Anyone here try SE microphones?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by mchimes, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. mchimes

    mchimes Guest

    Made in China . . . but apparently different from the rest. All marketing aside, has anyone actually heard these?

    I understand they will let you demo them for free.

    If it looks too good to be true it probably is

  2. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    I did demo a few of the SE mics at AES in San Fran.

    I thought from what I could hear, that they were a step above the usual Chinese-made mics on the market.

    They all sounded very clear and not brittle at all. The big tube mic especially sounded sweet. even better when you consider the price.

    Just my .02

  3. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I just found something hilarious while looking around their website; but be cautioned: it involves PORNOGRAPHIC content!

    Click the Locate Dealers icon >
    Click on Tennesse>
    Click the link to Gardner Audio >

    I thought that was great. Audio dealer/smut peddler.
  4. aamicrophones

    aamicrophones Active Member

    Feb 5, 2009

    Hi Reggie, that website link doesn't work anymore. Guess if it was linked to a ****-site then they were probably forced to pull it down.

    When I first started building our CM47 microphones we were using the SE5600 but upgrading the circuit. You can often pick these up used for a good price and they are worth upgrading.

    However, our CM47 sell for $735 on-line so you need to get a used SE under $400 with all the parts to make it worthwhile.

    We upgrade the SE5600 for $229 if we can keep the stock capsule and $359 with our AK47 capsule fitted. The upgrade includes capacitors, tube, circuit output transformer and PS optimization.

    The power supply output voltage is too high and I found them higher than the 460 power supply. With the 67 type capsule you want about 60 volts to polarize the capsule so the output of supply should be 125v + or - 10%.

    Some of these have about 80 volts on the capsule and that can cause early capsule failure and there is a bit more tension on the diaphragm and the upper midrange gets brighter by a db or two.

    The SE5500 was cardiod only and used a single side version but the circuit only had a single stage 12AX7 plate output driving a 10:1 transformer and was a bit headroom shy.

    However, the SE5500 makes a great body to upgrade into our CM12 with an edge fed AK12 (C12) type capsule, circuit upgrade, transformer upgrade and power supply upgrade.

    We charge about $439 with this conversion and supply a new cable and 9 pattern power supply.

    The capsules in all the Z5600 microphones I have seen where 35mm K67 type with 6 micron diaphragms and these were very consistent from capsule to capsule.

    The capsule is basically a Peluso CEK367 skinned in China.

    The circuit in the 5600 was basically a APEX 460/HST11a/Nady TCM1150 circuit with a 12AX7 tube and single bobbin 10:1 ratio output transformer.

    If you replace the 12AX7 with a 6072 then you immediately get 6db more headroom and it won't sound as grainy on high SPL sources.

    It would be quite acceptable and very nice sounding on the majority of vocals and acoustic instruments with just the tube change.

    We use a variation of this circuit in our CM12/CM47/CM47SE and CM67.

    The microphone becomes a real contender when the tube is changed, the cathode bypass capacitors are removed in the head amp, the output transformer changed to a dual bobbin 6.5:(BV8) and the output capacitor changed to a metal film 2.2ufd. This increases the LF response down almost another octave and the BV8 can handle twice as much level and divides the final output level half as much.

    It doesn't sound like a U47 or quite like a U67 but rather a nice hybrid of the U47 and U67 with double the headroom and 9 patterns instead of 2 or 3.

    The capsule is flat in Cardiod from 35-5khz where it gently rises up to +5db at 12khz.

    It doesn't have the +5db rise at 4khz like the 32mm economy Chinese capsules with 3 micron diaphragms.

    I was looking at selling some of the SE line a few years ago but found out I could get better microphones built with all my upgrade requirements for less money.

    However, you are right they are better quality than most Chinese made microphones. They made and interesting dual tube microphone with a 12AU7 driving balanced audio out across it cathodes.

    But is was a cardiod only microphone which I was never interested in condensers and seemed a bit bass shy into a Neve 1073 which has a 1.2K load.

    They sounded better into transformerless preamps which have input impedance upward of 5K.

    The advantage of the Neve 1.2K load with a transformer coupled microphone is it dampens the transformer more quickly than a higher input impedance transformerless circuit.

    Cheers, Dave

  5. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Interesting. I just ordered a 6072 valve!

    Would you expect this to change the way it sounds, or just increase headroom? I've already swapped out the stock valve for a branded model (Groove Tubes if I remember correctly) and I had the impression that the result sounded richer and warmer... but I didn't do any proper before & after comparisons so this could be placebo.
  6. aamicrophones

    aamicrophones Active Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    Hello, yes you should hear a difference because as you increase the headroom you increase clarity.

    1) Any transient has to rise 6db higher before the onset of distortion with the 6072.

