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TLM67 if vintage U87 is too hyped?
Old 21st November 2017
  #1
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TLM67 if vintage U87 is too hyped?

I'm looking for a mic specifically for a singer I work with on long term project. He's a tenor. Great singer with a robust lower midrange but his voice has a very "hard" upper midrange. Lots of spiky overtones. There's also sibilance issues around 7-8kHz and his voice is a bit breathy above that. I always find myself processing a bit too much to get it right. It's time to try something different.

The best results BY FAR has been with my late 70s U87. If I could get the same sound with slightly mellower upper mids and less going on around 8kHz (and upwards) it would probably be perfect. So, I'm considering the TLM67. No local stores have them in stock so I'd have to order one to try it. Renting isn't an option.

What do you think? Would the TLM67 fit the description of a less hyped (vintage)U87? All the comparison clips I can find are with the current U87Ai. Would a vintage U87 be too similar to the TLM67 to make it worthwile?

And just to be clear: I'm not interested at all to know whether the TLM sounds like a U67. I don't care. I'm not looking for a U67, just a mellower, less hyped U87.

For comparisons sake I've tried a couple of my other mics on his voice.

The other four that ALMOST worked:

-AKG B-ULS: Not bad at all but not quite enough weight in the lower mids and I find it a bit lacking in character. Makes it sound like he's doing a voiceover and not singing, if you know what I mean...

-RE20: Works ok but a little uninspiring and boring without lots of processing.

-MD441: Same as above but also a bit too "polite" and refined sounding for what he needs.

-AEA R84. Sounds absolutely gorgeous for his voice but he's a bit of a screamer and the room gets too problematic with figure 8. I just can't get the close, tight sound he wants. I've tried different placements, gobos, etc. but it just doesn't work for him.


The mics that didn't work at all (probably a few more but the ones I still have fresh in my mind):


-Gefell UMT70S: Very thin and sibilant for his voice. Has a very abrupt proximity effect that makes him uncomfortable when he's trying to lean in for more weight. Just gets muddy really fast.

-Blackspade UM17r (the one with the Thiersch m7 capsule): Too forward in the upper mids, makes his voice too "hard".

-Joly-modded Oktava MK-319: Dull, lifeless, honky midrange.

-Oktava MK-105: Too breathy.

-Advanced Audio CM12SE: Far too breathy.

-SM7b: Hits all the wrong spots for his voice, very spiky and hard upper mids, makes his voice sound hollow and distant.

-M88TG: Too hyped in his problematic 7-8kHz area. Doesn't work at all.


I've also tried a couple of other ribbons. Some of them sounded really nice but like I said, the room is an issue with figure 8. It just isn't an option for the tight sound he needs. I've also tried the only two cardioid ribbon mics I own (m160 + Oktava ML19) but neither worked. Both were too weird and colored in the upper mids.

So, what I need is basically a less hyped U87 (when comparing to a vintage U87, not Ai). Or a cardioid mic that sounds like an AEA R84...

What do you think? Could the TLM67 be worth a try? Any other suggestions?

Absolute maximum budget is $1800 (that's the price I can get a brand new TLM67 for).

Last edited by S.F.Sorrow; 21st November 2017 at 02:31 AM..
Old 21st November 2017
  #2
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andersmv's Avatar
 

If you want to stick with Neumann, give the TLM-193 a try. Much more neutral/less hyped but still has a similar character to what you're looking for. You can also give a used Neumann U89 a go if you need more patterns than cardioid.
Old 21st November 2017
  #3
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
I'm looking for a mic specifically for a singer I work with on long term project. He's a tenor. Great singer with a robust lower midrange but his voice has a very "hard" upper midrange. Lots of spiky overtones. There's also sibilance issues around 7-8kHz and his voice is a bit breathy above that. I always find myself processing a bit too much to get it right. It's time to try something different.

The best results BY FAR has been with my late 70s U87. If I could get the same sound with slightly mellower upper mids and less going on around 8kHz (and upwards) it would probably be perfect. So, I'm considering the TLM67. No local stores have them in stock so I'd have to order one to try it. Renting isn't an option.

What do you think? Would the TLM67 fit the description of a less hyped (vintage)U87? All the comparison clips I can find are with the current U87Ai. Would a vintage U87 be too similar to the TLM67 to make it worthwile?

And just to be clear: I'm not interested at all to know whether the TLM sounds like a U67. I don't care. I'm not looking for a U67, just a mellower, less hyped U87.

For comparisons sake I've tried a couple of my other mics on his voice.

