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Neumann KMS 85i ?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by mats.olsson@rockfile.se, Jun 9, 2001.

  1. (I posted this question at Stephen Pauls forum, but since that place is closed now I bring it over here.)

    I need info/opinions on the KMS 85i. I really would like to know anything about this odd mike, has any of you cats got any knowledge to share? The Neumann site has no info, just a picture.

    Please note: I am not reffering to KM 85, the KMS 85i is a different beast.

    /Mats
     
  2. MPlancke

    MPlancke Member

    Originally posted by mats.olsson@rockfile.se:
    (I posted this question at Stephen Pauls forum, but since that place is closed now I bring it over here.)

    I really would like to know anything about this odd mike, has any of you cats got any knowledge to share? The Neumann site has no info, just a picture.

    Please note: I am not reffering to KM 85, the KMS 85i is a different beast.

    /Mats


    Yeah, I found that out. The KMS series are designed for close up use "Soloist" is what the "S" stands for, most likely on stage as a vocal mic.

    There's all kind of info on the Nuemnan web site under the KM83/84/85/86 series.

    They list no KMS85, only a KMS84. I would assume that the KMS85 shares the low frequency roll off of the KM85. How much use these mics would be in a studio situation, I don't know.


    http://www.Neumann.com/infopool/history/produkte.php?ProdID=kms84

    You might also want to post something to the Neumann Pinboard, lot's of information there.
     
  3. Stephen Paul

    Stephen Paul Active Member

    Hi David... welcome to the zoo!

    Actually, my area has just changed it's focus and how it's going to be run, instead of a usual forum... (At last... brouhahahahahahhahahaaaaaaa)...

    The KMS is the only mike Neumann ever made specifically designed for the stage and handheld use.

    It has a very tight diaphragm, to limit proximity effect (the bass boost that occurs when a gradient mike is brought within inches of the sound source) and has a very thick windscreen over the capsule under that weird sixties looking grille.

    If you think of a tightly-tensioned KM-84 with the capsule fully ensconsed in a thick neoprene rubber mounting to eliminate handling noise, and then the diaphragm being very tightly tensioned to roll off the bottom (the '85' designation) you'll get the idea.

    Circuitry is exactly the same as the 84 otherwise. It never really caught on for live performing, except here and there in Europe, for a couple of reasons...

    One, the 84 is an unusually transparent capsule, in fact SO transparent that it borders on insubstantiality, and therefore was never a great vocal mike. In addition, the solid-state '80' miniature series, marked the first time that Georg Neumann and Gerhardt Bore (his physicist), decided to make a backplate by milling grooves in aluminum T3 rather than drilling holes. Point was to produce these mikes relatively inexpensively.

    So while the 15mm capsule has excellent off-axis high freq response, (you can read about gradient design in my 'Designer's Corner' below this area) and is very flat with a slight rise near 18kHz, it just doesn't have a lot of balls.

    Hunkering it down under all the rubber padding to mechanically de-couple it and all the rubber de-popping overkill, (actually needed as that mike has a very large tendency to wonk out (or 'block') when low-pressure excursions whack it, another reason to choose the 85 tension over the 84 tension,) really made it a very expensive and not very good sounding stage mike, though it does look very interesting.

    My recommendation would be an AKG 535EB which accomplished the KMS design goals much more inexpensively, and actually sounds better IMO.

    The 535 is what I still perform live with. Though you do need phantom, as you will with almost any really decent sounding condenser.

    ;)
     
  4. Stephen Paul

    Stephen Paul Active Member

    PS:

    The 'i' designation on ALL mikes from Neumann, means that the =transformer= is strapped from the factory for 50 ohms, which is no longer necessary and drops the output by six dB... it stands for 'import' into the US for Gotham at the time. The key here is the KMS the S standing for 'screened' as in pop screen, or 'soloist' or 'stage' depending on the year you asked someone. So the 'i' isn't the real issue here with this particular mike.

