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AT3035 vs Apex 460

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by sampsoniter, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    I have an AT3035.....but have heard that the Apex 460 is amazing and identical to the Telefunken M16 which is an over 100 dollar mic.....for only around 300 dollars I am giving serious consideration to purchasing this mic, but if the AT3035 is somehow better than a microphone identical to a 100 dollar one then I won't bother....

    I also have an At4050, but surprisingly find the AT3035 sounds better.....the AT4050 sounds dull.......though this could very well be due to the fact I am pretty sure something is wrong with it and it is in need of repair because I have begun to hear distortion when using it any longer than 5 minutes......when I bought my pre-amp to compliment my Edirol interface, nobody told me I didn't need to have phantom power, powered on both devices and as a result I may i fried something in it?
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You either have some mis-typing or have got confused. Your "have heard" bit comes from Studio Reviews via Recording Hacks, where the M16 is clearly listed as "over $1000", and actually had a list price of $1395. Telefunken USA introduced this as a selected version of the same mic that Apex sells as the 460. The M16 has since been replaced by the M16 Mk II, which is a serious middle-range microphone.

    As for the pre-amp working with your Edirol interface, you will have to give us more details of exactly which models of each you have, and how you connected them to do the supposed damage. If you took the pre-amp outputs into the TRS line inputs of the Edirol, then the state of the XLR phantom power on the interface would have made no difference to the Edirol.
  3. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    I have "heard" or read about the Apex 460 and Telefunken M16 from more sources then the one you assumed i did, but that's not the point....you didn't answer even attempt to answer any of my questions by offering any opinion...

    my interface is the Edirol FA 101 and pre amp is the ART Tube MP.......I had phantom power switched on both when i first got the pre amp....I have been told that this could be the possible cause for damage

    but I mostly wanted opinions on the mics and what I should do.....

  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Like Bos stated (very courteously, I might add) check your typos. The M16 is no $100 mic, try $1000.
    Nothing made by Apex is an "amazing mic", they are cheap Chinese crap that many folks have made a small fortune off of by offering mods to be even barely acceptable. $300 is high for any Apex. The people that market the ART gear also do the Apex line (at least in N America), both are notorious for hyped reviews as advertisers in these mags...buyer beware. Keep in mind that many cheaper mics are overly bright and this can mean a harsh-sounding tracks. This brings us to...
    The A-T 4050 is an absolutely AWESOME mic, especially at the under-$1000 price range. Something is wrong in your signal chain to have the distortion you are reporting. If the Edirol has phantom, take the POS ART preamp out of the chain and see if you still have that issue. BTW, you should NEVER plug the XLR ouput of a mic preamp into the mic input of another preamp. That may damage the output of the pre plugged into a "live" phantom-powered mic input. More importantly, running the line out of a mic preamp into the mic input of another preamp can produce some pretty nasty distortion. Report back so that we can further aid in your quest for clean tone....
  5. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    For all it's worth, i bought a 460 about 6 years ago and thought it sounded just shy of terrible. Dull/cloudy. imo.
    Fortunatly, i was able to return it a couple days later.
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I don't know moon I like my mics that used to be called 460's, i think for the money its a great toy to mess with. The stock 460 has very poor quality control, and they vary greatly, but after you change the capsule, transformer, tube,caps and cut a way some of the mesh... its not such a bad mic ;)
  7. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    my apologies for the obvious typo, I meant 1000 not 100 of course. My question is though.....if apex 460 is so cheap and shitty......why did the exact same microphone sell for around 1000? (the M16) ?......so the Telefunken M16 is also a cheap shitty sounding mic then and just unthinkably overpriced?

