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Vocal Mic Shootout - New Rode NT1, U87, TLM 103, TLM 127, C414
Old 27th February 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Cool Vocal Mic Shootout - New Rode NT1, U87, TLM 103, TLM 127, C414

I have just added two rode NT1 to my microphone collection... and added one to my mic shootout for a Jazz singer. Not my first choice in the end... but the distance to the other microphones doesn't seem too big, regarding the price... What do you think, which would you prefer? The files are normalized, I've added a little bit of reverb.

Here is another shootout with classical singers against Neumann KM 184 ...
Attached Files

U87.wav (6.89 MB, 11974 views)

TLM127.wav (6.89 MB, 9925 views)

TLM103.wav (6.89 MB, 10580 views)

NT1.wav (6.89 MB, 11343 views)

C414.wav (6.89 MB, 10747 views)

Old 28th February 2014
  #2
Gear Nut
 
ryanwilsonfive's Avatar
 

Thanks for shoot-out. Just curious, which versions of the U87 and C 414 did you use?
Old 1st March 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 

I listened to these blind, here are my notes as I listened to the clips in sequence:

C414 - great detail, depth. "wet", sounds good.
NT1 - more upper mids, dry, up front. less detail than (C414).
U87 - between 1 and 2 in character. nice balance. pleasant.
TLM103 - sounds 2d, in your face, has an edge i don't like in the highs.
TLM127 - like (U87), well balanced
Old 6th March 2014
  #4
I would order them like this with the first one being my favourite.

C414 - Full sounding with much details and nice highs
U87 - I liked this almost as much as the C414. A bit smoother with pleasant highs but can be a tiny bit nasal.
TLM127 - Very well balanced, but I didn't find it very attractive for some reason. It didn't stand out in any way.
TLM103 - The highs are uncomfortable but otherwise it sounds good.
NT1 - This stood out as the cheapest sounding. Less details and smudgy highs. Don't like it at all.

I had a hard time choosing between the C414 and the U87 because I like them both. But I think I do like the C414 a little bit more and given the price difference it's a no-brainer to pick between the two.
It would have been interesting to throw the TLM102 in the mix as well!

Like I said I really didn't care for the NT1s, I'm sure they work well for things were quality isn't that important but I would hesitate to use them on something like vocals.

Very nice voice and singing by the way!
Old 8th March 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 
oceantracks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanwilsonfive View Post
Thanks for shoot-out. Just curious, which versions of the U87 and C 414 did you use?
Yes...BUMP on this question....
Old 8th March 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
 

The C414 or U87 for me...but not suprised.
Old 8th March 2014
  #7
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclerico12 View Post
The C414 or U87 for me...but not suprised.
Me too no question
Old 10th March 2014
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanwilsonfive View Post
Thanks for shoot-out. Just curious, which versions of the U87 and C 414 did you use?
... It was a U87ai Anniversary edition and a C414XLS.

Thanks for all your tips. Quite interesting for me - I would chose the TLM103 (which I normally don't like so much, often sounds aggressive to me ...) or the U87. I will listen to the C414 again.

@passionflower: did you listen to my other post? I didn't find a difference between the NT1 and the KM184 here ... I wouldn't choose it for the close-miked singer, but I don't think it sounds cheap
Old 10th March 2014
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by stereo78 View Post
@passionflower: did you listen to my other post? I didn't find a difference between the NT1 and the KM184 here ... I wouldn't choose it for the close-miked singer, but I don't think it sounds cheap
Cheap was perhaps not the best word to use here. It's all relative to the mics that are being compared. It does have some qualities in the high end that makes it sound less polished than the other ones, and I think that even as a causal listener it could be fatiguing on the main vocal. I did do a blind test myself just to make sure it wasn't placebo, but the results were the same.
It's certainly a lot of mic for the money anyway. And to use the word "cheap" was probably a bit unfair of me. It's all relative.

I'm honestly not sure if I like any of the two on the soprano vocalist. On the dry recordings I think I prefer the NT1 because it sounds a bit more open. But when I'm listening to it with the room mics blended in I'm leaning towards the KM184 since it's a bit more polished and smooth.
Old 24th August 2014
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
vientos00's Avatar
 

