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Neumann KM 84 / KM 184 SHOOTOUT!!! Condenser Microphones
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 8th February 2013
  #1
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Neumann KM 84 / KM 184 SHOOTOUT!!!

So I recently got my hands on a friend's Neumann KM 84 and decided to do a shootout with my Neumann KM 184. Having completed the test I thought I'd have a little fun and share the results here.

The methodology was as scientific as I could make it. I placed the mics as closely as possible to each other, about 18 inches from the neck joint of my acoustic guitar. Both mics were run through Focusrite ISA One mic preamps.

IMHO, the KM 84 and the KM 184 do sound significantly different, and there are those who have strong opinions about which mic they prefer. In the interest of science, I'm going to keep this a blind test for a little while to see which mic people prefer?

There is a poll in which you can vote your preference. Of course there is no "right" or "wrong" answer. I do ask that you vote before scrolling down and reading other people's comments (I would really like to minimize bias in this poll).
Attached Files

Mic_G_FS_Gtr.wav (1.99 MB, 5363 views)

Mic_Y_FS_Gtr.wav (1.99 MB, 5027 views)

Mic_G_Strummed_Gtr.wav (2.88 MB, 5052 views)

Mic_Y_Strummed_Gtr.wav (2.88 MB, 4824 views)

Old 8th February 2013
  #2
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I did not see the poll, but I will vote Y being the KM84 because it has a little less top end and more bottom. This could be a difference due to placement also...

But they sound quite similar, much more similar than I would have imagined.

Nice playing.

Both are very good.
Old 8th February 2013
  #3
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

To me, the difference in negligible - particularly since we almost always use eq. I think mic position, source and quality of take would be a much, much, much bigger factor than the mic.

Lovely playing BTW

I think Y was my fave.

----
afterthought:

It's funny how we obsess over mics ... then we hi-pass filter them at 150hz and boost 6db at 8K to fit in the mix
Old 8th February 2013
  #4
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BTW, thought I'd post a pic of the two mics used in this test.

Also, the poll will close in 14 days at which point I will reveal the answer. I figure that will give everyone plenty of time to cast their votes!
Attached Thumbnails
Neumann KM 84 / KM 184 SHOOTOUT!!!-km84_-_km184.jpg  
Old 8th February 2013
  #5
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

I too was surprised at how similar they were, especially on the FS. I happily use 184's on guitar all the time, if I'm going SDC. I preferred Y, but either works great.

-R
Old 8th February 2013
  #6
Gear interested
I too am inclined to think that Y is the 184.

Hard to pick a favourite. It's well-established that a little extra top end pleases many ears, and to me the 184 sounds a bit more flattering for this particular recording.

Nice shootout!
Old 8th February 2013
  #7
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drBill's Avatar
Old 8th February 2013
  #8
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Mic Y sounds like my KM84s. Personally I'm not a hater of 184s. I do think there's a difference that in some cases can be important, but I'd like to have a pair of 184s at some point too. My KM84s were some of the first higher end mics I got, and I remember the first time I switched out my cheaper SDCs for the KM84s on overheads and my jaw dropped.
Old 8th February 2013
  #9
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
In my actual uses, I've found them fairly different. For more info on the matter and perhaps a broader perspective....


More Mic Madness - cHapTeR 4 - What's up with KM84's?


Hey Bill,

I didn't know you had posted that thread. Just downloaded the KM 84 / KM 184 acoustic guitar comparison files. Great work. (plus it was a good way to kill some time today as the the Northeast is experiencing the Blizzard of 2013 as I type this!).

Anyway, thanks for posting the link! A "broader perspective" indeed! I think your thread is more comprehensive and (given that you audition each mic on multiple sources) probably more useful. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to further educate their ears on this topic.

M
Old 9th February 2013
  #10
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Thread Starter
Bump
Old 9th February 2013
  #11
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
Hey Bill,

I didn't know you had posted that thread. Just downloaded the KM 84 / KM 184 acoustic guitar comparison files. Great work. (plus it was a good way to kill some time today as the the Northeast is experiencing the Blizzard of 2013 as I type this!).

Anyway, thanks for posting the link! A "broader perspective" indeed! I think your thread is more comprehensive and (given that you audition each mic on multiple sources) probably more useful. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to further educate their ears on this topic.

M
Thanks man, glad you found it useful. The mic madness threads combined are up and well over 250,000 page views now. I've received lots of nice PM's and emails from those who have found them useful. Hope you survive the blizzard... heh It's nice and sunny here today, but we just had a storm blow thru, cold here. Maybe only up into the low 60's today.....

