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Deciding which 460 mod Condenser Microphones
Old 17th November 2009
  #1
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Deciding which 460 mod

So... I've read a lot of info on 460 mods, but I'm having trouble determining which would actually be best. I don't care too much about the price if the mod is worth it. I just want a sweet sounding mic.

Now, it seems most common to go towards a C 12 sound, but I was kinda thinking I would personally prefer more of a U67 or maybe even U47 sound. Is it conceivable to make a mod in this direction sound really good? Or will it just sound sorta similar, but not very pleasant sounding? Is it safer to just aim for the C 12 sound?

Or should I just put my money into a whole new mic? Recommends?

Thanx for your wise thoughts!
Old 17th November 2009
  #2
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for the u47 type sound, buy it and send it to michael joly to have him do the work. will end up saving you the headaches. costs a touch more than diy, but if i were going the u47 route with mine, i wouldn't hesistate to send it to him. since i am going the c12, route, diy for me!
Old 17th November 2009
  #3
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Michael might be changing the capsule to a K47 type but he leaves the transformer stock , the dual bobbin BV8 transformer is an intergral part of the U47 sound,
He keeps the transformer stock for economical reasons I suppose since he say its usable and also he doesnt do clones so he doesnt need to select parts which will impose the circuit/mic to behave more closly to the original.
Keeping the tube type effect aside,
You mighth want to ask him to add one to his mod, perhaps the Cinemag Nico. Cinemag Audio Transformers

You also have the Bulldog modification kits Bulldog upgrades
Which will get you a naked PCB and a transformer for less then 100$.
They offer simplified version of the U47,49,67 and C12.
Since there is mechanical work which needs to be done to the body in order to install their transformer .
Another option is to get the PCB board alone and install a transformer which can be droped right in,
Such as pairing the cinemag cm 2480 (AKG T14 type) with the C12 type pcb.

*The CM-2461NiCo is large , I cant seem to find measurments of the 460 body so Im not sure how it would fit.
Old 17th November 2009
  #4
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Yeah, it kinda sounds like the best luck is having someone else do it hey? Mainly because of the headbasket design flaws of the 460?
Old 17th November 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradlo View Post
So... I've read a lot of info on 460 mods, but I'm having trouble determining which would actually be best. I don't care too much about the price if the mod is worth it. I just want a sweet sounding mic.

Now, it seems most common to go towards a C 12 sound, but I was kinda thinking I would personally prefer more of a U67 or maybe even U47 sound. Is it conceivable to make a mod in this direction sound really good? Or will it just sound sorta similar, but not very pleasant sounding? Is it safer to just aim for the C 12 sound?

Or should I just put my money into a whole new mic? Recommends?

Thanx for your wise thoughts!
Hi

The 460 has a small body and tends to work best with the C12/251 type circuits. Those transformers are small and have a high ratio for the 12xx7 tube design. Both of the other mics (u67-u47) require different tubes and transformers to get the classic sound. The EF86 or the EF14 /VF14 are not drop in replacements in the 460 body or circuit. If you are going for the U67 sound, The Nady 1050 works better because the the body is bigger and will fit the larger transformers. The Cinemag NiCo will not fit in the 460.

I also do a headbasket mod that eliminates the bar in front of the capsule.

The Daisy that I have on my website sounds very close to the U67 sound. That mic stock has a Jensen transformer EF86 tube and a K67 style capsule. I use some filterng to tune and tame the K67. The circuit is custom designed and the board is handmade.

The EF14 in a 47 style circuit is amazing. It has a tone similar to te VF14. The low end and mids sound fuller and more present than the 12xx7and the EF86 type circuits. I will be offering this mod soon.

There are many different mods to the 460 out there. Some are good and some do not work well. Changing parts in a 460 will change the tone and response, however you still have the 12xx7 sound.

The stock capsule is ok for some sources however to get the C12/251 sound you need a C12 type capsule.
The transformers I use in the C12/251 circuit are the AMI, Cinemag and Jensen. The AMI is the closest to the real C12. BTW AMI is not making the T14/1 anymore. They are only making the T14 and BV314 for this mic.
The Cinemag and Jensen have less color than the T14.

Whatever you do, you can have a top shelf mic for a good price.

