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Neumann u47 v RØDE NT1

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by audiokid, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Mic Shoot Out! Neumann u47 v RØDE NT1. Listen Now!
    NT1 & U47 Side by Side Test

    This is crazy close. Shows what a good pre does for most mics. I mean, I've read testimonials on the RODE Classic II sounding harsh but through my M-2b, it sounds incredible. And through a MP 2nV with some gain saturation, would be killer for the big blues. The last thing I noticed was harsh. SM57 (M1) through high end pre's sound wonderful. A good pre and some of the very affordable mics goes a long way.

    Check this out, pretty impressive.

    pcrecord likes this.
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Yeah that's a good message for those who still thinks preamps do not make a difference.
  3. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    That's pretty damn close.. Is the difference in sound worth the price?.. Although you tube isn't the best place to judge overall fidelity,.. most people wouldn't hear the difference as far as which one is better or worse..
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I agree with what you guys have said... I just don't know if I can trust the manufacturer 100% to be honest in the making of that video... we all know that all these manufactures build their own hype and PR.

    I guess I'm suggesting that I wouldn't put it past the manufacturer to potentially be using a U47 for both demos, with maybe just a hint of EQ nip and tuck here and there to separate the sound - by just a smidgeon enough that they sound just different enough to be two different models, but both still sounding great.

    I dunno... maybe I'm just being paranoid, and maybe the Rode really is in that league, when paired up with the right pre. I most certainly trust Chris when he says he has had great experience using the Rode through his Millennia... although, I'm not sure that even an SM57 wouldn't become a big league vocal mic through his pre. LOL

    I guess that until one of us actually AB's those two mics (and I don't know of anyone of us who has a U47) we won't really know for sure.

    Here's the thing... and please believe me, guys .. what I'm about to say? I'm not boasting or bragging here, (nor am I channeling Remy, either... ;) ) I'm just trying to make a point... and it's this:

    How many here have actually used a U47?

    I have. In fact, I have on several occasions...on one occasion, it was a Neumann U47. the other session at another studio, I used the Telefunken U47, ( both are identical except for the name plate, and when I say "identical", I'm taking into account the very real possibility that you could have two Neumann U47's, side by side, through the exact pre, and there could be slight textural and nuance differences between the exact same mics.)

    Although I can say with complete confidence, having used both, that in either case, both were the finest mics I'd ever tracked vocals though up to that point in time; and in fact, they still remain the finest sounding mics for vocals that I've ever used in my studio career since.

    Strictly for disclosure, discussion, and all things being relatively equal, one scenario involved a Telefunken U47 through a Pultec EQ and Vintech 73 pre (both 500 Series modules), and the other scenario was a Neumann U47 through what I'm pretty sure was either an Amek or a Neotek Console (forgive me for not being sure, that session was a long, long time ago).

    To be clear, I don't own one either model of U47, but I have worked at several studios on several sessions where I was just "lucky enough" to be able to use them for both male and female vox.)

    Warmth, Richness, Silk... like Honey-Satin-Air, on both female and male vocals.

    Unbelievable sound in both situations, and with the exception of some smooth, light compression and a little Lexi Verb, there was very, very little post/mix sculpting needed.


  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    phase correlation and proper impeadence matching can make a world of difference.

    in session once using a C12a and i patched in a LA22a and all of a sudden it was huge .... i mean a world of difference. impeadence match. there's an idea for a box ... phase and impeadence matcher.
    bigtree, DonnyAir and pcrecord like this.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Couldn't agree more.

    There are many models of this available, some are just little adapter-types, others are actual pre's with a variable impedance function built in :

    link removed
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I have a bunch of M1. They are 58's to my ears. But, those through my M-2b was crazy awesome. Super smooth. Sounding nothing like a 58 through a Peavey console lol! Which wasn't a bad thing either, but, nothing like boutique. I then put it through my LA2A and played with the gain and it was wonderful vibey now. Made me rethink Dynamics. I wish I had a commercial studio, Man, would I be having fun today. Please God, bring back those days. lol!

    I've wanted that Radial phase box that is choice for bass, for years. When I get all excited about my Neos, how I am able to hear things I never heard before, how the best gear creates phase, accumulates, round trip sucks compared to uncloupled etc etc etc... . Being in phase = being in tune = makes everything bigger = mix's much easier.

    So, I suppose thats what you are referring to eh, Kurt? Get the phase / impedance swinging right down the middle and its instant silk on steroids. Even low end products sound surprisingly wonderful.
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    We're fast becoming 'musicians' - comparing Gibson Les Paul serial 1234567 played through a Mesa Boogie with no pedals to a Gibson Les Paul serial 9876543 through a Line 6 box into a Carlsberg combo - and expecting quantifiable results.

    We also have producer like Alan Parson trying to get MP3's banned because they destroy music, and then we compare sound via youtube?

    We are leaving science and quantifiable evidence behind in favour of ear based opinion. I'm not saying this is wrong, but we are rapidly it seems, drifting towards shared opinion as the evidence used to decide on what to buy.

