The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Perfectly neutral vocal condenser with zero mojo, flavor or color? Condenser Microphones
Old 1st March 2014
  #1
Gear Addict
 
kirkbross's Avatar
Perfectly neutral vocal condenser with zero mojo, flavor or color?

If you had $1,500 (+/-) for a vocal mic...

AND

...you specifically wanted this particular mic to be as neutral/flat and accurate as possible, what would be your top 3 mics?

i.e. no "mojo" or "nice bump at yada yada frequency"
Old 1st March 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
cinealta's Avatar
 

A 414 is pretty uncolored and flat.
Old 1st March 2014
  #3
Old 1st March 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
 

The new Slate mic possibly fits this bill. Not sure if you can run it dry but its supposed to be as vanilla as they come.
Old 1st March 2014
  #5
Gear Guru
 

I would consider a 414 in this application

I would also check out the Shure KSM 44
Old 1st March 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
 
WunderBro Flo's Avatar
I would never call any 414 uncolored. strong proximity effect and midrange bumps in different areas. The only mic which I consider pretty pretty pretty much natural (in a very beautiful way) are our nevaton mk51 mics. ugly fuccers but sonic beauties. and totally unknown.
Old 1st March 2014
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
4050 isn't super colored, but it's also not bland.
Old 1st March 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
doncaparker's Avatar
 

A used Neumann U89.
Old 1st March 2014
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Philip Marinelis's Avatar
+ 1 on the used U89. I use one extensively.
It may not be great at all times, but it is at least very good on every source I've tried them. Great workhorse!

I also use a pair of AKG C4114 B-XLS. Not exactly flat but they give prety unhyped results. BUT the little bumbs stated earlier do happen to not match well with some sources/voices.

Some other mics that are generally considered natural/flat or close enough to that (but I have to stress that I have NOTused any of them):

Neumann TLM193
Brauner Phantom
Shure KSM32/KSM44
AT 4050
Neumann TLM102

Probably there are more, but these are the ones I've heard of.
Old 1st March 2014
  #10
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doncaparker View Post
A used Neumann U89.
This has colour - the colour introduced by the transformer.

The TLM 170 is the same, but without the transformer. The TLM 193 is, basically, a cardioid only version of the TLM 170.

The Gefell M930 (in your price bracket) is worth a listen.

There are some videos showing it in use on the Gefell website HERE.

If you want something really neutral - then an SDC like the Sennheiser MKH 40 may be worth a listen (would have to be a s/h one though, as new it is over budget). I have recorded female vocal with an MKH 40 and a pop filter - worked very well.
Old 1st March 2014
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

DPA omni sdc
Old 1st March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The Gefell M930 (in your price bracket) is worth a listen.
I was going to suggest that too John, but despite being a very neutral and clean-sounding mic there is a significant HF lift, which the OP has specifically stated he wants to avoid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Marinelis View Post
Some other mics that are generally considered natural/flat or close enough... Brauner Phantom
Nope. The Phantom has an even bigger HF lift than the Gefell! I owned both these mics for some time, and eventually sold the Brauner as it was just too sibilant on my voice. (In all other respects the Phantom was wonderful - super-sensitive, detailed and a massive LF response.)

The most neutral LDC I can recall demo-ing was one of those rectangular Milabs at a friend's studio a while back - I don't recall the exact model but I distinctly remember being struck how the mic had absolutely no mojo at all, certainly when compared to the Brauners, Blues and Gefells we were trying out at the time.

Would it be worth exploring SDCs in the context of the OP's request?
Old 1st March 2014
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Philip Marinelis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
This has colour - the colour introduced by the transformer.

The TLM 170 is the same, but without the transformer. The TLM 193 is, basically, a cardioid only version of the TLM 170.

You are correct about the transformer. Still, the U89 is pretty natural sounding, more natural than all the other LDCs I have used. I think the transformer thing is subtle but as I have not used the TLM170 I might be wrong.

Granted, classical/remote guys are more critical about subtle differences so they tend to prefer the TLM170. I also remember some user comments about the U89 being a little noiser and less suitable as distant/room mic than the TLM 170. Is this true?

You seem to have used both, could you please comment on the differences between the two?


Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Nope. The Phantom has an even bigger HF lift than the Gefell! I owned both these mics for some time, and eventually sold the Brauner as it was just too sibilant on my voice. (In all other respects the Phantom was wonderful - super-sensitive, detailed and a massive LF response.)

I didn't know that. If that's the case I stand corrected.


Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
The most neutral LDC I can recall demo-ing was one of those rectangular Milabs at a friend's studio a while back - I don't recall the exact model but I distinctly remember being struck how the mic had absolutely no mojo at all, certainly when compared to the Brauners, Blues and Gefells we were trying out at the time.

You just reminded me of Milabs. I have heard excellent things about them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
If you want something really neutral - then an SDC like the Sennheiser MKH 40 may be worth a listen (would have to be a s/h one though, as new it is over budget). I have recorded female vocal with an MKH 40 and a pop filter - worked very well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Would it be worth exploring SDCs in the context of the OP's request?

True, when neutrality is the goal, SDCs are usually better than LDCs.

I have used SDCs for vocals with great success. I remember using a side adress Schoeps SDC branded as Studer. (There was a pair in a studio- what ever happened to those mics?).

But if I had to have one vocal mic in the studio, it wouldn't be an SDC.
Old 1st March 2014
  #14
Gear Addict
 
Avast!'s Avatar
Very neutral: Sanken CU41.

Sounds like what's in front of it.

Dynamic: RE-16. Boringly flat.

Last edited by Avast!; 3rd March 2014 at 05:51 AM.. Reason: Pause for separate breaths between lines of text, please.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Vintageidiot's Avatar
I've not used a Gefell, but it is highly regarded and can be had in that price bracket.....
Old 2nd March 2014
  #16
Lives for gear
Check out any mic commonly used for classical recording (companies like DPA, Gefell, Schoeps). The location recording forum would be a good place to search around. Seems like most recommendations are for LDCs, but given your parameters I'd check out some SDC's too. If you can get away with an omni I can recommend the c617 set ( Gefell capsule and Josephson body) as a very most neutral yet pleasant sounding mic.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Calrec Soundfield?
Old 2nd March 2014
  #18
Lives for gear
 
O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

How about a Bruel&Kjaer measurement mic?

It'll probably bust your budget wide open though.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #19
Gear Head
 

At 5040
Old 2nd March 2014
  #20
Shure KSM44 or KSM44A
Old 2nd March 2014
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The TLM 170 is the same, but without the transformer. The TLM 193 is, basically, a cardioid only version of the TLM 170.
+1 on these. Excellent mics, and neutral. The U89 is a great mic IMO, but softer in comparison.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #22
Lives for gear
 

There's no such thing as a perfectly neutral microphone.
And if there were, why would one call it a specific vocal microphone, or condenser for that matter?

Yes, theoretically, closest to neutral would be an sdc omni (pressure mic), particularly the measurement kind.

But there's a problem IMO. Although we like to believe that we can build great reproduction devices, the truth is that the whole chain consists of a host of artificial components. All kinds of metals, plastics (e.g. mic membrane), rubber (speakers), paper/polypropylene or other (speakers) etc .etc .etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
The end result, whether we like it or not is something highly artificial. The irony is that if we measure the least distortion, the widest bandwith etc. we think we are closest to reality. But to my ears this ultimate cleanliness can actually highlight the artificial essence of the whole, especially on a highly critical source like the human voice. (Not even going into the need of something actually bigger than life.)
So IMOAE a little color can actually make a recorded vocal more human, or even more "natural" in a way.

OK, you can shoot me now.

This may not have been the reply you were looking for. But it is a perspective you could weigh with the others in your quest.
Or, if taken to the extreme, i.e. using a measurement mic for vocals, I think you will be disappointed.




(I'll add that I do own super transparent gear. One example is the Gordon 5 mic pre. But for vocals I pair that with tube and tranny LDCs.)
Old 2nd March 2014
  #23
Gear Addict
 
kirkbross's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by legato View Post
OK, you can shoot me now.
I'm a lover not a fighter... but... you have convinced me that accurately capturing art is futile so I've decided that when someone downloads one of my tracks from iTunes, I will immediately go to their house and perform it live.

Here's a demo of a new song I'm working on which sounds nothing like I hear it in my head.

https://soundcloud.com/kirkross/dont-close-your-eyes
Old 3rd March 2014
  #24
Lives for gear
Gefell MT 71. $1299. Super neutral.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #25
Gear Addict
 
danly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avast! View Post
Very neutral: Sanken CU41.

Sounds like what's in front of it.

Dynamic: RE-16. Boringly flat.
+1 Sanken CU41

(can not believe you said ev re16 in the same breath.)

Seriously, check out Sanken

I knew a guy who was all about super clean and hi end digital --- GML pres, Sanken Mics
Old 3rd March 2014
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Jeff16years's Avatar
 

Shure KSM 32 all the way.

I saw a few people mention the KSM 44 but I think that has a high end bump for it to be tailored to vocals
Old 3rd March 2014
  #27
Lives for gear
 
avare's Avatar
 

BSWA SM 4201 series measurement microphone capsules on a studio (48V) preamps. Type I performance at ~$800 Can.

Enjoy one of the big secrets of recording bargains!

Andre
Old 3rd March 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Swurveman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
4050 isn't super colored, but it's also not bland.
+1
Old 3rd March 2014
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Swurveman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
I'm a lover not a fighter... but... you have convinced me that accurately capturing art is futile so I've decided that when someone downloads one of my tracks from iTunes, I will immediately go to their house and perform it live.

Here's a demo of a new song I'm working on which sounds nothing like I hear it in my head.

https://soundcloud.com/kirkross/dont-close-your-eyes
I'm curious to how you hear it in your head, and what is different in the recording.

To me, it has an awful lot of reverb on the vocal, which distances (pun intended) the emotional impact of this kind of personal song.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #30
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by legato View Post
There's no such thing as a perfectly neutral microphone.
And if there were, why would one call it a specific vocal microphone, or condenser for that matter?
The OP asked for advice on as accurate a mic as possible, not a "perfectly neutral" one. This is a reasonable question given the wide range of mics from very colored (in many different ways) to extremely (if not perfectly) neutral.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump