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Wish I would've found you guys sooner. Excellent responses and advice from the moderators; nice to have such a supply of recording veterans out there. I've played a lot more than I've recorded and for some reason, I've always been lucky with friends with good mics, and didn't have to invest in much till now. I've spent the last 6 months trying to find a very specific mic for a really in your face, but smooth vocal sound. A little like the old Bing recordings where he is just so close and the music is just background. I've heard what I want but can't afford it (I got to record a couple of songs on a U47 (a real one), and it was like opening your mouth and having your soul sucked out through your throat. Since that's out of the question, I've been entertaining the C414 (I've used a ULS, but it looks like they don't sell it anymore; replaced by the xls?). Funny thing is that I was just listening to some comparisons of the RE20 and the SM7b with deep male lounge singer vocals and either of those mics would probably cut it. Both have earned their street credit to be sure. The unmixed Re20 is a little more in your face than the SM7b which is good, and I'm worried that the SM7b is not going to be clear enough. The SM7B is forgiving however, and my recording situation isn't perfect (just a portable vocal booth and carpet). Got some recordings of what turned out to be my neighbor two houses down using his table saw added to my background vocals the other day. That was on my much loathed mxl 990 (I still haven't found anything I like it for...maybe second mic on an acoustic guitar to mix in string action when using a transducer under the bridge). Which is a good example as a comparison mic. The mxl 990 is a sibilant, tinny, over-picky, good for recording the neighbors cat meowing a block away but not the natural bass tone in anything microphone; when you go looking for the information in the mix it just isn't there. I admit that my skill as a producer and sound engineer is lacking, and that I want to focus on being creative and recording tracks, so I am looking for something a little forgiving. Matching vocalists to microphones is like picking out a car, noone can do it for you because there are just too many factors involved. In this case I don't have many opportunities for a test drive. An engineer buddy from the states recommended the Geffel 92.1s to me, and he knows my voice, but without singing into it I just can't make a decision at that price. I know the RODE s NT-1 and I don't get along and the Neumann 103 is so clear that it sounds like I have a lisp with it (maybe I do have a lisp, but with that mic I can hear my teeth falling out thirty years from now). Your inputs are much appreciated. Hope I was specific enough, but as you've all said you just need to try them out to see what sound each vocalist and mic achieve together. Think Michael Buble. Anyone know what he's using? I don't really care Dynamic, condenser, Ribbon, but I doubt I well spend over a thousand unless one of you become insane and want to sell me your Dads U47.

FAQ

What is a crooner voice?

Crooner is a term used to describe primarily male singers who performed using a smooth style made possible by better microphones which picked up quieter sounds and a wider range of frequencies, allowing the singer to utilize more dynamic range and perform in a more intimate manner.

Where does crooner come from?

Crooner comes from the verb croon, "to sing softly and sadly."

What microphones make the best crooner mics?

try a ribbon for the sort of sound you are looking for. If there's a high(ish)-end dealer near you who is prepared to let you have something like an AEA R84 for a couple of days, it would give you the low-down on whether this is what you are missing.

A ribbon like that needs a good pre-amp that can deal with quality low-level signals. You don't say what pre-amps you have, but running a high-end mic of any type into a mediocre pre-amp is not going to be much use for evaluating mic properties and differences.

Comments

Boswell Wed, 09/12/2012 - 07:10

I really recommend you try a ribbon for the sort of sound you are looking for. If there's a high(ish)-end dealer near you who is prepared to let you have something like an AEA R84 for a couple of days, it would give you the low-down on whether this is what you are missing.

A ribbon like that needs a good pre-amp that can deal with quality low-level signals. You don't say what pre-amps you have, but running a high-end mic of any type into a mediocre pre-amp is not going to be much use for evaluating mic properties and differences.

Jer-vox Wed, 09/12/2012 - 11:40

Hi Eraserfish,

I,m not sure of your budget, but there are U-47 clones out there that are a lot less than a Telefunken or Neuman. You might want to look into Peluso, Lawson, Bock, Pearlman and others. I personally own a Lawson and could't be happier. Google thier websites and check out their prices and check out their sound samples if available. Generally from $1300 and on up. These are all tube mikes that very possibly can give you the sound that you're looking for.

Good Luck

Jerry

moonbaby Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:26

I WOULD recommend the Audio-Technica AT4047 (you don't need the "MP" -multi-pattern- version). I love the ones that I have had on jazz and certain r'n'b singers, both genders. Very warm and yet clear, it was designed with the Neumann 47 in mind. The problem is that,with almost ANY large diaphragm condenser, you can pick up a cat's meow down the street, as well as the acoustical properties of the room you're in. This is probably not a good thing for you with a "booth".
This brings up another issue - the booth. These are usually counter-productive to the creative process because the can be too tight an airspace, and the reflections in the constrained room add a "boxy" sound to the recording. Not good.
I like Bos' suggestion for a GOOD ribbon. And a proper preamp to bring it up.Besides the AT4047, I have had very good results with the Beyer M160 ( a ribbon mic). It has a very tight hyper-cardioid pattern (similar to the RE-20), with a very smoooooth sound. The pattern is unique to most ribbons and it helps to minimize the room's sound being picked up. Most ribbons are "figure-8" pattern, and this can be an issue in a booth because the rear lobe is picking up lots of the wall reflections. As with any ribbon, you need to be vigilant of your working distance to avoid plosives that can possibly damege the ribbon element.
By the way, your observations of the performance ofthe various mics you listed are spot on with many who have used them over the years. Cheap LDC's suck...LOL!!!

