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Old 11-08-2019, 06:11 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Default mic comparisons

A friend of mine a two-part video comparing mic emulations and some of the available clones.

Included mics are:
  • Neumann U87ai
  • Slate FG49
  • Advanced Audio CM49
  • IK Mic Room Bottle 563
  • Mic Mod EFX Neumann U47
  • Mic Mod EFX Telefunken U47
  • Slate FG47
  • Slate FG47 MKII
  • Advanced AudioCM48T
  • Flexible Audio FleA 47

I think he did a pretty good job with this and it should be helpful to folks who are mic shopping and want to get some sense of the differences between emulations, economical clones, and high end clones. He and I have had a lot of discussions about microphones over the years and are mostly in agreement. He's kinder to the Slate VMS than I would be. I find the Mic Mod emulations better than the Slate's if you have a good quality microphone for the input. There's only so much a piece of software can do with a sub-par microphone and that's where I think the Slate system really suffers. The mic is a cheap Chinese product made worse by poor quality control. The company is good about standing behind its product and offering replacements, but there are many people in their target group who aren't going to know better. For the same $1k it would cost for the Slate VMS, I think someone would be better served by purchasing the Mic Mod software for $150 and investing the other $850 in a quality used mic. That way, when they decide to move on from emulation, they still have a microphone that has some value.

The Advanced Audio mics in this video are all around the $1k or lower price-point. I think they're great bang for the buck. Some companies do a very good job in the <$1k range. Advanced Audio is in that group, as is ADK, Warm, and some others. None of them are going to sound very close to the vintage mics they're attempting to emulate but their going to give you some of that flavor, and for some that's enough. The AA CM49 used in this video is impressive for a $1k microphone. It doesn't have the depth and bottom end of the Neumann M49, but the top end is quite beautiful. If someone wanted a 49 type mic and didn't want to layout the $4-7k a high end clone costs, the CM49 is a nice option.

The Flea 47 (and that's my personal microphone in the video) is on a whole other level. The night we made the videos for this was the first time my friend, Vincent, sang into a Flea. He'd heard of them but he'd never actually been in front of one. The mic stopped him in his tracks. It sounded so good in the headphones that it was distracting him. As Vin describes it, the Flea has a 3-D quality to it. That's probably not a helpful term to describe sound but there's a depth to what you get from the Flea that you don't get from the others. The biggest difference between the Flea and the lower-priced clones and emulations is the bottom end. The Flea has that big bottom you hear in vintage 47s; the other do not.

After we filmed this, Vincent had to try a Flea 49. He loved the 47 but his voice is better suited for a 49 type mic. He got a demo from Vintage King and wound up buying one a short time later. More recently, he sold off a bunch of the less expensive mics he owned and bought a 2nd Flea 49. He and his wife do duets and the second 49 made sense for them.

For folks working within a budget, a microphone I really love that wasn't in the video is the Lauten Atlantis FC-387. In the neutral setting it has a very definite 47 vibe. A couple folks have borrowed mine recently and both of them have put that mic on their short list. It can be had for under $1k used and is a bargain at that.

I hope these videos are helpful to some folks.


