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More Mic Madness - cHapTeR 4 - What's up with KM84's?
Old 3rd June 2010
  #1
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drBill's Avatar
More Mic Madness - cHapTeR 4 - The magic of KM84's?

I was tired of sifting through all the speculation, hyperbole, hype and downright misinformation on the KM84 and the KM84 "sound". I wanted to know for myself how the Neumann KM184 compares to the classics that I own - the KM84's. I wanted to know if the Clones could hold their own up against what has been the recording industry's most ubiquitous small diaphragm mic for decades. Although it's been discontinued, it still gets as much SDC love as it's big brother - the U47 - get in Tube LDC love. It's one of the most sought after and coveted mics out there. (Luckily, I have been able to find 3 great ones over the years which I love to death.) There is so much controversy and hype on the internet about the 84vs184 and 84vsContenders, that I wanted to put up a thread with ACTUAL CLIPS attached. No BS, no opinion without facts, no hype - just some clips so you can hear for yourselves and make up your own minds.

This is Chapter 4 in my "Mic Madness" series that has turned into a never ending quest to transform audio into electrical signals via that magically (for me anyway) unique method - microphones. So….we're going to take an in depth look at the KM84, Neumann's heir to the throne - the KM184, and a contender - the M. Joly modded 012 along with a few others - all in good fun. Please feel free to download these into your DAW for analysis and comparison, as listening in your browser will only give you a vague indicator. Seriously. If you think the differences minimal, then download and get into your studio to listen.

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There have been many contenders attempting to take over where the KM84 left off - Neumann's KM184 not the least of them - but seldom do they ever seem to attain the "magic" of the KM84 with it's rich midrange and forward focus.

While many feel the 184 is a worthy successor, others feel it's junk. To muddy the waters further, there are several manufacturers who say that their mic is "the closest to a KM84 that you can currently buy". For someone who has never had the opportunity to actually own or use a vintage 84, it must be very confusing. So join me while I have a listen with all these things in mind. There will probably be a few surprises.

What follows are some clips that I hope will help give you some insight into whether or not you need to bite the bullet and find a vintage KM84, buy a newer KM184, investigate the contenders to the throne, or if you need to go a completely different direction altogether.

The signal path is direct and pure. Mic to pre to converters. No compression, no EQ, no processing of any kind. Mics are as close together as I could get them, and not moved around in an attempt to make them sound "better". I know, I know, but I believe this is the best way to get a feel for the personality of the mics during a shootout like this, and I'm the one that did it so tough. heh

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PART 1

My favorite use for the KM84 is acoustic guitars. Some say they love the 184 on Acoustic, others hate it. I wanted to hear where they are the same, and where they are different - so I scheduled James Lum to come in to the studio with a few guitars out of his eclectic collection. Below are 6 clips of several acoustics playing a wide variety of differing styles comparing a vintage KM84 to the current model KM184.

Signal path is mic>mogami cable>API512B>mogami cable>Digidesign192>PTHD3 @ 44.1K 24bit.

AcGtr 1
KM84
KM184

AcGtr 2
KM84
KM184

AcGtr 3
KM84
KM184

AcGtr 4
KM84
KM184

AcGtr 5
KM84
KM184

AcGtr 6
KM84
KM184


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PART 2

After hearing all the disparaging talk about the KM184 online, I wanted to hear for myself if a mod might help it. So I procured one and put it up against the KM84 and a stock KM184. Here are the clips :

Signal path is mic>mogami cable>API512B>mogami cable>Digidesign192>PTHD3 @ 44.1K 24bit.

3-Way Comparison - KM84

3-Way Comparison - KM184

3-Way Comparison - Modded KM184


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PART 3

As far as KM84 "Clones" are concerned, I've heard a lot of them, and to my ears, they never seem to attain the magic. The one mic that I've found that is voiced the closest to a KM84 is the M. Joly modded 012PE. Close enough that I could intercut them and not be able to tell where I cut them without a visual - and even then, I often couldn't tell. I decided to give it a real workout and find any appreciable differences / similarities. Hear for yourself….

Here are 3 guitar clips with intercuts back and forth every few seconds between the 84 and modded 012 just as I would do if I was doing a quick A/B during a session.

