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Neumann KM183 v DPA ST2006C
Old 3rd December 2018
  #1
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Neumann KM183 v DPA ST2006C

Hi Guys an Gals
You advice on the following. I am in the market to purchase a set of Omni microphones mainly as a pair for choir recording but also to have all round flexibility for other uses. I am torn between KM183's and DPA ST2006C (Both just in my budget range) From your wealth of location recording expertise which is the best way to go? I am told 'I can't go wrong with the KM's' but I have also had experience on jobs using a pair of older B&K (DPA) 4006's. While I realise it is personal taste and how I want the final recording to be I need help in making a decision. Thanks in advance.
Old 3rd December 2018
  #2
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fred2bern's Avatar
Hello,

I think it depends where you plan to record.

KM183 has a big high boost at 10k (+8dB)
ST2006c has a smaller high boost at 15k (+5dB).

I have KM183 (4) that I used also with SBK130 (sphere) and had good results on location recordings for a not so big investment (chamber music and orchestra).

Fred
Attached Thumbnails
Neumann KM183 v DPA ST2006C-dpa2006c.jpg   Neumann KM183 v DPA ST2006C-km183.jpg  
Old 3rd December 2018
  #3
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Eric D's Avatar
 

Hello, this is my first post here . Please excuse my English ...

Last year I was looking for pair of relatively affordable omni microphones to record acoustic music in A-B configuration . The DPA ST 2006C and the Neumann KM 183's were the 2 favorites, and I finally choosed the DPA's .
The choice was really difficult, because I have always had great results with Neumann microphones in the past, and I really appreciate the "warmth" they generally have . But I never had the opportunity to test the km 183's, and was slightly afraid that the high boost could be excessive in some situations .
I know some people here use them in vertical position to use their directionnality in the high frequencies, to have a more linear response for closer recordings, but to my opinion this is not really the best solution, because by doing so, the very high treble (let's say approx. from 12 kHz to 20h kHz) will be too much attenuated, which I suppose could mean a lack of detail, a lack of (natural) brightness, and a degradation of the transient response .
Perhaps I was wrong about this, but this is the reason why I opted for the DPA's .
After 20-25 concert recordings with these, I can say I am satisfied with this choice, but not fully satisfied .
These microphones are generally very transparent sounding, but afer several recordings with them, I noted that the very low frequencies were always absent .
And this was the same with various preamps : Sonosax SX-M32, Tascam DR 680 MKII, Sound Devices Mix Pre 6 .
Now, I am convinced that the weakness of the 2006's at very low frequencies is the reason why DPA doesn't show their frequency response below 50 Hz,and also convinced that this is due to the use of 2 capsules instead of 1 (the capsules are similar to the one used in the 4060, but the 4060 has a clearly audible more extended low frequency response than the 2006) .

Then, because of their low price and good reputation, I decided to buy a pair of Line Audio OM1's . These microphones offer indeed incredible quality for their price and the results are really good if used correctly in the direct field .
They have a better extension in the bass than the 2006's, this is clearly audible . But they are not so "fast" on the transients than the DPA's, have less definition in the high frequencies, and less "air" than the DPA's in an A-B setup . However, these little cheap microphones are really really good and can be a good alternative to more expensive microphones if you use them relatively close to the source .

This is my personal experience with affordable omnis microphones, and like Beefi I would be very interested in other opinions about the 2006's and the 183's .

Thank you very much,
Eric
Old 3rd December 2018
  #4
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Fred and Eric
Very many thanks for the replies. I am looking for a warm reproduction of Choir, maybe going back to the good quality analogue days. To me digital, although precise, tends to be a bit 'cold' so I appreciate your comments Eric - and your English is brilliant!!
Most of my recordings are in small Church type buildings with mid to high ceilings on the pretext that I will get a better quality recording than in a low ceiling school hall.
Budget at the moment will only extend to one pair, hence the important decision now.
Thanks once again
Old 3rd December 2018
  #5
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jnorman's Avatar
I am a big fan of the km183s. I have also owned 4006s, 4061s, and 4090 omnis by DPA. While I did quite like the DPA 4011 cardioids, I always felt the omnis were a bit cold compared to my Neumann’s and Schoeps (cmc62). I use the 183s all the time in a boojum/jnorman array and never feel like they are too bright. I also use the 183s as my primary piano mics and they really excel in that application imho. They have excellent bass extension and that signature Neumann character which I like.
Old 3rd December 2018
  #6
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fred2bern's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefi View Post
Most of my recordings are in small Church type buildings with mid to high ceilings on the pretext that I will get a better quality recording than in a low ceiling school hall.
Budget at the moment will only extend to one pair, hence the important decision now.
Thanks once again
It is my personnal taste, but in churches I always found the KM183 a really nice tool to work with. Easy to use and the boost helps in churches to have a nice, natural and homogeneous frequency response without spending hours to find the right place.