Thanks,
Jim Jacobsen
JJ Audio

Custom Microphones and Mods
Old 17th November 2009
  #6
460's are done here weekly. That's AKG if you are confused.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 17th November 2009
  #7
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Stitch333's Avatar
 

Would the Lucas engineering retrofit boards fit the 460?
Old 22nd November 2009
  #8
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hmm, so I'm recently thinking that maybe I would rather go the C12 route. I'm not totally sure I want to do it all myself, especially since I'd like a headbasket mod, so who does the best C12 mod?
Old 22nd November 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradlo View Post
hmm, so I'm recently thinking that maybe I would rather go the C12 route. I'm not totally sure I want to do it all myself, especially since I'd like a headbasket mod, so who does the best C12 mod?
jj and advanced audio do for sure. i believe marik does as well.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rty5150 View Post
jj and advanced audio do for sure. i believe marik does as well.
The headbasket mod??

I only see one of those 3 folks publicly list that mod as a service they offer.

Jim actually rebuilds the headbasket on that mod. We're not talking ripping out grilles and calling that a rebuild either.

I'm talking like the sounds of metal meeting its maker lol.

There's a thread where he shows us the rebuild he did on a MXL 990 headbasket that a drunken caveman beat with a club.

Headbasket Resurrection

Looking at that kind of work puts things in better perspective.


Peace
Illumination
Old 22nd November 2009
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illacov View Post
The headbasket mod??

I only see one of those 3 folks publicly list that mod as a service they offer.

Jim actually rebuilds the headbasket on that mod. We're not talking ripping out grilles and calling that a rebuild either.

I'm talking like the sounds of metal meeting its maker lol.

There's a thread where he shows us the rebuild he did on a MXL 990 headbasket that a drunken caveman beat with a club.

Headbasket Resurrection

Looking at that kind of work puts things in better perspective.


Peace
Illumination
oh yeah, my bad. jj is who you want then. mjoly does the grill mod, but is a 47 style. the rest don't hit up the grill mod.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #12
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I've been re-building headbaskets to eliminate reflection and refraction since 1998. My Apex 460 headbasket rebuild increases its length by 10 mm AND shortens the capsule mounting by 6 mm to move the top ring away from the capsule. Side bars are also eliminated to eliminate that source of reflection / refraction coloration as I pioneered in my MK-319 Floating Dome mod.

In addition to the acoustical benefits many folks have commented that the longer headbasket is an aesthetic improvement and balances the look of the mic better.
Attached Thumbnails
Deciding which 460 mod-apex-460-w-long-headbasket-joly-mod.jpg  
Old 22nd November 2009
  #13
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
In addition to the acoustical benefits many folks have commented that the longer headbasket is an aesthetic improvement and balances the look of the mic better.
I can attest to that. The MJ headbasket mod for the 460 is sweet,, and definately clears out the headbasket area, making for a more thansparent shot at the capsule.

In regards to transparent headbaskets, it is interesting to note though that the Neumann U47 has the ring going right across the capsule. LOL So much for transparency, eh?
Old 22nd November 2009
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
...In regards to transparent headbaskets, it is interesting to note though that the Neumann U47 has the ring going right across the capsule. LOL So much for transparency, eh?
Yeah. There a bunch of folks over on Prodigy Pro's "the Lab" who are 50,000 page views into a project to have exact U 47 body / 3-layer headbasket copies made because they love that coloration so much.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #15
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Yeah. There a bunch of folks over on Prodigy Pro's "the Lab" who are 50,000 page views into a project to have exact U 47 body / 3-layer headbasket copies made because they love that coloration so much.


Interesting. Michael, I'm sure you've heard of taping a pencil across the headbasket in front of the cap to help alleviate p pops. Any thoughts on exactly how having the ring going across the capsule affects (in real life) the sound? Less pops? Any effect on "shhhh's"?
Old 22nd November 2009
  #16
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Well the top ring is source of reflection and refraction coloration. Some people say the ring contributes to the frequency response shaping of the 3-layer U 47 headbasket. But in my work I've found reducing reflection and refraction around a LDC capsule lets it hear the source with greater detail - without the need to provide "presence" through the use of electronic or capsule acoustics EQ. This strategy also improves transient response settling time and "S" / "Sh" differentiation. I've got some .wav files somewhere of my Indian voice-trainer buddy Gitendra Ramprakash doing some VO work with a Neumann M149 and a modified MK-219 - the 219 has clearly better transient response, lower sibilance and better "S" / "Sh" differentiation.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #17
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Jim,
Have you tried building/pairing an HF correction circuit one of these bright chinies k67 style capsules?

