KM-184 or AT-4051a?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by John Stafford, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    I was wondering if anyone has any opinion on the relative merits of these two mics.

    I've heard a few people complain that the Neumann stereo pairs are not always matched very well. Instead you get consecutive serial numbers and hope for the best, although the differences are slight. I was wondering if this was true or not.

    Ive heard great things about the ATs. They also have the advantage of being modular, and I'd like to buy omni capsules at a later stage.

    In this part of the world, the pairs cost roughly the same amount of money.

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    Many Thanks,
    John Stafford
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA

    Both of these mics are great. The questions will begin to flow, however - "What are you going to record with them...?" I'm assuming, if you are looking at pairs of these mics, you are likely to record either acoustic instruments or more specifically - ensembles.

    I did a very direct comparison of these mics when I decided to make my most recent purchase for my orchestral recording rig. I use Schoeps as my main overheads, but was looking for a lesser expensive set of highlight mics.

    In all, I found the ATs to be smoother and less "hyped" than the Neumanns. I thought that the Neumanns presented information in such a way as to exaggerate (too much so) certain frequencies and the soundstage. Eventually, I decided on the M1290s from Audix. In the case of both the Neumann and the AT, neither were "matched pairs," rather they were sequential serials. However in both of their cases, there was no perceivable difference, and when compared electronically, only the slightest detectable difference. They both showed the most difference in the 1.0-1.2 khz band. (Unfortunately, a very audible band, but truthfully, I could hear nothing of these differences!)

    The Audix was the only one out of the bunch that was paired as a "matched set." It faired on par with the matching performance of both of the other mics - no better, no worse. Mics of this caliber are made well enough that their differences should be minimal at worst. That is of course if they are not manufactured months or years apart.

    While I did really enjoy the AT's, I found the Audix to be much more similar to my Schoeps. (This is quite a compliment for any mic to receive!) They are also modular capsules, and the last time I checked they were quite a bit cheaper than either of the two that you mentioned.

    Just for giggles, have you thought about Schoeps? They aren't that much more expensive than the ATs or the Neumanns.



    p.s. Either Electronic Musician or Recording Magazine (I'm pretty sure it was EM) did a shootout of several different SD condensers within the past 6 months. It might be worth checking out their opinions too. If I recall correctly, they thought quite favorably of the ATs.
  3. frais_cafe

    frais_cafe Guest


    To just add to what J just said, EMusician had the shootout. Here's the link:

    The mics they review are:

    AKG C 480 B/CK 61-ULS
    A-T AT4051A
    Josephson C42
    Neumann KM 184
    Pearl TL 66
    Schoeps U.S. Stereo Set
    T.H.E. KA-04/KR-2C

    It's a really good article, and it gives fair advice on which would be best for what (as well as options varied by price-point)

    Hope this helps.

  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    That's the one.

    Thanks Jean-Pierre!
  5. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    Thank you both so much for your replies. It was the EM shootout that gave me the idea about the ATs.

    I think Audix might be way more expensive over here than in the US, but I'll look into them.

    To be honest, I've always discounted Schoeps because of their cost, but I've never investigated any further. That's it, I want some!

    I have Rode NT5s, and I'd like something more neutral, as my main recordings in the near future will be classical ensembles, but mainly choirs. BTW I don't think the matching of NT5s is particularly impressive, as the noise charactersitics are quite different.

    I must go now and netsurf for those Schoeps! Thanks again J and JP!


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