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New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone
Old 15th December 2010
  #1
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New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone

...just got one of these to demo in my studio and while I don't represent Stellar, and I think it's rather special at it's pricepoint, so I thought I'd post a link for those that might be interested in the mic...

...the Stellar CM-6 is a modified/upgraded version of the stock Nady TCM1050, which has been along with the Apex 460, at the center of the DIY modding forums for years...but if you're like me, and you soldering skills are lacking, this mic may be of interest...

...Peter Bloch at Stellar Sound has incorporated a suite of mods including an upgraded capsule, transformer and EF86 tube circuit into the OEM version of the 1050...the difference here from others who offer similar modded versions is the price...this mic is half the price of very similar and well respected mics offered by other modders...actually, the total cost of this mic is similar to the cost of just having the mods performed by a qualified tech (not including the donor mic's cost)...all I can add, is it sounds damn good!

...we will be organizing a shootout in the near future including a selection of similar modded tube mics ranging in price from around $300 to $1000 (this mic representing the lower cost end of the spectrum)...we will post the results when completed...

...I will try to get Peter to chime in on this thread when or if neccessary...the balance of info here is directly from his current listing for these microphones...the price of the mic is only $350...we bought 2 for our studio...

www.stellarmics.com

From the Stellar auction post:
First a nod to history. It is fairly difficult to design or define a microphone with traditional appearance, a vacuum tube based preamp and a dual bobbin transformer without mentioning the obvious debt modern microphone design owes to the famous giants of the mid twentieth century such as the Neumann U47 and AKG C-12. With history in mind, I can humbly make the statement that the CM-6 owes several key components as well as the overall appearance to the giants from the past. These statements are not meant to imply the CM-6 is in any way a replacement for these vintage mics.

The Internals:
The transformers are wound on high nickel laminations and are designed and constructed using dual bobbins. This construction method is used by the original vintage designs as well as the companies that produce high quality replacement transformers for the German originals.

The capsule was also influenced by the giants from the past. In this case we need to keep in mind that the actual design and construction cannot claim anything close to an exact copy. Still, the capsule is dual sided and has a center mounted connection. Additionally, the capsule is “full size”. The standard capsule size for imported microphones is 30 mm. The capsule in the CM-6 is 35mm.

The choice of the tube for the on board preamplifier is worth mentioning. Though there are many very good sounding and very affordable 12AX7, 12AY7 and the 12AT7 dual triodes on the market. The historic German microphones often choose pentode tubes for the active element in their preamps. The EF86 is a very good sounding pentode that is currently being used in the Neumann U67. In addition to its native good sound the EF86, and the premium version of the tube the EF806, is very desirable as the active component in the preamp due to the availability of a number of NOS and modern versions of the tube. During the design phase of the CM-6, we auditioned many tubes, both modern and NOS. Indeed, there are many very good sounding choices. The general agreement in the audiophile community is that the best sounding EF86 is the Telefunken EF86/EF806. I do agree with this analysis. However, starting a modern microphone production using NOS tubes is not desirable due to cost and limited supply. Enter the TungSol EF806. The tube was modeled after the Telefunken EF806 and sounds very, very similar. The Telefunken tube and the TungSol tube both exhibit bright, clear highs, full bass and well defined mids. It was an easy decision to decide to use this tube in the CM-6. The EF806 is configured as a Class A triode preamplifier.

The passive electrical components that surround the TungSol EF806 determine the gain, frequency response, sound quality and the “vibe” of the preamplifier. The CM-6 uses high quality polystyrene, WIMA film capacitors and audiophile grade Nichicon Muse electrolytic capacitors. Finally, the CM-6 has a film 2.2uF output capacitor to support full bandwidth sound.

Design Goals:

So, what are the design goals for the CM-6? My hope and expectation is that the CM-6 will provide the pro-sumer market with an exceptionally good sounding, affordable studio tool. The CM-6 is the combination of unabashedly borrowed elements from one of the best microphones of the past and modern high quality audiophile grade components produced with the finest modern manufacturing techniques.

