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Complete: I love the _______ but the _______ is almost as good for much less money!
Old 2nd May 2017
  #1
Lightbulb Complete: I love the _______ but the _______ is almost as good for much less money!

(Forgive me as I have yet to be able to listen to these comparisons on anything more than a set of MacBook Pro speakers - but cursory examples gave me this idea...)

Anyway, was thinking about what this reveals about "budget substitutions." Obviously, if money is no object you buy the one you love.

But are any of the less expensive ones so close to some of the top-shelf units that they would make a perfectly serviceable substitute and give you roughly the same vibe?

Which mics would you "pair" in results (but not in price!) ?
Old 2nd May 2017
  #2
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
(Forgive me as I have yet to be able to listen to these comparisons on anything more than a set of MacBook Pro speakers - but cursory examples gave me this idea...)

Anyway, was thinking about what this reveals about "budget substitutions."
It'll never happen, but what I'd like to see in a "budget substitution" shootout is clips of 3 or 4 low-priced mics, all the same make & model, pulled randomly from stock. Do they all sound the same? Or do you have to get lucky?

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 2nd May 2017 at 08:14 PM..
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Old 3rd May 2017
  #3
Gear Head
 

The WA87 was very close to the U87 imo, but I was actually very surprisingly impressed with the lowly Rode NT1 (non-A). I own an NT1a that, before changing the capsule, sounded like a typical cheap chinese mic. Did not expect the NT1 to sound that much better.
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Old 3rd May 2017
  #4
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

I thought the Behringer sounded better than the Avantone and very close to the Shure KSM44a

I think the Chandler and the Tele U47 were the nicest. I probably liked the Chandler the most out of all mics.

I too also think the WA87 was very close to the U87.
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Old 4th May 2017
  #5
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esldude's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
It'll never happen, but what I'd like to see in a "budget substitution" shootout is clips of 3 or 4 low-priced mics, all the same make & model, pulled randomly from stock. Do they all sound the same? Or do you have to get lucky?
You could look on my thread for pair matching. It doesn't include sound clips, but unless mikes that have the same response, and same distortion, and same sensitivity sound different then most of my pairs seem well matched. I didn't show the distortion curves, but they also match as well as the response curves. These were mostly purchased 2nd hand some with years between dates of manufacture.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...crophones.html
Old 4th May 2017
  #6
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Blind folded I can quite easily pick the real U-87ai from the WA-87 every time, the highs on the U-87ai were much more present sounding.

The big surprise for me was how the $50 Behringer electret condenser mic hung in there as well as it did. A testimony to modern design and manufacturing.

The low priced surprise mic for me was the Lauten Audio LA-220 for $250. My ears were attracted to it and the price is really shockingly low for the balanced tone I hear.

A fun listening test, good music to all!
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Old 4th May 2017
  #7
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
It'll never happen, but what I'd like to see in a "budget substitution" shootout is clips of 3 or 4 low-priced mics, all the same make & model, pulled randomly from stock. Do they all sound the same? Or do you have to get lucky?
I reckon you're into summet there.
Old 7th May 2017
  #8
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Thanks for doing this - great to hear all these mics in context.

I guess it proves the point again that differences are sublte. I did, like many others, like the Chandler mic quite a bit. But on these singers for these songs, as a mixer I am pretty sure I could get all of the mics to work well in the track.

Even more so, I think I would be easily fooled if this were a blind test...

Thanks again!

Greetings,
Dirk

PS Still feel my trusty Soundelux U195 keeps up quite well when for example compared to the Telefunken U47 ;-).
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Old 7th May 2017
  #9
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The budget stand out for me was the WA87 - definitely great bang for buck.
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Old 8th May 2017
  #10
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Will The Weirdo's Avatar
AT 4050 and those Lauten mic's produced well above their price range.
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Old 9th May 2017
  #11
Another vote for the Rode NT-1 kit. Very smooth and full sounding mic. But if I had the budget, definitely that Chandler!
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Old 15th May 2017
  #12
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What struck me was how amazing the WA-87 sounded. It held its own, clearly with the big dollar mics in the test range.
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Old 18th May 2017
  #13
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MichaelStAmour's Avatar
Rode NT1 with Oktava Mods u87.

It would be great to the new Stam Audio SA47 too..
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Old 24th May 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foldback View Post
Blind folded I can quite easily pick the real U-87ai from the WA-87 every time,
Too bad you don't live closer. Sounds like I could make some money on this bet.


Diff's in mics are in general SO ridiculously hyped. I'm not at all surprised that the $50 C-1 held its own with mics well into 4 figures.
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Old 24th May 2017
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Too bad you don't live closer. Sounds like I could make some money on this bet.


