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Neumann KM 84 / KM 184 SHOOTOUT!!!
View Poll Results: Which mic do you prefer?
Mic G
5 Votes - 11.36%
Mic Y
39 Votes - 88.64%
Voters: 44. You may not vote on this poll

Old 16th February 2013
  #31
Here for the gear
 

I have used both models and like both. That said, I prefer Y on both FS and Strummed clips as it has a fuller / richer tone and think Y is the KM84.
Old 16th February 2013
  #32
Gear Head
 

From the strumming clips I prefer Y. Finger style on the other hand I can't say which I like more.
I've only used the KM184 and can't tell which is which from these clips.
Old 16th February 2013
  #33
To the original poster, thanks for doing the shootout and nice playing BTW. I didn't actually like either of those mics, but then again I'm not a fan of SDC on acoustic guitars especially to digital.
Old 16th February 2013 | Show parent
  #34
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip S Bova View Post
To the original poster, thanks for doing the shootout and nice playing BTW. I didn't actually like either of those mics, but then again I'm not a fan of SDC on acoustic guitars especially to digital.
All righty, then.
Old 16th February 2013 | Show parent
  #35
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip S Bova View Post
I'm not a fan of SDC on acoustic guitars especially to digital.
These days, I've moved away from KM84's to Ribbon mics on Acoustics about 80% of the time. But there are times an Ac needs to cut in a dense track, and for that, the KM84 is a great choice.
Old 16th February 2013 | Show parent
  #36
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
These days, I've moved away from KM84's to Ribbon mics on Acoustics about 80% of the time. But there are times an Ac needs to cut in a dense track, and for that, the KM84 is a great choice.
Which ribbons? I've tried the rear of an R-121 on my Martin, and while other people think those clips of mine sound great, I find them to be way too dark.
Old 16th February 2013 | Show parent
  #37
Lives for gear
I prefer the 84.
Old 16th February 2013 | Show parent
  #38
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melodeath View Post
Which ribbons? I've tried the rear of an R-121 on my Martin, and while other people think those clips of mine sound great, I find them to be way too dark.
I use the Joly modded 205's. Long ribbon / Short path. Yes they (ribbons) are dark, no doubt, but in comparison to even a KM84 (which I would consider at least neutral to darkish) they are more "natural" sounding without any of the condenser "zing" that can become so annoying. Add to the fact that the MJ205 is like a huge moldable piece of clay, and I can get what I need pretty easily with EQ and it's a no brainer.

If you need attack, aggression, and cut, you are better off staying with a condenser. I'm in a long series of Americana roots music and the Ribbon is where it's at.
Old 18th February 2013 | Show parent
  #39
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I use the Joly modded 205's. Long ribbon / Short path. Yes they (ribbons) are dark, no doubt, but in comparison to even a KM84 (which I would consider at least neutral to darkish) they are more "natural" sounding without any of the condenser "zing" that can become so annoying. Add to the fact that the MJ205 is like a huge moldable piece of clay, and I can get what I need pretty easily with EQ and it's a no brainer.

If you need attack, aggression, and cut, you are better off staying with a condenser. I'm in a long series of Americana roots music and the Ribbon is where it's at.
Hey Bill. I'm assuming the acoustic guitar tracks you are recording with ribbon mics are ultimately part of a mix. Just curious what you would use if you were recording solo acoustic guitar (sort of along the lines of the Fingerstyle Track in this shootout? Would you go with a ribbon or a condenser?
Old 18th February 2013 | Show parent
  #40
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
Hey Bill. I'm assuming the acoustic guitar tracks you are recording with ribbon mics are ultimately part of a mix. Just curious what you would use if you were recording solo acoustic guitar (sort of along the lines of the Fingerstyle Track in this shootout? Would you go with a ribbon or a condenser?
I could use the 84, but I would certainly shy away from the 184 unless I was pretty far back - wanting a lot of room, and even then, I'd probably use the ribbon. The ribbon has a wonderfully warm tone, and is very sculptable (is that a word?heh) on the high end with EQ. A very natural and un-affected sound that is more easily shaped than a condenser.

When recording ac guitars these days I usually have the MJ205 and an KM84 up as the starting point, with the DAW audio track set to hear the ribbon first. It stays that way about 60-70% of the time - only changing out when I feel the need for detail (which Digital has too much of IMO) or cut. Then the 84 is up to bat....

The more I record, the less I use condensers. It's a modern phenomenon I think. Even a 421 can be an awesome Ac Gt mic. Especially on nylon strings. I about dropped out of my chair when at a clients house, all I had was a TLM103 or a 421 to record a nice dry sounding nylon string. What choice did I have??? I of course chose the 421. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL sound that day....

