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Recommendation to replace Neumann KMS 105
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Recommendation to replace Neumann KMS 105

I'm a singer, not a gear person, go gentle on me, fine lords.

As a passion project I started a popup jazz club - I signed an agreement with a corporate venue to take it over a few nights a month and put on jazz shows. It's been going great!

A sound engineer I consulted with on the gear recommended I get a Neumann KMS105 for the vocal mic. It sounds great for other performers we've had, but personally I've been struggling with it. When I'm not dabbling in jazz, I'm a cantor - I sing in a synagogue with hundreds of seats and NO mic at all. So I spent a decade studying vocal projection. As a result, when a mic is 2 inches away and hot I sound good; when I have to eat the mic I sound harsh and ugly, the voice is too brash and harsh up-close.

The problem with the KMS105 is that the house engineer couldn't run it hot - he insisted I eat the mic as he had no more headroom to push it and it was designed to be used very close. The problem worsens because my band is LOUD - big band jazz, not Norah Jones - and he wanted me super close into the mic to deal with it. I wasn't too happy with the result. I didn't sound very good :eek:

I was playing around with other gear at the venue and noticed that when I plugged in an AudioTechnica ATW-T1002 mic, which they keep around for speaking conferences, the gain levels on the mixer were at LEAST 20% higher than the KMS105, and I sounded much much better, even though it's a much cheaper mic. The extra gain makes such a difference bc I can use it hot.

TL;DR, I want a really great vocal mic with high output so I can run it hot. I know it might pick up bleed; it is what it is. Eating the mic doesn't work for me. Please recommend!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Nut
 

This is what the Shure SM 58 was made for.... and if you don't like you can use it on anything else forever.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlish View Post
I'm a singer, not a gear person, go gentle on me, fine lords.

As a passion project I started a popup jazz club - I signed an agreement with a corporate venue to take it over a few nights a month and put on jazz shows. It's been going great!

A sound engineer I consulted with on the gear recommended I get a Neumann KMS105 for the vocal mic. It sounds great for other performers we've had, but personally I've been struggling with it. When I'm not dabbling in jazz, I'm a cantor - I sing in a synagogue with hundreds of seats and NO mic at all. So I spent a decade studying vocal projection. As a result, when a mic is 2 inches away and hot I sound good; when I have to eat the mic I sound harsh and ugly, the voice is too brash and harsh up-close.

The problem with the KMS105 is that the house engineer couldn't run it hot - he insisted I eat the mic as he had no more headroom to push it and it was designed to be used very close. The problem worsens because my band is LOUD - big band jazz, not Norah Jones - and he wanted me super close into the mic to deal with it. I wasn't too happy with the result. I didn't sound very good :eek:

I was playing around with other gear at the venue and noticed that when I plugged in an AudioTechnica ATW-T1002 mic, which they keep around for speaking conferences, the gain levels on the mixer were at LEAST 20% higher than the KMS105, and I sounded much much better, even though it's a much cheaper mic. The extra gain makes such a difference bc I can use it hot.

TL;DR, I want a really great vocal mic with high output so I can run it hot. I know it might pick up bleed; it is what it is. Eating the mic doesn't work for me. Please recommend!
most any condenser mic has a rather high sensitvity so it can be used at larger distance from the source than a dynamic mic yet and one still gets the details across; trouble is that when performing on loud stages, a condenser mic more easily picks up all the unwanted 'noise' (sound coming from nearby instruments, wedges, rear blast of pa, reflections etc.) - the latter actually necessitates going very close, there's simply no way around it, regardless of whether using a condenser or dynamic (or ribbon) mic or whether you are a classically trained musician who can easily perform well in unamplified situations.

actually, the moment you start using mics/get amplified, level/spl and huge dynamic swings are no longer much of a consideration or even wanted... - you might need to adjust your technique a bit!

regarding the kms-104/105, they have a rather pronounced high frequency boost which can attribute to the sound being percieved as harsh, shrill etc. - i suggest you keep looking for an different model, lower your volume a bit and yes, go close (or get the other musicians to play softer/bring down the stage volume: then ans at some distance. the ksm-105 could still be a very good choice).

i've been using the beyerdynamic mce81tg with a many singers for quite a few years and like it quite often (although it has an equally pronounced but more smooth hf lift) or you might want to check out the shure ksm8 or telefunken m81...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Which preamp are you using? I am asking because it doesn’t take much gain to get a 105 hot; + 37 dB to start and most preamps can take you to at least 50 dB which is too hot for my taste on a 105.

