I've been shifting away from electronic music and working on more indie/shoegazey material as of late, and I've been fighting my vocal takes tooth and nail. I've been using a Neumann tlm-103 and have also tried an AT-4040 and the results have been less than spectacular. The 103 has been coming off as too up-front and lacks dynamics, and the at-4040 has been giving me a lot of midrange discoloration. The major x-factor in my process is the room I record in, where I have some padding put up to flatten things, but could be much better insulated. Basically, I'm saying that results could vary for you.
I got the K2 home today and did back-to-back-to-back recordings with the 3 mics for comparison. I got the usual results with the 103 and 4040, but I must say that the K2 has completely decimated the other mics in all of my testing so far. Where the 103 is very in-your-face and the 4040's been real heavy in the middle, the K2 has a steady and balanced character. In cardoid mode you can hear the higher range boost, but it's been complimentary on both my vocals and acoustic guitar work I've recorded tonight. The end result has been a bright and vibrant product where all of the frequencies come through nice. I also like the fact that everything I've recorded tonight has been sitting well in my mixes with little work done. Normally with the 103 I'd have to pull out some bass and spike the high end a bit, but this hasn't been the case at all with the K2. In Omni mode very little changes, you can hear the brightness fall off like the frequency response chart indicates, but it's not drastic or detrimental. Omni mode really exposed my room for its bad acoustics during some scratch vocal takes, but an acoustic guitar take recorded in Omni felt like I had reverb on it with a small room setting, and none-the-less came out really clean.
Rode has been getting really high marks lately for putting out mics that exceed their price tag in terms of quality. And I must say, I've worked with many different mics aside from the ones I own and the K2 stands toe to toe with the best ones I've worked with. A review I'd read of this mic had the author guessing it'd be selling for $2000, and I'd agree with that assessment. For $700 you're paying substantially less than what the mic could reasonably sell for, and IMO it's a must-have, especially if you're limited on funds and need something that will perform strong and be versatile.
Two thumbs up from me, if that's worth anything.
Thanks for your insight. Several members here own this mic and also praise it in much the same way.
Most of the Rode mics I have been associated with have far exceeded their price tag.
No problem Davedog, it's not often where I'm absolutely floored with a purchase but I feel like I really hit the jackpot on this mic. Not having any prior experience with the mic, I risked being subject to a 15% restock fee if I wasn't happy with my purchase, but even the reviews for this mic have an uncommon and strong affinity expressed for it. Now I'm strongly debating if I even want to keep the Neumann -- logic says I should because it'd be nice to have it for "just in case", but this Neumann really isn't doing anything for me that the Rode K2 can't.
You made a great purchase. Rode makes the best bang for the buck mics IMO. Congrats on the new addition to the family.
A few years ago I was a trade and swap kinda guy about mics and other pieces of gear.
Until I discovered that mics are like special guitars or other instruments in many ways. They all have a distinct signature to their sound.
I sold or traded so many nice mics that I still miss and wish I had.
Now I keep em all except in extremely rare cases where I KNOW without a doubt that I'll never WANT to put one up in any situation.
If you are not needing the money on the Neumann I would keep it if for no other reason than the cachet of the label. Neumanns sell hours in some cases. I dont know if this is your case.
Also, I think you will find that with certain preamps, that 103 will knock the socks off of the K2. And if you were to record some acoustic guitar in a side by side comparison, the sheen of the 103 will be a bit better than the K2 for this application. For vocals the K2 wins everytime. BUT for 'spoken word' or a voice over thing, the 103 will again be the choice.
Just my insights.
Yea, a preamp upgrade is definitely my next purchase. Unfortunately I have no idea of what direction I'm going to go, not to mention when that'll happen. Probably not this year, with all I've already spent. I've spent $6,000 on gear this year already... :shock:
I'll probably keep the 103 until something happens where I need it gone. Perhaps later on I'll get another preamp and then the 103 will be complimented. I've got to say though, in my current setup the K2 owns that 103 in every test I've ran. We'll just have to see what the future brings... 8-)