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ADK Z-251 vs. Upton 251 male vox Condenser Microphones
Old 14th April 2019
  #1
ADK Z-251 vs. Upton 251 male vox

Looking to see if anyone has experience with both of these mics and can provide some feedback and opinion. I'm looking for a great 251 style mic, and both of these have been recommended. This will be for male vocals, high baritone/low tenor range. My understanding is that the ADK is designed for a bit more "finished" sound. Don't see a lot in terms of clips, reviews, etc. on it. See some people loving their Upton 251, but know it is a fair amount more than the ADK and wondering if the pricing difference equals a sonic difference.

Currently using MA5/P1 for pres, but will likely move to a good tube pre.

Thanks!
Old 16th April 2019
  #2
Here for the gear
 

I know it's not on your short list...and I hate to be "that guy" to suggest something other than what you listed...but...I absolutely love my Pearlman TM-250 on male vocals. There is a video of James Lugo testing one out through an A-Designs preamp on youtube. Look it up, it sounds awesome.
Old 16th April 2019
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Classic's Avatar
 

I did a shootout with clips available a while back between the z-251 and an ELAM 251 that might help you make a decision:

Telefunken ELA M 251 vs ADK Z-MOD 251 Microphone Shootout
Old 16th April 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Put the Bock versions of the 251, on your short list too...
Chris
Old 16th April 2019
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by somethingbigger View Post
I know it's not on your short list...and I hate to be "that guy" to suggest something other than what you listed...but...I absolutely love my Pearlman TM-250 on male vocals.
I'm all for "that guy" comments, as I have no predisposition here. Appreciate the feedback and cool to hear of you experience. The Pearlman has been on my radar as well. I've had two Peluso mics for a long time (2247SE/22 251) and neither can give me what I need. I know these are two different mic companies, so I probably owe it to myself to do more due diligence on the Pearlman.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic View Post
I did a shootout with clips available a while back between the z-251 and an ELAM 251 that might help you make a decision:

Telefunken ELA M 251 vs ADK Z-MOD 251 Microphone Shootout
Thanks for the link and info. I actually found your shootout in the past few weeks and have listened several times. Some interesting comments on the mids of the Tele vs. the ADK. I'm reedy in the upper mids (1-2.5k), so not sure how that plays into the ADK sonic signature. What I'm missing in my mics today is clarity. Clarity without emphasizing the upper mids and/or harshness at 8-10k, and clarity that doesn't disappear when I eq those areas. Also thought I saw where you replaced your 251 with a C800G. I know comparing those two even from a $$ perspective isn't fair, but I thought it interesting that you gave the 251 up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Put the Bock versions of the 251, on your short list too...
Chris
Chris...believe me, I wish I could! Appreciate the suggestion...they just seem a bit out of my budget range. Maybe a 241...but not sure that's the equivalent to his 251.

I appreciate all of the feedback.
Old 16th April 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I totally understand. In that case...

Maybe then also consider, the Lawson 251Tube or FET?

They're on my radar, for their version of the U47 FET. Honestly, haven't had the opportunity to try out their microphones (yet)-But they have a good rep.
Chris
Old 16th April 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
I totally understand. In that case...

Maybe then also consider, the Lawson 251Tube or FET?

They're on my radar, for their version of the U47 FET. Honestly, haven't had the opportunity to try out their microphones (yet)-But they have a good rep.
Chris
Aware of Lawson as well. Too many choices, and no easy way to demo!
Old 16th April 2019
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic View Post
I did a shootout with clips available a while back between the z-251 and an ELAM 251 that might help you make a decision:

Telefunken ELA M 251 vs ADK Z-MOD 251 Microphone Shootout
Thanks for posting this. I found it interesting, and I'm really glad you had the vocal with the track as well as without.
Old 17th April 2019
  #9
Here for the gear
 

" I've had two Peluso mics for a long time (2247SE/22 251) and neither can give me what I need. I know these are two different mic companies, so I probably owe it to myself to do more due diligence on the Pearlman."

Yes, the Peluso 22 251 is nothing like the Pearlman TM-250 other than they both begin with the letter "P". I'm sure both are very committed and proud of the products. One big difference, the Pearlman uses the Tim Campbell capsule. I'm trying to find an article I read recently about a small group of recording engineers (names you would recognize) that did a blind comparison on vocals between a Pearlman TM-250 and two vintage 251's and none of the engineers were able to tell which was which.
Old 17th April 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 
chymer's Avatar
 

Hey there
I love my ADK z12

I did and extensive shootout with the ADK-z251/ADK z12/Upton 251/rented blackbird elam 251/Manley RefC


I ended up choosing the ADK z12
I’m not sure why but it sounded literally identical to the Upton251 on everything and very close to the Blackbird 251
It sounded better than the Manley RefC which sounded a little thinner and harsher

