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Any love for Neumann KM 130/183?
Old 26th November 2014
  #1
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Any love for Neumann KM 130/183?

Just wondering if anyone is using KM130 or KM183 as a main pair for classical. It seems like flat and neutral mics have more use today.

Sometimes I find a lack of top end when using flat mics at a distance. EQ helps, but not always. I have never used mics with a rise in the highs (specially 7dB) but now I want to try.

Any experience here? I am sure. How do you compare working with diffuse and free field omnis in practise? I mean mostly Neumanns. Does such a big rise help or make troubles? Also, do you like that Neumann shimmer or prefer neutrality of DPA?
Old 26th November 2014
  #2
Gear Head
 

Well, after almost 20 years I must say I love the 130s as a main pair in diffuse fields.
I worked a lot with a pair of 4003's that belong to my ex-partner too. With the black grid, I wouldn't say they sound sooo flat. Of course, they are outstanding, but given the situation they picked up interference in nasty environments -I work mainly with live recordings in all sort of situations and halls, if we can call some of them so- and the remedy was to turn back to the 130s.
Depending on the situation, the "Neumann sparkle" or shimmer, as you name it, seems to me the way to go. For more 19th century german repertoire, I think neutrality works great, but always depending on the hall and band.
For works like Prokofieff 3rd piano concerto and XX-XXI century repertoire, I think neutrality doesn't always bring the best results.
If it is of interest, I could post a Brahms recording I did with 130s as a main pair.
Hope it helps

Regards

emonteirobr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Just wondering if anyone is using KM130 or KM183 as a main pair for classical. It seems like flat and neutral mics have more use today.

Sometimes I find a lack of top end when using flat mics at a distance. EQ helps, but not always. I have never used mics with a rise in the highs (specially 7dB) but now I want to try.

Any experience here? I am sure. How do you compare working with diffuse and free field omnis in practise? I mean mostly Neumanns. Does such a big rise help or make troubles? Also, do you like that Neumann shimmer or prefer neutrality of DPA?
Old 26th November 2014
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emonteirobr View Post
If it is of interest, I could post a Brahms recording I did with 130s as a main pair.
Well, that would be great!

Thanks for your input.
Old 26th November 2014
  #4
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My KM130's are coming up to 20 years old and I still use them often as mains or as room mics. They have a lower midrange warmth that I don't find in Schoeps or DPA. My colleagues at the local classical station use only a pair of 183's for most concert recordings. Excellent microphones.
Old 26th November 2014
  #5
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John Willett's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Just wondering if anyone is using KM130 or KM183 as a main pair for classical. It seems like flat and neutral mics have more use today.

Sometimes I find a lack of top end when using flat mics at a distance. EQ helps, but not always. I have never used mics with a rise in the highs (specially 7dB) but now I want to try.

Any experience here? I am sure. How do you compare working with diffuse and free field omnis in practise? I mean mostly Neumanns. Does such a big rise help or make troubles? Also, do you like that Neumann shimmer or prefer neutrality of DPA?
If you go beyond the reverberation radius, then you need a diffuse-field omni with a response that compensates for the high frequency loss in the diffuse field.

I have the Neumann KM-D series (same as the KM-A, but the digital version) and I have the KK183 heads for the diffuse field and the KK131 heads for the nearfield.

I also have the Sennheiser MKH 20 which have a flat response for the nearfield and a diffuse field switch to give the HF boost for the far field. This is actually a good all-rounder as it is ruler flat for the nearfield and has the correct switchable EQ for the diffuse field - it is also supplied with a pressure ring that gives a slightly boosted HF response, so you have:-
1) switch off / no ring = ruler flat
2) switch off / with ring = slight HF boost
3) switch on / no ring = HF boost for diffuse field use
4) switch on / with ring = higher HF boost

I also use the Gefell M221 which is a nearfield omni and comes with 3cm and 4cm frequency balls for diffuse field use or on a Decca Tree.