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Last edited by jim1960; 11-09-2019 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:56 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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Thanks Jim1960 for Posting this. I am really looking forward to listening and watching this video later this week(a bit stressed for time right now, and I want to give this shootout a real going over)
Have you by any chance done any comparison testing on Soyuz tube 017? I hope to get a vocal mic next year some time and Flea and the Soyuz Tube 17 are on my list as high possibilities. ( but first I need to purchase my pair of Schoeps for guitar)
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Old 11-13-2019, 04:09 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
Thanks Jim1960 for Posting this. I am really looking forward to listening and watching this video later this week(a bit stressed for time right now, and I want to give this shootout a real going over)
Have you by any chance done any comparison testing on Soyuz tube 017? I hope to get a vocal mic next year some time and Flea and the Soyuz Tube 17 are on my list as high possibilities. ( but first I need to purchase my pair of Schoeps for guitar)
Everything I've heard about the Soyez line of microphones has been good but I've never had one in front of me. The Tube 17 is certainly a very cool looking microphone. The do have Soyez Tube 17 samples, along with the Flea 47, over on the Audio Test Kitchen. I still prefer the big bottom that you get from the Flea but that's me.
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Old 11-24-2019, 02:22 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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I have heard many an engineer say that in the recording studio line up, The musician is the most important. Second comes the instrument, Then the microphone, and lastly the preamp.
After listening to Him sing I have to say this is so true. He sounded great on every mic. What a great voice! In fact all of the mics sounded reasonable in the dry mode.
However the tell all for myself, was the final mix. The Flea stood out with just the right amount of edge & Smoothness on each syllable. The song Came alive. As you said...3D-ish. The Slate modulations seemed just a bit to smooth. The Slate sounded good but lost the intimacy from everything being to round and even.
Advance Audio was certainly good. But again...especially in the final mix with the added reverb, compression the Flea brought new life to the mix. I have always said that listening to a microphone dry is a good way to evaluate, however often when reverb is added it helps reveal the hidden benefits of the more expensive units. What ever harmonics, Frequency response or other characteristics that an upper end mic may have, is more easily found when reverb added.
Excellent Video and very well done. Look forward to listening to part two.
I bought a brand new Neumann U87 in the mid 1970's. It always came through for me. Found it a bit boring...but always worked. I stepped out of music for nearly 25 years. I had heard so many claims about how they could replicate the high end mics for 1/10 the price. I thought I was done with music and sold my Neumann. WHAT A MISTAKE....cause when I got back into music once again...all of those inexpensive mics have not done it for me. I wish they did, but they just don't.
I have been saving up for three years to buy a pair of Schoeps for my acoustic guitar. And that day is just round the corner(Early Feb after NAMM). Recording gear is just so expensive...In fact, it is a bit ridiculous, those Scheops will cost me more than what I paid for my guitar! LOL....but in the end, the rewards of better equipment is just undeniable.
Thanks for posting video!
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Old 11-24-2019, 03:49 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
I have heard many an engineer say that in the recording studio line up, The musician is the most important. Second comes the instrument, Then the microphone, and lastly the preamp.
After listening to Him sing I have to say this is so true. He sounded great on every mic. What a great voice! In fact all of the mics sounded reasonable in the dry mode.
Agreed. A great performance is a great performance despite the shortcomings of a microphone. Vincent has a set of pipes and he works hard at his craft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
However the tell all for myself, was the final mix. The Flea stood out with just the right amount of edge & Smoothness on each syllable. The song Came alive. As you said...3D-ish. The Slate modulations seemed just a bit to smooth. The Slate sounded good but lost the intimacy from everything being to round and even.
At the time we filmed this, Vin was very high on the Slate VMS. The videos Slate put out paint a much more flattering picture of that system than reality provides and Vin really thought the emulations were going to be very close and in some cases indistinguishable from the mics it was emulating. This shootout and some others he did really exposed the Slate system as the weakest choice in his mic locker and he sold it about a month after we recorded this video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
Advance Audio was certainly good. But again...especially in the final mix with the added reverb, compression the Flea brought new life to the mix. I have always said that listening to a microphone dry is a good way to evaluate, however often when reverb is added it helps reveal the hidden benefits of the more expensive units. What ever harmonics, Frequency response or other characteristics that an upper end mic may have, is more easily found when reverb added.
It's true that some mics take reverb better than others. I've never used one (would love to) but that's always been what I've heard about the vintage 67s. It's not what they sound like dry; it's how well they take reverb. One of these days I'm going to have to rent one because I really want to hear that for myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
Excellent Video and very well done. Look forward to listening to part two.
At my suggestion, Vin is doing a Flea 47 vs Flea 49 video. He borrowed my mic again and I think he just finished the audio stuff. I'm not sure when he'll have the video done ...he likes to live with the recordings a while before making comments... but I'll post it in this subforum when it comes out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
I bought a brand new Neumann U87 in the mid 1970's. It always came through for me. Found it a bit boring...but always worked. I stepped out of music for nearly 25 years. I had heard so many claims about how they could replicate the high end mics for 1/10 the price. I thought I was done with music and sold my Neumann. WHAT A MISTAKE....cause when I got back into music once again...all of those inexpensive mics have not done it for me. I wish they did, but they just don't.
On the bright side, at least those old Neumann 87s are within reach. That can still be had for under $3k. A vintage 47 will set you back 5x that amount which makes the Flea a bargain for the $3400 it cost me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
I have been saving up for three years to buy a pair of Schoeps for my acoustic guitar. And that day is just round the corner(Early Feb after NAMM). Recording gear is just so expensive...In fact, it is a bit ridiculous, those Scheops will cost me more than what I paid for my guitar! LOL....but in the end, the rewards of better equipment is just undeniable.
Thanks for posting video!
I've never heard a bad word uttered about Scheops mics. The cmc6 was on my short list when I was shopping for an SDC pair. I wound up going with the Gefell M300 but I've no doubt I could have been just as happy with the Scheops.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:02 PM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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What's the explanation and evidence for some mics taking the use of reverb better than others? I'm very skeptical of that claim.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:35 PM
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Mic's and reverb ? I have heard/read some people say some mic's take EQ better, or can handle more EQ . But have not heard /read about mic's and reverb. I have no opinion either way,
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:35 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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What's the explanation and evidence for some mics taking the use of reverb better than others? I'm very skeptical of that claim.
I've no idea what the science is behind that, but perhaps it's akin to cooking: better ingredients make for a better meal.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:38 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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What's the explanation and evidence for some mics taking the use of reverb better than others? I'm very skeptical of that claim.
I have no evidence, no scientific experimentation...just some observations.
My guess is that certain reverbs, for what ever reason, showcases the harmonics-overtones & the air of a mic. It of course all depends upon the reverb used. I believe that reverb does not effect all the frequencies with the same amplitude. It targets certain frequencies more than others. Think of different room sizes, and or walls. Such as A wood Wall verses a Cement wall verses an old fashion Plate. Each one of those room sizes, wall materials reach differently.
Basically, it just make us notice those harmonics-frequencies a little more.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:43 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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I've never heard a bad word uttered about Scheops mics. The cmc6 was on my short list when I was shopping for an SDC pair. I wound up going with the Gefell M300 but I've no doubt I could have been just as happy with the Scheops.
Yes GefellM300's are fantastic mics. Michael Watts makes beautiful music with them. And...they are half the price of Schoeps!
I am probably going a different route than most...I am going to most likely be purchasing a pair of Wide Cardiods. Schoeps has a very nice wide Cardoid....MK21 that intrigues me. But I still need to test..and renting those is costly as they are only available back east.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
Yes GefellM300's are fantastic mics. Michael Watts makes beautiful music with them. And...they are half the price of Schoeps!
I am probably going a different route than most...I am going to most likely be purchasing a pair of Wide Cardiods. Schoeps has a very nice wide Cardoid....MK21 that intrigues me. But I still need to test..and renting those is costly as they are only available back east.
I know one engineer (whom I respect a good deal) that loves the CMC6-MK21 for acoustic guitar
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:39 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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I have no evidence, no scientific experimentation...just some observations.
In the end, our observations are all we have. We're all listening through different ears which are delivering sounds to our different brains. Some folks are more sensitive to different changes in sound than others. Some of those changes may be very obvious to some and go unheard by others. Subjective impressions won't necessarily have a scientific basis upon which to land.
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Old 11-24-2019, 09:39 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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I know one engineer (whom I respect a good deal) that loves the CMC6-MK21 for acoustic guitar
Hey KevWind....I would love to talk to that Engineer!
Most schoeps users use the 4 or the 41's for acoustic guitar. Both of those caps sound great on acoustic, but for my style..of which I am a dynamic player going from fingerstyle to heavy strumming-- an moving the guitar a bit more than most, Omni's tend to work a bit better for me. As where the 41's seem a bit too focused, and the 4's I have proximity effect to deal with on my Dread. Thus the Wide cardiods have much of the omni feel....and the 21's seem like an obvious choice for myself. Of course, what looks good in theory and or on paper, doesn't always turn out that way.
So I would love to contact him and get some more feedback as to how he uses them.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
Hey KevWind....I would love to talk to that Engineer!
Most schoeps users use the 4 or the 41's for acoustic guitar. Both of those caps sound great on acoustic, but for my style..of which I am a dynamic player going from fingerstyle to heavy strumming-- an moving the guitar a bit more than most, Omni's tend to work a bit better for me. As where the 41's seem a bit too focused, and the 4's I have proximity effect to deal with on my Dread. Thus the Wide cardiods have much of the omni feel....and the 21's seem like an obvious choice for myself. Of course, what looks good in theory and or on paper, doesn't always turn out that way.
So I would love to contact him and get some more feedback as to how he uses them.
Sorry , He retired about 4-5 years ago, moved and I lost contact with him. But I think if you go on GearSlutz.com and pose that specific question you will get "some" knowledgeable replies.