I know original c12 and 251 share the exact same capsule so my theory is the ADKz12 I had was tuned closer to a 251
It’s worth checking out in your space
ADK are incredible mics
Old 17th April 2019
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by somethingbigger View Post
...One big difference, the Pearlman uses the Tim Campbell capsule.
Thank you for the response, somethingbigger. The inclusion of Tim's capsule is one of the main reasons I'm interested in the mic. And interested in the shootout you mentioned as well if it can be found.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chymer View Post
Hey there
I love my ADK z12

I did and extensive shootout with the ADK-z251/ADK z12/Upton 251/rented blackbird elam 251/Manley RefC

I ended up choosing the ADK z12
I’m not sure why but it sounded literally identical to the Upton251 on everything and very close to the Blackbird 251
It sounded better than the Manley RefC which sounded a little thinner and harsher

I know original c12 and 251 share the exact same capsule so my theory is the ADKz12 I had was tuned closer to a 251
It’s worth checking out in your space
ADK are incredible mics
Thank you for your response, chymer. This is exactly what I was hoping to hear from someone. Interesting to hear that you picked the z12 out of that group. I've been asking the vendor about that one as well, but am being steered towards the 251. Sounds like I'll want to demo both. Also interesting that you compared against the RefC, as that is another mic that has been suggested to me by some, but waived off by others as likely being too bright/harsh for my voice.

Really appreciate everyone's feedback. Extremely helpful.
Old 17th April 2019
  #12
Here for the gear
 

I have heard others say great things about the ADK Z-mod line of mics, but I've never used them personally. BTW packermans4, that .mp3 I sent you is just a rough mix with nothing but a little plate reverb, but you get the idea of how the TM-250 sounds in a mix.
Old 17th April 2019
  #13
Very much appreciated, and understood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by somethingbigger View Post
I have heard others say great things about the ADK Z-mod line of mics, but I've never used them personally. BTW packermans4, that .mp3 I sent you is just a rough mix with nothing but a little plate reverb, but you get the idea of how the TM-250 sounds in a mix.
Old 18th April 2019
  #14
Gear Maniac
Upton 251 Hands Down

I did a shoot out at Vintage King Hollywood
The Upton 251 out shined everything we put up against it. Mic pre’s were BAE’s Evedis API

There are lots of Great Mic’s on the market
But trust me the Upton 251 is Special ..
Old 18th April 2019
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Put the Bock versions of the 251, on your short list too...
Chris
Yes the Bock blows my mind. The top end is magical.
Old 18th April 2019
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic View Post
I did a shootout with clips available a while back between the z-251 and an ELAM 251 that might help you make a decision:

Telefunken ELA M 251 vs ADK Z-MOD 251 Microphone Shootout
I think the Ela m251 sounds quite allot better in those clips. It got that presence which makes the singer sound allot closer and upfront. While the ADK has a somewhat washed out feeling which I hear in most clones. It is also a bit thicker in the low mids which makes it sound a tad bit duller.

Not that it's bad, it sounds great but in comparison it falls short. That upfront feeling is something most classics have and I always talk about my m269c but it share that quality. A very intimate sound which makes it sound like a million $$.


Thanks for the comparison!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Larry Villella's Avatar
My personal opinion is that Telefunken USA makes the "Bench-Mark" 251. No question.

And I'd also agree that my pal Toni's mic has a wee bit more 15kHz.

To call the Z-251 dull is not something I've heard from any of our hundreds of end-users.

I asked Chuck Ainlay if the Z-251 was darker than the Vintage 251 he shot out a Blackbird.
His reply was that it' wasn't as dark as the darkest one, and wasn't as bright as the brightest.

in our tests the Boch was the mellowest, the Z-251 and Upton were in the middle, and the Telefunken had the most air.


Sound Files are helpful, but hands-on / ears-on is the best way to evaluate (piano, guitar, microphone, whatever).


First Post in a Long Time for me . . . . Greetings Everyone ! ! !


Larry Villella, ADK)))
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 

All terrific 251 style microphones-including yours!^ Chris
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
I think the Ela m251 sounds quite allot better in those clips. It got that presence which makes the singer sound allot closer and upfront. While the ADK has a somewhat washed out feeling which I hear in most clones. It is also a bit thicker in the low mids which makes it sound a tad bit dulleR
Dull and washed out are the least likely adjectives I would use to describe the Z-251. Mine gets a ton of use around here. Vocalists routinely mention how much they love singing into it and how upfront and present it sounds. Beautiful open top and a big, clear bottom. Having said that, it is definitely fair to say that it is not as bright as a Bock 251 and for that I am thankful. It’s pretty rare that I can think of a source that I would want that much top end on - The Bock 251 is a fine microphone for sure, But not very forgiving in my experience.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by zakco View Post
Dull and washed out are the least likely adjectives I would use to describe the Z-251. Mine gets a ton of use around here. Vocalists routinely mention how much they love singing into it and how upfront and present it sounds. Beautiful open top and a big, clear bottom. Having said that, it is definitely fair to say that it is not as bright as a Bock 251 and for that I am thankful. It’s pretty rare that I can think of a source that I would want that much top end on - The Bock 251 is a fine microphone for sure, But not very forgiving in my experience.
I might have used the wrong words trying to put down a subjective feeling ha!