RemyRAD Wed, 09/12/2012 - 13:44

Yeah, a RIBBON MICROPHONE. That's what you are looking for. And you don't have to drop a big load to get what you want. Companies like Cascades and others are importing some rather worthy Chinese Ribbon Microphones. Some of those can be had for as little as $170 US with a $100 transformer upgrade. It's just a fighter sounding transformer, but even without that transformer, I have found that you still get that true ribbon quality sound. Even in spite of a crappy Chinese transformer. Still quite usable that way.

You really won't need a special microphone preamp at all. While ribbon microphones typically output, the lowest signal of all the microphone technologies. We typically use in a studio environment, higher gain preamps are not particularly necessary when doing a vocal fairly close to the microphone. It becomes a bit of an issue, when the microphone is at a distance from the sound source, such as ambient room microphone. And that's not what you're going for anyhow. Do if you don't want on a ribbon microphone is the Phantom Power, intended for a condenser microphone only. Not that my mixers can't defeat Phantom Power but they can't. So I actually feed Phantom power to my ribbon microphones. If your cables are not good, you could easily smoke a ribbon microphone, if there is Phantom power on it. So I have been taking the chance of blowing up a ribbon microphone out for over 30 years and never have. I like to live dangerously. LOL.

When purchasing a ribbon microphone, there are generally two different types. Some are known as long geometry ribbons and others are known as short geometry ribbons. Some utilize a single ribbon and others utilize dual ribbons. The shorter geometry ribbons have a slighter brighter sound than the long geometry ribbons, which are the most mellow sounding ones. Short geometry ribbons would be microphones like the current Beyer M-130/160/260/500, vintage RCA 77 series. Long geometry ribbons would be microphones like RCA 44 BX, AEA R-84, Cascades Fat Head, which are all extremely mellow and smooth. Just the way Bing Crosby sounded.

It was really Frank Sinatra on that U-47, which none of the cheap imitations actually really sound like. Nothing actually sounds like the original 47 with the VF-14 tube except a 47 with a VF-14 tube. Nothing! Everybody expounding on their own marketing blah blah about getting that 47 sound is just marketing BS. So there are those few that actually sound good, but they don't really sound like 47's. It's like telling somebody that gold mylar wrapping paper is really made from gold. People have even made condenser microphones with a gold mylar wrapping paper, because it is conductive, but it ain't gold.

Of course, you can still find genuine 47's, but you'll drop about $9000 to get one. Because people WANT THAT SOUND and not an imitation. Everything else I've heard is crispy, wispy and lame. You might want to look into the Neumann TLM 67? That's a transistor emulation of their former U-67 tube, like I have. Still though, not cheap. It's only about $2200 as compared to the 87's $3300 retail price. I actually complained to Neumann about that price difference between their 87 & 67. They indicated their new 67 didn't have any Transformers in it like that 87 still had. I told him that's not a good reason to have a $1000 price differential between two of the most top end microphones ever known. Actually, I felt that it devalued my original U-67's, original issue, tube microphones with Telefunken tubes. I've also got a pair of 87's. Both of these microphones, had a more mellow quality to them than most similarly cheap large diaphragm microphones by other manufacturers. That's because the original 47, 67, 87's were 6 µ thick sheets of gold sputtered acetate and later Mylar. Everybody else is making them at 3 mil and 1.5 mill to get that brighter sound that they think everybody wants. And as you have discovered with your 990, you don't particularly like that sound and neither do I.

Now 414's, & C-12's are quite different sounding. Regardless of the 414 permutations, those have always been brighter sounding large diaphragm condenser microphones. Very popular because they don't sound cheap as they are not cheap. But they certainly aren't mellow, either. Quality for sure, when used on appropriate sound sources that require that extra edge. For everything else there's Master Charge.

No more credit cards from for me. I'm a cream and green broad today.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Eraserfish Wed, 09/12/2012 - 16:23

Man, like I said you guys are amazing. Thanks for the replies (and the pics too). I spent the last couple hours looking at some of the options you guys mentioned. That R84 is really a head-turner and paired with a decent pre-amp should be amazing. Some guys are using it with AEA's own RPQ500 and liking the results, and the AEA TRP is supposed to be a winner as well. I'm using a TC electronics SK 48 as an audio interface and I've fed it quite a few mics, but I think the R84 would really want the clean gain of a preamp. Off the top of my head I think I'm at 2kohms of input impedance where some of the pre's are what? close to twenty? I don't live as dangerously as Remy but I will try about every possibility I can while going for something interesting in the studio. The TLM 67 would probably blow my socks off, but is a little to much to justify. I didn't know those guys were using the Rca 44, I'd heard about those being used in a lot of the radio stations for broadcasting (they always had some metal sign attached to the top). I did get some samples of the cascades fat head ii recording some guitar cabs and I was more than impressed. I will have to take a field trip and stick my face in front of the R84 and the M-160 for sure (not sure if I will be able to try a 4047 over hear in Germany). I need to do I little research on the whole figure 8 pattern though. How much sound gets picked up from the back of the mic and what, pray tell are the advantages of that design? From years of playing live, I do need to break myself from working too close to some mics. Not as bad as an old drummer friend who insisted on tapping on mics with his sticks and then asking "hey is this on". We got thrown out of a few bars, but never out of a studio. Anyway, thanks again for the great tips. Looking forward to seeing your posts in the forums. What do guys like for preamps anyway? You guys with great mixing consoles don't even need 'em. Back in the day we had racks full of compressors/limiters/pre's/bbe sonic enhancers/Art whatever's and I always felt like we were generating too much noise (thus all the noise gates, which just added more crap in your signal path).

Eraserfish Thu, 09/13/2012 - 03:48

Hey Moonbaby, what do you consider an ideal recording situation for doing vocals with a ribbon mic? My philosophy is that I'm not as picky when I'm recording guitars, bass, and percussion, because those little bad room tells are usually hidden in a good mix, but I'm really picky with vocal tracks, especially ones added to a recording with only synths, and I don't want any junk, just information. I have a half round sound deadening device that I've had really great success with with dynamics and condensers. That kills any reverb off stuff in the room and stays silent without being dead or "boxy". Is that a bad idea for the ribbons? I just checked out some of the cascade mics that remy talked about and the were recording in room with a brick wall and wood floors, and I wasn't hearing any echo or that open space sound you get if you stick a cardoid in the middle of a room. I'm so interested in working with some ribbons now, and figuring out the ins and outs.

Eraserfish Thu, 09/13/2012 - 04:05

Remy, thanks for the great info. I was just on the cascade website and listened to a really great setup using a vin-jet and fat head combo, and another using a fat head and a x-15 combo. Wow, that's a great sound at a very good price. Have you used any of those three? The fathead II is supposed to be even better. They have a sale on two vin-jets with a little phantom powered gain device for $625. Can I bug you with another question and ask about the difference in the transformers? What is the olfactory difference between a cheaper xformer vs. a more expensive one? Noise, clarity, presence? I know you probably learned all this through years of work, but do you recommend anything that I can read to un-dumb myself a little. I've been fixing electronics for over twenty years so my knowledge of theory is still good in this surface mount world of disposable electronics. You've got me hooked now...

pan60 Thu, 09/13/2012 - 08:54

Also if I am not mistaken, Sinatra liked the AKG d19. Seems I recall him seeing a video of him recording with one.
Not 100% sure Remy's been around long enough maybe a better memory. A very cool mic but I do not see them around real often.
I also agree a ribbon would probably be just what you need.
If you feel okay with a RE20 try a RE15.

RemyRAD Fri, 09/14/2012 - 00:24

The optional transformer can be a worthy upgrade, but not an absolutely necessary upgrade. The only thing I don't like about the Chinese transformer is that slight boxy like quality sound, around the 250-350 Hz area. Otherwise still quite usable, since it still sounds and performs as a ribbon should.

Switchable input impedances really don't excite me much. Back in the day, we actually had to hardwire our selectable microphone outputs and/or transformer microphone inputs. 1500 ohms is a fine load value for most microphones today. Just because the microphone is indicated as a 150 ohm devices not require it to be loaded into a 150 ohm load. It's the same as our low impedance preamplifier outputs (typically between 50-100 ohm) feeding 10,000-50,000 ohm inputs. It's no longer necessary to load, the output of those devices into 600 ohms, as it was back in the day. Though it's still maybe if the output transformer indicates a need for a certain specified termination. Which in certain cases, mandated a need to stick in a 600 ohm output termination resistor across the transformer output of a preamplifier, for flat response and low overshoot. But that largely depends upon what the output amplifier transformer needs for proper loading. Some can get away without the need for 600 ohm termination. Others can't. And that's because the transformer along with the output circuitry is part of an LC inductive type of filter network. Where the need for proper loading ensures a flat response.

Everything you wanted to know about ribbon microphones but were afraid to ask.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Larry J. Villella Fri, 09/14/2012 - 12:15

I'm personally not such a big fan of ribbon mics.

Ribbons tend to sag if not properly stored upright,
and can 'fry' if hit with phantom power. Additionally,
ribbons tend to lack sonic information above 10 kHz.

My personal choice for a mellow jazz sound (I've been
recording jazz ensembles for 40+ years) would be an
AT-4047 or ADK Hamburg Mk8. In the interest of full
disclosure, I own the ADK company. I also own an
AT-4047 and think it's the best mic they ever made.

Best of luck!

Larry J Villella, Founder, ADK)))

pan60 Fri, 09/14/2012 - 14:06

I know I had spoke with John about phantom power some years back, the only time I every time I ever seen it be an issue was if it was incorrectly set into a patchbay.
Some time later John made this video.
[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.shinybox…"]ShinyBox[/]="http://www.shinybox…"]ShinyBox[/]
Phantom power does not effect a ribbon if a studio is correctly wired, to say different is urban BS ( IMHO ) and although I as well am not a very big ribbon mic lover I do have several and never had issues with a correctly tension ribbon no matter what position it was stored in.
I know guys that have mic stored lay down and I store some of mine that way.

