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Rode NTK mic with replaced TUBE (NOS) - mp3 examples here!!!
Old 28th July 2005
  #1
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celebritymusic's Avatar
 

Rode NTK mic with replaced TUBE (NOS) - mp3 examples here!!!

Hi

I own a Rode NTK mic, and am not that happy with the sound. It's brittle, and not very focused.

I would love to get a better mic, but the budget is a little restrictive. So instead, I ordered a replacement tube for the mic, in the hope that I could improve the sound.

The tube I chose was a NOS Philips E88CC/6922 SQ from Holland.

I recorded two test tracks - one with the old tube, and then the new to compare any sound difference (which I believe is very apparent).

Here's the gear I used:

- Maton Australian Series Jumbo Acoustic Guitar (with month old strings)
- Rode NTK mic
- Sebatron vmp-2000e preamp
- LynxOne audio card
- Cubase SX (24bit, 44.1k project)

Here's what I did:

- I set up the mic (with the stock standard Chine tube) through the pre, and left them both turned on for about 45mins, to allow the tubes to warm up.
-I set the preamp controls to transparent, neutral settings, with no eq and low tube gain.
- I set the mic up a foot away from the guitar, pointed between the soundhole and beginning of the neck.
- I recorded a basic strumming pattern.
- turned off the mic, and replaced the tube with the NOS Philips one.
- set up the mic in exactly the same position, turned the mic on, and left it to warm up for 45mins.
- repeated the recording process, same strum, same position, same distance from mic.

I applied no compression, eq, and did not normalise the files, so you can hear volume diferences.

I coverted the 24bit files to 16bit with dither etc.

I then used Lame to convert the tracks to 320k mp3s

I'm not going to say what I think the differences are, because I want to hear what you all think!

I have never been up close and personal with a highend mic, like Nueman etc. How does the NTK with the new tube compare?

Here are the links:

Philips - http://people.aapt.net.au/~celebritymusic/TubeX.mp3

Chinese - http://people.aapt.net.au/~celebritymusic/TubeY.mp3


Shaun
www.gilbert.net.au
Old 28th July 2005
  #2
Obviously the NOS tube has a better, mellower sound to it. By comparison the original tube sounds "s*****" and problematic -- more resonant low notes and harsh high end. (To tell you the truth my first thought was you were playing the guitar horribly, hitting the strings unevenly, til I heard the NOS recording).

Are you sure you didn't record the original tube closer to the sound hole (cause that's what I would have guessed from the boomy quality and more string noise)?

Would you do a test with vocals only, as an NTK owner I'd be interested to hear the difference...
Old 28th July 2005
  #3
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celebritymusic's Avatar
 

Hi

The mic dstances were the same - that surprised me too. I thought the Philips may have given more gain, but it seems a little quiter. Actually, I reckon the RMS of the signals would be about the same. The NOS just seems to handle tha transients better, almost as if there is a nice tube compressor on the track.

As far as the boominess of the Chinese tube goes, I think it just has a less even frequency range than the NOS - they were definitely both recorded a foot away from the mic. Even if the Chinese one was one or two inches closer, is shouldn't be that boomy if it was a good tube.

How do you rate the sound of the NTK with the NOS compared to nice acoustic guitar recordings with high-end mics?

THANKS!

Shaun

ps vocals - NO - I'm not that brave, my vioce is b-grade!
Old 28th July 2005
  #4
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Hey Shaun.. Answered it on a local forum. non chinese tube not so bright and grr.

But will add. If I am free one night come down and a/b it with my m149/u87 and also little Studio Projects B1.
Have you tried another pre apart from the Sebatron as well.
Even with pad they are not what you call clean.
Old 28th July 2005
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by celebritymusic
ps vocals - NO - I'm not that brave, my vioce is b-grade!
You won't sing a little "Down Under" for us?
Old 28th July 2005
  #6
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Hi Guys

I'd love to come down Dave, just to hear what a real mic sounds like! Unfortunately, I live in Wollongong just South of Sydney!!! Thanks for the offer though Buddy!!!

I just got the Sebatron on Tues (my first real pre!!!) My last one was the M-Audio Tampa, and I reckon this leaves it for dead - heaps of ball, nice and smooth.

I haven't heard any other highend pre up in the flesh, but this one will do me for a while. I like the smooth, warm colour that I think this will give me - like on some of the creamy acoustic guitar sounds on Wilco's Yankee Foxtrot Hotel recording.

Of course, I can be a purist too, and so I enjopy transparency, especially when it comes to acoustic guitars. It's just that I like the relaxing, calming sound of a smoothed off tube recording.

