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U67 & U87, C800G, AT4050, Flea 47 and Swedien No.1 Condenser Microphones
Old 21st November 2009
  #1
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Joram's Avatar
 

U67 & U87, C800G, AT4050, Flea 47 and Swedien No.1

At the Dutch gearslutz party in October we did a mic shootout with some LDC's.

In this comparitive test we positioned all microphones at the same spot. So what you hear is not the best a microphone can sound with this particular guitar. It is more a microphone character shootout.

chain: Neve 1073 > Focusrite AD > PTHD (24bits/96kHz conv. 16bits/44.1kHz). We kept the gain the same for all mics; leveling in PT (appr.+/- 2dB).

With many thanks to Martin Kantola, who gave us the opportunity to try out his new Bruce Swedien No.1. Patrick, thanks for bringing the Flea.
Attached Files

AT4050 - strum edit.wav (3.35 MB, 5247 views)

Old 21st November 2009
  #2
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Patrick's Flea 47
Attached Files

Flea U47 - strum edit.wav (3.33 MB, 3336 views)

Old 21st November 2009
  #3
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Joram's Avatar
 

Our beloved U67
Attached Files

Neumann U 67 - strum edit.wav (3.01 MB, 3332 views)

Old 21st November 2009
  #4
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Joram's Avatar
 

This is a U87
Attached Files

Neumann U87 - strum edit.wav (3.16 MB, 3313 views)

Old 21st November 2009
  #5
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Joram's Avatar
 

Sony's tube mic
Attached Files

Sony C800G - strum edit.wav (3.30 MB, 2925 views)

Old 21st November 2009
  #6
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Joram's Avatar
 

Martin's microphonic version of a man with a moustache
Attached Files

Swedien No1 - strum edit.wav (3.30 MB, 2719 views)

Old 21st November 2009
  #7
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

My preference order

1 Swedien
2 C800
3 U67
4 FLEA 47
5 U87

and distant from these five ones

6 4050

Thank you for sharing.
Old 21st November 2009
  #8
Gear Addict
 

After listening on monitors and headphones, here are my choices:

1. U 87 (smooth and natural, perfectly balanced, good integration of the high range of the guitar into the rest of the sound)
2. FLEA 47 (same as above, but slightly less natural sounding)
3. C800G (a pleasing sound, but perhaps a bit too bright)
4. Swedien No. 1 (musical, but a bit unnatural sounding, perhaps too dark)
5. AT4050 (slightly veiled, unexciting but very useable)
6. U 67 (way too punchy and aggressive, too much low end)

Thanks for the interesting comparison! Just one question: is this a vintage U 87 or a new one?
Old 21st November 2009
  #9
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Joram's Avatar
 

A new one (of a stereo pair). Although the new U87's sounds a bit different than the older ones, I think they are equal in quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianHanke View Post
5. AT4050 (slightly veiled, unexciting but very useable)
indeed
Old 22nd November 2009
  #10
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I actually preferred the AT4050 myself.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #11
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Storyville's Avatar
Here's my list.

1) U87 - I'm not an 87 fanboy, but I definitely think this had the best capture. Very open, very clear, natural. Defined, evenly balanced.

2) The 67 - it had woofy lows, but I think that gave it a certain body and attitude. If this was solo guitar and voice type of song, I would probably prefer the 67 as my first choice. However, in terms of mix content, I know I'm gonna have to suck those lows.

3) The flea 47. A little "warmer" than the 87, and little less woofy than the 67. This would be my second choice for "in the mix" mic, and second choice for solo guitar and voice. Depending on the context I might consider this over the 87 in the mix - it's a little blurrier, but holds the low mids a bit more. But most tracks I'd probably take the 87 first.

4) The Swedien No1 - The transients popped a little too hard for me - otherwise it was very similar to the 87. I just know it's going to need a little cleaning come mix time with that top end and those s***** strings.

5) c800G - this one had a little less of the transient that the Swedien had, but it also sounded hollower. This would be my last choice in either the mix or solo scenario except....

6) the AT4050 - I thought this one sounded unnatural. Cartoony. The upper mid pushed feels artificial and blurry. A little too sleepy sounding.
Old 28th November 2009
  #12
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As far as everything being only solo acoustic (not in the mix with other instruments or voice) The U87 was sounding the best to me. But I know many pros that swear by and used the AT 4050 for acoustic guitar recording with great success, (not solo so much) but as a mic used on the ac guitar and the ac guitar is part of the big mix picture (bass, drums, voice, keyboard,etc). I guess it does well it that picture more so.

