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JJ Audio Mics Milkbone Mod (MXL 991) VS Neumann KMi84 Condenser Microphones
View Poll Results: Which file is the Neumann KMi84???
JJ Audio Milkbone vs KMI84
27 Votes - 65.85%
KMI84 VS JJ Audio Mics Milkbone
14 Votes - 34.15%
Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

Old 19th March 2010
  #1
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Talking JJ Audio Mics Milkbonez Mod (MXL 991) VS Neumann KMi84

What we are demonstrating here is the difference/similarities between the JJ Audio Mics Milkbonez (fully pimped out MXL 991) versus the Neuman KMi84. This is NOT the KM184, but the KMi84 from Neumann. NOTE: Apparently the KMi84 is also known as the KM84i. Same mic. So this is actually a KM84, since the "i" nomenclature was brought out to prevent confusion since there were multiple capsules for the KM84.

COOL!!


These files are both the same take, recorded simultaneously into PT. I only normalized the files, they are not actually level matched, feel free to do so in your respective DAWs however you see fit.

Please post your votes as this thread is a poll, the results will be posted later.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts, comments etc...

Thanks
Langston

Peace
Illumination
Attached Files

JJ Audio Milkbone vs KMI84.mp3 (1.89 MB, 4380 views)

KMI84 VS JJ Audio Mics Milkbone.mp3 (1.89 MB, 4148 views)


Last edited by illacov; 21st March 2010 at 03:30 PM.. Reason: *** product name amendment ***
Old 19th March 2010
  #2
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Here is the picture of the new Milkbone mod and the KMi84. The mod consists of replacing capacitors with high quality capacitors, I also added some capacitors that were omitted in the MXL design. The capsule and XLR connector are polished brass. The vents are made larger and the body is painted.
Attached Thumbnails
JJ Audio Mics Milkbone Mod (MXL 991) VS Neumann KMi84-p3190047.jpg  
Old 19th March 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
The second one sounds a touch smoother/larger.heh

I have already been told I am deaf.
Old 19th March 2010
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haz-Mat-Strat View Post
Spot on!
Old 19th March 2010
  #5
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Bloody close that! I am guessing the first one (JJ v KM84) is the 84, seems a tiny bit more 'right' and a little quieter too, but really close........pretty impressive. Now tell me I got it wrong....lol heh
Old 20th March 2010
  #6
Here for the gear
 

The first file sounds how I would want an acoustic guitar to sound on a record. Especially when you hit those low notes, wow!

I have a pair of Avantone CK-1's. Anyone know if they are of similar production to the MXL's? Jim, have you gotten the chance to open one up?
Old 20th March 2010
  #7
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drBill's Avatar
Langston - any chance of uploading WAV's or hosting them somewhere? Don't need such a long clip or the intro. Just a real audio file. The mp3's are jacking with the transients.

Mic looks nice, seems to sound nice as well. Love to hear WAV's especially on something like Ac Gtr.
Old 20th March 2010
  #8
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Langston - any chance of uploading WAV's or hosting them somewhere? Don't need such a long clip or the intro. Just a real audio file. The mp3's are jacking with the transients.

Mic looks nice, seems to sound nice as well. Love to hear WAV's especially on something like Ac Gtr.
We can get some shorter wavs posted over the weekend.

Peace
Illumination
Old 21st March 2010
  #9
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Cool. That should help demonstrate the "large vent" improvement for this mic.
Old 21st March 2010
  #10
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Cool. That should help demonstrate the "large vent" improvement for this mic.
Despite the vents, there is much more going on in this microphone which requires more than crossgrading components.

As Jim has mentioned, we have added components to this circuit that were not there before when the mic was stock. We have crammed a good amount of time and actually crammed some parts into that body cavity to make this mic into something very special.

So far based on the results, I doubt people are voting for vents and instead they're voting for which mic they think is the Neumann KM84.

Right now its landlocked 50/50. These results just like in similar polls, like the ones you've conducted, help to showcase people's perceptions not just of our microphones but also what they perceive to be that classic Neumann sound.

Its intriguing to me because ........

