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Tube Condenser Mic $500
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Tube Condenser Mic $500

Hi, I'm looking into a $500 range tube microphone for vocal recording. Would anyone like to give suggestions?

For preamps I have: Grace m101, UA LA610mkii, Daking Mic/Pre Eq

The main mics I have already: Neumann u87ai, AEA N22, CAD m177

Of course, I'm not stuck on the idea of a tube mic, or any extra mic, I'm just in a position to be able to add a tube flavour...something I don't have.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
Hi, I'm looking into a $500 range tube microphone for vocal recording. Would anyone like to give suggestions?

For preamps I have: Grace m101, UA LA610mkii, Daking Mic/Pre Eq

The main mics I have already: Neumann u87ai, AEA N22, CAD m177

Of course, I'm not stuck on the idea of a tube mic, or any extra mic, I'm just in a position to be able to add a tube flavour...something I don't have.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

I do believe that if you want a tube mic that will make justice to the others mics and preamps you have, I'd strongly suggest to save some more and get a nice tube mic, not an elcheapo one.

Of course there are inexpensive tube mics that are ok for their price..
One is the avantone, if you're looking for a c-12ish sound and the other is the vanguard v13 (which some people I know are very happy with it)..

I do think that both mics show a certain sibilance that shouldn't be there..
Nothing unfixable, but I don't want to fix stuff that I don't have to if I choose a "better" tool for the situation.

I have to say that Burg, Manley, Josephson, Flea, BSA, Neumann (M149), hell even Lewitt have better options at various prices. There's also the new Joe Chiccarelli JC37 made by pmi/tonelux.. It's basically a copy of the Sony C37 mic.. Might be worth investigating, but it's 5 times your intended budget.

On the other hand you can find a used Lewitt selectable fet/tube mic (LCT 940) for about a grand on the GS classifieds..
That is a very versatile mic, at a flick of a switch you could decide how much "tube" sound do you want.. quite smooth if you ask me..

Buy used, might shave off something, but I'd not get a new 500$ tube mic..
What is the sense of this?
Dude, you have a nice neumann, a nice ribbon .. get something along that quality. Wait and save some more and buy used.

What do you think you'll gain with a 500$ tube mic / product?

It won't sound like the big boys you want, it will be manufactured cutting every cost possible on ALL/most its components, it will probably be manufactured by people that have no other choice than work for a very low income in countries that allow that.

ALL our buying decisions shaped and are shaping our world. We ALL need to buy more responsibly understanding that nothing is free, everything has a cost..
If you don't want to pay for it, somebody else or our nature in another part of the world is going to.

Foods for thoughts.

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Lauten LA-320, or MXL V69me sound good.
Then upgrade tube, to something like NOS 5751.
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
@ cheu78I like your style, dude. That's a very good post.

I think I'll save a little more.

Thanks

Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Lauten LA-320, or MXL V69me sound good.
Then upgrade tube, to something like NOS 5751.
Chris
Hi, yeah...did have a look at those. Lots of good reports, though some discussing harshness in treble. I think I'll either save up a little more or abandon the idea altogether...or second hand maybe at some stage.

Thanks

Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Sure thing. Just wanted to add, "microphone maven" Paul G., who frequents High End...
Thinks very highly of the LA-320.

Partly because of that, and the somewhat lower self noise, I'd give the edge to the LA-320 over the V69.

I have a V69 and it's a fun/good vintage tone style vocal mic though.
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Second hand?

I have a Rode NTV I bought from new (not the NTK) the original one with the Jenson output transformer.
I see them second hand from time to time.

I sourced a fantastic NOS valve to replace the stock valve - this has made a considerable difference
to the smoothness and control of sibilance.

I use it along side my Wunder CM7 and my NTV holds it's head up high as a great mic.

It does have a Chinese made edge terminated capsule - but Rode insisted at the time
when I bought it 20 years ago that they had the quality control right - well the mic is 20 years old and the capsule still sound great!

It does have a certain sound though - so you'd have to like the sound.

Another option second hand (if you can fins a decent one) is to save a little more
and find a BLUE Kiwi - it's a solid state mic but imho absolutely first class in every way.

I had an original Latvian made one and made the stupid mistake of selling it!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Ok, thanks again. I'll continue the research. I did read this, for what it's worth (the guy still rated the mic 4/5 stars) about the LA320:

First of all, it is pretty bright. Even with the low-pass filter engaged (which is pretty subtle), it still has plenty of high-frequency sparkle to go around. More than any other condenser microphone I own. It doesn't sound unpleasant, but it sure blurs the boundary between "sparkly" and "sibilant." If you find yourself EQ'ing your vocal to bring out the high frequencies, you won't have to do that with the LA-320. But if you're looking for vintage tube microphone character, this is the polar opposite of that "ideal."

