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two KM184s for one...? Condenser Microphones
Old 5th January 2011
  #31
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappygarry View Post
The extra pennies will be well spent. A stunning mic.
They would be, but I think we're talking >$1,500. And they're tough to find.
Old 5th January 2011
  #32
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Stu Gutz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
They would be, but I think we're talking >$1,500. And they're tough to find.
For one? 1K or a little less.
Old 5th January 2011
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digiframe View Post
Try a ribbon mic... AEA R84, RCA 77DX or similar... So natural really beautiful!
Very nice on any acoustic!thumbsup
Old 5th January 2011
  #34
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Gutz View Post
For one? 1K or a little less.
$1K USD? The last KM84 I priced was a couple years ago and it was $1,200 USD. $1,500 seems like the right neighborhood in 2011, but if you know where to find them for $1k then I stand corrected.

Where can we find them for that price?
Old 5th January 2011
  #35
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Stu Gutz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
$1K USD? The last KM84 I priced was a couple years ago and it was $1,200 USD. $1,500 seems like the right neighborhood in 2011, but if you know where to find them for $1k then I stand corrected.

Where can we find them for that price?
Right here. Keep an eye on, or do a search in the classifieds; Here's a good deal on a pair: FS: Neumann KMi84 / KM84 Pair!! incl case !! - maybe they're sold now.


I recently bought one for $950.

Prices have come down on all used gear in the last couple of years.
Old 5th January 2011
  #36
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

Nevaton Mc416 is very good imo
it has this special highs,this to neve style preamp and it´s wonderfull imo
maybe this mic is rare in US, don´t know
Old 8th January 2011
  #37
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Gutz View Post
Prices have come down on all used gear in the last couple of years.
I've been tracking a few vintage pieces (recording gear and guitars) and they're all still rising in value. It has slowed, certainly, but I'm not seeing a loss any any of my "investment" gear. An 84 is a working-man's mic, but still a classic, and one that's in proper working order and in good shape should still fetch a good buck. Are the examples you mentioned original, working properly, in good condition? I've seen poor examples sell cheaply. Or maybe they've fallen below $1K. That would be good for the buyer.
Old 8th January 2011
  #38
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MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 

No one has mentioned an obvious option, Beyer MC930.
Old 6th February 2011
  #39
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Two KM84s at VK right now. One is $1,650 and the other is $1,700, and neither is in perfect condition.

The original estimations of $1,500 were pretty close after all.
Old 7th February 2011
  #40
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The problem is that mic's are bright in very different ways, as are instruments. So, for example, the KSM137 is a bright mic (to me), but it is bright in a completely different way than the 184. The 137 has a cleaner top end than the 930 (and almost every other mic with a bump in the upper end). Not to say the 137 is better than the 930, rather it's different.

The 414 B/ULS is not one of my favorite mic's, but it can be a stunning guitar mic-here are other suggestions:

The new Royer R101-not pricey, two sounds, front/back
The MKH40.
The Line Audio CM3 is inexpensive and very impressive, very flat, not a high output mic
4011
930 already mentioned
Beyer ribbon-already mentioned

I wouldn't go for the 84 unless I didn't care about ever having two that were alike, and I also didn't mind spending a lot of money for a mic that needs more money to put it into best condition. Unless I found one for less than they are apparently now be sold for.

For the price of a good 84 you are in 4011 territory- You could also buy an MK4 cap and body for that amount. And both of those make the MKH40 a real bargain.
Old 8th February 2011
  #41
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEGG View Post
I wouldn't go for the 84 unless I didn't care about ever having two that were alike, and I also didn't mind spending a lot of money for a mic that needs more money to put it into best condition. Unless I found one for less than they are apparently now be sold for.
Some 84s will need nothing at all, especially the more expensive ones from the reputable dealers, in fact their condition is the precise reason why they're more expensive. Buy it today, start recording tonight.
Old 8th February 2011
  #42
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Wave theory's Avatar
 

Keep the KM184's and buy a Great River preamp.
Old 8th February 2011
  #43
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tmcconnell's Avatar
 

Yep

The km184 is sizzly and low endy for an sdc... exactly the wrong formula for acoustic guitar generally. You want the opposite, big and smooth through the mids, and rolled off a little way on top.

I think an r84 is a little extreme for this (too rolled off on top) .... A subject of much discussion. You might try an r121 since you have a good pre (its less than 1000). A lot depends on the recording environment. Is it a nice room? If so, consider an ldc in omni, pulled back a bit. A lot of the really high end overtones on acoustic are nasty, I don't care how good the guitar is. And all dreadnoughts have low end boom you need to get away from, by placement or rolloff ... but working with placement (as opposed to rolloff) is better since the attack of the guitar goes very low, and can sound chunky and nice. You can also notch the boomy bit of a dreadnought (but I think most people just roll it off because that generally works in a mix).