Yes I had a single CMC6-Mk 4 and really liked it BUT I agree it was so focused and my playing (not the cleanest) as well as sometimes varied dynamically etc., it was so focused I usually recorded with it backed off 12 to 24 inches away.... I ended up selling ( wish it could have afforded to keep it) and getting a pair of AEA N 22 Ribbon's , which overall are better suited for me and my style I think

Here is the MK4 (you can see it in the merged close up coming off the mic stand) the camera perspective is funny, it is actually about 16-20 inches away, aimed at the lower part of the bridge.




Here are the N 22's



Pretty hard to compare accurately with different performances , different rooms , different mic's -guitar and vocal - The constants are the recording system it self, the mic pre -A Designs MP2A,- the analog mix Compressor IGS Tubcore 3U, - and the Bricasti M7 reverb.
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Last edited by KevWind; 11-25-2019 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knives&Guitars View Post
Hey KevWind....I would love to talk to that Engineer!
Most schoeps users use the 4 or the 41's for acoustic guitar. Both of those caps sound great on acoustic, but for my style..of which I am a dynamic player going from fingerstyle to heavy strumming-- an moving the guitar a bit more than most, Omni's tend to work a bit better for me. As where the 41's seem a bit too focused, and the 4's I have proximity effect to deal with on my Dread. Thus the Wide cardiods have much of the omni feel....and the 21's seem like an obvious choice for myself. Of course, what looks good in theory and or on paper, doesn't always turn out that way.
So I would love to contact him and get some more feedback as to how he uses them.
You mentioned omnis work well for you, so I was wondering why you are considering going to the MK21 wide cardioid instead of using the MK2 omni? What distance do you typically have from the mic(s) to the guitar?

I haven't used the Schoeps, but from the specs the MK21 has a very good off axis response (consistent over their frequency range). This may be helpful for close micing.

For recording my guitar (solo fingerstyle arrangements) I use a pair of Gefell M296S omnis in a spaced pair arrangement. I usually place mics back around 16-24" from the guitar. I also use gobos behind and to the sides of the mics.
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