The other four that ALMOST worked:

-AKG B-ULS: Not bad at all but not quite enough weight in the lower mids and I find it a bit lacking in character. Makes it sound like he's doing a voiceover and not singing, if you know what I mean...

-RE20: Works ok but a little uninspiring and boring without lots of processing.

-MD441: Same as above but also a bit too "polite" and refined sounding for what he needs.

-AEA R84. Sounds absolutely gorgeous for his voice but he's a bit of a screamer and the room gets too problematic with figure 8. I just can't get the close, tight sound he wants. I've tried different placements, gobos, etc. but it just doesn't work for him.


The mics that didn't work at all (probably a few more but the ones I still have fresh in my mind):


-Gefell UMT70S: Very thin and sibilant for his voice. Has a very abrupt proximity effect that makes him uncomfortable when he's trying to lean in for more weight. Just gets muddy really fast.

-Blackspade UM17r (the one with the Thiersch m7 capsule): Too forward in the upper mids, makes his voice too "hard".

-Joly-modded Oktava MK-319: Dull, lifeless, honky midrange.

-Oktava MK-105: Too breathy.

-Advanced Audio CM12SE: Far too breathy.

-SM7b: Hits all the wrong spots for his voice, very spiky and hard upper mids, makes his voice sound hollow and distant.

-M88TG: Too hyped in his problematic 7-8kHz area. Doesn't work at all.


I've also tried a couple of other ribbons. Some of them sounded really nice but like I said, the room is an issue with figure 8. It just isn't an option for the tight sound he needs. I've also tried the only two cardioid ribbon mics I own (m160 + Oktava ML19) but neither worked. Both were too weird and colored in the upper mids.

So, what I need is basically a less hyped U87 (when comparing to a vintage U87, not Ai). Or a cardioid mic that sounds like an AEA R84...

What do you think? Could the TLM67 be worth a try? Any other suggestions?

Absolute maximum budget is $1800 (that's the price I can get a brand new TLM67 for).
the 193 has a flatter response .. that can be a good thing in those upper mids .. a friend bought one after i sent him the Plot .. becasue he had a female singer that can get harsh in the upper mids ... worked well with her ..
Old 21st November 2017
  #4
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toledo3's Avatar
 

Try out the TLM49 as well.
Old 21st November 2017
  #5
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jnorman's Avatar
What andersmv said above is exactly what I would have responded with. U89 is an outstanding mic. TLM170 and TLM193 are likewise well suited to tenor vocals. You might also consider another approach which I have used with success on tenor voices - a Schoeps CMC64 - these are very common for vocal and instrumental work in the classical world, and are amazingly smooth mics with excellent transient response.
Old 21st November 2017
  #6
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Thanks everyone!

I do not necessarily need to stay with the Neumann brand but I do like the Neumann sound for vocals (in general and even more so for this particular singer).

As for the mics mentioned:

U89 and TLM170 are way out of my budget.

TLM193: This was actually nr2 on my shortlist. Does this mic have enough character for vocals? Most importantly, does it have the Neumann signature lower mids? Does it fit the description of a "less hyped U87"? After searching this forum and elsewhere I got the impression that it isn't nearly as nice as a TLM170 (in cardioid) and that it isn't all that great for vocals. Of course the same has been said about the TLM67 but with the 193 the reservations seem a little more founded in reality. With the TLM67 it's always just the same old Gefell-dealers and Neumann-haters that lead the onslaught. Also, I have really liked the clips I heard of the 67 while the 193 has seemed a little dull for the kind of vocals I'm after. Based on the frequency response chart the 193 does seem PERFECT for what I need though. I probably won't know for sure unless I try it with this specific singer...

TLM49: I've never used this mic myself but based on clips I've heard I don't think it will suit this particular singers voice. There's something going on in the upper mids that I expect to be a really bad match for his voice. I might be able to borrow one for testing though so probably worth a try.

Schoeps CMC64: Very interesting! I will definitely have to look into this one. Probably won't be able to find one locally though. How does it sound compared to a U87 (for close miked vocals)? No issues with pops or crazy proximity effect? The only SDC I've tried on his voice was an Oktava and it had serious pop issues (+sounded way to harsh in the upper mids but I don't expect that to be an issue with the Schoeps).

Last edited by S.F.Sorrow; 21st November 2017 at 09:16 AM..
Old 21st November 2017
  #7
Have you tried Gefell um70? The vintage one with transformer. It is said to be just a better version of the u87. Isn't to expensive.
Old 21st November 2017
  #8
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John Willett's Avatar
 

The TLM 193 is identical to the TLM 170 but cardioid only.

