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Studio Projects mic comparisons
Old 4th June 2006
  #1
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KrisNY's Avatar
 

Studio Projects mic comparisons

Here we go again...

I know I'm going to get a Studio Projects large condensor. I've pretty much narrowed it down to the C1, C3, TB1, and T3. I'm wondering what the noticable difference in quality is between the 1's and 3's, and also what their tube mics sound like in comparsion to their solid state ones (C series).

Thanks,
Kris
Old 5th June 2006
  #2
T9c
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The C1 is the most UN-used mic in my collection. It sounded thin and overly bright on everything I've tried it on (vox & acoustic instruments). I also have the B1 & B2, more usable, but still do not get used much. Of the 3, the B2 has gotten most use because of the switchable patterns. I like the sound of tube mics more than condensers, though.

Is there a reason you must get a Studio Projects mic?

Comparatively, I've seen the MXL V6 and or V69 get some very good reviews.
Old 5th June 2006
  #3
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I've been OK with all the SP line except the TB1. Harvey Gerst told me some positive things about the T3 when I visited him last year. Here's the clip: http://mojopie.ipbhost.com/index.php...indpost&p=7434
Old 5th June 2006
  #4
Gear Head
I like the T3 very much.
The difference between the 1 and 3, is only that the 1-models only have cardioid pattern, while the 3-models have dual membranes, so they are multi-pattern. In other regards, the 1 and 3 models are the same.
I think the C1/C3 are too bright, so I like the B1/B3 much better.
Old 5th June 2006
  #5
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i found the C1 puts an un-natural sheen on everthing, while is seems good when first tested it, it wasnt good when re listening and it didnt sit well in the mix.
i didnt find them to bright but they could easily be to bright on many sources.

i had many decent results with a TB1 several years ago, it was a decent cheep tube mic and i would think changing the tube in them would make a difference aswell. thats said i wouldnt want to go back to it, its not of the caliber i want and im not someone who uses alot of high end gear.

if you must have a SP mic i would prob go for a B1 or B3 and save up for something better.
Old 19th July 2006
  #6
Gear Head
 

...

I've used the C1 for quite a while and made some great recordings with it. I think the most important points to know about the C1 are:


1. it works best with the VTB1 preamp, cause the VTB1 "tames" the highs of the C1 and makes it sound "smoother" than through any other preamp. (This fact also leads to the conclusion, that the VTB1 isn't really usable for neutral mics - it makes them sound dull and lifeless)

2. the C1 provides a vocal sound that "cuts through every mix", but only if you're after this typical "pop vocal sound" where the voice is "in your face".

3. I wouldn't recommend the C1 as first choice for higher or thin voices. In this application the C1 can sound quite harsh and unpleasing.

4. If your singer is sibilant, the C1 won't hide the sibilance


In my opinion, the C1 is a tool that can be quite useful for some songs (especially modern pop). For screaming or sibilant voices it isn't my first choice (although I even recorded some nice rock songs with it).

I've also used the B series - they had a more balanced sound. The B1 can be a good neutral mic with the right preamp. The B3 wasn't as neutral as the B1, but also not as hyped as the C1.

I don't know the C3, TB1 or T3, yet.

In my opinion, the Studio Projects mics can be powerful tools in the right hands and with the right preamp (VTB1 for example).
Old 19th July 2006
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bensommerfeld
I've used the C1 for quite a while and made some great recordings with it. I think the most important points to know about the C1 are:


1. it works best with the VTB1 preamp, cause the VTB1 "tames" the highs of the C1 and makes it sound "smoother" than through any other preamp. (This fact also leads to the conclusion, that the VTB1 isn't really usable for neutral mics - it makes them sound dull and lifeless) In my opinion, the Studio Projects mics can be powerful tools in the right hands and with the right preamp (VTB1 for example).
Ridiculous. Do you honestly expect most people to believe that the vtb1 is the best preamp for the C1. I'm sure running that mic through something like a Shadow Hills, Great River, GML would yield much better results than a 99 dollar Toob mic preamp.
Old 19th July 2006
  #8
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I have two B1 and one T3. they are a no brainer IMO for the money especially the B1. I mostly use the B1 as room /OH and the T3 for vocals/accoustic guitars. together with the VTB pres they are decent and definitely usable
Old 19th July 2006
  #9
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davemc's Avatar
 

