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Best overhead pair for under $1000?

Discussion in 'Room & Overhead' started by Crankitup, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    Right now I'm looking at SDC's like the oktava mod MK012's, the Peluso CEMC6, maybe a used set of Neumann KM184's, AKG c451, and Shure SM81's. I have no idea what to get. There's no way I'm going to be able to try all of them out so I was hoping someone in here could tell me which mics they've had good experiences with. I'm currently using Groove Tubes GT57's as OH's and any of these mics would be an improvement...

    Thanks in advance
  2. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member

  3. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    looking for something more specific than just "sm 81's are awesome" however i am considering them
  4. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member

    I'm in the situation you are in except I only want to spend about $800 or so. You probably won't find used KM184 pairs for 1000. I've also been told that new 451s are not the same mic as vintage 451s. For a while I was really conviced that I wanted real MK012s but too many people have said the quality is just too uneven. You could also look into the Rode NT5 or NT55. A lot of people use them.

    In the end I'm either going to get a pair of SM81s (because they seem like the standard other than KM184s) or a pair of Chameleon Labs TS-1.
  5. luis_mendez

    luis_mendez Guest

    AKG 451
  6. JPAllen

    JPAllen Active Member

    Beyer MC930 pair could be just right for you.

    I have a pair, but I haven't put them up over drums yet. However, I can say that the pattern, while advertised as cardiod, is really hypercardiod. The off-axis response is excellent, and they are detailed w/o being bright. The bottom is full and deep.

    I can only imagine that they would do very well as overheads, especially for live work.
  7. johnthemiracle

    johnthemiracle Active Member

    km184. ok it's over 1k, but it's worth it. i wouldn't settle for less...
  8. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member

    Chameleon Labs TS-1


    They're supposed to be awesome for overheads too. theres a couple of samples of these compared to KM84s in the link.

    Hope this helps
  9. unsonic

    unsonic Active Member

    josephson c42mp matched pair. Often used by Steve Albini. Exceptionally crisp, detailed mics. Bright mics without stridency, with a dry, precise sound.
    You can find them for $900 here:
    (dead link removed)
  10. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member


    Do you have a pair?
  11. unsonic

    unsonic Active Member

    Yes I have & I'm very happy with these microphones!
    They have a thickness on them & a bit of extra sparkle on the top end. I often use these microphones for cymbals, drum overheads & for choir ensemble.
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    So much here...where to start??

    Most of the mics you've listed are great for their purpose. However, your GTs are quite nice as well. I've owned and used GT mics for several years and have always found them to be far better than their price would indicate.

    While I agree that these are fantastic mics for overheads, I could care less who uses them. Unless Steve Albini himself will come record your drums for you and personally insure their success, this is absolutely useless. You see - Steve Albini could use Radio Shack mics and get a good sound because -
    1 - He has a good room and a good set of drums
    2 - He knows how to use whatever he's handed to use
    3 - He knows how to tune a kit to get his desired sound
    4 - He knows how to place the mics to get his desired sound.

    But again - good advice on the mics - very nice.

    First, the 184s are about as strident of a pair of overheads as I could imagine. They're decent at some things (hand percussion and steel string guitar) but for overheads...a bit much. I wouldn't say "i wouldn't settle for less..." But hey - if you like them, that's all that matters. Personally, I've found that most people who own the 184s are those who need a SDC and decide that they MUST have a Neumann and don't give it any more consideration than that.

    I've seen 184s for under $1k a pair on Ebay. It's not at all uncommon.

    The new 451s aren't the same as the old ones but the old ones can be found on Ebay for VERY little money and are very well worth it. Not to mention, the new 451s are great mics too. They're bright (not as much as the Neumanns) but the midrange isn't as smooth as in the Neumanns. Either would do fine - the 451s are cheaper though.

    The MK012s can be excellent, but you'll want to buy them from someone who will match them for you. It's a little more, but well worth it.

    The Rodes are friggin amazing especially given their price. They have a smooth midrange and a nice smooth top end.

    I haven't tried the Chameleon Labs - can't comment.

    Some others to consider -
    AKG C460/480 or Blueline
    AT 4041/4051

  13. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    I am shocked the NT5s don't get much mention.
    I have always been rather fond of them. They can be rather sensitive to where you place them, but if you take the time they can really preform well.
    Last night, I used a pair of AT3035's ad that also work pretty well. We were going for a blink 182 drum sound, and they did their job. And the song being recorded has allot of cymbal with a very wide dynamic range.
    I know both of theses are cheaper then a grand, but hey, no reason they should be over looked.
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I'm kinda curious as to what the problem with the Groove Tubes 57 mics is?? They're certainly not the best, but an LDC with patterns and pads and an FET electronic footprint should be able to do a fine job as an overhead mic most anytime. Of course I also think a recordist should always have a pair or more of good SDC's
    around. My favorite has always been the SM81's. Its a desert island mic to me. I've used them on just about anything making noise and they always perform up to task.

    But I'm still curious about the GT57's. I've heard these mics and they're quality soundwise and build wise. So perhaps a look at the recording environment is in order or maybe a visit to the placements.....Just a thought.
  15. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    where's bent when you need him? this sounds like another "microphone showdown" thread...

    "Seven thousand samples of Overheads"
  16. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    I'm takin' a quick break from a brake job in my front yard.

    What's goin' on?


    I'll be back shortly...
  17. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I've been championing the Rode NT55s recently, as I've been using them with cardioid capsules fitted for drum overheads and also for choral work in A-B and Decca tree with omnis fitted. The omnis are outstanding for a mic in that price range. The cardioids are the same as those in the NT5, and are overall very good, with my only real reservation being uncertainty in the off-axis frequency response. The flexibility of having the two capsules with the switchable attenuator and HPF make up a package that IMHO has no equal at a street price of around £340 in the UK and $600 in the US. Search for NT55MP - not everyone stocks the matched pair.
  18. BigAL

    BigAL Guest

    Get a pair of MA-100 by Mojave they sound amazing on drums. I have used them on Kick, Toms, Snare and Hat as well as Guitar. I have yet to use them as overheads but they sound great on those applications.
  19. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    the thing about the groove tubes is that they are very "true" sounding, but not exactly too flattering. I'd describe them as a little thin sounding.. great for toms, ok for overheads. I'll have to do a side by side comparison with my tlm-103 next time i do some drum tracks
  20. hozomean

    hozomean Guest

    I've been very happy with the NT5's... there's a good review of them here:


    Also, since they haven't been mentioned yet... I also know people who swear by the earthworks small diaphragm condensers. I've used them briefly and was pleased with them, but haven't had a chance to use them enough to speak with authority on them. There's some specs and such on the mfr's site here:


    A friend of a friend knows some folks at the company, sounds like a bunch of microphone freaks who take alot of pride in their creations.

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