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I need help with deciding on a stereo pair of KM84 Mic Purchase (audio samples included)
Old 12th August 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
 

I need help with deciding on a stereo pair of KM84 Mic Purchase (audio samples included)

Hello everyone,

Long time lurker, first time poster. So basically i'm in the market for a pair of Km84's for some guitar recordings and found a seller who sent me some samples.

I've been a/bing these samples all night and one of the two mics has less of a low end "vibe" and sounds a little thin than the other. The difference in level is only around 1-3 dB at any given point and this discrepancy definitely comes from the difference in low end and low-mids as confirmed by my spectral analyses.

I know it's hard in a comparison of two mics to capture exactly the same recording because they will inherently be in two separate spots. But it seems to me that the difference in capture between the mics is static, because if I EQ the bass-lacking one, the spectral differences between them show less. But this could also just be because one mic is an inch closer to the soundhole than the other (they were placed side by side as close as you could get them).

My question is this. Is this difference in mics negligible, to all of your ears? Do you think the second mic (second sample here) has a damaged capsule? For anybody with experience with KM84's, is this a pretty good idea of how they should sound? I like the first sample more because of the pronounced low end and vibe, and it sounds a little smoother. But in reality, are these small differences normal when buying old mic pairs? Or should I shoot for another pair?

I don't have a whole lot of experience with these mics, so i'm really hoping somebody can give me some insight into this!

TLDR; is one of these mics sounding better than the other? Is one bad? Can you hear any difference? Does this matter when recording acoustic guitar, particularly in an x-y pair?

Thanks

Lee

(link to WAV downloads for those interested in digging a little further - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/e1h2gtkcy...2ULR063xa?dl=0 )
Attached Files

km84 test mic 1.mp3 (2.29 MB, 545 views)

km84 test mic 2.mp3 (2.29 MB, 546 views)

Old 13th August 2020
  #2
Gear Addict
 
wilkinswp's Avatar
 

I have a pair from 1970. They probably don’t sound spot on with one another at all. I think they sound great though.

These you are considering sound like Km84’s to me.

As an aside, I will say that I had some problems with mine distorting when used as overheads and had to send to a tech for some repair. Low level such as acoustic guitar was fine though.

What makes you think one of the capsules is damaged? Also, the second sample seems to have more low mids to me than the first. Or maybe it’s a volume thing? The second one seems louder slightly. Even am inch in difference from the source will easily change the sound from the source especially on ac guitar. It could be the distance from the guitar that is causing the seemingly different frequency response. The top end sounds similar on each

The playing is a little weird. It be easier to listen if it were straight-up strumming for several bars and then finger picking.

Would be interested to hear others’ thoughts.
Old 14th August 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
I like the second one much more than the first. Sounds like they were recorded on the same take. Have to wonder if it's just room position that made the difference or if it's the mic. Often people sell stuff to get rid of problems like a pair that is not balanced enough. I would look for another pair.

Ask them to place the mic's right next to each other and resend files. If they say they were right next to each other, something is wrong with mic 1.

I'm using a pair of B&W-MM100 speakers.
Old 14th August 2020
  #4
I would 100% factor in the cost of having them checked out & probably serviced by a trusted tech. They do not sound the same, which they should, and which makes them of limited usefulness as a pair. It also indicates that there is likely something wrong with at least one of them. New kk84 capsules run about 500 dollars

I’ve got a pair that sound the same. I use then all the time, mostly on OH & stereo acoustic. I spent about 1k getting them serviced. One of the capsule’s was damaged.
Old 14th August 2020
  #5
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i'd rather spend money on a pair of schoeps...
Old 14th August 2020
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i'd rather spend money on a pair of schoeps...
Which ones?
Old 14th August 2020
  #7
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whichever suits you needs best...

mk4/cmc1 if fr and size of the km's are appealing to you.
Old 14th August 2020
  #8
Gear Addict
I have three km84‘s and one of them was lacking bottom end. Sent it to Peter Drefahl and now they all sound the same to me.
Old 14th August 2020
  #9
They should sound the same. Although that test was awful the difference wasn't huge.. I would try to get a hold of a pair that sounded identical and in good shape. Maybe if you could score a pair cheap it would be worth having a tech look at them but paying 1-1.5k then have the additional tech cost ontop is not worth it.

I have a pair and did own two additional ones. I had to go through one more which I resold before I had 4 that sounded the same . The one I resold was 15years older and had less bass response.
Old 15th August 2020
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
whichever suits you needs best...

mk4/cmc1 if fr and size of the km's are appealing to you.
I should have been more specific.

My only pair of mics is a set of km84s I had serviced by a reputable tech. They sound the same and get used all the time on Drum Kit OH as well as acoustic guitar. I like the stereo imaging that the x/y pair brings to the kit. I find them super useful.

My only other SDCs are a noisy akg c480b that sounds pretty good on snare, but could probably use some service, and a gefell mv692 with m70 capsule, which sounds detailed and beautiful to my ears.

My plan is to wait for a good deal on a 2nd mv692/m70. I like that this mic sounds fairly different from the km84s, and frankly love the way it sounds on hi hat. When I have a pair I'll def. be trying them on OH.

Given my current options, I've always wondered if a pair of schoeps sdc's might bring something new to the table for stereo applications.. and if so, which models I should be considering.

The size of the KMs make them easy to work with forsure, but there's probably no point in spending on another pair of similar sounding microphones. I imagine schoeps to bring a different tonal balance to the table, but I also wonder if my money is better spent elsewhere (like an r88).

Sorry if this is less of a question than a ramble.

Always looking to add different flavors of high quality capture to the collection.. and loving my stereo pair. If a pair of schoeps (or dpa or sanken or..?) were to bring a whole new set of options to the table, then it would be worth considering.

will def. be listening to some mk4 samples with the cmc1's as well as the various capsules.
Old 15th August 2020
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
I like the second one much more than the first. Sounds like they were recorded on the same take. Have to wonder if it's just room position that made the difference or if it's the mic. Often people sell stuff to get rid of problems like a pair that is not balanced enough. I would look for another pair.

Ask them to place the mic's right next to each other and resend files. If they say they were right next to each other, something is wrong with mic 1.

I'm using a pair of B&W-MM100 speakers.
I was thinking something very similar. If the mics were set up XY or spaced for the recording (it sounds like on pass of playing) you'd get different things from each mic. I'd be interested to hear the 2 mics pointed straight to the same place right on top of one another.
Old 15th August 2020
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by themiracle View Post
I should have been more specific.

My only pair of mics is a set of km84s I had serviced by a reputable tech. They sound the same and get used all the time on Drum Kit OH as well as acoustic guitar. I like the stereo imaging that the x/y pair brings to the kit. I find them super useful.

My only other SDCs are a noisy akg c480b that sounds pretty good on snare, but could probably use some service, and a gefell mv692 with m70 capsule, which sounds detailed and beautiful to my ears.

My plan is to wait for a good deal on a 2nd mv692/m70. I like that this mic sounds fairly different from the km84s, and frankly love the way it sounds on hi hat. When I have a pair I'll def. be trying them on OH.

Given my current options, I've always wondered if a pair of schoeps sdc's might bring something new to the table for stereo applications.. and if so, which models I should be considering.

The size of the KMs make them easy to work with forsure, but there's probably no point in spending on another pair of similar sounding microphones. I imagine schoeps to bring a different tonal balance to the table, but I also wonder if my money is better spent elsewhere (like an r88).

Sorry if this is less of a question than a ramble.

Always looking to add different flavors of high quality capture to the collection.. and loving my stereo pair. If a pair of schoeps (or dpa or sanken or..?) were to bring a whole new set of options to the table, then it would be worth considering.

will def. be listening to some mk4 samples with the cmc1's as well as the various capsules.
wait: if the c480/ck61 (?) is noisy, something is wrong: it should have less noise than schoeps (and of course) neumann km84.

not sure the mk4 gets you that much a different sound than the km84 other than it's better in every technical term: less noise, higher output, higher spl capability, more tolerant in terms of phantom power, equally flat in terms of frequency response.

so if you have some km84's, i'd rather suggest getting schoeps with different patterns such as mk21 and mk41 (or then mk4 and mk8 for m/s).
Old 16th August 2020
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
wait: if the c480/ck61 (?) is noisy, something is wrong: it should have less noise than schoeps (and of course) neumann km84.

not sure the mk4 gets you that much a different sound than the km84 other than it's better in every technical term: less noise, higher output, higher spl capability, more tolerant in terms of phantom power, equally flat in terms of frequency response.

so if you have some km84's, i'd rather suggest getting schoeps with different patterns such as mk21 and mk41 (or then mk4 and mk8 for m/s).
Thank you for this!

Yeah, I'm extremely happy with my KM84 pair. It's my only pair of mics, and I just can't help noticing how useful they are as a pair. Just makes me wish I had the budget to buy everything in pairs for stereo applications (really the only way to go .

It certainly makes me want pairs (or, alternately, stereo options) with different flavors. I just don't have the budget, esp for something that's close to what I've already got.

I figure a pair of Beyer m160s would be useful, esp. for the price.. I'd also love an aea r88 or a pair of 84s or coles 4038s.. and since we're dreaming, a pair of 67s, a couple of sankens and another pair or two of 'clean' SDCs like those DPAs you mentioned would be great too

I just love records that put you in the room.. and I've really enjoyed how my km84 pair helps get me there. I keep listening to Sweet Virginia by the Stones. Not a traditionally 'great' recording by modern standards, but the way that song puts me in the room is something else. Some of the 90's Tom Waits records do that to me as well.


Yeah, something is definitely funky with that c480b... but when I contacted AKG for service they wanted the full price of the mic to look at it. I've reached out to a couple of local techs for less insane estimates but interestingly given its issues, it still performs well on snare, which is good enough for now at least.

thanks again!
Old 16th August 2020
  #14
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PdotDdot's Avatar
Can you provide info as to mic placement? I am curious.
Old 18th August 2020
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Hey guys. Thanks for all your responses. The mics were placed exactly side-by-side from each other, 12 inches away from the body/neck of the guitar. The seller picked up on the difference in the recordings and has decided to send them off to a tech for service, so hopefully they come back sounding better than they did in the recording.
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