About the Vienna capsules,
May I ask why your finding them so apealing? I see you are offering them as your "base package",
Why do you prefer these 67 type over 747 audio 67 type capsules for example?
Old 22nd November 2009
  #18
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illacov's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
I've been re-building headbaskets to eliminate reflection and refraction since 1998. My Apex 460 headbasket rebuild increases its length by 10 mm AND shortens the capsule mounting by 6 mm to move the top ring away from the capsule. Side bars are also eliminated to eliminate that source of reflection / refraction coloration as I pioneered in my MK-319 Floating Dome mod.

In addition to the acoustical benefits many folks have commented that the longer headbasket is an aesthetic improvement and balances the look of the mic better.
Mike this thread is about the Apex 460.

Nobody has said you don't do Oktavas or 460 and mod their respective headbaskets.

And if you look at the OP, it says, Dave Thomas, JJ Audio and Marik.

You weren't mentioned.

Regarding Jims work, look at the actual shape of the headbasket that replaced the 990, first off thats my handiwork btw. I went completely bananas messing around with a headbasket one day and wound up with that lovely looking grey mess.

Jim changed it around for the better.

And if we're talking firsts,



How's that?

Peace
Illumination
Old 22nd November 2009
  #19
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illacov's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomer1 View Post
Jim,
Have you tried building/pairing an HF correction circuit one of these bright chinies k67 style capsules?

About the Vienna capsules,
May I ask why your finding them so apealing? I see you are offering them as your "base package",
Why do you prefer these 67 type over 747 audio 67 type capsules for example?
JJ Audio and Advanced Audio both have circuits that utilize hf correction for k67 capsules.

Regarding bright Chinese anything, you'd be shocked to hear an unfiltered Neumann K67 or K87 capsule. Its mind blowing. Makes you rethink that whole spin doctored crap about "bright" Chinese capsules. Dammit it was the circuit the whole time!

Peace
Illumination
Old 22nd November 2009
  #20
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Haz-Mat-Strat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomer1 View Post
Jim,
Have you tried building/pairing an HF correction circuit one of these bright chinies k67 style capsules?

About the Vienna capsules,
May I ask why your finding them so apealing? I see you are offering them as your "base package",
Why do you prefer these 67 type over 747 audio 67 type capsules for example?
Tomer1,

I use a HF correction in the Daisy. That mic uses an EF86 and I tune the circuit to get the desired high end.

My stock capsule I use in my mics are the ADK TT. I find this to be a suitable upgrade to the standard capsules found in most mics. This is a nice capsule and seems to work very well with the circuits that I build. The capsule is not as brite as the real Neumann K67 and in the builds that I have done, have not had to use a HF correction on this capsule.

On my 460 builds I will soon be offering an edge terminated capsule (similar to the Peluso capsule) that will be the stock capsule for the C12 and 251 circuit.

I have used the Vienna capsule in the 990 mod that I have. That mic has the 5703 tube. That tube has a nice bass response that fills out the bottom end and warms the mids also.

The headbasket mod that I do, removes the ring around the top of the headbasket. This is more like the original C12 and Elam 251. The sound is very open.

Best,
Jim Jacobsen
JJ Audio
http://jjaudiomic.com/


Attached Thumbnails
Deciding which 460 mod-p1020455.jpg  
Old 22nd November 2009
  #21
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illacov's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haz-Mat-Strat View Post
Tomer1,

I use a HF correction in the Daisy. That mic uses an EF86 and I tune the circuit to get the desired high end.

My stock capsule I use in my mics are the ADK TT. I find this to be a suitable upgrade to the standard capsules found in most mics. This is a nice capsule and seems to work very well with the circuits that I build. The capsule is not as brite as the real Neumann K67 and in the builds that I have done, have not had to use a HF correction on this capsule.

On my 460 builds I will soon be offering an edge terminated capsule (similar to the Peluso capsule) that will be the stock capsule for the C12 and 251 circuit.

I have used the Vienna capsule in the 990 mod that I have. That mic has the 5703 tube. That tube has a nice bass response that fills out the bottom end and warms the mids also.

The headbasket mod that I do, removes the ring around the top of the headbasket. This is more like the original C12 and Elam 251. The sound is very open.

Best,
Jim Jacobsen
JJ Audio
http://jjaudiomic.com/



nice!

Peace
Illumination
Old 22nd November 2009
  #22
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Hey Langston, I'm trying to figure somthing out.

