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Tested various microphones against the U87!
Old 6th August 2009
  #1
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jujufactory's Avatar
 

How would you rate the Shure KSM-32?

The KSM-32 is a Shure classic and has been around for a long time.

The opinions on this microphone are so different depending on who you ask, that I wanted to get a greater range of opinions on this forum.

Here is what one person said on this forum:

"The Shure KSM 32 is a cheap mic... and not only that but its not a good mic...... the actual tones that the mic produces will not change a whole lot between different pre-amps. The mic is likely designed with people in mid who only want to spend 150 euros on a pre amp."


Here is what another person said:

"The KSM 32 is a great mic that will sound good to great on almost any voice."


Obviously these two opinions are in total oposition.

What do other people think about the KSM-32?
Old 6th August 2009
  #2
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KRStudio's Avatar
 

Last year I was in the room during a mic shootout to show off the KSM32. I had never used the mic before that day. One of the other mics used was the Brauner Velvet. Both mics into Pacifica and level matched. Blind test. 11 guys in the room. These two mics sounded virtualy identical. The nuances were sooo subtle between them you could have used one of each as a matched pair. Considering the price diff ($400 vs $1700) it's a very good mic. The guy who did the shootout is well known around here but I'll let him speak for himself if her wishes to. I have not used them with tube pres but have used them since with Telefunken 676a, Wunder, and Trident 80. These sounded great. I did not like them with Mackie or Allen Heath, so I get the feeling they like iron.

Cheers
Jeff
Old 6th August 2009
  #3
SRS
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I use them for overheads through the Great River Pre, when I want or need a bit more roundness in the sound. If I need more precise Overhead tracks, I will stay with the Josephson C42. The KSM-32 is an excellent mic in my opinion. I have used it for room Overhead, and Hi Hat for drums. And on Acoustic Guitar and vocals. It seems to work VERY well in many places. For the money, you cannot go wrong. It has a proven track record I think...
Old 6th August 2009
  #4
Ivo
Gear Nut
 

Great mics

Hi,

I own a pair of KSM-32's for about 6 years now I think and they're very versatile. Neutral but good. I have used them with succes on almost anything.

Particularly good as:
- clean vocal or voice-over mic
- drum overheads

... but really very versatile. Also they take EQ well. I do not second the opinion that they sound the same regardless of the preamp - it clearly reveals differences between my preamps (Millenia, Daking, Drawmer, SSL) although it's not a mic that reacts very wildly to changing impedances on preamps that offer that possibility.

If I don't use the KSM, it's because I want more character - I'll use a Charter Oak 538 on male voices sometimes or a Peluso 2247LE on acoustic guitar or female voice. But then again, for years I've used the KSM's for almost anything.

I'm not so sure about it sounding similar to a Brauner Velvet - I have had the Velvet in my studio too for a review, while they are somewhat similar in being clean allround mics I recall the Velvet having a more outspoken midrange. Could be wrong since it's been awhile and I only had the Velvet for about a week. Don't want to argue with 11 guys in a room... :-)

The KSM32's though have proven themselves many times over many years to me. Very good mics, especially for the price.

hth,

Ivo
Old 6th August 2009
  #5
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivo View Post
If I don't use the KSM, it's because I want more character - I'll use a Charter Oak 538 on male voices sometimes or a Peluso 2247LE on acoustic guitar or female voice. But then again, for years I've used the KSM's for almost anything.
Agreed.

A very clean mic that gives back pretty much what you put through it.
Old 6th August 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
I don't think I've ever heard the KSM32 sound bad. sometimes a little bland or just....not special.

But I HAVE also heard it sound excellent. And the build is excellent as well. I consider it money well spent.
Old 6th August 2009
  #7
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synthoid's Avatar
 

The criticism you most often hear of this mic from people who have lots of mics to compare it with is that they lack character. It's a pretty accurate, modern-sounding mic. The thing about preamps is that this mic has enough drive strength that it doesn't need to be "rescued" by the preamp, the way say an SM7 does. On the other hand being a neutral mic it gives you a good chance to hear the character of the preamp, which can be difficult to sort out with a more 'colored' mic.