In the end, I advise renting a studio for an hour or two and trying a bunch of mics. The right decision will pay for your studio time instantly. t
Old 8th February 2011
  #44
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wave theory View Post
Keep the KM184's and buy a Great River preamp.
Read his original post. a) he's willing to upgrade to a single better mic, b) the preamp is staying (and that's not a problem), c) the guitar is a Collings, a guitar brighter than many.
Old 8th February 2011
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Some 84s will need nothing at all, especially the more expensive ones from the reputable dealers, in fact their condition is the precise reason why they're more expensive.
I'm sure everyone would share the observation and common sense conclusion that used gear in good condition commands higher prices than gear that is in less good condition and that might require some work.

The point of my post was to question the relative value and performance of a top price KM84 when compared to other mic's in the same upper tier price category (new Schoeps, new DPA), as well as a number of far less expensive mic's (new Sennheiser, new Royer, etc.).
Old 8th February 2011
  #46
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEGG View Post
The point of my post was to question the relative value and performance of a top price KM84 when compared to other mic's in the same upper tier price category (new Schoeps, new DPA), as well as a number of far less expensive mic's (new Sennheiser, new Royer, etc.).
The bit I quoted was your statement which essentially said that any KM84s would need service, which isn't true. That had nothing to do with relative value. Regardless, a quality KM84 for $1,600 is a great value IMO. As Bob said, it's one of those mics where you set it near the instrument and get on with other things -- it's a classic for good reason and most other mics (designed with the KM range in their cross hairs) will be a compromise in one way or another. For $1,600 you get the real thing.
Old 9th February 2011
  #47
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km184s are able to handle pretty much anything you can throw at them and deliver stunning results. i have owned DPA 4011s, schoeps CMC64s, royer r-121s, coles 4038s, beyer MC-930s, AKG C481s and 461s, neumann km184s and 140s, AT4051s, gefell M300s, DPA 4006s and 4061s and 4090s, etc, etc. all of them are pretty mice mics, and once you learn their quirks and characteristics, you can make any of them turn in a nice recording.

personally, out of all of those mics, i finally settled on the DPA 4090 as my favorite for acoustic instrumental spot duties and KM140s as a main ORTF pair for small enslemble work. however, in the end, how you use a mic has much more to do with the final sound than any inherent difference between any of the high end SDCs i have owned.

while it is always preferable to using potential new mics yourself, next to that i find that actual comparative samples that you can hear with your ears on your monitors are far more valuable than anyone's written description or opinion. i have posted sample comparisons of the KM184s vs MC930s vs AT4051s vs KM140s vs DPA 4061s here on GS, and there is a recent test in the shootouts forum posted by Ivo Sedlacek comparing km184s to three varieties of schoeps capsules. the KM184s demonstrate very clearly that they are competitive with any SDC made, at any price.
Old 10th February 2011
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
km184s are able to handle pretty much anything you can throw at them and deliver stunning results. i have owned DPA 4011s, schoeps CMC64s, royer r-121s, coles 4038s, beyer MC-930s, AKG C481s and 461s, neumann km184s and 140s, AT4051s, gefell M300s, DPA 4006s and 4061s and 4090s, etc, etc. all of them are pretty mice mics, and once you learn their quirks and characteristics, you can make any of them turn in a nice recording.
There's certainly some truth here, and I feel like the reality about any of these higher-end SDCs is much closer to the sentiment above than to the usual GS bash-this-mic, love-this-other-mic dribble.

That being said, I have used most of the mics mentioned (DPA 4006(omni), 4011(card), Schoeps CMC5/MK4 cap, 451, KM84, KM184, SM81, 4051) and own a pair of the KM184s myself.

I'm not a mic designer, but it seems that the challenge that presents itself for any designer of a cardioid SDC is managing the tradeoff in frequency response/ off-axis response that comes with the efforts made to achieve directionality.

If a mic is placed in the diffuse field (as in more distant orchestral/classical recordings), a cardioid will see a significant amount of information picked up off-axis, where the high frequency response tends to fall off rapidly, as you can see in this polar plot for the 184.

Efforts are made by the designer to compensate for the off-axis HF loss which result in the on-axis response being brighter, as seen in the free field frequency response for the 184 below.

The intended result is an overall frequency response that sounds "flat", "natural", or whatever the designers' intended "color" is with certain intended placements. A mic designed for the diffuse field will sound bright when close mic'ing an instrument (and vice versa). I have never seen anything from Neumann stating that the KM184 is designed for the diffuse field, but it is certainly bright (in a way similar to many diffuse field omnis).

In addition to the above challenges, efforts are also made toward keeping the off-axis response itself "pleasant" and phase-coherent. The better (and more expensive, usually) SDCs do a great job with this, although that's not to say you can't get great results with less expensive mics, especially if you're cognizant of these factors.