Signal path is mic>mogami cable>API512B>mogami cable>Digidesign192>PTHD3 @ 44.1K 24bit.

Comparison 1 (Steel) :
Martin 00018 KM84/012 Intercuts

Comparison 2 (Nylon) :
Nylon String KM84/012 Intercuts

Comparison 3 (High Strung) :
High Strung KM84/012 Intercuts


And the individual tracks themselves for your perusal…..

Comparison 1 (Steel) :
Martin 00018 - KM84
Martin 00018 - MJ012PE

Comparison 2 (Nylon) :
Nylon String - KM84
Nylon String - MJ012PE

Comparison 3 (High Strung) :
High Strung - KM84
High Strung - MJ012PE


If you're interested in a stereo soundstage for acoustic, the same clips with a second FET LDC mic over the R shoulder of the guitarist for a "stereo" perspective. Partnering with the 012 are the M. Joly modded NT1a's and MJE-K47H. And with the KM84, the Neumann U87. The SDC 84/012's are always panned hard Left, and the LDC FET's are always panned hard Right.

Comparison 1 (Steel) :
Martin 00018 - KM84/U87
Martin 00018 - 012PE/MJNT1a


Comparison 2 (Nylon) :
Nylon String - KM84 / U87
Nylon String - 012PE / MJNT1a


Comparison 3 (High Strung) :
High Strung - KM84 / U87
High Strung - 012PE / MJE-K47H


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PART 4

Another common usage of KM84's (at least for me) is on drums. So I scheduled Craig Bunch to come in again with his Yamaha kit and play some drums. I didn't have a TWO 184's or modded 184's for OH's, so I put the KM84's up against the modded 012's for a quickie comparison.

In each clip, the first thing you will hear is ONLY the OH mics in Glyn Johns position. Keep listening and then you will hear the rest of the drum mics added in, but at a slightly lower level than normal.

Signal path is mic pair>mogami cable>API512B>mogami cable>Digidesign192>PTHD3 @ 44.1K 24bit.

Drum OH - KM84

Drum OH - MJ 012PE


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PART 5

Next up, snare drum. When I'm feeling bold and lucky…..heh heh

The KM84 sounds great on snare. I wanted to hear it against a wide variety of competition so I added Michael Joly's ultimate modded 603 which I had on hand.

The victims for what I like to call the Snare Press Conference (heh - see pic) are :

Snare - KM84
Snare - MJ 012PE
Snare - KM184
Snare - MJ Ultimate 603
Snare - Modded KM184

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PART 6

And last but not least, I wanted to hear the KM84 up against the 184, AKG 451E, and a few others on some hats with significant HF going on. Again, arrayed in a Press Conference setup.

HiHat - KM84
HiHat - MJ 012PE
HiHat - AKG 451E (vintage)
HiHat - KM184
HiHat - MJ Ultimate 603
HiHat - KM814 Modded

---

Well, there you have it. I hope it's enlightening. Love to hear your thoughts. Are you still looking for an 84? Going to get a 184? Investigating the clones? Or are you looking elsewhere?

bp


PS - I'll post some pics after I recover.......


PPS - with almost 150,000 combined page views, Chapters 1-3 :

Ribbon Madness....Some Comparisons

Drum Mic Madness!!!!

***Mic-Mod Madness!!!***

Old 3rd June 2010
  #2
Thx Bill!

This is going to be cool. I have used KM184,s as my main SDC for the last 5 years or so. I acquired a pair of Vintage Schoeps about 3 months ago and they have taken over drum OH duties. This week I just got (3) KM84,s but I haven't really put them through their paces except briefly on acoustic.

Should be fun.
Old 3rd June 2010 | Show parent
  #3
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Heartfelt's Avatar
I see now why people feel the way they do. It seems pretty easy to distinguish between 84's and 184's. It also seems harder to tell 84's from the 012's.

With the cost of 84's the clones seem to be a fantastic option. Very cool thread and thanks for all the work you did for us GS'rs.
Old 3rd June 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Croaker View Post
This week I just got (3) KM84,s but I haven't really put them through their paces except briefly on acoustic.