Well we shan't let the cat out of the bag just yet!

Thanks for your insight Michael! Nice sig!

Peace
Illumination
Old 21st March 2010
  #11
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joedoc's Avatar
I like the lows on #1 if that's the mod, congrats!!!

Both sound great though, neither would be thrown out of bed for recording er... guitars.
Old 21st March 2010
  #12
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by micbrowser2010 View Post
I like the lows on #1 if that's the mod, congrats!!!

Both sound great though, neither would be thrown out of bed for recording er... guitars.
Thanks

PS As much as I like microphones, they aren't allowed in my bed. Did John Lennon record acoustic guitar in bed with Yoko??

Peace
Illumination
Old 21st March 2010
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
...So far based on the results...Right now its landlocked 50/50...
Yes, but from such a small sample size (10 votes as of this writing) one cannot infer statistically meaningful results.
Old 21st March 2010
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
So far based on the results, I doubt people are voting for vents and instead they're voting for which mic they think is the Neumann KM84.
Huh?
Old 21st March 2010
  #15
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illacov's Avatar
 

Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Yes, but from such a small sample size (10 votes as of this writing) one cannot infer statistically meaningful results.
This is true.

I was going to leave the poll results public but decided otherwise.

I think I will let the poll run for a little while longer.

Seems to be the thing around here lately, is lots of views and less votes.

Ah the life of a pollster.

What I would like folks is some more feedback on the recordings we have here, the votes are fine but I would love some opinions from the passersby.

I promise that we will keep the poll going after we post the results

Thanks

Peace
Illumination
Old 21st March 2010
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
So far based on the results, I doubt people are voting for vents and instead they're voting for which mic they think is the Neumann KM84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Betsey View Post
Huh?
Illacov and I are having some good natured, back-channel mic mod chat that is a bit too subtle. My point is this: JJ Audio's adoption of vent enlargement is validation of a technique I first documented and now employ to effectively reduce narrow-band top end brightness in these mics.
Old 21st March 2010
  #17
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Illacov and I are having a bit of good natured, back-channel mic mod chat that is too subtle. My point is this: JJ Audio's adoption of vent enlargement is validation of a technique I documented (and employ) to effectively reduce narrow-band top end brightness in these mics.
Michael, I think you should be a bit more forward in your language.

One cannot "discover," what is already known, "document," and "validate," that known information , whereupon history resets itself and all previous information goes poof! Christopher Columbus would have us think otherwise, along with Balboa and others....(sarcasm!!)

Neumann's vent technology is at least as old as their KM84. That would mean there's been a good bit of time for people to recognize what the venting does and improve upon or leave alone the design of the microphone.

Before you rediscovered what those vents did, people knew what they were for.

In comparison, I can see we don't take the same approach to venting.

I will be the first to outright say, that if the KM84 wasn't designed the way it was, we wouldn't all be able to learn from it. Hence you see the influences...I think if anything we are validating Neumann's findings


Peace
Illumination
Old 21st March 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Illacov and I are having a bit of good natured, back-channel mic mod chat that is too subtle. My point is this: JJ Audio's adoption of vent enlargement is validation of a technique I documented (and employ) that is the most significant mechanism to reduce narrow-band top end brightness in these mics.


Hi Michael,

The way I did the vents was to get approximately the same amount of vent area, on the mic as the Neumann. That is why I left the center bar in the vent. Neumann spent years developing the "right" size vent for their microphone and the bars are there for tuning the resonance of the chamber. If were to machine a body it, would have bars and be tuned to the capsule.

Neumann also uses some other mechanical techniques to "tune" the frequency response that I am currently testing on this mic.

My intent was not to make this into a KMi84. It was to improve the mic to my standards. In the testing process, the electronic circuit component choices made much more of a difference than the vent size. The circuit changes I made were to add components that were omitted by MXL in the Schoeps circuit and change component values to reduce the high end "glass breaking" brittle high end.



Old 21st March 2010
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
Michael, I think you should be a bit more forward in your language...
Ok, and only because you've made a specific request - I discovered (and documented publicly well over a year ago) vent area enlargement could be applied to common 22mm SDC mics to effectively reduce the 8kHz narrow band peak these mics have in their stock form.

