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-   -   manley Ref Card or Cathedral Pipes RD for pop vocals (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/1037091-manley-ref-card-cathedral-pipes-rd-pop-vocals.html)

Jonny_silva 12th October 2015 01:48 AM

manley Ref Card or Cathedral Pipes RD for pop vocals
 
So after a bit of a fiasco a few days ago ive decided to (probably wisely) splash out more on a mic with a cheaper (but still good) preamp.

Ive narrowed it down to Manley ref Card because its a bit of a 'go to' for pop/rap vocals, the Cathedral pipes Regensburg Dom just intrigues me (the sound not the LEDs) as its so aggresive. The Notre Dam I like but that sells for the same as the Manley and I think it would be stupid to choose the ND over something so proven.

My main question about the Manley ref card is is it a flattering mic or a very honest one, ive read reviews and seen guys saying both.

ProducedByRiot 12th October 2015 02:13 AM

I've been using the Ref C with a Mullard tube for about a year and a half now and absolutely love it. My main pre for it is an Avedis MA5. I've gone with the Mullard and the MA5 to darken the sound of the mic a little as it is a pretty bright mic and the main vocalist I work with has a bright voice already. It's pretty honest but very smooth to my ears, not brittle sounding like other bright mics. Usually the only eqing I'm doing in the mix is high passing around 110 Hz and that's it. What I have noticed recording in several studios with it, is the room that you're recording in can have a decent effect on the vocals come mix time. Before I moved into my new spot, I was doing small surgical EQing to fix things I didn't like. I originally attributed that to the mic itself until I moved into a better room and now I don't touch the vocals at all, just compress a little on the way in through my Vari Mu. Granted, the room effects all recordings but to me it seemed like the Ref C was affected a little more than other mics I've used. (I could just be making that all up in my head but it sure seemed like it.) Both male and female vocals sound great through it. Never had a moment where I thought the mic wasn't working with a particular person. If you're going for a modern sound it's the right choice. If you want more of a Lana Del Rey sound then I would go with something that's thicker in the bottom end.

I've never used the Cathedral Pipes so I can't speak on it. Just wanted to share my experience with the Ref C.

KungFuLio 12th October 2015 02:39 AM

the disadvantage to the Manley is it's cardioid only! nothing beats the sound of a vocal recorded in omni in a well tuned room.

i've owned both mic's of which you speak, and first of all, i'd have no problem choosing the notre dame over the ref card. NO PROBLEM!

the regensburg and manley are both great mic's... different mics for different voices. i can say that a pair of the regensburgs beat the pants off a pair of manleys in a drum overhead situation. the manley's, however, are beautiful on acoustic guitar, horns, cello. the have a nice lift on the top end. the regensburg is a bit more representative of what i hear in the room.

Jonny_silva 12th October 2015 02:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ProducedByRiot (Post 11399636)
I've been using the Ref C with a Mullard tube for about a year and a half now and absolutely love it. My main pre for it is an Avedis MA5. I've gone with the Mullard and the MA5 to darken the sound of the mic a little as it is a pretty bright mic and the main vocalist I work with has a bright voice already. It's pretty honest but very smooth to my ears, not brittle sounding like other bright mics. Usually the only eqing I'm doing in the mix is high passing around 110 Hz and that's it. What I have noticed recording in several studios with it, is the room that you're recording in can have a decent effect on the vocals come mix time. Before I moved into my new spot, I was doing small surgical EQing to fix things I didn't like. I originally attributed that to the mic itself until I moved into a better room and now I don't touch the vocals at all, just compress a little on the way in through my Vari Mu. Granted, the room effects all recordings but to me it seemed like the Ref C was affected a little more than other mics I've used. (I could just be making that all up in my head but it sure seemed like it.) Both male and female vocals sound great through it. Never had a moment where I thought the mic wasn't working with a particular person. If you're going for a modern sound it's the right choice. If you want more of a Lana Del Rey sound then I would go with something that's thicker in the bottom end.

I've never used the Cathedral Pipes so I can't speak on it. Just wanted to share my experience with the Ref C.

Great info, just what I was looking for. I have a vocal booth but its a bit ghetto, just like a U shaped 7 ft high cave covered in cheap acoustic foam. Interesting that you dont compress at all in the mix, does the recorded sound of this mic sound THAT good?

