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Tim Campbell’s CT12
Old 2nd May 2019
  #31
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rec_Eng View Post
You want documented proof, but I was merely speculating;I still absolutely suggest AKG purposely designed the 250/251 for less low-end response; whatever the reason may be.
In this case, your 'speculation' is opinion, unsupported by facts, technical data or testimonies from contemporary AKG designers.

Quote:
From what I understand as pretty common knowledge, is Neumann took over their own distribution from Telefunken, so Telefunken requested AKG to design and manufacture a mic for them to distribute
True. But it does not contradict, but support what I posted: AKG was losing market share to Neumann's better looking and easier to use multi-pattern mik. Telefunken knew that and demanded these changes for the C12 which then became the ELAM.

P.S.: Neumann did not take over from Telefunken distributing miks in the Americas, but gave distribution to Gotham.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #32
Gear Maniac
 

Since when is speculation/guessing and fact the same? Here I’m simply trying to spark healthy discussion of contemplation, but you’re acting as if I’m saying it’s fact. I know it’s far from fact, but you seem think that I think otherwise and I have no idea how you’re interpreting that.

As for sticking to facts, you have not acknowledged the low-end response differences between the two; at least as stated in the links I posted.

You may be right about C12 looks, features, and sales and all (I have no idea), but you emphasized it was the only reason; that contributing to AKG’s acceptance of Telefunken’s request, who know. And you’re right, I had forgotten of Gotham Audio.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #33
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rec_Eng View Post
As for sticking to facts, you have not acknowledged the low-end response differences between the two; at least as stated in the links I posted.
\
Your links contain sales pamphlets which do not mention a low end cut was intended in the elam. Recording hacks could have have clarified that the C12 frequency info was from a first-generation, ca.1955 mik with Henry transformer, with a low resolution and extremely smoothened out graph. The C12 specs mention 1M distance was used to measure. No info was given for the elam specs.

Concluding: I see no information in the official sales pamphlets, or from credible sources anywhere that support what you say about a low cut engineered into elam circuit.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #34
Gear Maniac
 

Not true... That tells me you didn’t even bother to look.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #35
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rec_Eng View Post
You want documented proof, but I was merely speculating; and I stated as a guess.

By the way, the only reason the 250/251 was made is not as you said. From what I understand as pretty common knowledge, is Neumann took over their own distribution from Telefunken, so Telefunken requested AKG to design and manufacture a mic for them to distribute; and that is the only reason why they exist. However, with that said, sometimes common knowledge is dead wrong and invite to be corrected by someone who knows for sure otherwise.

I still absolutely suggest AKG purposely designed the 250/251 for less low-end response; whatever the reason may be. I don’t understand how it would seem so far-fetched. I’m sure they could have made the low-end much more like the C12 if they so desired.

My speculation line of thought is that proximity is something considered now in design, why wouldn’t it be then? I bet it was. Granted, close miking became common after it was designed, but I suggest since the vocalist was much closer to the vocal mic relative to the orchestra/band, that may have been a consideration.
Again, incorrect. You are relying on a very loosely drawn response graph for information, which is your first mistake. I've already given you the answer as to technical factors that create more low end response in a 251. If you understood the effect of coupling capacitance on the transformer alone, you would see that the C12 will have less lower octave. But all you need to do is listen to examples of the two mics next to each other, as I have, many many times over, and you would understand that the 251 has more low end response. So, please stop insisting that it doesn't, because you're looking at two graphs from a website.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #36
Gear Maniac
 

Well actually, not from a website, but from scans of printed documentation... And I’m actually getting somewhere. I fully admit those aren’t necessarily correct or that I may not even be interpreting them correctly. In fact, upon even closer inspection, I’m rather confused as it appears to be an original manual, but at the end, it obviously shows it’s from Telefunken North America. Although, here’s an original:
http://recordinghacks.com/images/mic...n-brochure.jpg

And that’s why I brought up those scans in the first place, to maybe be shown what I might be missing.