    You'll find all legally imported Neumanns from the fifties to the seventies and early eighties had the 'i', and a little blue or red dot.

    The plain dot means the transformer is strapped for the proper 200 ohm output, and the blue 'i' impedance is the first thing we change on the bench to the European 200 ohms, as this was only necessitated by the preamps of the time having funky input impedance curves.

    Just as a footnote, the '2' series in front of a mike's name (M-'249' instead of M-'49') means that the mike was also legally imported by Gotham and has the Tuchel RF-proof connectors rather than either the Bayonet connector as found on the 49, or the DIN connectors found on the normal KMs etc. So when you see a 256 for instance, it's the same as a a KM-56, but has the larger Tuchel RF-proof connector rather than the five or six pin DIN.

    Also one last little tidbit, the M-49 (or 249) 'b' (not the normal 49 or the 'c') is wired out of polarity from the factory! So it's important if you have or find a 49 to make sure that this has been corrected to positive or inward pressure at the membrane resulting in a positive-going output at pin 2.
     
  5. A friend of mine (and a very respected engineer specialized mainly in Jazz BTW) just told me that the KMS 85 is his #1 choice on upright bass!

    I will try it out this week (if I only can persuade a bass player come over for some testing). This can be fun.

    Two more question regarding this mike:
    Is it possible to modify the electronics so that it is not -6dB?

    What would be a reasonable price to pay for this mike? It is in fair condition, I would give it a 3 on a scale where 5 is "as good new".

    /Mats
     
  6. Stephen Paul

    Stephen Paul Active Member

    Yes, the impedance can be set for 200 ohms... personally I can think of many mikes I think would do better on acoustic bass, but it depends on budget. Rememeber that transient responbse through this mike is VERY limited... he prbably likes it mainly because of the proximity control and that can be achieved other ways... I'd rather see you try an 85 capsule without all the socks...

    Hope that helps.

    The lab number is 818-905-9952.
     
  7. FYI, I just got this reply at the Neumann pinboard:
    ------------------------------
    Posted by Walter Vicci (walvicci@tin.it) on June 10, 2001

    In Reply to: KMS 85i ? posted by Mats Olsson on June 10, 2001:

    Dear Mats,

    the KMS series is a soloist series of microphones.
    KM means "Klein Mikrophon" = "Small microphone"
    The "S" stays for "Soloist".
    The KMS started with the KMS 85 microphone in 1971.
    Inside the external body a KM 84 microphone is placed plus some accessories
    like foam screens and else.
    Even if this one was developed as vocalist mic, several engineers used them
    to record piano, drum and else.They heard a smoother sound than the 84.
    Some J.Lennon's piano takes ("Imagine" ???!!!)were recorded with the KMS
    85.
    Even if the code is 85 the capsule is the KK 64-84 cardioid used in the KM 64
    tube mic and the KM 84 "fet 80 series" mic.
    I don't have the schematic at the moment but the electronic should be the
    same of the KM 84.
    In 1977 came the KMS 84 (Same capsule), then the KMS 140 and 150
    (1991:AK 40 and 50 capsules from the KM 100 system)and today Neumann
    manufactures the KMS 105.

    I loved that particular mic when, five-six years old, I saw it in the singers'
    hands through "RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana" broadcasts.

    I suppose that over 30.000 units have been manufactured,but today this mic
    is more difficult to find than a U 47 or M 49.
    Some microphones are matt black finished:unfindable.

    The KMS 85 doesn't feature great feedback and handling rejection but it is
    surely a great milestone by Neumann.

    Best regards

    Walter Vicci
    ----------------------
     
  8. MPlancke

    MPlancke Member

    Originally posted by mats.olsson@rockfile.se:

    Two more question regarding this mike:
    Is it possible to modify the electronics so that it is not -6dB?

    /Mats


    Yes, it's a matter of bridging two resistors. I posted a detailed procedure about 4-5 months ago on the rec.audio.pro newsgroup on how to do this. Go to deja.com and search for "KM83/84/85 Surgery".
     