Jonny_silva 12th October 2015 02:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KungFuLio (Post 11399656)
the disadvantage to the Manley is it's cardioid only! nothing beats the sound of a vocal recorded in omni in a well tuned room.

i've owned both mic's of which you speak, and first of all, i'd have no problem choosing the notre dame over the ref card. NO PROBLEM!

the regensburg and manley are both great mic's... different mics for different voices. i can say that a pair of the regensburgs beat the pants off a pair of manleys in a drum overhead situation. the manley's, however, are beautiful on acoustic guitar, horns, cello. the have a nice lift on the top end. the regensburg is a bit more representative of what i hear in the room.


What kind of voices/situations make you reach for the Regensburg over the manley? Bearing in mind im recording purely vocals.

ProducedByRiot 12th October 2015 02:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonny_silva (Post 11399657)
Great info, just what I was looking for. I have a vocal booth but its a bit ghetto, just like a U shaped 7 ft high cave covered in cheap acoustic foam. Interesting that you dont compress at all in the mix, does the recorded sound of this mic sound THAT good?

I do compress in the mix but don't have to EQ in the mix. I was originally tracking in an attic type of room in a house and had to do some low mid EQing to get the vocal to sit right and not sound so muddy to my ears. Once I moved into the better live room, I no longer had to make those EQ moves. From the sound of your room, you may have a similar issue as I did. It's not a deal breaker by any means. It was just nice to have the vocal sounding incredible without messing with it.

ProducedByRiot 12th October 2015 02:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KungFuLio (Post 11399656)
the disadvantage to the Manley is it's cardioid only! nothing beats the sound of a vocal recorded in omni in a well tuned room.

i've owned both mic's of which you speak, and first of all, i'd have no problem choosing the notre dame over the ref card. NO PROBLEM!

the regensburg and manley are both great mic's... different mics for different voices. i can say that a pair of the regensburgs beat the pants off a pair of manleys in a drum overhead situation. the manley's, however, are beautiful on acoustic guitar, horns, cello. the have a nice lift on the top end. the regensburg is a bit more representative of what i hear in the room.

Good point about the Cardiod only aspect of the Ref C. I'm only tracking vocals and acoustic guitar on occasion with it so I never looked at it as a real disadvantage. I haven't tracked vocals in Omni either which is something I may try in the future, obviously with a different mic. I wouldn't use the Ref C for drums or any similar applications because of the Cardiod only aspect but it wasn't designed for those applications so I can't really knock it for not having other patterns.

jjblair 12th October 2015 07:06 AM

Getting a room sound in omni on your vocal is about the least useful reason to miss polar patterns, particularly if you are recording rap or pop vocals. Tailoring your frequency response with patterns is another thing, but not very necessary.

Personally, I'm not very hot on the CP capsules. I've seen ones with slack in the tension, and when I talked to the guy who makes them, and asked him about tuning, he told me that "the thing about M7s is that it doesn't matter how you tune them."

It was pretty clear form my conversation with him that he was a neophyte to capsule making.

I'll take that outstanding Feilo capsule in the Ref C any day of the week. I've recommended that mic to countless people, and nobody who has ever bought it on my recommendation has been anything other than thrilled. Besides, Don Lafontaine used that as his vocal mic, so that should tell you everything.

KungFuLio 13th October 2015 05:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonny_silva (Post 11399660)
What kind of voices/situations make you reach for the Regensburg over the manley? Bearing in mind im recording purely vocals.

Most of them... I just find the manley too "fake" bright for my tastes. i'm constantly using a de-esser when tracking with the manley. but on instruments, i love the top end lift of the manley. ... but not on drum overheads. the manley is nice for stacking bvg's when you want a lot of air. great for pop bgv's. not awesome in a jazz setting but i do know a famous jazz vocalist that swears by 'em.

in the end, it's gotta be what fits your voice best!

KungFuLio 13th October 2015 05:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjblair (Post 11399938)
Personally, I'm not very hot on the CP capsules. I've seen ones with slack in the tension, and when I talked to the guy who makes them, and asked him about tuning, he told me that "the thing about M7s is that it doesn't matter how you tune them."

really? i'm surprised as chuck is one of the most detailed builders i've encountered... he is new, but the product sounds good. there are some issues with mechanics of mounts and choices in build that i can't get past... at the same time, my favorite mic, the brauner VM1-KHE had one of the lamest mounts i've ever encountered... so in the end, that didn't make it a bad mic. it made it one that i was very careful when placing it on a mic stand ;)

jjblair 13th October 2015 05:48 AM

"Detailed" is vague. Maybe he's only detailed at the things he thinks are important, like most of us. I'm just recounting my conversation with him at Potluck, and stating my observations of the capsule I saw. Maybe he has changed his mind in the last year, but I was a little surprised by my conversation. Nice guy and everything, but my exchange was not confidence inspiring.

johnnykmusic 13th October 2015 06:37 AM

Cathedral Pipes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jjblair (Post 11399938)
he was a neophyte to capsule making.


jjblair this is sad to read. First its not true and second I expect more from you.

