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KM84 vs. Gefell 300 vs. Josephson C42
Old 20th August 2005
  #1
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
KM84 vs. Gefell 300 vs. Josephson C42

I really would like to see a comparison/contrast report on these three mics, the Josephson C42, vintage KM84 (not KM184) and Gefell 300. They're all very good, so the word "better" is irrelevant. How are they different or similar would be the key info here.

How are they for miking acoustic guitar? How are they for live stereo applications? How are they for anything?

I'm hoping Fletcher and Nathan will participate, since they are the only ones I can think of who have probably heard all three brands of mics.

It's 7 a.m. in Austin, Texas, and this is what you get when I don't get enough sleep.
Old 20th August 2005
  #2
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Nothing? I didn't think it was that bad an idea. Must be the weekend.
Old 21st August 2005
  #3
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I can speak to the KM84 and the C42, but not the Gefell... I've used KM84's pretty extensively and I just tried the C42 this past week...

I would describe the C42 as actually being pretty similar to the KM184 in sound, but with a bit more "body" and more depth of sound in the low and mid range. I think the KM84 will be a bit smoother across the range of the mic and perhaps a bit flatter sounding. The C42 seems to be a bit more enhanced at the top end compartively.

When I first heard the C42, I thought that it was going to be a pretty bright mic, but after using it a bit, it really didn't seem that way. I used it on a variety of strings, piano and percussion and it wasn't my first choice for any of them, but it also didn't sound bad on any of them either. For the buck, you certainly can't go wrong.

If cost wasn't an option, I'd pick the KM84 in a heartbeat. If I had to choose between KM184 and the C42, I'd choose the C42 in a heartbeat.

--Ben
Old 21st August 2005
  #4
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Thanks, Ben. That was a very well-thought-out description.

Jasper
Old 21st August 2005
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

the 84 has a tube coloration that you may or may not like.
the gefell the most neutral.
the c42 is definitely the brightest of the bunch.
Old 21st August 2005
  #6
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Johan
the 84 has a tube coloration that you may or may not like.
Huh? Are you referring to the Neumann KM84 mics? These are solid state mics with no tubes involved. I've got four of them and have never heard a tube coloration. Maybe a little transformer coloration, which I really like, but not from a tube. Or are we talking about the tubular shape of the mic? Probably not.
Old 21st August 2005
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Johan
the 84 has a tube coloration that you may or may not like.

The Neumann KM84 is a FET microphone, so there is no tube coloration anywhere to be found in that mic.

The Neumann KM84 is very flat from lows to highs, and has a nice amount of coloration from the transformer (among other things, but not a tube). I own three of them, and two KM86's which are the multipattern version.

Ben wrote a nice synopsis of the C42, I generally agree.

The M300 is more 'even handed' than the C42. The M300 is slightly brighter and cleaner than the KM84. The M300 is like taking the KM84 and the C42 and slicing down the middle.

One thing to be aware of is that the KM84 has a comparatively lower output (6 or 8 millivolts I believe) than the M300, so on certain very quiet instruments like fingerpicked acoustic guitars, it can present a problem. But on strummed acoustic, overheads, etc it's fine. Finding good condition KM84's is a problem these days too, but they are out there every so often. I personally don't trust the whole Ebay system with used gear.
Old 21st August 2005
  #8
Gear Head
 

m300

love the m300 mic from geffel, i use it on percs, acoustic gtr and sometimes overheads. yes it is a little bright sounding i think but very useful. I remember getting them for $400+ 10yrs ago, i see they are up in price now.
Old 21st August 2005
  #9
Smile

Can't beat those 84s on ohs - SLAMMING, especially in a smaller room
Old 22nd August 2005
  #10
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
This is helpful. I currently own a pair of KM184s, and I've been thinking maybe they are too bright and hyped, so I'm entertaining the possibilty of replacing them.

They have worked great on stereo recordings of live Americana acts (acoustic singer-songwriters and such). Don't notice a hyped high end on that application, now that I think about it. At least nothing that bothered me. But I sure do notice a cloying brightness when recording acoustic guitars in the studio.

So I guess I'm looking for something to replace them. At first, I thought KM84s, but am now open to Gefell and Josephson. (I decided against Shoeps, because I can't spell it.)

Nathan, you're right. The eBay thing is always a crap shoot. On the other hand, sometimes that's the only place you can find a KM84. What would be a fair price for one of those?