Should be fun.
Cool Tom! Thanks. And I'm looking forward to your comments. After using the 184's for so long, I'm sure you will have some great input on the 84/184 connundrum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartfelt View Post
Very cool thread and thanks for all the work you did for us GS'rs.
No problem. My pleasure.

bp
Old 3rd June 2010 | Show parent
  #5
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Also, interested in experiences comparing KM84 to KM140 or KM143, which is, I believe, a more appropriate comparison than the KM184.

And thanks again Bill, for all your work.
Old 3rd June 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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NoEgo's Avatar
Wow..that is great!

That does expose a lot of things. Both are great sounds too. The 184 is not the same but still a good mic. I am lucky enough to pick up a few 84s as well. I also have the M300 Gefell, Shure 81's and Rode NT5s. All different.
I think the Gefells are the closest to the KM84 in that line up but again they all have their sound. I know Rode is not recognized as a winner in these parts but I bought them over the KM184s. To my ears. I thought they brought more low end to the table, on dreadnoughts and such, The 81s are as neutral as you can get.
My respect to the OP. Just wanted to mention some more alternatives.

The KM84's are real sweet though. The attack I find ..that is the main difference..the attack is more natural, probably the transfomer...is not equaled in any of the above, at lower levels. I found it hard to hear in these samples cause the levels were hotter but nevertheless, I have only done a few tracks with my 84s now, but I am replacing the 81 and the M300s while doing fixes, and it sure sounds awesome!
Thanks for posting all this info.!!!!!!
Old 3rd June 2010 | Show parent
  #7
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mmmm i love me some km84 on snare. unfortunately this is an application where you have to choose your mic wisely, based on the guy sitting in front of it. lol
Old 3rd June 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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Kris's Avatar
Next up... comparing a modified km84 against the modified 012!
Old 3rd June 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Cool Tom! Thanks. And I'm looking forward to your comments. After using the 184's for so long, I'm sure you will have some great input on the 84/184 connundrum.


bp
No conundrum here! Im not really into mic bashing, just have my preferences in certain situations. I think the 184 is a good mic too. Its all I had to work with for years!haha. I recently started using vintage Schoeps on OH and they grew on me as my fav OH mics pretty quickly taking over the job from the km184,s. Just sold my KM184,s. I liked the way they capture the cymbals, had to be more careful with the KM184,s
Any decent mic has it purpose and people always have personal preferences. Now I have the 84,s to try out!! Its nice to have options. good thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoEgo View Post
Wow..that is great!

That does expose a lot of things. Both are great sounds too. The 184 is not the same but still a good mic. I am lucky enough to pick up a few 84s as well. I also have the M300 Gefell, Shure 81's and Rode NT5s. All different.
I think the Gefells are the closest to the KM84 in that line up but again they all have their sound. I know Rode is not recognized as a winner in these parts but I bought them over the KM184s. To my ears. I thought they brought more low end to the table, on dreadnoughts and such, The 81s are as neutral as you can get.
My respect to the OP. Just wanted to mention some more alternatives.

The KM84's are real sweet though. The attack I find ..that is the main difference..the attack is more natural, probably the transfomer...is not equaled in any of the above, at lower levels. I found it hard to hear in these samples cause the levels were hotter but nevertheless, I have only done a few tracks with my 84s now, but I am replacing the 81 and the M300s while doing fixes, and it sure sounds awesome!
Thanks for posting all this info.!!!!!!

Hey Lou good to see you! I agree with you on the natural sound of the 84. Again I have only had them for a short time too, it takes me some time to develop opinions on gear as I use it. You do a lot more acoustic tracks than I do and I really trust your ears. You always seem to know how to put sounds into words that translate properly..an art in itself!!

Cant wait to get into using the 84,s on OH and snare, got a session going for tonight.

Jonathan Starr and I did a quick comparison at his studio between a Vintage Schoeps and the KM84 on an old Gibson acoustic..we should of recorded it!!! Our first impression was they both sounded great!! the Schoeps had a nice high end to it and the KM84 had a fat bottom end....don't get me wrong, I wouldn't throw either out of bed. They are all good tools. Just pick the best one for the job at hand.