  9. Stephen Paul

    Stephen Paul Active Member

    Actually this info is partially incorrect.

    Yes, difficult as it might be to believe...

    I have worked on these mikes and have the original brochures on them as well...

    It isn't really surprising though. I once had a disagreement about the fact that the M-50 capsule wasn't nickel with Stephan Peus the VP of mike development at Neumann when he came to my lab the first of several visits...

    He refused to believe the diaphragm was aluminum until I showed him one in a bag :D) that it is necessarily correct. At least I have a schematic!

    You know we have supplied them not only with data but sample materials... In addition, Stephen Paul Audio was the first and only -ever- independent authorized warranty Neumann station in the US since '84... and that's pretty much it.

    But that's another story. Believe what you like... and the 'smoothness' is a direct result of the high-freq loss... Actually, I have cassette copies of John working out the chords to 'Imagine' and 'Mirror' at home at The Dakota :D

    It doesn't surprise me that they would be good for some unusual things... whatever works. Christopher Parkening once came to my house and played Segovia's guitar and the mike he liked best had no high-end, because Chris had a thing about string noise. I think it's a natural part of the sound, but that was his choice. So it still wouldn't be my choice...

    And the mike =does= have handling noise protection... they ceased manufactur in the early eighties... not really surprised that the info is at odds... maybe in the US we had a different version... who the hell knows?

    As far as =impedance changeover= sorry mark... it requires a solder bridge be closed not on resistors, but it completes the full series winding of the secondary of the output transformer, all due respect to what you read... and if you try doing it yourself... well, the number of the lab is up above... Haaaaahahahaa...

    I guess you guys just don't get it, do you? Well, ask Neumann when you have a question next time, and I guess you don't need me here! I'll stay out of it next time... you guys know all you need... certainly more than I! Ahhhhhahahahhaaa...

    I certainly am a dope giving info to you guys... wow... when will I ever learn?
     
  10. MPlancke

    MPlancke Member

    Originally posted by Stephen Paul:
    Actually this info is partially incorrect.

    As far as =impedance changeover= sorry mark... it requires a solder bridge be closed not on resistors, but it somoletes the full secondary of the output transformer, all due respect to what you read... and if you try doing it yourself... well, the number of the lab is up above... Haaaaahahahaa...


    Actually Stephen, the information I provided was in regards to removing the 6db output pad; two 47 ohm resistors in series with the output, R11 & R12 on my schematic; not changing the transformer taps.

    Changing the taps is also addressed in my posting on RAP (along with the appropriate warnings and disclaimers) as well as in the Neumann operating instructions for the KM84 series.

    If anyone isn't comfortable with doing these mods themselves they should definitely give Stephen a call, he's the king of all things microphone.
     
  11. Stephen Paul

    Stephen Paul Active Member

    Thanks Mark, but, once again folks...

    Actually those 47 ohm Rs are only about a dB of the level... (If that!) The majority of the 6dB difference is the secondary impedance of the transformer... as I already stated... but, I'll state it again.

    Maybe at SOME point you guys might understand the depth and nature of the resource you occasionally have access to here... and trust it... meaning Harvey!

    Those Rs are also there to give an absolute limit to the out Z under strange parameters like splitters... just a note. Make it a 'C' note and I'll take the case...

    It's good ta be the king...

    Though I evidentally don't know the difference between Rs and XFRMRs... :D
     
  12. Thank you guys for generously sharing your wast knowledge & experiences. This kind of information is really of great help. I will keep on testing this mike for a few days more and then make up my mind whether it will worth the asking price AND really be a useful addition to the microphone closet.

    Stephen, I have the greatest respect for your knowledge, please keep on posting here!

    Best regards,
    Mats
     
  13. MPlancke

    MPlancke Member

    This is a copy of the information I have on the transformer and the pad.

