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Chameleon Labs TS-1s or AKG 451s for OHs

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Drewslum, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member

    I'm looking to spend about $900 on a pair of drum overheads. Anyone have any thoughts on either 451s or Chameleon Labs TS-1s? I've heard the later holds it's own against 451's.

  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I have and used 451's since 1978. I like them better on Hi Hat than as overheads but as overheads, they're nice and splashy bright. The older ones do not have a built-in pad, which can be quite necessary for this microphone. The old ones you would unscrew the capsule and screw in the capsule pad and then replace the capsule. They were available in a 10 and 20 DB pad. You might also want to consider a 452? The newer version which has switches built in.

    I've never had any experience with the others you have mentioned. What I have enjoyed using for overheads is Shure SM 81's also on hats. Built-in pads and roll off switches there. Smooth linear response without an overhyped high frequency response. But what I really like for overheads is AKG 414's or Neumann U87's large diaphragm condenser microphones. But only if the drum kit has nice sounding cymbals. If the cymbals sound like trash cans, use the small diaphragm condenser microphones as they will not accentuate that trash canny effect as much. I've also used a pair of Rode NT1 microphones large diaphragm condenser's which sounded very nice and were the right price.

    Happy hunting!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I agree with Remy on the SM81's as OH's. They also make great acoustic guitar mics. I used to have a couple of the original AKG C452EB's. From what I've been able to tell, the newer versions are a bit more hyped and strident on the top end compared to the originals. On your budget, you can go with a pair of the 81's, and have enough left over for another 57 or 2 (you can never have enough of them, can you?). Something to consider.
    As far as the Chameleons are concerned, I haven't tried them, BUT if their tube LDC is any indicator, I'd stay clear of them. I had several issues with their TS-2 when I was recording a country band in their studio last year. The mic was noisey and overly sibilant on the vocalist, compared to my A-T AT4047. This shows that just because a product uses a tube to gain "warmth", it doesn't always work out that way. And an SDC that has a tube in it...I think that there are gonna be some heat/microphonics issues there. Finally, remember that the Chameleons are made in China by "somebody else". The Shures, the AKG's, and even Oktavas are made by their namesake.
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    For OH or HH pencils, almost always SM81's and older 451/452 for me. For LD or room mic, it can vary between TLM103, AT4050 and 414

    Have not tried the TS-1, but I have heard both good and bad from what people I respect have said about them. Since I use and am very happy with my SM81's and 452's, I'm in no hurry to try them.

    Moonbaby is correct. The reissue 451's are more strident/stringent/hard sounding.
  5. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member

    Thanks for the replies. It seems like I should check out these SM 81's. One more question. I want to learn how to get a great sound from a kit with 2 OHs Snare and a Kick before I start close miking everything. So until I can afford some more mics I'll be picking up my toms with these overheads too, are the 81's gonna pick up the toms well?

    - Drewslum
  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    They'll do fine.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I wonder how much of that is a function of design and build and how much is a function of the natural wear of a fine microphone.

    I recall working with some 451s a good 17 years ago and recalling how tilted they were on top - quite unforgiving. I recently heard an older pair again and they were much more mellow than I recall (still a little on the bright side, but not offensive). Whereas I also recently heard the reissues and my goodness - there's where all the brightness went.

    I still think the new 451s are great - don't get me wrong. I think they'll age just fine.
  8. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Well, let's face it. A lot of what we remember from many years ago can be
    slanted by a number of variables. What were the monitoring conditions- speakers and environment ? What about our ability to accurately store this information in our heads? I mean, I remember having a number of mics-the Shure SM54 comes to mind- that I thought were great at the time. Listening to a couple last year, I thought, "What the hell was I thinking?".
  9. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member

    OK I've made my list that I'm gonna choose from. A friend suggested Rode NT5s would be good also...

    OH Pairs:
    Chameleon Labs TS-1
    AKG 451 (Vintage?) $900 +
    Rode NT55

    I've Got:
    Beta 52 for the kick.
    SM57 for snare top
    I've also got one AKGC3000 and one AKGC1000 for something. I'd mic the room, but It doesn't sound very good so I was thinking I'd see what kind of tom sounds I could get with these two AKGs. Any recommendations?
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I'm sorry moonbaby that you didn't like your SM 54's. I still have 4 SM 53's. The kind that Wally Hieder used to endorse in the advertisements in DB magazine. Maybe that's why he's dead now??

    Psssssst don't answer the phone man. I think it's bugged?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    If you are considering a pair of Rode NT5s, it's worth the bit extra to get the matched pair of NT55s instead. The 55s have interchangeable omni/cardioid capsules, switched 10 and 20dB pad and switched HP filters. I have been seriously impressed with them as drum OHs.
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    And if Boswell is impressed, they must be good! I highly respect his knowledge.

    I just love the Brits! They are just the best. But we all ready knew that.

    One fish. Two fish. I can never be like the Britfish.

    I think I need a doctor... Seuss?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  13. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Hey, Remy,
    What's in that coffee cup? Actually, I liked the SM54's on brass and some percussion. My issue with them was the fact that they didn't have a very hot output, and I was using them with a Yamaha PM1000 console. The 1K was notorious for having a fairly low input sensitivity in those days. The 2 just didn't mesh. Ya gotta mesh before you can mix...
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I've been in that mesh before.

    Ms. Remy Ann David

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