Washed out, not as close as the other mic. The Upton had a more expensive presence which made it sound much more upclose, classy!

Dull, not as bright in comparison. I know bright mics can add all sorts of trouble but it felt like it was the right bright.

Overall the Upton felt a bit more expensive. Not allot but where it counts.

Anyways I'm sure both would be great!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
The Upton had a more expensive presence which made it sound much more upclose, classy!

Overall the Upton felt a bit more expensive. Not allot but where it counts
Just a clarification. The referenced comparison utilized a Telefunken ELA M 251, not an Upton 251.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
I can add that rolling the tube can change the sound too.

My UPTON 251 came with an Electro Harmonix installed and I swapped it for a
GE 5 Star GL6072.

The GE has a balanced representation of frequencies. The Electro Harmonix is a bit darker and thicker.

Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I just relistened to @ Classic 's shootout. I prefer the ADK on female and the Elam on male. They both are good sounding mics, and If I'd not heard the "other' mic in each instance, I'd still think they sounded good with these singers.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
Here for the gear
 

ADK z251 v ELM-251

I worked out of a studio where we purchased a new ELM 251. I personally own a z-251 and I was really excited to perform a shootout between those mics. We actually never got around to doing a direct shootout, but what was really interesting is we probably did 3-4 different records (over short period of time) where vocals were cut originally on the ELM 251, and then we did overdubs and punch-ins, at a later time on my z-251.

Not to repeat some of the thoughts already expressed here, but what was remarkable was how we have countless takes where the ELM 251 and z-251 were comp'd together without any issue. It worked all together really quite seamlessly.

Upon critical evaluation, the z-251 has a little more "presence-clarity" than the ELM 251 we felt....but timbre and stylistically, what an amazing microphone if you want the 251 legacy it's a brilliant way to get there.

The z-251 is absolutely a desert-island mic for me!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
Here for the gear
 

One more thump up for the ADK Z251

I have started with a Z67 and was blown away. Consequently I ordered the Z251 since I wanted a different color. (not only on the mic shaft)

I absolutely like both mics and their differences. I cannot compare my Z251 to a real Telefunken 251 or other type of remake, but it's a really great mic.

It is not overly bright which is something very useful in many cases. For example, the M149 from Neumann is very bright IMHO and for some vocals does not work at all.

Besides the Microphone case it comes in as well as the accessories and also spare tubes is of outstanding quality.

Cheers

Georges
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Gear Nut
 

About 2 years ago fellow forum member zakco sent me some files to listen to.
He knew that while we have a nice mic LDC locker, ( um70 e49 u195 414eb )
I was looking for something for a particular vocalist I've worked with for 24 years and am married to. I heard the files and was deeply interested. I had said vocalist / wife come to the studio one evening and said "hey zakco sent us files of a new mic". Not unexpectedly she said um well ok, but really, why? 16 years ago we auditioned every mic david bock was making and a handful of vintage mics that she had sung through in other studios. We settled on and we've tracked with the e49 for the last 15 years at our place as well as vintage 47's, steve paul modded 87's manley gold reference, bock e47 and vintage c12's at other studios for 10 years prior to owning our studio. 1 minute into the tracks zakco had sent my wife said she REALLY wanted to try whatever mic she was hearing on those tracks. So we took the plunge and ordered a z251 AND a z67, um just in case .....

So the result? I'd dontt really have any direct same day same source comparisons, shoot out comments etc to offer. Just a history of being privileged enough to be on both sides of the glass in some nice rooms with some great gear. That said I find the z251 has a beautifully articulate top end and extended and very usable low end on all sorts of vocalists - male and female. But the single best thing / description comes from my wife / the performer (remember them?) who LOVED singing into the z251. Her comment on day one of tracking the last project... its never been so easy to make music without thinking about it. That alone is worth every penny of the investment. Shes not alone. I get similar comments from piano players, acoustic guitar players and other vocalists. I love tracking acoustic guitars with the z67 on the neck and the 251 on the bridge.

My comment - any one want to buy an E49? its been sitting in a drawer for 2 years. And we need to buy another 251. FWIW we just bought another z67 ...

THANK YOU LARRY!
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