Are you replacing all the acoustic tracks on Jons project using the 84? Cant wait to hear and mix a few tracks
Old 3rd June 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Croaker View Post
the Schoeps had a nice high end to it and the KM84 had a fat bottom end
Sounds like the MJ modded 012 is the offspring of a clandestine tribal mating ritual of the Schoeps and KM84. Sweeter upper high end, and significantly bigger bottom. Yowza!!! heh heh
Old 4th June 2010 | Show parent
  #11
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NoEgo's Avatar


"Are you replacing all the acoustic tracks on Jons project using the 84? Cant wait to hear and mix a few tracks"


Well there was a few that we wanted to do fix...not all. And obviously there are no punches. We are doing the whole tracks over again..Now that we have a solid drum track thanks to you and of course Bux.

If I didn't want the project to move forward ...or had all the patience in the world!!! haha I might redo all the acoustics but that's not likely.

Thanks for the kind words. ....can't wait to hear the overheads... Maybe we can record all the drums over...heh no just kidding. They sound great as always. You da man.
Dude you could do that as a side...with all else going on.. I bet lots of GSers would like drums done...just a thought. You have the science down to an art.
Old 4th June 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Sounds like the MJ modded 012 is the offspring of a clandestine tribal mating ritual of the Schoeps and KM84. Sweeter upper high end, and significantly bigger bottom. Yowza!!! heh heh
ROFL......nice visual. The 012 sounds like a lot of mic for the money.
Old 5th June 2010 | Show parent
  #13
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Well, the 84/184 confirms the 84's superiority, IMHO, with better midrange clarity and more natural top end. The 184 is a bit muffled in the midrange with that extra brightness on top. The modded 184 was better but still wasn't quite as open in the mids as the 84.

I found the Joly modded 012 a wee bit disappointing after all the build up. Although it is certainly sweet, it just doesn't quite come across as much. It's seems to be a tad muffled in comparison, and not for the high frequencies so much as the lack of openness in the mids. Certainly a great option but maybe not quite the replacement for a good 84 that I was hoping for. Maybe a placement issue, or maybe it picks up more room and less focus, or maybe the capsule is just not quite as good as a real Neumann, etc... but for a quarter of the price...

I'm curious what you liked better about the modded 012 compared to the AKG 251 CK2, Bill. I'm guessing less edgy for one thing.

BTW, thanks for all the luscious guitar playing! Gorgeous stuff.
Old 5th June 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
Well, the 84/184 confirms the 84's superiority, IMHO, with better midrange clarity and more natural top end. The 184 is a bit muffled in the midrange with that extra brightness on top. The modded 184 was better but still wasn't quite as open in the mids as the 84.

I found the Joly modded 012 a wee bit disappointing after all the build up. Although it is certainly sweet, it just doesn't quite come across as much. It's seems to be a tad muffled in comparison, and not for the high frequencies so much as the lack of openness in the mids. Certainly a great option but maybe not quite the replacement for a good 84 that I was hoping for. Maybe a placement issue, or maybe it picks up more room and less focus, or maybe the capsule is just not quite as good as a real Neumann, etc... but for a quarter of the price...

I'm curious what you liked better about the modded 012 compared to the AKG 251 CK2, Bill. I'm guessing less edgy for one thing.

BTW, thanks for all the luscious guitar playing! Gorgeous stuff.
PP- you'll have to thank James Lum for the playing. He's amazing.

I liked the omni 012 better than the 451/ck2 for the imaging. Just seemed more natural and had a more solid bottom, more definition in the mids. The Ck2 on a 451 body is RADICALLY different than 451/ck1 which is very bright.

I'd tend to agree about the 184. Funny, listening to clips after the fact, I tend to think....awwww, it's not that bad. But when listening live and going back and forth, I had a stronger opinion in line with yours. The 184 falls short.

As for the 012 vs. 84, they are no doubt a bit different. The 84 has a little more "focus" in the mids - which I think you pointed out. But the 84's roll off pretty early, and definitely have a "dated" or "vintage" sound. That often works well for me, but there are times when the 012 really shines and blows it away. Still, I think the 84 is easier for me to record with. With proper placement though, the 012 can get freakishly close, as is evidenced by the A/B intercut clips above. Sometimes, with identical placement, I find the 012 a bit more "mellow" or subdued than the 84's. Weird, as they have more top and bottom, but that's how I preceive it.