While respecting the past, every Stellar Custom designed microphones has its own voice and personality. The tonal response of the CM-6 has been described as velvet smooth. The tone circuitry adds the right amount high end air while reinforcing mid and adding fullness to thin sounding audio sources. Without sounding harsh, the CM-6 captures a very accurate, articulate, detailed sound.

The CM-6 in use: The best advertising for any microphone is to have an endorsement from a studio and recording artist. So far the CM-6 has one endorsement. The CM-6 was used on Color Me Cinnamon, Stacy Q’s new CD. As you may remember Stacy had a big hit some years ago with a song entitled “Two of Hearts”.
Attached Thumbnails
New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone-cm6.jpeg   New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone-stellar-cm-6case.jpg   New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone-e806f.jpg  
Old 16th December 2010
  #2
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Would you call it U87-ish? U47-ish? C-12-ish?
Old 16th December 2010
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan View Post
Would you call it U87-ish? U47-ish? C-12-ish?
...frankly uncle d, I'm not sure I want to make any direct comparison, since while everyone seems to think they know those "classic" references, arguments are constantly breaking out on threads making those direct comparisons...it's easier to tell you what it's not...it's not as bright on the top-end as a C-12, or as shiney as a U87...it's a bit more dense sounding with nice detail on the top end, no harshness and a bit of "air"...it sounds very natural...I sound like myself, (as my engineer has commented)...I think if you like the JJ V67 mod, you'll like this mic...it has that balanced sound...not hyped in any particular characteristic...nice proximity that gives it a very "analogue" sound, almost broadcast sounding...I would compare it to the Advanced Audio CM-47, and the Mojave MA-200 , while it doesn't sound the same as either, it sounds similar in quality and hovers between the two in character...remember we're talking about a $350 mic...at that price it's a real bargain IMHO...after doing some research, I suspect the CM-6 may have more in common with something like the old Soundelux U99 (6 micron K67 capsule, transformer, EF86 circuit)...

...I know you like response graphs, so let me see if I can get one for you...
Old 16th December 2010
  #4
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...uncle d...here's two peak graphs of my voice speaking the same phrases into both my CM-6 (left) and the JJ Audio modded V67 with stock transformer and capsule (middle)...volume levels were not matched...this is just a quick comparison for you, since you are more familiar with the JJ Audio modded mic...

...the third chart (right) is a direct comparison of the two mics (average response)...the red graph is the CM-6 and the blue is the modded V67...hope these help...

*clarification: as you can see, the mics perform similarly...while graphs can illustrate frequency response, they don't tell the whole story...the two mics don't sound as similar as the graphs suggest, but they both sound very good and the differences are variations in tone...both are well balanced and IMHO, very good for general vocal tracking duties...
Attached Thumbnails
New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone-scm6graph.jpg   New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone-v67modgraph.jpg   New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone-cm6v67avggrap.jpg  
Old 16th December 2010
  #5
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Thanks K, I am so tempted... the other day I had a male/female duo in here who both sounded good on my V67g, but they were singing together live, so I had to choose. That's justification for me to buy yet another mic, isn't it? (The V67g went to the guy and a TLM102 went to the gal.)
Old 16th December 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan View Post
Thanks K, I am so tempted... the other day I had a male/female duo in here who both sounded good on my V67g, but they were singing together live, so I had to choose. That's justification for me to buy yet another mic, isn't it? (The V67g went to the guy and a TLM102 went to the gal.)
...yes I understand heh...the clincher in deciding to purchase this mic is the pricepoint...it just fills a void in the marketplace...mic + mod for a very affordable pricepoint...great value IMHO...
Old 19th December 2010
  #7
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Taking another look at comparison graph #3, it appears as though the CM6 is 4db brighter than the V67g after 4k? I'm guessing that would put it more in the Peluso cek367 capsule category, which is a really great sound. I'd say this cm6 is a darn good deal, considering that the Peluso 2247LE sells for well over a grand.
Old 19th December 2010
  #8
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Talking

I can tell you this much.

