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Anybody have the good solution for this Combo?

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anonymous Thu, 11/18/2004 - 08:42

Hello guys. I find the K2 smoother in the top end than the NTK in the Cardioid position. The mics specs say it's quiter than the NTk but I could'nt tell much since everything I tend to do is close mic'd and the Amek preamps into the Lynx 2 I use are so quite as to be unreal.

There is not a million miles of difference here! In fact so my NTK see's hardly any use at all these days. The multipatterns are what makes this mic for me - that and the fact it's a little smoother on the top. It's quite similar to the classic actually. Great mics both the NTK and K2.

I have heard about mods for them by using Telefunken tubes that apparantly has them coming up an entire level.

Here is a review actually:-

Paul Blenn

maintiger Thu, 11/18/2004 - 08:58

Blenn wrote:
I have heard about mods for them by using Telefunken tubes that apparantly has them coming up an entire level.
Here is a review actually:-

Paul Blenn

can not access the review- they ask you to subscribe- could you elaborate on the mods? What tube to replace the one on the K2 and what is the difference?- thanks- :D

anonymous Thu, 11/18/2004 - 09:06

Shoud'nt do this but here we go - copied and pasted. Sorry SOS if I have done wrong. Wont do it again! Oh as for the mods that was a different Link. I will hunt that one down and get it you soon as.

It's almost two years since I reviewed the Rode NTK valve mic, and it turned in such an impressive performance that both SOS's Debbie Poyser and myself ended up adding one to our respective mic collections. Valve mics inevitably cost more than their solid-state counterparts, but they are far more affordable today than ever before and they remain popular because of their flattering musicality. At first, fixed-pattern tube mics such as the NTK were about as much as the home user could be expected to afford, but as Rode have developed more sophisticated means of production in their native Australia (the new K2 is entirely designed and manufactured in Sydney), they are now able to offer the multi-pattern K2 at a very attractive price.

From NTK To K2
Physically, the mic is almost exactly the same size as the NTK, but has a different grille design with a heftier support frame. It features a large (one-inch diameter) dual-diaphragm capsule with gold-sputtered, edge-terminated mylar diaphragms. As with the NTK, the onboard circuitry is based around a selected 6922 dual-triode tube operating in a Class-A configuration, working in conjunction with bipolar output transistors so that no output transformer is required. The tube is held in place in its porcelain socket by means of a plastic spring clip, and the standard of mechanical and electrical engineering is up to Rode's usual very high standard.

All the electronic components are mounted on a glass-fibre circuit board, while the capsule itself is shockmounted. Such wiring as there is is very neatly executed. The double-layer, stainless-steel grille mesh provides the necessary screening from radio frequencies, while also protecting the fragile capsule from physical damage, and the all-metal housing is beautifully machined and finished with a matte nickel plating. Access to the tube compartment is achieved by unscrewing the main body sleeve, and a knurled locking ring is used to secure the included SM2 shockmount.

The K2's internal valve can be replaced without any soldering.
The mic comes in a tough moulded RC2 plastic travel case of the type normally associated with power tools, and includes not only the shockmount and power supply, but also the necessary multi-pin XLR cable to connect it to the power supply. The mic itself has no switches or other controls and the mic pattern is adjusted using a continuous rotary control on the power supply. This provides everything from omni, through various widths of cardioid, to figure of eight. A gold-plated stud indicates the 'hot' side of the capsule, in Rode's usual tradition.

There are no pad or filter switches on the PSU, but this shouldn't be a problem, as most mic preamps and mixers have the necessary low-cut filters and, with a maximum SPL handling of an incredible 162dB, you'd probably have to shoot this mic to get it to distort! I always like to remind potential purchasers that the paper spec tells you precious little about the sound of a mic, though it can help to establish how quiet or sensitive it is. The quoted sensitivity figure is -3dB (reference 1V/Pa) and the equivalent noise figure is just 10dBSPL (which means there's a signal-to-noise ratio of 81dB) — rather better than some solid-state mics, and a little quieter than the NTK. The frequency range is 20Hz-20kHz, with little deviation other than a very deliberate, but still suitably subtle, presence peak centred at around 12kHz in omni mode. Another lesser peak at around 5kHz is evident in cardioid mode, which is very reminiscent of the NTK's response shape. This is about the only part of the spec that might give a clue as to how the mic might sound, as this type of presence peak often results in an open and airy high end.

Recording Performance
If anything, the Rode K2 is a hint sweeter-sounding than the NTK, and it definitely does the 'subtle flattery' thing — which is, after all, why we tolerate tubes inside our microphones in the first place. The way in which it flatters is hard to describe, but, in addition to adding weight to what I call the 'chest' frequencies of the voice, it also captures the high-end detail in a way that sounds noticeably smoother and less aggressive than is often the case with solid-state mics. As with the NTK, the lack of a bass roll-off switch means you'll probably need to engage the low-frequency filter on your preamp or mixer when recording vocals, and you'll certainly need a pop filter. In fact, pop filters are such essential components of any vocal recording system that I'm surprised more mics don't come with them — they're just as important as shockmounts, yet we seem to get those thrown in with nearly every mic we buy these days.