    Most Neumann FET mics, as well as some tube mics in the 1960s, used a color dot next to the serial number to indicate whether that particular mic was shipped with 50 or 200 Ohms output impedance. In the case of tube mics, the presence of a red lacquer dot on the I.D. plate meant that the mic was shipped 50 ohms, its absence, that the strapping was 200 ohms.

    Later, with the introduction of FET mics, the system was modified by drilling a small indentation into the brass body next to the serial number, typically at the bottom of the mic: bare brass indentation meant the mic was strapped for 200 Ohms, if the brass indentation was filled with red color (changed to baby blue in the 1980s), the mic was shipped with 50 Ohms strapping.

    The net-effect of the two different output impedances is that, all else being equal, the 200 ohms output setting will give you 6dB more output from you mic if you terminate into 1000 ohms input impedance (typical of most mic pre amps). The way the two impedance settings are achieved in most Neumann tube and FET mics is by using either the two secondary windings of the output transformer in parallel (50 Ohms) or series
    (200 Ohms).

    The change-over is easily done in most cases by resoldering the respective color coded transformer leads on the amp board, next to the transformer (too detailed for this discussion). One mic, the FET 47, has a
    convenient switch on the bottom to do the change.

    Anticipating your next question: yes, there is a difference in sound whether you connect transformer secondary windings in parallel or series: most users with relative short cable lengths (under 50 ft.) report that there's more beef in the output, particularly in the lower mids, when strapping to 200 Ohms, in addition to the better s/n ratio this strapping provides.

    A side bar: Gotham Audio, Neumann’s U.S. importer until the late 1980s, insisted that every mic imported into the country not only be strapped to 50 Ohms (red/blue dot) but be further reduced in output by another 4-6dB by installation of audio pads, either on the mic amp board or, for tube mics, on the power supply’s audio connector.

    The reason for this s/n -killer? The philosophy of the importer that Neumann mics will sell better here, if they don’t distort the inputs of mixing consoles which were thought to be too anemic to handle the robust output of condenser mics. (Don’t forget: low-output ribbons and dynamics were the norm when Gotham started to conquer the States in the late 1950s with the high-output U47s, M49s, and later U67s)

    Hope this was not too tiresome an explanation.

    Kind regards, Klaus Heyne
     
  14. Stephen Paul

    Stephen Paul Active Member

    Okay, last time... Mark, are you trying to start another war here? ;)

    Look, last time, and then you can all go hang yourselves 'cos I'm TIRED of this.

    All due respect to Klaus... this is not the whole deal if at all in some areas...

    Most Neumann mikes, as well as some tube mics in the 1960s, used a color dot next to the serial number to indicate whether that particular mic was shipped with 50 or 200 Ohms output impedance. In the case of tube mics, the presence of a red lacquer dot on the I.D. plate meant that the mic was shipped 50 ohms, its absence, that the strapping was 200 ohms.

    Neumann used a red colored dot for 50 ohms on tube mikes ONLY for export, the European versions lacked paint. This began with the 47s post American Elite. Again as the only authorized independent repair station, I have documentation on all this. In addition the blue dot was used long before the eighties, it, in fact was the FET phantom 50 ohm designator... and in use since the late sixties...

    I don't know what the problem is here Mark... but all due respect, I was doing this before Klaus even went into business.

    This all started back in the =50's= with the U-47 -prior- to Gotham when they were imported by a small company called American Elite... then the dot system wasn't used yet, however, nor were early 47s shipped with the pi attenuators that DID give 6dB padding, with RESISTORS... that's what a pi attenuator is. I really don't have time to straighten all of this $*^t out because I'm packing... but forget it... Also, there were SOME tube models once Stephen Temmer started Gotham and began importing these things that had the brass dots, but NONE of these were legally imported through Gotham....

    ALL 'i' series mikes with the secondaries divided (unstrapped) were blue dot. A mike with a RED dot IS, WAS and ALWAYS will be a tube-only designation, with a FEW early exceptions, ending with the 67, and carried to the earliest 87s.