Using a nearfield omni in the diffuse field will give you an HF droop.
Old 26th November 2014
  #6
Gear Head
 

There it is.
Old 26th November 2014
  #7
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Nothing is overly bright, which I was/am worrying about. Woodwinds are clear and not muddy. Sounds very nice. Seems like it's a wider AB setup. Thanks for sharing!
Old 26th November 2014
  #8
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The 1XX and the 18X are very different mics. I like my 140 a lot and absolutely detested the 184. FWIW.

D.
Old 26th November 2014
  #9
Love my 130's and love the old SBK-130 spheres that go with them.

I am still sussing out my 183's. Sometimes I feel like the 130's are a little more euphonic, but I've never put them head-to-head.
Old 26th November 2014
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empiria View Post
Nothing is overly bright, which I was/am worrying about. Woodwinds are clear and not muddy. Sounds very nice. Seems like it's a wider AB setup. Thanks for sharing!
You are welcome.
This recording was made in really difficult conditions. I can describe exactly how, if you are interested.

There is one more recording where 130s were used as mains I would like to share. I think this is more representative of the 130's sound, because in those cases I could put them higher, may be 3 meters or so.

The first is an opera, a strange one, where the singers are not behind of the orchestra.
BTW, in front of the stage are 6 KM184s.

Piedade - ópera de João Guilherme Ripper - YouTube

Hope you enjoy the Neumanns
Old 26th November 2014
  #11
Gear Head
 

This one is in a third hall. In this case, a pipe organ was recorded with 2X 130s & 2X 140s.
It was a modified ORTF configuration, where on each side a omni and a cardioid were put side by side.
The noise you hear is a fan for the audience, because of the high temperature on the hall.
This time, the main double pair was set 4m high and 11m from the pipes.
Old 26th November 2014
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
The 1XX and the 18X are very different mics. I like my 140 a lot and absolutely detested the 184. FWIW.
D.
I think a lot of it is in the imagination.
All Aspects of Neumann Products - KM 130 compared with KM 83
Old 26th November 2014
  #13
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I think a lot of it is in the imagination.
All Aspects of Neumann Products - KM 130 compared with KM 83
You could be right Not unhappy I sold my KM184s nonetheless.

D.
Old 26th November 2014
  #14
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Oh, and as Michael Mermagan says in the same thread:

" If you are a developer and seller of microphones, you would not care to subjectively decide which microphone sounds better on what and if one is brighter than another, etc. And rightfully so, as there are too many other variables in the recording chain, process and philosophy to even know where to begin. However, from a users point of view, the answer to the above would be different: "In a single application, I'd test all of these mics to see which one sounds best for that particular situation."

Why would a Neumann representative publicly state that one of his company's mics sounded worse than another.

So there is that.

Doug
Old 26th November 2014
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
You could be right Not unhappy I sold my KM184s nonetheless.
D.
I think there is a lot of folklore and dispensing of received opinion around the 184. I love them on certain sources, they are a very useful mic.

Will never sell mine.
Old 26th November 2014
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Why would a Neumann representative publicly state that one of his company's mics sounded worse than another.
Where did he say that?

Of course, any of Neumann's mics might not sound as good as another mic in some situations, due to acoustical and other interactions with the chosen mic. I don't see this as a statement about the inferiority of the mic.
Old 26th November 2014
  #17
nkf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I think there is a lot of folklore and dispensing of received opinion around the 184. I love them on certain sources, they are a very useful mic.

Will never sell mine.
I never understood this 184 bashing. Probably I must have bad ears, bad taste or both, but after getting my first pair of KM184Ds I got another pair. They have no special 'aura' in public but for me these microphones are very good sounding, solid 'workhorses'. As I mentioned already, I use them where I could use e.g. a Schoeps MK4, without thinking I have lesser quality.
Old 27th November 2014
  #18
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KM 183 spaced or in a Tree configuration (with APEs) are my go-to main system.
184s, 120, and CMC54 as spots, typically - but also the good old MKH 435.