Like the Sony and Flea as well. Thanks for the post.
Old 28th November 2009
  #13
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Joram's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DONNX View Post
As far as everything being only solo acoustic (not in the mix with other instruments or voice) The U87 was sounded the best to me. But I know many pros that swear by and used the AT 4050 for acoustic guitar recording with great success, (not solo so much) but as a mic used on the ac guitar and the ac guitar is part of the big mix picture (bass, drums, voice, keyboard,etc). I guess it does well it that picture more so.
You're right of course.

Roughly,
I think the 4050 is a good acoustic guitar mic for pop and country pop, at least when it's role is harmonic/rhytmic in the background.
I would choose the Swedien for a high end pop sound with a very good guitar player.
The U87 is great for music in the rock/indie realm when it doesn't have leading role. Otherwise I would go for the U67 or U47, as I would with singer/songwriters.
I didn't like the Sony very much (with this guitar).

The U67 sounds for me most expressive and real.
Old 28th November 2009
  #14
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the fine work.
My preferences:
1. U67. Sorry to be redundant, but it still is the most natural and usable sound of this crowd.
2. Tie between the U87 and Flea. They both needed a bit of EQ but the character was excellent on both. That Flea is interesting.
3. Didn't care for the clanky pick attack of the Swedien
4. The Sony was too bright for me, but some folks like that in a track.
5. AT is not as present or natural as any of the others.

These audio shootouts are terrific and informative. All the posts in the world can't take the place of the actual sound.
Cheers, John
Old 28th November 2009
  #15
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Whats funny is I went back and listen to these files at the end of each. When I first did my listen on these, it was only the first 1/2 of the clips. As the music progressed the mic performed differently on some mics.

Perhaps, the musician's movement caused the mic to be placed differently during the take? And of course the files were different takes.

Mic placement has a huge play in the recorded sound as we all know. The 4050 is quite a nice deal and works great on the strumming, etc. I liked more on the last half of the file.

And we haven't even touched the preamp, limiter, converter, realm which changes the sound as well. Nor the type of guitar..which are like singers. IME, all guitars sound different and thus change the desired mic.

The U67 seemed louder than the rest. That can easily be perceived as "better" for some. Regardless of the volume, I like it as well.

I would be happy to use any of these mics at a session.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joram View Post
You're right of course.

Roughly,
I think the 4050 is a good acoustic guitar mic for pop and country pop, at least when it's role is harmonic/rhytmic in the background.
I would choose the Swedien for a high end pop sound with a very good guitar player.
The U87 is great for music in the rock/indie realm when it doesn't have leading role. Otherwise I would go for the U67 or U47, as I would with singer/songwriters.
I didn't like the Sony very much (with this guitar).

The U67 sounds for me most expressive and real.
Old 29th November 2009
  #16
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Joram's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DONNX View Post
Mic placement has a huge play in the recorded sound as we all know.
You're very right. That's why I stated in the intial post: what you hear is not the best a microphone can sound with this particular guitar. It is more a microphone character shootout.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DONNX View Post
The U67 seemed louder than the rest. That can easily be perceived as "better" for some.
It is impossible to get the levels even as the sound of the mics differ too much. It always good to listen to these shootouts at different levels.
Old 30th November 2009
  #17
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alvagoldbook's Avatar
 

my first pick was the Swedien. Sounded the most open and natural to me.

Second pick would have to be the U87, but sounded a bit too dark.

Third, the U67, which seemed to have an annoying high end on this guitar that I didn't like.

Forth, the Sony, which just sounded bad.

I'm listening on my laptop though, but I prefer listening to shootouts on subpar more commercial speaker systems.
Old 27th December 2009
  #18
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Emanuel23's Avatar
 

Thank you for this shoot-out!

1st - AT 4050 (although I would use a tube preamp in this case)
2nd - Swedien / Flea47 / U67
3rd - U87 (would place it differently)
4th - C800 (would not consider it)
Old 27th December 2009
  #19
Gear Addict
 

1 U67 It just sounds like a record.

2 U87 This one was close to my 3rd and 4th picks.

3 Swedien Number 1 (I guess I would re-name it number 3 in this case, chuckle, chuckle)

4 Flea 47

5 AT 4050

6 Sony C800G

P.S. On a side note if you've never tried the Baby Blue Bottle with the Blue Robbie mic pre on acoustic guitar you are missing out. Try it, you won't regret it!
Old 27th December 2009
  #20
Shy
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the samples.
Love the U 67 and U 87.
Old 9th January 2010
  #21
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payne104's Avatar
I can definately see preferring different ones depending on what song called for. As far as clarity I preffered the swedien, but I like the way the u47 is a little rounded off and dark and might let the vocal ring though nicely. But you might as well use the swedien and then eq it down a tad when the vocals come in.