    The video people have notched on to grading as their essential must have - and there are dozens of packages to allow you to tweak your video by changing virtually every parameter available. We now have pre-amps that have a signature colouration that many people like, and the video people have a preset they love they apply to everything they shoot. Just a few years ago, there were side by side comparisons on Youtube between the cameras - showing clear differences. Now that's a bit pointless because if your favourite camera has a little less saturation than another, your favourite preset in the grading software soon fixes it.

    I'm just a little sad that the aim in recording, the one that drove many of the new designs and uses of technology since WW2 was keeping the signal as pure and clean as it could be from in to out. Are we suggesting a classic and vintage microphone, indeed one I have actually wanted for a long time sound less nice than a Rode with some added distortion from a pre?

    Sorry for being the Luddite - but on one forum a newcomer gets told that a certain brand pre-amp isn't as good as another, or that one make is so much better than another because it's clean, noise free and transparent, and on here the opposite seems to be promoted.

    Is there a difference between the needs of audio professionals and video professionals when it comes to capturing their sound?

    Audio seems to be moving from objectivity to subjectivity.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Well, as humans, we all have different perceptions as to what we like, what we prefer. It's really not all that different from our sense of sight; you could show a certain shade of red to three different people and not one of them would see the exact same shade of red. So, I'm not so sure that it's as much unfounded opinion as it is perception.

    Audio engineering is a science to some degree, but it's also an art form, and that part is what makes it subjective. Do we all like the same paintings? Or for that matter, and a bit closer to home, do we all like the same music? Do we all like the same food? I've been told by nutritional experts, based on scientific fact, that red beets are really good for me - but I can't stand them. LOL.. so, what we like, and that which we prefer, has always been subjective to some degree. You can't remove human perception from the equation.

    There are some quantifiable facts to the gear we use that is undeniable and not subjective - an example for mics would be frequency response, SPL acceptance, etc. For preamps, certain models will have different sonic character because of the way they are built: higher/lower voltage, tube/solid state, fixed/variable impedance, S/N ratio, etc. The subjectivity part comes into play when we each determine, on our own as individuals, what we like - or don't like - about them.

    I think you mentioned, Paul, a year ago or so, in a thread discussion about microphones, that you don't mind some of the cheaper condenser mics on the market, because you like the hi freq hype and presence boost that is characteristic of the models. To you, that top end bump is a sound you like, a sound you prefer... to me, it's brittle and harsh. One man's gold is another man's tin, and that decision is based solely on subjectivity.

    Personally, I agree with people like Alan Parsons and Neil Young, that MP3's are inferior much of the time. But, I'm also an engineer - which makes me an audiophile - so my criteria set for sonic integrity is much different than that of your average listeners and internet surfers.

    I don't believe they are going away anytime soon, because logistically, they are still the most convenient vehicle in which to share music. Both YouTube and MP3's have become a necessary evil - and until a better quality is available, or, until more people start to care about the very real issues of either, ( and most people don't) I think we are gonna have to continue to deal with them for awhile.

    In the end, scientific fact - those spec sheets we've all read at one time or another - gives us an indication of what the piece of gear can do, and how it works. But in the end, it's our own personal subjectivity that really makes our decision for us as to whether or not we like it.

    IMHO of course. ;)

  10. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Donny - I suspect you hot it head on, and perhaps it simply is down to individual perception - can't argue with any of your comments.

    Was just thinking about the mic comment about presence. I've lost 500Hz off the top end in the last year (blaming IEMS??) so maybe this has been going on for a while and that's why my HF boost now sounds good - but only to me!
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I agree with this, (sorry Donny).
    How I see it is that there is so many scientific ways to make comparation but we are not often presented with them.

    Here's a few things I would have like about this comparaison in particular :
    1. Compare the mics at different distances
    2. refine the placement because most of the time she is signing toward the rode and not the u47 OR use an instrument that doesn't move.
    3. Offer realtime Spectrum displays
    4. make an mono mix of both mics with one being on reverse polarity and hear and show how much the null themself
    In the end, I'm gonna download the 24bit files tonight and test them ;)
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    When I started this site 16 years ago it was because I was a musician wanting to learn more about recording my stuff, better. There used to be a lot more old school engineers here that seemed be be lost in gear with almost no concept of the future. Recordisit are a different breed, they are like musicians when it comes to gear. They choose pre's like guitar amps and trade them like baseball cards.
    My way of thinking is use the cleanest signal and add the effect later. I've done it that way since the 70's. Its kept me busy now for almost 4 decades.That is, with the exception of LA2A's. They are something special. But they aren't preamps. They are what I call colour generators.

    I'm with you on this Paul, I used to get confused over all the colour, flavours people kept going on about. I feel for the newbies trying to understand it all.
    So, I started investing in as much gear as I could get so I would actually find out what this was all about. 16 years later, its all a bunch of hype. The best signal is still what sounds best to me. My goal is to capture it like it sounds live. I don't have have fuzz in my ears so thats how I want it captured.
  13. Makzimia

    Makzimia Active Member

    I remember when I got told to buy RODE NT2 by a very experienced engineer back in Australia in 1997 or 98. He was blown away by how good it was, and he has used a U47. I bought it even though at the time $799.00 AUD was a lot to me. We both owned VS880 Roland Hard disk recorders at the time. Look up Savage Garden, they recorded their entire first album on one (VS880), and it was mastered afterwards then released. Anyway, I have never used a U47 but, I can tell you even on the mic pres of the VS880 I immediately heard my vocals clearer than I ever dreamed possible. My personal arsenal ranges from a 1985 SM58 a AT4033a the RODE NT2 various others and a Baby Blue bottle.

