Is there any reason not to get the KM183-s?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by ghellquist, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    I´m out looking for a pair of omnis, and the budget is one of my problems. Was offered a pair of KM183-s at a decent price, have heard them in a small room and liked them. Not much of a test for my usage though.

    Intended application chamber music and symphony orchestra. Intend to try on a piano concerto februari 20 (Beethoven third) either as A/B main pair or spot mics (I´ll try both and see what comes out). I record on an amateur level, mostly the orchestras where I play, but my hobby is slowly evolving into something deeper.

    Are they usable for this ? There seems to be a bit of Neumann bashing going on here and there -- and just perhaps I should be aware of why.

    Could someone elaborate on all the bad things with them, I´ll want to listen carefully before finally committing my cash.

    Gunnar Hellquist
    amateur musician and recordist

    My equipment otherwise includes a pair of KM184, a pair of Sennheiser KMH406, a pair of Shure SM57, a pair of Studio Projects C4, a pair of Behringer ECM8000 and a pair of no-name chinese SDC-s. Goes to a Motu 828mkII through a decent 8ch mic pre (Line Audio Design OMP-8).
  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Beautiful mics, buy them immediately. You will never be dissappointed. Warning, this is my personal, biased, and completely bigoted opinion only.
  3. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    If you like your 184s, you might like these as well. One thing I would be worried about is the HUGE hf rise (you can see the graph on the InfoPool at the Neumann site). From what I've been told by those on this site with infinitely more knowledge than my own, is that this can sound very harsh, as they can lose their composure in the upper end. You can get the SBK spheres to slightly alter the frequency response; I thought I could do this to get a budget pair of M50s!

    I've been pestering Neumann to find out why some people prefer the KM100 series with the AKxx capsules to the 180 series, and I was told that they're electronically identical, and they must be hearing incorrectly. Not accepting this answer and after pestering them some more, they said the KM180 electronics had been 'improved' so there is difference. That sort of thing really irritates me about Neumann, but of course that is not answering your question...

    Bear in mind that this boost occurs in the free field only, and they're quite flat in the diffuse field. As an owner of Sennheiser MKH mics, you have something great to compare them to, so just follow your ears.

    I'd love to know what you think of them if you do decide to buy them. I still haven't ruled them out completely -and they are cheap!

  4. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    I think we must have been typing replies at the same time. Do you have a particular favourite application for the KM183s? Have you tried the SBK spheres?

  5. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Yeah its a bit annoying, but I guess they have to protect their info, to avoid a riot.

    Having used both series many times, they sound the same to me. Some inside knowledge of one of the "improvements" is that they are now immune to the 900MHz mobile phone interferance from those great honourable members of our race that keep their phones on in the concert hall.
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    I would tend to agree with the above statements. They aren't my personal favorite mics, but they are very usable and you can't beat the price. I don't know of any others in that range that I would favor over the Neumann (though I do enjoy the Audix's - they have a completely different sound - more "clear" and less "warm.")

  7. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    The 180 electronics have been improved from what? They have to be the most RF-prone mics in my collection.

    Bright omnis can be useful. Especially for diffuse field micing or places when you need a bit of extra "dig" into the ensemble. I use them to get extra diction on choirs, ambient micing of ensembles and other such uses. In my case, I'm usually using my 4006's and I'll put the black grids on them, but I've also used MK2S (or H?), KM130 (with the HF bump) and other mics...

  8. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    I must agree with other posters here that the 183 is pretty darn bright. I find it a little offensive that way myself.

    My opinion is that you might find them useful for the price, but I imagine that you will outgrow them and soon be wishing for something else. This from a lover of top end, I might add. I just don't find the treble on that mic to be pretty.

    OTOH, I think a pair of KM83's are great! Just goes to show how important the electronics are, as the capsule is the same.


  9. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Have you considered the DPA 4061s? Yes, it has a rise with the grid, but they are quite flat without. And they are even LESS expensive than the 183s. I used to own KM184 and KM140. They were both rather bright and crunchy but the KM140 had a slightly more gutsy sound. I do NOT believe they are identical. They were also the last mics I would reach for and am glad to be rid of them. LD Neumanns (TLM193/270) are a different kettle of fish entirely.

    While I understand the rationale of diffuse field response I almost always want to be a little closer than that for enough presence. To my ears that cannot be acheived with HF lift.

  10. AB2

    AB2 Guest

    Are these DPA 4061s being talked about the lavelier mics? Are they good for general recording? I thought they were designed to be clip ons or the like?
    THANKS for any info
  11. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    Great input.

    To me it seems like the main objection you all have is that they have a rise in the HF. Which I will listen carefully for in my tests.

    In my mind (not tests yet), the rise in itself is not a problem more of a possibility. Part of it can be EQ-d out and part of it is very useful for diffuse field recordings. I plan to EQ most recordings anyway, generally cut off a bit of the low frequencys to diminish the impact of cars passing by. But if the HF rise after eq-ing results in a harshness, I am going to stay off them.

    In due time I will probably outgrow them, but I hope to have a bit more budget at that time. Good thing is that they tend to have a decent resale value.

    Hmm, not looked deeper on them. The spec talks about a noise level which would be too much for my ears when using them as main pair. I tend to be rather sensitive there.

    Anyway, great thanks anyway. Great forum this, lots of experience.

  12. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Take a look at the specs for the 4060-- a 23dBa noise floor. They were used for main mics for Boston Symphony TV productions, and compare favoraby with the 4006s.

    Go to and search "soundmirror" and I think you might reconsider.

    I have owned KM130, as well as KM140 and KM183-- I would take the DPAs over all of them simply on sound. The noise floor is not a problem, but you should arrange for an audition and hear them for yourself. As you point out, keepng the grid on gives you the option of EQing out the HF rise, which also EQs out associated noise in that frequency area.

  13. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Yeah the first batches for quite a few years were. But Neumann has fixed this in a major circuit upgrade on the newer ones around now. Schoeps have also had to do a lot of fixing for this problem also.
  14. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Hit the nail on the head here. Yes there is no real boost in a diffuse field, ie in or near the edge of the far field of a classical recording as an omni pair. I could never say my KM130's are bright.
  15. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Interestingly, Neumann's take on this is that KM83s can't possibly be better because differences in the bass response are caused by distortion in the older models. Where have we heard that before? Ah yes, the death of the U67 -the newer models have to sound better -just look at that oscilloscope!

    Seriously though, I'm not knocking the 183, although I think the company can be a little patronising when dealing with valid issues raised by customers. I do believe that the 183 has some very interesting properties in the way it can be made to handle directionality, and I'd love to spend a lot of time experimenting with it. I know that the other big companies also have various attachments to change the response of their mics so that goes for them too. But then again, I love setting up my mics and recording the TV for hours on end! Stick me in front of a choir and I'll mess things up, but nobody can record Dr. Phil quite like I can :wink:

  16. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Sorry John, missed this one earlier. In some acoustics they are our number one choice, they seem particularly good for choral work and smaller vocal ensembles. I was actually referring to the KM130's but I think they are the same.

    The sound is warm with that lower mid richness that I find specific to Neumanns, this can be a curse in a muddy acoustic, but if things sound a little thin and crispy, the KM130's will solve the problem. I would never use them for spot mics, as they are equed for the diffuse field, they are best as a stereo pair.

    We have used them for chamber music as well, string quartets and piano trios, and in concert with the AMEK 9098, you get a silky rich sound, with hair on the bow detail.

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