EQ tube mic
I'm in the process of searching for a workhorse, multipattern tube mic to fill a sonic hole in my mic cabinet. The "hole" is in the low mids to mostly quality low end. In my search I've been torn between the classic 251, 67 and 47 sound characteristics. The uses will be the full range of male/female vocals, acoustic instruments and room mic. Not asking much right?
In my search I'm finding the "clones" in the 2K-4K range either not having enough "warmth" and clarity in the bottom as well as clean,airy top end. Most do a good job, to my ear, of good middle forward push and clarity but either there is usually a lack in the bottom or the top. To my ear, the "modern" sounding tubes are a bit too crisp and simblant on the top with good push of the mids and missing the clean "warm" lows. Or adequate though a bit "muddy" bottom end, scooped mids and just low quality highs.
In doing some mic auditioning at a local college a while back, I understood the head of the program to say that I would run into less problems using make-up/shaping eq on the low end as opposed to the highs if shaping is needed. If my memory serves me correctly (which is always a question!) he said something about more potential phasing issues doing make-up/shaping of highs. I was comparing an old 67 against a Pearlman TM1 and a Telefunken m16. Considering price and sound, the Tele m16 was impressive but lacking that smooth and full bottom of the 47. I have yet to have the chance to do this comparison with the C12vr as we ran out of precious time. Hopefully this will happen in a couple of weeks. We used an API console with no compression etc. and run flat.
My rudimentary understanding of how eq works is that there is a use of phase manipulation/variation to achieve any desired changes. I could easily be wrong about this as well. Anyway, could this be a more potential problem trying to shape/boost/make-up for lacking high end in a tube mic signal than trying to push/shape the low end. I do understand that room, pres and compression will play a big role in the overall results but I really prefer to get enough of what I want initially from the mic itself.
Ideally I would find a tube mic that provides a more or less equal clarity and fullness across the full bandwidth, what I think a 251 with a 47 like bottom would sound like, in the 4K used price range. Maybe a used Wunder cm7s or the like. Unfortunately something like a Telefunken 251/47/67 starts around 9K new.
So to get back on topic, I would appreciate any discussion addressing issues related to eq'ing a quality tube mic high verses low end, if this is even a thing so to speak. The School Program Director is incredibly busy and difficult to reach at this time for clarification. As I said, I may have misheard or misunderstood hI'm from the start! My internet searches on this topic have not turned up any useful information so I'm reaching out to anyone here that might be able to set me straight.
Thanks as always!
Coincidentally... I just finished watching this video again on the MA-1000 and you posted.
Particularity interesting... Dusty talks about the transformer in the MA-1000 and how important that is when it comes to transients. The multi pattern is another aspect that might make it a great high quality "workhorse".
The MA-1000 has a silky top end, which I've heard others describe. Now I know why. It has a flatter mid curve with a slight lift from 10k up.
Dusty sent me an MA-1000 a few months back and I can't wait to try it. My studio is dissembled so I can't give you an honest opinion now but if it sounds as good as it looks, I suspect its a killer mic to own. Especially at that price. I've always wanted the 251 and gave up on that after knowing the tubes were sooo hard to get now. Then discovered this mic.
We advertise Mojave so I want others to know I'm not shilling them because of that (I never shill btw). We've advertised many products over the years and I rarely mention something unless I personally like it. The MA-200 is another excellent mic that I've compared to the U87ai and it sounded so nice that I sold the 87 and kept the MA 200
The MA-1000 might be just what you are looking for.
Forgive me if I miss understood your post and went on the wrong direction here as I may have thought you were "still" looking for a 251 sound/quality mic?
Being said, have you played around with the pattern dial (I love this technique that Dusty just said and what Bruce Swedien often says about mixing (close your eyes instead of looking at the dial)! Maybe this may help dial in the presence or sound you are looking for too?
I've had wonderful success using the hpf on a mic with a pultec EQ. Those two can be wonderful. Pultec's are to die for. The MEQ are worth looking into if you have the budget. https://www.pulsete…
looking forward to other comments. 😊
No prob Chris. You're not wrong at all. I am still looking. The MA1000 is one I've been considering for sure. I haven't been able to track down a way to hear one yet. It's a bit pricy to rent or purchase and swap out etc. It costs so much to do a COVID test to enter Canada for resources there (2-5 hours away). As far as US options I get the feeling that Boston, which is about 6 hours away, would be my best option. The price to pay for living in the woods, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
Actually it might make sense to hit a trade show sometime! Just thought of that, Duh! I'm trying to not be in a rush and let GAS take over. My pocket book helps slow things down but somehow I can always find a way to overcome that restriction!LOL!
I’ve been thinking about the phase comment, and still am unsure. Usually when your checking if two signals are in phase you listen for which one has the most bottom end. But “phasey” sound is usually hollow sounding, with a weird mid/top. It’s not obvious to me how one frequency band is more prone to phase shift than another. Maybe it has to do with analog circuitry in an EQ? The fabfilter eqs have minimum, and linear phase options, which may be relevant to this conversation.