Diff's in mics are in general SO ridiculously hyped. I'm not at all surprised that the $50 C-1 held its own with mics well into 4 figures.
Yes, one thing that struck me about the test in general is how similar many of the mics sound to each other, especially on the M samples. In fact I suspect that for almost every mic in the group, regardless of price, there is at least one other mic (probably several, in most cases) that sounds similar enough to it that if you were to do a comp track where the two mics are interwoven at random intervals, most people, even here, couldn't say where the edit points are.
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Old 25th May 2017
  #16
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Love the lauten LA-320
Old 26th May 2017
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightchef View Post
In fact I suspect that for almost every mic in the group, regardless of price, there is at least one other mic (probably several, in most cases) that sounds similar enough to it that if you were to do a comp track where the two mics are interwoven at random intervals, most people, even here, couldn't say where the edit points are.
OK, figured I might as well try it:

http://night-kitchen.com/music/tests...omp-test-1.wav

This is a comp of two of the M mic tracks. One of the mics costs several times as much as the other. (I don't want to identify the mics just yet.)

There are five edit points; each mic appears three times. The edit points are all between words or syllables. The distances between edit points vary considerably, from less than 2 seconds to almost 10.

Can you say where the edit points are? And which passages do you think are the more expensive mic? (Bonus points if you can guess which mics they are.)

One caveat: My main studio brain these days is a QU-16 digital board, which has a fixed sample rate of 48K, so the original files have been downsampled from 96 to 48. This may affect the value of the test, although I would argue that any difference between mics that requires 96K resolution to hear is probably not worth paying a large difference in price for.

(Lynn, if posting this "derivative work" is a problem, let me know and I'll take it down.)
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Old 5th June 2017
  #18
007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick8801 View Post
Another vote for the Rode NT-1 kit. Very smooth and full sounding mic. But if I had the budget, definitely that Chandler!
A buddy engineer of mine just sent over a mix where the vocals truly shine.
Taken aback by not only the warmth, but also the clarity and depth of them, kind of an XX meets Lou Reed vocal tone.
When asked about the mic, he tells me "yeah man, it's just that newer RODE NT1, the black one not the "A", going through an Apogee Duet2 preamp. Touch of eq and compression, a bit of Valhalla Vintage Verb, not much more."

Floored.

About to pull the trigger on one, now, for less than $300 I'm completely amazed.
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Old 5th June 2017
  #19
Vote for the Lauten 220. Had a TLM49, TLM103 and TLM 102 in here at one point, I hated the 103 and 49. The 220 is a great replacement for the 102 at a fraction of the price.
Old 5th June 2017
  #20
Lives for gear
The stand out bang for buck was the WA87.
Old 5th June 2017
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
A buddy engineer of mine just sent over a mix where the vocals truly shine.
Taken aback by not only the warmth, but also the clarity and depth of them, kind of an XX meets Lou Reed vocal tone.
When asked about the mic, he tells me "yeah man, it's just that newer RODE NT1, the black one not the "A", going through an Apogee Duet2 preamp. Touch of eq and compression, a bit of Valhalla Vintage Verb, not much more."

Floored.

About to pull the trigger on one, now, for less than $300 I'm completely amazed.
There's a YouTube vid out there somewhere, and granted it's from Rode, but they put it up to a u47 and it's realllly freaking close! I might need a pair at some point!
Old 5th June 2017
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightchef View Post
OK, figured I might as well try it:

http://night-kitchen.com/music/tests...omp-test-1.wav

This is a comp of two of the M mic tracks. One of the mics costs several times as much as the other. (I don't want to identify the mics just yet.)
All right, since nobody bit: the two mics are the Lauten LA-320 and the Blue Bottle, and here are the edit points:

0:00 LA-320
0:19 Blue Bottle (for just "it's o-")
0:20 LA-320 ("kay" + next phrase)
0:28 Blue Bottle (for "what had your attention undivided" + "where's the pas-")
0:37 LA-320 ("sion" + "where's the")
0:42 Blue Bottle (for "love that made you who you")
0:46 LA-320 (for just "are")

I can hear the slightly warmer, less upper-mid-forward character of the Bottle in its appearances because I know where they are, but the difference is subtle enough to be equivalent, to my ears, to different takes in a comp track made with the same mic. The transitions don't call attention to themselves enough to break the illusion of a continuous performance. At least not to my ears, in my listening situation. (Maybe in a world-class mastering room they would jump out even to me.) Anyway, I found it remarkable how similar the $500 mic and the $4K mic sounded.
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