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Microtech Gefell CMV-563
Old 24th August 2016
  #1
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Microtech Gefell CMV-563

I want to share my recent experience of looking for a new high end ldc vocal mic for my studio. I have several very nice ldcs already, including a TLM-170, U-87ai, AT 4060. I also have a client who owns a vintage U-47 that had spoiled me a bit and that mic probably started me on the quest.

Anyway, I went to listen to mics at Vintage King LA (Chris Bolitho is my contact there) along with a very good engineer friend of mine with ears I trust. We listened to two mics at a time, in phones and through speakers, using the same mic pre (Millenia I believe) for each mic. I also was able to bring along my client's U-47.

I had arrived thinking I would prefer a U-47 clone, so we started listening to those. They didn't sound much like the U-47 I had been listening to - or like the U-47s my engineer friend owned. We selected the best of these clones and carried on. The MG UM-900 was matched against the fave of the clones and it was preferred by both of us. A very impressive mic. We then hooked up my client's vintage U-47 and it was clearly superior to everything we had heard so far.

So, I asked Chris if he had anything else we could listen to. After digging through the computer inventory he found a MG CMV-563. The mic was located and set up to be compared with the U-47.

My engineer friend spoke into the mic first and immediately said "WOW!". I had the same reaction - and after a quick lunch up the street came back and ordered the mic.

I had sessions I wanted to use the mic on coming up rather soon and the new mic wouldn't be there in time, so VK Nashville agreed to loan me their demo mic for a few days. The mic was used in tracking the lead singer in a live acoustic band, backing vocal overdubs and fiddle and guitar overdubs. In all cases, the mic performed beyond my expectations - vocals were spectacular, overdubs as well.

I want to be clear that the CMV doesn't sound exactly like the vintage U-47 but it has the characteristics that I wanted - a big smooth sound, slightly compressed by the tube, with a presence peak that is very flattering. It also has a rather wide pattern with a *wildness* to the sound that I love. The CMV isn't as tightly corrected as most modern mics are, so it's more like a vintage Martin than a modern Taylor as an example. I have since used it to prepare for a live gig, playing acoustic guitar and singing into the CMV. The sound is inspiring to sing into, simply a joy.

I would encourage anyone looking at $5k microphones to give this mic a listen.

Thanks to Chris at VKLA for finding this mic for me.

Best...H
Old 24th August 2016
  #2
Gear Addict
 

A well-told and useful story. Thanks for sharing this.

I like the analogy of an old Martin to a new Taylor--surprisingly helpful (as someone with a vested interest in such instruments).

I don't suppose you had a chance to try either the M990 or U/M92.1S in your tests did you? I was recently asking for opinions on how those fare against the CMV you bought.
Old 24th August 2016
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieter k View Post
A well-told and useful story. Thanks for sharing this.

I like the analogy of an old Martin to a new Taylor--surprisingly helpful (as someone with a vested interest in such instruments).

I don't suppose you had a chance to try either the M990 or U/M92.1S in your tests did you? I was recently asking for opinions on how those fare against the CMV you bought.
I didn't get to try either of those mics, I don't believe they had a demo on hand. One thing I have learned from this process is that it is important to actually hear the mics before buying!

Best...H
Old 24th August 2016
  #4
Did you try Flea?
Old 24th August 2016
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logichead View Post
I didn't get to try either of those mics, I don't believe they had a demo on hand. One thing I have learned from this process is that it is important to actually hear the mics before buying!
Which folds back on your first point: there has to be a way to actually demo what you want to hear.

That is the perennial problem it seems. Nobody has everything you want to try in stock.
Old 25th August 2016
  #6
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Drumsound's Avatar
I have a vintage CMV563 and it is lovely, interesting and (to use logichead's term) a little wild. I find it often sounds kind of off in solo, but they way a vocal sits in the mix with the mix is super cool (when its the right voice, or desired tone).
Old 25th August 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyglover View Post
Did you try Flea?
I listened to every mic VKLA had available in their audition room that was close to the $5k price point. I'm a little squeamish about identifying which mics I heard and passed on because my ears are not absolute references - what I like is not necessarily what anyone else will like. I also want to encourage folks to go through the process of auditioning.

I will say I listened to over $60k worth of mics!

