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Neumann KM84 & need mic pre suggestions Single-Channel Preamps
Old 1st April 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Neumann KM84 & need mic pre suggestions

Hi,

My first post & hello to everyone. I have a dilemma I'd appreciate help with; I play mandolin, guitar, fiddle & banjo and use a Neumann KM84 customized by Klaus Heyne. It is truly an exceptional instrument mic that captures the instruments characteristics better than any other mic I have used. When I gig with this mic, it's going into a Bose L1 and logistically I can't take larger studio equipment with me so I need a decent portable mic pre that won't embarrass the 84.

I do have an ART tube MP Project series preamp but it's not as good as it should be for use with a top end microphone. I understand there's some improvements that can be made by exchanging the stock tube (12AX7A) with a different version but I don't know which tube would be the best choice or if changing tubes in it would be just throwing money away using it with my KM84 or the rare times I would use it with my Neumann TLM-103.

If there's value in my getting a different tube to make the ART pre more microphone friendly I'd like help in knowing what tube to choose and what difference I would expect to see compared to the stock tube.

The other option I would like advice with is what would be a good alternate pre for me to look at that is affordable and markedly better than what I have.

If there is a great benefit to changing tubes within the ART, that would be my cheapest way to go if not then a different portable pre is what I have to consider.

Suggestions appreciated & thanks.
Old 1st April 2012
  #2
Thats a shame to run that km84 through a ART pre and no, a tube upgrade wont do you any better. No sure of your price point but If you can swing it a Neve portico 5017 mobile pre would be the ultimate choice. This pre has compression, transformers and sound that would blow you away. It also has a Di input for you to blend a peizo pickup with the mic. The downside is it will set you back about a grand new.

Rupert Neve Designs – Portico 5017 – Mobile DI/Pre/Comp


Other worthy contenders :

Daking mic pre 1 $750
True systems p-solo $600


Anything below that price is either very low build quality or not worth the upgrade for the price.

I would not get hung up on tubes, transformers etc. Sound and quality is more important at that price point.
Old 1st April 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Raw-Tracks's Avatar
 

I would recommend the Daking as well. The True pre is another great recommendation. Both are built into boxes that are fairly road-worthy. Great suggestions.
Old 1st April 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
toneguru's Avatar
The BAE DMP portable mic pre may be the way to go.

I would not go with a tube pre.
Old 1st April 2012
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Thank you for the replies. I can't go anywhere near $1K for a mic pre, finances are difficult right now that I'm not working. Something used might be better in my future but the suggestions here will help me narrow down my search.

I'm kind of a dinosaur in that I've been playing almost 50 years & stopped recording and pretty much stopped gigging 10 years ago when I moved from Chicago. I have this wonderful mic and some truly world class instruments I want to use the KM84 with including a Pre-War Martin D-28, The other instruments are not as well known but are its equal in tone. When I perform I want to give the best sound I can but I gig so infrequently it won't recoup the investment for years. Still, I want to give my best.

Thanks again.
Old 1st April 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Megalomando View Post
Hi,

My first post & hello to everyone. I have a dilemma I'd appreciate help with; I play mandolin, guitar, fiddle & banjo and use a Neumann KM84 customized by Klaus Heyne. It is truly an exceptional instrument mic that captures the instruments characteristics better than any other mic I have used. When I gig with this mic, it's going into a Bose L1 and logistically I can't take larger studio equipment with me so I need a decent portable mic pre that won't embarrass the 84.

I do have an ART tube MP Project series preamp but it's not as good as it should be for use with a top end microphone. I understand there's some improvements that can be made by exchanging the stock tube (12AX7A) with a different version but I don't know which tube would be the best choice or if changing tubes in it would be just throwing money away using it with my KM84 or the rare times I would use it with my Neumann TLM-103.

If there's value in my getting a different tube to make the ART pre more microphone friendly I'd like help in knowing what tube to choose and what difference I would expect to see compared to the stock tube.

The other option I would like advice with is what would be a good alternate pre for me to look at that is affordable and markedly better than what I have.

If there is a great benefit to changing tubes within the ART, that would be my cheapest way to go if not then a different portable pre is what I have to consider.

Suggestions appreciated & thanks.
if the instrument sounds good and the playing is good and the mic is put in the right place and the BOSE L1 is setup properly, the mic pre will not matter at all. live audio is MUCH less critical than recorded audio. i wouldn't give another thought to the mic pre in this scenario. my only concern would be bringing my super-sweet km84 to a live show; that's a good way to tempt fate, IMHO.
Old 1st April 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Megalomando View Post
Thank you for the replies. I can't go anywhere near $1K for a mic pre, finances are difficult right now that I'm not working. Something used might be better in my future but the suggestions here will help me narrow down my search.

I'm kind of a dinosaur in that I've been playing almost 50 years & stopped recording and pretty much stopped gigging 10 years ago when I moved from Chicago. I have this wonderful mic and some truly world class instruments I want to use the KM84 with including a Pre-War Martin D-28, The other instruments are not as well known but are its equal in tone. When I perform I want to give the best sound I can but I gig so infrequently it won't recoup the investment for years. Still, I want to give my best.

Thanks again.
um, holy sh1t! you're bringing a pre war martin to a live gig? i understand now. you are very wealthy and $1200 for a km84 is nothing. in that case, but a martech mss10 mic pre as it will be a stunning compliment to your km84 and it's very portable.
Old 1st April 2012
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

I was going to say the same thing! Dude, the mike and guitar are irreplaceable.You can tempt fate bringing that kind of gear to a gig, but one moment distracted and it will be gone.

Too many folks know exactly what a prewar D28 looks like!

And I sat this as a guy who has gigged with a 1946 OOO28, a '54 tele and a '63 Strat in the past!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrod View Post
um, holy sh1t! you're bringing a pre war martin to a live gig? i understand now. you are very wealthy and $1200 for a km84 is nothing. in that case, but a martech mss10 mic pre as it will be a stunning compliment to your km84 and it's very portable.
Old 1st April 2012
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Wealthy... no, if I was I wouldn't worry about the price of any pre. The guitar I've had almost 35 years & it didn't cost much back then. I don't gig much any more and when I do it's at private parties and small concerts. No beer around the instruments & I always keep an eye out.

It's like having a nice car; same worth & you can either drive it or keep it in the garage.
Old 5th April 2012
  #10
Here for the gear
 

I ended up buying a Daking Mic Pre One.

I would have preferred two channels but the specs on this one matching most of the circuitry and audio characteristics of the Daking IV made it my choice for a high end portable pre. From what I was able to learn, the practical difference between the one & the IV is the One sounds as good with shorter (25') runs and the IV sounds as good at 100' runs. Since I'll be using shorter runs, this will be cost effective.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Cheers!
Old 5th April 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Megalomando View Post
I ended up buying a Daking Mic Pre One.

I would have preferred two channels but the specs on this one matching most of the circuitry and audio characteristics of the Daking IV made it my choice for a high end portable pre. From what I was able to learn, the practical difference between the one & the IV is the One sounds as good with shorter (25') runs and the IV sounds as good at 100' runs. Since I'll be using shorter runs, this will be cost effective.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Cheers!
congratulations. that is a fine choice and a fine mic pre for any application.

i don't know who told you the crap about cable runs but it is complete bvllsh1t.

best of luck to you and please, be careful with your pre war martin!
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