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Thread: An interesting mic discovery...

  1. #1
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default An interesting mic discovery...

    I certainly don't need any more mics..I have a really good personal collection plus a load more used on contract jobs....but... I also can't resist trying interesting things out, especially when, as in this case, I got a full set of two small diaphragm true condensers (non-electret) complete with interchangeable omni, cardiod and hypercardiod capsules for the grand total of 54 (60/$70) including international shipping... normally, they would have been 53 each (still cheap!) but there was a warehouse clearance deal at UK supplier Studiospares AND I had an extra 35% off limited time voucher.. so I used it.

    The first assumption might be that any mic for this price must be low grade junk.

    Actually, not. This brings us to a weird thing about a large percentage of the Chinese-origin mics on the market... there are only a certain number of actual manufacturers, but a very large number of companies who order these mics with different 'paint jobs' and re-brand them....these are a case in point. They carry Studiospares own model number (S1200) and brand, but, you will also find these identical mics with other brand names on them.

    Take a look. Do you recognise them?

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    If you are familiar with the CAD E70, the Advanced Audio CM-54, ADK SC-2 and several other well known models that individually sell for anything from $120 to $270 each you might get a sense of Deja Vu....yes, these are the same mics. Indeed, the same mics with extras, as in this case you get the full range of interchangeable capsules 'free' instead of just (typically) the omni and cardiod versions. If the body looks familiar, you might also recognise it as forming the main part of the Peluso CEMC-6....

    These are, in reality, made by the Chinese manufacturer Feilo and bear the designation CR1-14. They have 20mm capsules, a two-stage pad and both 75Hz and 150Hz rolloff filters. I cannot be totally sure, but I believe this same capsule set also appears in combination with yet another mic body bearing yet another quite well-known brand name.

    Build quality is really very good. Solid brass bodies... well finished... overall specs are very respectable. They are not going to give Neumann or Schoeps sleepless nights, but in a typical 'home studio' situation or for live use they are absolutely fine. The provision of three capsules makes them very versatile. Subjectively, with the cardiod capsules fitted they sound easily as good as pretty much any other sub-$200 SDC out there.

    Worth knowing, anyway. Keep a sharp lookout as you may well see this same mic appear as other 'own brands' at bargain prices....
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

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  3. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: An interesting mic discovery...

    I just looked at what is available in the US under the other brand names and that is some deal.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User McIrish's Avatar
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    Default Re: An interesting mic discovery...

    Have you used it in some recordings? I'm curious if it has the brittle edge to it that so many capsules have in lower priced mics. I've got a couple Oktava MC-012 mics but I'm always on the lookout for lesser known but great sounding mics. I've got a few big ticket large diaphragm condensers but really only have the two small condensers.
    Gibson 2016 "Harvey" Fern
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  5. #4
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: An interesting mic discovery...

    I have not tested all the capsules yet... but like most of these, it does have a bit of a HF 'bump' in the 10K-14K range with the cardiod capsule, but nothing exceptional, and easy enough to EQ. They are obviously not 'top of the tree' mics - more like 'serviceable' and 'utility' and very good value for money. If you want uncompromising performance, that still costs... quite a bit. For recording fretted instruments in the $500 each range for example, I'd look at the Royer R-10.... a ribbon... but if you don't have really quiet, high gain preamps, and a limited budget, a couple of SDC's like these (or any similar variants) will certainly do the job. Alternatively, the Line Audio CM-3's are really smooth and very, very flat without costing the earth.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: An interesting mic discovery...

    Ignoring the tonal quality (which can come down to personal taste and application), my main concern with lowest-tier mics like this is mainly in two areas:

    First, how consistent are they? If you buy two mics, do they sound alike, or is it a dice roll to get two that sound similar? Back in the day when Russian mics started to hit the market, that was the main reason some companies started to offer hand-selected Octava mics. Otherwise there was a risk of getting mics that weren't close enough for stereo applications. You don't need a perfect capsule match for coincident stereo technique (unless it's an integrated stereo mic). But it needs to be within certain limits for a good, solid stereo field.

    The other concern is just mechanical quality, especially the XLR connector. Mics used for live sound can get hard knocks in normal use. Guitar player accidentally whacks the mic, or stage guy gets a little rough yanking the mic out of the clip. Stage mics get plugged and unplugged many times, so you need a pro-grade XLR connector in the mic shell. If you only use mics in a studio, you can baby them a lot more.

    Anyway, these mics above may pass the above considerations with flying colors for all I know. It's great that there are less expensive mics to experiment with now, compared to when I started. Back then, the financial jump from a SM-57 to a small diaphragm condenser mic was huge.

  7. #6
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: An interesting mic discovery...

    In terms of durability, I would not expect any problems with the connections. They seem about as good as anything else. This design appeared in 2006 (Feilo factory) and I have not heard of any issues (under any of the brands they manifest as). As far as perfectly matched capsules and high degrees of consistency, that is (still) something that you tend to have pay for... and given that I picked up this pair for just under $70 all-in it is not something I'd really expect. They are probably as good as most other mics in the sub-$200 range, though. There's always nicely matched pairs of Royers and Schoeps if you need that, of course! I regularly use a pair of Schoeps MK-21's, and they are drop dead gorgeous, but they do cost a 'few' pennies more than these do....
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

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