Because of all these design intentions and characteristics, a discussion about these various cardioid SDCs is unproductive without the necessary contextual details of source, placement (angle and distance), the room, and any gobos/treatments of the space. Undoubtedly, the omission of these critical details is the culprit behind such wide variation in user experiences reported with any given mic. Having these discussions without at least acknowledging that these other details have a significant influence in the resultant sound to tape is akin to running an experiment without controlling other variables that are not under test (i.e., bad science).

Certainly, when talking about small diaphragm condensers, variations in preamps and converters will also have an impact, but a much smaller one than any of the above considerations. For that reason, IMO, the above poster's suggestion of simply swapping your pre is misguided.

Back to the OPs original question. The 184s are bright, for sure. Due to a change in the rear port design, they differ in that way from the original KM84s. In your specific application, they can quickly get overly bright. I have mic'd a Collings many times with these mics, and I have often had to tweak placement to combat the excess brightness. However, when you get it right, it's a beautiful thing. If you want to hang on to them, you might try playing with placement a bit, and consider moving them further away from the guitar. Of course, you'll have to be more careful in controlling the reflections from the room as you move back. And by "controlling", I don't just mean making it "dead", but rather making sure that any reflections you're getting are pleasant and/or an intended part of the sound you're after. If a dry, close, finger-style thing is what you're after, you'd most likely need to whip out the gobos or move to another space if your room is fairly lively.

If you still want to consider other mics, many of those listed will be less "bright" in your application. My personal choice would be a DPA 4011 or 4006 (omni), but they are about double the price range you mentioned. In cases where I just can't get my 184s working for me, I have swapped in my SM81 with some surprisingly great results. Contrary to the overly dramatic user experiences you'll hear around here, I believe they are one of the most underestimated SDCs out there.
Old 11th February 2011
  #49
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adirondack's Avatar
Collings Acoustic and AKG C-414

Great posts. As an update, I have recently been getting very good results recording the Collings acoustic using a C414. The C414 seems to provide a warm and mellow sonic picture and rounds out some of the brightness of my guitar. I'm sure a number of other mics could do the same thing. I am also curious to try the Beyer 930 at some point as I like what I hear on the clips in this forum. Thanks for all the input.
Old 11th February 2011
  #50
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tnjazz's Avatar
Nevaton MC49

One of my all time favorite microphones
Old 11th February 2011
  #51
Gear Guru
Old

84's can go off spec even when totally babied. They do not have great headroom or noise figures. In good condition I fully agree about the great sound, although it's strongest points are neutrality and similar off axis response IMHO.
For a new german handmade very affordable alternative I can thoroughly recommend the Haun MBHO K200 capsule with the 648 traffo preamp or the 603 traffoless if you want more modern clarity.

DD
Old 12th February 2011
  #52
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Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
For a new german handmade very affordable alternative I can thoroughly recommend the Haun MBHO K200 capsule with the 648 traffo preamp or the 603 traffoless if you want more modern clarity.
DD
Not really NEW tutt

JMM
Old 12th February 2011
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adirondack View Post
Great posts. As an update, I have recently been getting very good results recording the Collings acoustic using a C414. The C414 seems to provide a warm and mellow sonic picture and rounds out some of the brightness of my guitar. I'm sure a number of other mics could do the same thing. I am also curious to try the Beyer 930 at some point as I like what I hear on the clips in this forum. Thanks for all the input.
The 414's (B/ULS, anyway) can do some things that might be a surprise. One of them is all flavors of guitar (as mentioned earlier), and the other-oddly enough-is that they are excellent mic's for harpsichord-where one might assume they would be brutal. In a great room with solo guitar, they present quite a sound when used as a blumlein pair. The 414 B/ULS is also a fantastic close mic for guitar, delivering a big sound with no brittleness or crunch.
Old 12th February 2011
  #54
Gear Guru
New

New as in newly manufactured, not second hand.
DD
Old 12th February 2011
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
New as in newly manufactured, not second hand.
DD
Sorry for my misinterpretation

JMM
Old 13th February 2011
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEGG View Post
The 414's (B/ULS, anyway) can do some things that might be a surprise. One of them is all flavors of guitar (as mentioned earlier), and the other-oddly enough-is that they are excellent mic's for harpsichord-where one might assume they would be brutal. In a great room with solo guitar, they present quite a sound when used as a blumlein pair. The 414 B/ULS is also a fantastic close mic for guitar, delivering a big sound with no brittleness or crunch.
Excellent point!

And, just to reemphasize, the C414B-ULS and C414B-TLII are totally different microphones, sounding very different from one another. The currently available equivalent models are the C414B-XLS and the C414B-XLII (basically the same as their predecessors, with electronic switching of their 9 polar patterns, and a slightly different mounting of the capsule).

My TLII works well on some vocals, but I have yet to have it work on an acoustic guitar. The ULS is a different story, and can be fantastic in that application, as JEGG mentioned.
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