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Author Topic: What are your "holy grail" mics?  (Read 3018 times)

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Offline rigpimp

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What are your "holy grail" mics?
« on: August 03, 2018, 05:49:56 PM »
I cut my teeth on Neumann 140's and ultimately ditched them and moved on to a few different pairs of Schoeps. 

With that said, if I could get a clean pair of Neumann KM254's with capsules and AC701's in decent shape I would probably sell everything that I had.  I cannot imagine the cost of sourcing diaphragm re-sputtering or a white box mic-grade AC701's but with the amount of acoustic music that I have recorded these are my holy grail.

Dreamy.   :spin:

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Offline heathen

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2018, 06:05:43 PM »
I haven't found them yet  :(

I love the high end and midrange of my AT4031s (yeah they're cheap, don't laugh), but I feel like they could use a bit of help in the low end.  Also, they're obviously not available in an "active" style setup.  My ideal mics would probably have the midrange and high end clarity of the AT4031s, a bit more oomph in the bass, and be in a small form factor like the Schoeps Colette caps (but without needing to rely on third party components to achieve that form factor).  Something like the form factor of the Line Audio CM3 would be perfect (no need for special adapter cables, just plug in a couple XLRs and run it).  Even smaller than that would be better, of course.

If something that fits this bill exists, I'd love to hear about it!
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 06:07:52 PM by heathen »
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Offline Gordon

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2018, 06:48:37 PM »
original km 84i's or u87's, 89's but I will never ever run LD's after having an active setup.  had the ak40's for 11 years now so I'm pretty stuck in my ways.  just wish the ak50's were to my liking for hypers.......
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 06:50:43 PM by Gordon »
Neumann ak40 > Nick mod lc3 > Naiant PFA or km140 > Sound Devices MixPre-6

https://archive.org/details/fav-gordonlw

Offline Gordon

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2018, 06:56:37 PM »
that said I really am digging the m20 active setup but Jbell has them and no need for us to run identical rigs when we tape together.  maybe I'll buy his when he goes back to the darkside! >:D
Neumann ak40 > Nick mod lc3 > Naiant PFA or km140 > Sound Devices MixPre-6

https://archive.org/details/fav-gordonlw

Offline Gordon

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2018, 07:03:18 PM »
Neumann KM254's


not familiar with those but man I love the JGB shows with the km 54's!  have a really nice Cowboy Junkies as well done with those and the original grace 316 pre

https://archive.org/details/cj1994-04-14.km54.flac16
Neumann ak40 > Nick mod lc3 > Naiant PFA or km140 > Sound Devices MixPre-6

https://archive.org/details/fav-gordonlw

Offline rigpimp

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2018, 07:46:43 PM »
Neumann KM254's


not familiar with those but man I love the JGB shows with the km 54's!  have a really nice Cowboy Junkies as well done with those and the original grace 316 pre

https://archive.org/details/cj1994-04-14.km54.flac16

Those KM54's were Chuck's.  Last time I saw him taping the Radiators in SF he was still using them.  They had the finish worn off of them and he told me it was because he used to hold them in his armpits to record all of those JGB shows.   :crazy:

The KM254's were used by Sandy Alexander for quite a while.  You could just search his name on the LMA.  I am pretty sure that Burgin got Sandy's mics from Stella.  Hopefully he is using them.

Here is a good start: 
https://archive.org/details/sci1999-03-20.km254.shnf, or
https://archive.org/details/ymsb1999-10-02.shnf

https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A"Sandy+Alexander"
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Offline DSatz

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2018, 11:47:33 PM »
rigpimp, the original capsules for the KM 54 and 254 were made with nickel-foil diaphragms. By the time Neumann discontinued the KM 50 series at the end of the 1960s, they had already introduced their "linear admittance" K 64 capsule, which has been their stock in trade ever since; it was used in the KM 64 and U 64 (both from 1964), then the KM 74, KM 84, KM 140, KM 184, and finally the KK 184 of the current KM A/KM D series. This capsule type featured a new, grooved backplate design that greatly improved its off-axis linearity--and as with all but one of Neumann's microphone models from the late 1950s until 2000, it used a gold-sputtered Mylar membrane. (I'm attaching the page from Gotham Audio's brochure about the U 64 that lauds this new capsule.)