    2) The plate resistance is cut in half so a transformer with a lower ratio can be utilized but the existing transformer would also be damped more quickly again increasing transparency on transients.

    3) Tubes have an inherent stray capacitance between their input and output which according to the Miller Effect, "this stray capacitance is multiplied by the gain of the circuit."

    The 12AX7 with its higher gain and slightly higher stray capacitance will effect the response more than the lower stray capacitance of the 6072.

    The capacitance of the 5600 capsule is between 72-76pf while the stray capacitance of the 6072 60pf and the 12AX7 is 136 pf.

    We go further in our CM47 by reducing the gain another 4db by removing the cathode bypass capacitors, we increase the size of the output capacitor and reduce the ratio of the output transformer to 6.5:1

    Plus we reduce the power supply voltage so the capsule has another db or two less output and the upper mid rise is reduces a db or two also.

    However, with just the tube change it would be more than adequate for vocals and acoustic guitar. With all the changes you can use the 5600 over the drum kit.

    Cheers, Dave
    Advanced Audio Microphones
  7. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Thanks Dave,

    I'm not going to attempt your more advanced mods, but rolling in a different valve is well within my capabilities and I look forward to hearing the difference!

    I've already used my 5600 over a drum kit btw, with good results. But with three 414s available at the studio I tend to reach for those instead. Mine is the Z5600A model btw, but not the Mark II with the pad and HPF. Don't know if that makes a difference?
  8. aamicrophones

    aamicrophones Active Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    Hello, I saw a note that they improved the circuit in the 5600A but I have not seen one so I do not know what changes they made.

    However, the 6072 should still make a marked difference.

    I used 414's over the drum kit during my tenure at Ocean and use our CM414 microphones over the kit with great results.

    I look at the response curve of the 5600a it is different than the 5600 Warren at Zen Pro Audio believes the 5600a was made in a different factory than the 5600???

    Cheers, Dave
  9. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    A bit more info about the differences here.

    My new valve hasn't arrived yet: I'll let you know how it sounds...

    Out of interest, would you have any valve upgrade suggestions for an SE Gemini, or Gemini Mrk II? I don't own either myself, but other residents at our little studio complex have one of each. (I got a nice fat drum sound on one occasion using a Gemini as an overhead, with my 5600A in fig8 for MS stereo. But you need a sturdy stand if you're putting those two mics on one stereo bar!)
  10. aamicrophones

    aamicrophones Active Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    Hi, even with a single tube microphone you need a robust stand.

    I have one that has a fairly heavy counter weight and a 6' boom and extra wide tripod legs and I can hold two of our CM12 microphones on a Blumlein bar.

    I have only upgraded one Gemini which had a 12AX7 in the front end and a 12AU7 providing a balanced output. We changed the 12AX7 to a 6072 and this is always good for a 6db increase in headroom.

    Condenser elements are so efficient that you don't need a lot of gain and lowering the operating level 6db just increases the headroom. The 6072 has half the gain a half the plate resistance of the 12AX7.

    However, you can buy them for almost 1/10th the cost of a 12AX7. I have a draw full of new quiet 12AX7 tubes that I would sell for $25 for 12 or $50 for 30.

    Also the 6072 has a slightly lower stray capacitance between the input and output so according to the Miller Principle, "this stray capacitance is multiplied by the gain of the circuit."

    The higher the capacitance between the input and output of the tube the more it will limit the amplifier response.

    Not only will the input to the tube circuit take 6db more level from the capsule but the frequency response of the circuit will be better and the circuit is now running 6db quieter.

    I wondered why they did not spend a few more dollars and supply it with a dual diaphragm capsule and spst throw switch to get an OMNI or CARD option.

    I could upgrade a Gemini with our AK47 capsule and add a SPST toggle switch for OMNI or CARD for $195 or with our AK12 capsule for a Ela M251 response.

    With a LDC microphone you really want to take advantage of having an OMNI pattern available.

    If I have a room with 12' ceiling or higher then I always put the overheads in OMNI.

    You don't really need any other microphones on the kit. If the kit sounds right.

    Cheers, Dave
  11. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    My valve still hasn't arrived. Turns out I hadn't paid for it yet: I must have got distracted before finally confirming. Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow.

    Depends what you're doing. I use the Z5600A to record the voice overs for my tutorial videos, and a standard K&M boom stand works fine for that. But for drum overheads I always use large orchestral style stands with counter-weights. (They actually belong to a local PA hire company, but as they invariably book me to run any shows that require them I get to keep them at the studio the rest of the time.) I use these even with smaller and less gravitationally challenging microphones, as they reduce the chance of the drummer knocking the stand out of place (or over!) between takes.

    Absolutely! :cool:

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