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Stellar cm-6/cm-5 or mod my v67g?
Old 20th October 2013
  #1
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Stellar cm-6/cm-5 or mod my v67g?

I'm super on the fence about making a decision on a great sounding mic for my new home studio.

Budget is tight. $500 is pretty much my limit right now for a mic purchase. Will be mostly recording my own vocals (male, tenor, pop/r&b kinda tone). I have a voice that sounds great on a u87 but I obviously can't swing that. I like the LDC sound on my voice, especially for my current project (pretty much ruled out sm7b, so save your fingers from typing ). I like a smoooooth high end that isn't sibilant, and a nice weight that can put a vocal right in a mix. I've recorded on many high end mics and unfortunately I've developed expensive taste :(

I've had my eye on the cm-6/cm-5 for a while. Word on the street is good.

I already own an MXL v67g, which I bought as a knock around mic a while back. It is harsh, grainy, and a bit sibilant, but I know companies like jj audio and Joly do mods on these that are "u87 attempts".

With which route will my dollar go further? Which "budget", "bang for buck" option will not leave me missing out on an expensive sound?!
Old 20th October 2013
  #2
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RedTuxedo's Avatar
We LOVE the Stellar CM-5. We also have the CM-6. Of the 2, the CM-5 is used 90% of the time. It has this thickness that just sits in the mix. Just a touch of compression IF any.
Old 21st October 2013
  #3
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drBill's Avatar
You're talking two completely different approaches - FET vs. Tube. You need to decide which suits your esthetic and applications best. I can only comment on Joly's mods and at that not a v67g as I've never had one of his modded 67's, but a modded Joly FET mic that he turns out is easily the equivalent - albeit different topology - of the CM5/6. BUT, will that suit you better - or worse??? Only you can tell.

My instinctual FET choices usually start these days with the Joly 012/K47h, then Gefell UM70, and then the venerable U87 followed by a few dozen others if those don't work (which is rare). For drum OH's it's always the UM70's, for Vocals, I'd start with the 012/K47. If it's a client I don't know well, I pull out the U87 first. heh As of late, I've had a U47 hand built, and that's been getting a lot of love, but the parts alone cost more than double your choices, so....

In my experience, until you start hitting the high end tube mics or specifically modded tube mics, I always tend to lean more towards FET mics, and even then, I often like the more muscular vibe of FET's over tube mics costing 8X;s as much. I know I'm weird, but it's my instinct and it usually turns out right - for ME. For you? I couldn't hazard a guess.
Old 21st October 2013
  #4
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Cool! Yea, most people describe the cm-6 as clean and accurate, and the cm-5 as warmer and bigger. Would you say the cm-5 is more "Neumannesque" with a bigger mid forward sound, or is that just too different to compare?
Old 21st October 2013
  #5
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RedTuxedo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by halcyo View Post
Cool! Yea, most people describe the cm-6 as clean and accurate, and the cm-5 as warmer and bigger. Would you say the cm-5 is more "Neumannesque" with a bigger mid forward sound, or is that just too different to compare?
I wouldn't dare say it was "Neumannesque", but it does have a big mid forward sound, without being dull.
Old 21st October 2013
  #6
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changeng's Avatar
drBill - (please pardon this temporary hijack of the thread) - you're getting a U47 handbuilt? I thought you were over the moon about Mike Joly's U47-ish mod of the Nady 1050? Not pointing fingers - in fact I'm about to order one from him. Have you gotten tired of it? Was something missing from the Jolymod for you?
Old 21st October 2013
  #7
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by changeng View Post
drBill - (please pardon this temporary hijack of the thread) - you're getting a U47 handbuilt? I thought you were over the moon about Mike Joly's U47-ish mod of the Nady 1050? Not pointing fingers - in fact I'm about to order one from him. Have you gotten tired of it? Was something missing from the Jolymod for you?
No, I still love it. I get bored easy..... At pushing 90 mics, I'm a confirmed mic-oholic I'm afraid... "hi, my name is bill. I have way more mics than I can possibly use, and I still continue to buy them at alarming rates...."

