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Thread: mic comparison: five small condenser microphones / one ribbon

  1. #1
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    Default mic comparison: five small condenser microphones / one ribbon

    Hi picking fellows,
    here is a mic comparison with five SDC microphones (small diaphragm condensers) I just did in my studio. Because I found it interesting (maybe for you, too) to see which different sonic qualities a ribbon might offer, I added a Royer R-122 MKII ribbon mic in "figure of 8 pattern". The five SDCs are all in cardioid pattern, pointing to the f-hole (treble side), the Royer is a just a little more distant placed, pointing to the f-hole (treble side):
    Neumann KM 184
    Gefell M 300
    Gefell MV 692 M 70
    Neumann KM 84i
    Schoeps CMC 6 MK 4
    Royer R-122 MKII

    I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions ...

    Best,
    Bob

    Collings MF 5
    Brentrup M 23 V (for sale here)
    Gibson F 2 (1917)
    L. Smart H 5 Mandola
    Gibson K 4 Mandocello (1921)
    Sobell 10-string Bouzouki
    Sanden 8-string Bouzouki

  2. #2
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    Default Re: mic comparison: five small condenser microphones / one ribbon

    Mmh, no comments at all - maybe I did something wrong ? Or do they sound too similar ? Or is it my playing which is not the best performance here ?

    In my opinion they all sound great (unfortunately they are not my own). Here is what I hear:
    The KM 184 and both Gefells show some hyped trebles, but the Gefells' trebles are more mellow sounding.
    The KM 84i and the Schoeps are more full bodied without hyping trebles.
    The Royer sounds like a ribbon should do: Warm and thick but detailed and enough trebles.
    My favourite is the KM 84i but I have to admit that the KM 184 performs great here.

    Best,
    Bob
    Collings MF 5
    Brentrup M 23 V (for sale here)
    Gibson F 2 (1917)
    L. Smart H 5 Mandola
    Gibson K 4 Mandocello (1921)
    Sobell 10-string Bouzouki
    Sanden 8-string Bouzouki

  3. #3

    Default Re: mic comparison: five small condenser microphones / one ribbon

    I like the Royer and the 692. The others sounded a little too jangly, more treble than I like.

    But they’re all very good.

    Thanks for the demo.
    Play it like you mean it.

  4. #4
    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: mic comparison: five small condenser microphones / one ribbon

    Initial video insertion didn't work (at least for me):


  5. #5
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    Default Re: mic comparison: five small condenser microphones / one ribbon

    Nice collection of mics. As I'm sure you know, the distance the mics are apart from each other in relation to the source can have as much effect on sound as changing the mics altogether. capsules just a centimeter apart can make a huge difference. It appears that there's a spread of 4-6" from outside mic to outside mic. That said, the M300 is surprisingly good. I have a pair and usually find they need to be 4 feet or more away to sound pleasing to my ear. They do very well as stereo distant pickups for orchestral recordings due to the extended top end. Neumann KM184, never liked that mic. Top end is too harsh, mids are missing the magic "beef" that a KM84 has. The other Gefell is very nice, more body and a smooth top end. The Schoeps doesn't cut it for me in this application. To me, most Schoeps have a sterile sounding top end. They do work well for distant pickup, but I'd rather use the M300. Royer doesn't do it for me on Mando either, it's interesting and might do well blended with another mic.
    Thanks for doing this test. Tell us about your mandolin if you would please. It sounds really good.

  6. #6

    Default Re: mic comparison: five small condenser microphones / one ribbon

    Great comparsion!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: mic comparison: five small condenser microphones / one ribbon

    Quote Originally Posted by sliebers View Post
    Thanks for doing this test. Tell us about your mandolin if you would please. It sounds really good.
    Thank you very much for such a detailed comment full of insight. GREAT !

    My mandolin is a Collings MF 5 that was well played at home, on stage and in studio over the last 15 years. I bought it pre owned once. Needed refretting some years ago, has a repaired top crack. But I love its sound. Tried some other brands and played a handful of the same brand, but never found one with that deep, woody sound.
    On stage I play it plugged in (K&K pickup / DPA 4061 clip on mic through a Grace Felix preamp) or whenever possible with a Schoeps CMC 6 MK 41 (hypercardioid) mic.
    Collings MF 5
    Brentrup M 23 V (for sale here)
    Gibson F 2 (1917)
    L. Smart H 5 Mandola
    Gibson K 4 Mandocello (1921)
    Sobell 10-string Bouzouki
    Sanden 8-string Bouzouki

  8. #8
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    Default Re: mic comparison: five small condenser microphones / one ribbon

    mandobajo, thank you very much.

    I have access to some more mics that are more common and not that expensive: Oktava MK012, Rode NT5, Beyer MC930

    I could do a comparison with them to show how they compare to a KM 84.
    Collings MF 5
    Brentrup M 23 V (for sale here)
    Gibson F 2 (1917)
    L. Smart H 5 Mandola
    Gibson K 4 Mandocello (1921)
    Sobell 10-string Bouzouki
    Sanden 8-string Bouzouki

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