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M149 not sounding as I expect-any audio samples or opinion?
Old 16th February 2011
  #31
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burns46824's Avatar
I've used that mic before and it also sounded TERRIBLE. I think it must've had a faulty tube, so I'd check that first.
Old 16th February 2011
  #32
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Wow, once again this mic gets dissed. This is probably the most versatile vocal mic I have, it always sounds good, if not great on most singers. My other high end mics are nowhere near as versatile, and I have quite afew. I've done many shootouts, and while it might not beat some of the vintage classics, it always comes in 2nd or 3rd, and does occasionally win. So for those that can only afford one good vocal mic, this is a great choice, especially at used prices.


Quoted from Mix Magazine - Nov. 2003

Marchand has used Neumann microphones to track Sarah McLachlan's vocals exclusively for the last two records they've worked on together. "We've been using the Neumann M 149 on Sarah, and it works beautifully. When we recorded her earlier CDs, I was using an old Telefunken U 47 that needed a lot of EQ tweaking to get the sound I wanted. Then when I got my hands on the M 149, I found that leaving it flat sounded very close to perfect! The M 149 is a very sweet-sounding mic. It has lots of warmth and presence, and the purist highs. Sarah loves that mic, and I haven't tried any other mic on her since we started using it."

Also saw that Nicki Minaj is using an M149 after shooting it out with some vintage mics, with engineer.

A good friend of mine used it with Michael Jackson for several months of vocal tracking, and said he was blown away by it.

Looks like a pretty versatile mic to me. If it sounds bad, it, or something else in your chain most likely needs to be serviced.
Old 16th February 2011
  #33
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robot gigante's Avatar
Granted I've only used them for a couple years and don't have a pair now, but while I was never blown away by M149's they're pretty good all the same. Never had too much of a problem getting a good sound.

It's quite possible there might be something wrong with the OP's mic.
Old 16th February 2011
  #34
Could the valve need replacing - yet the mic isn't particularly noisy.

Unfortunately the small country that I live in has 1 main studio hire company and I just found out that they don't have one! Great!

I had heard one of these before on sessions away from my own studio before purchasing. Also being one of Neumann's flagship mics and used by well renowned producers on lead vocals such as Sarah MacLachlan's I decided to go for the second hand purchase when it came about. Quite disappointed still with it. My current mics tend to work well with female vocals but its male vocal that I wish to improve on. Any opinion that a Peluso 2247 would give me another tool to work with in this respect? I looked at someone's suggestion of a Sennheiser MKH 8040 - a very curious looking mic.
Old 16th February 2011
  #35
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlemart View Post
Any opinion that a Peluso 2247 would give me another tool to work with in this respect?
Having owned both, I'd say if you can't get an M149 to produce pleasing results, you're unlikely to do better with a 2247.

That aside, it pains me to say this, but if you're getting buzzy and hard sounding audio from your M149, short of the mic being broken, the most likely explanation is operator error. That is, you need a pad and aren't using one, or you're otherwise gain staging the sh*t out out something in the chain. Really, it's not hard to get usable results with a working M149. It won't be best on everything, but it should always be usable.
Old 16th February 2011
  #36
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chrisdee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
You don't like it - fine - it does not mean it's rubbish, just that it's not suitable for you.
+1.

I wonder what and how many sources people bashing it has tried it on ?

Is it a case of trying it on one vocal that didn't give them the result they hoped for and therby calling it rubbish for anything else ?
Old 16th February 2011
  #37
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

So much is subjective...the people who disagree on this mic (which I've never used) would undoubtedly disagree on whether different hit records had a good vocal sound or not. You have to decide for yourself. There are people who say API 512c's aren't good for vocals too and only use them on drum overheads.

Drum overheads.


TH
Old 17th February 2011
  #38
Worth checking to make sure yours is OK, but I have to echo several others here that the description of hard-sounding, buzzy high-mids etc. is indeed what this mic sounds like to me. If it were an $895 mic I'd say well done! At the prices they fetch, however, I just don't get it. It may look vaguely like an M49, but it surely doesn't sound like one. Including a transformer may have helped to give it some of the old-school vibe they were purported to be looking for, but as it is, there's a long list of things I'd reach for first. Of course, YMMV.
Old 17th February 2011
  #39
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I own two 149s and they are very very good and I have been using them for ten years without any difficulties. I have even used them with cheap mic-pres on one occasion for a remote and they were just as fantastic as always.

I strongly suspect that those that post negative comments have just not used them, or have used them once only and were shocked at their clarity. They do give you a very 'present' sound and, with the right signal chain and monitors, will give you the feeling of 'being there' like no other mic.