Best....H
Old 25th August 2016
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I have a vintage CMV563 and it is lovely, interesting and (to use logichead's term) a little wild. I find it often sounds kind of off in solo, but they way a vocal sits in the mix with the mix is super cool (when its the right voice, or desired tone).
I would be curious to hear the vintage CMV alongside the new one. I have seen the vintage ones available for less than the reissue.

Best....H
Old 25th August 2016
  #9
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by logichead View Post
I would be curious to hear the vintage CMV alongside the new one. I have seen the vintage ones available for less than the reissue.

Best....H
Come out to Illinois and lets shoot 'em out!
Old 25th August 2016
  #10
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I have a new one : i will say on some sources it shows definite quality and on others it doesn't work - if you are looking for a mic that "does it all" it's not the one but if it suits your voice, it really works. personally, I would like it to have a bit more HF.
As usual, you need to hear before you buy as Logichead did.
Cheers, Ross
Old 25th August 2016
  #11
The new Microtech Gefell CMV-563 is one of the best microphones I have ever heard.

Congrats!

Top flight option here at this shop.

peace
a.j.b
Old 25th August 2016
  #12
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matucha's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddirt View Post
I have a new one : i will say on some sources it shows definite quality and on others it doesn't work - if you are looking for a mic that "does it all" it's not the one but if it suits your voice, it really works. personally, I would like it to have a bit more HF.
As usual, you need to hear before you buy as Logichead did.
Cheers, Ross
That fits how I see the old one too. On many occasions it's just about perfect for rich and saturated midrange. What I don't like if there is too much proximity effect that you don't want in the mix. It's somehow harder to get rid off than with other mics.
Sometimes it doesn't work at all, in my case it's mostly female vocals.
Old 25th August 2016
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matucha View Post
That fits how I see the old one too. On many occasions it's just about perfect for rich and saturated midrange. What I don't like if there is too much proximity effect that you don't want in the mix. It's somehow harder to get rid off than with other mics.
Sometimes it doesn't work at all, in my case it's mostly female vocals.
Agree with you on proximity effect.

I used the mic on the singer for a young acoustic music band; she sounded great through it, although when I had her move in to the mic for a take the tone changed considerably - heavier, less airy and less 3d. We went back to having the mic above her so the capsule was about 6-8 inches away, just above her nose, angled slightly down.

We did get some saturation when she really let go and stayed close to the mic, but it was very pleasant - similar to most vintage tube mics. I was able to use the 251 at Neil Finn's studio in Aukland and it had the same sort of saturation when the singer got very loud.

To me, this makes the mic more of an instrument than a transparent mic. It's kind of like using a Marshall amp vs a Fender, much more subtle of course but the buildup can be a problem. I used an Elam 48 on a backing vocal session that sounded wonderful on each track - but the buildup of saturation over dozens of tracks became an issue at mix.

Best....H
Old 25th August 2016
  #14
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SoundEng1's Avatar
Have one here, absolutely in love with this mic.
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Microtech Gefell CMV-563-image.jpg  
Old 25th August 2016
  #15
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RoundBadge's Avatar
I had the VK demo here for a couple weeks.
very nice build and packaging.sounded eerily similar the Vintage CMV 563 I had a couple years ago.5k is not cheap..so if I were buying another one I'd just grab an old one for 2k.
very nice mid range.yeah kinda the poor mans 47.[slightly darker,less bottom than my vintage U47].
its very nice on bright sibilant singers.
my old u67 [and 47] beat it on every source so I didn't feel compelled to purchase it.
Old 25th August 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I had the VK demo here for a couple weeks.
very nice build and packaging.sounded eerily similar the Vintage CMV 563 I had a couple years ago.5k is not cheap..so if I were buying another one I'd just grab an old one for 2k.
very nice mid range.yeah kinda the poor mans 47.[slightly darker,less bottom than my vintage U47].
its very nice on bright sibilant singers.
my old u67 [and 47] beat it on every source so I didn't feel compelled to purchase it.
In my listening test, my client's vintage U-47 was clearly superior to the other mics, but the MG CMV was much closer than the rest in terms of *alive-ness*, vibe, tone. It has that magical thing that some (not all) old mics have.

If you've got old 67 & 47's the CMV would probably be redundant. Yes, $5k is a lot - but so is $10k for a 67 and $15k for a 47! In that regard the MG CMV seems a bit better priced.

