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Apex 460 tube mic
Old 19th May 2005
  #1
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orange's Avatar
 

Apex 460 tube mic

I guessing that some of you, like me, are anxious to try out the Apex mic - These are hard to get hold of in the UK - so i did a bit of looking around. I figured that if the Chinese were supplying 2 western "badge manufacturers" with this mic they would also be supplying other companies with the same mic. The cheap ribbon mic doing the rounds as a T.bone/nady/adk/whatever is an example.

anyway i've ordered - http://www.nady.com/products/product...mmics_pg3.html
i'm guessing that it's the same mic - except this was $159. I'll open it up and take some photos when it arrives.
si
Old 19th May 2005
  #2
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DivineMusic's Avatar
 

carvin has the same mic too, and look at the price difference
http://www.carvin.com/products/singl...CTM100&CID=MIC
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #3
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I have an Apex 460. It can be pretty good on the right vocalists. On others it is horrible.
It usually suffers from very excessive sibilance on many singers, even when it sounds good on them. It has an "airy" peak but it's in the wrong place IMO... around 9Khz rather than 12Khz which would sould a lot better.
Tonally this mic can work really well if you get lucky and match it up to a singer. It will still lack the 3D depth of better mics though.
It's also really very noisy. Not good on quieter sources at all.

It is also a PRIME candidate for modding. It's basically a really cheap C12-ish clone design and the build quality is surprisingly good. With a transformer and capsule switch, this mic could become quite good.
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #4
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orange's Avatar
 

any suggestions for a replacement transformer ?

si
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by orange
any suggestions for a replacement transformer ?

si
I was thinking the same thing. Also I wonder how this would sound on toms after (or even before) a mod?
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #6
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DivineMusic's Avatar
 

you read the 460 vs tele thread right.. swap that tube to a high quality tube and high end cable($90 for a neumann)
the guy in canada was doing the mods for like $175...from what i hear its worth it
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #7
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orange's Avatar
 

I've got some NOS tubes - for my other mics. Cable is no problem. The original article suggest the Chinese transformer was a bit iffy so I wondered what a decent lundahl or sowter replacement would be.

It seems the bottom line is that for $159 (about 80 quid) it's worth a go modding it - even using as a basis for the gyraf mic kit - you couldn't make the psu/body/grill etc for that money. I won't get hold of it for a couple of weeks so i'll know a bit more then.

might be better suited to geekslutz forum......

Incidentially I notice that http://www.mojaveaudio.com (royer) are producing a tube mic - seems to have the midas touch with his stuff so should be interesting.

si
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #8
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I replaced just the tube in mine with a really nice Mullard NOS one and noticed no difference in sound at all. I don't think that alone helps, despite what people want to believe.

If you're modding this beast I would recommend going all-out for a Gyraf G7 conversion. The PSU will work stock and the circuitry is very similar, you'd just have to make a few modifications. Swap the tranny for something decent and stick a Peluso CK12 capsule in there and you've got a mic that will REALLY compete with the big boys for a few hundred bucks. I'm planning on doing this in a month or so.
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #9
C/G
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C/G's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DivineMusic
you read the 460 vs tele thread right.. swap that tube to a high quality tube and high end cable($90 for a neumann)
the guy in canada was doing the mods for like $175...from what i hear its worth it
Dave Thomas does the mod for $75, including nos 5751 tube.
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #10
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dasbin - you know you are right. I was planning on making the Gyraf mike in the future but never gave the thought to getting one of these cheap tube mikes. Maily for the POWER SUPPLY! That was the only thing that I didn't look forward to making!
Thanks for opening my eyes to something right in front of them!

Do you think any of the tube mikes from China come with a PS that will work on the Gyraf?

Jim
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #11
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The Apex 460 is by far the best option. PSU, NICE body, grille, capsule mount, tube mount, shockmount, etc etc etc for $250ish CDN at Long and Mcquade in Canada
Old 19th May 2005 | Show parent
  #12
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Its on my list of things to buy! I'll be moving it to the front (right behind the rest of the parts I need for an LA2A).

Thanks.