I have a pair of B1's I use as utility mics. Where I do not want to put my Neumann Valve or ribbonsmic
I tried a T3 had a lovely tone to it if people did not use the letter's "S" or "F" he he. They are boosted in the top end so they cut through a mix, now if your actually recording a sound with top end in it. It can clip the mic. I was trying the mic with nice preamps like Buzz Audio, Calrec and API etc
Same as the C1's I tried. My mate brought one for a female singer which the over hyped sound is causing him problems. The B1 works better for them. That is the thing yes the C1 and t3 and c3 and a lot of cheaper mics are hyped with built in EQ. Although if its for your voice. Try them and many others and see what works best. Could just be a Beta58 for you.
I am not a big fan for rodes etc as well. Had a few most are way hyped, a lot of mics are hyped in places like ribbons etc. Although chinese mics seem to be hyped to cut vocals through a mix. As said when your built in mic EQ is already on full boost, where do you go if you have very bright source.
Old 20th July 2006
  #10
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Tip to tame high end harshness of Studio Projects mics:

1. remove mic body
2. locate FET to capsule capacitor (on backside of circuit board usually)
3. replace with 1000pF polystyrene capacitor
4. put mic back together
5. enjoy smoother sound of mic

Brad
Old 20th July 2006
  #11
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?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan
Tip to tame high end harshness of Studio Projects mics:

1. remove mic body
2. locate FET to capsule capacitor (on backside of circuit board usually)
3. replace with 1000pF polystyrene capacitor
4. put mic back together
5. enjoy smoother sound of mic

Brad
please more details.
what rating does the new cap need to be? How many volts are going thrugh that cap? How about an orange drop or germanium or tant cap instead of polystyrene?
Old 20th July 2006
  #12
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BradM's Avatar
50V is fine. Mouser carries it. Try whatever you can get to fit! Experiment--they will all sound different. To my ears the polystyrene is smoooov.

Brad
Old 20th July 2006
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonboy79


Ridiculous. Do you honestly expect most people to believe that the vtb1 is the best preamp for the C1. I'm sure running that mic through something like a Shadow Hills, Great River, GML would yield much better results than a 99 dollar Toob mic preamp.
Every mic and preamp combination is different and will react differently in different situations.

Just because a pre is expensive and "good" measured across selected performance criteria does not mean it will provide superior results to the same mic with another, "lesser" preamp.

I have a C1 -- though I don't have any mid-range (or high end, for that matter) pres, so I can't tell you how it will do with the pres you cited above, but I CAN tell you that it works best for most of my purposes with one of my lesser pres -- because the C1's performance characteristics (aptly described in a number of posts above) are complemented by the performance characteristics (reduced HF response) of that pre.

Now, don't get me wrong, I would almost certainly trade the pair of them for a nice little mid-range pre like the ones you describe above... heh
Old 20th July 2006
  #14
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

i don't understand why so many people are shocked that ****ty chinese mics sound like ****.
Old 20th July 2006
  #15
I certainly don't think it's a "****ty" mic.

Like every mic, it's got its particular sonic signature and that suits it for some things and not others. It's not the first mic I reach for for a lot of jobs but then neither are my SM57s.

People who dismiss gear out of hand because of place of origin or cost (this is, after all, a VERY affordable mic and it's the height of absurdity to think that it will have the same characteristics as a mic that costs ten or twenty times as much) are exhibiting a mindset that is probably better suited to politics or some other debased profession where closed minds, elitism, and personal prejudice are tools of the trade rather than the inventiveness, flexibility, and creativity that have marked some of the most successful recordists.
Old 20th July 2006
  #16
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s.d.finley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan
Tip to tame high end harshness of Studio Projects mics:

1. remove mic body
2. locate FET to capsule capacitor (on backside of circuit board usually)
3. replace with 1000pF polystyrene capacitor
4. put mic back together
5. enjoy smoother sound of mic

Brad
Thanks for the advice Brad, I will try this out...

sdf
Old 20th July 2006
  #17
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

i dismissed studio projects mics after i heard a few of them, not after i found out they were chinese and cheap.
Old 20th July 2006
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
i don't understand why so many people are shocked that ****ty chinese mics sound like ****.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
i dismissed studio projects mics after i heard a few of them, not after i found out they were chinese and cheap.
I guess you were just trying to be amusing.
Old 20th July 2006
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
i don't understand why so many people are shocked that ****ty chinese mics sound like ****.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seaneldon
i dismissed studio projects mics after i heard a few of them, not after i found out they were chinese and cheap.
I guess you were just trying to be amusing at the expense of those who own SP mics.