RemyRAD Fri, 09/14/2012 - 15:27

Those long geometry ribbons did have a tendency to sag. The short geometry ribbons are not as highly affected in that respect. My RCA 77 DX's are stored laying down on their side. They sound as good as the day they were new. One is from the early 1950s, and the other was the last production run of 1968 that has the large RCA block letters, and not the RCA circle lightning bolt. Which indicated it was from 1968. And the last of the last. My Beyer M-130/160's are also stored on their sides and have been for almost 30 years now. And no problems. Now a 44 BX or, AEA 84, I might think twice about storing on its side? Those are long geometry ribbons, which do have a tendency to sag. Same can be said for the Cascades Fat Head series as those are also long geometry ribbons. Wes Dooley actually told me he does not produce short geometry ribbons, because he's never been able to get them right. Not sure why that is? Even his imitation 77 DX was not produced to imitate a 77 DX. But actually contains as long geometry ribbon, the same as in his 44/84 series. So his 77 DX is more for the look or the sound of a long geometry ribbon or an installed special condenser element just for the looks. Just some things to think about when you are thinking ribbon microphones.

I absolutely love and cannot live without ribbon microphones. Faster than any condenser microphones for transient peaks. That beautiful smooth roll off after 10 kHz is something to be appreciated and not avoided. If you think everything has to be crispy bright? Then ribbons are not for you. If you like mellow big fat lush, think ribbon.

I don't like the aluminum foil ones in my hair.
Mx. Remy Ann David

pan60 Fri, 09/14/2012 - 15:40

Larry J. Villella, post: 393650 wrote: I'm not speaking of Crowley and Tripp type ribbons or the modern Royer,
but many of the classic ribbons had both of these issues in my experience.

I have no clue as o the Crowley and Tripp or other new ribbons. But phantom power is only an issue when a studio in not correctly wired or someone dose not know what they are doing.

RemyRAD Fri, 09/14/2012 - 19:16

This additional note: I've always been feeding phantom power because my equipment does not have individualized phantom power switching for each microphone input. In over 30 years, I've never lost a ribbon microphone yet. That's also because I keep my cables in good working condition. You only lose a passive ribbon microphone from bad cables or willy-nilly, plugging them in an out of phantom powered XLR microphone inputs. There have been times when I have eliminated the phantom power coming from my consoles. But I did that for other reasons and not ribbon microphone reasons. Changing patch cords on microphones with phantom power on a split, can cause huge explosive pops in the PA system. So when I'm taking splits, and don't want my phantom power on, I'll either pull the module from the Neve or actually go into my API 3124's to disconnect the internal phantom power supply to the microphones. And that's a pain in the ass on that unit. $2500 for 4 channels, and they couldn't include 4 switches? WTF's with that? Not even a single phantom power switch, much less four. Go figure? As if condenser microphones were the only microphones that were utilized? My Sphere Eclipse C, had no phantom power switches. Neither do my API 3124's, nor Neve. And these were designed by the old timers that knew not to apply phantom power to ribbon microphones. And then they left the switches out. I'll never understand those people? We are talking about a $.95 switch on a $2500 box, $25,000 box, $250,000 box. I guess they would have to raise the prices to include 4-48 $.98 switches? What? Another $48? LOL.

I've been too lazy to install my own switches. My bad.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Larry J. Villella Fri, 09/14/2012 - 20:59

Remy

It appears you're a very savvy ribbon end-user and recording engineer.

I guess I just never got into the ribbon mic usage, being a condenser mic person for over 40 years.

We can use different tools, and still have the same passion for tracking jazz or other acoustic music.

I appreciate your insights. I actually bought an RCA Ribbon a few years ago, thinking I was missing something.

It's since departed my mic locker, maybe because my habit of using old Neumann and AKG tube condensers was too ingrained.

Anyway - I've learned a lot from your posts!

Cheers!

Larry Villella, Founder, ADK Microphones

RemyRAD Fri, 09/14/2012 - 21:15

Larry, I have closely looked at your microphones at the AES in NYC, in recent years. Your mics are quite good, and I have been thinking. One of my next purchases of condenser microphones may well be one of yours? Your product has a great reputation. And I like your German associations in your marketing design. Yup.

And does everyone know what George Neumann was best known for creating? It wasn't microphones. It was the nickel cadmium battery. The first battery that could work in space. And without that contribution, satellites would have never been born, LOL. His microphones, however, were a monumental contribution to the Recording Arts & Sciences. If only they could have built their own tube manufacturing plant, we'd still have VF-14's and we'd all be rolling in U-47's, hee hee.

I just have to settle for my U-67 original issues, the 56, 87's, 86's. And my long gone KM L, which I traded away and never received a replacement for from a previous NBC engineering manager. I should have never traded thataway. That's one of the rarest of Neumann, microphones, a lavalier 84 is what it is. Or was when I had it.

Donald Archiable, owes me a microphone!
Mx. Remy Ann David

pan60 Sat, 09/15/2012 - 12:02

Larry, PLEASE take no offense to my post, it is not intended to offend. I see so many folks repeating the phantom power ribbon mic bad thing and not really pointing out what the true issue is and or was. Maybe they do not know?
If you use a XLR patch-bay with your mic and keep phantom power out of a tip ring sleeve patch-bay ( or, be aware it is there when dealing with ribbons ), you'll be fine.
i wonder how much sag was caused by ribbons seeing phantom power as oppose to laying on their side? a hit of phantom power would cause extrusion and a few hit i think could be a cause for sag. and again this is only going to happen when a system is not correctly set up or an engineer is unaware of possible phantom power on a TRS patch-bay. i am not convened shoring them on their side is an issue in anyway. i have heard the newer ribbon are not correctly tensioned and will sag, but i hear they will sag regardless of how there stored.

Eraserfish Sun, 09/16/2012 - 08:27

MK8

Larry J. Villella, post: 393637 wrote: I'm personally not such a big fan of ribbon mics.

Ribbons tend to sag if not properly stored upright,
and can 'fry' if hit with phantom power. Additionally,
ribbons tend to lack sonic information above 10 kHz.

My personal choice for a mellow jazz sound (I've been
recording jazz ensembles for 40+ years) would be an
AT-4047 or ADK Hamburg Mk8. In the interest of full
disclosure, I own the ADK company. I also own an
AT-4047 and think it's the best mic they ever made.

Best of luck!

Larry J Villella, Founder, ADK)))

Thanks Larry, I checked out some recordings with the MK8 and I'm thinking good things about it. I love the clarity of it without losing some of the lower end warmth. You know I'd be willing to give you a full review if you send me one! (LOL) I was always surrounded by dudes who had great mics, and this is the first time I've found myself lacking. Remy has got me excited about the Cascades (vin-jet and fathead ii) and the RE20 or Sm7a will make my cabinet for sure. A good condensor would give me most of the options I would need for now. For any mic lover, I found a cool site which most of you probably know but it's really great for older mics.

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.coutant…"]AKG D 12 E[/]="http://www.coutant…"]AKG D 12 E[/]

Thanks again for all the greats posts

moonbaby Sun, 09/16/2012 - 12:06

Eraserfish, post: 393558 wrote: Hey Moonbaby, what do you consider an ideal recording situation for doing vocals with a ribbon mic? My philosophy is that I'm not as picky when I'm recording guitars, bass, and percussion, because those little bad room tells are usually hidden in a good mix, but I'm really picky with vocal tracks, especially ones added to a recording with only synths, and I don't want any junk, just information. I have a half round sound deadening device that I've had really great success with with dynamics and condensers. That kills any reverb off stuff in the room and stays silent without being dead or "boxy". Is that a bad idea for the ribbons? I just checked out some of the cascade mics that remy talked about and the were recording in room with a brick wall and wood floors, and I wasn't hearing any echo or that open space sound you get if you stick a cardoid in the middle of a room. I'm so interested in working with some ribbons now, and figuring out the ins and outs.

Well, the first choice I offered up was the AT4047 and I stand by that. No, it isn't a vintage Neumann, but a vintage 47 isn't in your budget, is it? I have collected (and lost) many mics over the years and own (2) AT4047's. I love their consistency of build quality and sound, as well as their reliability. I love that "modern crooner" sound (Buble, Pitzarelli, Krall, etc), and when I'm going for that "smoke gets in my eyes" sound, this mic does it pretty darned well for me. Also, in many instances, I prefer the 4047 over my U87ai (yeah, that's not sayin' much) on vocals, horns, and acoustic guitar.

BTW, one of those "other" mics I have is an ADK Hamburg (can't tell you which version of the top of my bald head) and I must say that Mr. ADK certainly knows his stuff because that's another LDC that doesn't sound strident when pushed. I think that mic cost me less than $300 and it was a steal. Thanks to Davedog here who tipped me to the line.

My statement about the ribbons was simply that the figure-8 pattern that most of them exhibit can be an issue unless there is proper treatment in the room to keep reflections from getting into the rear lobe of the mic, that's all. And a reflection filter as you described would help that a lot. I like my Beyer M160 because the tight hypercardioid pattern, to a large degree, keeps the room out of the equation. I ALWAYS use that mic with a "RAD custom pop filter" - a metal fryer splatter screen designed to be laid over a frying pan - that cost me all of ONE DOLLAR at the General Dollar Store!! Thanks to Remy Ann David for that suggestion here a few years ago...It protects my sensitive M160 from plosives like no other pop screen does.

I have no idea how the demo sound clips of the Fatheads were produced, but I suspect that there was some sort of reflection filter device used.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Buble was using a wireless Shure Beta 57 when I saw him in concert here last year. I can't stand that mic because of its'
harsh, over-hyped mid presence, but it SHURE worked for him (sorry about that!). Just goes to show you what really matters with a mic - that's the talent in front of it...

RemyRAD Sun, 09/16/2012 - 16:27

Why are Larry's microphones, called ADK and not LJV? Larry, can you share with us how you came about, the name of your microphone company?

Virtually all ribbons in ribbon microphones, are already all corrugated. In this sense, they are like little aluminum foil springs, which, of course, are very lightly tensioned. Though there is most definitely a difference in sound, depending on how you have your position of the ribbon microphone oriented. It was always interesting to me, to see a ribbon microphone positioned horizontally as a drum set overhead microphone? A ribbon positioned horizontally will sound different from a ribbon positioned vertically. And that's another SAG factor (not Screen Actors Guild). So if it's audible, gravity is having some effect on that ribbon, that doesn't weigh much more than one of your nose hairs. At least aluminum is not a ferrous metal so that the electromagnetic force doesn't pull it in one direction or the other. And wouldn't that be funny?