I mention this because your microphones don't have original K 54 capsules, but rather this latter type of capsule, attached via a retrofit kit ("KA 32/3-54") that Neumann offered once they ran out of the original type. The KM 54 was Neumann's first microphone to sell in the tens of thousands, and since nickel foil is very delicate, K 54 capsules needed replacing rather frequently. A strong gust of wind, or some bozo blowing into the mike to see whether it was "on" or not, could destroy them. Once Neumann stopped making those capsules, they soon ran out of them as replacement parts, but there were still many, many KM 54s in the field. So they came up with a kit that allowed a K 64 to be grafted onto KM 54 (and 254) microphones. The result is what you show in your photo. Most KM 54 and 254 microphones that you see on eBay also have this kit installed. For comparison, I'm also attaching a photo of a stock KM 54; it doesn't have the large, "RF-proof" Tuchel connector of the 254, but it has the original capsule head.

Since with this type of microphone the capsule determines far more of the sound quality and other acoustical properties (e.g. polar response) than its electronics do, your microphones are sonically much closer to the KM 64 (which was also AC 701k-based) and KM 84 than they would be to a KM 54 or 254 that has an original capsule. Again for comparison, attached are the response curves of the KM 54/254 with its original capsule; the on-axis high-frequency response rises quite a bit more, and the polar diagrams aren't as uniform across the frequency range.

--best regards

P.S.: Re-reading the U 64 text after a number of years, I see that Stephen Temmer (obviously the author--his pomposity is unmistakable) missed a few things, and not just the spelling of "synonymous". Number one, the acoustical delay ("phase shift") is not directly behind the membrane assembly; rather, it is situated behind the capacitive backplate of the capsule. Number two, a pure cosine function would yield a figure-8 pattern! Cardioid response is defined by (1 + cos theta) / 2 -- expressing the fact that a cardioid is the superposition of one-half omni (= 1, since the response is unity regardless of the arrival angle) and one-half figure-8 (= cos theta). -- Mr. Temmer was extremely picky and contentious, often writing letters to the editors of various audio publications to dispute points which were at times quite minor. I'm sure he would be appalled at getting called out like this, but tough luck, Mr. T.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 12:39:57 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline kindms

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2018, 07:55:16 AM »
I have always wanted an AKG C422 and the like

also that schoeps M/S deathstar setup
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Offline gormenghast

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2018, 09:02:39 AM »
Neumann KM254's


not familiar with those but man I love the JGB shows with the km 54's!  have a really nice Cowboy Junkies as well done with those and the original grace 316 pre

https://archive.org/details/cj1994-04-14.km54.flac16

And the Grace 316  :o

The SKB KM254 is one of my favorite "sounding" Kimock recordings, but I wonder about the dispute whether the mics were onstage or not.

A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.

Offline jbell

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2018, 09:53:36 AM »
I doubt I'll ever return!!  Any large show I would attend there will be 15 sets of Schoeps anyways.  Nice to bring a different flavor.  There aren't a lot of people running the M20's

that said I really am digging the m20 active setup but Jbell has them and no need for us to run identical rigs when we tape together.  maybe I'll buy his when he goes back to the darkside! >:D
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 09:56:34 AM by jbell »
Microtech Gefell M20's> Nbob KCY> Naiant PFA(60V)> Sound Devices Mixpre-6

Offline pohaku

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2018, 11:25:36 AM »
Km84s.  Have one and would love at least another.  Have representatives of most of the other SD mic food groups (Gefell, Sennheiser, Schoeps).  LD mics are another story, but are less used for taper purposes.  Of course, one can never have enough mics.
Mics: akg c460 (ck61, ck63), c414buls, c568eb; at4049a, 4051a, 4053a, at853; josephson c42; neumann U87, km84i; beyer m130, m160, m500; aea r84; gefell m71, mt711s, m200, m201; sony c38; schoeps cmc6, CMBI (mk4, mk21, mk41, mk4v); sennheiser mkh30, mkh40, md421, md431, md541
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Offline MakersMarc

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2018, 12:58:00 PM »
DPA 4022 will always be first for me. Only switched to Schoeps because the DPA actives can't  hold up to regular handling, not to mention 😈 Wear and tear. I've found the Schoeps nbob cabling to be far sturdier so far. Had to have DPA active shorts repaired five times then a capsule died.
Mk4v/41v>nbob actives>Baby nbox>Oade warm mod Marantz 620 or Sony M10.