Jim
Old 20th May 2005 | Show parent
  #13
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De chromium cob's Avatar
 

So I received my 460 today and gave it a quick run through-
Not bad- not great....Kinda what i figured it would be. Fairly cheap build quality as is to be expected from a really cheap mic. Cheap pins that will bend if your not careful pluging the mic in....

The front of the capsule sound the best, while the back in omni & figure 8 isnt anything to write home about. In general it has a bump in the 2 to 4 Khz range as the freq. chart HERE suggests....

I tried it through a Electrodyne 712 pre/eq and with a modest bit of eq got it to sound pretty good, so I think I'll probably wind up keeping it and modding it as some posts above have suggested. For a couple hundred it will be something I can screw with without fear of losing a bunch of money in the process, but until its modded probably wont see a whole lot of use because I have many high end mics, but for someone with a more modest mic collection I could see it being a good addition right out of the box.... Seeing the quality of the mic in general though and knowing what it shares with the M-16, I couldnt see spending 7 times the money for it.... As always, YMMV.
Old 20th May 2005 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by De chromium cob
Fairly cheap build quality as is to be expected from a really cheap mic.

I'm not sure what you're comparing to, but it's way better in build quality than any other Chinese mic I've ever seen. The housing is particularily solid. Looks pretty decent too.
I'd say the build quality is probably the highest point.
The PSU is a little fugly but does the job.
Old 20th May 2005 | Show parent
  #15
C/G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasbin
I replaced just the tube in mine with a really nice Mullard NOS one and noticed no difference in sound at all. I don't think that alone helps, despite what people want to believe.

If you're modding this beast I would recommend going all-out for a Gyraf G7 conversion. The PSU will work stock and the circuitry is very similar, you'd just have to make a few modifications. Swap the tranny for something decent and stick a Peluso CK12 capsule in there and you've got a mic that will REALLY compete with the big boys for a few hundred bucks. I'm planning on doing this in a month or so.
Excuse my electronics ignorance, but what capsules will work with the Apex. Peluso will as stated above, how about anything from BLUE? Can you just plop any capsule in there? This could be a really great platform to experiment with modifying. Forget all the stuff about the 460 vs. the M16, I want to try to make my own mic.
Old 20th May 2005 | Show parent
  #16
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There was a discussion over at Prodigy Pro about suitable capsules for a G7. Peluso CK12 and BLUE Cactus are the prime candidates. To work with the circuit it should certainly be a dual-diaphram and I believe also edge-terminated.

The popular opinion at Prodigy Pro seems to be that the Peluso and BLUE simply give different flavours - one is not necessarily "better" sounding than the other. Given the huge price difference I'd be first tempted to try the Peluso.

There was also a fellow who used a new AKG capsule from a 414 B-ULS with good results.
Old 20th May 2005 | Show parent
  #17
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460 tube mic

Remember that the capsules did look alike , so somewhere , where you can listen
to a few would be good , instead of changing the capsule , but i got one at

204 284 8992 ask for phil or stu

http://www.long-mcquade.com/index.as...on=2&level2=27

I haven't seen the schematic for it , [ can anyone post it ? ]
but apparently both sides of the tube are used unlike the
c-12 which i believe was only a unity gain impedance convertor
[ i/2 tube , both sides for the c-24 ] so there is some
gain involved and i think a 12ax7 overloads too easy
FWIW , i tried a flat plate telefunken tube in mine and it didn't seem
to make much difference [ where it did in a preamp ] so getting rid
of a few eletrolyic capacitors seems like the place to start ! the transformer
if you think it's worth the money . decent but Not an automatic go to mic ,
but then again how many tube ones are for everything ?

regards Greg
Old 21st May 2005 | Show parent
  #18
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I did the C414BULS capsule in the Apex 460, but I did a few more mods:

AKG 2072Z0005 capsule
Sowter 4935 transformer
NOS 6072 triode
Remove the cathode follower stage, change the plate resistor to 100k, and through a 1uF, 200 volt cap, feed the transformer from the plate of the one tube.
Replace a couple of the electrolytics with film capacitors.

A 12AT7 sounds pretty good if you add a 10pF capacitor from the grid to the plate. I never did like the 12AX7 in a tube mic.

Cinemag apparently has a transformer that is the correct ratio for the C12 (and other 6072 based mics) though I have not tried this transformer yet.