The old Gefell UM 70 may be worth a try if you don't like the UMT.

The M7 capsule is also in the Valve (vacuum tube) M 92.1S or the M 990 is the same but with a Mylar capsule instead of an M7.

And, yes, the TLM 67 is worth considering.
Old 21st November 2017
  #9
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

The Gefell UM70 probably wont work. The UMT70S is one of the worst mics I've used for his voice and the UM70 is more or less the same mic only with a transformer, right? I've seen it described as having SLIGHTLY more weight in the lower mids but unless it also gets rid of the 8kHz peak and the rather abrupt proximity effect it's a no-go.

I've not really considered other M7 mics as the only two M7 based mics I own (the UMT70S + the Blackspade UM17r) are horrible for his voice. Both are much too hyped in the upper mids (although at different frequencies).

Then there's the TLM193... Is it REALLY the same as a TLM170 in cardioid though? I've seen lots of reports that it's not. I mean, completely different headbasket, single diaphragm vs dual diaphragm... Surely it can't sound identical? This doesn't really matter if the 193 will work for my needs but it doesn't seem to be highly regarded for close miked vocals?
Old 21st November 2017
  #10
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 

If you're on a budget you might want to consider the KSM32. Very smooth treble. Not the prettiest of mics, but it's a nice, fat, buttery sound that works well on a lot of sources.

If you're not, as described, the U89 and TLM 170 and 193 are higher-end choices. The latter two reportedly don't sound the same, and apparently the 170 is supposed to be better. Haven't tried the 193.
Old 21st November 2017
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
Then there's the TLM193... Is it REALLY the same as a TLM170 in cardioid though? I've seen lots of reports that it's not. I mean, completely different headbasket, single diaphragm vs dual diaphragm... Surely it can't sound identical? This doesn't really matter if the 193 will work for my needs but it doesn't seem to be highly regarded for close miked vocals?
I had TLM193, as well as vintage U87, new U87Ai and many other mics, and I would never recommend TLM193 as a darker U87. It's much brighter above 10kHz, one of the reasons I sold it actually. I would try some high quality active ribbons with extended highs, like Samar VL37A or AEA N8, or something like U87Ai with U67 electronics from ioaudio, but this would be much harder to demo.
Old 21st November 2017
  #12
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
Then there's the TLM193... Is it REALLY the same as a TLM170 in cardioid though? I've seen lots of reports that it's not. I mean, completely different headbasket, single diaphragm vs dual diaphragm... Surely it can't sound identical? This doesn't really matter if the 193 will work for my needs but it doesn't seem to be highly regarded for close miked vocals?
Look at the specs - it is identical to the TLM 170 in cardioid.

It's the same capsule - just the rear is not energised.

Yes, the housing is different, but it's not that much different, and the head baskets look pretty much the same.

Diagrams attached (all cardioid) - TLM 193 / TLM 170R / U 87Ai / TLM 67

.
Attached Thumbnails
TLM67 if vintage U87 is too hyped?-tlm-193-dia.jpg   TLM67 if vintage U87 is too hyped?-tlm-170r-dia.jpg   TLM67 if vintage U87 is too hyped?-u-87ai-dia.jpg   TLM67 if vintage U87 is too hyped?-tlm-67-dia.jpg  
Old 21st November 2017
  #13
I have both a U87ai and a tlm67

Yes. the tlm67 is less hyped and mellower than the u87ai. Also, the tlm has less low mid.

Old 21st November 2017
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions!

The Gefell UM70 probably wont work. The UMT70S is one of the worst mics I've used for his voice and the UM70 is more or less the same mic only with a transformer, right? I've seen it described as having SLIGHTLY more weight in the lower mids but unless it also gets rid of the 8kHz peak and the rather abrupt proximity effect it's a no-go.

I've not really considered other M7 mics as the only two M7 based mics I own (the UMT70S + the Blackspade UM17r) are horrible for his voice. Both are much too hyped in the upper mids (although at different frequencies).
I haven't tried the um70 vs umt70s but if its anything like a km84 vs km184 then its a world difference favoring the km84.

Fun note is that im just about to try a um70 see how it holds up against my Neumann 269c/u67
Old 21st November 2017
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
I had TLM193, as well as vintage U87, new U87Ai and many other mics, and I would never recommend TLM193 as a darker U87. It's much brighter above 10kHz, one of the reasons I sold it actually. I would try some high quality active ribbons with extended highs, like Samar VL37A or AEA N8, or something like U87Ai with U67 electronics from ioaudio, but this would be much harder to demo.
Thanks, that's a good and valid point you make about the 193. Ribbons is sadly not an option for reasons mentioned above. I might get the TLM67 and consider getting the ioaudio mod somewhere down the road I guess.