-synthoid
Old 6th August 2009
  #8
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2Loud's Avatar
KSM32 - great choice.

From similar mics you can take a look at Akg C214 /cardioid only too/ - I would say these two are complementary.

actually I preferred KSM32 over KSM44 - they should sound similar, nearly same, but 32 seemed to me more neutral, less grainy bla bla bla..but thats only subjective opinion.

Its definitely versatile, natural and balanced mic with wide use.
Old 6th August 2009
  #9
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88fingerz's Avatar
 

One of the finest female vocal recordings I've done and still enjoy to this day was cut with the KSM32/Vintech 1272.
Old 6th August 2009
  #10
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valver's Avatar
 

IMHO,
the 57 of condensers (in a solid / utilitarian way) ...
I could do a record using only KSM32s
Old 6th August 2009
  #11
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jujufactory's Avatar
 

Does it make sense to use a 400 Euro KSM-32 with a 2200 Euros 1073?
Old 6th August 2009
  #12
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Phil Cibley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post



Here is what one person said on this forum:

"The Shure KSM 32 is a cheap mic... and not only that but its not a good mic...... the actual tones that the mic produces will not change a whole lot between different pre-amps. The mic is likely designed with people in mid who only want to spend 150 euros on a pre amp."


Here is what another person said:

"The KSM 32 is a great mic that will sound good to great on almost any voice."


Obviously these two opinions are in total oposition.


I think that you could type in the name of any mic incuding Neumann, Beyer,
etc. and get the same range of opinions. It's very much a personal preference matter.
Old 6th August 2009
  #13
I've heard very pro tracks done with a KSM32 for vocals, and I see them used a lot for overheads. A nice utility microphone, I had one for several years but sold it to fund other things.
Old 6th August 2009
  #14
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

I like it on certain voices and they can do well on drums.

I own one and hardly reach for it, I like it but yes it lacks character.

Very much a workhorse type mic, never "bad".

It is a medium sized electret diaphragm and I do find it has a bit of that electret sound (can be slightly hard in the mids / upper mids and top end is anything but silky).

War
Old 6th August 2009
  #15
Ivo
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post
Does it make sense to use a 400 Euro KSM-32 with a 2200 Euros 1073?
Well I have no experience with this particular combination and I'm not entirely sure whether you're asking about the gear or about the money, but I use my KSM's with preamps ranging from 1000-3000 euro's all the time and they are certainly worth a good preamp. So it's not like a 2200 euro pre won't make a difference with a KSM32. In fact any decent mic will like a good pre - my cheap SM57 likes my Daking pre very much on snare.

Whether this KSM/1073 combi and pricerange makes sense to you (whether it is a good way to spend your money) depends on lots of things of course; you could certainly get a good sounding preamp that works with a KSM32 for less than 2200 euros; or spend more money on a more characterful mic if you're after a certain sound.

hope this helps.

Ivo W.
Old 6th August 2009
  #16
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andsonic's Avatar
 

I love my KSM32 for acoustics guitars and female vocals. I've used it on just about everything. Probably the best mic purchase I ever made. I've always meant to get a 2nd one. Maybe now is the time
Old 6th August 2009
  #17
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Jay Dee's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Loud View Post
actually I preferred KSM32 over KSM44 - they should sound similar, nearly same, but 32 seemed to me more neutral, less grainy bla bla bla..but thats only subjective opinion.
The 32 has a small diameter diaphragm than the 44. I think it's about 3/4" versus 1" IIRC.
Old 6th August 2009
  #18
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jujufactory's Avatar
 

What is better?

BAE 1073 + KSM 32

or

A-Design A1 + Neuman TLM49
Old 6th August 2009
  #19
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thermos's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post
What is better?