It's very difficult to go by a single comment from one person, but suppose as with any investigation you try to assemble some kind of profile.

Anyway...we'll see.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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IIRC Paul G posted some audio clips of it, in a comparison thread, here at GS. I'm sure you'll find audio examples around elsewhere, if you search them out.

BTW my personal High End tube LDC "bargains" that hover around $2500, are the...
Soundelux U99, Tonelux JC37, & Heiserman H47 tube.
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
BTW my personal High End tube LDC "bargains" that hover around $2500, are the...
Soundelux U99, Tonelux JC37, & Heiserman H47 tube.
Chris
Ooh...they'll make me sound like Frank Sinatra right?

Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

I put a nice tube and a Samar capsule in a Lauten LA320. Cost about what you say is your budget as I bought the mic cheap second hand. The Samar capsule is great and now it is a pretty badass vocal and whatever else mic.

Recommendation would be pick your favourite cheapish tube mic and then a nice capsule and tube to swap in there = max mic joy for your dollar.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
I put a nice tube and a Samar capsule in a Lauten LA320. Cost about what you say is your budget as I bought the mic cheap second hand. The Samar capsule is great and now it is a pretty badass vocal and whatever else mic.

Recommendation would be pick your favourite cheapish tube mic and then a nice capsule and tube to swap in there = max mic joy for your dollar.
I appreciate the suggestion and idea but I'm not interested in that much swapping and modding. Fair enough if it's all good but I'm not keen.

I just heard the Paul G comparison between the $15k tube mic and the LA320. I listened first to the $15k mic and thought, hmmm, nice round tubey sound...smooth...if the LA320 is anything like this I'll be impressed. But then I listened to the LA320 and was instantly disappointed. It lacked the warmth, tubeness and was a lot more harsh than I expected.

I understand the comparison wasn't to attempt to show how much like the $15k one the LA320 was...more to show that it was comparable. But, geez, based on what I heard it's nowhere near close enough. The roundness that I hoped for just wasn't really there.

Now, of course, that's just, like, my opinion.

Maybe I'll save more and get up around $1-1.5k and see what's what...or if I even still want one, in time.

Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
An iSK 2B Beauty is definitely a contender. If you can lay your hands on one. The 2B Beauty is currently sold out and people are waiting for the new one.
May I suggest however that you pick up the previous iSK TRM 11 and then fit your own high end 12AX7 valve which upgrades it to 2B Beauty spec.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Addict
 
wilkinswp's Avatar
 

Do what Cheu said.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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Shannon Adkins's Avatar
 

Yes, what Cheu said. I'd save up a little more and then try the V13 to see if it's to your liking.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
@ cheu78I like your style, dude. That's a very good post.

I think I'll save a little more.

Thanks

Thanks for the nice words and for taking my post the right way

Try to check out the lewitt lct940 (there are several reviews and clips on youtube as well, and while I'd take any clips with a grain of salt, or for what they are, might be worth for you to investigate.

Btw I do have a Beesneez Mahalia for sale (in case a 67-ish sound is what you want). There are clips I've recorded years ago on GS that compare it to a U67.

Anyway check out the BSA mics, the Flea and also a used Neumann M149 (which could be found used at around 2/2.5k and will keep its value better than anything else).

Take care



Cheu
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hello people View Post
Ooh...they'll make me sound like Frank Sinatra right?

Well, IMHO those three LDC's stand up well to "the icons"... U87/47/67/251/C37 etc.

Not an LDC, but a vocal sleeper is the AKG D24.
You can see/hear Frank singing through one, when they filmed the session for "It Was A Very Good Year". Fantastic dynamic mic. Another would be a nice/used 441.

Been pretty busy at work, but I'll try to post an MXL V69me vocal recording, within a week.
The OP might like its tone better vs.the stock LA-320. The V69 is very olde school sounding.
"Kennybro" here and Chris Lago (YouTube) have also posted some very fine vocals, on it.

Ironically, when I sing around town, I occasionally get the... "You sound like the Young (in his 30's) Sinatra"! So maybe I'll be brave and attempt one of "The Voice's" songs.
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I agree on the iSK 2B Beauty. I've done a ton of great stuff with that mic. I'm both interested and bummed out that they are changing it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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zohomoho's Avatar
 

On a lark, I got a Nos12 by NOS audio last week. It's a nice-sounding c12 style mic. basically, a fully modded apex 460 with paper in oil caps and a cinemag transformer and an edge terminated capsule. Got mine for 300 bucks.
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