But next, I bring up a quote of Stephen Paul from:
https://www.mixonline.com/recording/...-250251-377062

“The 251 had the same capsule with different circuitry and a very
different grille and body. The grille has an additional layer of mesh
internally, which tends to smooth out the high frequencies and adds a
peak at 5 kHz. It also tends to make the resonance at 12 kHz a bit
narrower. The 251 also was designed to have less bottom end, and rolls
off starting at about 100 Hz or so, and this gives the mic a good
characteristic for female vocals. Use the 251 when the C-12 sounds a
little too strident but you still want that AKG sound.”

Genuinely, am I misinterpreting that as well? That seems pretty on par with the scans.

Seriously, something is not adding up. I highly respect both Stephen Paul and you.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #37
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
I seriously have no idea was Stephen was talking about. Anything I’ve learned from or discussed with any experienced mic tech, or even from my own personal experience, a .5 mF transformer coupling cap will result in a higher resonant frequency than a 1 mF cap, which is exactly why anytime you open up a 47 that’s been worked on, the transformer coupling cap has been changed to 1 mF.

And yes, the added mesh will affect the highs, but it also has an internal chamber like effect because of it, not dissimilar to the 47.

Stephen had a lot of interesting ideas, but in the end, his mic mods are not looked on favorably. That guy ruined a lot of good mics. I restored a 47 last year that he modded with an alternate tube and his 3 micron diaphragm. Absolutely have zero idea what he was listening for to think that sounded better the way he made it. He was also known to take later era orange paint CK12s, reskin them to 1 or 3 micron, and put them into 251s. I have never really cared for that era of CK12 in a 251, because it results in too much low end, which I find less usable for a vocal sound that sits where I want it, for a 251 suited voice.

I mean, he was way more knowledgeable than I am in many respects, but I really question his ears and judgment, based on every experience I’ve had with his mic mods.

I record every A/B test I do for mic evals, so I can really analyze the response. I’ll look and see if I still have the last C12 v. 251 test I did. The leaner low end in the C12 is always the first thing I notice.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #38
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rec_Eng View Post
...The 251 also was designed to have less bottom end, and rolls off starting at about 100 Hz or so, and this gives the mic a good
characteristic for female vocals. Use the 251 when the C-12 sounds a
little too strident but you still want that AKG sound.”
The two sentences are a direct contradiction. If the C12 is too strident, then the (better low-end balanced) 251 cannot have less bottom end.

As I said: show me the circuit changes in the elam vis-a-vis the C12 that are supposed to cut low end.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #39
Lives for gear
 

I own or have owned several examples of both. The 251 has more bottom. Consistently. Definitively.

End of story. Sorry.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #40
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Klaus's Avatar
 

Maybe I can clear this up.

The C12 manual's frequency graph cited is based on the bassier response created with the Styroflex-diaphragmed, flat-dish (backplate) resonator CK12 capsule common of that period (pre-1959).

Except for first-edition, late 1959 ELA M251, which still used the old C12 flat-dish capsule, all subsequent CK12 installed in the 251 used the deep-dish version with its noticeably more midrange-forward response.

The fact that J.J. and about everyone else experienced with both mics would still characterize an ELAM as the smoother, more low-end balanced mic of the two can be attributed to two factors: the added, fine-mesh weave inner layer of the head basket, and the greatly increased capacitance of the coupling capacitor.

Out of curiosity, I transplanted a CK12 from a C12 to a 251, on which I also removed the inner mesh and installed the C12's 0.5MFD cap. Result: the ELA M251 sounded exactly like a C12.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #41
Gear Maniac
 

Edit: I see a lot more replies while I was typing that I haven’t read yet.

Well, we’re not talking about his mods at all in this case.

I mean, yes I know in general, the C12 doesn’t have the best low-end extension. Hence, a moment in time of people putting in a large-core transformer to get more. Stephen himself told me about this. However, again, only from the graph I’ve seen, we’re talking about 50Hz or 60Hz on down compared to around 100Hz or higher on down of the 251 graph I’ve seen.