IMO, there is no real replacement for a KM84, but the 012 gets closer than anything else I've heard. Actually, I like the fact that the 012 is a bit different or more "modern" if you will, as I already have 3 KM84's. That plus the OMNI caps, and for me, buying a set was a no brainer. Haven't tried the hyper caps yet, but may get to that at some point.

bp
Old 5th June 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
The Ck2 on a 451 body is RADICALLY different than 451/ck1 which is very bright.
Come to think of it, I'm only familiar with the CK1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
As for the 012 vs. 84, they are no doubt a bit different. The 84 has a little more "focus" in the mids - which I think you pointed out. But the 84's roll off pretty early, and definitely have a "dated" or "vintage" sound. That often works well for me, but there are times when the 012 really shines and blows it away. Still, I think the 84 is easier for me to record with. With proper placement though, the 012 can get freakishly close, as is evidenced by the A/B intercut clips above. Sometimes, with identical placement, I find the 012 a bit more "mellow" or subdued than the 84's. Weird, as they have more top and bottom, but that's how I preceive it.
It's the 012's slight lack of clarity in the mids that makes it feel mellow to me as well. I'm guessing the 012's high frequency extension is higher than the brightness zone, where the 184 bites for instance, so it doesn't add any aggressiveness at all, or even assertiveness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
That plus the OMNI caps, and for me, buying a set was a no brainer.
No question the modded 012 is a bargain, especially with the extra capsules. Hard to argue with the package. I wonder if Michael has any insights into what might improve the mids.
Old 5th June 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
I wonder if Michael has any insights into what might improve the mids.

Well, I'm not Michael. But if you feel it needs "improving", I know what will fix it for you......


EQ.
Old 5th June 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Well, I'm not Michael. But if you feel it needs "improving", I know what will fix it for you......


EQ.
Hmmm. I was thinking it was a matter of quality, not quantity. Are you thinking a broad boost maybe around 1 or 2k?
Old 5th June 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
Hmmm. I was thinking it was a matter of quality, not quantity. Are you thinking a broad boost maybe around 1 or 2k?
Well, if you're a follower of Jim Williams, you'd believe that the differences in microphones can be compensated for with EQ. So having a quality EQ and a good set of ears with get you most of the way there.

Not sure I buy in 100%, but he has some valid points.

And, the 184 and 84 use identical capsules, yet sound more different to each other than the 012 and 84.

With all those things in mind, I'd reach for an EQ and see what happens. Personally, although I enjoy the listening and auditioning of mics, I don't get too hung up on whether one mic is the "closest" to the holy grail mic or not. As I've said many times, I like to move fast. In daily use, I'll only swap out mics if I've got a problem that I can't easily and quickly mitigate by moving the mic, changing the instrument, or grabbing outboard (EQ, etc.). I like making music, not parsing the small differences in mics.

Experience has shown me that the holy grail mic is going to be a fail at some point, and that another "substandard" mic is going to rock the world on that source.

With that in mind, I think there's a place for most mics, but knowing which one to choose, and how often it gets chosen is what makes a mic valuable to me.

I'm keeping BOTH my 84's and my 012's. Try your EQ on the sources above. Let us know what your observations are. thumbsupthumbsup
Old 7th June 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Personally, although I enjoy the listening and auditioning of mics, I don't get too hung up on whether one mic is the "closest" to the holy grail mic or not. As I've said many times, I like to move fast. In daily use, I'll only swap out mics if I've got a problem that I can't easily and quickly mitigate by moving the mic, changing the instrument, or grabbing outboard (EQ, etc.). I like making music, not parsing the small differences in mics.

Experience has shown me that the holy grail mic is going to be a fail at some point, and that another "substandard" mic is going to rock the world on that source.

With that in mind, I think there's a place for most mics, but knowing which one to choose, and how often it gets chosen is what makes a mic valuable to me.

thumbsupthumbsup
Excellent post Bill,

You make some very good points reminding us all what is important after all is said and done.