I think my shortlist is currently down to either the TLM67 or the Schoeps CMC64. Does anyone have any info on how the Schoeps works/sounds for close miked vocals?
Old 21st November 2017
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Look at the specs - it is identical to the TLM 170 in cardioid.

It's the same capsule - just the rear is not energised.

Yes, the housing is different, but it's not that much different, and the head baskets look pretty much the same.

Diagrams attached (all cardioid) - TLM 193 / TLM 170R / U 87Ai

.
And yet, most people who have tested them side by side say they sound different... I guess I wont know for sure unless I test them myself. Which I probably wont because 1) The 170 is out of my budget and 2) It doesn't really matter to me as long as the 193 sounds good on it's terms.
Old 21st November 2017
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by everyday View Post
I have both a U87ai and a tlm67

Yes. the tlm67 is less hyped and mellower than the u87ai. Also, the tlm has less low mid.

Hm... less hyped=good. Less low mids=not so good. But is the TLM67 less hyped than a VINTAGE U87 as well? I believe the old ones are smoother, or is that just a myth?
Old 21st November 2017
  #18
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
I think my shortlist is currently down to either the TLM67 or the Schoeps CMC64. Does anyone have any info on how the Schoeps works/sounds for close miked vocals?
High-quality small-diaphragm mics are the standard in orchestral recording and classical singers, the CMC64 in particular. However, they are more pop-prone, and being a single-diaphragm design, will have a bit more proximity effect (not any worse than a dynamic mic, though).

If you get a heavy-duty pop shield (the Pop Audio is a great option) you should be able to make it sound great. It will have a certain amount of low-level detail in the sibilants that not everybody likes, but it's easy to tame.

You can also get the DPA Linear handheld, or the DPA 2011C, although it is so small it looks a bit funny compared to the big ol' Neumanns.

The Sennheiser MKH 8040 is another amazing option, albeit at a higher price.
Old 21st November 2017
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
If you're on a budget you might want to consider the KSM32. Very smooth treble. Not the prettiest of mics, but it's a nice, fat, buttery sound that works well on a lot of sources.

If you're not, as described, the U89 and TLM 170 and 193 are higher-end choices. The latter two reportedly don't sound the same, and apparently the 170 is supposed to be better. Haven't tried the 193.
KSM32, good suggestion, thanks! At least my local dealer have them in stock so it should be possible to test before buying. You're right it isn't particularly pretty but as long as it works...
Old 21st November 2017
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
High-quality small-diaphragm mics are the standard in orchestral recording and classical singers, the CMC64 in particular. However, they are more pop-prone, and being a single-diaphragm design, will have a bit more proximity effect (not any worse than a dynamic mic, though).

If you get a heavy-duty pop shield (the Pop Audio is a great option) you should be able to make it sound great. It will have a certain amount of low-level detail in the sibilants that not everybody likes, but it's easy to tame.

You can also get the DPA Linear handheld, or the DPA 2011C, although it is so small it looks a bit funny compared to the big ol' Neumanns.

The Sennheiser MKH 8040 is another amazing option, albeit at a higher price.
Yeah, it was the popping issue that bothered me the most about the Schoeps. But I expect it won't have MORE popping issues than other standard SDCs (like KM84, MC930, etc)?
Old 21st November 2017
  #21
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antichef's Avatar
If you have a chance to try a Violet Amethyst Vintage, you should give it a shot.
Old 21st November 2017
  #22
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
Yeah, it was the popping issue that bothered me the most about the Schoeps. But I expect it won't have MORE popping issues than other standard SDCs (like KM84, MC930, etc)?
Use a good pop killer.

If you have an SDC - Håkan do a pop killer that attaches to the Rycote INV-7HG III.

The picture shows it with a Gefell SMS 2000 series, but you can use any mic. that fits the Rycote (from 19mm to 25mm Ø)

Old 21st November 2017
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Not wanting to sound like a smartass.....but have you tried EQ? I just got pristine late 70s/early 80s U87i a few weeks ago and I'm pretty much amazed by its sound. But I'm equally impressed that what a lot of folks say it's actually true: The U87 takes EQ extremely well, MUCH better than most other mics I ever tried.