I often record in churches, so the brightness and slight HF directionality is very welcome.
Might be different if I was mostly recording in empty concert halls.
A bit of EQ will make any diffuse-field omni a free-field mic.
If you really want to invest more money than necessary, get both the 130/183 (diffuse-field) and 131 (free-field) caps.

BTW, the capsules of 100 and 180 series are the same. The difference is in the body electronics, which are slightly noisier in the older KM 100 series.
Old 6th December 2014
  #19
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I am going to rent a pair of km183 for testing.

Thank you for all of your inputs!
Old 6th December 2014
  #20
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In the Neumann omni SDC family, there is also the KM 133. Two piano takes recorded one day apart in the same conditions (at home, small AB beside the tail end).

Neumann KM 183

Neumann KM 133
Old 7th December 2014
  #21
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John Willett's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
In the Neumann omni SDC family, there is also the KM 133. Two piano takes recorded one day apart in the same conditions (at home, small AB beside the tail end).

Neumann KM 183

Neumann KM 133
The new KM-A and KM-D series have 3 omni heads.

The KK 183 (diffuse field omni) is the same as the KM 183 and KM 130
The KK 131 (nearfield omni) is the same as the KM 131
The KK 133 has a titanium diaphragm and ball like the M150 and its ilk.

The KM-A electronics are the latest and quietist and are, according to Neumann, an improvement over those in the KM100 and KM180 series.

Personally I have the KM-D and a pair of both the KK 183 and KK 131 heads.
Old 9th December 2014
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The KK 183 (diffuse field omni) is the same as the KM 183 and KM 130
The KK 131 (nearfield omni) is the same as the KM 131
The KK 133 has a titanium diaphragm and ball like the M150 and its ilk.
Confusing numbering sequence. 100 series mixed with 180 series. Wonder why the first omni is not the KK 130?
Old 9th December 2014
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Confusing numbering sequence. 100 series mixed with 180 series. Wonder why the first omni is not the KK 130?
Because it was following from the KK83/63.
However, if memory serves, the complete capsule for a KM130 is actually called the AK30 because it is active.
All the best,
-mark
Old 10th December 2014
  #24
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Confusing numbering sequence. 100 series mixed with 180 series. Wonder why the first omni is not the KK 130?
Because the KM-D series was originally released as a digital removable capsule series like the KM 180 series.

Only later did they start releasing the other capsules and then followed the numbering of the KM 1000 series (but being called KK instead of AK). The KM-A (analogue) body came even later.
Old 10th December 2014
  #25
I have a pair of KM 183s. Use them on piano and as drum overheads (so far though I suspect there are many other uses). Sound great. Accurate and clean. Great microphones.

Just an observation (take it for what it's worth as with all observations):

New or newer Neumann microphones seem to suffer from some sort of opposition bias. I am of the opinion that it's rather difficult to blame bad recordings on the gear. I would think the musicians, instruments, room acoustics and engineering are almost always the culprits behind bad recordings. If you can't get a good sound out of these microphones it may not be the microphones themselves. That, of course, depends on what you think is a "good" sound.

Anyway, I like my KM 183s.
Old 10th December 2014
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye View Post
I have a pair of KM 183s. Use them on piano and as drum overheads (so far though I suspect there are many other uses). Sound great. Accurate and clean. Great microphones.

Just an observation (take it for what it's worth as with all observations):

New or newer Neumann microphones seem to suffer from some sort of opposition bias. I am of the opinion that it's rather difficult to blame bad recordings on the gear. I would think the musicians, instruments, room acoustics and engineering are almost always the culprits behind bad recordings. If you can't get a good sound out of these microphones it may not be the microphones themselves. That, of course, depends on what you think is a "good" sound.

Anyway, I like my KM 183s.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/atta...ciated-183.jpg

Like a socket wrench, a chainsaw or a trolley jack a microphone is a tool...with specific uses engineered in. Here is the frequency plot of the KM183, the rise at HF indicates that it is to be used in the diffuse field to compensate for losses brought on by transmission through air over distance. Used in the near field, for example on drum overheads or piano (at close range), why should it sound much different from a cheap Chinese mic with a 'presence peak' built in ? Used as intended, you could expect a close to flat response. Use the right tool, in the right context, and you can expect to be rewarded with good sound. You may like the 'sparkle' and 'detail' imparted by the KM183 at close range, that's your choice to use the particular characteristics of this mic to your advantage.