Considering that the microphone comes in at 350 bucks.....

A person could definitely do some REALLY nice upgrades to a microphone like this and not spend alot of dough.

Think about this.

CM6 $350
Thiersch STW 7 $350??? / (That new capsule I told you about kid) $275
Samar Audio BV8 torroidal TX $~100???

$750 !!!!!/$675!!!

MAMA MIA!!

Quick question though, does the mic incorporate any of the filtering (NFB, shelf) or things of that nature in the U67???


Peace
Illumination
Old 19th December 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan View Post
Taking another look at comparison graph #3, it appears as though the CM6 is 4db brighter than the V67g after 4k? I'm guessing that would put it more in the Peluso cek367 capsule category, which is a really great sound. I'd say this cm6 is a darn good deal, considering that the Peluso 2247LE sells for well over a grand.
...you're sharp to recognize that uncle d...from the information offered me, the capsule utilizes the same metal framework that Peluso purchases to build his CEK67, and they both use 6-micron mylar as well, the capsule assembly for this mic being done in China of course...I would say this mic bears some similarity to both the short body 2247 and AA's CM-47...the key difference is the use of a EF86 tube based circuit as opposed to the 6072 tube circuit used in those mics...

Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
Quick question though, does the mic incorporate any of the filtering (NFB, shelf) or things of that nature in the U67???
...I'm not qualified to answer, but here's a pic of the circuit if either you or Jim care to evaluate...I've been told the transformer has an EQ notch that I believe performs a similar function when combined with a K67 type capsule...
Attached Thumbnails
New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone-stellarcm6circuit2.jpeg  
Old 20th December 2010
  #10
I'm lovin' it!!! All this information is great!


Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...you're sharp to recognize that uncle d...from the information offered me, the capsule utilizes the same metal framework that Peluso purchases to build his CEK67, and they both use 6-micron mylar as well, the capsule assembly for this mic being done in Chine of course...I would say this mic bears some similarity to both the short body 2247 and AA's CM-47...the key difference is the use of a EF86 tube based circuit as opposed to the 6072 tube circuit used in those mics...



...yes ill!...I'm not qualified to answer, but here's a pic of the circuit if either you or Jim care to evaluate...
Old 20th December 2010
  #11
Gear Addict
 

I don't see anything in that circuit that shows any form of high end attenuation, neg. fb., etc. Just because the mic has a K67 capsule does not necessarily mean that you need nf. or high end attenuation. I just installed an Advanced Audio K67 capsule in a mic that I am modding and I am rather impressed with the results I am getting and I have not used any nf or highend attenuation in the circuit. There are many variants of the K67 capsule out there that sound great without any circuit tweaking.

DB
Old 20th December 2010
  #12
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddler59 View Post
I don't see anything in that circuit that shows any form of high end attenuation, neg. fb., etc. Just because the mic has a K67 capsule does not necessarily mean that you need nf. or high end attenuation. I just installed an Advanced Audio K67 capsule in a mic that I am modding and I am rather impressed with the results I am getting and I have not used any nf or highend attenuation in the circuit. There are many variants of the K67 capsule out there that sound great without any circuit tweaking.

DB
Hey Dave,

I wasn't mentioning the NFB or shelf because the K67 NEEDS it per se.

I was more so interested in case we end up having to mod that bad boy! That's one component to install. Sometimes it nice to have the pcb set up already for you to tweak it.

At $350 for the donor unit, we could put some REALLY high quality parts in there and make it into the U67/47 inspired mic from hell on crystal meth.

As I mentioned before, imagine how sweet it is to put one of the best M7 if not THE best M7 capsules on the PLANET in this thing for around $350 to $400 bucks and then put one of Mariks SUPERB transformers in for another $100 ???

