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Budget Tube mic opinions
Old 11th March 2009
  #1
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Budget Tube mic opinions

Interested in adding another LDC mic, most probably tube to my collection - already have a Rode NTK as current main vocal mic as well as a SP C1.
Looking for different flavor

Interested in: Cad Trion 8000, Cad M9, Cascade Elroy, sE2200T, Mxl m69 me or xm, V67, etc...

and anything that might give me a useful flavor
Old 11th March 2009
  #2
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If you are looking for an interesting flavor, why not shoot for something other than a condenser?

Seems you are familiar with Cascade. Do you have a Fathead?
Old 11th March 2009
  #3
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TurboJets's Avatar
Some may disagree but I find tube mics give me a nice open "what you hear is what you get" effect rather than "flavor".

When I think of LDC and flavor I think of AT's 4047 or a dynamic like an SM7.
Old 11th March 2009
  #4
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KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar
 

I have to agree with the other posts. If you already use an NTK to get a different flavor/vibe it isn't going to be from trying another tube LDC mic.

Try a ribbon, large diaphragm dynamic mic, or maybe a solid state LDC.

Examples: Shinybox or Cascade ribbons, Heil PR40, E/V RE-20, Shure SM7b, Sennheiser MD421/MD441, Blue Baby Bottle, Blue Bottle Rocket (solid states).

To me those would give you more variety.

I love tube condensers but typically they give me more of what's naturally there than something like a dynamic or ribbon which are typically mojo mics full of meat and flavor.

I like the Groove Tubes GT67 for affordable tube condensers. But I just don't see it being that much different than the NTK. Nor would I see the other tube condensers you listed as being much different.
Old 11th March 2009
  #5
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antoniosolo's Avatar
 

tube mic

Give a listen to the ADK tube mics...I love mine.
Old 11th March 2009
  #6
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I guess I should have been more specific... maybe 'flavor' is the wrong word to use - maybe what I'm looking for is another mic that is more complimentary to my voice.

I'm kinda doubting that a ribbon would be a mic I would want to sing into, although it would certainly find some applications - don't know much about the Shure sm7 mentioned.

I read somewhere in another thread about a Kel LDC that sounds interesting.
Looking for presence without over-hyping sibilance, chewy mids
Thanks
Old 11th March 2009
  #7
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XHipHop's Avatar
The oktava tube mic is a really interesting flavor.
Old 12th March 2009
  #8
The SM7 is probably the most recommended mic on Gearslutz, and the most prolific mic for rock vocals available. Check out this thread:

SM7b on hit vocals?

That being said, it really needs a pre with a lot of gain, I think Shure recommends at least 60 dB. This is the main reason I haven't bought one yet myself, it's going to be the first thing I buy once I get some SCA pres.

If you're truly in the market for a quality Tube LDC, many people rave about modding an Apex 460 with a new capsule, transformer, and tube, plus a few other minor circuit changes, to be considered on par with many botiques. I attached the step-by-step guide that's been floating around. I think this can all be done for about $500, including mic cost. This will likely be shortly after the SM7 on my list as well.

That being said, there's definitely a lot of buzz around the ribbons - the Fathead seems to get the most attention from low-enders.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Apex 460 Mods[1].pdf (4.65 MB, 540 views)
Old 12th March 2009
  #9
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Corran's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by XHipHop View Post
The oktava tube mic is a really interesting flavor.
+1, it'll probably be the polar opposite of the Rode. Might be what you want, in terms of variety.
Old 12th March 2009
  #10
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If you haven't got buckets of gain, try the Superlux R102 ribbon mic. It sounds excellent. Also the MXL M3 (said it more than 1000000000 times heh) sounds outstanding, especially for the price. The Golden Age Projects Neumann copies sound brilliant too. But yeah, a ribbon maybe the road to take, lots and lots of vibe going on there.
I modified an Apex 205 with a Lundahl tranny, windshield / inner basket removal, ribbon replacement and some felt to sort out the mechanical resonance and i'm very very happy. You do need 60+ db of clean gain (as with any passive ribbon) to get a workable level though. I prefer it to the fathead personally, but I have worked quite a bit on it.

Tobythumbsup
Old 12th March 2009
  #11
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if you want chewy midrange I probably wouldn't look at too many condenser mics.

I'd definitely look at Shure SM7b or the KEL HM2 first.

Then from there the Oktava tube mic, Blue Baby Bottle (very mid forward sounding mic), or a ribbon like a Shinybox or Cascade.

But that's just my opinion.