Like all Neumanns, they need a good room and being backed off for vocals.
Old 17th February 2011
  #40
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SteelyDani's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlemart View Post
Can anyone recommend me a clean sounding flattering mic for this application? I have

Neumann M149
Neumann TLM 193
Audio technica AT4060
Sound delux u195
Akg solidtube (not much use generally!)

Thanks,

Mart
I’ve got a couple of M149 (excellent mic) and TLM193. I’ve used the TLM193 (or the TLM170) in almost all my tenor recordings. In my opinion they are extremely adequate for this task. If your tenors don’t sound very well with this mic, probably the problem is elsewhere.
Old 17th February 2011
  #41
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
strongly suspect that those that post negative comments have just not used them, or have used them once only and were shocked at their clarity. They do give you a very 'present' sound and, with the right signal chain and monitors, will give you the feeling of 'being there' like no other mic.
I could try to claim similarly that those who like it must not have ever used a real M49, or a U47 or U67 for that matter. However I doubt such a blanket statement would be true. In my case, I can assure you that I've spent plenty of time with all of these mics, and in fact we have pretty much all the usual suspects in our studio (old 87, new 87, 67, 48, 49, C12, C12A... the list goes on), but there was just no point in adding the M149.

As I said it compares favorably with the more mid-level stuff, and it's definitely not a bad mic. In my opinion it just doesn't live up to the classic high-end choices that it is priced and marketed to compete with. It's just too brash and sometimes feels a bit abrasive. I listened to it through classic Neves, original Focusrite ISAs (this is what we liked best for it on a female Latin jazz singer), APIs, and a couple others. We used it on a few projects. We kept thinking maybe it was just this singer, just this project, who knows. After all, we were supposed to like it. It just didn't work out. I have no doubt, however, that good records have been made with it. Apparently many people love it.
Old 18th February 2011
  #42
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Eldhrimnir's Avatar
Up until recently, I considered the m149 to be ridiculously over-priced and generally not very usable at all. We gave it several chances to prove itself worthy, but every time it got completely destroyed in comparison to for example a Brauner VMA or Gefell um92.
BUT, just recently, the studio replaced the original Neumann PSU with a custom built one, and Voila! I couldn't believe my ears, the difference was night and day. And why on earth neumann would ship the m149 with such an utter crap PSU to begin with is beyond me.

/Daniel
Old 18th February 2011
  #43
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Where would I get my hands on a custom PSU?
Old 18th February 2011
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldhrimnir View Post
Up until recently, I considered the m149 to be ridiculously over-priced and generally not very usable at all. We gave it several chances to prove itself worthy, but every time it got completely destroyed in comparison to for example a Brauner VMA or Gefell um92.
BUT, just recently, the studio replaced the original Neumann PSU with a custom built one, and Voila! I couldn't believe my ears, the difference was night and day. And why on earth neumann would ship the m149 with such an utter crap PSU to begin with is beyond me.

/Daniel
Interesting !
Would you share a picture of the new PSU ?

What changed in the sound ?

Funnily I had 3 Brauner VM-1 (not the VMA) for years
and traded them for the 149s since I found the overall sound
much more usable.
Old 18th February 2011
  #45
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amfortas2006's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post

Funnily I had 3 Brauner VM-1 (not the VMA) for years
and traded them for the 149s since I found the overall sound
much more usable.
That's interesting.. What do you mean by "much more useable"?
I have an M149 and am very happy with the sound and the reliability of this microphone. But I never made comments because I use it for Classical-vocalists.

I like its openness, high output and the fact that it is exactly as clean as I want it to be.

But I always asked myself, how would a Brauner VM1 sound for my work..
Old 18th February 2011
  #46
Dan
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Dan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldhrimnir View Post
Up until recently, I considered the m149 to be ridiculously over-priced and generally not very usable at all. We gave it several chances to prove itself worthy, but every time it got completely destroyed in comparison to for example a Brauner VMA or Gefell um92.
BUT, just recently, the studio replaced the original Neumann PSU with a custom built one, and Voila! I couldn't believe my ears, the difference was night and day. And why on earth neumann would ship the m149 with such an utter crap PSU to begin with is beyond me.

