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KM184 vs KM140 shootout coming...
Old 25th February 2010
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
well guys - i am sorry, but i am going to have to renege on the shootout.
Ouch - another shootout that is announced and didn't happen as planned... hehheh
Come on, share some of the audio. We won't llisten to the music...

Anyhow, both mics are featured here (not entirely scientific, maybe): https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...-shootout.html

I'd tend to agree with Ben - I sold my 184 and kept my (older) 140. But it was more of an impression rather than solid fact or result of a test. I just found I wasn't using the 184 much.

As for the LC 3-KA, I recently got one on ebay for € 80 or so...
Haven't got a clip yet, though...

Daniel
Old 25th February 2010
  #32
We've had both 184's and 140's for years and use them interchangeably. The biggest problem with the 184 is that if you hang them for extended periods of time (Like Years...) the connector between the capsule and preamp becomes intermittent. Larry Rock at the NY Phil had a bunch of problems with the early 184's because they hang 5 days a week, 42 weeks a year.
But I'll just add that if you actually open up the mic, it is the same capsule and preamp as the 140 with out the accessory connector.

If you take one of each of the mics right out of the factory, they should sound exactly the same.

All the best,
-mark
Old 25th February 2010
  #33
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
..... the 184's were among the first made. Has Neumann changed anything?
Yes, as far as I remember, they improved the electronics several years ago.

I do not know if they had to make any other changes due to RoHS compliance - but every manufacturer had to do this as lead-free solder had to be used and many components were withdrawn completely.
Old 26th February 2010
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
Was that really necessary David?
--Ben
Perhaps not. But Neumann have stated they are absolutely identical over and over again, and people are still doing (planning!) shootouts.

I am just emphasizing the importance of listening to and trusting the manufacturer.
Old 26th February 2010
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Perhaps not. But Neumann have stated they are absolutely identical over and over again, and people are still doing (planning!) shootouts.

I am just emphasizing the importance of listening to and trusting the manufacturer.
Well, to an outsider such as me it's a bit hard to tell who is right in this situation. Neumann says the KM 184 and KM 140 are nearly the same and on paper the mics look identical. That definitely counts for something. On the other hand, a number of people say they donโ€™t sound the same at all. I can hear a clear difference in Daniel's clips. However, it looks as if in that particular shootout the mics weren't in quite the same location. How much does that account for the difference we hear?

It would just be nice to have a more "scientific" shootout between the 184 and 140 to confirm once and for all if there is in fact a difference.

Perhaps it comes down to nothing more than normal variation between mics of the same model. After all, in terms of frequency response maybe two 184s wouldn't sound exactly the same either?
Old 26th February 2010
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianHanke View Post
I can hear a clear difference in Daniel's clips. However, it looks as if in that particular shootout the mics weren't in quite the same location. How much does that account for the difference we hear?
At the distance from the source, hopefully not too much...
Also mind that this is a fairly old 140 (pre-SMD, maybe), and a newer 184.


Daniel
Old 26th February 2010
  #37
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666666's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianHanke View Post

....Perhaps it comes down to nothing more than normal variation between mics of the same model. After all, in terms of frequency response maybe two 184s wouldn't sound exactly the same either?
Intelligent speculation. This is likely what's going on.

To really do such a comparison "correctly", you should have maybe three pairs of each model, perhaps purchased over a several month period, and then make sure you record a perfectly identical source from one identical exact specific location for each mic... then compare all, blindfolded. Any "trend" observed from blindfold listening with three pairs of each model mic might indicate an actual true general "difference" between the two models. If no trends could be established in blindfold listening, then it would be safe to say that the two mic models are, for all practical purposes, truly "identical".

