The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Apex 460 to C12 Step By Step
Old 29th May 2011
  #1
Apex 460 to C12 Step By Step

Just finished doing one of these 460 -> C12 mods. I was going to do a video but I couldn't get the lighting right and it looked like garbage, so a web page was plan B ( and a PDF version soon ). Hope this is useful to some people.

Thanks again to everyone that helped me out ! Couldn't have done it without this forum ! Im loving this Mic so far though I still have yet to use it in a final product.

APEX 460 to C12 MICROPHONE MOD

Mark
Old 29th May 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 
kidvybes's Avatar
 

...well done!...great job...I'm sure this will be helpful to those motivated to test out the "modded tube mic" waters for themselves...
Old 29th May 2011 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Traintrack's Avatar
 

Very Nice! Thanks! Will be a perfect resource for many.
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
jlipoth's Avatar
 

Any one know where to get silver mica in Canada? The US cost shipping of the linked store is very high. I could also use polystyrene instead. Is polystyrene good for C3 and C5? I also found a polypropelene, but it's only 100v...
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
BudgetMC's Avatar
Fabulous Job, Mark!!!
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
jlipoth's Avatar
 

this is fantastic BTW!
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
very cool!

I like the web page - nice content, well organized.

I'm VERY curious though about the sound - c12 is a bright mic for sure, the real c12 I mean. but it has this way of kind of compression that high end energy on the way in so it never hurts the ears or sounds harsh on female vocals, where most people shy away from very bright mics for female vocals because of the nasty side effects.

There's something magical in a real C12 mic in how it gives that bright presence and excitement without being bad sounding.

So what I'd like to hear is an intense female vocalist singing through your mic - an xtina type singer (who always uses a real C12 or elam). That style I mean.

So if you could just magically have xtina pop into your living room right now to give me a clip that would be great thanks LoL

anyway, to me that is sort of the ultimate test of a C12 variant. Your mods do really sound good though and I certainly hear C12-style tone coming from it overall.
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
I should add that the mods you did really do make the mic vastly superior to the stock 460 - the highs still have that pre-processed brightness that I was describing (which your stock 460 actually did pretty well too surprisingly enough, I never was that lucky with stock 460s...), but your mods give that great body to the tone.

C12s have a very very slightly scooped sound, I think your C12 mod has more of a scooped sound to it, but it's so hard to say for sure since your stock apex 460 recordings sound like mostly high end energy so what your mod adds is low end while mids aren't increased to the same level (this is all just what I'm hearing, not based on your measurements).

So it could also be just engineering things or maybe my ears haven't woken up yet (I just got to work here and am drinking my first coffee).

No matter what though - I really like the sound of your modded mic.

and the stock one, even though the highs sound pretty good on it, sounds pretty much useless to me which is what I normally find with apex 460s.

So very very well done :-)

I'd also like to hear how well the modded mic does on very loud sources - 460s overdrive really easily, but with your electronic mods it should have a lot more headroom.
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
kidvybes's Avatar
 

...for those who may have missed it, here's a link to an interesting article and addendum to this thread, courtesy of Recordinghacks.com, about Dave Thomas' original Apex 460 mod (into his AA CM-12) which includes links to 24-bit soundfiles comparing the modded 460 to original AKG C12 mics...these mods include similar components used here in Mark's documented process...

The Apex 460 / C12 Mod | recording hacks

...further info with podcast (featuring an interview with Dave Thomas) and 24-bit soundfile links:
Sessions With Slau ยป Blog Archive ยป Advanced Audio CM-12 Mod
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #10
CA stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlipoth View Post
Any one know where to get silver mica in Canada? The US cost shipping of the linked store is very high. I could also use polystyrene instead. Is polystyrene good for C3 and C5? I also found a polypropelene, but it's only 100v...
Actually I was wondering about the polysyrene for C3 and C5 myself. The most critical caps are definitely C8 and C4 so you would think that would be OK. Im not qualified to give an expert opinion on it though.

Newark has a canada site at Canada - Electronic Components Distributor | Newark Canada and they have silver mica. One of the problems I had was with size though. As you get higher in quality the size tends to go up pretty significantly.. I have several parts that just "didnt fit" which was one my main reasons for posting links. If anyone finds Canadian sources for good parts that fit i would happily add them as a secondary source.
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelley View Post
very cool!

So what I'd like to hear is an intense female vocalist singing through your mic - an xtina type singer (who always uses a real C12 or elam). That style I mean.