You can get much sweeter than that! $800?? That's DIY of course but it won't stop me from getting ideas!!

And that K67 from Dave Thomas does sound REALLY REALLY good.

Peace
Illumination
Old 20th December 2010
  #13
Gear Addict
 

I might should rephrase what I said and say there are some K67 variants that sound really good with no nf. or highend attenuation. Illacov you are absolutely right the capsule and tranny mod you are talking about would take that mic into another level that would be off the charts.

DB
Old 20th December 2010
  #14
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
And that K67 from Dave Thomas does sound REALLY REALLY good.
...(whispering) if you can keep a secret...same 35mm capsule in this mic...
Old 20th December 2010
  #15
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I kind of figured that.....both are 6 micron K67's......it would not surprise me at all if they were the same capsule. From the preliminary tests i have run on the Advanced Audio K67 it is a damn fine sounding capsule. If the Stellar CM-6 has that as the stock capsule, that is avery good thing indeed !!

David B
Old 20th December 2010
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddler59 View Post
I kind of figured that.....both are 6 micron K67's......it would not surprise me at all if they were the same capsule. From the preliminary tests i have run on the Advanced Audio K67 it is a damn fine sounding capsule. If the Stellar CM-6 has that as the stock capsule, that is avery good thing indeed !!

David B
...same factory...same capsule metalwork as Peluso's 67 capsules...
Old 20th December 2010
  #17
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illacov's Avatar
 

Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...same factory...same capsule metalwork as Peluso's CEK67...
Well damn just get a Samar Audio then! PIO caps anyone??

Peace
Illumination
Old 23rd December 2010
  #18
I wanna hear it infront of drumset! That's when I know if it's happenin' or not!
Old 23rd December 2010
  #19
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JoFo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mista min View Post
I wanna hear it infront of drumset! That's when I know if it's happenin' or not!
yeah would love to hear some sound samples.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #20
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...just threw up a very quick vocal snippet here:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/6140483-post111.html

...a proper shootout will follow after the holidays...
Old 27th December 2010
  #21
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...read Dave Thomas of Advanced Audio's endorsement of the CM-6 here:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/6151085-post26.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by drtaudio View Post
We have been using this body for a 2-3 years now for our CM47 and CM47SE microphones. The CM-6 has a 1.07" /35mm OD capsule with 6 micron diaphragms and it was designed by John Peluso with the help of Verner Ruvalds who was a physicist for Georg Neuman.

It was Peter at Stellar that turned me onto the Chinese factory that made these bodies and I was able to get the factory to make all the other changes I required to build our modernized CM47 version and the more vintage CM47SE version of the original Neumann 47.

Incidently, the Chinese factory asked me to do a bit of consulting on the CM-6 for Peter which I was glad to do.

We use selected version of the same 1.07" capsule in our CM47 but we use a exact replication of the original K47 capsule used in the original U47 and M49 in our CM47SE.

Our CM47SE was recently used by Jacquire King to record background vocals on the new Kings of Leon CD and also in front of the bass amp.

In the CM47 and CM47SE we deviate from the original Neumann circuit easily emulated by the EF86/EF806 tube circuit by using a two stage circuit which allows us to optimize the LF response, tube linearity and headroom. We are able to get AT LEAST 6db more headroom from the dual stage circuit allowing it to be used in front of the bass amp.

I am not a big fan of the single pentode (wired as a triode) Neumann circuit as the two stage circuit is much more HiFi but China can easily build the older more Vintage sounding circuit or our circuit with the extended headroom.

The bottom line here is that these Chinese made microphones are getting better all the time and the Chinese builders are now listening to experienced recording engineers and techs. I still have to send them tubes for our microphone builds but they are able to source everything else including better capacitors and transformers.

The CM-6 at $350 is probably the best entry level LDC microphone available. The tube is easy to change and the capsule has proven very reliable, consistent and smooth in response. It has a 9 pattern supply like our CM47 which I find invaluable over the original U47 OMNI/CARD only option.