I agree with the general premise of trusting the manufacturer, but it has been shown, with assorted manufacturers, that parts used in some models can change over time (due to availability issues or whatever), and thus subtleties in the unit's performance can change as a result, but yet the advertised specifications do NOT change. So, with this in mind, we cannot necessarily trust the manufacturer's specs and reports always. If Neumann happened to make a slight change in the guts of a KM184 starting tomorrow (possibly resulting in a very slight change in performance), I'm sure they would not bring it to your attention or update all their spec charts etc. The people that answer the phones there and deal with promotion might not even know about it anyway.

Bottom line, if you're really that fussy about gear and truly want to know the real-world differences, you need to obtain the stuff and use it yourself. Nobody can "tell" you truly how it sounds, for many reasons.

I'm very happy with my KM184s for what they are and what they do... if I need more depth of field or precision etc, I pull out some Schoeps etc... if I want more color I'll pull out something else... I don't plan on trading in my 184s for 140s any time soon regardless of possible minor differences. It's all fun and interesting to observe and discuss though.
Old 27th February 2010
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
To really do such a comparison "correctly", you should have maybe three pairs of each model, perhaps purchased over a several month period, and then make sure you record a perfectly identical source from one identical exact specific location for each mic... then compare all, blindfolded. Any "trend" observed from blindfold listening with three pairs of each model mic might indicate an actual true general "difference" between the two models. If no trends could be established in blindfold listening, then it would be safe to say that the two mic models are, for all practical purposes, truly "identical".
I couldn't agree more with this.

Upon further reflection, and considering only Daniel's clips, I'd feel quite comfortable saying that the KM 184 and KM 140 are quite clearly members of the same family. A little EQ would no doubt make them sound even more similar. I actually tried bumping the 184 clip up about 2 dB around 300 Hz and ending up preferring that to the 140.

Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
At the distance from the source, hopefully not too much...
Haha, I should have been more specific! The mics looked to be the same distance from the instrument (Z axis), but were occupying different positions in the X and Y axis.
Old 27th February 2010
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianHanke View Post
Haha, I should have been more specific! The mics looked to be the same distance from the instrument (Z axis), but were occupying different positions in the X and Y axis.
If you know how to avoid that, let me know...
I know what you mean - I was just saying that I was hoping the difference in position/angle would be relatively small, because the mics are not all that close to the instrument. But in principle, you're right, I guess.
Old 27th February 2010
  #40
all right, i guess i will go ahead and post a couple of the test clips i made trying to compare the KM140s vs the KM184s on a bit of flute/piano duo. again, this was during a rehearsal session with my wife's students, and the recordings are a tad rough, but perhaps enough to add a little more fuel to the fire.

first clip is the 140s, second clip is the 184s. both pairs were in ORTF about 7 feet out from the players. i will try to include a photo.
Attached Thumbnails
KM184 vs KM140 shootout coming...-photo8.jpg   KM184 vs KM140 shootout coming...-photo9.jpg  
Attached Files

01 140.wav (5.38 MB, 4211 views)

02 184.wav (5.38 MB, 3987 views)

Old 27th February 2010
  #41
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didier.brest's Avatar
I applied -2.5 dB gain to the KM184 track for better balance against the KM140 track. Both tracks are much similar. I might prefer the km184 track but cannot say why... (Because it's less expensive ? )
Old 27th February 2010
  #42
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
all right, i guess i will go ahead and post a couple of the test clips i made trying to compare the KM140s vs the KM184s on a bit of flute/piano duo. again, this was during a rehearsal session with my wife's students, and the recordings are a tad rough, but perhaps enough to add a little more fuel to the fire.

first clip is the 140s, second clip is the 184s. both pairs were in ORTF about 7 feet out from the players. i will try to include a photo.
This is great, thanks!

I noticed right away that the KM 140 clip was a bit quieter. After compensating for that I found the mics to sound virtually the same. I do prefer the 184s slightly in this case. Perhaps it was a placement issue, or something to do with the specific frequency response of these mics, but to me the 184s sounded slightly livelier.

