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Mercury M72s or TAB-Funkenwerk V-78 ??? Condenser Microphones
Old 17th July 2008
  #1
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Mercury M72s or TAB-Funkenwerk V-78 ???

Looking for advice on which preamp to buy next, the TAB-Funkenwerk V-78 or the Mercury M72s/1. Or something else entirely...

The reviews of both preamps sound tantalizing. Which one is best? Which one imparts the biggest, fattest sound?

I want to use it mostly for rock vocals. I have a half dozen other preamps. I own two tube preamps, the Demeter VTMP-2B and the Universal LA-610. They sound relatively similar on my voice. They are both very "sweet" sounding, but they don't give me a "larger than life sound." They don't give me the "tubey" sound I was hoping for when I bought them. I like them a lot for recording other sounds, just not for rock vocals.

Right now my favorite pre for rock vocals is my Vintech x73i. That gives me a somewhat fatter, beefier rock vocal. But I want more beef! The reviews of the TAB-Funkenwerk V-78 and the Mercury M72s seem to describe what I'm looking for. However, my favorite sounding Beatles album is Abbey Road -- which was the album where they ditched the old V72 preamps and moved on to the newer non-tube preamps, as now emulated by Chandler...

Maybe I should just buy a Chandler Germanium or some other Chandler?
Old 21st June 2009
  #2
If FAT is what you SEEK, than you will never be disappointed with the Mercury M72/1. The FATNESS is undeniable from that preamp. Its has a warm top and insanely detailed mid with a bigger than normal bottom. I would demo this first for your request, based on my experience using this mother of fatness. It hits the nail on the head in my experience. Its definitely thick and meaty, which I think cannot be overstated. I don't think the V78M has the same thick bottom octave obesity, so I don't think its as FAT as the Mercury really is.

I think it does have the "sweetness" or "glaze" with all the clarity to the top end you can handle with a ton of color/warmth that one might desire for many applications. They are both fantastic options, but "best" is very relative to the end user, and the end user's applications. I can tell you as of late, the Mercury stuff has been a saving grace for vocals, kick, bass DI, electric and acoustic GTR among others. The Chandler stuff is also fantastic, and seriously cool for older, pre-washed more vintage like thickness and round top. The TG-2 is an excellent choice for "punch" and darker HF information.
Old 24th September 2009
  #3
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So, I'm getting that the Mercury is huge sounding. How does the M72 compare to, say, a Manley Mono. I like the Manley stuff cuz it's very linear for tube gear. If I were to go with one for main vocals in multiple genres, which would you recommend? How wud it pair up with an AK47, which is the mic that is peaking my interest as of late? Also, should I be considering possibly the M16 or Peluso P12 as my main mic for multiple genres? This is the around the area I'm looking at price-wise. Still saving too, but I def want one thick tube pre (maybe even a Pacifica, although it's not tube, but it's big) for main lead vocals that could sound good on other sources.
Old 24th September 2009
  #4
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thermos's Avatar
I'm selling a V-78m in the classifieds. I was under the impression the V78 had more gain, and a trimmer bottom, which may lend itself well to more sources. Thats why I bought it, and its been great.
Old 25th September 2009
  #5
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matucha's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik View Post
So, I'm getting that the Mercury is huge sounding. How does the M72 compare to, say, a Manley Mono. I like the Manley stuff cuz it's very linear for tube gear. If I were to go with one for main vocals in multiple genres, which would you recommend? How wud it pair up with an AK47, which is the mic that is peaking my interest as of late? Also, should I be considering possibly the M16 or Peluso P12 as my main mic for multiple genres? This is the around the area I'm looking at price-wise. Still saving too, but I def want one thick tube pre (maybe even a Pacifica, although it's not tube, but it's big) for main lead vocals that could sound good on other sources.
I have manley dual mono and tab funkenwerk V78M. V78M sounds more open and in a way it has more solid bottom. Manley is a bit smoother and more closed, but I'm talking about 0.1%, on some sources they are interchangable. TAB is more problematic though, because it can't amplify sounds over certain volume that is somewhere around -12 -15dB on my lavry blue. No biggie if you have compressor to make-up the gain a couple of dBs. What's not good is there is no indication of clipping on the unit and it clips very fast indeed. It has 60dB of gain, but normaly you won't get over the 40dB with hot condensers. The rest of the scale is good for dynamics. At 60dB the noisefloor rises much more than in any other steps on this othervise very noiseless unit.

