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Old 6th May 2016
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bringmewater's Avatar

Thank you for taking the time to explain this in a very meaningful way. It really makes more sense though I'm surprised that after so many years the recipe is not easy to replicate. It's amazing what goes into these mics. I forget if you have already told me but do you have a recommendation for a rock and roll mic like for classic rock? Thanks!

Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
You're missing the point. It's not that these things are truly magic, or that they are technically not reproducible. It is that the elements necessary to reproduce them accurately are inaccessible. The fact that you are unaware of this is a testimony to your ignorance of the specifics of the subject, which is what Karloff was pointing at, first respectfully, then in response to your own condescending tone. If you were to take this up with the 6 top classic mic experts in the world, they would all tell you the same thing.

First of all, truly accurately reproducing the great capsules has been approached but never accomplished to the satisfaction of the cognoscenti. This is partly to do with expertise and sometimes with availability of exact materials. The K47 and K67 are still in production but no one but Neumann has succeeded in replicating Neumann's particular qualities, not being privy to their proprietary methods. The original CK12 capsule, of which there are many consequent official but different versions, is perhaps the most elusive to replicate effectively. Though many have tried with varying success, again, none have succeeded completely in capturing the "magic" of the original. Transformers are similar. Replicating materials, designs and techniques is a lot easier said than done. Tubes are another matter. Some are plentiful and affordable, others extremely rare and prohibitively expensive. Reissuing the famed VF14 has been discussed ad nauseum and is out of the question, given the narrow market, especially considering the extreme quality control required to select the few with low enough noise to be useful for microphones. The other tubes that can be used in its stead simply don't sound the same in ways that are considered inferior, even though they may sound perfectly workable in their own right. The word "sexy" is often used to describe the "magic" of the original. The particular capacitors and resistors also contribute to the sound and are often impossible to get or elusive to replicate.

Regarding quality, there are three issues, as I see it. The "magic" referred to is just a word to describe the coalescing of many factors that contribute to some very particular sounds that many have come to know and love. And there is a lot of agreement that these qualities are "superior". New mics could of course be "better" in some way to some person in some context. There are two issues with that. One is just apples to oranges, the idea that what a person likes is purely subjective. There is nothing stopping someone from preferring a "bad" trashy sound. Plenty of music is made to be aggressively distorted, or affected in some way that creates a mood that has nothing to do with transparency or sweetness, etc... The other is that there are some objective qualities that have to do with fidelity to the source, or that if you want a brighter sound, for instance, that a brighter mic is simply a better tool for that particular job.