I would also like to add that anyone going to that thread that finds it useful, please leave your thoughts on that thread. It becomes a useful repository of observations on those mics.

PS - I think I'll link this thread to that one. Good resources.....
Old 9th February 2013
  #12
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zvenx's Avatar
 

I preferred Y in finger picking and G for strumming.......

rsp
Old 9th February 2013
  #13
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Stu Gutz's Avatar
 

Preferred both Y's. Softer and richer to my ears, and my guess the 84s.
Old 9th February 2013
  #14
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monkeyxx's Avatar
I like both of them. Y sounds like the KM84 to me, a little brassier. G sounds like the KM184 to me a little more softened. Listening on cheap computer speakers. I own a KM184 I'd love to make it a pair. Great mics.
Old 9th February 2013
  #15
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antichef's Avatar
I like Y better on both FS and strummed, but they're both great and either might be better in a particular mix. I don't have enough experience with either type of mic to make an educated guess, but based on learning what I could about them, I'd guess Y was the KM84
Old 10th February 2013
  #16
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Aisle 6's Avatar
The "G" has slightly more depth to the sound. I pick it as the 84. I do feel a little out there on my own though. : P

Thanks for posting guitarmax.
Old 14th February 2013
  #17
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The finger style guitar files have over a hundred views, but there are only a total of 18 votes in the poll! Common folks, we can do better than that. Remember, there is no "wrong" answer here! The name of the game isn't "pick the km84" - just vote for the one you prefer!
Old 14th February 2013
  #18
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Prefer G on the strum and think it is the 84, but prefer Y on the finger style. The top end works with the articulation, but sounds strident on the strum.
Old 14th February 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wxyz View Post
Prefer G on the strum and think it is the 84, but prefer Y on the finger style. The top end works with the articulation, but sounds strident on the strum.
I prefer the opposite for the same reasons. G sounds like it has more top end and less rich mids. 184 on finger style and 84 on strum. That's my guess at least. Can't vote since preference changes based on style.
Old 14th February 2013
  #20
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I also like qualities of both. In the fingerpicking samples, the overall tone of Y, the transient response of G.
Old 14th February 2013
  #21
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jnorman's Avatar
wow - after all the km184 bashing i have read on these forums, and all the lavish praise (and truly ridiculous prices) for km84s, it is very interesting to read these comments...
Old 14th February 2013
  #22
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skinnypete's Avatar
 

Subscribed.

Sent from my Droid
Old 14th February 2013
  #23
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bigbone's Avatar
 

I like Y ,but can use both.
Old 14th February 2013
  #24
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
wow - after all the km184 bashing i have read on these forums, and all the lavish praise (and truly ridiculous prices) for km84s, it is very interesting to read these comments...
While the clips may belie the differences, in use, they are significant IMO. The 184 may not deserve the bashing, but the 84 definitely deserves the praise.
Old 14th February 2013
  #25
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useme2305's Avatar
 

definitely liked Y more.

i hope Y is the 184 because i'm in the market for a pair of SDCs. i doubt it tho.
Old 15th February 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
While the clips may belie the differences, in use, they are significant IMO. The 184 may not deserve the bashing, but the 84 definitely deserves the praise.
I think you've summed it up pretty well. I have no problem with either of these mics. I will comment more about which I prefer (and why) after the poll closes.
Old 15th February 2013
  #27
Gear maniac
 

Without looking at poll results or other peoples' opinions I decided that I like Y more due to the softer top end (to my ears). They are both great though. If Y is the KM184 I will have to get a pair.
Old 15th February 2013
  #28
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Labs's Avatar
 

I say Y.

Tonal balance doesn't seem all that different to me (different enough to matter) - transients seem a little faster on the Y, whatever the hell that means.

Shut up brain.

Gustav
_______
Build your own gear
Old 16th February 2013
  #29
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarmax_99 View Post
The finger style guitar files have over a hundred views, but there are only a total of 18 votes in the poll! Common folks, we can do better than that. Remember, there is no "wrong" answer here! The name of the game isn't "pick the km84" - just vote for the one you prefer!
It's a flawed poll. I choose "I prefer both, or either one, or different ones on strumming or picking"
Old 16th February 2013
  #30
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
It's a flawed poll. I choose "I prefer both, or either one, or different ones on strumming or picking"
Great point. I suppose the purpose of this thread is ultimately to add to the existing information about these two mics. I believe it will accomplish this goal. But in retrospect, maybe I should have included a third option ("like 'em both").
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