Jasper
Old 22nd August 2005
  #11
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De chromium cob's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton
Maybe a little transformer coloration, which I really like, but not from a tube.
I agree....I think thats probably what he was refering to.
Old 22nd August 2005
  #12
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

I'm not the guys you're looking for, but I have some experience with the mics so I'll chime in.

You can't buy Neumann KM84i's easily anymore. I have three (anyone wanna buy my 84i 'third wheel'?) , which have been refurbished (they sound VERY close but not IDENTICAL...but as close as Neumann says ALL their mics are. No one has ever complained, anyway, nor can I hear the difference in useage.) But used, you are looking at around $2500 for a pair of restored KM84i's, around 1500 street for Gefell 300's, and about 900 for the Josephson.

The Josephsons are a GREAT value. The Neumann's are the client preferred mic, and the Gefell sometimes sounds best, but gets a poor rap...not sure why. I have demo'd several Gefell mics but never found them to be what I wanted, so I went to other options.

For Drum OHs I experienced VERY similar response and with each pair of mics used a high pass filter, a tiny bit of shaping EQ and judicious compression.

Where I noticed significant differences was in stereo use, on room X/Y, piano, and acoustic guitar applications. I found the Microtech Gefell's pleasing to the ear- specifically in the lows and mids- but not very accurate. The Neumann's have a hyped but clean high end and gently scooped bottom before hitting the proximity effect (when I got too close with piano low or acoustic guitar soundhole) but you can back it off until it works nicely.

I hope these thoughts help.
Old 22nd August 2005
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper
(I decided against Shoeps, because I can't spell it.)


The Schoeps is probably the overall best sounding/most versatile of the bunch (a very connected issue unless you have a $50K+ mic locker with a ton of mics), regardless of orthographical problems.
Old 22nd August 2005
  #14
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred
The Schoeps is probably the overall best sounding/most versatile of the bunch (a very connected issue unless you have a $50K+ mic locker with a ton of mics), regardless of orthographical problems.
Why is it every time Eldred posts I learn a new word? Orthographical? Listen...I was the third grade spelling champ and do well in that arena...but were you an English major or something??



War
Old 22nd August 2005
  #15
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred
The Schoeps is probably the overall best sounding/most versatile of the bunch (a very connected issue unless you have a $50K+ mic locker with a ton of mics), regardless of orthographical problems.
And financial problems. The price is ridiculous.

Jasper
Old 23rd August 2005
  #16
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Ah, price. The Schoeps are reasonable for an expensive, quality mic. I once toured with 32- yes, 32 CMC6 mic preamps and over 45 capsules. They are worth the price, as are B&K mics. I have 4007s I love but I need to buy three 4041's after a recording I did with them of the Rachmaninov 3 this summer. These make the Schoeps feel like Shure mics in price comparison, though not audio comparison.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #17
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32 Schoeps? You poor thing. Sounds like the mic collection at the Hollywood Bowl.

I LOVE the DPA 4041. Did you have the solid state or tube version? I used the tube version on a solo tenor for a Berlioz Requiem performance I did about a year ago. Was a "godly" sound....

-Ben
Old 23rd August 2005
  #18
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
If I were to test the Schoeps agains the Josephsons, Neumann's and Gefells and found out they kicked ass on recording acoustic guitar conclusively, every time out -- yeah, then it would be worth the money.

But any test wouldn't be conclusive: some would say they prefer the Neumanns, others Gefell, or C42s or Schoeps. Whatever. But it wouldn't be conclusive.

What's reality? I would never be able to assemble all those mics in my studio for that kind of test anyway. You could probably pull it off in NYC, but not in Austin, TX.

Jasper
Old 23rd August 2005
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim vanBergen
But used, you are looking at around $2500 for a pair of restored KM84i's,
Bought a nice pair of KM84's last year for $1200
bought an additional one this year for $500

Rumours tells of a source that is soon going to sell tens of 84's for about $120 a piece.

No, I won't tell who

Since buying the KM84's, they have rendered our B&K's useless.

Bought B&K because I more or less grew up in the studio with them, but compared to some other mics they are U S E L E S S, ****ty plastic sounding, 80's/90's idea of "transparent" pieces of junk.
Listem to their high-end, wrapped in plastic, something above 10k reminds me very much of the newer C414's, actually. The same kind of plastic timbre, but frequencywise more linear, ofcourse.


all in my very humble opinion.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #20
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Schoeps have come down a bunch in price compared to a few years ago.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #21
chikkenguy
Guest
i see cmc64s go on ebay from time to time at pretty decent prices. 700-800 dollars sometimes.

i have not used the josephson, but for overall utility and great soundingness out of everything else i have used, i would choose the km84.
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