/Daniel
This piques my interest as well.

to the OP:
Just to throw $.02 in, I like the M149, but it can be a bit bright for some vocalists. I mostly use mine for orchestra room mics, and I use them in omni, both because they're in a Decca tree, and because it's my impression that it flattens out the frequency response. If you have the room for it, you might try omni.
I've heard good results using a Manley pre with it for vocals. It's a nice pairing.
Old 19th February 2011
  #47
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Sunbreak Music's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pianokeys View Post
Where would I get my hands on a custom PSU?
I think the Grimm folks have one available?
Old 19th February 2011
  #48
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vernier's Avatar
I like the 149, but have only used it with tape.
.
.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8hPQXVR4r0
Old 19th February 2011
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amfortas2006 View Post
That's interesting.. What do you mean by "much more useable"?
I have an M149 and am very happy with the sound and the reliability of this microphone. But I never made comments because I use it for Classical-vocalists.

I like its openness, high output and the fact that it is exactly as clean as I want it to be.

But I always asked myself, how would a Brauner VM1 sound for my work..
The VM-1 has very present top end
which easily tends to be harsh
especially for female vocalists or tenors.
The midrange also is too cloudy for my taste.
The VM-1 does not take EQ well
unlike the M 149.
Old 19th February 2011
  #50
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
It may look vaguely like an M49, but it surely doesn't sound like one.
Same take. Same preamps (MR816X). Do they sound that different?
Attached Thumbnails
M149 not sounding as I expect-any audio samples or opinion?-flea-49-neumann-m149.jpg  
Attached Files

mic1-MR816.mp3 (4.95 MB, 2918 views)

mic2-MR816.mp3 (4.95 MB, 2792 views)

Old 19th February 2011
  #51
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I have an M149 and a Brauner VMA. The M149 is very clear, but there is no doubt that the VMA is even clearer and more life like, picking up every detail, but the M149 wins the majority of the time on vocal shootouts I have done recently. The Brauner on the right voice is amazing, usually somebody that is truly a gifted singer, but it can sound thin and overly bright on some singers. I find the m149 is much more forgiving and can accomodate alot more variety in vocal timbres.
Old 20th February 2011
  #52
Gear Nut
 

M149 is a great mic, it has a smooth top end that can become harsh in some cases, but if you have a good vocal chain all the way in it's fantastic (assuming the mic suits the vocalist in the first instance).

I recently did 4 months of vocalling on an album and in the first week we did a shoot out between the M149, a u47, 251, c12 and M49 (into a 1073/1176). The M149 easily won over the majority, with a M49 a close second. The vocalist had a lovely baritone rumble in his lower register that needed to be captured, but he also tended to be a little nasal when pushed hard. The M149 smoothed out the nasal qualities (whilst not removing the character) and captured the low end beautifully. Infact, 'smooth' is how I would describe this mic in general.

We were renting the thing for so long I ended up buying one, and don't regret it.

For pop vocals it's killer!

Tom
Old 21st February 2011
  #53
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WunderBro Flo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
The VM-1 has very present top end
which easily tends to be harsh
especially for female vocalists or tenors.
The midrange also is too cloudy for my taste.
The VM-1 does not take EQ well
I completely disagree with all of those impressions. Present yes, harsh no. For females and tenors I would usuallly try something darker first anyways, not a present and neutral mic like the VM-1. Midrange of the Brauner is extremely detailed imho - not forward in level like with many Neumanns but extremely detailed. And lastly I think the VM1 takes EQ extremely well. Different folks....

Regarding the M149, I have little experience with it, but the Piano files that Didier posted here are pretty obvious, the first file being mellow in the highs and fuller in the lows gotta be the M49 and the second file with leaner lower mids and bass as well as more present highs and upper mids gotta be the M149. Not really the same sound to me. The M49 sounds like what I expect an M49 to sound (and would require some EQ to fit into most mixes imho), while the M149 sounds like one of the modern mics out there on this recording.
Old 21st February 2011
  #54
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robot gigante's Avatar
I disagree as well.

The VM-1 is one of my all-time favorite mics. I wouldn't put one in the same sonic category as a M149, although as I said before I never had any problems with getting a good sound from an M149.

It's true that the top end is present, but harsh is not how I would describe it. It will brutally expose flaws in a vocalist's technique, that is true. If you want a mic to blur and fatten up a vocal, especially a thin sounding female vocal, it is probably not the mic for you, something darker would be better. But if the vocal sounds amazing in the room to begin with, it will capture every last detail. It takes EQ easily as well as the M149 does, ime. YMMV but the VM-1 into a clean tube pre is pure gold to my ears on the right vocalists, not to mention acoustic guitar, string instruments and so on.