Actually, two buddies were building U47's and they kept nagging me to build one too, so I gave in. LOL It's been a fun, if somewhat frustrating project. I ended up getting one of them to help me. I'm still having some tube issues with it, but it'a a cool mic WHEN it's working right. As is the 1050 mod, which I really dig too. I REALLY like that it's noiseless and works perfect every time I fire it up....

I still lean towards the FET mics first though.....
Old 21st October 2013
  #8
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guitarboy94's Avatar
 

I'm sort of with Bill in that I prefer the sound of FET mics over tube mics. I've not tried every tube mic out there obviously, but the ones I have tried impart a sheen on the top end that's airy and nice, but I like the natural, muscular vibe of a FET mic without that airy harmonic sheen you get from tubes. the tube mics I've tried impart a certain "glaze" over the sonic picture, if that makes sense. The FET mics I've tried, such as Joly's mic, sound more natural and less hyped on my voice. YMMV. The CM-5 is a very nice mic. I've tried it, wasn't right for me, but it seems to suit a lot of other people.
Old 21st October 2013
  #9
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by halcyo View Post
II've had my eye on the cm-6/cm-5 for a while. Word on the street is good.

I already own an MXL v67g, which I bought as a knock around mic a while back. It is harsh, grainy, and a bit sibilant, but I know companies like jj audio and Joly do mods on these that are "u87 attempts".

With which route will my dollar go further? Which "budget", "bang for buck" option will not leave me missing out on an expensive sound?!
...I had Jim Jacobsen's modded V67 and it was vastly improved from the stock mic...smooth on top with a tighter, bigger bottom than stock...I only sold it because I felt it was a little too similar to my CM-6, the latter having a bit more of a modern "pop radio" top-end sheen which I prefer...but since I record vocals exclusively, I favor tube mic vibe for most lead male voices and find my FET LDCs are often more preferable for stacking BGVs...

...I suspect from your post that you might prefer the CM-5 over both of those, as it's definately more mid-forward than the CM-6, while still maintaining a nice top-end presence...also, the CM-5's rounder top tends to be less vulnerable to sibilance than the CM-6...as a "quality" point of reference, both of the Stellar tube mics continue to hold their own in my ever-evolving tube mic collection (which now includes a new Pearlman TM-1, BeesNeez Arabella GT, Rode Classic I and a GroupDIY C12 clone custom-built for me by the "Matador", the talented tech who designed the C12 project's PCBs)...

...on the affordable "47-ish" tip, the Gauge ECM-47 shares the same modded circuit/35mm capsule/6072 tube/BV8 tranny configuation that was originally devised by Dave Thomas' for his CM-47 (Nady 1050 mod), only with an angled headbasket assembly...at under $500, it's a solid performer too...
Old 21st October 2013
  #10
Gear Head
cm5 upgraded 1950's tube... amazing capture..
Old 21st October 2013
  #11
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lobsterinn's Avatar
I agree the CM5 is a great inexpensive tube mic, but I would not categorize it as mid-forward. I find it to be pretty mellow in the mids, if not a little scooped. It is deep and classy, but I wouldn't use it as a U87 substitute - which I always think of as pushing the midrange forward (for better or worse).

If you've tried different mic styles and want a U87 on a budget, I'd mod your MXL. I think Michael Joly has sound examples comparing mods and original on his website.
Old 21st October 2013
  #12
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guitarboy94's Avatar
 

Agree 100 percent. My experience as well.

Now my Sitler modded Oktava 319, now THAT's my idea of a mid-forward mic! Love that mic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn View Post
I agree the CM5 is a great inexpensive tube mic, but I would not categorize it as mid-forward. I find it to be pretty mellow in the mids, if not a little scooped. It is deep and classy, but I wouldn't use it as a U87 substitute - which I always think of as pushing the midrange forward (for better or worse).