Now, you still have to stay on top of China as we were just shipped some power supplies for our CM47 and CM12 microphones that had a fuse substitution that blew when using the microphones at 120v operation.

However, I caught this pretty quickly and only about 6 power supplies got out with the under-fused supplies but they are covered by our warrantee.

All our microphones are re-tested here in our shop in Canada but the fuse did not blow in every supply. The supply worked perfectly unless there was an access of in-rush current at turn on.

However, I can remember buying a $65,000 Trident Series 80 console back in the 80's that was also under fused for 120v operation. China runs on 220v operation the the power supply would only draw half the a/c current there.

The tube is easily replaced in these microphones and the circuit boards are also easily accessible for repairs of further upgrades.

Our CM47 currently sells for $735 and our CM47SE for $935 but we are out of stock until early February and we are currently on holiday until the middle of January. When we will be working on a new CM67 version for Jacquire King.

We can easily upgrade the CM-6 for folks with our custom K47 capsule for $149 installed which will give it the same response as an original U47 made after 1958. With the stock capsule it is more similar to the U67.

Cheers, Dave Thomas
Advanced Audio Microphones
Old 28th December 2010
  #22
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...the first round of CM-6s sold out on eBay before the auction even expired...
Old 30th December 2010
  #23
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...and a quick female vocal snippet on the CM-6 here:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/6163733-post50.html
Old 4th January 2011
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddler59 View Post
Illacov you are absolutely right the capsule and tranny mod you are talking about would take that mic into another level that would be off the charts.

DB
...Jim at JJ Audio just informed me that one of the capsules that would be recommended as an upgrade for the CM-6 is their new European hand-skinned JJT67...sample audio files comparing it to a Thiersch re-skinned Neumann K67 can be auditioned here:
JJ Audio JJT67 VS Neumann K67
Old 4th January 2011
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...Jim at JJ Audio just informed me that one of the capsules that would be recommended as an upgrade for the CM-6 is their new European hand-skinned JJT67...sample audio files comparing it to a Thiersch re-skinned Neumann K67 can be auditioned here:
JJ Audio JJT67 VS Neumann K67


Kid,

I was floored when I heard the sound quaility of these capsules. I am getting a CM6 shortly and doing the mod for this mic.

I spoke to Peter the other day and the components in the stock mic are very good.

He is an electronics engineer and has spent considerable time developing this mic for production.

I know the EF86 circuit very well and have my own take on what I want to do to this mic. One of the things I will do is to change the heater voltage from 6.3v to 5.7vdc. Also the power supply rebuild adds additional filtering and better capacitors in the circuit. I will also tune the circuit differently for the new capsules.

The EF86 is a good choice of tube in that provides a clean Hi Fi type tube sound that does not have a lot of tube compression. The 6au6 in the Sony and the Akita has a very compressed sound when pushed. It takes much more signal to push the EF86 in to that saturation mode.

All in all this is a very good mic at the current price point thumbsup



Old 7th January 2011
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haz-Mat-Strat View Post
Kid,

I was floored when I heard the sound quaility of these capsules. I am getting a CM6 shortly and doing the mod for this mic.
Jim...please post files when they are available...thanks!


ALSO...a CM-6 owner posted a piano reference file here:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/6188569-post157.html
Old 8th January 2011
  #27
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ansonwing's Avatar
 

New Stellar CM-6 Tube Microphone

Just missed one on eBay! :(
Old 11th January 2011
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ansonwing View Post
Just missed one on eBay! :(
...more to be listed soon...don't sleep on it!...
Old 17th January 2011
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ansonwing View Post
Just missed one on eBay! :(
...four more have just been listed...
Old 18th January 2011
  #30
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KBOY's Avatar
 

Looks nice... Anyone know where to get plain replacement bodies that can be finished custom?

I really wish these companies would do something to set themselves apart visually and add a few bucks. They all look the same. I curse peluso for starting this trend..
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