And further - I attribute (scroll down to "Excessive brightness reduced using a Neumann-proven technique") my inspiration for the reverse application of vent sizing to Neumann's preceding work. Neumann made the KM 184 brighter than the KM 84 solely through the use of vent size reduction. It was my application of reverse vent sizing in the context of popular 22mm SDC mics that constitutes my specific discovery - vent sizing can reduce a narrow band peak - as well an impart one, as Neumann had shown earlier.

Bottom line - the real issue here is proper citation of previous work. Proper footnoting or idea source referencing would be appropriate here.

In fact, JJ sites Mark Fauxman (Marik) as the source for part his MK-319 mod. I'd humbly like to request you offer the same sort of source referencing when it clearly involves my own prior work. Leaving one bar in the center of the vent does not constitute novelty or remove an ethical obligation to acknowledge prior work.

One of the features you claim in text and image is "vent enlargement" - and this is the proven cornerstone of my "Ultimate SDC Mod" from late 2008.
Old 21st March 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haz-Mat-Strat View Post
My intent was not to make this into a KMi84. It was to improve the mic to my standards.
Really? Coulda fooled me. Based on the title, the language used in the post, and in fact, the poll itself, it would seem that's exactly what you're trying do?

Not hatin' just sayin'....

R.
Old 21st March 2010
  #21
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illacov's Avatar
 

Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Betsey View Post
Really? Coulda fooled me. Based on the title, the language used in the post, and in fact, the poll itself, it would seem that's exactly what you're trying do?

Not hatin' just sayin'....

R.
Well this is simply a fun little experiment we are conducting.

The bulk of the language in the first post clearly states "similarities/differences."

I also spent a few sentences explaining what a KMi84/KM84i is, so that people don't mistake the mic we put up against the Milkbonez as a KM184.

We definitely didn't make a KM84 clone.

However it does sound good!

I am still a bit amused over how the voting is going. So far I see one result pull ahead and then another catches up with it. I also see there's a good deal of views but very little voting.

Do I think we nailed the Neumann sound? No because we weren't going for the Neumann sound.

Regarding the history 991/603/603s mods. A simple google search and a healthy relationship with the folks from Prodigy Pro/Homerecording etc...

Research shows you that there has been a GREAT deal of research into the modification of the MXL 603 and its close cousins.

There are plenty of people that come to mind as folks who made their discoveries and shared ALOT of information as far back as 2004.

People that I can think of who deserve a ton of credit are:

Gustav Smalley, Mark Fauxman, Flatpicker, zapnspark.

If you really followed the progress of this microphone's long documented history of mods, they have been talking about altering the ports/vents/grill mesh material on the microphone, along with playing with the backchamber to the capsule for almost 6 years as well as the improvement of the circuit design.

Mark Fauxman was approached by me before we had completed our mods to the 991s because we were looking at sourcing his capsules (we still are) and having listened to his work on the 603s I feel we are making a move in the right direction.

Regarding the bar in between the vents, I will leave that to Jim for a full explanation. It has nothing to do with novelty but pure physics in a nutshell.

Ol' Betsey: I appreciate your input and participation. Conversations like this are necessary.

Peace
Illumination
Old 21st March 2010
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
...If you really followed the progress of this microphone's long documented history of mods, they have been talking about altering the ports/vents/grill mesh material on the microphone...
I'm very familiar with the history of published modifications to the 22mm SDC mics in general and Marik's work on capsule backplate designs in particular. There is no published information documenting the effect of vent size on 22mm mic frequency response prior to my own work.

You asked me to be more forward in my language, here it is: Your incorporation of vent enlargement in the MXL 991 derives from my own prior art.
You choose to provide attribution to Marik for his work, but not to me for mine. Rather, in an attempt to avoid accountability for your appropriation of the idea, you try to make a case that vent size enlargement in the common 22mm mics was "open source" information - this is simply not true.
Old 21st March 2010
  #23
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
This is not true. There is no published information documenting the effect of vent size on 22mm mic frequency response prior to my own work. I'm very familiar with the history of published modifications to these 22mm mics in general and Marik's work on capsule backplate design in particular.