[EDIT] Except for drums. These days I'm using less and less dynamics and more and more condensers. Weird huh? heh heh

[EDIT2} I really like the LONG ribbons for Ac Gt. The short ribbons like Fatheads not so much.
Old 18th February 2013 | Show parent
  #41
Lives for gear
 
jmikeperkins's Avatar
It's important to remember the KM84 and KM184 DO have the same capsule under the hood even though the side vents are different (the KM 84 has three vents and the KM 184 has two) and you can't mount the capsule assembly of one on the other. Of course the electronics are different but about 70% of the sound of a mic is the capsule. This capsule (also used in the KM64 and KM74 mics) is a proven classic design. No matter which sample you prefer, it should be clear the KM184 does not suck despite what you may have heard from others on this forum. It's just a little different. It's kind of like the opinions you hear about the M149, which is a great mic, but some people bash it because it is not a clone of an M49 and anything different is not acceptable. Neumann's attitude is hey, we are still using our classic capsules that we have made for decades now, so shut up about us not respecting our heritage.

I have a pair of KM184 mics. I have found the KM184 mics to be great drum overheads for live remote recording. Their small size and light weight is a big plus on the end of a long stand. Some people may be afraid to put the KM184 in a live situation but they are really pretty tough mics and I have yet to break one.
Old 18th February 2013 | Show parent
  #42
Lives for gear
 
guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I could use the 84, but I would certainly shy away from the 184 unless I was pretty far back
Is this difference between the 84 and 184 due to their respective proximity effects? Have you noticed a difference in their proximity effects? Or am I misunderstanding your statement?
Old 18th February 2013
  #43
Gear Nut
 
Songwriter's Avatar
 

For both styles, I prefer the Y, which I think is the KM84 due to the more woody, heavy and less trebly character. Both fingerpicking tracks sound great though, nice playing

The strumming sounds a little telephoney with the G. Might sound good in a mix?

I had a shootout for myself with these and a few other SDC mics recently, and found the KM84 quite woody, middely and 2D sounding on my acoustic (Gibson dreadnought), and the KM184 a little more airy, light, plasticlike and 3D. I think I tended toward the 184 on my guitar, but for yours, it seems that the KM84 sounds better (if I guessed right). You have a smaller bodied guitar, like an "auditorium" model or something?
Old 18th February 2013 | Show parent
  #44
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
Is this difference between the 84 and 184 due to their respective proximity effects? Have you noticed a difference in their proximity effects? Or am I misunderstanding your statement?
I'm speaking from the perspective that if I'm micing from a significant distance - 6' or more away from the source, I might want a more pronounced high end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Songwriter View Post
I had a shootout for myself with these and a few other SDC mics recently, and found the KM84 quite woody, middely and 2D sounding on my acoustic (Gibson dreadnought), and the KM184 a little more airy, light, plasticlike and 3D. I think I tended toward the 184 on my guitar, but for yours, it seems that the KM84 sounds better (if I guessed right). You have a smaller bodied guitar, like an "auditorium" model or something?
Source makes all the difference in the world. On steel string, I'm generally recording an old 000-18 (a small thin bodies Martin that I love) that's strung very light, and the KM84 is significantly more pleasant on that guitar.
Old 19th February 2013 | Show parent
  #45
Lives for gear
 
guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Songwriter View Post
For both styles, I prefer the Y, which I think is the KM84 due to the more woody, heavy and less trebly character. Both fingerpicking tracks sound great though, nice playing

The strumming sounds a little telephoney with the G. Might sound good in a mix?

I had a shootout for myself with these and a few other SDC mics recently, and found the KM84 quite woody, middely and 2D sounding on my acoustic (Gibson dreadnought), and the KM184 a little more airy, light, plasticlike and 3D. I think I tended toward the 184 on my guitar, but for yours, it seems that the KM84 sounds better (if I guessed right). You have a smaller bodied guitar, like an "auditorium" model or something?
This was recorded on a Larrivee OM-03, which is an orchestra model. I'm a big fan of smaller bodied guitars in the studio. They are far less boomy, and I find the bass much more focused (hence easier to record).
Old 19th February 2013 | Show parent
  #46
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
I'm a big fan of smaller bodied guitars in the studio.
Old 20th February 2013
  #47
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
I prefer G on the finger style. I think it is the KM 184.
Old 22nd February 2013
  #48
Gear Head
 

I've made an ABX comparison, and in 8 out of 9 trials could make a distinction between the two. Which leaves a 2% probability of random guessing.
I haven't used neither mic, but I like the Y better for its enhanced low end, so my guess it that this is the KM84. Also it sounds a bit better balanced in the high-midrange. Overall, both are definitely useable, so if I'd have to decide between the 2 based on this shootout, I'd go for KM184, simply because of the price.
Old 22nd February 2013
  #49
Gear Head
 

btw I'm not crazy about the overall sound in both cases, I'd say it was too close and sounds a bit harsh because of that...
Old 22nd February 2013
  #50
Lives for gear
 
guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

The Poll Is Closed. So which mic was which?

The votes are in. I'm betting many of you are wondering which mic is which.

However, before skipping ahead to read the answer I want to advise taking this particular shootout with a grain of salt. I did this test as methodically as I could, but I'm concerned about the mics in question - specifically that this particular KM 84 may not be a typical specimen. I only mention this because some very respected and experienced engineers (who have more experience using these two models than I do) have questioned the results. In this particular shootout Mic "G" is the KM 84, and mic "Y" is the KM 184.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, if you are interested in this topic (and want to further educate your ears about the differences between these two Neumann SDC's), then I would recommend the shootout thread below (conducted and provided so generously by Dr. Bill).