My mic sounded pretty good to my ears. If you are selecting a capsule, I would recommend against a capsule that requires the EQ section of a U67 or U87 - so I would not pick a capsule that comes from either of those. The Blue K47 copy would probably sound pretty good, I have not tried one of those yet. One caution is that the original capsule mount is for a 32mm capsule, and that works for my DIY'ed capsules (which are based on the Neumann M7, complete with a glued diaphragm) - they are 32mm in diameter, but most others are 34mm. I will be trying one of my M7-like capsules in my 460 in a few weeks (once I get more diaphragms).

I would avoid the Chinese 32mm capsules, they generally sound harsh to my ears. I am not sure if they can be tuned any better. Most of the sound is determined by the drilled passages, so changing much of anything except making new backplates is not likely to help the sound much. The diaphragms on my Apex 460 were not glued to a tensioning/retainer ring (as the Apex 430 diaphragms were) which means that if you take the capsule like this apart, you will not get it together properly without a brand new diaphragm.

I ordered the AKG capsule from Long and Mcquade, it was about $300.

Here is my mic lab, and this shows depositing metal on a diaphragm, tensioning a diaphragm and one possible jig used to do that:

http://www.10000cows.com/diyaudio.htm

-Dale
Old 21st May 2005 | Show parent
  #19
Here for the gear
 

460 tube mic

Nice detail , thanks for the info

any schematics or did you just trace the [ two ]
boards ?

regards Greg
Old 21st May 2005 | Show parent
  #20
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The empty promise of swamp land dressed up as beach front property still attracts rubes like flies to honey.
Old 21st May 2005 | Show parent
  #21
Here for the gear
 

460 tube mic

i bought one of the Apex right away when it came out , for the cost &
hassel of building one , you have a good place to start , and it was
usable as is , i did stop short of getting a pair

I have found this to be true , that any custom build stuff needs allot
of money put into looks for people to be convinced that it is good
especially when it competes with thousands of dollars of advertising
with comercial products . [ or " higher end " products ]

Dan from Great River was selling preamp cards for a while , i got a couple
and have a world class preamp but no sweat for Dan cause it will never
look quite as slick as his . It you are recording by yourself no problem ,
you know ! But will we ever know excatly how different the M-16 [ a gun ? ]
are ? guess that is how you build a mystique

And as we all know the bottom line is the material & performance before
gear , even if it only turns out to be a vanity cd

So happy recording everyone , and if it gets you to listen more , all the better

regards Greg
Old 23rd May 2005 | Show parent
  #22
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orange's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Labs
So just because telefunken is suspected to change a few caps and rebrand this mic you all throw yourself at it ? I mean, its still the chinese tube mic it always was. There are probably at least a handfull or two of those you could try out or mod.

I just dont get it. How many of you wouldve bought it if not for the hype?
Im gonna laugh my ass off if it turns out aphex was involved in the "exposure" of telefunken...

anyways.. - as you were.

Gustav

a fair point...but the logic runs like this:

Telefunken pick a mic, breathe on it and make a mic that retails for $xyz. Lets assume that Telefunken believe is sounds good enough to warrant that much money. It turns out you can buy a similar 'unbreathed on' mic for $159 - so that makes me interested enough to give it a listen. If it's a pile of sh*t, which is likely/possible/probable, then it makes a good basis for a project. You couldn't make a psu/case/mic body for that amount of money.

So yeah, the "exposure" did make me go out and buy the mic but that's not necessarily a bad thing - reading about the Great River preamp on this site made me go out and buy one of those too !

si
Old 29th May 2005 | Show parent
  #23
Here for the gear
 

AKG Worried

Apparently there is some word that AKG is worried this will affect their
mic sales [ people buying just their capsules ? ] this second hand from
a store selling the apex 460 .
Anything is **** if you never use it , so record away !

regards Greg
Old 30th May 2005 | Show parent
  #24
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My Apex 460 should be here any day now.....I had Dave Thomas up in Canada do his mods to it ....I spent a touch more and went with the 6072 tube......with shipping and all mods came close to 400........Anyway if it a half descent multi patter tube mic it is well worth the money.........from a few people i spoke with the mods really change things sonically and makes it a great sounding mic.........time will tell!