When I think of a condenser mic in general I think of bright, airy, etc. Now within that spectrum of mic type there is some variance but most condensers by nature aren't what I consider mid-vibey (kel hm2 is probably the exception).
Old 12th March 2009
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Ok since were talking Tube Mics lets stick to them
I have a CAD M9 and the CAD Trion 8000
CAD M9 is fabulous on Acoustic Guitar and the CAD trion 8000 has a very interesting top end for guitar and some vocals
I also have a MXL V76 which isnt as nice but interesting I would op for the CAD m9 or Trion 8000 first for the price and sound.
Old 12th March 2009
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basstracker7769 View Post
Ok since were talking Tube Mics lets stick to them
I have a CAD M9 and the CAD Trion 8000
CAD M9 is fabulous on Acoustic Guitar and the CAD trion 8000 has a very interesting top end for guitar and some vocals
I also have a MXL V76 which isnt as nice but interesting I would op for the CAD m9 or Trion 8000 first for the price and sound.
I was looking into those mics and even emailed CAD but my email bounced back for some reason. Other than looks, how are the M9 and trion 8000 different tonally?

Thanks
Old 12th March 2009
  #14
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I just got a trion about a week ago. I think it's fantastic. Very good for vocals. I also recommend swapping the tube for a NOS one.

Question?? How come people always want to add dynamics and ribbons into the the thread when somebody has questions about a tube mic? The SM7 is going to give you a very boring, flat, unflattering sound. That might work for some people...but I prefer a sound that is a little more open.
Old 12th March 2009
  #15
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

I'd get the tube vibe corner covered a bit more appealingly by selling the Rode and getting a Beesneez Jade....then worry about other flavours......just a thought. Jade isn't exactly budget, but the price definitely is! The sound isn't, unlike the Rode.....
Old 12th March 2009
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
Interested in adding another LDC mic, most probably tube to my collection...
The guy wants opinions on a tube mic.

I love this place, but if one more person around here suggests an SM7 I'm gonna punch myself in the throat. Not that its a bad mic, its great. I'm just saying, give the guy a little credit. Assume that he knows what he wants, and what he wants is a tube mic.

I say check out the Sputnik. I was looking around for the same type of thing, and for the price, its pretty solid.
Old 13th March 2009
  #17
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Newcleardaze's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by imnickb View Post
The guy wants opinions on a tube mic.

I love this place, but if one more person around here suggests an SM7 I'm gonna punch myself in the throat. Not that its a bad mic, its great. I'm just saying, give the guy a little credit. Assume that he knows what he wants, and what he wants is a tube mic.

I say check out the Sputnik. I was looking around for the same type of thing, and for the price, its pretty solid.
He also said he wanted "different flavor" which some don't equate with tube mics, as they mentioned. Just saying. And I'd really hope you don't punch yourself in the throat (I never hear that one before - but it did make me laugh.) For John N: if you want more info on the SM7b, there are hundreds if not thousands of threads about it.

That being said, the Avantone CV12 sounds quite different to my ear as a tube mic. Whether or not it would work for your voice I can't say. It seems very aggresive sounding to me. Also, since the NTK is a cardioid mic, maybe look for something that has more polar patterns to experiment with.
My $.03
Good luck
Old 13th March 2009
  #18
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Heartfelt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
I'd get the tube vibe corner covered a bit more appealingly by selling the Rode and getting a Beesneez Jade....then worry about other flavours......just a thought. Jade isn't exactly budget, but the price definitely is! The sound isn't, unlike the Rode.....
That is an excellent suggestion to me.




I had a Trion 8000. I LOVED it at first as it had more detail than any mic I had owned. It just sounded alive. After a few months, I got really tired of dealing with the top end on vocals and the sibilance. It can be a bear. No color per se... not hollow but not warm either.
Old 13th March 2009
  #19
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aclarson View Post

If you're truly in the market for a quality Tube LDC, many people rave about modding an Apex 460 with a new capsule, transformer, and tube, plus a few other minor circuit changes, to be considered on par with many botiques.
This is a great mod and I like mine a lot (Dave Thomas did the mod) but it's still a "what you hear is what you get" capture that really doesn't have a flavor. Just wide open and detailed - kinda sterile.
Old 14th March 2009
  #20
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I've got a Jade, I don't think you would be dissapointed with one, it sounds great to me. Just to compare, I also have an AT 4047 and a Groove Tubes AM62.
Old 14th March 2009
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
I'd get the tube vibe corner covered a bit more appealingly by selling the Rode and getting a Beesneez Jade....then worry about other flavours......just a thought. Jade isn't exactly budget, but the price definitely is! The sound isn't, unlike the Rode.....
I'd like to know if Karloff70 has even heard an NTK? Never heard of Bees Neez - which doesn't account for anything...