BAE 1073 + KSM 32

or

A-Design A1 + Neuman TLM49
These questions are truly impossible to answer. You have really no idea until you try them both, thats the hardest thing about buying gear. The KSM 32 was my first condenser, and when I started "upgrading," I was amazed at how much less versatile every other condenser was. It is indeed a bit bland, works well on female vox though. I would characterize it as dark, and don't agree with war about it being hard. To me its soft and kind of on the dark side.
Old 6th August 2009
  #20
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jujufactory's Avatar
 

Le me re-phrase the question: Is it reasonable to have a pre-amp which costs 5 times more than the microphone? For a given budget should the Microphone to Pre amp ration not be closer to 50-50?
Old 6th August 2009
  #21
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zippsinc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Loud View Post
KSM32 - great choice.

From similar mics you can take a look at Akg C214 /cardioid only too/ - I would say these two are complementary.

actually I preferred KSM32 over KSM44 - they should sound similar, nearly same, but 32 seemed to me more neutral, less grainy bla bla bla..but thats only subjective opinion.

Its definitely versatile, natural and balanced mic with wide use.
What are the differences between the KSM32 and the KSM27? Anyone know?
Old 6th August 2009
  #22
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Mike Brown's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippsinc View Post
What are the differences between the KSM32 and the KSM27? Anyone know?
I believe the capsule is different and the KSM 27

I THINK the KSM27 and the KSM44 share the same capsule.... but the 44 has the different polar patterns and pad and rolloff.

I don't know about the capsules for sure.. just telling you what my ears say... but i DO know about the pad and roll off and features.


KSM32 is a favorite of mine. I prefer it over the 44.
Old 6th August 2009
  #23
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badmark's Avatar
Earlier this year, from "The big PRE-AMP lie!!!" thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post
Okay, so I spent weeks reading everything I could about Pre-amps. I finally decided to borrow and connect 4 different PRE AMPS in our studio behind Shure KSM 32 on the way to the Lynxs L22 card: The Pre amps ranged in pricerange from 150 to 1300 Euros.

Presonus Bluetube (150 Euros)
Safe Sound Audio P1 (500 Euros)
A-Design P-1 (900 Euros)
Brent Averill 1072 (1300 Euros)

The results were more than stunning and unexpected!!

After having recorded both male and female voices in various combinations, I A/B rolled each recording against the other. Guess what... they all sounded essentially the same. Nobody who listened along with me could really tell which one was better or worse. In fact nobody could clearly tell which part was recorded with which pre amp. What is even more amazing is that I could see no quality difference between the Bluetube and the A-Design P-1. The Brent Averill sounds slightly more smooth but only if pay very very close attention. On the whole they are all similar in every respect, give and take a tiny detail here or there which nobody would ever notice after a mix.

The bottom line is that these entire long discussions about pre-amps are totally over the top. A 200 Euro Pre-amp will essentially provide the same sound quality as a pre-amp costing ten times as much.

Obviously those who spend their lives comparing and discussing pre-amps must be smoking something very strong. I wasted 3 weeks doing research on this subject just to realize I would have been just as well off buying ANY pre-amp. They are essentially all the same and will provide good audio. So stop worrying about pre-amps.
But today it's:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post
What is better?

BAE 1073 + KSM 32

or

A-Design A1 + Neuman TLM49
And:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post
Is it reasonable to have a pre-amp which costs 5 times more than the microphone? For a given budget should the Microphone to Pre amp ration not be closer to 50-50?
Well, jujufactory, that's some change of heart you seem to have undergone. You been "smoking something very strong" these past few months then? Or have you done a Galilean recantation? Otherwise, save your euros and put that TLM49 through the Bluetube! Job done.
Old 6th August 2009
  #24
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jujufactory View Post
The KSM-32 is a Shure classic and has been around for a long time.

The opinions on this microphone are so different depending on who you ask, that I wanted to get a greater range of opinions on this forum.

Here is what one person said on this forum:

"The Shure KSM 32 is a cheap mic... and not only that but its not a good mic...... the actual tones that the mic produces will not change a whole lot between different pre-amps. The mic is likely designed with people in mid who only want to spend 150 euros on a pre amp."


Here is what another person said:

"The KSM 32 is a great mic that will sound good to great on almost any voice."


Obviously these two opinions are in total oposition.

