Why buy an old classic mic instead of the new mic version?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by I-Quality, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. I-Quality

    I-Quality Guest

    For example why get an old AKG C12a when there is a new model AKG C414B XLII out there?

    Actually it's my first time that I get the occasion to get an old classic mic and I was wondering if it was better to get the old model or get the new one...

    thanks for the replies
  2. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Because even though the numbers are the same, the mics are not the same. The new C12VR is NOT like an old C12. Rather than get caught up with brands and numbers so much, check out some of the really nice stuff being put out by "alternative" brands.
  3. I-Quality

    I-Quality Guest

    Yeah right on like this answer is useful

    just go $*^t on yourself

    what main differences are there?
  4. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    What's with the hostility? Sometimes the differences lie in the electronics, sometimes the capsule is different, often, both.

    This stuff is pretty well documented and you can google most of this info. Calm down.
  5. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    this is true
    also true
    and some good advise i see not problems with this reply, if you want more specsifics then ask for them, other wise bugger off. welcome to the RO
  6. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    Actually, that answer is very useful. The "new" C12VR is nothing like the old one, and the one you mentioned isn't even a tube microphone. His advice to check out other brands is good as well, as the two companies who built most of the "classic" microphones (AKG and Neumann) aren't interested in building the microphones they used to, whereas there are a few smaller companies who are.

    With the way you responded, though, I don't think it's realistic for you to expect much more help than that.

  7. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    Has anyone noticed that the literature for the XLII doesn't mention its C12 "heritage", unlike that for the TLII? It would have been quite easy to draw the conclusion that the TLII was a solidstate C12, although the slightest bit of digging would dispel this notion.

    Anyway, I'm wondering if the new C414s bear the same relationship to each other as the ULS/TLII, or is the XLII an XLS with a little bit of boost in the upper frequencies.

    Just for curiosity, how does the C12VR sound? I often wonder what an old C12 would have sounded like when it was new.

    John Stafford
  8. sndo

    sndo Active Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Home Page:
  9. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:

    Please be patient with i-Quality. Remember, you only have to deal with him for a short while. He has to live with himself forever...

    Anyway, when you suggest checking out some of the alternates to AKG and Neuman, whom do you suggest?

    I personally care about quality for a great price and couldn't care less about brand names, or origin of manufacture(tho I'm not excited about giving the Chinese my business.)

    Cheers mates
  10. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    I'll tell you what it is all about.

    1. Return on investment
    2. Potential rentals/bookings
    3. Sound (sometimes magic, sometimes overblown mythical bs)

    You can't buy a Rode, Shure, AT, etc, etc, and have it be worth what you paid the day that you bought it. However, you can buy a Neumann U89, 87, etc, etc that hasn't been hacked up, and you can get your money out of it.

    There are lots of huge, great sounding mics out there that are not vintage. Unless you are dealing with big budgets (and even the big studios are anymore) then it is a non-issue. Your clients can pay for it, you are here on a forum with no experience, so you wouldn't hear the nuances at this time in your life, so buy and use what works for the money that you have.

    A thing to consider is that the real deal tube supply is dwindling. The vintage mic market will eventual skyrocket. The person on top will have the spare parts and the tubes.
  11. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Old is romantic, new is not. Or is it?

    For instance: Korby, offers a "set" of mic(s), said to be based on the "old" mics... though using new tehnology where it applies to the better(Lower noise, etc.). One can buy a "base" with several capsules(Or only one, I'm sure.) and have a rather nice set of mics that have some of the "better" features of the old and the new.

    New or old? Korby has one "covered" there as well! They service/rebuild/restore all the "oldies but goodies". Most old things have many parts that just don't last forever, go out of calibration, are modified, etc. So, even if one were to pick up an original C12, one might still be better off to "send it away" to be restored to "factory specs".

    Most people that buy old things... are... old...
    For now, a nice, new mic of reasonable quality will suffice for your recordings. When you become "old", you will find yourself seeking out the "new" mics you "bought back when", which by the time now becomes then, will be...old - and for mostly rather silly reasons, may - somehow - sound...better. Whether they actually do or not will be irrelevent.

  12. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    In my mind, for most people it is NOT a good idea to get one of the older mics. There are quite a few reasons for this, and I will only state a few of the obvious ones.

    But first, for some people it is really worth it. These people probably has used quite a lot of mics and know really well what they are looking for and will recognize it when they find it. They can skip the rest of this discussion.

    Some obvious reasons to not buy an old mic

    -- most of the old mics are more or less detoriating. Unless you know how to hear the difference, it is better to stay off the old ones.
    -- most of the old mics costs a lot of money. You can get several new mics for the same price. And unless you really know what you want, it might be better to get a few different new mics instead of one old.
    -- as they are old, they probably all sound different. You have to listen to each one. New mics from the big houses (say top-line AKG, Neumann, Sennheiser, Schoeps..) should all sound similar for the same version.
    -- you get no guarantees on an old mic.
    -- it might be almost impossible to repair an old mic, as some parts are becoming really scarce.
    -- (this is a sweeping statement) old mics generally are noisier than new mics. Things has after all changed to the better in some areas.

  13. elektro80

    elektro80 Guest


    Gunnar! Yeah!
  14. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    I really like Soundelux's mics. Shure's KSM line is really excellent, especially at the price point. AEA Ribbons are a great deal and sound really good, as do Royer ribbons. They serve different uses, so having both in the locker is a great thing. Buying a vintage mic can be a great investment, and there are are vintage mics that sound unique. Finding a good one can be a hassle, as any vintage mic will at least need to be checked out by a tech, and most will need service.

    If you buy mics looking to sell them, a vintage mic is a good investment, but you need to look hard. If you buy mics to actually use them, some of the newer "alternative" brands such as have been mentioned are incredible values and will offer you a wide sonic palette without having to open your wallet quite as far.

    FWIW: the new AKG414 is supposedly a hot $*^t compared to the previous revision. It's a very good mic. Some think they stink, I wouldn't use one on everything, but they are not going to be the weak link in the chain if you have one and know how to use it.

    The C12VR is based on the "SolidTube" mic. It's not a thing like the original C12. I haven't auditioned either of them, so can't comment, but I haven't heard much good about it.

    Buying a new mic is usually better for most people, as parts and support are available more readily.
  15. p0llen_p0ny

    p0llen_p0ny Guest

    Check out MXL's mics. I grudgingly bought a couple of MXL 2003s and to my surprise they sounded great. Not as great as a Neumann, but definitely a great mic for the money.
  16. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    The C12VR is actually a "descendant" of "The Tube", which was AKG's previous high-end tube microphone. They're both fine microphones, and theyr'e both based on the original C12VR, but they don't sound like it. Neither one has anything to do with the SolidTube, which is a relatively cheap electret condenser with a 12AX7 in it...it's more like a really dark-sounding C3000B with a tube stuck in it.

  17. beedle

    beedle Guest

    i really can't add more to the thread, but i find it interesting if i keyword "$*^t on yourself", i'll get at least one hit. :shock:
  18. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I have a 60 yr old RCA D77 ribbon mic that just sounds great- big fat classy sound for female vocalists, vintage sound for male voxs, great for VO's and brass instruments. lately though, it developed a buzz, sounds like there might be a short in the cable and I'm getting ready to take it in for service. Kinda scares you, though, for the mic sounds so good and hopefully it will still sound good after servicing.

    The grille is all bumped in, the silk looks like a homeless guy who hasn't showered in a month
    but the mic just sounds great (before it developed the current buzz, that is). we'll see what happens, keep the ole fingers crosses.
    At least its going to AEA in pasadena and they are the experts....
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