The swedien is very lifelike to me in a pleasant way
Old 19th February 2010
  #22
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Talking Thanks

I liked the flea best, but I mostly wanted to say thanks. As someone who doesn't inherently know the difference in the sound of a 67 vs a 87, this was real helpful..
Old 21st February 2010
  #23
I like the u67 best.

The Swedien also sounds great except for the over-pronounced pick attack which ruins it.

The AT4050 sounded surprisingly good

The u87 to me was typically uninspiring. Maybe a different pre could bring out more sparkle.

I hate the Sony - sounds thin and cheap

The Flea gives a particular EQ which could be useful
Old 21st February 2010
  #24
Where are the vox samples? On acoustic guitar, there are tons of lower end LDCs that would perform as good as those mics (especially with EQ, are you really going to notice any difference once the song is mixed?). I don't think a specific LDC would ruin an acoustic guitar sound, while I know that a Higher End LDC would make a big difference on specific vocals, and could make/break a vocalist's tone.

What I'm saying is that there is a much bigger chance that a specific LCD would influence a voice when tons of choices are possible for acoustic guitars.
Old 22nd February 2010
  #25
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Zuewi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by badboymusic View Post
I actually preferred the AT4050 myself.
agree
Old 2nd March 2010
  #26
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pasarski's Avatar
 

1. U67, fat and clear
2. U87, already mixed
3. 4050, usable, little bit "draped" (didn't come up with the right word BTW most quiet clip)
4. C800G, lacking some lows, nice pop brightness
5. Flea, lacking some lows
6. Swedien, would have been my 2nd fav, but there's something weird happening in the mid's, probably the guitar itself. I have a feeling that this mic would shine on right sources, and definitely the mic I would like to own from this bunch
Old 1st July 2010
  #27
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u67 has the most realistic capture. there's something about the Mids in the u87 and u47 that I just don't like. based only on this test alone... the u67 is a huge difference to my ears, and clearly the winner hands down.

To put it bluntly. The u67 is the only one that sounds like it belongs on a professional recording as is.
Old 8th July 2010
  #28
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mljung's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by realmike15 View Post
u67 has the most realistic capture. there's something about the Mids in the u87 and u47 that I just don't like. based only on this test alone... the u67 is a huge difference to my ears, and clearly the winner hands down.

To put it bluntly. The u67 is the only one that sounds like it belongs on a professional recording as is.
I agree [listened on my HD580 Sennheisers]

Although I generally tend not to like microphones that are too bright - it's the presence and brightness of the U67 that seem most natural and vivid and appealing to me.
The U67 also seem to be the loudest sample, which can be why it's most seductive. On the other hand, loud and bright is generally not a nice cocktail.

Whether the actual guitar used in the recording sounds more like the sound in one of the other samples, is of course impossible to tell, but as a recorded sound the U67 sample is my pick.

For a little softer sound AT4050 sample had its qualities too.
Old 22nd July 2010
  #29
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bi-tonio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by realmike15 View Post
u67 has the most realistic capture. there's something about the Mids in the u87 and u47 that I just don't like. based only on this test alone... the u67 is a huge difference to my ears, and clearly the winner hands down.

To put it bluntly. The u67 is the only one that sounds like it belongs on a professional recording as is.
truuuuuue !

i wouldn't say "the most realistic", but "the most musical" for that kind of project ?! i'm not sure i could say the same as a drums ambiance.

with the 67, the smell of neil young or nick drake is here...
not too punchy, probably a tiny bit louder than the other samples, but no need eq and comps, it's done !
and seems to fit in every mixes, alone or between 40 other musicians.

the swedien has a sort of resonance between 800 and 1k, the sony is to me the most realistic, but not tasty :(
the AT prefers to hear the pick's attack instead of the notes... oohh i'm bad...

i listened to these samples cause i planed to buy a FLEA 47.
i eared it with my beyer dt770.

cheers for the samples fellows !

antoine
Old 26th July 2010
  #30
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

U 67 all the way.

never fails.
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