So if you could just magically have xtina pop into your living room right now to give me a clip that would be great thanks LoL

anyway, to me that is sort of the ultimate test of a C12 variant. Your mods do really sound good though and I certainly hear C12-style tone coming from it overall.
I happen to work occasionally with an all female quartet, and their soprano somewhat fits that bill. I wouldn't have original mic clips to compare to, but if I can get her to swing by soon I'll add that... good idea.
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by NothingTheory View Post
I happen to work occasionally with an all female quartet, and their soprano somewhat fits that bill. I wouldn't have original mic clips to compare to, but if I can get her to swing by soon I'll add that... good idea.
cool - before and after have been established, so no worries there, jsut how well it works on that type of voice would be exciting to hear!
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
jlipoth's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NothingTheory View Post
Actually I was wondering about the polysyrene for C3 and C5 myself. The most critical caps are definitely C8 and C4 so you would think that would be OK. Im not qualified to give an expert opinion on it though.

Newark has a canada site at Canada - Electronic Components Distributor | Newark Canada and they have silver mica. One of the problems I had was with size though. As you get higher in quality the size tends to go up pretty significantly.. I have several parts that just "didnt fit" which was one my main reasons for posting links. If anyone finds Canadian sources for good parts that fit i would happily add them as a secondary source.
Thanks! It's not hard to find companies that'll ship to Canada, but they are usually pretty expensive ($20-$35 per small order), so I'm trying to order everything from 1 place (which seems fairly impossible when modding a mic). I'd hate to spend $50 just for shipping!

Parts Connexion is Canada based and has some things. A small order is usually about $10 to ship.

I think I may get a bunch of WIMA caps from mouser.com to mod several apex 460s and several Apex 185 mics (MXL 603). That way I'll only pay shipping to 1 place and actually have something to tinker with for the extra cost.
Old 30th May 2011 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Wow good job! Thanks for this! I've wanted to mod a Apex 460 for awhile but never felt comfortable doing it. This doesn't look too bad.
Old 31st May 2011 | Show parent
  #15
Good man for posting this information!!


Cheers!
Old 31st May 2011 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
jlipoth's Avatar
 

I put a 1000pf 630v in C4 (I had some left over from modding a pair of Apex 185's and a CM54). It's creepy - the transient sounds almost the same as my modded CM54 now.... ...I'm going to order some polypros for this instead, so I can get a better sound variety for the mic collection.

BTW, If it wasn't for this tutorial I would have never have known or tried a lot of this!

So far, here are my findings about the mods from experimenting:

C4 - comes right after the capsule, affects the transient the most. Crucial in the sound path!!!

C8 and Transformer - upgrading these smooths out the sound (takes away a lot of the previous grainy qualities in the transient and body). The transformer is gives a much more noticeable change in this area. I gotta agree with the tutorial - CINEMAGS are a real piece of handmade art!

Tube - the lower gain 12AY7 tubes smooths out the frequency response. (the mids get tamed and the high end doesn't roll off as soon).

I haven't tried the rest yet, but I'd imagine they'll be more subtle (except for a capsule swap, which should cause one of the biggest changes). Another 460 thread I was reading had talked about upgrading C6 making a significant difference. Even if it doesn't, It would be nice to at least move the positioning to make room for the C8 upgrade.

I am most curious to see how this type of upgrade matches 2 mics. I've got 2 Apex 460's that have different components on the inside, and also sound very different from each other. One sounded AWFUL stock, and the other one sounded half usable stock.
Old 31st May 2011 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
deuc647's Avatar
Sticky in the geeksluts forum?
Old 31st May 2011 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
MicDaddy's Avatar
 

Reading it now, how do you like the Glenlivet? Working on a bottle of Glenfiddich 18 yr currently
Old 31st May 2011 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
MicDaddy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
Sticky in the geeksluts forum?
Second
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
dysenterygary's Avatar
 

Thanks for doing this! Now to get someone to do one for the pre73!
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicDaddy View Post
Second
3x the cosign!
Old 1st June 2011 | Show parent
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelley View Post
I think your C12 mod has more of a scooped sound to it, but it's so hard to say for sure ...
I agree. After thinking about it I think its likely the Elna Tonerex cap at C6.

"Tonerex have a smooth top end with a slightly recessed vocal/midrange.
Tonerex uses a specially developed composite paper and
oxygen free tinned copper leads."

They are known for being slightly scooped, but I've never really heard the difference in other circuits. I don't know the C12 that well, but I agree that its scooped..in a way Im liking. I would normally have gone with a Muse, but had an Elna already so used it..

Female vocalist over tonight. not the original vocalist I was thinking of but she has an incredible range. I'll add those clips soon. If she has time I'll comp her on a Blueberry, which is another Mic I might use on female vocals that I have in my locker, depending on the person and how I want it to sit in the mix.

Playing with and comparing a bunch of mics last night I found the Apex C12 mod to be somewhat ribbon-like, only it retains the upper and lower ends better. ( well better than my low end VR-88 ) It's like buttaaahrr...
Old 2nd June 2011 | Show parent
  #23
Female Vocals are up.