ChaseUTB 13th October 2015 11:03 AM

I always looked for more feedback regarding these cathedral pipes mics. I have always been interested.

I thought the owner of cathedral pipes learned to make his capsule from another respected capsule maker. (Dale Ulan) (spelling?)

At first the mics came with Dale m7. ( anyone know dates or serial #'s)
Has anyone compared new CP capsule in the same mic as Dale capsule?

Then, I know I watched A more recent vid where the owner / builder of the cathedral pipes said that he now makes his own capsules after working with Dale for a long time.
@ jjblair what did you not like about the CP mics or CP capsules when using these mics ? What mics would you suggest are better for the applications/ price range ?

Who makes the feilo capsule in the Manley ref C? ( why is it not a Manley capsule?) Is the feilo capsule hand made and where?

Did the Manley ref c ever come with a different capsule or has the feilo always been equipped?

jjblair 13th October 2015 11:49 AM

Look, I like Dale, but let's be honest: Dale is an enthusiast who has been working on his M7s in his basement for years, even though he's put serious hours and effort in. We're not talking about David Josephson, Siegfried Thiersch, or even John Peluso that Chuck was learning from. I remember when Dale started his project, and watched his threads closely as he tried his hand at making M7s. It's not like he did this in secret.

Chase, Feilo is a Chinese capsule. That capsule has been in use with Manley for over 20 years. I've long considered it probably the best capsule coming out of that country, which may or may not be saying much. But it does sound great.

Johnny, sorry to disappoint you, but I'm just telling you what I learned from Chuck himself. If he's going to represent himself at trade shows, maybe he should sound a little better informed. BTW, this was his first capsule making endeavor, which by definition, makes him a neophyte. This isn't somebody who left Josephson, Neumann or Gefell after years, and went solo. Learning from another DIY guy isn't confidence inspiring, when it comes to capsules.

ChaseUTB 13th October 2015 11:43 PM

@ jjblair Thanks for the info on Feilo, as well as the info on the cathedral pipes ( Dale ) capsule.

duskb 14th October 2015 12:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjblair (Post 11399938)
Personally, I'm not very hot on the CP capsules. I've seen ones with slack in the tension, and when I talked to the guy who makes them, and asked him about tuning, he told me that "the thing about M7s is that it doesn't matter how you tune them."

It was pretty clear form my conversation with him that he was a neophyte to capsule making.

JJ, you're certainly entitled to your opinions about the sound of a capsule but stating in a public forum that Chuck is a neophyte and then attempting to defend it is dumb. You just don't know what you're talking about. Chuck is a heck of alot sharper on capsule design that you give him credit for. Granted when he started out a few years ago he had alot to learn but during this time HE LEARNED ALOT!

FWIW, I hated his mics when they first came out because I couldn't handle the LED in the basket thing (and frankly I didnt like the sound of them anyways). Since that time I have purchased the FET mic, the active ribbon and his Notre Dame. The mics are well designed and far better sounding that some of the names you dropped in your earlier post (IMHO). Don't even get me started on the Peluso stuff...

Maybe trying giving credit where credit is due.

See you over at PRW.

Best,

Dan Popp 14th October 2015 12:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonny_silva (Post 11399596)
My main question about the Manley ref card is is it a flattering mic or a very honest one, ive read reviews and seen guys saying both.

I don't know how a reviewer could call the Ref C an "honest" mic if "honest" means "input = output." A DPA omni is an honest mic, along with very few others. Large Diaphragm mics are inherently "flattering" on many voices. If we find them to be neutral-sounding, it's because we've grown used to their euphonic coloration after hearing LDCs on popular recordings for decades.

I think the consensus on the Ref C is that it's very open on the top end, which can exacerbate sibilance issues. If you hear it paired with a tube preamp of equal quality, everything will "gel" and make sense.

And I do have one for sale, just to throw that out there.

jjblair 14th October 2015 12:57 AM

I'm not attempting to defend anything I've said. Look up the definition of neophyte. I'm sorry that you guys don't like my word choice. It's not incorrect. He's not been doing this that long.

And whatever you think of Peluso capsules, that guyshas put in a lot of time making the things. Josephson capsules are beyond reproach, and the other names I dropped with Neumann and Thiersch, and you're going to say his stuff is better than that?