At any rate, I stick by what I said about the C1. When they came out, they were one of the most affordable LDCs available, and competitive in that range. Like most inexpensive mics (and many very expensive mics) it has a distinctive sonic character. That character makes it better suited for some jobs than others. If I was offering advice on what to spend one's $200 on, I probably would mention a few other mics that I personally find a little more well-rounded, especially now that the price range has blossomed with other extremely affordable mid and large condensors.

But, ultimately, ****tiness is in the mind of the beholder.
Old 28th July 2006
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Ridiculous. Do you honestly expect most people to believe that the vtb1 is the best preamp for the C1. I'm sure running that mic through something like a Shadow Hills, Great River, GML would yield much better results than a 99 dollar Toob mic preamp.
As you might or might not now - there are some mic/pre combinations, that just "work better" than others.
The C1 works best with the VTB1 in my experience, that's all I said. I must admit though: I didn't test it through a Great river or similar high class pre, yet. But with the pres I tested it with, it sounded rather "unpleasant" and harsher than through the VTB1 (Mindprint Envoice MK2, SPL Goldmike, Presonus Tubepre, SM Pro Audio TB101, RNP).

I don't expect anybody to "believe" anything - I just shared my experience with these two devices (C1,VTB1).
Old 28th July 2006
  #21
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sdelsolray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bensommerfeld
As you might or might not now - there are some mic/pre combinations, that just "work better" than others.
The C1 works best with the VTB1 in my experience, that's all I said. I must admit though: I didn't test it through a Great river or similar high class pre, yet. But with the pres I tested it with, it sounded rather "unpleasant" and harsher than through the VTB1 (Mindprint Envoice MK2, SPL Goldmike, Presonus Tubepre, SM Pro Audio TB101, RNP).

I don't expect anybody to "believe" anything - I just shared my experience with these two devices (C1,VTB1).
Seems like the better the pre used with the SP C1, the crappier it sounds. Perhaps those better pres are just showing you a POS and the cheaper ones just cover it up. Dunno, just a thought.
Old 29th July 2006
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdelsolray
Seems like the better the pre used with the SP C1, the crappier it sounds. Perhaps those better pres are just showing you a POS and the cheaper ones just cover it up. Dunno, just a thought.
I have a C1, and several B1's and a B3. I also own 3 u87s and two u47s for many, many years. And lots of other mics, of course. I had the T3, but sold it. It was crap, and expensive crap at that, so I cashed in. The C1 is more or less unusable to me. It's seriously bright and harsh. Obviously the Chinese have no clue. The B1s are more balanced, and the only mic approaching decent that they make. They are useful for when you run out of the good stuff, and need some mics for non-critcal stuff. And they're cheap! I also use them for live venue recording on non-critcal stuff. As I don't take stuff like u47s there, I run out of good mics a lot faster. The C1 though is horrid.

These are my opinions of course.
Old 29th July 2006
  #23
Dot
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I was one of the early people recommending the C1 loud, hard and often. I also think the C1 performed better with the AD converters that weren't as detailed a few years ago. AD converters have greatly improved in the last few years.

In fact, I was talking to a well-known producer not too long ago who was all hot on the C1 when it first came out. But he said he stopped using it when he upgraded his converters.

The C1 had its day in the sun. Probably the single most sold mic for people getting started in project studios. It's still definitely one of the better mics in that price range. And it's damn bright. If you have a cheap DAW system with cheap AD converters it can actually work well and cut through all the muck.

I think something that I don't see brought up is the manufacturing tolerances and consistency in construction from mic to mic. The original C1 I had really did sound a lot like a U87. Other C1's I later tried after the pad and roll-off were added did not. And I think the later C1's became even more harsh. So, in order for us all to get on the same page - we have to make sure we're all talking about the same C1. And we're not. The different B1's I've used have actually sounded more consistent from mic to mic. And I still think the B1 is the top workhorse mic in its price range.

We used a C1 on snare and B's on toms for a jazz CD I recorded. And we got excellent results. We could have used just about any mics on the market we wanted - and we still chose the Studio Projects. 320 MP3's at http://www.thelisteningsessions.com/jazzooo.htm

In that price category - and doing the same sorta thing the C1 does but better and smoother - I now recommend the ADK Vienna and Hamburg. I reviewed them - and also included comments on the C1 at...
http://www.studioreviews.com/vienna-hamburg.htm
Old 29th July 2006
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark107
Obviously the Chinese have no clue.
I think they do have a clue and are getting better at it. There are some mics with Chinese capsules that are pretty nice.
Old 31st July 2006
  #25
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Microphones are just tools. They work differently in every room, and differently when interfaced with other equipment. Microphones either work, or don't. Some work better than others, and then on some days, they are not usable at all, no matter what the cost.

