good stage/studio condensers

Ted Nightshade

Well-Known Member
Dec 9, 2001
Hello all,
I do a lot of mostly acoustic music with vibraphone, percussion, acoustic guitar, and some Leslie 122. I have a couple pair of Neumann KM184's that do me pretty well. None of the cheaper mics I tried (Audix, AKG, EV, etc.) seemed even close to me as far as balance, clarity and even response. I avoid EQ and processing whenver possible, so the basic mic tone is important. I use Manley mic pres, which I love for their spatial and smooth sound. I have a solid state Pendulum mic pre that is super clean but just too two dimensional and dry for my taste- inevitably it gets used on the least conspicuous tracks. I have bunch of SM57's that never leave the closet.
Anyhow, as I have both live sound and recording needs, I tend to look for gear that works well in both situations. Most live sound just seems muddled and harsh to me, even at top dollar events. I try to keep the stage volume extremely low so the mics don't have to be shoved too far down the throats of the instruments. A more distant placement always sounds more natural to me, as long as it's a good placement! I'll be using Meyer powered speakers live.
So, what should I be shopping for that is an improvement on the KM184's that is solid enough for a lot of road use? I like the small diapraghm sound, but a couple mics of larger diaphragm would be good too. Keep in mind this is all nearly acoustic, really class instruments, more of a jazz or classical aesthetic than a pop or rock one.
Any suggestions?
If I want to read MikeTholen slamming on my Manley pre's I know of some other threads to read. Maybe our goals and the instruments we're recording and the context is just different.
Turn me on, dead man!
Ted :w:


Jul 2, 2001

IMHO, the very best for this task is B & K (DPA) 4006, 4011, or their high voltage equivalents (higher SPL, longer cable runs). They are THE pro choice for any acoustical instrument, with minimal colouration. These, with the appropriate pre's (Manley is OK, I won't slam them, but others are better at neutrality) yield ultimate stage sound: I was fortunate enough to both perform behind them, and hear/do the recording (radio broadcast) with them - top drawer IMNSHO.

Thay also have some killer specialty mics as well, but not for the faint of pocketbook!


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