What do other people think about the KSM-32?
32 is a great value but there are lots of other mics
that sound much better. Good utility mic though
better than the 44 on vocals
Old 6th August 2009
  #25
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jujufactory's Avatar
 

When I purchased the KSM 32 I never thought I would be spending 2000 Euros on a pre-amp. Now that I have I wonder if the KSM 32 can do justice to a 1073 pre amp which is clearly a top of the line product.
Old 7th August 2009
  #26
Gear Head
 

I love ksm 32's as overheads with the pacifica.

I hate them on everything else

Vocals are so lifeless in my opinion.
Old 7th August 2009
  #27
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suedesound's Avatar
 

This thread has me interested to try out the 32's at our studio again. I usually reach for the 44's because of the pickup/pad options but it sounds like most prefer the 32 in comparison. I usually only use these on OH or outside kick (really like the 44 in that place when the 47fet is on another job), sometimes acoustic if I'm out of other mics. Where would you users put a 32 before a 44?
Old 7th August 2009
  #28
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSmith View Post
Vocals are so lifeless in my opinion.
I just finished putting down a vox track for a sparce acoustic tune with a 32 hung right next to a Peluso 22 251.

Can't quite put my finger on it but it really sounded good......maybe that sterile but accurate quality in conjunction with that Peluso character is what made this track jump out at me.
Old 7th August 2009
  #29
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Stop fretting about price. I think the KSM32 is an amazing mic at any price point. I have heard it sound good to great on vox, guitars, pianos, drums, string quartets, orchestras, trumpets, even bagpipes. But that does not mean its the right mic for everyone. I have used them with 1073s, Pacificas, Millenia, API, LaChapell, Great River, Quad Eight, DW Fearn, SSL, D&R......... It worked fine with all of them.

You own the mic and an amazing pre amp. Start recording a bunch of stuff and then you decide whether or not its the right mic for you.
Old 7th August 2009
  #30
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jujufactory's Avatar
 

Ears don't lie. I did not know anything about microphones when I purchased the KSM-32. I purchased my KSM-32 on E-Bay (used) after listening to a microphone shootout on the internet pitting the KSM-32 against a U87 (female voice). I actually preferred the KSM-32 for its more natural sound. I paid 350 Euros for it and I was proud of the deal I got.

When I purchased the KSM-32, I did not know much about pre-amps. So I started to do what most people do; I rented them. Here in France everybody swears by Avalon. So I started off using the KSM-32 with a 737 Avalon.

We finally decided to buy. After using a cheap Blue-Tube and discovering its shortcommings, I quickly decided I needed something more professional.

I did not have the budget to purchase the Avalon 737, so our retailer sent us a couple of pre-amps in the 700 to 1000 Euro budget range (I initially was interested in the A-Design P1). He also sent me a 1073, claiming it sounded the same as the 1272.

After conducting my tests, the 1073 came out as the all around smoothest pre-amp. Thinking the 1272 would sound the same, I waited for the retailer to replace my 1073 with a 1272. When the thing finally arrived I had so gotten used to the 1073 that I could no longer bring myself to settle for less. The fact is the 1272 is definitely not the same as a 1073. Take my word for it.

As a result I broke the bank and purchased the 1073. It cost me 2200 Euros!!! That's insane considering my initial budget was around 1000 Euros for microphone and Pre-Amp! For that price I could have purchased the Avalon!!! Insane.

Now that I am in the statosphere of high end equipment, I am back to square one asking myself whether I did not go insane by testing all these pre-amps and never comparing microphones. For a moment I even believed the KSM-32 drove me down this road as perhaps a "better" microphone would have made the 1272 sound as good as a 1073. These are just thoughts.

I will say this: I did not know what the reputation of these products was when I purchased them. I trusted my ears. It's quite interesting to note I happened to purchase a pre amp which is an industry reference. Obviously it deserves its reputation as even a ignorant fool like me was willing to go 120% over budget to get one.

I may never know what I would have been willing to do for a U47...

So now that the money is gone, I suppose this thead is a debriefing session for me. Should I leave it at this or can I safely say the KSM-32 is good enough for the top of the line recordings a 1073 was designed for? Opinions and comments by people with more experience may be useful. Thank you.
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