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Like my new 4050 a lot...but I'm wondering about the 414

Discussion in 'Microphones Forum' started by Shannon Adkins, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins

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    Hey all,
    I just got a new 4050 the other day, and am impressed with it so far.
    I've given it a few runs on vocal duties with various kinds of performances and I guess you could say right now I'm in the middle of getting acquainted with it....learning when and where I like it. It hasn't sounded "bad" yet, and it was quite a bit better (to my ears) than all my other vocal mics on one song.
    It's my first multi-pattern LDC btw...I usually track vox with an SM7/SM58/tlm102.
    I also tried it on acoustic guitar today, and liked it much better than my usual mic on that duty (4033).
    With all that said, I can't stop being curious about the AKG c414.....the ULS/XLS version, that is.
    The reason I purchased the 4050 instead is that I only had around $600 to work with, and it came down to buying a new 4050 that I could return if unimpressed, or a used 414 that I would have to resell. So I went the safer route.
    I've read that the 414 has a nice, full bottom end (as does the 4050) and also that it's freq response is fairly flat.
    So with all that being said, I guess the main question I have regarding the 414 is it's fidelity in comparison with the 4050. In that regard, is the 414 a better mic?...a step up? Or are they similar in that department?
    If it matters, the only instruments I record acoustically are vocals (male tenor) and my Martin 000.
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD

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    You are asking a question about different colored apples. It's only better if you believe it's better. It only sounds better if you think it sounds better. It's really only different. It's just another color in the rainbows of colors that we all utilize where we think the color works out the best. Real studios have a rather large quantity of multiple different microphones. No engineer uses them all but instead uses the ones they deem most appropriate for their particular applications they like to use them with. You can't go wrong with a 414, any variety. You are already happy with what you have. You haven't found anything bad about it why worry? Sure another microphone will sound different from the 4050. It won't be any better than the 4050 unless you like to spend $3000 +. And those $3000 + microphones don't indicate necessarily that they will be better or you will be happier with than your 4050. One day, you might want to supplement your microphone collection with a 414? So you obviously enjoy the 4050 over your TLM 102. Otherwise why would you have purchased the 4050 to begin with? If I had a TLM 102, I probably wouldn't have bothered purchasing a 4050? But I don't have a 102, I have U 67's, 87's, KM 86's, 56. So I have no need to purchase a 102 or a 4050 unless I wanted to for whatever peculiar reason I might deem necessary. So do you like your vocals now better than when you used the SM 7/58 or 102? And what part of Hell do you live in or is it somewhere else in Michigan? I enjoyed growing up in the Detroit suburbs of Oak Park, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Berkeley, Birmingham, Troy, Pontiac even though I've been to Hell and back. Of course the best to you in the morning only comes from Kellogg's which is a real Battle in the Creek. I never had a Grand time in the Rapids. Too much sand gets into my bathing suit in Saugatuck.

    Variety is the spice of life
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  3. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins

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    Haha....thanks Remy:)
    I live really close to the Ohio border in a little city called Adrian.
    After reading where your from, I wonder if you might have ever known my father? He was a country musician who had some success in that area in the late 70's and early 80's. His name was Larry Lee Adkins. ???
    Anyway, I mainly wanted a multi-pattern mic so I could experimant with mid-side technique.....which I just did for the first time not 20 minutes ago.....very cool! But I also figured that if I was going to get a new mic, it should be something that could share vocal duty too. Mostly I like the 2 Shure dynamics....but that seems to be totally song-dependant. Or maybe I just have a hard time making up my mind.
    I like the 102 also, but to me it does lack body. It always seems to sit above the rest of the mix.....which is cool for some songs but not others. It's probably just the way it reacts to my voice. I once talked to another 102 owner who is also a tenor and he had a similar feelings.
    Thanks again Remy...you have succeeded in putting me at ease about the 4050/414 thing.
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD

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    No Shannon, I didn't know your father. I moved away from Detroit when my folks got divorced, in 1970 and mom dragged me to Baltimore along with my brother. Actually, last night was the first time I ever heard about Adrian Michigan on NBC news. Surely I must have passed through that on my way to Toledo? Perhaps I blinked? Although I did manage to find St. Remy in upstate New York on my way to Montréal. They had a volunteer fire department which was closed and I couldn't find anything anywhere else? I think aliens abducted the entire town?

