$600- A Pair Small Diaphragm Condensers?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by EIK, Sep 14, 2003.

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  1. EIK

    EIK Guest


    Is there anything in the $600- range worth looking at as far as small diaphragm condensers go apart from the Oktava MC-012 from The Sound Room and SP C4s? I was thinking used 451s, but I've heard they're quite too bright at times. I was also thinking about SM81s.

    Instruments that will be recorded:

    Upright piano in stereo.
    Acoustic guitar in stereo and mono.

    Not as often as the above:
    Drums (might get separate mics)
    Pump organ

    Mics will probably go through FMR RNP, Neve 1272 Clone or Peavey VMP-2.


  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    If you don't need true stereo then I'd pick one 451 and one SM81 from the choices you have and sources you listed. This gives you some variety and flexability. Buy another one of both or either latter. Piano or acc. guitar do not need two of the same brand mic for stereo.

    451's can be bright but they are tamed well with good mic placement and something slower and mellower like a 1272. I would much rather use eq to cut any overly brightnees then to have to boost high end eq after. SM81's are hit and miss to me because they are so flat. Sometimes that is good and sometimes it's not.
  3. EIK

    EIK Guest

    Cool, is the general consensus to go with the older or newer 451?

    Would you say any of the instruments I listed do? Just so you know, there will be 2 mics for one instrument at a time. There will be no ensemble recordings with the pair.
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Drum OH is about the only thing I think needs the same mics for stereo other than ORTF and NOS techniques which are not usually used for rock/pop/hop.

    Older 451's are a little more mellowed or aged and I prefer them, but unless you know the history and could demo and could get a very good price for a used 451, you might as well buy a new one or a new reissue used one. I bought my 452's used years ago from a mastering engineer I worked with a lot so I got lucky. Having pairs of real great mics is always a good thing. But if you have a small mic collection to choose from now, it can be better to have more variety and flexability in mics that to have a few of the same.

    I wouldn't likely get a 451 and SM81 together as they are more towards the same than they are different. I would get one and get something much different that would compliment the other and fill the gap the other was missing. Again this is what gives you much greater flexability and variety.
  5. EIK

    EIK Guest


    Now I'm actually thinking of getting one mic at a time. A KM-184 from Europe is number 1 on my list.
  6. Malpasoman

    Malpasoman Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    I would scrape together another $300 and get a matched pair of the Josephson C42's.
  7. EIK

    EIK Guest

    Here's a quote from Scott Dorsey taken from a RAP posting. I hope he doesn't mind. The last sentence grabbed my attention.

    From: Scott Dorsey (kludge@*****.com)
    Subject: Re: Josephson C42 Mics for acoustic guitar
    Newsgroups: rec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic, rec.audio.pro
    Date: 2003-03-10 08:11:17 PST

    Scott Von <scottvon@*********.net> wrote:
    >Anyone have any experience with these mics recording steel string
    >acoustic guitar? The cost for a pair is very reasonable when viewing
    >the competition...

    Try them and see. I think you will find they are about as clean and accurate
    as it gets unless you go up to the Schoeps/DPA price range. On the other
    hand, for steel string I can see your wanting something a bit more mellow
    on the top end rather than accurate."

    I've heard lots of good stuff about the Neumann KM-84s. They can be found for decent prices on eBay. The problem there would be that I probably couldn't return them if I was unhappy with them. Also I believe there's a problem with "transformer taps" on some of those mics. At least I could return the C42s depending on the dealer.

    The guitar I will be recording the most is a Gibson J-45, 95% picking all over the neck, probably mostly in mono.

    [ September 18, 2003, 08:36 AM: Message edited by: EIK ]
  8. Malpasoman

    Malpasoman Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    I own a pair of KM184's (which I bought before Neumann jacked up the price). I like the sound of them in dense mixes (which is normally how my songs are) - however - if I were shopping for a new pair of SD mics I would buy a pair of the C42's without hesitation. Good luck in your search.
  9. Malpasoman

    Malpasoman Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Oh, I forgot to add - alot of people who like the KM84's are really digging the C42.
  10. MPlancke

    MPlancke Member

    Mar 27, 2001
    Nonsense. The only transformer issue on any older Neumann microphone; in fact many vintage microphones including AKG's is that the transformer can be set to 200 ohms or 50 ohms.

    Gotham, the importer of Neumann microphones way back when required that all microphones coming into the North America market have the internal transformer strapped for 50 ohms and the internal pad engaged. IIRC this reduced the output by approximately 6db. This was so the microphones would not overload the equipment being used at the time. Since this is no longer an issue it is a fairly easy matter to change these things. It is not a defect.

    Any competent tech can check and/or change the transformer tap and remove the pad in a few minutes.


    [ September 20, 2003, 08:55 AM: Message edited by: MPlancke ]
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    All of the mics mentioned have their own wonderful uses. You cannot go wrong with any of them. Dont overlook the Audio Technicas in your search...the 4051 is a very nice mic with a nice boost starting @around 2K...the 4041 is a bit flatter but is avaiable in only cardioid whereas the 4051 has changable capsules.Another mic which is just coming into its own is the ADK SC-T.This one has a very warm sound as compared to some of the 'accurate' mics in this class.Not to say its not accurate but simply a bit warmer.Still, you cant really go wrong with an SM81.Or a KM84.etc.
  12. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    You can also get a pair of Earthworks SROs small omni's for $600. I have a pair of KM184's that do not get used much. I can see using them in a really thick mix because they are really exceptionally bright and even brittle IMHO. The KM84 is much warmer so don't be confused.

    I think the sound of the KM184 is so bright that I would not want it as my only or even primary choice for a SD mic. Many other mics mentioned above would probably get more all around use.

  13. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Freq charts, graphs and spec sheets don't tell the whole story. A lot of time the numbers used are design goals not specific consistant useable measurements. I'm very skeptical of any data unless confirmed by independant credible sources. That goes for anything, audio or otherwise.
  14. by

    by Guest

    Everybody I've heard of who's used both the c42 and the newer km184 say that the c42s are smoother in the top end, more like the older km84s are.

    Another consideration for cheap SD condensers are the Crown CM700.
  15. route909

    route909 Guest

    Or the matched pair of Studio Projects C4 mics. They come with a pair of omni and cardioid capsules and sound great so far (I just got them an hour ago ;)

  16. longgone1

    longgone1 Guest

    I just rented the Studio Projects C4's for a month. They are decent but they don't blow me away. I'm not a huge fan of them on guitar either. have you looked at Shure's Sm 81's they are very good mics on acoustic guitar and overheads and they seem to be going pretty cheap on ebay right now.
  17. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
    The C42s are noticeably brighter than the 184s, at least to my ears for finger style acoustic guitar. Much brighter. Scooped actually.
  18. musicalhair

    musicalhair Guest

    a new "matched" pair of Crown CM-700 's goes for like $429.
  19. I don't really care for the sm81s personally, but others do like them. David
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