If you've tried different mic styles and want a U87 on a budget, I'd mod your MXL. I think Michael Joly has sound examples comparing mods and original on his website.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #13
Gear Head
 
nulldevice's Avatar
 

I don't have a modded MXL67, but I've got a JolyMod 219 and a CM6. The guts of the modded 67 and the 219 are, from what I gather, reasonably similar, so I'm assuming the sound is reasonably comparable, in that "we're trying to sound Neumann 67ish" kind of way.

They are vastly different mics, but I love them both for different applications. The CM6 being a tube mic has a pretty open high-end and some of that tubey fuzz and sizzle. The Okatavmod is punchier in the mids, with a darker, smoother top end.

I use the CM6 when I want something detailed that cuts through the mix (it sounds ridiculously good on a female singer I know - last time I recorded her I didn't even have to use EQ to get it to sit right). I use the JolyMod on more male rock style vocals, when I want something punchy.

(When I'm doing ballad stuff or recording a particularly sibilant alto, I pull out a ribbon mic. I love my ribbon mics. My own voice sounds like a bicycle horn through them 90% of the time but I throw a lounge singer at it and it's gorgeous.)

YMMV, of course. I may think all this sounds great and y'all may be like "wtf is wrong with this guy."


And while I'm thinking about it...

Anyone else notice just how high the capsule sits in the CM6's headbasket?
Old 22nd October 2013
  #14
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nulldevice View Post
And while I'm thinking about it...

Anyone else notice just how high the capsule sits in the CM6's headbasket?
...from what I understand, that placement of the capsule, high in the headbasket was actually deliberate...it borrows from the U47's capsule placement, in which the top crossbar of the headbasket dissects the capsule's exposure...some believe this configuration contributes to diminished plosions and sibilance...

BTW nulldevice, have you upgraded the tube in your CM-6?...
Attached Thumbnails
Stellar cm-6/cm-5 or mod my v67g?-u47-headbasket.jpg  
Old 22nd October 2013
  #15
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RedTuxedo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn View Post
I agree the CM5 is a great inexpensive tube mic, but I would not categorize it as mid-forward. I find it to be pretty mellow in the mids, if not a little scooped. It is deep and classy, but I wouldn't use it as a U87 substitute - which I always think of as pushing the midrange forward (for better or worse).

If you've tried different mic styles and want a U87 on a budget, I'd mod your MXL. I think Michael Joly has sound examples comparing mods and original on his website.
I would not call it scooped either. The U87 has an upper mid presence without being too harsh.

I find that the CM-5 has an upper mid range quality. I feel it has a bigger low mid than the U87 that really enhances a lot of chest energy in the male vocals I've used it on. I think the U87 has a clearer top end than the CM-5 as well.

I have not used the CM-5 on any female vocals yet, but I can see how I may favor the CM-6 for that application.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #16
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Ahhh, Gearslutz is always the best medication for indecisiveness! Lol rolleyes

Hey kidvyves, so are you saying that guage mic is the same guts as the cm-47? That mic gets a lot of love, but it's a bit outta my price range! Now you go and throw more contenders in the ring! Thanks!

I was really hoping Joly would have a loaner modded v67g for me to audition but he said he doesn't. I really hate picking audio gear "unheard". It sucks that almost none of these companies have return policies, which I find unfortunate at best (and perhaps sketchy at worst) :(
Old 23rd October 2013
  #17
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Hey RedTuxedo, any clips of the cm-5 on male vox you might be able to share?
Old 23rd October 2013
  #18
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by halcyo View Post
Hey kidvyves, so are you saying that guage mic is the same guts as the cm-47? That mic gets a lot of love, but it's a bit outta my price range! Now you go and throw more contenders in the ring! Thanks!
...OK, let me explain...I believe all of Dave Thomas' tube mics share the same CCDA (constant-current-draw-amplifier) circuit, originally employed in the Apex 460/Nady 1050 and modified as dictated by Dave to the factory...the real differences between his tube mics centers around the different combinations of "capsule + transformer + body/headbasket"...a very efficient array of tools culled from a minimal number of components...