    Sounds like you might be working that 102 too closely? Try about 1 foot away.

    It's actually a Sennheiser condenser microphone with the Neumann name on it so folks can say they have a Neumann. In fact some literature I got from Sennheiser said something about that. It was one of the few microphones I didn't bother to check out at the AES NYC this past October. Though I was curious about the microphone. So it's actually a spinoff of one of the other Sennheiser LDC's. Because of that, I can only assume it doesn't exactly sound like a Neumann either? But in today's economy, every company needs to find ways to bolster its sales. I like the way virtually any Sennheiser microphone sounds. I've played with numerous AT's. While they are all good, I've never bothered purchasing any.

    I'm sorry, I lied, I have their long shotgun. I was afraid to answer because it was pointing right at me. I had a Neumann metal insignia identifier which came off of a microphone when I was at NBC-TV. So I scarfed it right up and glued it onto the AT shotgun for myself. LOL it's amazing how impressed people are by that microphone when I show it to them. I rarely use it you see. Everybody thinks it sounds great and wish they could afford to purchase one. LOL, it was under $240 new.

    One of the few microphones in the world that's had a s-e-x change
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  5. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins

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    Adrian is right about in the middle between Toledo and Ann Arbor. Used to be somewhere around 30,000 inhabitants but since the recession it might be a little over half that. You might make it through 2-3 verses of Stairway to Heaven on your way through. Had no idea we made the news.
    You definitely know your mics....The best results I've ever gotten from the 102 were in fact at about 1' away:)
    Here's a sample....
    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?rfg3ube3jgk63vc
    That vocal has no HPF and actually I think there may have been a little beef added at around 100hz. So that's what I mean about the lack of body...But I think it worked ok for the song.
    Then again, I really don't know what I'm doing....
    Regarding the 4050, the bad thing is if I keep it, I will have to sell the 102. Decisions, decisions.....
     
  6. Paul999

    Paul999

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    I had 3 414's of various years. I've used 4050's on several sessions as well. They are all decent mic's and I would put these to in the same family. Neither ever made me say WOW! Wether I am spending $100 or $4000 I want to say wow when I put up a mic. Thusly I sold my 414's. I might look into an sm81 for acoustic, and percussion sources. As Remy said unless your ready to drop 3k on a cool vocal mic I'd probably look into an re-20 as well.

    The other thing to look into is mic pre's compressors and eq's. Sometimes a cheaper mic with better hardware sounds better then a more expensive mic with no hardware.
     
  7. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins

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    Thanks Paul,
    I really want a multi-pattern mic. If Not and LDC, then a ribbon in figure of 8 pattern. I did my first mid/side experiment last night on acoustic guitar and really liked it a lot. Although right now I can't figure out why the phase reversed side is louder than the other when they are separated?
    As for vocal mics, I haven't found one yet that I like on everything. I like the SM7 for rock, and if it's not sounding right to me then the 58 usually will. Sometimes on the ballads I also like the sm7...actually most of the time. The tlm has the smoothest highs of any mic I've ever owned, and I think that it also has the most wow factor out of all of them....but it also captures the least amount of body....so to me it doesn't fit well in a sparse mix (on my voice).
    The 4050 is sounding good so far. Yesterday, I tried it on a ballad that had only strings and acoustic guitar for accompaniment. The bass roll-off was engaged and I was singing about 6" in front of it. After recording the take, I listened back to it on the monitors, and didn't even feel that it needed EQ. I've never had that happen. But I'm not getting overly excited. I'm just taking it as a situation where the mic really fit what my voice was doing in that acoustic space.
    As for your suggestion of a mic pre, that is something I've thought a lot about! I don't have any outboard pres right now. I use a Steinberg MR816. A few months after getting it I sold my ART Pro Channel because the stock Yamaha pres in the MR literally blew away the ART in depth and clarity....the ART sounded thin and brittle in comparison. I just wonder how much I would have to spend on a dedicated pre to really step up in quality? I've been eying the Grace/Daking/UA units in the $600 range....I guess the only way to find out is to try one out sometime.
     
  8. Paul999

    Paul999

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    Those pre's you are eyeing up will be excellent. I'd include the Focusrite ISA as well. You may discover that your whole mic collection sounds new after getting a high end pre. I'd get one of these pre's far before getting any other mic.
     
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Moderator

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    414 and 4050 are so similar that its going to be a matter of personal preference rather than function.