I wanted to thank everyone for the encouragement and kind words. I'd definitely like to do this again on something different ( not a mic ) .. pre ? compressor ? My wheels are turning. Maybe this fall after gig season.


Female vocals are up - for those interested.
Old 2nd June 2011 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
cool, very cool.

damnit though - you've made me seek out a cheap used 460 on craigslist so I can start screwing around with it. I used to do this all the bloody time then I stopped finally and just bought better mics. I'm quoted in the apex 460 mod pdf that's been going around these forums even (I didn't contribute much of anything very helpful to it though LoL).

And now after all this time, it's been like 3 or 4 years at least, you've sold me on what can be done with a 460.

thanks - I think ;-D
Old 2nd June 2011 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
by the way, on the female vocal clips -the alto doing sentimental journey sounds MILES better on the modded 460 than the bb. maybe was too far off the bb for it to get that intimacy, that's how it sounds, but either way, nice work! sue I'm not so sure about - the sibilance isnt' as attractive in the 460 on her voice compared to the bb, but the tube compression is very sexy on sue's voice compared to the purity of the bb.

I think, overall, I like your modded 460 better than the bb. and the bb is a hell of a nice mic.
Old 4th June 2011 | Show parent
  #26
distance

DK // was actually just the opposite I think. Sue is a more experienced vocalist but doesn't spend a lot of time in the studio. The big Tube mic hanging upside-down over her head was a little intimidating I think (I've dubbed it the St. Peter ) . So I'd put her at about 4-6 inches from pop filter which as 1-3 inches from mic.

Paulita on the other hand is comfortable in the studio.. smack dab up against the pop filter. She's actually a Bass and was singing at the top of her range.. and is the vocalist on the ( unfortunately very slowly moving, because i get sidetracked with other projects ) Nothing Theory project ( think downbeat techno with sultry female vocals ) ....

I found the differences interesting as well but it could be part pre-amp. The BB is known for its Air overtones and I think maybe the tube picked up on that and brought out the harmonics in a way that you could hear a lot more evident than the Focusrite.
Old 4th June 2011 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
jlipoth's Avatar
 

Working on 2 460 mics

Mic 1
-Trying this in the C4 spot:
Vishay Polypropylene Film Capacitor 600volts .001uF 5%
-c8 mcap 1uf 5%
-cinemag xformer
-12AY7 (GT)

I'm letting is the new c4 cap burn in for a bit here.

The second mic, I just swapped out the xformer, tube, c3, c4, c5, c6, c8, r7, I did not disconnect cathode follower or rewire anything. I'm getting signal sorta, but there's a problem. When i tap the mic I get a lot of sound, but very little if anything from the capsule. I'm going to start undoing everything one by one to see if I can find the problem (I have no voltmeter or know what I'd be looking for with it if I did). Anyone have suggestions on trouble spots?
Old 4th June 2011 | Show parent
  #28
Mic sounds great... really great! Good vocal mic indeed
Old 4th June 2011 | Show parent
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlipoth View Post
Working on 2 460 mics

Mic 1
-Trying this in the C4 spot:
Vishay Polypropylene Film Capacitor 600volts .001uF 5%
-c8 mcap 1uf 5%
-cinemag xformer
-12AY7 (GT)

I'm letting is the new c4 cap burn in for a bit here.

The second mic, I just swapped out the xformer, tube, c3, c4, c5, c6, c8, r7, I did not disconnect cathode follower or rewire anything. I'm getting signal sorta, but there's a problem. When i tap the mic I get a lot of sound, but very little if anything from the capsule. I'm going to start undoing everything one by one to see if I can find the problem (I have no voltmeter or know what I'd be looking for with it if I did). Anyone have suggestions on trouble spots?
I don't understand your problem clearly, but it might be a microphonic tube. So other than when you tap the mic, does it sound alright?
Old 5th June 2011 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
jlipoth's Avatar
 

The problem with mic #2 is that there is almost no sound being picked up by the capsule. I was hoping it is a microphonic tube too, but I'd should be getting some kind of signal from the capsule still (I think). Anyways, I'm gonna reverse everything (starting with the tube) after I put my kids to bed tonight.

I'm afraid it might also be a bad solder or worse yet, I might have overheated one of the boards. I was working on it late and was getting a little sloppy (I know - I should have just stopped).

Mic #1 is sounding good!
๐Ÿ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 126 views: 77072
Avatar for justinheronmusic
justinheronmusic 11th August 2015
replies: 460 views: 81811
Avatar for John Willett
John Willett 29th June 2010
replies: 73 views: 20786
Avatar for monkeyxx
monkeyxx 24th May 2013
replies: 5899 views: 739548
Avatar for PettyCash
PettyCash 2 weeks ago
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
๐Ÿ–จ๏ธ Show Printable Version
โœ‰๏ธ Email this Page
๐Ÿ” Search thread
๐ŸŽ™๏ธ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump