RMS Audioworks RMS269 by TheShadowV
Back at the end of November 2017 I had the pleasure of being invited to The Barbershop Studios in Hopatcong, New Jersey to try out some of their classic vintage microphones. I was there to try their mint Neumann M49C and stock unmodified Neumann U67, but was told I could try some of their other vintage microphones as well while there. So they pulled out a hand full of additional microphones I had never tried before; Neumann U47 FET, M269C, Sony C37A, RCA 44, and a Coles 4038.
The engineer and I were both immediately drawn to the M49C on my voice and agreed that we would both reach for that one first if I was recording at that studio. I also liked the U67 which had a tendency to sound a little dark, but full and really easy to EQ. However, I was also really drawn instantly to the M269C, particularly how it seems to leap out of the mix and have a bit of the low mid beef of the M49C with the evenness of the U67, but more open.
When it came to finding a clone or tribute mic of the M269 I found there is really only one around made by RMS Audioworks. I was only able to find one clip of the microphone online, an old clip by the YouTube Channel “Tube Tests” which hasn’t been active in a while. So I thought I’d just pass it up. However after putting some feelers out in some of the web communities I received some great feedback about the microphone from various people who owned it. Some of which did quite a bit of classical and jazz work like I do.
I decided to reach out to Robert from RMS Audioworks. He answered a bunch of questions for me and even offered to call me personally to discuss everything. His communications were quick and informative. After sitting on it for a couple of weeks little I decided to order the RMS269.
The microphone arrived just after New Years. The RMS269 isn’t an exact replica of the M269. It uses an ADK K67, which itself is a tuned capsule that eliminates some of the high end of the typical Neumann K67 and allows for less deemphasis. The microphone does use some deemphasis in the circuit to tame it further. In fact, Robert advised that if someone could provide a Neumann K67 that he could make the microphone around that. It would just require him to add additional deemphasis. RMS Audio Works is using a subminiature 5703 valve, which they feel has a similar sound quality to the legendary AC701k. I have to say, it has those beefy low mids and nice top end that I would expect from an AC701K powered microphone.
I spent the first few months of the year prepping for an album I’ve just started recording and the RMS269 came out for some basic testing on vocals in various genres and on guitars. I often put it next to my U87ai, TLM67, FleA 49, and BLUE Bottle Rocket Stage II with various Caps (B6, B7, B11). I can say right away that the microphone sounds in the same level as any of these microphones, but has it’s own sonic signature. When compared to the U87ai it seems to have some more weight in the low-mids and a more open top end, but it doesn’t quite have the low end reach of the U87ai. The TLM 67 and FleA 49 have a much darker vintage quality to them, but this is also true if you listen to an M49, U67 and M269 next to each other. The M269 has this weighty vintage quality, but with a more modern top end. Next to the Bottle Rocket II with the B6 Cap the RMS269 had more weight and was less open in the top, which makes sense as the B6 is supposed to be C12ish. Where I found the RMS269 excelled was as a featured vocal or instrument microphone in a busy mix where you want the source to sound big and cut through the mix at the same time.
The best way to really gauge this microphone is to hear it for yourself. I’ve made a video featuring the microphone on my YouTube Channel. Give it a watch and let me know what you think. Also, if you have questions reach out to Robert through the RMS website. He’s very responsive and knowledgeable. I hope this helps anyone interested in this mic.