Yes Kyle. The more I try to think this through the more I'm convinced I heard him wrong and misinterpreted whatever it was he said. I'm hoping to briefly connect with him on Wed. The school is about 2 hours away but I travel that way about every 2 weeks and he has made some exciting probes about renting my digs for some off campus recording/mixing. He said if I am in the area to rattle his cage and we might get a chance to briefly connect. Here's hoping. Once I find out more I'll post results.
Two words. Cathedral Pipes.
Right on my man! The Notre Dame has been in my sights for quite a while now as well! I just gravitate to Cathedral Pipes 0since my first purchase of their mic booster. I had purchased a Cloud and another round one I can't remember the name of. When I bought the Cathedral Pipes rig I was happiest of all. That's my go to now and I've been drawn to that company ever since, though I haven't purchased one of their mics yet. Price and quality can't be beat in my mind.
Often I just unscientifically trust my guts and there are many things about that company that just feel right. Of course, without actually hearing the Notre Dame there is no way my guts are enough for this. So what is your experience with their stuff if you don't mind my asking? I've followed your suggestions in the past and had very good results.
I own a Seville ribbon and a U67 that he (Charles Dickinson) built as a test-bed for a possible piece of the product line. I also have two of the line amps.
I also have heard several others in raw tracks done by my mentor who is friends with Charles. The U67....I can't call it a clone since it has a Neumann cap coupled with Charles' expertise in circuiting.....Is the best sounding all around mic I have ever heard and certainly owned. I have a vintage U87 and a Bock to compare it to in my room.
My next mic purchase as far as an LDC will be a Saint Jean Baptiste to cover the vintage U47 FET which I don't currently have anything similar to although the U87 has the vintage FET sound it's just not like the U47 voice.
Charles is generally accessible and all the info is on his site. And he is a "geek" about building things like mics so its always a fun conversation. You can most certainly describe what you hear much like you have here and he will tune whatever your choice is to your specific needs. There's probably a waiting list. But......worth the wait. Lots of them in use here in Portland.
Wow that's quite an endorsement and a great idea! I think I will do as much auditioning of other mics as I can to help me better narrow down the precise sound and function I am after. At that point I might be in a better position to take the leap and contact Charles.
That's a very exciting prospect as well as a bit scary for me. I'm more worried about knowing what I want than his ability to deliver! A waiting list wouldn't be a problem as I probably wouldn't have enough funds for a while anyway. Maybe I'll just open a discussion with him anyway to get a feel for time frames and cost factors. Very exciting!
Thanks so much for the suggestion Dave! My juices are flowing!!
Excellent! As an owner/user of this particular brand I can affirm that these products punch way above their price points and this was Charles' focus from the start.....build the highest quality product without the high prices.
I don't know every microphone there is but I own a few. My newest one is a Heisermann U47fet - and I'd include it in the list of "mics to check". If money allowed I'd get his tube U47 immediately ...
(ok gotta check those cathedral pipes)
I hadn't heard of the Heisermann line before. I'm not really looking for an fet right now but would also need one in the future.Thanks for the suggestion and I will have to check out the 47 in the Heisermann line-up.
I feel that company philosophy and available quality support are as important as product build, fit and price. Thanks for the heads up.
I've been doing the same research about a year ago
I ended up chosing the Telefunken TF29 which isn't a clone and have a unique EQ curve.
I already have U87 U47 and C12 inspired mics so I thought I'd need something different.
At first I was going for the 67 style capsule.. but then why go with clones or something orignal..
I ended up never doing the buy because of the pandemic.. and now I'm changing some preamps before I go back to mic purchasing.. But I still think the TF29 or it's multipatern counterpart (TF39) would be a great choice ;)
Thanks Marco. I'll have to do some research here as well. I have a U87 ai and am really looking to warm things up a bit right now plus get that multi-pattern, multi-use functioning. I'm intrigued and excited by Dave's suggestion of contacting Charles at Cathedral Pipes. I haven't made initial contact with him yet as I've been kinda busy with "life" lately, on top of studio stuff.
Having other options to consider increases my ability to narrow down what I need and want. That way my discussion with Charles will be better informed and help me get closer to my final choice. So much to consider as I try to be more discriminating about what I need, especially on a "retirement" budget!
Fortunately I'm in no immediate rush and learning a lot along the way. My studio build of 13 years is yet to be completed as I wait for my carpenter friend to help me construct and install the last doors (double entry full view loading doors). I'm just finishing my low voltage hook ups and dressing cables while at the same time doing final configuration and patching of my DAWs with upgraded PC's.
I really don't know what I would do without your help and that of so many more I've met on this great forum. I'll keep ya posted.
Cathedral Pipes mics seems to be a very good quality and very beautiful. It all depends on the sound diversity you already own.
I'm surprised that you find the U87 not warm enough, which preamp do you use it with ? If you really need more bottom and less HF, I suggest you try a few U47 inspired mics.. More bottom but with some air is the reason I'm considering the TF29 (or TF39) have you seen the frequency curve ? ;)
I feel my limited mic locker is fairly strong in the mids to highs but lacking some in the low mids to lows. I've used my 87 through my phoenix drs q4, UA 610, millenia HV-35 and an AEA RPQ. Also added the LA2 in the chain. I'm not unsatisfied with the 87 yet it just, to my ears, doesn't provide that fullness up front I hear in the U47/47clones through internet shootouts.