The M149 on the other hand, it's a great all-round modern sounding mic, but I agree with the posters that say it's (a little though, not ridiculously) overpriced for what you are getting. Both it and the Brauner along with other modern sounding mics like the Manley Ref Gold seem to benefit from backing off a little a lot of the time.
Old 21st February 2011
  #55
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WunderBro Flo View Post
the Piano files that Didier posted here are pretty obvious, the first file being mellow in the highs and fuller in the lows gotta be the M49 and the second file with leaner lower mids and bass as well as more present highs and upper mids gotta be the M149. Not really the same sound to me. The M49 sounds like what I expect an M49 to sound (and would require some EQ to fit into most mixes imho), while the M149 sounds like one of the modern mics out there on this recording.
Not the same sound, I agree. Neumann did never state that it was the same. They have also different heads. The mic in the current Neumann product range having the same casing like the M49 is the TLM49. But I heard mics sounding more different in such a test than these both ones. For instance, in this test the difference between the M149 and and the Brauner Valvet is larger to my ears. Also the Manley Gold Reference, although being a modern mic, sounds much more different from M49(FLEA49) and M149 as you can judge by yourself from the attached track (not recorded at the same time like both other ones, XY instead of AB because it is a Gold Reference Stereo).

By the way, do you really hear mic2 sounding more modern than mic1 ? I tracked this 6 month ago and cannot be sure who is who from the file names but I do not hear like you.
Attached Files

manley.mp3 (4.66 MB, 2672 views)

Old 22nd February 2011
  #56
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toneguru's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
I own two 149s and they are very very good and I have been using them for ten years without any difficulties. I have even used them with cheap mic-pres on one occasion for a remote and they were just as fantastic as always.

I strongly suspect that those that post negative comments have just not used them, or have used them once only and were shocked at their clarity. They do give you a very 'present' sound and, with the right signal chain and monitors, will give you the feeling of 'being there' like no other mic.

Like all Neumanns, they need a good room and being backed off for vocals.
I think there is merit to what Jay Frigo is saying.

I once had an M149 and had since sold it. Like I had said in my previous post "its not a bad mic". But as someone that has an extensive collection of Neumann mics, I found I did not need the M149.

note: every mic sounds different and I am sure that there are some folks with good sounding M149s who are quite pleased with them. I have a friend that liked mine and used it to much satisfaction.

- Cheers
Old 22nd February 2011
  #57
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WunderBro Flo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Not the same sound, I agree. Neumann did never state that it was the same. They have also different heads. The mic in the current Neumann product range having the same casing like the M49 is the TLM49. But I heard mics sounding more different in such a test than these both ones. For instance, in this test the difference between the M149 and and the Brauner Valvet is larger to my ears. Also the Manley Gold Reference, although being a modern mic, sounds much more different from M49(FLEA49) and M149 as you can judge by yourself from the attached track (not recorded at the same time like both other ones, XY instead of AB because it is a Gold Reference Stereo).

By the way, do you really hear mic2 sounding more modern than mic1 ? I tracked this 6 month ago and cannot be sure who is who from the file names but I do not hear like you.
Well my comment does not mean any is superior, just that I can clearly hear the singnarure sounds of those two mics in your piano recording. I also think they share similarities, it is mostly the frequency balance that is different, with the M149 being more mix ready. I can only guess if the M49 is going to sound better or not after an EQ to bring out more clarity on top or bring more definition by cutting upper bass. And yes, a different mic like a C12 would definitely result in even more audible difference. However, listening on Adam S4A speakers the difference in your files is quite obvious. I haven't tried to distinguish them on the small Yamahas :-)
Old 22nd February 2011
  #58
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telejustin's Avatar
 

When people talk about liking or not liking a mic, rarely if ever do they talk about what polar pattern they used.

I use a 149 on vocals all of the time. Often cardioid is not the best sounding pattern for a given source. If you change the polar pattern you change the frequency response of the mic and it's suddenly a different tool. The 149 has 9 polar patterns. Try it! I even show the artists how to move the switch so I can listen. They often comment on the differences they hear just on the headphones...
Old 22nd February 2011
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
The mic capsule is dirty.
I agree. Every time I have purchased a used mic from the non-dealer route the capsule had to be sent in for cleaning or some other minor issue had to be taken care of to get it back to specs. Neumann is very quick and accessible to take care of your mic.
Old 7th March 2011
  #60
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Eldhrimnir's Avatar
Sorry for the late reply, been busy the last couple of weeks. Anyway, for you who was wondering about the fantastic custom PSU, this is the guy your're looking for:

Andreas Grosser Fans Web
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