Ron Florentine
Soundswest Studio
Old 30th May 2005 | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron florentine
My Apex 460 should be here any day now.....I had Dave Thomas up in Canada do his mods to it ....I spent a touch more and went with the 6072 tube......with shipping and all mods came close to 400........Anyway if it a half descent multi patter tube mic it is well worth the money.........from a few people i spoke with the mods really change things sonically and makes it a great sounding mic.........time will tell!

Ron Florentine
Soundswest Studio
eager to hear what you hear
Old 30th May 2005 | Show parent
  #26
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sunflute's Avatar
 

Review?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron florentine
My Apex 460 should be here any day now.....I had Dave Thomas up in Canada do his mods to it ....I spent a touch more and went with the 6072 tube......with shipping and all mods came close to 400........Anyway if it a half descent multi patter tube mic it is well worth the money.........from a few people i spoke with the mods really change things sonically and makes it a great sounding mic.........time will tell!

Ron Florentine
Soundswest Studio
I've been wondering about the sound of the Dave Thomas modded 460. Would you please give us a personal review of the sound of the modded 460 after you try it?

Thank you so much,
Peace
Old 1st June 2005 | Show parent
  #27
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My Dave Thomas modded Apex 460 arrived today............Had sessions all day so i havent had a chance to try it out yet.......I am a little shy about pulling out a new mic with clients...I like to experiment with it for a few days first by myself............I will say Dave has been great to deal with...i made a last second change and had him upgrade the already upgrade tube (5751) to a 6072.......he was very deligent in checking to make sure the 6072 was a good and quiet tube...(he told me he went through 3 to find a good one).........very nice guy kept in contact the whole time.....from what he told me they have been using his modded 460 to record a bunch of hi end orchestral jobs and some network stuff also........Like i said i havent heard it yet .....will report back in a few days to update you.

Ron Florentine
Soundswest Studio

PS....my wife got pretty pissed when the mic arrived at the house......we have a no gear buying rule at the moment.....I thought she wouldnt mind because it was only $400 not $4000 mic.....boy was i wrong........
Old 1st June 2005 | Show parent
  #28
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sunflute's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron florentine
My Dave Thomas modded Apex 460 arrived today............Had sessions all day so i havent had a chance to try it out yet.......I am a little shy about pulling out a new mic with clients...I like to experiment with it for a few days first by myself............I will say Dave has been great to deal with...i made a last second change and had him upgrade the already upgrade tube (5751) to a 6072.......he was very deligent in checking to make sure the 6072 was a good and quiet tube...(he told me he went through 3 to find a good one).........very nice guy kept in contact the whole time.....from what he told me they have been using his modded 460 to record a bunch of hi end orchestral jobs and some network stuff also........Like i said i havent heard it yet .....will report back in a few days to update you.

Ron Florentine
Soundswest Studio

PS....my wife got pretty pissed when the mic arrived at the house......we have a no gear buying rule at the moment.....I thought she wouldnt mind because it was only $400 not $4000 mic.....boy was i wrong........
Thank you Ron,

Sorry About your wife getting mad. Well, at least I hope the mic makes up for the endured agravation.

Please do keep us up to date on the sound and quality of the mic. Some of us are very keen to find out what the quality of the modded sound is.

Thank you
Old 1st June 2005 | Show parent
  #29
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I tried to find contact info on Dave Thomas but I am having no luck.

Can you post the info here or let us know a search hint in order to find him? Thanks.

Does he have a web site?

Jim (ps: I just brought home a Fender Bassman 1965 cabinet I got for $100.00, got it past her this time because of the low price. Honey....I couldn't turn away a deal like that! I love my wife, she puts up with "RGS" (Repetitive Gearslutz Syndrome).
Old 1st June 2005 | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron florentine
PS....my wife got pretty pissed when the mic arrived at the house......we have a no gear buying rule at the moment.....I thought she wouldnt mind because it was only $400 not $4000 mic.....boy was i wrong........
LMAO... I guarantee if it was a 10K dining set or jewelry she'd be singing a different tune

"Women, can't live with them, and you can't herd'em all to Canada..." Al Bundy
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