I have used the 183 for the last 5 years as main for concert recordings in churches (60/70).
Today I use another main pair for location recordings but I must say the 183s sound really nice and are still in my mic locker.

For one of my studio production and before upgrading I did a CD production with a Decca tree with 3x KM183 + SBK130 as main (plus spots of course) and the result had been well received by the clients, the reviews... and me!
It is a very nice microphone.

But the choice is also a matter of taste, of your taste.

IMO the best thing to do is to test both microphones on 2 separate microphone stands (because the best spot for the 183 can be not the best for the 2006).

Fred
Old 4th December 2018
  #7
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Eric D's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern View Post

For one of my studio production and before upgrading I did a CD production with a Decca tree with 3x KM183 + SBK130 as main (plus spots of course) and the result had been well received by the clients, the reviews... and me!
It is a very nice microphone.

Fred
Hi Fred,
I am very interested to hear you opinion about the KM 183's + SBK 130's .
In theory, putting the SBK 130(A) on the KM 183 should result in a relatively flat frequency response from the 183, but does the result really "sound" like a flat response microphone, like the KM 131 ?
With the SBK 130, are the warmth , the smootness, the definition and the transient response preserved ? In other words, is the result always fully "Neumann" sounding ?
This should be very interesting to know, because in case of positive response, this would mean that a kit with 2 KM 183's and 2 SBK 130A's could be used with perfect results in the free field (with the SBK 130A) and also at greater distance (without the SBK 130A) .
Such a kit could be perfect for me, I like the DPA 2006's but would appreciate more weight in the bass, an perhaps a little more warmth .
Thank you very much,
Eric
Old 4th December 2018
  #8
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fred2bern's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric D View Post
In theory, putting the SBK 130(A) on the KM 183 should result in a relatively flat frequency response from the 183an perhaps a little more warmth .
Hey Eric D,

I won't write in this post what is in the .pdf from Neumann that you'll find below.
I think maybe you don't really get it.
The goal of the sphere is to give more directivity in the high frequencies. It gives + 2.5dB between 2k and 10kHz. From the rear -2.5dB above 5kHz.

Hope you'll find this .pdf from Neumann interesting.

Fred

Edit: I found the post with pictures of the Decca KM183 + SBK130:
Post pictures of your portable recording equipment
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Neumann SBK130A.pdf (231.9 KB, 86 views)

Last edited by fred2bern; 4th December 2018 at 04:55 PM..
Old 4th December 2018
  #9
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Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefi View Post
Hi Guys an Gals
You advice on the following. I am in the market to purchase a set of Omni microphones mainly as a pair for choir recording but also to have all round flexibility for other uses. I am torn between KM183's and DPA ST2006C
You won’t go wrong with either pair for choral work, and I think it’s a hard call to say which pair would be more suitable without looking at more specifics like preferred choral aesthetics, genres, recording spaces, etc.

If you’re after a pair that is “mainly” for choir recording but also with “all-round flexibility for other uses”, I think the 2006Cs would be the smarter choice of the two options - mostly because I find the KM183s can be too bright for close miking and that therefore limits their ‘all-round flexibility’. On that train of thought, however, I would suggest that if you can afford it, go for the 2006A with the high end preamp bodies because they have an internal -20dB pad switch. With 40mV/Pa sensitivity (10.5dB higher output compared to the KM183’s 12mV/Pa) you might be glad to have that on-board pad switch from time to time.
Old 4th December 2018
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmosonic View Post
You won’t go wrong with either pair for choral work, and I think it’s a hard call to say which pair would be more suitable without looking at more specifics like preferred choral aesthetics, genres, recording spaces, etc.