I would like to get a Neve 1073 dpa, just to hear what it can do as far as solid states go. I would also like to get a Millenia HV3B, and a stereo pair of Gefell m300s for transparent acoustic guitar recording. A UK studio sent me a demo backing track, and it turns out they had used this combo on the acoustic guitar, which was the best sounding transparent GTR recording I have ever heard!!! The mp3 was only 128k, but it still sounded better than any wavefile acoustic gtr recordings I have heard!!!!

But for the time being, I'm happy with the Sebatron, which I picked up for $1280 delivered, which I reckon is a bargian. It will be staying with me no matter what other pre's I end up buying.

As far as singing 'Land Down Under' Radiospace, - I'm actaully a Kiwi, so maybe some Crowded House would be better!!!!!!??????? :-)
Old 28th July 2005
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by celebritymusic
As far as singing 'Land Down Under' Radiospace, - I'm actaully a Kiwi, so maybe some Crowded House would be better!!!!!!??????? :-)
Howsabout a verse of "I Got You" or, better yet, "Six Months in a Leaky Boat"?
Old 28th July 2005
  #8
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Cool man,

When you posted on a local melb website thought you were real local...he he
See if there is a studio who are local and nice.
Although if you like the sound you like the sound. Used 57's for accoustics before and it worked. Actually used 57's for almost everything before and they worked.
Not the best sound but very usable
Thats the thing with Cheap LDC's they do not work on everything some have bad top end, distortion etc.

Also the thing is everyone hears things diff.
I played with a sebatron for me even with pads was to colored.
Same as the UA 2-610 I sold.
But as I said for me....
Mates of mine love them..

The NTK does sound better... I still think they are over priced.
I like my little Studio projects B1 for AUD$170... its cool not as over hyped.
Still 2d..
Old 28th July 2005
  #9
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Ah, Radiospace!!!

I actually saw the Finn Brothers live at the Sydney Opera House a couple of weeks ago. Tim did Six Months, and can still nail it even though he's 170 now.

Anything to do with the Finns, I idolise!!!

Dave - yeah I read a lot of negative posts about the U-610, but only good things about the Seb. I wish I had more experience with pres - at least I know the Seb sounds better than the Tampa!

What's your favorite pre/mic combo for a warm acoustic sound, and then for a transparent acoustic sound?

Shaun
www.gilbert.net.au
Old 28th July 2005
  #10
Quote:
I have never been up close and personal with a highend mic, like Nueman etc. How does the NTK with the new tube compare?
it is nice.i've been using the same mic and mic pre arrangement with lots of success although i do use the low cut on my sebatron pre to roll off .i would not say it is too colored if you run it with the pad i prefer it over my buzz ma pre which can be very nasty with the NTK. i'm finding to get that warmth i have to place the mic carefully close to the soundhole without stressing the player too much .i have hired expensive nueman microphones for special one-off sessions with an increase in clarty but nothng that isnot redemable in a mix with the NTK.
celebritymusic have you tried using more than one microphone on the acoustic guitar?
Old 28th July 2005
  #11
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Maybe it's my system, but I didn't hear any major noticable difference, the NOS was little quieter, but tone wise, nothing to write home about. It sounded good but no major difference.

Try using a second mic, like was earlier suggested.....that's what I've been doing and getting some nice sounds with them spaced about 12" apart.

Overall though I thought the mic sounded very good and better than expected.

Do you or anyone have any comparison charts to compare the characturistics of the one tube vrs the other ???? You know stuff like output voltage, running temperature, current draw.... and has anyone talked to any of the mic manufacturers about this type of upgrade, and how it would effect the rest of the circuitry and any warranties......do they give it a thumbs up or down ???

my concern is if the tube runs hotter than the original, would that damage or shorten the life of any other components of the mic ???
Old 28th July 2005
  #12
Gear Addict
 

I am an electronics engineer (and audio engineer) who has worked with tubes a lot. In this case the difference in tube currents is negligable. And in fact I have an NTK and have run it with a number of different NOS tubes over the last several years. No problems.

I have noticed that the mic sounds much better with different NOS tubes. Telefunken and Mullard being the best. Amperex sounds good too, certainly better than stock. But, there are differences even within different brands depending on when the tube was made,what factory,etc.

No matter what you do this seems to be a very colored mic that works very well on some things but not so good on others (like sibilant voices). I know before I changed the tube in mine it was not good on acoustic guitar, after the change it sounded very nice. With the right tube the sound is warmer (for lack of a better term) and smoother on top. Very euphonic. Still not as much detail and sense of space as some better stuff.