I just bought the new Nt1 and i feel the need to chime in here. I have been on the hunt for a vocal mic for myself and its great to finally hear these mics on a voice that is similar to mine. For the last 5 years i have bought tube mic after tube mic. First the Pearlman tm 1, then the stellar cm 5 and cm 6. I finally realized that "That old vintage mic sound" that everyone obsesses for, just does not suit my voice. Way too dark and wooly. I felt that i would be faking my voice when ever i sang into the Pearlman and the Cm 5. The Cm 6 was a little nicer on the top end, but it still did not suit my voice well. Anyway i fired up the new Rode last night, even after being very hesitant of buying it thinking to myself "Cmon really? how good can a Rode really sound?" And i have to say that i was both humbled and impressed at the same time. My voice sounded true to life. I didn't have to fake it or over eq the signal, it just sounded right to me, not only on the playback but also as i was singing. And that is a big deal to me. It has already made my workflow 10 times faster on my own projects. After hearing this shootout throughout my apogee Duet 2 and Yamaha hs'5's, i have to say that i can hear a subtle difference in these mic's, but not miles and miles apart. The differences are subtle. To say that the Rode sounds "cheap" is in my opinion is an exaggeration. Im not saying that it has the top end of the C414 or even the mid range of the U87, but it does not sound bad at all on the singer in this shootout. I have bills to pay, responsibilities and what not. And i am glad that i did not shell out $2000 to $3000 on a U87 or even $1000 for a new C414 when this new Rode mic sounds almost as good. A little fizzy in the high-mids, but just a little. It sounds great on my voice. I hear that Michael Jolly already has a mod for this mic where he puts in the K47 capsule and makes it sound more like a U87. Maybe one day, but for now i think it sounds great. Open,clear and full at the same time, but not Wolly or Dark sounding. To me it actually sounds like it has more Body that the Tlm 103 , but still manages to be clear and open. I don't mean to offend anyone on here, just speaking from experience. For $246, this mic is a no brainer.
Old 12th September 2014
  #11
Gear Head
 

OK so three new audio files here:

(NT1process file):
NT1 processed to match the u87. Really close.

(NT1processCOMP and U87COMP files):
Then I put both the u87 track and the new NT1 processed track through the same compressor...and it's insanely close, check it out.

Btw, thanks for posting this comparison OP
Attached Files

NT1process.wav (6.89 MB, 7623 views)

NT1processCOMP.wav (6.89 MB, 7901 views)

U87COMP.wav (6.89 MB, 7998 views)

Old 14th September 2014
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Update, if someone is interested. I finally found a new vocal mic which adds a nice color, after testing several tube models, the TAB Funkenwerk UM-25. Two live recordings on stage, only low-cuts used for the vocals.
Attached Files

UM25-M.wav (5.24 MB, 7432 views)

UM25-Fem.wav (5.53 MB, 7268 views)

Old 23rd September 2014
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
vientos00's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drkoosh View Post
OK so three new audio files here:

(NT1process file):
NT1 processed to match the u87. Really close.

(NT1processCOMP and U87COMP files):
Then I put both the u87 track and the new NT1 processed track through the same compressor...and it's insanely close, check it out.

Btw, thanks for posting this comparison OP
Im curious as to exactly what processing was done to match the U87, i would like to try this with my new Nt 1. Any tips would be great
Old 10th November 2014
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Excellent shootout! Thanks for sharing!
Old 12th November 2014
  #15
the new NT1 sounds great for the price
Old 6th December 2014
  #16
Gear Head
 

excellent man, love very much this shootout! thanks for sharing!
the tlm103 is the one with the most uncomfortable highs..

Tried to alter the nt1 file eq-wise with the settings from the 87 and the c414 to see how the nt1 performs in terms of resolution, detail...

to my ears the nt1 performs really well against the 87 and c414 with the little
eq adjusting.

but have a listen and judge for yourself.
Attached Files

nt1-87 match.wav (6.80 MB, 7298 views)

nt1-akgc414xls match.wav (6.80 MB, 7062 views)

Old 27th December 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
 

I will throw my 2 cents in. I have the new nt1 mic. I had a u87 at the same time. the new nt1 sounded great for vocal use. Clear, flat (which is great), and full. for th 269 I paid it was wel worth it. sold the u87 and use the nt1 and nobody has complained on quality. I too like one poster said chased tube mics, vintage mics/pres. I bought the pearlman, which sounded a bit wooly, too saturated and just dark. It was a great mic on my girlfriends voice, but on mine i didnt like it, although it did not sound bad just not the tone i was looking for. I think the nt1 sounds best with clean preamps. I recently sold my a-designs p1 and now using my focusrite interface preamps and i love the sound and clarity of my voice with this combo over the p1. I just think i am not the one for vintage, tube, saturation anymore. If you want clarity, clean, no character and just a true to the source mic the nt1 is great for the price. the akg c414 is great also, i used to own one, but like a dumb ass sold it to try some tube mics. :(
Old 6th June 2019
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drkoosh View Post
OK so three new audio files here:

(NT1process file):
NT1 processed to match the u87. Really close.

(NT1processCOMP and U87COMP files):
Then I put both the u87 track and the new NT1 processed track through the same compressor...and it's insanely close, check it out.

Btw, thanks for posting this comparison OP
Cool! Can you detail the process you made? I really would like to copy that as a standard preset
Old 5 days ago
  #19
Gear Addict
 

In my shootout I absolutely can't tell the difference between the NT1 and the AKG c414. Can you? talking about upper mids and what not... they both sound equally good to my ears.
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