    Later, with the introduction of FET mics, the system was modified by drilling a small indentation into the brass body next to the serial number, typically at the bottom of the mic: bare brass indentation meant the mic
    was strapped for 200 Ohms, if the brass indentation was filled with red color (changed to baby blue in the 1980s), the mic was shipped with 50 Ohms strapping.

    The blue dot was in fact used from the early seventies on, with the new 'i' designation...

    A side bar: Gotham Audio, Neumann’s U.S. importer until the late 1980s, insisted that every mic imported into the country not only be strapped to 50 Ohms (red/blue dot) but be further reduced in output by another
    4-6dB by installation of audio pads, either on the mic amp board or, for tube mics, on the power supply’s audio connector.

    Technically these Rs have a bigger effect on padding when in the 50 ohm position, but only as I said about a 1-2dB effect when the mike is strapped for 200... Period. This whole deal was instituted in May of 1960 with the introduction of mylar membranes...

    BUT these are NOT the inline Rs you are talking about, Mark... THOSE have a much smaller effect. Even the output padding on the 47 FET was accomplished by a switch on the mike bottom that put the secondary in series (200 ohm full output)or parallelled the winding halves for -6 dB (50 ohm).

    The reason for this s/n -killer? The philosophy of the importer that Neumann mics will sell better here, if they don’t distort the inputs of mixing consoles which were thought to be too anemic to handle the
    robust output of condenser mics. (Don’t forget: low-output ribbons and dynamics were the norm when Gotham started to conquer the States in the late 1950s with the high-output U47s, M49s, and later U67s)

    According to bulletin 10-B issued by Neumann, the main reason for the impedance change was the then-popular Langevin and other tube mike pres in use in the fifties and earlier sixties, had a very peaky impedance curve which had the effect of rolling off bottom end and peaking top out of factory spec when the mike was at 200 ohms source. Ideally there should be a flat 5:1 load to source ratio, a requirement that only became met as the seventies ushered in solid-state pres with xfrmrs with a reflected load Z of 1K or higher, as well as better xrfrmr design with a flatter Z curve and better group delay, as well as flatter frequency response and better headroom.

    In addition after NU-67U (67 supply) serial number 10,000, the pi attenuators ceased having the extra Rs to allow 'proper' output padding for 50 ohm settings, being only there for the 200 ohm setting with it's 6dB higher output.

    That's all I have to say at this point, except that I sure a hell am glad I'm getting outta here to work on a really great record and don't have to sit here and defend my own position, which at this point, is hardly assailable by such as Klaus Heyene, all due respect! (In addition, the 49 as well as ALL 701-equipped condensers are simply NOT a level inout problem... this is because the 701 only has an Af of 24... necessitating special RF proof cable, because the levels were so much lower...)

    It was the 67 which was the first attempt to deal with the distortion issue by reducing the level AT THE CAPSULE rather than by padding the output.

    Gotta go...

    Now there's more, but get it from Klaus... I'm really going to leave this crap alone at this point... and Mark, if I weren't a gentleman, I would say a hearty... well, I am a gentleman! You who want the absolute dissertation on everything, go elsewhere I guess, I'm back here because I wanted to have a little fun and this ain't fun, it's BS...

    The king indeed... When Klaus builds his first capsule, (or anyone else for that matter I didn't teach how, then feel free to believe whom you wish...)

    David, you can have these digestive output portals, it's your forum anyhow... anyone is welcome down in my little zone who ain't lookin' either for a fight or a desperate need to demonstrate their ignorance...

    You guys really astound me sometimes... it's the truth.... at least the courtesy of emailing me in private to ask how a difference in what I wrote from something else you read means, would be what I might consider polite enough to correct any misconceptions... but this is just burning up time I need for other things... Send you crap to wherever you think they know best... evidentally as I say, it ain't me, it's everyone else...
     
  15. MPlancke

    MPlancke Member

    Originally posted by Stephen Paul:
    Okay, last time... Mark, are you trying to start another war here? ;)


    Stephen

    I have less than no clue why you choose to go off the deep end when anyone seemly challenges anything you have to say. It's part of what discussion is all about, it's how people learn.