As a vocal mic, the K2 sounds very classy indeed, and it has been deliberately engineered to be reminiscent of classic studio mics. It is, however, rather quieter than some of these tube classics, and probably a lot cheaper to service given that the tubes used in the Rode mics don't belong to an endangered species. This is a great mic if your voice needs a bit of filling out, or if the high end of your voice needs rounding off. I also tried the mic on the usual acoustic guitar and hand percussion, where it turned in a solid performance, combining warmth with evenness of tone. I particularly liked this mic for strummed acoustic guitar played in a pop style, as you get a punchy, no-nonsense result that sounds almost as though it's been slightly compressed, with no ragged edges.

Peak Of Achievement?
Rode's K2 is a great performer, offering multi-pattern functionality at a very affordable UK price. Rode have risen well above the bargain-basement dog fight that seems to be going on at the moment, so the K2 isn't the cheapest tube mic on the market by a long stretch, but it offers quality, both mechanically and sonically. Anyone in the market for a large-diaphragm multi-pattern mic should audition the K2, if only to find out what the others have to live up to.

Published in SOS July 2004

anonymous Thu, 11/18/2004 - 14:00

I totally agree also. I actually bought a Blue Kiwi. £2600 and the K2 £349. MAssive difference in cost but guess what not a massive difference in sound. I know it's not right to compare a solid state mic with a tube mic but the K2 was so good I sent the Blue kiwi back. The k2 and my AKG C414 are my favourite two mics I own.

Paul Blenn.

p.s. Glad you liked the review. I will dig out the link for that info on the Telefunken tubes mods for the K2 and NTK!

theheavy Fri, 01/07/2005 - 10:08

I can a serious analog guitar amp person that a tube swap
does smooth out or even beef up a sound depending on what you are looking for.(I spent lots of money and time searching for that just right sound in my guitar equipment)some tubes are noted for there ability to distort at low volumes...others for taking huge power attacks and remaining strong for years and years.
My own experience with sovteks are that they have a grainy saturated distortion which is undesirable in my old fender guitar amps audio.(as i seek a more musical smooth warm but still slightly overdriven sound)They are the ultimate manufacturers pricepoint tube.
I made a swap to nos and there is really a beautiful difference in tone...(mind you..Im a tone nut about this stuff..and i get the feeling Im not alone on this forum)

About the sovteks...They are good tubes no doubt ..guitar amp enthusiasts usually like nos for more than just the sound...they are built better and can take the high voltages that guitarists and engineers sometime subject them too to get a good sound.
Just realize that its a tricky subject and you may actually be giving up something with a tube change...
its very rarely an all or nothing upgrade.
Example...I swapped my sovtek 6l6gc for nos sylvania power tubes.
Now The amp is warmer..smoother on top by far but it isnt as "glassy shimmery on the top end' (I know spoken like a guitar guy...rather than an audio engineer but get my point)
For me I just eq my guitars high end at low higer volumes all the shimmer comes back...theres usually ways to get what you want..but rarely a one button fixes all type of thing.
Im just saying that the more we can get input from people who have tried these little swaps in a specific mic looking for a specific result etc the more we will have to go on rather than just assumimg an nos is better.
"has anyone tried the JJ E88CC from Eurotubes.
Bob (from Eurotubes) says he uses them in his own NTK's.
Good value at $8.50"
in the guitar world...these new tubes have a very good rep when it comes to tone vs price.
Ive never tried one so I cant vouch personally.
Also certain tube types are known for clarity, others for shimmer etc
a 12axy is probably a terrible match for a tube mic while an 88cc or at7 is probably a better bet. (new to the mic I suggest researching it with the experts..but feel I do have some useful experience to add before we all go out and spend more dough.)
Also I believe that 12ax7 and these similar type preamps do not need to be biased so should be a no brainer swap type thing.
Big Power tubes need biasing..yes. Preamps?..I dont think so at least in my fender pro reverb amp. Just as a side about guitar amps..Pro reverbs are still available for relatively low money compared to Old deluxe reverb.If you want the great tone..go for a blackface version..those are the amps with the black faceplates built between 1965 and 1967. Also if you know what your looking for you can get the silver faces between the years 68 and 70 that are pretty good and have a little more high end as well. The 68's are really blackface amps with silverfae clothing. Blackface fender amps are the equivalent to vintage Neumann mics. (ok Ok..enough about amps) guys have me leaning towards a rodes k2 and a few
mods to it in the future.
Thanks for the info.
Oh and maintiger...your Elrod Geare vocal recording sold me on the k2.(saving up as we speak)
I could feel that guys emotion coming through the track first time I heard it and enjoyed the warmth and clarity... didnt realize it was a k2 mic until recently...thats enough for me as thats what I aim for as a vocalist.


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