Yes I understand those may be generic graphs to give an overall general understanding of what is happening, but if they’re off by so much that it’s like they’re flipped in their low-response, that just doesn’t seem likely for the era; but anything is possible I suppose. Then to read Stephen’s quote, it throws me off even more since it matches up with the graph. Maybe he was just looking at the graph too? However, highly unlikely given his known nature, but again anything possible. And then to interject that is was designed that way, that takes it above and beyond.

I don’t know, like I said, things just aren’t lining up so far. I’m certainly confused.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #42
Gear Maniac
 

And there’s the clarity. I was kinda patiently waiting for your insight. Thank you Klaus.

Thank you Helmuth for questioning my comment in the first place. This all is crazy off-topic, but well worth it I think. This is why I’m here! You certainly knew what you were talking about there!

Thank you everyone for chiming in on your direct experiences. Good to you’re not all crazy.

Makes my line of thought for my 251-type mic completely unless and stupid, but that’s ok.

So now this begs the question, what is the low-end response of deep-dish C12s?
Old 3rd May 2019
  #43
Lives for gear
 

Now that a "Micrphone Brain Trust" has arrived...
Other things being equal, do you guys generally prefer 6 micron? Or 3 micron or less?

Amateur recordist here, but am finding I prefer 6 micron. (fuller sounding?)
Thanks, Chris
Old 3rd May 2019
  #44
Gear Maniac
 

In hindsight, I’m just now realizing that I helped turned this into a C12 vs 251 low-end response comparison, but my initial comment about the 251 low-end roll-off was really not that. So based on the graph, that is definitely a significant low-end roll-off. This begs, what is the low-end response of the 251? Is that graph right or wrong?
Old 3rd May 2019
  #45
Gear Maniac
 

Chris, the problem I find is the “all things being equal” part.

As I’ve seen Klaus strongly express the microphone as a system and I’ve heard Stephen strongly say the same thing.
Old 3rd May 2019
  #46
Lives for gear
 

Good point. If anyone wishes to expound though, feel free... Thanks, Chris
Old 3rd May 2019
  #47
Lives for gear
 
roger's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaus View Post
Maybe I can clear this up.

The C12 manual's frequency graph cited is based on the bassier response created with the Styroflex-diaphragmed, flat-dish (backplate) resonator CK12 capsule common of that period (pre-1959).

Except for first-edition, late 1959 ELA M251, which still used the old C12 flat-dish capsule, all subsequent CK12 installed in the 251 used the deep-dish version with its noticeably more midrange-forward response.

The fact that J.J. and about everyone else experienced with both mics would still characterize an ELAM as the smoother, more low-end balanced mic of the two can be attributed to two factors: the added, fine-mesh weave inner layer of the head basket, and the greatly increased capacitance of the coupling capacitor.

Out of curiosity, I transplanted a CK12 from a C12 to a 251, on which I also removed the inner mesh and installed the C12's 0.5MFD cap. Result: the ELA M251 sounded exactly like a C12.
I have done the same and increased the output cap value all the way to 8uf, changed transformers and capsules but found that the C12 & 251 6072/T14 circuits to only give a certain amount of bottom end (ie an octave less than my U67 and vintage 87). It’s interesting. It’s all about that silky luxurious top with those AKG classics. Totally different flavour than Neumann.
Old 4th May 2019
  #48
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Now that a "Micrphone Brain Trust" has arrived...
Other things being equal, do you guys generally prefer 6 micron? Or 3 micron or less?