    Peter Freedman pushed his gold fleck 1 inch diaphragm as the b all and it had definitely had a great track record in the industry ever since. I watched a very interesting interview with Hartley Peavey yesterday. As most know that have watched him he is a very full of his ideals. One thing I agree with is, he has kept his prices down and his innovation up. Does he use the high end bits to make his things?, probably not, but, then high end = what?. Just because it costs more, as we have firmly established, does not mean it is better by that much. He does make the point, rightfully, as technology and knowledge move onward, mistakes are learned from, things get better. In his own words, don't bring him his 1965 amp back, it was terrible compared to what he makes now.

    Sorry if that meanders a little.
    bigtree likes this.
  14. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I was a victime of marketing hypes more than once.
    Thing is, when the hype goes to high-end gear, you mostly still can do good recording with them.
    The real problem is with budget gear's hype. How ever I'm gonna make a good recording with a 99$ tube pre is something I can't grasp.
    I could have been said that tubes are warmer a 100 times. I assure you, I could go pretty harsh and bright sounding with my LA610 if I wanted to.

    It all depends on how you use the gear what kind of mix decisions you make.

    I have about 60 screwdrivers in my shop, they are of good quality and have a lifetime warranty. To make good use of them, I just need to pick the right one for the job !!
    If I was a millionnaire, it would be the same in my studio. But since I'm a broken average guy. I need the most versatile and fonctionnal gear but sometime with the compromise of not always being the perfect Tools... :unsure:
  15. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    One other thing to consider in this video example is that you have a pro singer singing with a relatively soft an rich tone.. I suspect you could use almost any mic with that performance and with EQ and Comp make it sound great..
  16. MarkF48

    MarkF48 Active Member

    Wide range of mics in this "shootout" does lend to the theory that a decent pre can work wonders for a mic... good singer helps a bit as well

    Excerpts from the Youtube page.....

    "Published on Oct 20, 2012
    Vocal Mic Shoot-out (For Best Results, Listen in Highest Quality)

    (Neumann U87ai & U89i, Rode K2, Blue Blueberry, ADK Vienna au12, Audio-Technica 4050 & 4040, Shure sm57)

    Music by: Israel and NewBreed "Jesus at The Center"

    Each Channel has no EQ, and was clipped gained in PT10 to get the same level. The Tube-Tech CL1B Plugin was put on each channel in addition toa touch of Reverb (R-Verb) as well. Each Mic was recorded At Berklee College of Music (Studio C) and was ran through the Neve 1073 Mic Pre and The A/D DigiDesign 192."
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnrXFC5Pyhs&list=UUoAPdsREDWIFzJ2aZpJQlew

    I contacted a colleague at RODE. He got in touch with Ryan Burke who did the tracking comparison. Here is what he said:

    pcrecord likes this.
  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I agree with Paul's piint about comparing audio quality on YouTube. As an owner of an nt1a I would be interested to hear the hi res files in one of the studios and listen to them. And while the mic pres weren't selected for any particular thing, it doesn't hurt that they happen to be smooth in an area of the frequncy range that the nt1a is quite forward in. It doesn't change the fact that it sounds good. It's just using a particularly colorful and or flattering style of preamp doesn't seem to be the best choice in co paring the mics themselves. Now if your talking about what they can do w a nice pre amp then heard I re youtube, well it's pretty cool. There is also a difference between the likelyhood of a u47 or an nt1a using a stock type pre amp. I would be interested in hearing if the cheaper consumer pre amp makes them sound more or less similar. I'll donate my nta to science, who's got the 47 :)
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The full bandwidth are available.
    Could youtube possibly be evening out the sonic playing field? Doesn't this make you chuckle? I'm not sure how to write what I hope gets us a laugh here. I bet Donny could pic up on what I'm thinking?

    What does that tell us about monitoring? I mean, high end vs mid level gear.
    Get my drift here? Do you see the irony here?

    On one hand most of us put little salt into the importance how high end converters or pre's make such difference , But we question youtube could possibly be effecting to sonic. lol

    Finally, This tells me how unimportant 40 flavours of coloured 500 series pre-amps on youtube.

    Just thinking...
  20. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    I would venture to say You tube does way more to effect the sound than converters.. So many different formats audio wise regarding you tube. The highest quality is only a kbps rate equivalent to a 512 mp3 in ACC format of an MP4. In the end most people aren't even listening to that high a quality in general mp3 wise.

    Also who out there buys a a U47 and plugs it into a Mackie VLZ? Usually investing in something that expensive goes along with an expensive preamp.

    I think the closeness of the mic shootout is due to the quality of the singer with here tonal quality in the range that both mics do a great job. The differences between mics are more noticeable when someone is belting out at the top of their lungs or have lots of sibilance or pops..

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