I have been looking at old CMV's - not many available and most will need some attention before putting them into service. My understanding is that the old ones vary widely due to standard components not always being available in the 50's. Also, the pvc diaphragm will only last so long, so an old mic will likely need to be re-skinned at some point. Not a deal breaker, and servicing in the worst case might only add $1500.00 to the cost. The ones I saw that had already been serviced by a reputable tech were more like $3k and up.

I was able to finance the mic for 36 months interest free - that's better than a discount imo. That VK card is friggin' dangerous...

Best...H
Old 25th August 2016
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
I had the VK demo here for a couple weeks.
very nice build and packaging.sounded eerily similar the Vintage CMV 563 I had a couple years ago.5k is not cheap..so if I were buying another one I'd just grab an old one for 2k.
very nice mid range.yeah kinda the poor mans 47.[slightly darker,less bottom than my vintage U47].
its very nice on bright sibilant singers.
my old u67 [and 47] beat it on every source so I didn't feel compelled to purchase it.
As long as its in good condition, they can be a really good deal. My was refurbed in Russia, and was quite affordable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reddirt View Post
I have a new one : i will say on some sources it shows definite quality and on others it doesn't work - if you are looking for a mic that "does it all" it's not the one but if it suits your voice, it really works. personally, I would like it to have a bit more HF.
As usual, you need to hear before you buy as Logichead did.
Cheers, Ross
I often put a little hi shelf on my when tracking.
Old 26th August 2016
  #18
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
As long as its in good condition, they can be a really good deal.



I often put a little hi shelf on my when tracking.
Yes there still good ones out there.
I got a clean one with the m7 and omni capsule that sounded right for 1800 w original Psu.
I could get the cmv's presence in the 67 ballpark with a little 10k shelving .
Old 26th August 2016
  #19
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The late Oliver Archutt commented at some time about how the EM/RF circuit which is built into some of the new MG mics (due to European safety regs iif I remember right) , cruelled the sound ; in fact he published a diag on how to remove it. (see Recording Hacks)

Not sure if it applies to the CMV 563 and reasons why mine is not the all round mic I'd hoped it would be.

Co-incidentally Matucha, your avatar features an accordion - I really like the 563 on accordions.

Cheers, Ross
Old 26th August 2016
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
Yes there still good ones out there.
I got a clean one with the m7 and omni capsule that sounded right for 1800 w original Psu.
I could get the cmv's presence in the 67 ballpark with a little 10k shelving .
If the old ones sound as good as my new one they are certainly undervalued in the marketplace.

I noticed no loss of hf, no eq needed when tracking, very little or none at mix. Positioning changed the tone of the source dramatically.

In this article they mention the emf/rf filtering but imply the CMV does not have the circuit: Neumann CMV-563 | RecordingHacks.com

From the article: "The 563’s circuit design was also found in the Gefell UM57, and is said to be similar to the M92.1/UM92.1/UM75, although the latter three incorporate EMI/RFI rejection circuitry that is said to “choke” the sound of the microphone. (See the two schematic views on this page.) ...CMV-563s turn up on Ebay frequently, with prices ranging from $1000-$3000 depending on quality and the number of capsules included. The consensus on the forums is that a good 563 is a great microphone, whereas a poor one is a poor microphone, and that it’s hard to tell in advance which is being sold."

There is more commentary saying that the old mics are often repaired with new parts which does not necessarily lead to the appropriate / desired sound.

I do have a friend with an old one that I will listen to at some point (next time I am in Louisville).

Best...H
Old 26th August 2016
  #21
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by logichead View Post
If the old ones sound as good as my new one they are certainly undervalued in the marketplace.

I noticed no loss of hf, no eq needed when tracking, very little or none at mix. Positioning changed the tone of the source dramatically.

In this article they mention the emf/rf filtering but imply the CMV does not have the circuit: Neumann CMV-563 | RecordingHacks.com

From the article: "The 563’s circuit design was also found in the Gefell UM57, and is said to be similar to the M92.1/UM92.1/UM75, although the latter three incorporate EMI/RFI rejection circuitry that is said to “choke” the sound of the microphone. (See the two schematic views on this page.) ...CMV-563s turn up on Ebay frequently, with prices ranging from $1000-$3000 depending on quality and the number of capsules included. The consensus on the forums is that a good 563 is a great microphone, whereas a poor one is a poor microphone, and that it’s hard to tell in advance which is being sold."