Amateur recordist here, but am finding I prefer 6 micron. (fuller sounding?)
Thanks, Chris
I haven't cared for the SPA modded 3µ capsules I've heard. They felt a little "zippy" to me, whatever that means. More strident and sibilant than simply adding more air. But the more important thing to me is the practicality. The term "Stephen Paul Syndrome" was coined for many of these mics, because the 3µ mylar was not able to sustain tension without collapsing on the backplate on a pretty frequent basis. So, even if you do prefer the sound, the functionality may not last ultimately.
Old 4th May 2019
  #49
Lives for gear
 

Thanks so much JJ. BTW the few times I got to try out a Bock or T-Funk 251, I was very impressed by the low end capture of my voice. Fits what you said. The anemic low end (and harsher top end),
of a Warm WA-251 I tried... Well it might influence someone else otherwise.
Chris
Old 4th May 2019
  #50
Lives for gear
 

I agree with JJ. (Not an uncommon thing.) Of all the 3 micron SPA capsules I’ve heard, only one U67 made me wish it was mine. Another modded U67 was famously the choice for some of Linda Ronstadt’s biggest hits. But it failed across time, as did so many of the mods. I found the great majority of the ones I heard spitty and lacking musicality.
Just not my cup of tea.
Old 5th May 2019
  #51
Gear Maniac
 

The couple of SPA mods I have heard were amazing. The finished recordings I’ve heard that I knew were recorded with SPA modded mics sounded great.

As for the best dependability/performance ratio, Neumann has always said no less than 6 (as far as I’m aware). Stephen Paul said when done properly, as low as possible is fine with a health check up every 10-years; just as all mics should have, even though most don’t.

But what happens when the master passes, the apprentice goes into hiding, and your capsule goes out after 10 or 20-years, as has happened? Well, I suppose, as with all things, every must come to an end; it was fun while it lasted. Guess you can put in a new Neumann or new CT12 capsule in now, or whatever floats your boat for a time. Oh darn. Things could be worse!

Personally, I don’t think one can arrange 1, 3 and 6 as good/better/best. While a mic is an entire system, a capsule is it’s own sub-system that can be done excellent, terrible, and every spectrum between; just as everything else!

People can say they haven’t heard a mic with a 1 or 3 capsule that they like (whatever the reason may be), but that’s all that is. That’s not to say there aren’t some out there.

Of my four mics (and another in progress) with custom 1-micron capsules done by Allen Luke of Luke Audio, there’s no way you can convince me my mics are strident, sibilant, zippy, or unmusical... And that’s after using a pair of Klaus modded 251s at 25th Street Recording in Oakland. We’ll see how long my mics last though!
Old 5th May 2019
  #52
Lives for gear
 

Great food for thought guys. I must admit I'm very curious to Klaus' and Tim C's thoughts on all this. Chris
Old 5th May 2019
  #53
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jjblair's Avatar
My impression of SPA mods ay also be affected by a couple things. One of them is my expectations of how that particular mic should perform, and I rarely care for "improvements" to a mic's sound, unless it' s a KH 87. Also, SPA routinely completely removed the NFB high end attenuation in 87s and 67s, or overdid the amount of attenuation that was removed, to the point that the dual backplate design can sound spitty and ugly anyway on its own, let alone when you start changing the mylar thickness.

I've had so many negative impressions of SPA mods, it's very hard for me to overcome my general impression at this point. Restoring that U47 he "modded" last year only cemented that impression. I spent the day with a friend who has a large number of M50's. He told me a story about visiting Stephen with one of his, because of some issue. Stephen saw the gold sputtered mylar diaphragm and then said, "Oh, I've never seen one of these," as he proceeded to peel the mylar off with a pair of tweezers. I hate to speak ill of the dead, but come on already. He was a microphone genius as much as John Oram was the Father of British EQ.

SPA had a novel idea about microphone systems, and sometimes when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I believe he took a one size fits all approach to every mic, thinking it was an improvement, probably much in the same way that people initially thought the U87 was an improvement over the U67. That's at least how the dozen or so SPA mics I've encountered struck me.
Old 5th May 2019
  #54
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
I hate to speak ill of the dead, but come on already. He was a microphone genius as much as John Oram was the Father of British EQ.
Speaking, sound-wise, of SPA mods is your own valid opinion, which completely matches what many people say, and completely contradicts many others. I’m all onboard with that and it never takes away the fact that he modded some killer sounding mics used by an abundance of people at the top of their game.