I don't understand what credit I'm supposed to give. The guy showed me capsules that I could see with my naked eye had tension problems, and then when I asked him about tuning made a statement that defied everything I know about capsules. Somebody requests opinions, and I relay my impression, repeat the conversation, and you guys are all pissed and "disappointed" in me.

Seriously. Apparently the bar for "high end" has been lowered around here. You expect the guy who calls BS on Neumann for the M149 circuit, or Telefunken for their past nonsense to give somebody a pass because they are learning on the job and improving their product over the last couple years they introduced it? Or when I was writing reviews for magazines, and mentioning what I didn't like about products made by people that were even friends of mine? I guess I just don't understand you guys, and you don't understand where I'm coming from. I'm assuming people work hard for the money they spend on their gear. If you're going to drop a grand or two on something, I don't want the manufacturer to still be figuring it out. That's not chump change.

jjblair 14th October 2015 01:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan Popp (Post 11404900)
I don't know how a reviewer could call the Ref C an "honest" mic if "honest" means "input = output." A DPA omni is an honest mic, along with very few others. Large Diaphragm mics are inherently "flattering" on many voices. If we find them to be neutral-sounding, it's because we've grown used to their euphonic coloration after hearing LDCs on popular recordings for decades.

I think the consensus on the Ref C is that it's very open on the top end, which can exacerbate sibilance issues. If you hear it paired with a tube preamp of equal quality, everything will "gel" and make sense.

And I do have one for sale, just to throw that out there.

It's not a neutral mic by any means. It has a definite opinion.

I don't find it open on the top, so much as forward in the high mids. As with any mic that uses a dual backplate with that midrange phase shift, without sufficient filtering or or attenuation, sibilance can be exacerbated, and taking advantage of off-axis response is sometimes necessary. But if you want a forward vocal sound, I usually prefer to let the mic to the work, rather than EQ. But that's just me.

johnnykmusic 14th October 2015 02:46 AM

Jjblair this is just not accurate. First off for a guy who is well read do even know Chucks background? Who he has worked for and what he does? I respect that your book smart but have you ever re skinned or built a capsule?

Doc Mixwell 14th October 2015 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by duskb (Post 11404875)
Don't even get me started on the Peluso stuff...

Best,

Why should we care what you have to say about a Capsule someone else builds, if you don't think JJ is entitled to speak on something, maybe you shouldn't either....Aren't you that grouchy guy from the tube test videos?

jjblair 14th October 2015 07:32 PM

Johnny, Chuck had told me his story and the background of building these mics, as I talked with him for almost a half hour. BTW, the reason people have sent me their vintage mics for testing or modification, or prototypes for beta testing, is not because I'm book smart. I've worked on or with enough capsules for a long enough time to have an informed opinion about whether or not the tension is important, even if I didn't do the reskinning myself. I'm not saying I'm near their level, but last I checked, Klaus or David Bock don't diaphragm or build capsules, yet we don't dismiss their opinions. That argument is silly.

Anybody who knows me is aware that I have a very extensive mic locker, do 90% of the maintenance myself, and keep them in better working order than most of the studios here in LA keep their own vintage mics. Sounds like you have some axe to grind here, or else you would just admit that I'm entitled to my opinion, and you'd tell Chuck that when talking to people at trade shows, he should present himself as better informed.

Glenn Bucci 14th October 2015 07:58 PM

JJBlair is not a home studio enthusiast but a professional engineer with a lot of knowledge especially when it comes to microphones. I respect his insight and trust his judgement on matters such as these.

Funny Cat 14th October 2015 09:10 PM

This is a really interesting thread. The Neumann M149 (which based on this thread has a BS Circuit) and the CP RD (which apparently has poor capsule tuning) are two absolutely world class sounding mics. There are enough recordings by top tier Grammy winning engineers to prove it. I think some of us might be missing the forest for the trees?

kidvybes 14th October 2015 09:23 PM

...interesting conversation about capsules, though possibly a bit dated...I find that the High-End conversations about the inner-workings of mics are a bit less in the know then conversations being held in the Low-End forum, possibly because so many of the DIY guys live in the low-end...the paradigm is shifting...lesser-known entities have made some marked progress, particularly in the capsule community...watch out for names like Shannon Rhoades, Dany Bouchard and Guosheng Zhuang to be forces in coming days...John Peluso?...really?...

...as for Chuck at CP, he's made major progress with his M7 capsule tunings...he has really dialed in the tolerance which he considers acceptable...early on in his M7 building days, Chuck offered "B" stock CP M7 capsules that fell on either side of the preferred tolerance tuning...those days are gone...

peachh

_Mark 14th October 2015 11:32 PM

I love my St Jean Baptiste from CP. Very interested in the two tube offerings, though!