...the same Chinese factory manufactures AA, Stellar and Gauge...the Gauge ECM-47 and the Stellar CM-5 also share Dave's modified circuit, with minor variation in employment...Peter Bloch (Stellar) took the CM-47 and stripped out the cathode-follower secondary circuit, converting the mic to a simple plate-follower, further tweaked/upgraded some components and replaced the dual-triode 6072 tube with a pentode EF86 wired as a triode, resulting with the CM-6...the CM-5 is the same as Dave's CM-12, but with a T14-style transformer instead of a BV11-type (minor differential)...so all of these tube mics share an origin and an essential design source...

...of the bunch, the two "bargains" (based on pricepoint) would then be the CM-5 and the ECM-47...of those two, for both male and female vocals, while I like the ECM-47, I personally prefer the CM-5...IMHO,the edge-terminated C12-type capsule in the CM-5 offers a bit more dynamic clarity (the low-mids are great!) than the ECM-47's K67-type center-terminated capsule...at the current pricepoint of $415 the CM-5 is a complete steal...it's a wonderful classic-sounding tube microphone (especially once you upgrade to an NOS GE 6072 tube)...

...here's a track I recorded with the CM-5 on male vocals:

Old 23rd October 2013
  #19
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Hey kidvybes: I did the tube swap you've recommended for my CM-5, and I agree it is a nice match.

I'm curious if you've ever compared your Pearlman to the Gauge 47. I dig the TM-1, and I've been interested in finding a similarly voiced mic (for less $) and buying a stereo pair.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #20
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn View Post
Hey kidvybes: I did the tube swap you've recommended for my CM-5, and I agree it is a nice match.

I'm curious if you've ever compared your Pearlman to the Gauge 47. I dig the TM-1, and I've been interested in finding a similarly voiced mic (for less $) and buying a stereo pair.
...wish I could give you a thumbs-up on that comparison, but they're not real close...I believe the Pearlman's circuit is much closer to the original 47's simple pentode-based plate-follower circuit coupled to a K47 capsule...the ECM-47's CCDA circuit emulates the tone but with different results (with a K67 capsule)...

..but, while not quite as inexpensive as the Gauge mic, IMHO, my BeesNeez Arabella GT does share both a similar topology (with K47 capsule) and sonic-family with the TM-1...as a price reference, I paid $700 for my pre-owned Arabella GT...then there's also Dave Pearlman's own TM-2, which go for a bit less pre-owned ($600-650)...
Old 23rd October 2013
  #21
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...wish I could give you a thumbs-up on that comparison, but they're not real close...I believe the Pearlman's circuit is much closer to the original 47's simple pentode-based plate-follower circuit coupled to a K47 capsule...the ECM-47's CCDA circuit emulates the tone but with different results (with a K67 capsule)...

..but, while not quite as inexpensive as the Gauge mic, IMHO, my BeesNeez Arabella GT does share both a similar topology (with K47 capsule) and sonic-family with the TM-1...as a price reference, I paid $700 for my pre-owned Arabella GT...then there's also Dave Pearlman's own TM-2, which go for a bit less pre-owned ($600-650)...
Thanks for the tips! I've been meaning to give the BeesNeez mics a shot. Do you find there to be a significant sonic difference between the TM-1 and Arabella GT?

Sorry halcyo, for hijacking your thread..hopefully this is interesting to you.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #22
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn View Post
Thanks for the tips! I've been meaning to give the BeesNeez mics a shot. Do you find there to be a significant sonic difference between the TM-1 and Arabella GT?
...the truth is I've had much more experience with the Arabella GT, as the TM-1 is a fairly new addition to my arsenal...but the first time I demoed the TM-1 on a vocalist, I noticed a similarity to how it sounded in comparison to the Arabella on that particular artist...