I like KMS 104/105s, they do need distance, at least 6”. I think you may appreciate the Shure KSM8 already mentioned. I picked up a Soyuz Launcher recently and really like it with the KSM8 which has very little proximity effect, also sounds great at 6-8”. The Launcher is a pre-preamp, about 26 dB, designed for dynamics and ribbons but also nice with active handhelds and LDCs.

The great thing about handheld mics is the price, even the most expensive are not as challenging to afford as great LDCs so buy used, experiment a bit and re-sell what doesn’t work.

Other great options to try: Earthworks SR40V is a hot, great mic and don’t discount an old classic, the Beyer 160 ribbon with a Launcher. Very tight pattern/stellar feedback rejection.

Last edited by StevenLMorgan; 3 weeks ago at 05:29 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenLMorgan View Post
Which preamp are you using? I am asking because it doesn’t take much gain to get a 105 hot; + 37 dB to start and most preamps can take you to at least 50 dB which is too hot for my taste on a 105.
A Behringer X32. I was playing around yesterday and I agree, at +37db it sounds great, but the thing is that the cheap AudioTechnica mics we have are louder at +20db than the Neumann is at +37db. That's the whole issue, to get hot gain on the Neumann the engineer needed to push it to +40dB territory at which point it was getting tons of bleed from the loud band on the small stage, so he had to lower it and I had to eat the mic.

The difference between the output gain of the Neumann vs the AT seems a little too crazy - maybe there is some kind of additional pre-amp in the venue's audio rig that the AudioTechnica wireless receivers are plugged into, I don't know. I guess it doesn't really make a difference, it a mic is louder at a lower gain it'll still be getting the same amount of bleed at that lower gain too, so it all balances out... #needabiggerstage
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 

If you are open to experimenting, this may be fun.

I often “stack” two preamps, turn down the first preamp to the mic and use a second preamp to get the volume where I want.

Mic > preamp 1 > preamp 2

This reduces sensitivity at the mic, which helps with noise, and gives you all the volume you need.

I use high end dedicated preamps, the 2nd with line-in, but expect some experimenting can make it work with an X32 without distortion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlish View Post
A Behringer X32. I was playing around yesterday and I agree, at +37db it sounds great, but the thing is that the cheap AudioTechnica mics we have are louder at +20db than the Neumann is at +37db. That's the whole issue, to get hot gain on the Neumann the engineer needed to push it to +40dB territory at which point it was getting tons of bleed from the loud band on the small stage, so he had to lower it and I had to eat the mic.

The difference between the output gain of the Neumann vs the AT seems a little too crazy - maybe there is some kind of additional pre-amp in the venue's audio rig that the AudioTechnica wireless receivers are plugged into, I don't know. I guess it doesn't really make a difference, it a mic is louder at a lower gain it'll still be getting the same amount of bleed at that lower gain too, so it all balances out... #needabiggerstage
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlish View Post
(...) the cheap AudioTechnica mics we have are louder at +20db than the Neumann is at +37db (...)
volume is 'voltage on the fader' - if the at's are louder, it's (very likely) because their wireless receivers output line level and so a much hotter signal than the ksm105 - get your gain structure right, then compare...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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I didn’t recognize that the AT mic was wireless!

deedeeyeah has it covered here, the wireless mic has another gain source to investigate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
volume is 'voltage on the fader' - if the at's are louder, it's (very likely) because their wireless receivers output line level and so a much hotter signal than the ksm105 - get your gain structure right, then compare...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Big trained vocals, and that certainly includes cantor duties, need to be miced from a distance of at least 12 if not more inches. The more powerful the projected harmonics of all performances, the longer the distance needed between the source and the mic. A sufficient amount of distance needs to be allowed to permit necessary harmonic blending. There is a substantial number of side addressed LDCs including some well known tube mics that function very well in this environment. Three of todays most powerful tenors used DPA tiny condensers from an apx 14inch placement distance for the audio capture of a stellar TV broadcast that many of us watched several years ago. I have worked with several big vocal performers as well as powerful instrumentalists that produce very strong acoustic output and this protocol always works for me. I routinely use one of my tubes, Flea 47next, or Paluso 2247 or p 67, and have used hand held AE5400s. (They share the large capsule found in the AT4050)
Chances are the problems you are experiencing in the subject venue is a lot more involved than just a mic choice!
Hugh
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlish View Post
When I'm not dabbling in jazz, I'm a cantor - I sing in a synagogue with hundreds of seats and NO mic at all. So I spent a decade studying vocal projection. As a result, when a mic is 2 inches away and hot I sound good; when I have to eat the mic I sound harsh and ugly, the voice is too brash and harsh up-close.
Assuming you're not Steven Blane, you might want to check out Steven Blane's Youtubes. Or even reach out to him. He's a cantor who sings jazz.

I suspect his first bit of advice might be something along the lines of, "Sing jazz like a jazz singer. Not like a cantor."
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
Big trained vocals, and that certainly includes cantor duties, need to be miced from a distance of at least 12 if not more inches. The more powerful the projected harmonics of all performances, the longer the distance needed between the source and the mic. A sufficient amount of distance needs to be allowed to permit necessary harmonic blending. There is a substantial number of side addressed LDCs including some well known tube mics that function very well in this environment. Three of todays most powerful tenors used DPA tiny condensers from an apx 14inch placement distance for the audio capture of a stellar TV broadcast that many of us watched several years ago. I have worked with several big vocal performers as well as powerful instrumentalists that produce very strong acoustic output and this protocol always works for me. I routinely use one of my tubes, Flea 47next, or Paluso 2247 or p 67, and have used hand held AE5400s. (They share the large capsule found in the AT4050)
Chances are the problems you are experiencing in the subject venue is a lot more involved than just a mic choice!
Hugh
if you are referring to the three tenors (domingo, carreras, pavarotti), the mics were schoeps, not dpa. doesn't matter much though and could as well have been from neumann.

also, ldc's typically are NOT getting used for recording/amplification of classial music/soloists as literally all ldc's show stronger off-axis coloration and larger changes in pattern depending on frequency than sdc's. one of the few mdc's which gets regular use on soloists is the tlm170.

___


anyway, the stage noise defines whether any mic can be used at some distance: too much noise and not even a shotgun or a line-array mic will work!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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badmark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlish View Post
...

A sound engineer I consulted with on the gear recommended I get a Neumann KMS105 for the vocal mic. It sounds great for other performers we've had, but personally I've been struggling with it. When I'm not dabbling in jazz, I'm a cantor - I sing in a synagogue with hundreds of seats and NO mic at all. So I spent a decade studying vocal projection. As a result, when a mic is 2 inches away and hot I sound good; when I have to eat the mic I sound harsh and ugly, the voice is too brash and harsh up-close.
...
I was playing around with other gear at the venue and noticed that when I plugged in an AudioTechnica ATW-T1002 mic, which they keep around for speaking conferences, the gain levels on the mixer were at LEAST 20% higher than the KMS105, and I sounded much much better, even though it's a much cheaper mic. The extra gain makes such a difference bc I can use it hot.

TL;DR, I want a really great vocal mic with high output so I can run it hot. I know it might pick up bleed; it is what it is. Eating the mic doesn't work for me. Please recommend!
The gain structure issues mentioned above certainly need looking at, but it may also be that the 105 just isn't for you. Your experience with it chimes with mine. I'm using it on a vocoder 'cos favourite old studio mic died, and have crammed a foam windshield from somewhere over it to get it to behave itself. I get why people recommend the 105, but it is perhaps a thorough-bred where you need a quality workhorse.

If you're happy with the sound of the 'house' 1002 and the 'house engineer' is obviously comfortable working with it, might as well just use that at that venue for all-round happiness. Unless a mic is an absolute donkey, your own performance makes up for ultimate technical specifications. Audio-Technica make solid microphones, the 5040 linked and mentioned above sounds like fun.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 

The three tenors outdoor Italian TV production featured three long goose neck stems with tiny capsules with wind socks that appeared to me to be DPA 4098 mini super card mics. I have never seen any other system with that specific profile. The second issue is the fact that in 50 years of SR work I have never encountered a big voice singer working with a hot back line or loud stage of any type! My side addressed tube mics work very well for me in these applications.
Hugh
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The three tenors outdoor Italian TV production featured three long goose neck stems with tiny capsules with wind socks that appeared to me to be DPA 4098 mini super card mics. I have never seen any other system with that specific profile. The second issue is the fact that in 50 years of SR work I have never encountered a big voice singer working with a hot back line or loud stage of any type! My side addressed tube mics work very well for me in these applications.
Hugh
I think some of it has to do with historical precedent. The present-day Grand Ole Opry is a televised version of the original radio show, so big mics onstage are part of the traditional look. The other kind of "Opry," the European kind, had a traditional look that was a bit different.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The three tenors outdoor Italian TV production featured three long goose neck stems with tiny capsules with wind socks that appeared to me to be DPA 4098 mini super card mics. I have never seen any other system with that specific profile. The second issue is the fact that in 50 years of SR work I have never encountered a big voice singer working with a hot back line or loud stage of any type! My side addressed tube mics work very well for me in these applications.
Hugh
"The versatility of the Schoeps is aided by the accessories for which Schoeps has become famous: active tubes with swivels at the top to create stands that never detract from the looks of a concert. The stereo set of tubes places a pair of Schoeps side by side or over and under as a spot mic pair. The original "Three Tenors" concert video shows three sets of these, one for each of the tenors."

i assisted on a few shows and got to mix the orchestra/choir on a few other occasions - guess i could even find the rider somewhere: mostly schoeps (and lots of pasta), at least here in the old world!

and regarding hot stage levels: well, lucky you...


___


i'm using the kms104d (digital version) on various singers - for some strange reasons, i prefer it somewhat over the analog version but quite a bit over the kms105: the cardioid version has a more gentle hf lift and the pattern behaviour (towards the rear) 'feels' a bit more predictable - both imo almost always need a dynamic eq though...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
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This really seems like a zebra hunt. You should just try the usual workhorses - Beta58, e935, OM5, etc - and from there we can guide you much more effectively. Stop listening to that engineer, starting with a KMS 105 was stupid. It's way too specific in scope. It not working for your tells us very little about what to try next. Since bleed is an issue don't start with a condenser at all.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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I don’t agree with this statement. For the record, vocal quality is priority one for me.

I have very successfully used 5 KMS 105s at a time for vocals on loud stages.

You have to set the monitors up correctly, have a chat with everyone on mic technique and have cooperative vocalists.

105s and 104s sound amazing through my arguably, over-the-top, preamps; if your vocalists like the sound, they are usually cooperative.

If they can’t/won’t cooperate, want to do crazy things onstage, they get a dynamic. That being said, my dynamics are KSM8s which are quite good, previously recommended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AC2SPL View Post
This really seems like a zebra hunt. You should just try the usual workhorses - Beta58, e935, OM5, etc - and from there we can guide you much more effectively. Stop listening to that engineer, starting with a KMS 105 was stupid. It's way too specific in scope. It not working for your tells us very little about what to try next. Since bleed is an issue don't start with a condenser at all.

Last edited by StevenLMorgan; 3 weeks ago at 09:49 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenLMorgan View Post
I don’t agree with this statement. For the record, vocal quality is priority one for me.

I have very successfully used 5 KMS 105s at a time for vocals on loud stages.

You have to set the monitors up correctly, have a chat with everyone on mic technique and have cooperative vocalists.
The fake arguments about condenser microphones keep being propagated here despite all the factual arguments and experiences which prove them to be misleading.

The fact that there is a feedback problem has nothing to do with the mic being a condenser or not...use the correct techniques and placement, as with all things, knowledge goes a long way.
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