Still in my brief forays into researching some of these suggestions, so far the Avantone CV-12 is pulling ahead of the pack. It even gets a very flattering endorsement from Levon Helm - as does their cr-14 ribbon.

And, yeah - what is the deal with the popularity of the Shure SM7 on this forum - seems to be a mic for in your face metal or rap vocals and not what I'm looking for at the moment.
Old 14th March 2009
  #22
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Heartfelt's Avatar
Remember the AV-12 is the same as the Apex 460 which is half the price with a couple of extra tubes and a Red body.

Save the money, buy mod the 460 if THAT is the sound you like and end up with a better mic.
Old 14th March 2009
  #23
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Look at the HDWAudio #203 Tube mic....here> www.hdwaudio.com - Â* RIBBON & TUBE MICROPHONES
Old 14th March 2009
  #24
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asagaai's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
I'd like to know if Karloff70 has even heard an NTK? Never heard of Bees Neez - which doesn't account for anything...

Still in my brief forays into researching some of these suggestions, so far the Avantone CV-12 is pulling ahead of the pack. It even gets a very flattering endorsement from Levon Helm - as does their cr-14 ribbon.

.

I have a rode NT2000, a Pearlman TM1, a Avantone CV12, a Beez Neez Jade and a Beez Neez James on order.

A CV12 is very present with a huge high end sheen which you may/may not want. Gives a very forward modern bright sound. Pretty detailed as well. Think a CV12 like a mitsubishi EVO- fast cheap and brash but very useful for its application-but would be hard to only live with it - as although showy has a cheap tarty edge.

The NT 2000 is a solid LDC but is a garden workhorse with nothing special-bit boring. Think NT 2000 a toyota camry with auto.

The Beez Neez Jade is all class- does not have that high end bump sheen of Avantone CV12 but has more detailed lows/mids, has more growl factor but is sooo smooth and clasy and is far more deep spatially than the CV12. This mike is totally in another league of mikes so totally outside the price range it occupies- this to me is alike a BMW M3- but for camry money.

The Pearlman TM1 has been modified with a Ben sneesby single backplate K47 capsule/huge cinemag transformer- this thing now- never experienced a mike with such headroom and size. This is like a BMW M5-massive clout and presence and size- sometimes perhaps a bit too much.

For the money if I had to take 1, and only 1 and money was in issue -it would be the Beez Neez Jade (but that may change when I get the James)

If money was no issue I woudl keep the TM1 as modified with K47 single backplate and cinemag monster transformer.

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
Old 14th March 2009
  #25
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
I'd like to know if Karloff70 has even heard an NTK? Never heard of Bees Neez - which doesn't account for anything...

Still in my brief forays into researching some of these suggestions, so far the Avantone CV-12 is pulling ahead of the pack. It even gets a very flattering endorsement from Levon Helm - as does their cr-14 ribbon.

And, yeah - what is the deal with the popularity of the Shure SM7 on this forum - seems to be a mic for in your face metal or rap vocals and not what I'm looking for at the moment.
Yep, heard an NTK alright and the words that come to my mind are aggravating and somewhat painful.......the kind of thing you only think of as an asset if you haven't heard a proper mic....sorry if that sounds a bit full on, but tis my humble.....I suggest you check Bees Neez....(see asgaai's experience too...), as it will likely change your evaluation parameters......and no, I don't work for Bees Neez, but I do like the idea of the lone smiling mic fiend coming up with a line of mics that sound superb and which he sells for VERY decent prices.....I like it a lot! heh
Old 14th March 2009
  #26
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People love bashing the Avant CV-12. Try telling it to the engineer that used it on Taylor Swifts "Breathless" CD which sold 67,000 units in one week, a few weeks ago....

Even the stock Russian tube is hand picked. Put a NOS GE 5 star 6072 in that mic and then we'll talk.

Blind test it.

Avants quality control is second to none in the Chinese mic world.

I don't work for Avant but I do acknowledge that this is a underpriced mic and hearing is believing.
Old 15th March 2009
  #27
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Heartfelt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Track 7 View Post
People love bashing the Avant CV-12. Try telling it to the engineer that used it on Taylor Swifts "Breathless" CD which sold 67,000 units in one week, a few weeks ago....
Who cares who used it. Let's get 100 or so people saying the same thing,
as in the case of the SM7, and it will mean something. Any great engineer
(crediting Taylor's) can take something and MAKE it work.

There is no info on why he used it. Maybe they paid him or gave it for free.
With the first credible use on the SM7, Bruce Sweiden talks about his mic
and how they came about using it. Let's hear from the peeps about the Avant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Track 7 View Post
Even the stock Russian tube is hand picked. Put a NOS GE 5 star 6072 in that mic and then we'll talk.
Blind test it.
Avants quality control is second to none in the Chinese mic world.
Says who? There is another lowend mic seller that boasts that each mic is
listened to by a grammy winning engineer... big deal.This whole QC thing
as a selling point is silly to me. With nearly any dealer now, if you get a bad
mic, simply ship it back for another. DONE.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Track 7 View Post
I don't work for Avant but I do acknowledge that this is a underpriced mic and hearing is believing.
Great! It is a bright chinese mic. If that is what you want, buy the Apex,
save a load and buy a quality tube and BINGO. Same thing but less money...
just no red body. It is a proven fact that they are indeed, the same mic with
maybe a tube swap, some paint and a QC statement.



Cheers
Rob
Old 15th March 2009
  #28
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TurboJets's Avatar
A "hand picked Russian tube"? Oh my god, well then it MUST be the shizzle.

I can't even...

...never mind. It's not even worth posting.

Rob already hit the nail on the head..."bright chinese mic". Enough said.
Old 15th March 2009
  #29
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Newcleardaze's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartfelt View Post
Who cares who used it. Let's get 100 or so people saying the same thing,
as in the case of the SM7, and it will mean something. Any great engineer
(crediting Taylor's) can take something and MAKE it work.
There is no info on why he used it. Maybe they paid him or gave it for free.
With the first credible use on the SM7, Bruce Sweiden talks about his mic
and how they came about using it. Let's hear from the peeps about the Avant.
Says who? There is another lowend mic seller that boasts that each mic is
listened to by a grammy winning engineer... big deal.This whole QC thing
as a selling point is silly to me. With nearly any dealer now, if you get a bad
mic, simply ship it back for another. DONE.
Great! It is a bright chinese mic. If that is what you want, buy the Apex,
save a load and buy a quality tube and BINGO. Same thing but less money...
just no red body. It is a proven fact that they are indeed, the same mic with
maybe a tube swap, some paint and a QC statement.
Cheers
Rob
You seem perturbed about the Avant mics Rob... have you tried one??
As you pointed out, they come with 3 tubes (handpicked according to Avant and supposedly better than the stock tube, which youd didn't point out) and a fancy paint job, which is pretty cool in my book and can impress clients/potential clients (and lets face it, this IS a business.) You failed to mention it also comes with a nice case, an upgraded shockmount, as well as a 5 year warranty. I only found one warranty for the Apex 460, it was for 1 year, and cost an extra $40. Avant's QC is supposed to be VERY thorough... i wouldn't know, but they are banking their warranty on it.
These are things that some people are definitely willing to pay extra for, and obviously Avant has to put time, effort, material and man-power into this -- so the mic will cost more (about $180 for all the upgrades). Avant has more than one endorsement, and I doubt any engineer worth his/her salt is going to slap any old mic in front of an important singer for an endorsment deal -- who knows, I could be wrong here. I've seen alot of endorsement for the CV-12 here on Gearslutz -- don't know if it has been a 100 or not, but in my mind, those endorsements don't make the SM7b worthwhile... having used it and liked it does. And still with all those endorsements, some still don't like the SM7b.
I say if a person wants to try the Avant, then go for it. Either you'll like it or not like it. Want a cheaper route, then follow Robs suggestion and get the Apex, buy your own tubes (it could even be fun to try some of the mods, like switching the transformer - and it won't cost alot if you ruin the mic in the process), and don't worry about the aesthetic aspects that make the CV-12 worth more. Got more money, then you can trust Ben from Beez Neez and you'll never be sorry. Got extra money to spend, then do the smart thing... order 4 or 5 mics from somewhere that you can send the mics back and trust your own ears, keep what you like and send the rest back (usually you'll have to pay the extra shipping involved.)

Don't mean to single you out specifically, Rob, I just don't get all the mic bashing without a truly good reason.

Good luck, John N, I hope you find what you are looking for. Its difficult with such a subjective thing as sound, epsecially when you can't get to a store to try all the options you are interested in.

Best,
Greg
Old 15th March 2009
  #30
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xhavepatiencex's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Track 7 View Post
People love bashing the Avant CV-12. Try telling it to the engineer that used it on Taylor Swifts "Breathless" CD which sold 67,000 units in one week, a few weeks ago....
That would be a really interesting point if she could sing.
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