...there's also similarity in the topology (capsule, transformer and pentode tube)...as a matter of fact, there's an earlier GS thread in which Ben introduced the original Arabella and posted a pic of the mic's innards, and a TM-1 owner promptly responded noting the similarity in build (both the Arabella GT and TM-1 now employ glass tubes unless otherwise special ordered)...Ben at BeesNeez was even supplying his K47 capsule to Dave Pearlman for a stretch...I believe both mics also utilize a Cinemag CM-2461NiCo tranny...

...the TM-1 has a LPF which rolls off top-end and gives it more versatility (the Arabella GT sounds more like the TM-1 without the LPF engaged)...I've been swapping out various tube options in both mics, and found that there's also some variation of tonality based on the tube you employ...overall, the TM-1 is a bit bigger sounding, but IMHO they both share a similar voicing...I really like both, and I'm comfortable recommending either based on your budget...

...the TM-1 and Arabella GT are a bit cleaner, clearer than the CM-47/ECM-47 which sound a bit more "smokey", probably due to a bit of "mojo" introduced by the secondary cathode-follower circuit...keep in mind that Dave Pearlman has also been known to tweak his mics to satisfy a particular preference for an owner...I've had conversations with Dave and Ben, and they are both very accessible and helpful...
Old 23rd October 2013
  #23
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Thanks for the detailed response, kidvybes. I figured they would be similar. I didn't realize they shared many of the same components!

I borrowed a friend's TM-1 a while ago and thought it was excellent. On the same project we were using a studio's Tele reissue U47 and a Soundeluxe U47. Compared (indirectly) to those, the TM-1 seemed maybe a little less smooth and "big" but still had the same basic vibe. I've been trying to get something in that sonic ballpark in my cabinet ever since. I guess I'll keep an eye out for either model used..
Old 30th October 2013
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...here's a track I recorded with the CM-5 on male vocals:

Wow that DOES sound good! It really DOES sound kinda vintage too. I would have guessed that the mic you used on that track was old and expensive!

That being said, who can tell me more about Joly's v67g mod? Are we talking about a truly high quality upgrade here? He is known to express that he goes for that "Neumann sound", and that his taste is in that direction. Knowing I love my voice through u87's makes me really think about the whole tube vs fet thing, and whether I may be happier with something that emulates that 87 sound. Is the Modded v67g gonna be at the same level of quality as the Stellars, or are we in "too different to compare" territory here?
Old 27th July 2015
  #25
I have a CV4 and cant decide if i should get a cm5 or 6 ..I guess im leaning toward the 5 ..anyone have all 3?
Old 27th July 2015
  #26
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RightOnRome View Post
I have a CV4 and cant decide if i should get a cm5 or 6 ..I guess im leaning toward the 5 ..anyone have all 3?
...IMHO, the CV4 and CM-6 are too similar...I'd suggest the CM-5...and don't be shy to try different tubes...a 12AT7 variant will add some mids to the voicing...my preference is a GE triple-mica black-plate 6201 (12AT7WA)...
Old 27th July 2015
  #27
CM-6 with upgraded tube best bang for buck in my opinion. Consumers wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that and a high end mic if you get the right tube. An experienced engineer maybe but consumers no.
Old 19th May 2017
  #28
SEED78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...from what I understand, that placement of the capsule, high in the headbasket was actually deliberate...it borrows from the U47's capsule placement, in which the top crossbar of the headbasket dissects the capsule's exposure...some believe this configuration contributes to diminished plosions and sibilance...

BTW nulldevice, have you upgraded the tube in your CM-6?...
RIP Dennis - this post is a prime example of his helpful useful info on GS - I was googling a answer to why my CM6 capsule sits so high in the head basket.

case closed!
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