yes they are. Comparison of KM 184 vs. Schoeps and DPA here.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Gear Head
 
pecass's Avatar
If I can say little bit unfair (quite forum style) that always Neumann is inferior to the other (KM 184 and TLM 103 specific),

fact is that KM 100 + 40 capsule (just sound different) will be much more accurate in this "VS".

Don't get me wrong but if someone read all this The Schoeps blows the Neumann out of the water could get wrong opinion about KM without try.

For me KM is workhorse that always sound accurate for this amount of cash.

Just my 2 cents
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Gear Head
 
pecass's Avatar
Ok Back on the road

Schoeps sound more natural and relaxing and guitar is always a nightmare for post record EQ-ing but here what Don Quixote try to do...after I try all kinds of ITB EQ (trying to kill boxines and ringing 1khz)

This is Mac through IBIS -API 2500 (only transformer gain) and Hedd 192 with Pentode and Tape saturation on 3.
Attached Files

MAC-IBIS-2500-HEDD.wav (4.87 MB, 83 views)

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