By contrast the 140s were smoother and a bit dull. But I'm talking tiny, tiny details here. Overall they're practically the same mic!
Old 27th February 2010
  #43
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Just took a quick listen on my crummy computer speakers... I'd agree that the 184 is a little hotter in level than the 140. I was initially feeling good about the 140, yes, it seems a bit less upfront, perhaps more natural, the 184 a little more "harsh" by comparison, a little brighter, possibly a teeny tiny bit less depth, but disregard these comments, I cannot assess anything properly until I put these clips on some good monitors and balance the levels. I'm sure the level imbalance is playing tricks on me... and I should really NEVER listen to anything on cheap computer speakers anyway.

Thanks for posting these clips!!!
Old 1st March 2010
  #44
thanks for the comments. interesting...
Old 1st March 2010
  #45
by interesting, i mean isnt favoring the 184 over the 140 some kind of heresy???
Old 2nd March 2010
  #46
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I, too, prefer the 184's. I have no idea bout the price and maybe I have a tin ear. But the 184's seem to have a slight edge in the fullness of the sound of the flute and the piano.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
by interesting, i mean isnt favoring the 184 over the 140 some kind of heresy???
You probably just confused the cables... heh

Will listen to the samples tomorrow, didn't know they had reverb applied...
Old 2nd March 2010
  #48
Here for the gear
 

Hi!
If they are the same, why the price is so different?
Old 2nd March 2010
  #49
IJ - the price differential is due to the modularity of the km100 system, which offfers active cables, a wide variety of capsules, mounting devices, etc.
Old 2nd March 2010
  #50
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by IJouk View Post
Hi!
If they are the same, why the price is so different?
The capsules are the same - the electronics are different - and the KM 100 series is modular which is more expensive to build.
Old 6th March 2010
  #51
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Uncle Russ's Avatar
I listened carefully, then waited a week and listened again even more carefully. Just as the last time such a comparison occurred, I find the difference between the two so minor as to be negligible.

Why have so few others commented on what would seem a "hot" topic?
Old 1st September 2010
  #52
i re-posted these clips over in the gear shootouts forum, and they have gotten about 700 listens now.

it still seems to be a wash in opinions, though - most like the 140s, some like the 184s, and some dont really hear any real difference.

personally, i am really enjoying the km140s. i think i will keep these mics.
Old 1st September 2010
  #53
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I just listened today - both clips sounds very nice.

But I'm wondering; your description said ORTF - according to the picture of the setup, it really doesn't look like it. There's quite a bit more than 17cm between the capsules as far as I can see. The angle looks about right - is it 110 degrees?

It doesn't change the shoot-out as such as the two pairs are equal, it's just not ORTF but another near coincident pattern.

I'm only pointing this out as many stereo setups come close to each other, so there's no need to make any confusion. It's a general remark as I can see quite a few have a tendency to describe almost any near-coincident technique as ORTF.

::
Mads
Old 1st September 2010
  #54
mads - good observation. probably closer to NOS.
Old 1st September 2010
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
mads - good observation. probably closer to NOS.
right thumbsup
Old 1st September 2010
  #56
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boojum's Avatar
I just relistened in the foobar ABX comparator which equalizes sound levels. I still prefer the 184's for clarity. Have tastes changed? Is clarity more desired now than warmth. Sharp lenses over soft focus??
Old 7th September 2010
  #57
booj - you are, perhaps, overly biased from listening to those old screechy schoeps...
Old 4th October 2010
  #58
925 listens now - cool...
Old 4th October 2010
  #59
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Isn't the world a funny place. Over 900 listens to a shootout where bugger all difference is expected and confirmed, while other shootouts offer much more interesting comparisons.
Old 13th October 2010
  #60
Gear Maniac
 

before I was certain that the km 184 are better but a friend of mine who works for yamaha told me that in their mic shootouts 0.1 dB is supposed to make a difference and you will mostly be favouring the louder one.

so I normalized both. then I could not tell the difference.

After listening for a while I had the feeling that the km140 have a bit more of a touchable depth to them.
that is the only real difference i can hear over headphones and hifi. will listen in studio again.
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