    hmmm ok about never plugging the output XLR of one preamp to the mic input of another preamp.......I have the mic output XLR of the ART Tube MP running to the mic input of my Edirol FA 101......does the Edirol count as a pre-amp?.....I've been using this setup for a couple years now with an AT3035, with phantom switched on only the Tube MP (once I was told phantom on both was not needed and could cause damage and probably damaged the AT4050 I stopped ) and have had no problems, the AT3035 is fine.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    The Apex microphones are just like Radio Shaft microphones but are actually geared toward the low-cost home studio market. You are basically dealing with a $1 Taiwanese capsule. Now some of those capsules can be decent sounding but it's a crapshoot but you get. The AT's on the other hand are a quality built Japanese microphone with a higher level of consistency. And in all probability the distortion problem you're having with your 4050 is not the 4050. It's generally operator error. Do you know what that pad switch on the microphone is for? It's not a tone control. It keeps the capsule element from overloading the microphones internal electronics. The problems that you are describing are that of an enthusiast that chooses equipment based upon hyped advertising rhetoric and lousy specifications. Specifications don't mean much. I only care how it sounds. And I have made lovely recordings with my top shelf Neumann's costing more than $1000 each, side-by-side with Radio Shaft "PZM" microphones that cost $30. Distortion problems generally happen in the preamp but if you're screaming into a condenser microphone you'll need to engage the pad on the microphone or, on the preamp or, both if you stuck a microphone into the bass drum. So most distortion occurs when you don't know how to use the equipment properly. Most equipment doesn't suffer these kinds of technical maladies internally. Of course if you've purchased things used there might be a reason for that? If you purchased it new, you didn't leave it on the back porch in the rain did you? That's not what we mean by a nicely aged capsule. It's nice that you liked your 460's and when used properly, they do an adequate job just like the Radio Shaft microphones do. As I stated before, I actually know that numerous well-known companies that produce quality microphones have actually purchased capsules from the same Taiwanese company that Radio Shaft also purchases capsules from.

    Now you're thinking that phantom power could be causing you problems? If you are feeding a microphone preamp and the microphone and requires phantom power to power its internal electronics, then you need phantom power on your preamp or an outboard phantom power supply. Feeding a preamp from another preamp and you have phantom power on at the second preamp, that could cause problems if the preceding preamp. But there is no reason on this earth why you should be doing that if you don't know what you're doing to begin with? Of course not all preamps are created equally and each one sounds different from the next. That's no reason not to use the preamp in your interface. If you believe there is a significant difference in sound between your preamps, you're probably right. So what? Making a good recording has really very little to do with the preamp. How you adjust the preamp has a lot to do with how your recording sound. Overload seems to be the biggest problem amongst novices. This comes under the heading of " gain staging" and one must understand the ups and downs. This is also a perfect situation that begs for a simple dynamic microphone like the Shure SM57/58. You might find your recordings to sound more professional with the use of these cheaper microphones. There's a reason for that. They're excellent recording microphones and they don't OVERLOAD themselves or, generally a preamp. Condenser microphones have their own inherent problems and advantages if one knows how to properly utilize them. And of course, Link555 cites a funny concept and that is purchasing a cheap microphone and enhancing it by replacing all of its components. A lot of folks will mod microphones. I'm not really sure why? I've moded my Radio Shaft PZM's with completely simple inexpensive modifications. But these modifications were merely made to change a unbalanced 1/4 inch output to a 3 pin XLR. This was possible because the microphone internally was already wired for that. It was designed for the consumer market to plug into your living room cassette deck and not a professional console. That also restricted you to cable lengths of whatever was on the microphone. The simple modification only required a replacement of the connector and this modification allows for up to 1000 feet of microphone cabling! The other simple modification was to simply eliminate the AA 1 1/2 V battery in favor of a pair of 6 or 9 V batteries (that's 12 to 18 V instead of 1.5!). Then improved output level, headroom. And so those really aren't modifications. And so some folks might replace an internal Chinese transformer for a more quality built American, British, German, Danish transformer that might cost $100 all by itself. Sure, that will make any cheap microphone sound like it cost twice as much. So you're $50 microphone might sound like a $100 microphone if you purchase a $100 transformer for your $50 microphone. Does that make sense? I don't think so. I purchased a microphone for how it sounds to begin with. I used the higher priced Crown PZM microphones and was amazed to hear how close the Radio Shaft microphone came. It's the same capsule that Crown uses in their microphone that costs $300! But there's is hand selected, tested & calibrated, the Radio Shaft's are not hand selected tested nor calibrated. So the Apex is sort of like that. Some are decent and some aren't worth the use of the natural resources to produce. And even a $5 integrated circuit chip microphone preamp can make as nice a recording as a $500 or more, microphone preamp if you know how to utilize them properly. Otherwise its operator error all the way. So learning how to adjust microphone preamp trim is generally the most important aspect of utilizing a condenser microphone with a preamp. You can't use a microphone without a preamp so you better learn how to adjust your preamp properly. That's your only problem. Generally you can't hurt microphones with phantom power even if you're feeding your microphone on a passive split cable and are feeding at phantom power from 2 preamps. But that can cause issues. That's not what you're doing I hope? But phantom power only needs to be turned on for the microphone that you have plugged into that preamp. Now re-tweak your preamp and call us in the morning.