It will probably take me awhile to let these mics grow on me (km84) to learn about their the sound and like you said above how and when to use them best. But that is how I usually find it with all gear.

After doing some drum tracks with KM84 on OH versus using the 184,s for years my initial impression is they are a bit fatter or meatier as I heard it described by someone (I am terrible at assigning words to sounds haha). Plenty of low end and they seem to take eq well. They need more gain than the km184 too, although I had the 10db pads on.

I just need to spend some time with them to learn about the little nuances of these mics...so far I likey!thumbsup
Old 12th June 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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Guitar Zero's Avatar
Dr. Bill,

Thank you for the work to prepare these comparison files. It's all very revealing. I've been using a Joly modded MK-012 for awhile now. A guy gave it to me when I bought his imac. $89 for a mod and it's golden. Your clips give me reassurance that I don't need to go drop a lot of cash for new SDCs.

All of the guitars on our new album linked in my signature were recorded on the Oktava with a Pearlman TM-1. We're pretty happy with the combo.
Old 12th June 2010 | Show parent
  #21
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Kwinn's Avatar
 

@drbill

who did the km184 modification and what was modded?

thanks in advance, Kwinn


(p.s.: thanks for the clips!)
Old 13th June 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitar Zero View Post
Dr. Bill,

Thank you for the work to prepare these comparison files.
You bet! My pleasure. Glad to know you're enjoying your mics. I need to remember every day that it's not the mics, it's the music. There are great options that don't require vintage mics and thousands of $$$. Ii know, completely against the GS manifesto, but hey.....ban me. heh heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwinn View Post
@drbill

who did the km184 modification and what was modded?

thanks in advance, Kwinn


(p.s.: thanks for the clips!)
You're welcome! A friend modded 184 by opening up the venting in the capsule. I don't think there are any component changes in that mic. You can see the mod in the clips below. The 84 is in the middle, the modded 184 in the back and the stock 184 closest to the camera.

To me, it still seems like the vintage 84 has more venting than either of the other mics, although the modded 184 is getting close....

bp
Attached Thumbnails
More Mic Madness - cHapTeR 4 - What's up with KM84's?-184-84.jpg  
Old 24th June 2010 | Show parent
  #23
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drBill's Avatar
Hey Tom!

Now that you've had the 84's for a while, and the 184's longer, any thoughts about them on Drum Overs or Ac. Gtrs?
Old 24th June 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Hey Bill,

visiting the folks in Jersey right now so haven't had any time in the studio. Crap its like 96 degrees today!
I did track some drums right before I left but didn't get much time for a good analysis other than a quick listen. I will be mixing those tracks when I get back and have a big project on tap so I will really get a chance to put them through their paces on drum OH and acoustic.

So far I am liking them on drum OH, the biggest difference from a quick listen between the km184 being the cymbals seem to be smooth and slightly less forward for lack of better terms. Not that the km 184 dont sound good, I just had to be extra careful dealing with the cymbals. KM84 is nice natural sound.

Im gonna be trying it on snare also since I have three now!
Old 24th June 2010 | Show parent
  #25
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Croaker View Post
Im gonna be trying it on snare also since I have three now!

Ha!!! A new member to the "3" club. thumbsupthumbsup Gotta love that.

Looking forward to your thoughts when you have a chance to mix. Post em up! thumbsupthumbsup
Old 8th August 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to set up, record, and share this shoot out and its results. After listening to them all I can hear the huge differences (never expected that as much as I heard) between the 84, 184, and the modded 012. The snare test especially shows the strengths of the 84!

But, I do have to say that there are some aspects of the modded 012 that I actually like a bit more, especially the bigger bottom when hearing the kick drum. But, the 84 has it in droves over all other mics in this shootout, and it has the sweetest, smoothest sound of them all. Apparently, it has the highest output level in general as well!

As a wind player I often wonder what the differences would be recording a few different wind instruments, but everyone seems to play guitar or drums. I haven't found any samples of the 84, 184, mod 012 on saxes, flutes, clarinets, trumpet, etc. That lower midrange bump on the mod 012s could be a deal breaker if it was too overpowering.

Man, those 84s are sweet!