There is more commentary saying that the old mics are often repaired with new parts which does not necessarily lead to the appropriate / desired sound.

I do have a friend with an old one that I will listen to at some point (next time I am in Louisville).

Best...H
some people change out the transformer on old cmv's.evidently there were sometimes consistency qc issues in the old factory...
I had Oliver send me one of his reissue transformers.turned out the mic didnt need it.sounded fine as it was.
yeah the 563 was definitely a bit darker more rolled off than my 47, 67's,KM56's.
still a fine sounding mic.
Old 26th August 2016
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
Yes there still good ones out there.
I got a clean one with the m7 and omni capsule that sounded right for 1800 w original Psu.
I could get the cmv's presence in the 67 ballpark with a little 10k shelving .
I think I paid around that for mine, too.
Old 26th August 2016
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
some people change out the transformer on old cmv's.evidently there were sometimes consistency qc issues in the old factory...
I had Oliver send me one of his reissue transformers.turned out the mic didnt need it.sounded fine as it was.
yeah the 563 was definitely a bit darker more rolled off than my 47, 67's,KM56's.
still a fine sounding mic.
Interesting. The 47 I compared it to wasn't significantly brighter than the demo CMV, but as we know old mics aren't exactly consistent from one to another.

Mine is on its way back to me, looking forward to hearing it in my room.

Best...H
Old 26th August 2016
  #24
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jjblair's Avatar
Old CMV 563s / UM57s had lousy transformers, and there were several value changed in the circuit that made them sound much better. I still have my 563 that I bought 22 years ago. It was my first vintage tube mic! The omni capsule is a winner, but most of those old lollipop M7s are unusable now.

A 563 isn't going to sound like a 47, but it's going to put you more in the neighborhood than a U87.
Old 26th August 2016
  #25
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by logichead View Post
Interesting. The 47 I compared it to wasn't significantly brighter than the demo CMV, but as we know old mics aren't exactly consistent from one to another.

Mine is on its way back to me, looking forward to hearing it in my room.

Best...H
If it's a K47 equipped 47 vs. a MTG M7 made from PVC, my experience is the the PVC M7s they are making are a little muddy in the highs, comparatively. I don't know about their mylar M7s, but the PVC ones for sure.

And 47s aren't bright mics to begin with, in the first place.
Old 26th August 2016
  #26
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matucha's Avatar
At this point I have 4 CMV563, 1 UM57 and 4 M582s and I've also heard at least 3 other CMVs.

Yes there is some variance, but some of them are quite close to each other. The bodies, healthy bodies powered by healthy PSUs are the most consistent part of the system. One of the PSUs had some minor mods done to it (possibly by someone servicing it) when I bought it and the influence on sound was a strange metalic color. Not good. My tech changed everything back to "default" and it sounds like all the other PSUs I have (which includes aftermarket Tubelife-2).

The UM57 had bad transformer which made it sound really ****ty, ugly midrange, strange sibilance. Changing the transformer for healthy one made it very nice/cute sounding microphone. Very bass light with sweet top. It's a good fig8 mic for gefell MS (CMV563 for M).

The biggest difference is obviously with capsules. I only encountered one bad capsule, there was something wrong with the gold layer (can't remember it's a long time ago) and it was dark (in a surprisingy cool way). Later on it was reskined by Gefell and came back nice open and "juicy" sounding. That was more than 10 years ago, maybe even 15. Over the years the sound changed for a bit lighter bottom and now it is very very similar to other M7 I bought at the same time. Both very nice.
Then I got the third one about which the seller told me it was never used. This one is darker/rounder.
And the last one was also reskined at gefell (in 2006 for 400e) and it's basically less shiny version of the #1 &#2 with slightly different peaks in the upper mids than the rest.

With a bit of EQ I can get very similar sound out of any of them.


M55k sound all the same to me, I had 6 of them during the time. Very very very bright on axis, sort of neutral at 90 degrees... nice actually.

M8s, lofi midrangy sounding capsule which doesn't go much above 8khz. I never found much use for it.



My intention is to keep a pair of CMVs, sell other two later this year and buy either flea 47 or voxorama 47 for more versatility.
Old 28th August 2016
  #27
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jjblair's Avatar
M55k is a great sounding capsule
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