If you’re after a pair that is “mainly” for choir recording but also with “all-round flexibility for other uses”, I think the 2006Cs would be the smarter choice of the two options - mostly because I find the KM183s can be too bright for close miking and that therefore limits their ‘all-round flexibility’. On that train of thought, however, I would suggest that if you can afford it, go for the 2006A with the high end preamp bodies because they have an internal -20dB pad switch. With 40mV/Pa sensitivity (10.5dB higher output compared to the KM183’s 12mV/Pa) you might be glad to have that on-board pad switch from time to time.
I like very much the main mics in what DPA now call their 'dedicate' range - the 4006, 4011, 4015 etc. Some find these rather 'cold' or similar and I have no critique of any such responses...to me it's a classic case of different colours of sound being useful in different applications. At what they set out to do, I think the 4006 family are world class (and deserved industry standards). As too are the Schopes MK2 series, MK21 et al; Neumann's 130 series; Sennheiser's MKH series; Gefell and Josephson SDC omnis...

But here's the thing: DPA is founded above all on unambiguous precision. B&K (who still make the capsules for the 4006, with all others being made in house by DPA, as per the advices of the ever-learned Plush) is a sound measurement company and the B&K/DPA legend in microphones for recording acoustic music grew out of that tradition.

The plot for DPA's tiny, omni 4060 has a solid line down to 20Hz, at which point this capsule is only marginally below par. If you buy a 4006 matched pair, say, you get a print-out of the frequency response for each mic, measured all the way down to 10Hz, with the two matched within 0.5dB from 20Hz to 20kHz.

Yet, with the 2006, the solid line gets an attack of nerves and turns dotted below 50Hz, while the text only states '+/- 3dB' from 20Hz to 20kHz. This is most un-DPA-like!

I'm ignorant of the process via which DPA combine two of the 4060 series diaphragms to make the 2006 series twin-diaphragm models. But my guess would be that this process cannot be accomplished (economically) with other than non-trivial variation in the response down in the 20Hz region from one example to the next (at least for the omni 2006; bass roll-off is obviously expected with the cardioids etc). If there were not such variation, presumably DPA would continue with that solid line below 50Hz.


I'm happy to be put right on this if I'm mistaken, but it would be hard to recommend the 2006 for critical applications given this apparent uncertainty over what you'll be getting in bass response from the actual mic that you get out of the box. It would be nice to think of the 2006 having most of the 'DPA house sound' as per the 4006, but I'd be turned off the 2006 by this most un-DPA-like ambiguity over bass response.

To add to what's already been said about affordable omni choices, I don't think you can go wrong with MK183s so long as you're comfortable with sometimes needing to address the hf hump. The Rode NT5 with the omni capsules NT-45O are outstanding value for money. I've heard these on strings, chamber groups and choral music and they are practically in the league of the big boys. Again, though, a substantial hf hump.

A new contender is the Gefell M320. A highly learned contributor to this forum, John Willett, is Gefell's UK distributor. I'm not sure whether Gefell has yet published a frequency response graph for the M320 but I recall reading that it has a hf bump but this is less than that of the KM183 (or the NT-45O). So the Gefell might fit very nicely.
Old 4th December 2018
  #11
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Eric D's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern View Post
Hey Eric D,

I won't write in this post what is in the .pdf from Neumann that you'll find below.
I think maybe you don't really get it.
The goal of the sphere is to give more directivity in the high frequencies. It gives + 2.5dB between 2k and 10kHz. From the rear -2.5dB above 5kHz.

Hope you'll find this .pdf from Neumann interesting.

Fred

Edit: I found the post with pictures of the Decca KM183 + SBK130:
Post pictures of your portable recording equipment
Yes Fred, I know the SBK 130(A) is designed to modify the directivity of the microphone at high frequencies .
But the sphere also has a very pronouced effect on the high frequency response of the microphone, as the pdf from Neumann shows, hence my question .
Such a change in the frequency response with the sphere (-2dB at 4kHz, -4 dB at 6kHz, -6 dB at 8kHz, -7db at 10 kHz, -4 dB at 15 kHz) should have a significant effect on the sound of the 183, I was interested to know how you would describe this "modified" sound ?
Old 5th December 2018
  #12
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Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Pk View Post
The Rode NT5 with the omni capsules NT-45O are outstanding value for money. I've heard these on strings, chamber groups and choral music and they are practically in the league of the big boys. Again, though, a substantial hf hump.
Indeed.