He's built a custom Manley Ref C mic before I think.

jjblair 14th October 2015 11:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kidvybes (Post 11407020)
...interesting conversation about capsules, though possibly a bit dated...I find that the High-End conversations about the inner-workings of mics are a bit less in the know then conversations being held in the Low-End forum, possibly because so many of the DIY guys live in the low-end...the paradigm is shifting...lesser-known entities have made some marked progress, particularly in the capsule community...watch out for names like Shannon Rhoades, Dany Bouchard and Guosheng Zhuang to be forces in coming days...John Peluso?...really?...

...as for Chuck at CP, he's made major progress with his M7 capsule tunings...he has really dialed in the tolerance which he considers acceptable...early on in his M7 building days, Chuck offered "B" stock CP M7 capsules that fell on either side of the preferred tolerance tuning...those days are gone...

peachh

This is an argument I'll listen to. If you say that he's improved on his product, I'm glad to hear that. As I've said, it's unfortunate that people are still woodshedding while selling their stuff to consumers for real money. But, I'd rather hear that, yes, there were some issues, and they are being corrected, than being told I don't know what I'm talking about. I didn't make this stuff up.

BTW, anybody familiar with the product line from '90s Tele NA to the current Tele company will know they've gone from serious quality control issues to a pretty great company. Some of you may think I'm an arrogant pain in the ass, but I called them out on a lot of the stuff that was going on, with Toni even threatening to sue me for saying some stuff, which was in fact truthful. If people like myself did not hold their feet to the fire, people would still be spending big dollars on subpar mics. You don't hear people complaining about Tele anymore like that, and they have become a fantastic company in the last several years.

I got a reminder of what the early days were like last month, when I was given somebody's stock Ela M-12 V to work on, because it sounded like crap. This was an early product the company made. What I found in the circuit was, that was so easily fixable, and should have been caught in QC, made me so happy that Alan has really done such a great job with that company over the last decade. But if us cork sniffing know-it-alls had kept out mouths shut, people would still be buying $10,000 turds.

jjblair 14th October 2015 11:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Funny Cat (Post 11406986)
This is a really interesting thread. The Neumann M149 (which based on this thread has a BS Circuit) and the CP RD (which apparently has poor capsule tuning) are two absolutely world class sounding mics. There are enough recordings by top tier Grammy winning engineers to prove it. I think some of us might be missing the forest for the trees?

My session today rescheduled, so apparently I have nothing better to do than to get sucked into this old chestnut.

Hey, Grammy winners have used SM57s, too. Does that make them the best dynamic mic, or as goos as the old SM56?

Is everything I've used somehow validated because I've won Grammys? I never understand that argument.

Al Schmitt was given a pair of M149s by Neumann, so is it any surprise that he uses them?

I hate to get off topic, because this has been discussed ad nauseum, but dig up a schematic of the M149, and see that it's basically a solid state, transformerlesss mic, which uses a tube as an impedance converter. It's a lower quality, sub mini tube, that isn't anywhere in the class of an AC-701, or even a 6072. IMO, the tube is essentially in there for marketing purposes, hence why I call it a BS circuit.

Does the mic suck? No. Is it unusable? No. Is it anywhere close to a M49? No. Is it a good value for the money? No.

Here's the inside of your M149. Nice IC!

http://www.saturn-sound.com/images%2...0ic%20used.jpg

http://www.saturn-sound.com/images%2...0ic%20used.jpg

Glenn Bucci 15th October 2015 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjblair (Post 11407339)

I hate to get off topic, because this has been discussed ad nauseum, but dig up a schematic of the M149, and see that it's basically a solid state, transformerlesss mic, which uses a tube as an impedance converter. It's a lower quality, sub mini tube, that isn't anywhere in the class of an AC-701, or even a 6072. IMO, the tube is essentially in there for marketing purposes, hence why I call it a BS circuit.

Does the mic suck? No. Is it unusable? No. Is it anywhere close to a M49? No. Is it a good value for the money? No.

Here's the inside of your M149. Nice IC!

http://www.saturn-sound.com/images%2...0ic%20used.jpg

http://www.saturn-sound.com/images%2...0ic%20used.jpg

I thought the M147 was this discription not the M149? That's disappointing if the M149 is also designed that way

jjblair 15th October 2015 12:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci (Post 11407396)
I thought the M147 was this discription not the M149? That's disappointing if the M149 is also designed that way

Here's the M147. Uses the same tube as the M149.

http://www.saturn-sound.com/images%2...0connector.jpg

http://www.saturn-sound.com/images%2...0connector.jpg