Offline rigpimp

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2018, 01:33:29 PM »
rigpimp, the original capsules for the KM 54 and 254 were made with nickel-foil diaphragms. By the time Neumann discontinued the KM 50 series at the end of the 1960s, they had already introduced their "linear admittance" K 64 capsule, which has been their stock in trade ever since; it was used in the KM 64 and U 64 (both from 1964), then the KM 74, KM 84, KM 140, KM 184, and finally the KK 184 of the current KM A/KM D series. This capsule type featured a new, grooved backplate design that greatly improved its off-axis linearity--and as with all but one of Neumann's microphone models from the late 1950s until 2000, it used a gold-sputtered Mylar membrane. (I'm attaching the page from Gotham Audio's brochure about the U 64 that lauds this new capsule.)

I mention this because your microphones don't have original K 54 capsules, but rather this latter type of capsule, attached via a retrofit kit ("KA 32/3-54") that Neumann offered once they ran out of the original type. The KM 54 was Neumann's first microphone to sell in the tens of thousands, and since nickel foil is very delicate, K 54 capsules needed replacing rather frequently. A strong gust of wind, or some bozo blowing into the mike to see whether it was "on" or not, could destroy them. Once Neumann stopped making those capsules, they soon ran out of them as replacement parts, but there were still many, many KM 54s in the field. So they came up with a kit that allowed a K 64 to be grafted onto KM 54 (and 254) microphones. The result is what you show in your photo. Most KM 54 and 254 microphones that you see on eBay also have this kit installed. For comparison, I'm also attaching a photo of a stock KM 54; it doesn't have the large, "RF-proof" Tuchel connector of the 254, but it has the original capsule head.

Since with this type of microphone the capsule determines far more of the sound quality and other acoustical properties (e.g. polar response) than its electronics do, your microphones are sonically much closer to the KM 64 (which was also AC 701k-based) and KM 84 than they would be to a KM 54 or 254 that has an original capsule. Again for comparison, attached are the response curves of the KM 54/254 with its original capsule; the on-axis high-frequency response rises quite a bit more, and the polar diagrams aren't as uniform across the frequency range.

--best regards

P.S.: Re-reading the U 64 text after a number of years, I see that Stephen Temmer (obviously the author--his pomposity is unmistakable) missed a few things, and not just the spelling of "synonymous". Number one, the acoustical delay ("phase shift") is not directly behind the membrane assembly; rather, it is situated behind the capacitive backplate of the capsule. Number two, a pure cosine function would yield a figure-8 pattern! Cardioid response is defined by (1 + cos theta) / 2 -- expressing the fact that a cardioid is the superposition of one-half omni (= 1, since the response is unity regardless of the arrival angle) and one-half figure-8 (= cos theta). -- Mr. Temmer was extremely picky and contentious, often writing letters to the editors of various audio publications to dispute points which were at times quite minor. I'm sure he would be appalled at getting called out like this, but tough luck, Mr. T.

Incredibly valuable info, thank you.  I know there is someone that re-does the nickel capsules but was unaware of the Neumann retrofit to the newer capsules, as visually evident in the random internet photo I grabbed.  I appreciate the education!    :coolguy:
Mics: Schoeps MK5 G MP, Schoeps CCM 4 Lg MP, Schoeps MK8 MP, nBob cables > PFA, KCY 250/5 > PFA
Pre/A>D/P48: Sonosax SX/M2, Sonosax SX/M2-LS, E.A.A. PSP-2, Naiant Tinybox, Neumann BS48i-2 (for sale)
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre-6, Sony PCM-M10
Playback: McIntosh MC 2105 > McIntosh MX 130 > Von Schweikert VR-4 JR
http://archive.org/bookmarks/kskreider

Offline obaaron

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2018, 03:01:54 PM »
I too would love to have a set of the KM 54 or 254s amazing recordings have been made with those vintage mics. Now for something more in my price range (not really lol) I wouldnt mind having an AKG c422 or 426, or a set of vintage c61 tubes
Mics:  Gefell M20,M21/sms2000/nbob | Schoeps MK4V/cmc6/nbob | AKG c460b/c480b/a60/Naiant actives - ck61,62,63,69 ;ck1,3,8;ck1x,2x,3x | AT853, AT933 | CA-11c,o
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Offline gormenghast

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Re: What are your "holy grail" mics?
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2018, 07:01:57 PM »
I too would love to have a set of the KM 54 or 254s amazing recordings have been made with those vintage mics. Now for something more in my price range (not really lol) I wouldnt mind having an AKG c422 or 426, or a set of vintage c61 tubes

I never heard any C61 recordings other than Kimock onstage--Pat Cooper's I believe.  I always went after these recordings when they became available.
A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.

 

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