You asked me to be more forward in my language, here it is: Your work on the 991 vents derives from my own prior art. You choose to provide attribution to Marik for his work, but not to me for mine. Rather, you attempt to make a case that vent size enlargement in the common 22mm mics was publicly known "open source" information.
The size of the microphone does not make the application of the technology unique to that microphone size only. Using NFB on a microphone with a 32mm capsule versus a microphone with a 34mm doesn't somehow change the origin of the technology. Its still about who made the technique possible.

You can make your claims all you want, your work and ours have nothing to do with each other.

The fact remains:

Something is left to be desired about your explanations of your findings/discoveries.

First off the vents are done specifically to the way you have the capsule interacting with the circuit and how you want to tune it. We have done a specific circuit in our microphone which is different from what you have done and therefore the tuning of the chamber/resonator is not only different but also constructed differently.

Plainly looking at the two different microphones shows two completely different sets of vents.

Let's go there.

Why do you have a giant single vent with so and so sized mesh on your microphone?

We have done a double vent because of the way we tuned the capsule response and tuned the circuit. This is obviously different from yours.

Looking at other SDCs that employ vents, including the stock MXL they are done proprietary to the capsule-circuit interaction.

You can see this in Schoeps as well as Neumann and even Earthworks microphones.

http://www.cellardweller.com/mics/KM84.jpeg

http://www.m221b.com/SchoepsCase5/Schoeps5mics.jpg

http://recordinghacks.com/images/mic...works/SR77.jpg

I think that considering I mentioned people like Gus and Marik and you kind of side stepped that, then this thread might be worth reading:

MXL 603 mod - Home Recording



Peace
Illumination
Old 21st March 2010
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
..
I think that considering I mentioned people like Gus and Marik and you kind of side stepped that, then this thread might be worth reading:

MXL 603 mod - Home Recording...
Thanks for the link. Haven't seen that thread in a while - not a single word from the "open source" folks about changing vent size to attenuate a frequency response peak in the 22mm mics we're discusing.

I'm going to call your bluff Langston -

Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
...We have done a specific circuit in our microphone which is different from what you have done and therefore the tuning of the chamber/resonator is not only different but also constructed differently.
I challenge you produce any documentation that indicates your "specific circuit" needs a differently tuned chamber. In your few years on the block you've picked up enough knowledge to sling some terms around and fool some people Langston. But you're not fooling me.
Old 21st March 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Betsey View Post
Really? Coulda fooled me. Based on the title, the language used in the post, and in fact, the poll itself, it would seem that's exactly what you're trying do?

Not hatin' just sayin'....

R.

Hi Ol' Betsey

I do not own any KMi84 mics. I started R&D on this mod months ago. About a week ago a client sent a pair KMi84 in for service. I had finished the mod and tried these mics side by side. I was pleased with the results and decided to post as a poll because of the similar sonic nature of the mod. I did not start out to make a clone.

This is by no means a copy of the KMi84. It is a solid implementation and modification of the Shoepes circuit.

Michael,

As far as the vents are concerned, your research has has been extensive and well documented. I have read your findings, and other information about capsules and implimented a mod that like your mod makes the vents larger. However I feel elimination of all of the bars in the chamber is not the ultimate solution. The chamber tuning is important and I will contune to refine, conduct tests and research to find the best configuration.


Old 21st March 2010
  #26
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I'm not concerned so much about guessing which is the KM84i as much as how these two mics sound. The first one sounds a touch more transparent overall but mostly it lacks the 8k peak of the second one which I find unlistenable in this context. If the first one is the JJ, you've got a nice mic on your hands. If it's the second, I'd say keep working on it.
Old 21st March 2010
  #27
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
I'm not concerned so much about guessing which is the KM84i as much as how these two mics sound. The first one sounds a touch more transparent overall but mostly it lacks the 8k peak of the second one which I find unlistenable in this context. If the first one is the JJ, you've got a nice mic on your hands. If it's the second, I'd say keep working on it.
and the fun continues.....

