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Do neumann mic's have higher self noise then most other mic's?
Old 9th July 2010
  #1
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Do neumann mic's have higher self noise then most other mic's?

I have km84's, tlm-103 and a U87. I am using good pre's. API, Shadow Hills etc. I have decent convertors as well. Other mic's like 414's, sm-81, wunder cm7 and dynamic's etc. are not nearly as noisy. I often want to use the km84's to mic my acoustic or standing bass or use the U87 as a room mic but I can't because the noise they impart make them a less then ideal choice even though the "sound is what I am after.

Anyone else find this?
Old 9th July 2010
  #2
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul999 View Post
Anyone else find this?
I hear ya. It's never stopped me from using and loving both my 84's & 87's though, but I hear ya. Sometimes the noise floor is a little too high for my personal taste. Remember these mics were designed to be used with TAPE which would almost always cover up any self noise of the mic with a nice wash of tape hiss. heh heh
Old 9th July 2010
  #3
Newer Neumanns (i.e. TLM103) are ultra quiet. u87Ai's are quieter by a bit than it's older predecessor. KM84's and older 87's have a bit of noise, but nothing in great amounts. Wunder CM7 is not quieter than vintage FET Neumanns IME. With the older FET Neumanns it's only noticeable when the source is very very quiet (in conjuntion with higher gain settings on the preamp, when they are not very quiet preamps).

If I want to use vintage mics on quieter sources I use very quiet (even at high gains) preamps like Buzz Audio, Millennia/Forsell, APA Jugg Twin (with nickel in/out high impedance settings). My Neves (and clones) and APIs sound really great tone wise but they aren't as quiet as the others I mentioned so the noise of the mic with the noise of the preamp along with it being more saturated sounding at higher gains makes it unusable for quiet acoustic work.
Old 9th July 2010
  #4
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Not sure what you are experiencing. At least with respect to the U87AI, the signal to noise is supposed to be ~80 dB which is on par with most typical mics.

Georg Neumann GmbH - Products/Current Microphones/U 87 Ai/Technical Data

I believe the newest C414 XLS gets 88 dB signal to noise, but I have trouble imagining that difference would be a significantly audible increase in noise floor to the point where you wouldn't want to use the Neumann. I've never noticed it comparing the two.

I've never noticed any abnormal levels of noise with my U87AI. And on things like vocals, it has far LESS noise than for example a dynamic, given that the dynamic usually needs so much preamp gain and the Neumann is so sensitive.

If you are talking a vintage U87, maybe you could be onto something. The U87AI was developed to give the original circuit 10 dB greater sensitivity and 6 dB greater signal to noise.

But I don't have a vintage one to compare to.
Old 9th July 2010
  #5
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
Newer Neumanns (i.e. TLM103) are ultra quiet. u87Ai's are quieter by a bit than it's older predecessor.
Interesting points. My Tlm 103 doesn't see a ton of use and it is usually on floor tom or vox so I'll need to check that again.

[QUOTE]
Quote:
Quote:
KM84's and older 87's have a bit of noise, but nothing in great amounts. Wunder CM7 is not quieter than vintage FET Neumanns IME. With the older FET Neumanns it's only noticeable when the source is very very quiet (in conjuntion with higher gain settings on the preamp, when they are not very quiet preamps).


If I want to use vintage mics on quieter sources I use very quiet (even at high gains) preamps like Buzz Audio, Millennia/Forsell, APA Jugg Twin (with nickel in/out high impedance settings). My Neves (and clones) and APIs sound really great tone wise but they aren't as quiet as the others I mentioned so the noise of the mic with the noise of the preamp along with it being more saturated sounding at higher gains makes it unusable for quiet acoustic work.
I was considering writing this thread before but the session I did yesterday finally made me. It was 2 guitars recorded at the same time. One with a shadow hills mono gama(discrete setting)pre and the other with an ISA. Both used a km84. Mixing today was automation gymnastics. Are these considered noisier pre's. I did a recording using my Cm7/UA-610 in omni with the band around it a while back and there was no noise floor issue. The wunder was much further back then I had the KM84's. I don't think the 610 is a quieter pre.

My studio does have a louder noise floor then it should have for acoustic work so I am building a new room that is treated and quiet enough because I seem to be getting a fair bit of this type of work lately. This has definitely not been helping. Reducing the studio noise floor may make the difference.

Thanks to all
Old 9th July 2010
  #6
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I don't know what style guitars you were recording, but finger picked ac gtrs are perhaps one of the hardest things to record IMO. Placement and pre are so important. They are so quiet sometimes.......
Old 9th July 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I don't know what style guitars you were recording, but finger picked ac gtrs are perhaps one of the hardest things to record IMO. Placement and pre are so important. They are so quiet sometimes.......
I generally try get in fairly close with a soft picker and find a natural sounding spot on the guitar. If it is still an issue when construction of my acoustic room is done I'll take a listen to a Millennia as Nathan suggested.
Old 9th July 2010
  #8
It sounds like you haven't tested the same mics, with the same positioning, on the same preamp, which is at the same gain settings. I.E. KM84 into your Gama, U87 into your 610, and TLM103 on floor toms...so you don't have enough consistent information. BTW, the KM84 will smoke the TLM103 on acoustic guitar IME so I'd take the bit of noise of the 84 over the quietness of the 103 any day in that specific application. But again, on fingerpicked and very quiet instrument you will need a very quiet preamp that will stay clean up to 60-70 db of gain. Anyhow, test the 84 with all of your preamps, if it's fingerpicked guitar you are going to need at least 60db of gain. Set them all to the same gain setting, keep the mic and guitar in the same place and switch through them all (and record each one) with a similar/same performance and you may notice anywhere from a subtle to extreme difference in noise and general tone/vibe. I've heard people say that preamp differences are always subtle. Sometimes that is true, but there can also be drastic differences.
Old 9th July 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
It sounds like you haven't tested the same mics, with the same positioning, on the same preamp, which is at the same gain settings. I.E. KM84 into your Gama, U87 into your 610, and TLM103 on floor toms...so you don't have enough consistent information. BTW, the KM84 will smoke the TLM103 on acoustic guitar IME so I'd take the bit of noise of the 84 over the quietness of the 103 any day in that specific application. But again, on fingerpicked and very quiet instrument you will need a very quiet preamp that will stay clean up to 60-70 db of gain. Anyhow, test the 84 with all of your preamps, if it's fingerpicked guitar you are going to need at least 60db of gain. Set them all to the same gain setting, keep the mic and guitar in the same place and switch through them all (and record each one) with a similar/same performance and you may notice anywhere from a subtle to extreme difference in noise and general tone/vibe. I've heard people say that preamp differences are always subtle. Sometimes that is true, but there can also be drastic differences.
This is a great idea! I have some shoot out time that I am setting aside in the next couple months. I will post the results.
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