I'd like to make a ribbon microphone that has a ribbon length of one full 20 Hz cycle in free air. Only for lower frequency instruments, of course. My math isn't good enough to even come up with. How long that ribbon would have to be? 35 feet? LOL.

I've got 1 million ideas! None of them particularly good...
Mx. Remy Ann David

Eraserfish Fri, 09/21/2012 - 15:14

Just a quick update, I was getting impatient and not being able to find any place to sample some expensive mics so I went ebay shopping and rounded up a couple of used ones. I picked up a SM-57, a Cad E100, and a Cascade Fathead II. The 57 will be a second guitar mic, the Cad is actually a little gem that people who have it seem to love and compare with some really nice condenser mics, saying it is warm and not tinny, and the fathead II I've heard enough recordings to know that if you place it right, you will get great results. I will test 'em all out and let you know what I think. The really cool thing is that I picked up all three for less than three hundred bucks. Gotta love ebay.

Davedog Mon, 09/24/2012 - 02:47

Hope you like your mic choices. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and third or fourth the AT4047. I had one a few years back and lost it to a bogus sale. Too trusting. I dont know why I tried to sell it except I was looking to get other gear. Now I keep everything. Mics dont take up much room.

I also am a huge ADK fan (hiya Larry!) I have a pair of the Area51 TT's. (Tube transducer). Multiple patterns built like a tank and warm for days. These are the 'Ray Charles' mics. You can usually find one for under a grand used if you look and wait patiently. And while you may find some use for the Cad thingy and the Cascade mic, neither one will get you where the ADK can go. Or the 4047. Or really ANY ADK mic. The Hamburg is a superb sounding mic BTW......kinda dark with lots of detail and its brother/sister mic, the Vienna is a bit brighter. Both around 3 bills.

Another shout out to high-end ribbons. The Crowley and Tripp designs now owned and distributed by Shure are simply incredible mics. And it doesnt get any better than the Royers and the AEA's.

Eraserfish Mon, 09/24/2012 - 05:04

Thanks Davedog and other posters. The AT 4047 and AEA 84 are on my shopping list, but time is on my side so I will find them at good prices. I missed an AEA 84 last week on ebay that went for really cheap but I will find my deal. I'd prefer to buy a new ribbon though to make sure it wasn't treated like shi?. Does anyone have a reccomendation for a pre-amp? Sounds like a new thread to me.

Eraserfish Fri, 11/16/2012 - 07:32

Just picked up the AT 4047 and did my first vocals and guitar through it. Okay so that's the difference between a junk LDC and a quality LDC. Night and day. It's accurate without sibilance, warm and has a strange charcter that just sounds....good/warm. It picked up the nuances of my nylon string in a way that was simply amazing. Haven't even tried the MA-5 pre on it yet but I'm sure the results will be outstanding. Just the mic straight into my ada converter was very impressive..almost hard to believe it was a condensor, but it does have that upper end metallic air about it that tells you what it is. Sometimes it's what makes a vocal stand out in the mix a little and I should be able to take out the overtones I don't like with eq anyway. Great f'n mic. Best I've owned yet.

RemyRAD Fri, 11/16/2012 - 21:39

Well it certainly is a fine Japanese imitation of a Newman U-47 FET. One of those great versatile bangs for the buck. I basically live without that 47 style sound. The U-67 with that EF 86 Telefunken pentode, will just have to do it for me or that KM-56. So I'm forced to make that simply horrible compromise LOL. Otherwise I'll be forced to use those crappy transistor 87's and KM-86's? UGH... I guess I'll just have to suffer?

Sufferin' succotash!
Mx. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Sat, 11/17/2012 - 00:38

I believe one of the cool things about the KM 56 is that it is the forerunner to the KM 88, which had those nickel plated diaphragms instead of gold. The head shell appears to small for those KM 84 style capsules? Looks more like the KM 88. Doesn't sound anything like the KM 86's. Two capsules though for variable pattern selection. That's one of the few microphones of mine I haven't disassembled. No need to since it has always worked. Definitely sounds awesome on baritone sax. Downright nasty.

No chances to use it lately.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Davedog Sun, 11/18/2012 - 11:33

Eraserfish, post: 396273 wrote: Just picked up the AT 4047 and did my first vocals and guitar through it. Okay so that's the difference between a junk LDC and a quality LDC. Night and day. It's accurate without sibilance, warm and has a strange charcter that just sounds....good/warm. It picked up the nuances of my nylon string in a way that was simply amazing. Haven't even tried the MA-5 pre on it yet but I'm sure the results will be outstanding. Just the mic straight into my ada converter was very impressive..almost hard to believe it was a condensor, but it does have that upper end metallic air about it that tells you what it is. Sometimes it's what makes a vocal stand out in the mix a little and I should be able to take out the overtones I don't like with eq anyway. Great f'n mic. Best I've owned yet.

I love it when the light goes on.

anonymous Thu, 12/13/2012 - 06:57

Another popular mic from that "vintage" era... Nat King Cole, Sinatra, etc, was the Telefunken ELA M250; although these days they are highly sought after by collectors, and working models in good condition can fetch tens of thousands of dollars.