I may be oversimplifying the free field vs diffuse field issue...there is more to it being discussed in an earlier thread: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...-question.html
Old 10th December 2014
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/atta...ciated-183.jpg

Like a socket wrench, a chainsaw or a trolley jack a microphone is a tool...with specific uses engineered in. Here is the frequency plot of the KM183, the rise at HF indicates that it is to be used in the diffuse field to compensate for losses brought on by transmission through air over distance. Used in the near field, for example on drum overheads or piano (at close range), why should it sound much different from a cheap Chinese mic with a 'presence peak' built in ? Used as intended, you could expect a close to flat response. Use the right tool, in the right context, and you can expect to be rewarded with good sound. You may like the 'sparkle' and 'detail' imparted by the KM183 at close range, that's your choice to use the particular characteristics of this mic to your advantage.

I may be oversimplifying the free field vs diffuse field issue...there is more to it being discussed in an earlier thread: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...-question.html
For that matter then every mic with the same response curve should sound just as good. Why bother to ever buy anything but the cheapest microphones as long as the curve meets your needs. Further, I know not where this measurement came from but assume it is an official Neumann measurement, in what way can this not be compensated easily enough if the high end is a bit to strident. But as you point out, to each his own.
Old 10th December 2014
  #28
And yes, you did greatly oversimplify the issue. It only took a minute to find this. Contrary to the same assumption and admitted mistake, the poster wrote the following -
"the diffuse field curve is to counter-act the off-axis high-frequency response of an omni".
Old 11th December 2014
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/atta...ciated-183.jpg

Like a socket wrench, a chainsaw or a trolley jack a microphone is a tool...with specific uses engineered in. Here is the frequency plot of the KM183, the rise at HF indicates that it is to be used in the diffuse field to compensate for losses brought on by transmission through air over distance. Used in the near field, for example on drum overheads or piano (at close range), why should it sound much different from a cheap Chinese mic with a 'presence peak' built in ? Used as intended, you could expect a close to flat response. Use the right tool, in the right context, and you can expect to be rewarded with good sound. You may like the 'sparkle' and 'detail' imparted by the KM183 at close range, that's your choice to use the particular characteristics of this mic to your advantage.

I may be oversimplifying the free field vs diffuse field issue...there is more to it being discussed in an earlier thread: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...-question.html
I have use the 183 in the nearfield for a piano recording.

However - I turned the mic. so that the direct sound was coming in at 90° off-axis. Like that I got a flat response and the recording worked very well.

The change is very obvious as you turned the mic.
Old 11th December 2014
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Like a socket wrench, a chainsaw or a trolley jack a microphone is a tool...with specific uses engineered in. Here is the frequency plot of the KM183, the rise at HF indicates that it is to be used in the diffuse field to compensate for losses brought on by transmission through air over distance. Used in the near field, for example on drum overheads or piano (at close range), why should it sound much different from a cheap Chinese mic with a 'presence peak' built in ? Used as intended, you could expect a close to flat response. Use the right tool, in the right context, and you can expect to be rewarded with good sound. You may like the 'sparkle' and 'detail' imparted by the KM183 at close range, that's your choice to use the particular characteristics of this mic to your advantage.
The "natural" response of a standard SDC pressure omni capsule is diffuse field because of diaphragm size and resonance. This boost will, for a free field response, be dampened acoustically (DPA 4006 silver grid), mechanically (Schoeps MK5 comes to mind), or electronically (Sennheiser). It can as well be counteracted by proper EQ settings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye View Post
For that matter then every mic with the same response curve should sound just as good. Why bother to ever buy anything but the cheapest microphones as long as the curve meets your needs.
The curve is only one aspect. Other aspects of a mic's quality are, for example, build quality, parts tolerance, distortion, self noise.
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