I had the fortune of being able to compare the NT6 with the NT55 with the omni capsules. I’d recommend the NT6; the smaller and shorter body housing the capsule itself gives it a superior off-axis response to the NT5/NT55 and allows it to perform considerably above its price point.

Another cool thing about the NT6 is that the body of the mic’s internal preamp has the same dimensions at the end as an XLR connector; in other words, it can be plugged directly into a mic preamp’s XLR input without needing an extra mic cable - assuming the NT6 cable is long enough. I have done this on a number of occassions where I’ve been close-miking musicians on location.
Old 5th December 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric D View Post
Such a change in the frequency response with the sphere (-2dB at 4kHz, -4 dB at 6kHz, -6 dB at 8kHz, -7db at 10 kHz, -4 dB at 15 kHz) should have a significant effect on the sound of the 183, I was interested to know how you would describe this "modified" sound ?
`

Do you mean from the rear or the front of the microphone....otherwise shouldn't all these (-) dB figures be (+) instead ?
Old 5th December 2018
  #14
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Eric D's Avatar
 

Sorry guys, I was completely wrong and didn't read the Neumann curves correctly, the flat frequency response is for the KM 131, not for the KM 183 + SBK 130 !
Old 5th December 2018
  #15
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It is indeed a bit perplexing...that one would want to add yet more diffuse field eq-ing (via the SBK sphere) to a microphone that already has a HF bump, and is already designed to be used in the diffuse field ! Can there be too much of a good thing ?

Admittedly the sphere only adds (according to the Neumann spec sheet) the following....
"Sound components reaching the microphone from the front halfspace are emphasized as much as 2.5 dB between 2 kHz and 10 kHz. In contrast, sound components reaching the microphone from the rear half-space are attenuated by about 2.5 dB by frequencies above 5 kHz. Sound coming from the side (90°) or
from the rear (180°) is not affected"

So it's a lesser and subtle (2.5dB) boost, beginning at a lower frequency than the diffuse field boost already engineered into the KM183....but it still begs the question: just how far back into the diffuse field do you want to go with your mics anyway ?

Here's the graph (below) for the KM183 alone. I know the SBK affects more than just the front-half response, there's the damping of the rear field to be considered also, almost pushing it into cardioid territory (apart from maintaining the omni bass extension !)
Attached Thumbnails
Neumann KM183 v DPA ST2006C-km183-frequency-graph.jpg  
Old 5th December 2018
  #16
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jnorman's Avatar
Studer - look at the polar graph to get an idea of what the ball is doing. It is not boosting the high end, it is attenuating response from the rear and sides a bit to increase directivity and reduce ambience when you are forced to work in the far diffuse field.
Old 5th December 2018
  #17
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Thanks for all the information and comment, very informative. Just when I thought I had nearly made a decision it would only be correct to include the Gefell M320's in the process. Any body had any real life experiences? I will have to speak to the young Mr Willett, I am sure he will come up with some answers! To add to the facts I will be using my Nagra VII pre amp inputs for the pair, a Nagra VI may come along later for multi microphone set ups.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

Quote:
I also use the 183s as my primary piano mics
Came across this old thread. I use 183s for piano also. Wondering how you set them up and whether you find yourself using a HPF?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
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jnorman's Avatar
Crazy - as piano spots, I use an AB setup at the lip in the curve of the instrument. As piano mains, I use a bit wider AB about 6-8 feet out depending on the ambience of the venue. No, I don’t ever seem to need to roll off the HF, it is more common that I might actually boost a bit in the 3-5khz region. For brighter pianos, I sometimes aim the AB pair straight up, since at 90 degrees off-axis the 183s are nearly flat (I picked that up from John willett).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
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Don S's Avatar
 

I was considering 2006s for a backup pair, but heard them compared with the 4006. No contest, don't waste your money. The 183, while in the same neighborhood in terms of quality (maybe even higher), costs much less. I've seen them for a grand a pair on fleabay.
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