 

Get a good ribbon mic, many can be had these days for pretty cheap. You won't regret having a ribbon in your locker.

Now, If you have the money, which very few people do but some can afford the luxury, then go vintage...if you want that classic, warm, Bing Crosby/Nat King Cole type of sound, look for a long geo ribbon model like an RCA 44, and if you want a brighter sound, more presence, look to a short geo model like an RCA 77... but either are fantastic mics and neither lack warmth or presence, certainly nothing that a little EQ couldn't match.

Another studio standard, and a great sounding multi purpose mic is the EV RE20. It's not over-the-top expensive, either.

The RE 20 is a Variable D dynamic, which, because of it's design, reduces proximity issues common to many other dynamic models. It can be used with fantastic results on everything from brass to vocals to kick drum to bass cabs to guitar amps. For the money, (and they're not all that much, I've seen them for as low as $150 used on ebay), it's a tough mic to beat and in my opinion, every engineer and recording musician should have one.

FWIW.

-d.

Attached files

Ty Ford Tue, 12/25/2012 - 16:03

Fish,

Try a TLM 67: samples here - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hxzwpck98plfp2l/IERmxUCl2v

Here's my review. [[url=http://[/URL]="http://tyfordaudiov…"]Ty Ford Audio and Video: Neumann TLM 67 - Everything Old Is New Again, Or Is It?[/]="http://tyfordaudiov…"]Ty Ford Audio and Video: Neumann TLM 67 - Everything Old Is New Again, Or Is It?[/]

Regards,

Ty Ford

RemyRAD Tue, 12/25/2012 - 20:10

I had to complain to Neumann/Sennheiser about this new 67, when I went to MIX, national.... What about you ask? Well it's a little funny.

The 67 actually has a lower MSRP than the current 87. Now anyone who is anyone knows that a original vintage good working 67 is valued higher than the corresponding used 87. But the new ones are opposite and that's because, they told me, the 87 requires its output Transformers. The 67 doesn't it is a TLM. Which bothered me thinking that it will reduce the resale value of my original vintage 67's? I told them they should have just marked it up higher than the 87. Also because it is a reissue, it's unique, plenty of folklore and history. So it should cost more than the 87... sheesh?

Mx. Remy Ann David
Crowmobile.com

RemyRAD Tue, 12/25/2012 - 22:28

I enjoyed reading Ty's review of the TLM-67.

I'm sure it's most obvious to all, that there are visual similarities between the 67 and 87 and that would be correct. The original 67 was of a tube design. Of course the 87 was a later transistorized version of the 67. And while you find on eBay lots of dealers selling large diaphragm condenser microphone capsules, they indicate that this generic, clone, capsule, is fine for the 67 & 87. Of course that is incorrect. While the capsules are extremely similar, there was a significant difference, between the two. And as a result, while the capsules are virtually exactly alike, they're not exactly alike. Plus obviously, a tube circuit response very differently from a transistorized circuit, even if they are both considered to be class A. So it really isn't a replacement for the 87 and it's certainly not a replacement for an original 67. Both of those other microphones utilize output Transformers in this new version does not. This dictates that there will be an interesting difference in the sound. Not making it better nor worse. Not improved and not dummied down. It's been expressed to me by representatives of the company, that this really is a totally new and different microphone. It was released in honor of the original 67 and has been designed to somewhat emulate the difference in sound between the original 67 and the later 87. Whether this is true or not, I do not know? Wow I could borrow, from my dealer, a 67 to compare to my old vintage, original issue, 67's. But these things are antique and while they work quite well, all capsules sound changes as they age. Just like people. So without getting my 67's completely rebuilt, it would not be a valid comparison. And even if I were to do that, it's still not a fair comparison to make. It was just something else developed by the company to boost sales. Of course many of these microphones' capsules, are voiced at the factory to have certain characteristics, each. So even similar looking capsules may sound completely different from each other based upon how they have been assembled, spaced and tensioned. And in fact, today, many microphone rebuilders are putting in thinner gold sputtered, mylar diaphragms. They do this for a myriad of reasons.

One of the reasons for thinner diaphragms is there inherently brighter high-end. And so when you're comparison, obviously it sounds better. Not to me it doesn't. It's just a different animal then. It's how all of the cheap Chinese condenser microphones are made along with others around the world.

The original thickness was six mils. These new ones are half as thick at 3 mil and some are even as thin as a piece of recording tape at 1.5 mill.

The second reason why this is done, is that it's a known fact, all large diaphragm condenser microphones, have miserable off axis response. Meaning that, any audio getting to that capsule diaphragm, that is not directly in front of that capsule diaphragm, will sound like doggie do do. If the diaphragm is thinner, off axis response is not quite as horrifically horrible but still horrible. Which is why you frequently also find instead of a large diaphragm condenser microphone over the drum set, small diaphragm condenser microphones are frequently used. While their diaphragms may not be thinner, they are smaller. And the smaller diaphragm has incredibly improved off axis response, the smaller in diameter the capsule gets. The trade-off is that as the capsule gets smaller, the noise will be higher in the amplification circuitry due to the smaller surface area. But these trade-offs are not generally audible nor problematic. When you make that choice depending upon what environment the drum set might be in? Under ideal conditions, large diaphragm condenser microphones. Less than ideal conditions, small diaphragm condenser microphones are used. Many of these concepts follow through with a lot of what we do and use.