    A better pre will take you mic collection to a new level.

    The TLM 102 sounds exactly like a Neumann regardless of who the real parent company is. Its heads above the TLM103 and is nudging into TLM193 territory. An incredible little mic. This year I'll be getting a pair for drum room overheads.
     
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD

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    Really Dave? You like it better than the 103? And I thought the 103 was good having used them myself. It's the front capsule of the 87 with their transformer less output circuitry. What makes the 102 so different to you in its character? I haven't played with nor heard the 102 yet? I loved my 414 B-ULS's for drum overheads until I traded one off for a U-67. So I've been using the 87's for overheads again. Certainly less forgiving sounding than the 414's were in less than ideal acoustics surroundings. And in lousy acoustical surroundings I generally just grab for the SM 81's for overheads. I've never gone wrong with those. So by your description, that 102 is picking my interest. Please elaborate?

    The beautiful and clueless
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  11. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins

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    Paul - My mic collection is not very big. I have stereo pairs of nothing. No ribbon mics at all. But I do think my next purchase (a few months down the road) will be a new pre.
    I just wish I could audition these things all at once.....that would make it so much easier to figure out.
    Edit - Also thanks for the recommendation on the ISA. Will look into that as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Moderator

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    Its like they took the box off of the mic. The 102 is one of the most open sparkling mics I've ever heard. NOT hyped but Neumann-ey......Think of the high-end of a KM84 and the body of the TLM 170. This is one they got completely right.

    I actually like the TLM103's. They are really good for spoken word and certain vocalists. I'll probably buy one of those too, but not before the PAIR of TLM102's.
     
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD

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    Thanks Dave. Sounds like an adequate replacement for the 414's for drum overheads? Yup, I've loved using those 170's in the past. Wish I had a couple of those. Unfortunately, they won't be coming soon without an appreciable amount of more work. So I'll just have to suffer through using U87's & SM 81's, for the time being.

    Sufferin' succotash!
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  14. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins

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    I agree with what you said about it's sparkling high end. My only complaint with it as a vocal mic is that it has less "bigness" (for lack of a better word) than any condenser I've ever used. On sparse mixes it just doesn't fill up enough space for me...and I do a lot of acoustic and vocal type stuff. I wish I could've afforded to keep it but my budget doesn't allow this. Perhaps in the future I'll pic up another...I'd like to.
     
  15. Davedog

    Davedog Moderator

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    Like all quality pieces, these take EQ really well. When I say that I'm talking about when you add something, nothing else gets slewed or covered over. A little bump at 500 will get that "bigness".Wide bell too.
     
  16. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins

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    Thanks Dave. I'll go back and experimant with that.
     
  17. Paul999

    Paul999

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    I agree with Dave. Usually the right compressor will give you the fatness needed as well. Remember it is about balance taking a little mid range out might just do it ias well. As usual, a little bit of this and a little bit of that will get you there.
     
  18. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins

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    Paul - Unfortunately I don't have any outboard gear at all. As for compressors, all I have are the ones that come with the Waves Musicians Pack 2 (both are Renaissance type) and the stock Cubase ones.

    Dave - I tried some wide bandwidth boosting at around 500hz and it did help....thanks for that! Interestingly, I also had some vocal takes with a 4033 I had done on the same song....so I played with those too. (While I wouldn't call the 4033 and 102 all that similar, one thing I've always felt they shared was that lack of bigness).
    To my surprise, I actually liked the 4033 better after the adjustment. It sounded thicker, denser, and maybe even clearer than the 102 to my ears. And as a side effect, it really balanced it out and helped tame that shrillness that the 4033 can produce on higher notes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  19. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins

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    Got a chance to demo the 414 XLS last week for a few days. It was a nice mic for sure but I liked the 4050 better on vox and way better on acoustic guitar. My subjective opinion of course.
     
  20. moonbaby

    moonbaby Moderator

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    I have an XLS and a pair of 4050's. You're right about the 4050 vs. the XLS on guitar. The XLS doesn't have that presence rise that the ULS has, it's more of a "classical music" mic vs. the "pop music" ULS. Right from the owners' manual...LOL! Anyhoo, another great vocal mic is the AT4047, more "chest" and "color" than the 4050, love mine. And now they make a multi-pattern version as well.
    And now, thanks to Davedog, I'm gonna have to check out that new little Neumann....you bastard!!!
     
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