    I'd prefer to have you as a friend rather than enemy.

    I officially surrender.
     
  16. dbock

    dbock Guest

    I'm wondering what use mats ohlson has found for his KSM85i......BTW, the 50 ohm strap is lower output and is officially "not in vouge".
    DB
     
  17. hargerst

    hargerst Distinguished Member

    I hate to see this stuff going on, so let me try to explain (in a 1/2 ass way) why these kinda posts make Stephen go ballistic.

    Let's go back a few years, back when Gotham Audio was the distribution arm for Neumann in the US. The bulk of the microphones that Neumann sold in the US were to the major recording studios and the film industry, which is mostly located in Los Angeles. At the time, the only official place to get a Neumann fixed under warranty was Gotham Audio in New York.

    This wasn't working for a lot of the big studios who needed a fast turn around on repairs, plus there were reports trickling in about this kid in LA who was actually improving the Neumann mics at the same time he was repairing them.

    The studios were paying Stephen directly, but putting the screws to Gotham to make Stephen an independent authorized Neumann repair station. Finally, they did make Stephen Paul an independent authorized Neumann repair station - the only one in the world.

    Gotham/Neumann were also very interested in all the modifications Stephen was making to their mics, which the studios seemed to be clamoring for. They visited Stephen's place often and took note of what he was doing.

    Now, Gotham and Neumann ain't stupid - they start putting in some of Stephen's mods right at the factory, without bothering to credit Stephen or mention where the idea came from, just "on-going research and development". Yeah, right.

    So now Stephen has this love-hate thing going with Neumann; he spent a lotta years of his life in love with Neumann and worked hard to make them the best mic in the world, but they don't acknowledge all the stuff that Stephen has done to contribute to their success.

    But the real rub, I think for Stephen, are forums like this. See, none of the studios ever questioned anything Stephen said. They just said, "here's our mics; do your magic". And he did. Remember, he was the only guy out there doing this stuff.

    And now you have people on here, saying whatever they feel like, or who weren't even around when this stuff was happening, or even worse, people who learned most of what they know from Stephen.

    Stephen has spent a good portion of his adult life, finding out exactly what makes a Neumann mic tick. To be challenged (and I'm sure that's exactly what it feels like to him) is insulting as hell. That's probably why what you see as an innocent remark or question is taken by him as an insult to his knowledge, and his life's work.

    I hope this will help explain Stephen's actions, and help you better understand where he's coming from. This is strictly the way I see this whole timeline thing, and I haven't talked to Stephen about any of this, so dates and events may be way off, but that's my rough understanding of the situation.
     
  18. Update from the Neumann Pinboard:

    Quote:
    ---------------------
    Posted by M. Schneider / Neumann (schneidm@Neumann.com) on June 11,
    2001

    In Reply to: Re: KMS 85i ? posted by Walter Vicci on June 10, 2001:

    Dear Mr. Olsson,

    true, the KMS85 interestingly never had a real "operating manual", It's just
    mentioned in complete catalogs. But 30,000 units is a bit too high a guess
    (although flattering!). A few hundred, I'd say, 1971-1985.

    Best regards,
    Martin Schneider
    Neumann Mic. Development
    -------------------------
    end quote.

    /Mats

    P.S.
    Still testing the KMS 85i, will keep you posted...
     
  19. StevenT

    StevenT Guest

     
  20. Stephen Paul

    Stephen Paul Active Member

    No... I should have qualified that...

    The 'ai' took two pages from my notebook. One, they ship strapped for 200 ohms now and have much hotter output. In addition they dropped the feedback cap from 220pf to 160pf to brighten up the mike.

    They also have a DC to DC converter in them in place of the battery holder to give the capsule the full 60VDC on the backplate that the 67 had, and went to the 67 non-electrically isolating interelectrode gasket, thereby upping the power output (voltage really) of the capsule, and making the system less humidity sensitive.
     
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