And in many applications we find that the venerable SM-57 & 58 are more appropriate to use than even those premium microphones. And that's because, they have a tendency to pick up so much extraneous stuff that you don't want. Where dynamic microphones are not as highly affected because of their ever so slightly, narrower bandwidth and slightly less sensitivity. So when noise is an issue, use the microphone like that to minimize extraneous noise. There really will not be that much of a difference in quality. For real, it's true. And in fact can actually be better than those expensive microphones. Which is why we use them so much of the time. Especially for live work. Where those premium microphones are really more appropriate in the studio and under well-controlled conditions. Such as a late-night entertainment TV show.

So is that TMI? LOL. Probably? But you are now a more well-rounded. Unfortunately, you'll have to make a commitment to diet starting January 1st. You want fat sound. Unfortunately as ya get older, it tends to accumulate around your middle... frequencies.

I can still fit in my 20 kHz Blue jeans !
Mx. Remy Ann David

I... can't breathe.

RemyRAD Wed, 12/26/2012 - 00:42

I really think what we have here, is essentially, a TLM-87? Just like the variations of the 414's, we are seeing the same thing here. After all this particular 67 series is said to be voiced differently than the 87 with a more linear response blah blah. Like the difference between the 414 B-ULS, verses the 414 TL-I I. Different voiced capsule. What was Transformers, one without although not necessarily that particular model. So it's just a variation that will hopefully make their sales tick higher? After all, Neumann, basically went out of business and was absorbed by Sennheiser. Can you say drowning man grabbing at straws? That's very good. So I think it will be just as big a hit as any of those other obscure models they make today? I think that sums it up? I mean we already know there is not 3000+ dollars worth of materials needed to make that. So that's all profit margin. I would imagine today have to construction is automated if not most? But there are those folks who will want that microphone. Most of the time, I actually prefer my 87's over my 67's because they're so much more mellow and smoother. Which wasn't great in the days of analog since it wouldn't cut through stuff. But there is still that presents one gets with transistors that still seems to fit so well. It's just another toy for those that are fortunate and wealthy enough to enjoy it. Even if somebody offered me a swap deal for a pair of TLM 67's in exchange for my originals? I might consider it? But why? Certainly there is an obvious convenience to know large external power supply that must be plugged in and fixed into a 30 foot long specialty cable. And my need to warm up for at least one hour or more since I really need to change out the Telefunken EF-86's. Upon trying a few out, they went in, they came out, I went back to the old Telefunken. And that's why I hate vacuum tubes today. They are a mere imitation shadow of their former selves. And of the new Chinese tubes I've heard, they sound sterile and empty.

On the other hand... the cash would be good. So I shall entertain any offers. I don't see anything good on the horizon so, I've talked the past couple years about closing down and selling off. I think 13 is going to be a lucky number? Now mind you, I'll still have a reasonable analog digital hybrid rig. Plenty of computers. A new robotically controlled camera, but the new servo controlled pan and tilt head, for my large crane and also probably a decent video capable digital SLR. I need to find out my old Nikon F-2 lenses can be used? I think they can though they may have limited automatic features, which would be just fine by me.

That I can drive around the United States, in my RV and maybe just start making documentaries? Or some other kind of related folderol? Because the only other thing I haven't recorded much of his contemporary American country music and I don't think that's going to come to fruition for me or my truck? Besides, I think I'm getting too old for this stuff? Camcorders are a lot more lightweight even if my crane weighs over 150 pounds... wait a minute let me think about that again? OK that's fine. And lighting today is all high output LED's. I don't mind if I'm paid to listen to music or paid to watch TV.

Somebody has to do it.
Mx. Remy Ann David

anonymous Wed, 12/26/2012 - 06:26

One of the reasons for thinner diaphragms is there inherently brighter high-end. And so when you're comparison, obviously it sounds better. Not to me it doesn't. It's just a different animal then. It's how all of the cheap Chinese condenser microphones are made along with others around the world.

Those thinner diaphragm condensers don't sound better to me either, Remy... especially within the digital format.

That hyped-up top end worked fine for tape, but to my ears, in the digital realm, it just sounds cold and harsh.

Now, that being said, there are plenty of workarounds of varying methods that can warm those mics up... options like front loading the DAW with a nice pre amp, either tube or SS, or a channel strip, or lunch box...

But, as far as plugged directly in, right out of the box, through your everyday run-of-the-mill $300 mic pre/audio I-O, I don't believe they sound as good as what the manufacturers claim.

And... ok... wait a sec... let me adjust my flame suit here.... ok... yup... adjusting asbestos-lined helmet...okay, here we go:

I'm not, and never have been a fan, of the U87.

There. Yeah. That's right. I said it.

I don't think it's a bad mic... I just don't think it's worth the MSRP that it commands. I don't believe that it sounds any better than the various 414's out there, which for the most part, can be had for at least half the cost of the 87.

I guess I'll wait for my pink slip now, and the email that tells me that I've been banned and blackballed from every single audio forum in the cosmos...

-d.

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