I have looked at the Tele Alchemy series frequency curves and they confirm what my ears are telling me. The raised low through mids of the TF39 tend to cloud the sound some to me relative to the TF47 and 51. They seem more "open" to me. I have had the 51 on my short list for a while. I keep going back to the low through mids sound of the 47 and back and forth.
I had a chance to audition a U67 against a tele m16 which it seems started as a c12 type clone and eventually evolved through to the TF51 right now. It was no 67 but stood up much better than the Pearlman I also tried. Again, the lack for me in the tele m16 was what I'm calling the "open warmth" of the mid to lows of the 67 and 47 samples I've heard.
I love the air of the 47's, 67's c12s and 51's and feel I could work very well with any of these top end color pallets and some are just splitting hairs. Yet again I keep getting stuck on what I feel I want on the low mids to lows. Hopefully Monday I will get a chance to do a live shoot out of a c12vr, u67, m16 and a Brauner. I'm hoping this will help me narrow things down a bit more. We will be using the API console pres with no compression or FX.
I would like to get as close to what I think I am looking for at the source and depend as little as possible on EQ, proximity and pres+/compressor chains. I know one mic can't do it all. Just trying to make the most out of this choice. So on with the search!
That's very insteresting..
I respect the quest for the best sound and hope you find your gem soon..
Somehow I think you could book an hour or 2 in a studio that carry all those mics and record on each to help you decide..
That would sure be nice if i lived somewhere where that would be possible without traveling at least. 6 hours 1 way to get there. Unfortunately its so hard to travel to CA right now. Ive had great luck with the folks in Montreal at Studio Economik. That is only about 5 hours away and a much nicer drive and stay.
Patrick Carney used a 251 clone for his Slate Drums sample pack. It’s speaks a lot to me since Patrick has the ability to use a wide variety of gear. This leads me to believe it’s more of a choice than a compromise. It’s an Upton mic modded by Analog Anonymous.
I ended up auditioning a u67, tele u47, brauner, a c12vr, pearlman tm1 and a tele r-f-t m16 mkII. I tracked them all on an api console with no eq, compression or FX, only gain matching for comparison in my studio.
The 47,67 and brauner were more what I wanted yet at 10K average, ea., way beyond my available funds. The pearlman didn't hit the mark for me. That particular c12 sounded a bit vieled and not what I expected based upon most reviews and shoot outs. Being part of a college program, it may have been treated poorly and needed work.
I ended up incredibly surprised by the quality and value of the m16 though it was closer to a 251 style but made sense for a quality tube workhorse. So I put out some searches and figured that if I could nail one at a very reasonable price it would be a good start. Then I could later save up more and look further into the Cathedral Pipes customizing etc., something in the 2-3K range with more of the 47 sonic parameters that the m16 lacks.
Long story short, just the other day an M16 was listed for 700! I had to nail it and am looking forward to it's arrival next week. Just couldn't pass it up at that price though I needed to get a shockmount for it. I'll report on it as soon as possible. Wish me luck!
How do you like the M16 ?
Thanks for asking Chris. I just love it! I compared it to the files I had of the brauner, c12vr, u67, school's m16 and live with a tele u47 I was loaned.
I'll try to be as descriptive as possible. I need to qualify that life events have gotten in the way as of late so since the mic has arrived I've had little to no time to put it through more paces than just my single vocals and acoustic guitar and a quick sweep through multiple patterns.
To my ear, like the school's m16, mine has more of the c12 or 251 style of low mids, mids and highs. Very accurate yet warm. Clean and open. Very low noise floor. Less of that creamy full bottom of the brauner, u67 or u47 and not quite the sheen of those either but:
This is not to say that it lacks those qualities, just not as profound if that makes sense. If it "lacks" anything I would say it's the low end reach I ultimately want. That said, wow what a bang for my buck! I think it will stand quite well in a jazz type mix as well as a more crowded rock or pop mix but have yet to test this. I think it's value is nearly than 3x's what I paid for it and if another came along, which they don't seem to very often, I'd be extremely tempted to grab it as well!.
I couldn't be more happy and I think I will keep my U87, this m16 and then, in the future, round it out with a nice U47 type clone when funds permit, but not an FET for now. Rather than go used, though I am curious about the Telefunken R-F-T AK 47, I'm thinking strongly about new clones in the under 3K range. There are many out there for sure!The Cathedral Pipes Notre Dame is high on my list and I must admit being positively excited about it due to Dave's high praise of their mics. As I've said earlier, I've been very interested in Cathedral Pipes for a long time.
As I'm able to work with the m16 more I'll post my experiences. For now, I couldn't be much happier with this mic, which I found through research, to have an interesting origin and development at Telefunken. I'm really grateful to my new friend at The New England School Of Communications who turned me on to this "diamond in the rough" studio workhorse. Had I not grabbed this one he would have !LOL!