More Mic Madness - cHapTeR 4 - What's up with KM84's?
Old 22nd February 2013
  #51
Lives for gear
 

Surprising, as the G is most definitely brighter than Y, yet the 184 is under normal circumstances brighter than the 84.

In any case, I've attached a screencap of the voting results for posterity. Taking bets on how long until G to overtakes Y in the poll now that the results have been revealed!
Attached Thumbnails
Neumann KM 84 / KM 184 SHOOTOUT!!!-mic_poll.jpg  
Old 22nd February 2013 | Show parent
  #52
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2pulse View Post
Surprising, as the G is most definitely brighter than Y, yet the 184 is under normal circumstances brighter than the 84.
If the 84 is brighter than the 184, then one or both of the mics are broken or not placed the same. This opinion is not from the clips, but from actually using and placing both mics.....
Old 22nd February 2013 | Show parent
  #53
Lives for gear
 
guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2pulse View Post
Surprising, as the G is most definitely brighter than Y, yet the 184 is under normal circumstances brighter than the 84.
I too was pretty surprised by this as everything I've ever heard about these mics has the 184 being brighter than the 84. I even thought I had messed up my test and switched (accidentally misnaming them). To make sure hadn't done this, I went back and set up the mics AGAIN, just to make sure of what I was hearing. I hadn't misheard.

Of course we are not being incredibly scientific when we use descriptives like "bright" when assessing the frequency response of a microphone? What exactly does "bright" mean? It might be good to define exactly which frequencies are the "bright" frequencies, lest we end up taking about different things. Personally, I consider the "bright" frequencies to be in the 6.5 - 10 k range. Above that you start getting into the realm of "Air" (IMHO). Any other opinions on this topic are welcome. How does that song go? Let's Get Metaphysical?

One more note in regard to the 84/184 - the dead giveaway is the noise floor. You have to listen closely, but the 184 is slightly quieter than the 84 (this is most noticeable on the harmonics at the end of the finger style guitar clip).
Old 22nd February 2013 | Show parent
  #54
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
I too was pretty surprised by this as everything I've ever heard about these mics has the 184 being brighter than the 84.
But the 184 IS brighter than an 84. Whether one likes it or not is beside the point. Whether your particular mics conform to the norm is beside the point. The reality is - the 184 is decidedly brighter than an 84. If yours are not, the question would be why. This has been backed up over and over by people who own and use the mics daily.
Old 23rd February 2013 | Show parent
  #55
Lives for gear
 
guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
But the 184 IS brighter than an 84. Whether one likes it or not is beside the point. Whether your particular mics conform to the norm is beside the point. The reality is - the 184 is decidedly brighter than an 84. If yours are not, the question would be why. This has been backed up over and over by people who own and use the mics daily.

Hence my surprise.
Old 23rd February 2013
  #56
Lives for gear
 
che_guitarra's Avatar
 

First things first - it's lovely guitar playing. The first pair of clips are very Tommy Emmanuel-esque.

I'm well aware of the legend status of the KM84, but poll results aside, my ears are telling me Y is yielding the more musical results too. Another vote for the 184.
Old 26th February 2013 | Show parent
  #57
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
The votes are in. I'm betting many of you are wondering which mic is which.

However, before skipping ahead to read the answer I want to advise taking this particular shootout with a grain of salt. I did this test as methodically as I could, but I'm concerned about the mics in question - specifically that this particular KM 84 may not be a typical specimen. I only mention this because some very respected and experienced engineers (who have more experience using these two models than I do) have questioned the results. In this particular shootout Mic "G" is the KM 84, and mic "Y" is the KM 184.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, if you are interested in this topic (and want to further educate your ears about the differences between these two Neumann SDC's), then I would recommend the shootout thread below (conducted and provided so generously by Dr. Bill).

More Mic Madness - cHapTeR 4 - What's up with KM84's?
As I thought. Nice playing.
Old 27th February 2013
  #58
Gear Addict
 
chazmar's Avatar
I like liked Y better ..warmer...smoother. Late for the survey but it gets my vote. I have matched pair of 184's so it makes me all the happier with the results. Thanks for the shootout!
Old 27th February 2013 | Show parent
  #59
Great job. I loved the fingerstyle playing.

I have used both of these mics a lot and was surprised at the results, but at the same time I actually prefer the 184 in most situations nowadays. It just seems more mix ready for the things I am working on, whereas when I was using an 84 I found myself using more EQ in the mix.

Both excellent mics.
Old 28th February 2013
  #60
It makes no sense to vote for which one is better. It completely depends on context, for which there is none here (or in most of these shootouts). For a solo guitar performance, I liked Y better, but how many of us are employed to record a solo acoustic performance? In a mix, who knows...could be either one, it all depends. The fingerstyle performance is really nice btw.
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