I'm not talking about using EQ to mask or compensate for an inferior mic. Rather I would suggest thinking of the U87 sound (that you seem to like very much) as a total of different ranges i.e what happens in the low/mid and upper range. If 8kHz and above is too prominent, I'm pretty sure that even just slight dip there may work great.
Absolutely, good point. It's not that I can't make the U87 works. After eq'ing it sounds very nice. It's just that I end up using more eq than I would ideally want to and if I can find a mic that requires less processing it would be worth the expense, as this is a long term project and a singer I will be working with on a regular basis.

In this particular case (and voice) he magic is in the low mids with the U87. I just wish i could find something similar that didn't have any kind of boost at 8kHz and upwards. And if it was also SLIGHTLY mellower in the 2-5kHz area it would be perfect.

But perhaps you are right. Perhaps I'm chasing my own tail here. Worst case scenario is of course spending a lot of money on a mic I don't really need for anything else and then realise the U87 worked better. I expect resale value for a TLM67 isn't very good at the moment...

But the Schoeps... now there's a mic I could definitely find other uses for. Very interested in that one. Would love to hear if anyone else have experiences with it for close miked male vocals!!!
Old 21st November 2017
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Use a good pop killer.

If you have an SDC - Håkan do a pop killer that attaches to the Rycote INV-7HG III.

The picture shows it with a Gefell SMS 2000 series, but you can use any mic. that fits the Rycote (from 19mm to 25mm Ø)
Thanks!
Old 21st November 2017
  #25
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andersmv's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
U89 and TLM170 are way out of my budget
Are you willing to buy used? You can afford either of them used, and I would recommend it with both of those models. They both sell for a lot less on the used market. Also, if you would like to hear a TLM-193 on vocals, go to my website at https://www.millsounds.com/samples/ and listen to "Something Ain't Right". There's some Decapitator distortion on there, but it will give you a good idea of the character.

Last edited by andersmv; 21st November 2017 at 05:17 PM..
Old 21st November 2017
  #26
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
Absolutely, good point. It's not that I can't make the U87 works. After eq'ing it sounds very nice. It's just that I end up using more eq than I would ideally want to and if I can find a mic that requires less processing it would be worth the expense, as this is a long term project and a singer I will be working with on a regular basis.

In this particular case (and voice) he magic is in the low mids with the U87. I just wish i could find something similar that didn't have any kind of boost at 8kHz and upwards. And if it was also SLIGHTLY mellower in the 2-5kHz area it would be perfect.

But perhaps you are right. Perhaps I'm chasing my own tail here. Worst case scenario is of course spending a lot of money on a mic I don't really need for anything else and then realise the U87 worked better. I expect resale value for a TLM67 isn't very good at the moment...

But the Schoeps... now there's a mic I could definitely find other uses for. Very interested in that one. Would love to hear if anyone else have experiences with it for close miked male vocals!!!
Yes, I know what you mean. I did delete my post above because upon re-reading your original one, it's clear that you mention using processing so I was assuming that you did use EQ already.

But thanks for answering anyway.
Old 21st November 2017
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antichef View Post
If you have a chance to try a Violet Amethyst Vintage, you should give it a shot.
Interesting. Is it direct sales only? The only international dealers I could find didn't sell them anymore.
Old 21st November 2017
  #28
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Use a good pop killer.

If you have an SDC - Håkan do a pop killer that attaches to the Rycote INV-7HG III.

The picture shows it with a Gefell SMS 2000 series, but you can use any mic. that fits the Rycote (from 19mm to 25mm Ø)

That will definitely do. Rycote do their own, if you want an "out-of-the-box" model:

Rycote InVision INV-7 Pop Filter Kit

Small-diaphragm condensers will all have a similar propensity to pop, based on diaphragm size and the fact they're single-diaphragm.
Old 21st November 2017
  #29
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antichef's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
Interesting. Is it direct sales only? The only international dealers I could find didn't sell them anymore.
I suppose I don't know. They're made in Europe, but recently sales have seemed to be from California in the US.
Old 21st November 2017
  #30
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
That will definitely do. Rycote do their own, if you want an "out-of-the-box" model:

Rycote InVision INV-7 Pop Filter Kit

Small-diaphragm condensers will all have a similar propensity to pop, based on diaphragm size and the fact they're single-diaphragm.
That's a new one - the Rycote used to only fit the USM.

Comparing the Rycote to the Håkan - the foam of the Håkan is twice as thick as the Rycote - they are both uncoloured and do the job well (better than fabric or metal pop filters, IMHO), but the Håkan will stop strong plosives that may get through the Rycote (I have both here).
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