Also, try padding the mic down about 5dB more than you think you should, this helps with some preamps.
Old 29th July 2005
  #13
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matt thomas's Avatar
where can I look on the web for replacement tubes for an NTK? Also what do I ask for (too lazy to find the manual). I haven't been using mine, but perhaps I will if I upgrade the tube.

thanks
Narco

Huuuge difference in the samples, thanks for recording them, the Chinese one sounded heaps like my NTK would.
Old 29th July 2005
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by celebritymusic
Ah, Radiospace!!!

I actually saw the Finn Brothers live at the Sydney Opera House a couple of weeks ago.
You lucky bastard.

I second narco's request for more information. I share his curiosity as well as his entropy, so I need some options spoon fed to me.
Old 29th July 2005
  #15
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Hi Guys

There are a few Tube shops around on the net. Just do a search. I got my tube from a private seller in Holland. His name is Tom, and email address is: [email protected] - he also sells via Ebay if you are more comfortable doing it that way. I found his prices to be more reasonable than some of the big name tube stores.

Here is a good link to get started with some info on tubes:

http://www.audioasylum.com/scripts/d...oes-tubes.html

The next link deals with a solution the problem of microphonics within tubes. These dampers can give you a clearer sound image, and less distortion (haven't tried them yet):

http://herbiesaudiolab.home.att.net/

I haven't tried recording with two mics, as I only have the NTK. I could try using the Beta 58 I have too, but I'd prefer to use another condensor. I'd like to save up and get a pair of Gefell m300's, but in the meantime, I may just get another NTK with a tube upgrade.

Good luck!!

Shaun
www.gilbert.net.au
Old 29th July 2005
  #16
Old 29th July 2005
  #17
C/G
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C/G's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by narco
where can I look on the web for replacement tubes for an NTK? Also what do I ask for (too lazy to find the manual). I haven't been using mine, but perhaps I will if I upgrade the tube.

thanks
Narco

Huuuge difference in the samples, thanks for recording them, the Chinese one sounded heaps like my NTK would.
The tube is a 6922 or E88CC which is the European designation for the same tube. Try www.audiotubes.com Brent is a nice guy and gives a warranty with his tubes. He will have Mullard, Amperex, Telefunken and Philips.
Old 31st July 2005
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman Lindsey
it is nice.i've been using the same mic and mic pre arrangement with lots of success although i do use the low cut on my sebatron pre to roll off .i would not say it is too colored if you run it with the pad i prefer it over my buzz ma pre which can be very nasty with the NTK. i'm finding to get that warmth i have to place the mic carefully close to the soundhole without stressing the player too much .i have hired expensive nueman microphones for special one-off sessions with an increase in clarty but nothng that isnot redemable in a mix with the NTK.
celebritymusic have you tried using more than one microphone on the acoustic guitar?
Different pres like different mics.
Differnt sources like different mics and pres.
Each time I do a mic pre test for myself or others.
1-2 that sound 2d.(ie Control24 pre )
The rest are just colors.
NTK did not sound great with all my pres.. I had a T3 to try and every pre it hated words with a "S" in them.. Although other freinds like both.. so who knows.

When we tested the Sebatron. The guy who brought it loved the sound compared to my calrecs, api's,buzz, neotek's etc.
Myself and another guy thought it sounded veiled. Not as open. Even with the pad in. Although we did not HPF it. He brought a buzz as he wanted acoustic pre that sounded like it does in the other room.
Will have to give one another go my mates love them. Each time I played just to colored for me.. Was supposed to get one to have a good play with a few times.. Although with 18 outboard pres not looking for anything
As always everyones ears are different.
The guy with the Sebatron likes color.. He has a Joe Meek he loved as well.
Myself I do not like things to add to much of there color a lot of the time.
The UA did that as well as clip on the inputs.
But hey thats me.
Old 31st July 2005
  #19
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Woho.....
Nice to see some of you people on here too...

NTK's....s = ouch.....
What more can you say?

Now...what is the silibance like with the NOS tube?
Next step....replacing the capsule! heh
Old 31st July 2005
  #20
Gear Head
 

The difference is quite obvious, but I can't say I like the NOS better for this recording. Some may call it "mellow", but I thought it was a bit "tubby". I enjoy acoustics (especially when placed in a mix) to be a bit more strident.

The choice of tubes would be quite handy, though. Almost like having two microphones.
Old 31st July 2005
  #21
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Sergievsky's Avatar
 

I thought the NOS tube made a huge difference, almost makes me want to get one for my NTK. Then I read that thread where the guy bought the Siemens and it didn't make a difference. So, I dunno.
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