Also, I've wondered how tweaking the impedence on each of these mics/pres would change the sound and/or make them sound closer. I'm not asking for additional sound files or anything like that, but just wondering how much of a difference that makes in the overall sound of these mics. On some mics it seems to make little difference, while others seem to have a curtain lifted when adjusted properly.
Old 8th August 2010 | Show parent
  #27
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paul999's Avatar
 

Thanks for putting the time into this!

I own 2 km84's and none of the other mic's in this thread. I have been thinking of acquiring another km84 mostly for snare duties. In the mean time I've been using an sm-81 on snare and have been happy. Considering everything that happens to a snare in a mix the differences in these mic's become less important to a point. On the other hand the minor differences could easily be argued to make all the difference. The fullness of the snap in the km84 samples are awesome compared to the others IMO.

I have joked that the only mic's that get used in my studio are km84's and sm57's. It is almost not a joke. The directness that the km84 gives an acoustic guitar and the ease with which it accepts eq and compression makes the km84 a monster acoustic mic in my opinion. You can definitely hear the room more in the other clips. This "directness" that the km84 exhibits has, at times, become a weakness for it when recording acoustic guitars when I want more room tone. Moving it back doesn't always do it.

In the grand scheme of things a good producer should be able to get great results with any of these in any of the applications.

I see some complain at the thought that a bit of eq would be needed to make them sound more alike. It is rare that my km84's aren't touched by some eq. Why are we spending so much money on eq's if they are such a bad thing to have to use?
Old 8th August 2010 | Show parent
  #28
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul999 View Post
Why are we spending so much money on eq's if they are such a bad thing to have to use?
So that when you must use them, because you can't get the sound you want from the mics you have, and mic placement, they do as little harm as possible, and maybe even add a beauty of their own.

IME, every layer of processing, whether it be digital or analogue, strips away a bit of you-are-there-ness, that can never be regained, regardless of what you are gaining from that processing. My priority is to get the sound I want with as little additives/subtractives as possible. This attitude is certainly not unanimously shared, but that's what makes the world go round.
Old 9th August 2010 | Show parent
  #29
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paul999's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
IME, every layer of processing, whether it be digital or analogue, strips away a bit of you-are-there-ness, that can never be regained, regardless of what you are gaining from that processing.
Great point and very well put

Thanks
Old 9th August 2010 | Show parent
  #30
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by saxmeister View Post
First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to set up, record, and share this shoot out and its results. After listening to them all I can hear the huge differences (never expected that as much as I heard) between the 84, 184, and the modded 012. The snare test especially shows the strengths of the 84!

But, I do have to say that there are some aspects of the modded 012 that I actually like a bit more, especially the bigger bottom when hearing the kick drum. But, the 84 has it in droves over all other mics in this shootout, and it has the sweetest, smoothest sound of them all. Apparently, it has the highest output level in general as well!

As a wind player I often wonder what the differences would be recording a few different wind instruments, but everyone seems to play guitar or drums. I haven't found any samples of the 84, 184, mod 012 on saxes, flutes, clarinets, trumpet, etc. That lower midrange bump on the mod 012s could be a deal breaker if it was too overpowering.

Man, those 84s are sweet!

Also, I've wondered how tweaking the impedence on each of these mics/pres would change the sound and/or make them sound closer. I'm not asking for additional sound files or anything like that, but just wondering how much of a difference that makes in the overall sound of these mics. On some mics it seems to make little difference, while others seem to have a curtain lifted when adjusted properly.

Saxmeister -

I'd use the 012 on Flute or Oboe and maybe Clar. I'm guessing it would be great on Bassoon. I usually go with Ribbons or LDC's on Saxes.

I prefer the 84 over 012 on drums unless I'm looking for a particular wood-ier sound. If that's prefered, the 012 is really cool. Honestly, it's hard to do better than an 84 on drums.

On Ac Gtrs it's a tossup to me. The 012 is more "modern" sounding, but not as bright as say a 451E/EB. Also, it has a kind of "woody" sound, so..... If you really want wood, I found the MJ modded 219 REALLY cool sometimes.

If you're in the So Cal area, let me know and we'll do some WW shootouts. I'd LOVE it!

bp
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