    I really don't mean to be too stern so please don't take it that way. I'm just trying to make a point here. Proper gain adjustment.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    no no, I appreciate any knowledge thrown my way, thank you.

    thing is....maybe when i say distortion, that's the wrong word......it's like a humming or buzzing noise that starts to leak into my recordings when using the At4050 after 5 or 10 minutes of use.....I used that mic for like a year with no problems, yelling as much as I want or being as quiet as I want.......the issue only started to occur after I add the Tube preamp in the mix and was using phantom on both that and the edirol at the same time........even since I stopped doing that the problem still occurs with that mic.......but no problems with the AT3035......I've been running this setup with the at3035 with phantom only powered on the tube pre amp for a couple years now and experience no problems......so there can't be anything wrong with what I'm doing now....in other words......there shouldn't be any reason due to my setup now to be causing these problems with the at4050........it sounds duller then the at3035 also...and I am told that it is supposed to be a very vibrant, clean, detailed sounding mic.....so I'm thinking something must be wrong with the mic....no?
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well, it's certainly possible that the microphone has developed a problem? But you indicated that you had used the 4050 for a year with no problems. You indicated the problem only started when you began using the tube preamp. Have you attempted to utilize the microphone and eliminate the tube preamp? You also indicated that the microphone sounded dull. You mean it didn't sound dull when you used it the year-earlier? And while folks might indicate it's supposed to be a very vibrant clean and detailed sounding mic does that mean that the 3035 should be less clean, vibrant & detailed? Of course not. It's supposed to sound different. It's quite likely patterned to sound or emulate some other manufacturers well known microphones. The Neumann U47 sounds brighter than the U87, no? They're not supposed to sound the same. After all, the manufacturers " voice" each microphone to have its own characteristic sound when they have as an extensive lineup as as AT has. What was your criteria for purchasing the AT 3035 versus the 4050? Perhaps the AT 3035 is just a brighter sounding microphone? Just because the next step up cost more doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be more vibrant than the lower-cost microphone since it's possible the 3035 was designed to sound "hyped" due to its lower cost. I've never purchased any microphone that I hadn't heard first. That's one thing about the Internet, eBay etc., that I don't care for. But devices do fail and that's part of the heartache. I mean why did one of my pair of my UREI 1176 limiters die when both were purchased together & were matched for stereo use, when they both sit in the same rack and have been used a completely equal amount of time? I mean why would anybody want a semiconductor when you can have a full-blown real conductor?? That is, if I was looking at specifications I would definitely want a real conductor. Why purchase a tube preamp? I throw out tubes every couple of days when there is no more paper on the role. Would it be better if I used a terry cloth rag to wipe my ass? I don't think so but I can tell you those semiconductors are much more rough feeling...

    Mx. Remy Ann David
  11. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Reiterating what Remy alluded to, the 3035 , like many cheaper condensers, has a more "hyped' top end response...translation: it is "bright". The 4050 is modeled after better quality Neumanns and does not have this this "edge" , though it does have a nice "airy sheen" to the top end IF it is working properly.
    BTW, the ART MP has had a reputation on this site (and others) for having really bad hum/noise issues, and while you're at it, check the cables you are usingby swapping those around as well.
  12. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    ok so I did some testing to figure out if perhaps it was the pre amp causing issues with the AT4050......which again...if it doesn't for the AT3035 then why should it for the 4050? , well, I tried it anyway and found that with the pre amp funny noises and distortion began to show up alot faster than without it and alot stronger / worse, but even without it and just running to the Edirol FA101, these things start happening as you can here in the example I made to demonstrate here --> Download AT4050 minus Tube Pre test.mp3 from Sendspace.com - send big files the easy way

    repair time?.....

    also....Remy, what do you have against tube pre amps? I was told that adding a tube pre amp to my chain would make vocals warmer and fuller sounding and I can notice the difference personally
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I have absolutely no problems with full plate voltage tube preamps. Most folks don't realize that the lesser expensive tube preamps frequently don't use the tube for amplification purposes. It's a ruse. Most inexpensive tube preamps run the tube in " starved plate" low-voltage mode so that it goes into saturation before it can amplify anything. And that's fake tube. Frequently the amplification circuit is an integrated circuit chip. But if you have a fine tube preamp, then you're cooking with gas. Warm quality also comes from quality input transformers as opposed to transform or less which is another expression for "too cheap for a transformer". Oh but you can hear the difference. You should be able to hear the difference. You want to hear the difference. The difference doesn't mean it's better. It's just a different sound. I get warmth from quality Transformers & quality discrete transistor design circuits. IC chips are fine but you can't push them like you can a transistor or a tube. The advantage of the tube is that it's distortion components are largely even order as opposed to a transistor's odd order harmonic content. And that second harmonic distortion, particularly from tubes, present you with natural " overtones" (musician description) or harmonics (engineers description). Harmonics and overtones are the same but different. They are created differently. If I want a tube sound, I pull out the U67's or KM 56, which goes into the quality transistor preamp. And I can safely say that I have never used those on any rock 'n roll sessions. Jazz and orchestral because those microphones are collectors items and not for the cheap rock 'n roll sessions. That'll cost you more if you want them because that's a high end session piece. But you might get the U87's and/or KM 86's. Either way, my sound is warm and very organic. It's not crispy wispy nor metallic sounding like so many folks get from the latest stuff. And so, you have a good reason to use a tube preamp especially one that is supplying at least 350 V DC to the plate of the tube. Tubes also age and when they age, their tonality changes. I don't want that kind of inconsistency. I like the consistency of discrete transistor circuitry and/or quality IC chip designs. So it's a phallus see? And if you want warm, the best way to get warm is not from a hot tube but from a cold ribbon microphone. This is where your understanding of recording technologies and its associated equipment is so important to know about. So a ribbon microphone looking into a quality transformer with transistorized microphone preamp is a heck of a lot warmer than your condenser microphone into a cheap tube preamp. Makes sense?

    Oh, I listened to your microphone test. Yup you are correct that microphone is toast. This sounds like a transistor dying and/or bad capacitor. Your initial voice quality sounded quite nice in spite of the failure. So I don't believe it's the capsule. And because AT is a reputable company I would think that shipping it off to them should be your next move. I'm sure the repair will be inexpensive. But if it was a bargain on eBay, now you might know why. Still worthwhile to have fixed. In fact I really liked the way your voice sounded you regardless of the noise. This microphone is voiced to be richer in body than the 3035 and that IS something you want from a quality microphone. So definitely get it fixed and then enjoy enjoy enjoy. Just a side note, my U67's have perhaps their original Telefunken EF 86's pentode tubes in them. They're getting to the age where they are a little noisy in a similar fashion to your 4050, until they warm up for a couple of hours. Then they settle down. I've attempted on numerous times to replace them with some new EF 86's and to date, I haven't found any I like the sound of. In fact there was such a difference in sound with the new tubes and they were so bad it was like the difference between a Rolls-Royce and a 65 Corvair. So the old Telefunken's go back in.

    Sorry to hear that microphone that way
    Mx. Remy Ann David

    Hey! Stuff happens even with the best microphones.
  14. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    I wonder if it would be cheaper to send it to AT and have it fixed then my local music store? because they said they would and could do it......I just don't want to spend much fixing it seeing as it's actually not mine and I never paid anything for it.....a friend of mine gave it to me years ago because his father who worked in radio gave it to him, but he has indicated that someday he will probably want it back lol

    you liked my vocal sound aside from the distortion eh?

    well perhaps since you have been so engaging you could enlighten me with your thoughts on this thread....the vocals you heard were recorded in the cardboard box

    device you will find pictured here

  15. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    You don't happen to have a cell phone near by or wifi? It sounds like it could be interference to me. Could be the cable but yeah, it may be the mic. Definitely don't be plugging the mp into your edirol mic input. Line out to line in. That's the way it works. Those "Tube" MPs are crap. I think it's pretty well a universal feeling around here. Try the AT3035 again without the mp and just wait a little longer. Is it still quiet or does noise appear with that one too?

    EDIT: I see I was slow. Remy is way...WAY more knowledgeable than I. I guess it's off to the AT repair shop.
  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    So some guy's father got this from his radio/TV station probably because it was making that noise? Not! LOL! Yeah, he might want it back. But if you tell him that you are going to spend the $ to fix it, then, you'll let him "borrow" it anytime. You tell him this after you've bought him a beer. Like a Foster's or a Molson. That's how you speak beer. Especially since Foster's is now made by Molson here in North America.

    You can let your local music store repair guys try to fix that precision microphone? But they'll probably charge you just as much as AT would and AT would probably verify its performance/response. Your local music store repair guys won't be able to do that. Now they're talking about giving you a great deal? Go for it. I repaired a Neumann U87 once (not mine) that was sort of like your microphone. Unfortunately, none of the local A1, top shelf, professional recording studio service guys couldn't fix this perfectly beautiful WARM microphone. That's because, Neumann's schematic was incorrect in both the type & wiring of the one and only transistor within! So, it could end up costing you more than shipping it off and having it done correctly, at the factory. Of course you might find a repair technician like myself, that might figure it out?

    Shoot crap? Or crapshoot? That is the question poop.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  17. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest


    the repair guys at my local music store (Long & Mcquade) couldn't find anything wrong with it!

    keep in mind it never used to do this....it's a problem that developed and I don't have this issue with the at3035 , just the at4050.....so it couldn't be my chain....plus I tried removing the preamp from the chain and it still gave me the same problems.....odd

    sidenote : I'm not quite sure I understand how I am supposed to be hooking up the tubepre to the edirol properly if running an xlr from the mic to the xlr input on the pre, then an xlr from the pre output to the edirol mic xlr input isn't correct......it's worked fine for me doing it that way, why should I not?.....
  18. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    There isn't necessarily a reason specifically not to do that. The greatest reasons for not doing that are, microphone preamps frequently have their own particular coloration. This isn't necessarily as much of an issue for a line level input. Those are generally more neutral sounding sincere intention was not to create 70+ DB of gain one needs for a microphone preamp. So if you're going to plug a microphone preamp into another microphone preamp, you have to make sure that second stage microphone preamp doesn't get drastically overloaded on its inputs. With old-school preamps you could generally switch on the resistive "H" pad switch which would lower input sensitivity from 20 to 30 DB. And then you would be running that microphone preamp also at minimum gain which can actually impart a more squeezed & narrow tonality due to the greater amounts of inverting input negative feedback loop. Operational amplifiers have a more open sounding quality when run at greater than unity gain. But then, in certain situations, the scenario of microphone preamp into microphone preamp can be both a prize and a curse. It varies with each manufacturer's design concepts. I have frequently had to accept line level signals into the microphone preamps of my Neve console. The trim control automatically inserts the resistive input pads while lowering preamplifier gain. In my situation, the sound of my console preamps seems to enhance just about anything fed into them. This isn't always the case in lower end equipment whose microphone preamps are not thought of as something as superior as what you're trying to plug into it. This can be a detrimental situation that undoes what your quality outboard preamp is intended to do. So this can be your great undoing. Sure, you may think it sounds better than the stock onboard preamp and you would be correct, even when fed into your other microphone preamp. But it would be so much better going into the line input and eliminating your stock microphone preamp amplification cell which may actually be an additional amplifier that could & should be bypassed/eliminated. Remember, straight wire=better sound, less is more, keep it simple stupid, all that. Get that better preamp into the A2D converter better faster, more directly. And yes, with the console that I have, any line level signal coming up my microphone snakes, I could patch directly into my 3115 input module, into the line level input and I have. But going into my microphone preamp I have a greater degree of tonality/character control since I can create transformer saturation and/or overdrive in the preamp section. We utilize this technique to purposefully take advantage of certain kinds of distortion components, which can be beneficial from an auditory standpoint. You can only establish this same scenario through careful listening and A/B comparisons. For instance, many current mixer designs include fixed gain microphone preamps that are claimed to be overload proof. That's because they are 20 DB preamps not 50 or 70 DB variable gain preamps. Those fixed gain microphone preamps only have level adjustments or trim that is actually trimming a secondary buffer amplifier section, after the 20 DB preamp.This is all based upon differences in design concept/criteria. Everybody wants to be credited to creating that GOT TO HAVE mousetrap. And with that comes all of the variable pros and cons that you are currently experiencing yourself. This stuff can make you crazy. One of my 26 year old students was going through a similar situation to yours. This cleared everything up for him. That's why those Mackie boards and similar ones like it have become so popular. Their preamps aren't really variable and therefore those mixers have a greater degree of consistency, which makes it easier for those that don't know how to manipulate their consoles and garner a more professional product because the console keeps them from screwing up too badly.

    I can screw up my console quite nicely, thank you. And people like it. That's all you have to care about.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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