Whats up with all the views and only a handful of votes?

"input, need input!!"

Peace
Illumination
Old 22nd March 2010
  #28
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
I'm not concerned so much about guessing which is the KM84i as much as how these two mics sound. The first one sounds a touch more transparent overall but mostly it lacks the 8k peak of the second one which I find unlistenable in this context. If the first one is the JJ, you've got a nice mic on your hands. If it's the second, I'd say keep working on it.
I'm with Piedpiper. I'd be shocked if the Neumann were the second clip.

Shocked I tell you.

And as far as shooting for the km84 sound- that is (IMO) what you want to do. Because they rock!

And as far as sdc mods go, I'm glad that both of you guys have taken the opportunity to VENT. Feels good, donut?
Old 22nd March 2010
  #29
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Just to clarify my earlier post. I've heard a lot of variation between different KM84s. If I was forced to guess I would think the first was the 84 and the second was the JJ mod. I would hope that the JJ mod was "better" than that, but I'm not in a position to know what their goals were with it.
Old 22nd March 2010
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haz-Mat-Strat View Post
...The way I did the vents was to get approximately the same amount of vent area, on the mic as the Neumann. That is why I left the center bar in the vent. Neumann spent years developing the "right" size vent for their microphone and the bars are there for tuning the resonance of the chamber... In the testing process, the electronic circuit component choices made much more of a difference than the vent size...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haz-Mat-Strat View Post
...As far as the vents are concerned, your research has has been extensive and well documented. I have read your findings...However I feel elimination of all of the bars in the chamber is not the ultimate solution. The chamber tuning is important and I will contune to refine, conduct tests and research to find the best configuration...
Jim, it appears there are a couple of contradictory statements here and I'm going to call your bluff as well. Let's take your arguments in order...

1.) You say the center bar remains in your enlarged vent to approximate the vent area Neumann arrived at through years of research.

2.) But then you say circuit component choice makes much difference than vent size.

3.) Finally you acknowledge my prior work in this area, but then disagree with it by saying elimination of all vent bars is not the ultimate solution because chamber tuning is important and you'll continue to work in this area (contradicting both statements above).

A couple of points - leaving one bar in the middle of the vent area is not a significant enough variation in the percentage of open area to produce a measurable tuning of the capsule's on-axis high frequency response. I know this based on my own spectral analysis of the relationship between vent area and capsule on-axis frequency response. Next, notice you make conflicting statements about your "vent area R&D" - You duplicated Neumann's carefully researched vent area, you say circuit design is more important than vent area but yet you'll still continue to research chamber tuning.

Langston has asked me to speak directly, so I'll do so here as well. Your leaving the center bar in place is a visual deviation from my own vent enlargement technique, but it does not differ acoustically from my work. My contention is you adopted vent enlargement because it is a modification I've shown to successfully eliminate 8kHz peaking, it represents current "best practice" and is a feature with benefits that potential customers can easily see and understand. I challenge you to demonstrate leaving one center bar per vent in place is different than no bars.

Frankly I don't buy any of your or Langston's rationalizations about how you arrived at vent area enlargement - there was no "open source" knowledge of the effect of vent size on the 8kHz peak in these mics until I documented that relationship. Leaving one bar in the vent intact is simply window dressing to avoid an obvious incorporation of my prior work in your modification - because a single bar remaining per vent is not acoustically different than total vent enlargement by removing all bars.

I'll also call your attention to what I see as an inconsistency - You acknowledge the prior work of Marik as inspiration for part of your MK-319 modification, but you do not acknowledge my prior work in the same way in your 991 modification. It appears when it is expedient for you to align yourself with him you do so.

And finally, JJ Audio claims its vent area enlargement technique is a significant enough variation from my own (it is not) to constitute a novel functional implementation (it is not).

Now please note I'm not saying your mic doesn't sound good (actually I haven't heard it). But your vent enlargement is a visual design variation only from my prior work and is functionally equivalent to it. So I would expect your mic would sound good ; )
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