Do you work for for JJ Audio, are you partner or are you an independent sales rep? You know, just in the interest of full disclosure. Because I had no idea you had an affiliation with JJ Audio when you were sending me all those emails picking my brains about stuff.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #23
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illacov's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Hey Langston, I'm trying to figure somthing out.

Do you work for for JJ Audio, are you partner or are you an independent sales rep? You know, just in the interest of full disclosure. Because I had no idea you had an affiliation with JJ Audio when you were sending me all those emails picking my brains about stuff.
Mike,
I only recently became affiliated with JJ Audio this fall in fact, the company is less than a year old.

My emails with you date back years well before I met Jim, according to my trusty yahoo box, 2007?? And its almost 2010?

In the interest of full disclosure, since (late fall 2009) I have been affiliated with Jim Jacobsen and JJ Audio Mics, my full name and the link to the company have been in my signature.

Regarding picking your brains, you should feel flattered, I only seek out people who I respect and obviously know more than I do. You, along with John Peluso, Ben Sneesby, Larry Viella and Jim Jacobsen are on a long list of EEs that I have gleaned information from over the years. I have never had a chance to speak on the phone with you but Larry, John and Jim have definitely burned a few anytime minutes with me! My passion for gear and how its constructed dates back to my childhood and I was raised to ask people questions (no matter how famous or established they are) if you don't know something. I have always appreciated the fact that you even answered my emails.heh

I remember speaking to some of the techs who post on here (who I won't mention) and they were well informed Sith Lords who cared not to speak a young eager beaver lol.

You on the other hand have always been kind to me. So hats off to you! Its because of people like you that helped me in my continuing education of EE and in particular microphones. Just for the sake of clarity, you never specifically disclosed circuits, parts etc to me (a potential customer at the time), so I haven't been (and wouldn't be) in a position to use your trade secrets for my own personal or business use.

JJ Audio Mics does more with tube circuits than anything else. The Oktava mods, are all from Jim's experiences with fet circuits and his own personal take on how to fix Oktava's. He even discloses in his ebay listings, what parts he uses and why. I think your Oktava mod and Jim's sound quite different and both deserve a home in the same studio

Moving on, Jim was the first "guru" I spoke to that offered me a job. Let's see, I'm in a band, run a recording studio and I love gear. Job at a mic company? Sounds like a dream come true!

Perhaps it went over people's heads. As of now, no mods have had a problem with me or my posting practices. I didn't think my new job deserved a whole thread complete with trimmings lol. I've spoken to Jules at different points and despite the fact that we don't advertise on here, there's never been an issue with me posting on here about JJ Audio and the same is true over at tapeop.com.

RE: The painted Oktava Mk319, that was my idea. I always hated the way they looked and it took alot of arm twisting to get O Sensei to paint one like that. I think it looks pretty sweet like that, but since the MK319 is now discontinued, it will probably be the last of the Mohicans (the painted Oktava that is).

I hope this clears things up. I for one really dig your MJ47 LDC on the SDC design. We have a tube SDC called the Daschund which would marry to that in a most excellent way!


Peace
Illumination
Old 22nd November 2009
  #24
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Thanks for the clarification, kind words and a bit more of your background story which is very interesting. Yeah, working for a mic company is an ideal compliment to your other gigs. I worked at the (now closed) custom guitar shop "Stars Guitars" in San Francisco (an offshoot of Alembic) in the late '70s while I played in bands there. Best wishes for success in all endeavors.
Old 22nd November 2009
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Thanks for the clarification, kind words and a bit more of your background story which is very interesting. Yeah, working for a mic company is an ideal compliment to your other gigs. I worked at the (now closed) custom guitar shop "Stars Guitars" in San Francisco (an offshoot of Alembic) in the late '70s while I played in bands there. Best wishes for success in all endeavors.
Thanks man!

I'm curious to see what else you've got up your sleeve! You should do a whole thread on that trip to China. I'm kind of curious to hear what it was like over there (as are others I'm sure), you mentioned how fine the women are over there. Wasn't that a business trip eh? Or were you mating jacks to sockets more than anything??LOL

Peace
Illumination
Old 24th November 2009
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

lol, luvin it. As far as what mr joly has up his sleeve, would love to know what future mods may be available, so I know what to look for as far as great deals on ebay. I have several saved searches for various mics that he modifies...heh

That being said, I can't think of what he has missing form a great palette of different options.
Old 24th November 2009
  #27
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well the thing that's awesome since Jim threw his hat in the ring is that you have choices, choices choices among mic shops and ideologies for what mics you buy used or for that matter what mods you want done by what shop to compliment your mic collection etc..