Manley is more practical (behaves like a normal pre) and it gets most of the work, TAB gets stuff that need extra care and extra detail. Interesting is also despite of the very similar sound (to my ears) and more open sound in the tests, most of the recordings I make with TAB have a slight "retro/vintage" touch that isn't present in the ones where I used manley.


hope it helps a bit
Old 25th September 2009
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik View Post
How does the M72 compare to, say, a Manley Mono.
The Mercury is significantly more colored than the Manley. The Manley is 'hi-fi' for a tube preamp in general, still a color there, but the Mercury has more obvious harmonic coloration. The TAB is also less colored than the Mercury. Mercury, along with Chandler and Vintech are the most colored preamps around.
Old 25th September 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
The Mercury is significantly more colored than the Manley. The Manley is 'hi-fi' for a tube preamp in general, still a color there, but the Mercury has more obvious harmonic coloration. The TAB is also less colored than the Mercury. Mercury, along with Chandler and Vintech are the most colored preamps around.
Ok, so if I have the Vintech Dual 72, I'm assuming I'm already in the ballpark? Should I just focus moreso on a good main vocal mic? I was thinking things like the Tele AK47 & M16, Peluso P12, AT4060, MA200(the cheapest of the bunch), TLM49 and Bock U195(Soundelux). If I were to get one of those mics for all-around use, which would you recommend. Granted, if the Dual 72 is not a good main vocal pre, then what would go with what? Also have my eyes on the Retro STA Level, but that will be afterwards when I already have my killer main vocal pre and mic.
Old 25th September 2009
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik View Post
Ok, so if I have the Vintech Dual 72, I'm assuming I'm already in the ballpark?
The Mercury M72 has more color than the Vintech Dual 72, and the Vintech is a bit more punchy where the Mercury is a bit more soft. Same camp, but still different.

Quote:
Should I just focus moreso on a good main vocal mic? I was thinking things like the Tele AK47 & M16, Peluso P12, AT4060, MA200(the cheapest of the bunch), TLM49 and Bock U195(Soundelux).
First, let us know what frequency balance you are looking for, and the amount of softness/color you want in a mic. That list is all over the place.

Quote:
Granted, if the Dual 72 is not a good main vocal pre, then what would go with what?
The Dual 72 can get some of the best sounds (that I've ever heard). It's amazingly underrated, and overly slammed around here. It depends on the source and the mic though. What frequency do those two things emphasize, and what do you want to come out the other end?
Old 25th September 2009
  #9
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Well, I do a ton of Pop/R&B 'Lady Gaga', Pussycat Dolls kind of stuff and I do quite a bit of rock. I've got screamin' down, I just use my sm7b into the 72 and I'm good. But for something that can cover from say, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Nickelback to the aforementioned material would be good. I'm more focused on getting a nice rich, husky sound that still has presence in the mids and a nice sheen up top. Right now plug-in wise, I go for that sound using a Fairchild and a Pulteq on vocals. The only way I know to describe is is Husky and rich, but open and still modern....can both of those be had? I'm not trying to do u47'ish into UA610, that would be too much. I still want to reminice of a C12'ish type of body and sheen but I'm just really interested and think I'd like the sound of the Mercury....please offer suggestions and combinations. Nathan, I totally hear you on the Dual 72...I have yet to run into a gain issue, it's not too big like some people claim that run into clashing or clutter issues and I love the St. Ives sound it gives. I think if anything I need to lo-cut vocals more, that's all, but I want a mic/pre combo with body, punch, smoothness and class that could be used as much as possible on multiple genres...thus why I listed so many. The only thing they have in common is that their prices are all within about $500, which is a must and they must stay in this range.
Old 5th November 2009
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
The Mercury is significantly more colored than the Manley. The Manley is 'hi-fi' for a tube preamp in general, still a color there, but the Mercury has more obvious harmonic coloration. The TAB is also less colored than the Mercury. Mercury, along with Chandler and Vintech are the most colored preamps around.

Right on.. vintech was very colored for me as well and the TAB was clean, tubed, and open on the high end of things...love it on cymbals...
Old 22nd December 2009
  #11
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V78M was not well-built at all.* Sounded good but I would never buy it again. Really happy I sold it. Go with Mercury. Construction is way better and it sounds bigger too.
Old 22nd December 2009
  #12
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robot gigante's Avatar
To the OP: the V78 is a cool pre, but it will not give you "more beef" than a Neve pre. It will give you a nice sheen on the top end, clear mids and some pleasing harmonic distortion but not the low end/ low mid thickness that a Neve can- it is one of the beefiest preamps around. Haven't tried the Vintech so I don't know if it is the same thing.
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