In the end, when vocal tracks sit in a mix, its hard to tell what mic was used...round, square, dark, bright, silver or black, expenisive or cost effective, it just don't matter. Vocal shootouts can show more detail through a set of monitors and makes it easier to pick what "your" ears liked that day in that room on those monitors...but in a mix, blindfolded and listening to several tracks, it would be very hard pressed for anyone to tell what mic was what.

We like every other maufacture look to improve our products all the time and a new version of the C1 is coming. The C1 came out almost 7 years ago. It had great reviews, as so many other good products. So what one liked 7 years ago may not be what one likes today, but for someone first buying a C1, like most of you here who said you used to like it, they feel what you felt. As users develop their talent and ears, they all want the next best thing. Its just great to know that there are lots of good mics out there at a good price.

To me, any mic can beat any other mic any day...all it takes is the right room, engineer and talent. I don't care what the mic brand says, as long as it gets the job done for me the way I want it done, or if I am getting paid, then it has to get the job done the way the customer wants it done. Happy recording
Old 31st July 2006
  #26
Han
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Alan, I've seen this post of you before somewhere.

Quote:
To me, any mic can beat any other mic any day
Remember, you'll never be able to beat a Ferrari with a Volkswagen Golf.

(I prefer a Jaguar though)
Old 1st August 2006
  #27
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Remember, you'll never be able to beat a Ferrari with a Volkswagen Golf.
I think when it comes to music, it's mostly not about "what is better?" - it's about "what do you like better?".

Many people will prefer to drive a Golf instead of a Ferrari (me, for example)

To me, Studio Projects mics are primarily directed towards beginners and "poor fellows" - or those who know, that expensive gear won't make any sense for recording in their bedroom
A B1/C1 and VTB1 can be a great starting setup for any homerecording musician. I've heard a lot of nice tracks recorded with Studio Projects gear - tracks, where no one said "man - those vocals sound really cheap".

In my opinion, these are no "****ty tools" - there are only people who're using them for the wrong application or having wrong expectations.
Look at the price and use your brain.

Not everybody can afford expensive gear. And especially for those guys, Studio Projects provides some very useful tools for the money.
Old 1st August 2006
  #28
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Matt Smith's Avatar
 

I have a C1 and used it for some of the vocals on my band's first album. You always hear about the hyped high end, but the thing that I don't like about the C1 is the lack of any real midrange guts. It just sounds a bit flat. Still, you can get some decent results with it if you try.

Killer on guitar amps, however.

Matt
Old 1st August 2006
  #29
Han
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bensommerfeld
I think when it comes to music, it's mostly not about "what is better?" - it's about "what do you like better?".

Many people will prefer to drive a Golf instead of a Ferrari (me, for example)

To me, Studio Projects mics are primarily directed towards beginners and "poor fellows" - or those who know, that expensive gear won't make any sense for recording in their bedroom
A B1/C1 and VTB1 can be a great starting setup for any homerecording musician. I've heard a lot of nice tracks recorded with Studio Projects gear - tracks, where no one said "man - those vocals sound really cheap".

In my opinion, these are no "****ty tools" - there are only people who're using them for the wrong application or having wrong expectations.
Look at the price and use your brain.

Not everybody can afford expensive gear. And especially for those guys, Studio Projects provides some very useful tools for the money.
I was teasing Alan a little. I was recording a rock band last saturday and the bassplayer has a very nice old jazzbass. So I used a DI and a SP B1 on the cabinet's 15"speaker. And guess what? A killer sound!

This SP B1 is a big bang for the buck, period.
Old 1st August 2006
  #30
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Quote:
Ridiculous. Do you honestly expect most people to believe that the vtb1 is the best preamp for the C1. I'm sure running that mic through something like a Shadow Hills, Great River, GML would yield much better results than a 99 dollar Toob mic preamp.
I haven't tested this particular combination myself, but it doesn't seem ridiculous at all...if you start with a mic that's too bright, and pair it with a preamp that's too dull, then why is it a stretch to think that putting the two together might give you a result that sounds okay? In other words, if you pair a microphone with a preamp whose own flaws (or maybe "characteristics" is a better choice of words) mask the flaws of the microphone, why would you be surprised if running that microphone through a preamp like the GML, which would expose the flaws of the microphone, would actually sound worse? That is, assuming that the brightness we're talking about here is a negative thing, which it may not be in all cases.

-Duardo
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