What Mike does at his shop versus Jims in a way actually compliment each other and while Mike has his thing going with the Oktavas and now his new products which further expand on his experiences and values, Jim OTOH is busy making awesome tube mics that the everyday musician can afford and that people love to look at.

Trust you me, the Oktava MK319 is one bad ass mofo of a mic once it gets dressed up. I've got my Mk319 capsule in a Royer 5840 circuit and its as different from Mike's Oktavamod as Mike's is from Jim's mod. All 3 are nuts.

That being stated, considering the changeable heads thing is still very much in vogue, I'd be looking into SDCs that can receive FET mods or tube circuits. For example, Mike has the LDC unit that fits on the 991s/603s etc..Well its only a matter of time before a step up adapter or something along those lines is made that allows mics like the Apex 470 or the MXL 993 which have screw off capsules, to fit something like Mike's piece or other screw on capsules, like the AKG stuff.

We happen to offer a tube circuit that fits into the 993, tx and all that if you couple that with a capsule system like Mikes, should sound nothing short of insane. I'd be curious to see what size threads, those ADK Chi heads take. They could definitely benefit from some tube love! All 4 of those capsules are based on capsules from tube mics. They already sound good to begin with but they would sound nuts with a tube circuit for certain, we've already seen how good Mikes k47 sounds with tube guts giving it life.

Peace
Illumination
Old 24th November 2009
  #28
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Yes, interesting times in the mic world. Marik is getting ready to do a boutique ribbon mic and is a potential source of high quality transformers.

btw - its "Michael" ; ) Thanks.
Old 24th November 2009
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Yes, interesting times in the mic world. Marik is getting ready to do a boutique ribbon mic and is a potential source of high quality transformers.

btw - its "Michael" ; ) Thanks.
Sorry bout that, Michael.

Peace
Illumination
Old 7th December 2009
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Head Grill

Hi Michael, the head basket of the U47 certainly contributes to the sound and tends to blur the sibilance frequencies while still giving a nice presence. I often wished our original U47's were a bit more open on the very high end but they were so forgiving on such a variety of artists and recording situations.

However, the more "HiFi" response of the 67/87 type wedge grill yields more transparency and the M49 had this type of head grill and was preferred by singer like Barbara Streisand and Paul Simon.

I think the IC output circuit in the M149 is its downfall. There is nothing wrong with a well designed tube circuit and an output transformer. I was recently fixing a M149 with a power supply that was failing and ended up testing the K47 capsule in a fully upgraded 460 and it sounded better to me than the K47 in the M149 once we repair the Wall Wart.

The larger head grill for the 460 body also solves the problem of larger capsules like you MJk47 and our CK67 and CK12 capsules shorting out to the inside of the head grill which is only al mm or two away at best.

In my upgrades and CM12 (which is fully upgraded 460 body with a 6 micron edge fed capsule) we have a plastic guard placed over the edge of the capsules as it only takes a light bump to move the grill a mm. However, a new wider/taller head grill is on the horizon for the New Year.

The tricky part with a single stage plate output circuit is to build it like the U47 without a cathode bypass capacitor. I do this by keeping the stock CF output circuit in the 460 and optimizing it. Otherwise, you have pull some dc current through the 29 ohm cathode resistor to get the bias to the right place. The sound is quite different if you use a cathode bypass capacitor with the proper higher cathode resistor value.

With the stock 460 circuit you can remove the bypass caps and only drop the gain 4db. I increase the output coupling capacitor to move the resonant bump down into the sub-sonic region. This way it doesn't put a bump in the audio range.

However, the lower inductance of the original 200-U47 transformers and the .5ufd coupling capacitor will certainly result in a bump in around the 50-80hz range.

Which works out well with the M7 PVC capsule that start to roll out at 50hz. However, we have better capacitors these days and they take up a lot less room than they did when I started messing with electronics back in the early 60's.

I like to have the response as flat as possible "Damn it" even if it doesn't sound like the wonderful imperfections of these venerable old designs.

However, is someone wants more of a vintage low end bump then you switch in a smaller capacitor to feed the output transformer and select this capacitor to roll out the lows but provides a bump in around 100hz area.

Cheers, Dave
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