However, this is the first post I’ve ever seen, anywhere, over the past 20 years, of someone blasting Stephen as a complete hack like this. Sad. I honestly wonder what Klaus and some of the senior staff at Neumann during Stephen’s heyday have to say about this. Something needs to be said.
Old 5th May 2019
  #55
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rec_Eng View Post
Speaking, sound-wise, of SPA mods is your own valid opinion, which completely matches what many people say, and completely contradicts many others. I’m all onboard with that and it never takes away the fact that he modded some killer sounding mics used by an abundance of people at the top of their game.

However, this is the first post I’ve ever seen, anywhere, over the past 20 years, of someone blasting Stephen as a complete hack like this. Sad. I honestly wonder what Klaus and some of the senior staff at Neumann during Stephen’s heyday have to say about this. Something needs to be said.
I didn't say he's a hack. But he ruined a lot of microphones. I'm a hack. But the fact that a hack like me was able to return this 47 back to not only a properly working 47, but that I also got it sounding really good, makes me wonder WTF that guy was thinking. I don't have a pic of the original condition I got it in, but this is part way through the tear down. The PSU he made was a joke. I had to get a friend who makes pickups to wind me the wire wound power resistor. I replaced the 12AX7 with a VF14, and had to completely rewire the mic. This thing was a total disaster, with SPA stickers all over it. Now, how a hack like me could get this thing back to working like it should, and he did this, gives me serious questions about his judgment and overall philosophy about mic systems. This was not a good sounding U47 with his mods. Not even close.

Tim Campbell’s CT12-img_0450.jpeg
Attached Thumbnails
Tim Campbell’s CT12-img_0450.jpeg  
Old 5th May 2019
  #56
Lives for gear
 

I can say with certainty that a fair number of the US Neumann tech and sales staff during the 90’s were not SP fans. While some of that might be attributable to “not invented here” syndrome, a great many felt his mods diminished their products. Whether this was factual or not, it was a prevailing opinion each time I’d bring SP up in a discussion. Generally delivered politely, but consistently.

Make of that what you will. Just reporting the discussions I had with them.

Full disclosure: I knew SP a little and always enjoyed our conversations. He was opinionated and wide-ranging in his interests. And a very good guitarist before the disease began to debilitate him. If you can find his album, you’ll enjoy the sonics of it.
Old 5th May 2019
  #57
Gear Addict
 
Dan Popp's Avatar
I had a U87Ai modified by Stephen Paul to my specifications (not one of his usual mods at the time - maybe 2002). The program was, you were to return the mic in a year to be checked - free. Then return it again every year or two years (can't remember which) for $200. So Stephen knew, as everyone does, that "thinner" means "more fragile." My mic never had a problem, and I think the guy who bought it from me is still enjoying it.

From my limited experience, Stephen was going to return a mic to you performing the way you had envisioned it sounding...which may account for at least some of the strange things one may find inside his mics today. I hope he is resting in peace now.
Old 5th May 2019
  #58
Gear Maniac
 

burp182, yes, I’m very aware what people at Neumann and many others thought of him “ruining” Neumann microphones. Again, that’s another valid opinion, that of which JJ and many others share, and contradicts many other opinions at the same time.

But come on... The story of JJ’s friend, the genius comment, and the hammer/nail commitment, shows Stephen in a light I’m absolutely not ok with, nor should anyone who knew him on any level and knows what he contributed to the industry.

And yes. I have that CD. I do enjoy the sonics.
Old 5th May 2019
  #59
Lives for gear
 

I knew Stephen, back when he was "holding court", at recording.org. I also am friends with Alan Hyatt and Harvey Gerst-who were both very close with him.

I totally understand and can appreciate JJ's point of view-coming in later to fix things. With all due respect, however... I still regard Stephen as a true genius. (and JJ "hack" is the last thing you could ever be!)
Chris
Old 5th May 2019
  #60
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
(and JJ "hack" is the last thing you could ever be!)
Chris
Strongly agree!

Also, I wanted to mention those Klaus modded 251s were amazing!
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