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Author Topic: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison  (Read 12574 times)

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Offline manitouman

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - The Definative Comparison
« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2009, 10:54:36 PM »
do you think that you would get an accurate picture of what a mic sounded like, or two mics sound like, when a pillow is placed over them?

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Offline newplanet7

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - The Definative Comparison
« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2009, 10:30:55 AM »
do you think that you would get an accurate picture of what a mic sounded like, or two mics sound like, when a pillow is placed over them?

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison
« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2009, 11:02:59 AM »
Easy now boys or the mods will move this topic to "the sewer"!
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Offline Papaphunk

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison
« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2020, 03:37:36 PM »
bump....thoughts / experience using  460 v 480 Bodies. Much of a difference ?
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Offline DSatz

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2020, 06:13:04 AM »
If you took two pairs of any _one_ model of microphone and made a test like this, careful listeners would very likely hear small differences. I know of no manufacturer who guarantees their microphones to be within (say) 1 dB of the published specifications; meanwhile, differences of only a few tenths dB can influence the outcome of a listening comparison. And it must be said that AKG always had the loosest manufacturing tolerances of the leading European manufacturers, including long before they started outsourcing manufacture to China.

The fact that these are stereo recordings, with the microphones relatively close together, exposes any differences in sensitivity and frequency response between the two microphones of each pair to the maximum. Auditory perception in stereo is far more sensitive to differences between channels than to differences in sound on any "absolute" basis. Randomly occurring differences in sensitivity and frequency response within any one pair would be quite unlikely to match the differences in another pair.

In other words, those who feel that they can hear differences between the two pairs are quite possibly hearing something real. But what that says about any general sonic difference between the 460 and the 480 is entirely moot in this kind of test.

--best regards
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 06:31:42 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline spyder9

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2020, 06:10:12 PM »
The answer is Yes:  460's have transformers.  The 480's do not. 

It just depends on what you like.  I like transformer-sound, so that's why I own 460's.

Offline DSatz

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison
« Reply #36 on: January 14, 2020, 07:13:57 PM »
I don't mean to argue with you or anyone else, but statements such as yours seem to assume/imply that transformers all have an inherent "sound", or at least some effect on sound quality.

But transformers can very well be sonically neutral problem-solvers, being simply a part of how the amplifier puts a balanced, low-impedance signal out into the world. That's the usual case with reasonably modern professional condenser microphones that have them, and with transformer-equipped preamps and recorders as well.

So the idea of expecting something to sound a certain way because it has, or doesn't have, a transformer, doesn't make sense to me. The mere presence or absence of a transformer gives no indication at all of how things will sound.

--best regards
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 11:34:44 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Online goodcooker

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison
« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2020, 10:45:07 AM »
I don't mean to argue with you or anyone else, but statements such as yours seem to assume/imply that transformers all have an inherent "sound", or at least some effect on sound quality.

But transformers can very well be sonically neutral problem-solvers, being simply a part of how the amplifier puts a balanced, low-impedance signal out into the world. That's the usual case with reasonably modern professional condenser microphones that have them, and with transformer-equipped preamps and recorders as well.

So the idea of expecting something to sound a certain way because it has, or doesn't have, a transformer, doesn't make sense to me. The mere presence or absence of a transformer gives no indication at all of how things will sound.

--best regards

You are correct that transformers SHOULD not color the sound travelling through them but the practical reality is that it often is the case. In the case of the AKG 460/480 the switch to a transformerless design caused a noticeable difference in the sound of the preamp. Take a pair of CK series capsules and put one on a transformer based 460 body and another on the transformerless 480 series preamp - put them next to each other on the same source material - and the difference is definitely audible.

The bottom line for our typical uses of far field recording is that the 460 is a little more bassy and has a more relaxed midrange while retaining some of that high end sizzle associated to the "AKG sound". The 480 is more even across the frequency spectrum and a little brighter in the high end. Completely anecdotal evidence from field use experience.

I always liked the 460 sound. I used a pair of 460/A60 reducer rings/CK1 capsules for years. The poor mans DPA 4011 but some extra umph in the low end. Then I switched to Neumann AK40 for cardioids. To get the same balance of clarity and warmth I've been using subcardioid mics more often in the past few years as long as I'm either outdoors, in a good sounding room or close to the source.
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Offline DSatz

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2020, 02:36:27 PM »
To be clear, I didn't say that transformers never influence sound quality; clearly they can and sometimes do. Also, the subminiature transformers used in small condenser microphones tend to limit the maximum undistorted output voltage that the mike can deliver. Some transformer-equipped preamps require the source impedance of a microphone to be within a fairly narrow range (e.g. 150-200 Ohms) in order to have linear frequency response and avoid parasitic oscillation, and transformerless microphones may have a lower output impedance than those input circuits were designed for. In some cases transformers can cause unfavorable impedance interactions when driving long cables and/or cables with high capacitance, which can lead to high frequency losses and/or slew rate limiting.

All those considerations (and others that could be mentioned) are ways in which microphone output transformers can influence sound quality. But it's on a case-by-case, situation-by-situation basis. No one, identifiable "sonic character" or "flavoring" is associated with simply having an output transformer (or not). If a given microphone has a transformer (or doesn't), then from knowing that fact alone, you know literally nothing about how the microphone will sound. If you prefer the 460 to the 480 or the other way around, fine; but your preference can't be extrapolated to other microphones with (or without) output transformers.

I hope that I'm making myself clear here. I also wonder something: If you tried comparing the 460 and 480 using a preamp with a distinctly higher-than-average input impedance across the frequency range, such as 20 kOhms or greater--I wonder whether you might then hear less difference between the 460 and 480 than what you hear with heavier loading--maybe even no difference at all. Have you ever tried that, by any chance?

If that proved to be the case, I would rather say (as one must with ribbon microphones) that they should be used with preamps that have higher-than-the-minimum input impedance. Or maybe you like what happens when a preamp input loads down a microphone, I dunno; certainly some people like to do such things. I don't as a rule. But in any case the cause-and-effect picture isn't nearly as simple as saying "I like transformer sound" (or "the sound of iron" as I've heard it romanticized to be).

Again, thank you for taking my remarks in the spirit that they were meant in.

--best regards
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 10:12:46 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline illconditioned

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison
« Reply #39 on: January 20, 2020, 03:51:34 AM »
I wonder how much tranformerless design is driven by cost.
Building good transformers is expensive (and requires space within the mic.Small (well matched) transistor pairs seem to work well.No reason to change one for the other in my opinion.
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Offline DSatz

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Re: AKG 480 vs. AKG 460 - A Comparison
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2020, 09:03:19 AM »
illconditioned, yes, a good output transformer is not a cheap part, so if it can be replaced by less expensive active circuitry, the microphone can sell for less. Quality control is also faster, simpler and cheaper with transistors and other low-level components than it is with transformers, and shipping weight is enough to matter if you have 1,000-microphone batches as some manufacturers do. The budget end of the modern sales environment is competitive to the fraction of a penny, and I have no doubt that transformerless microphone circuitry has been welcomed there for this reason, particularly among far Eastern manufacturers.

Among the traditional central European manufacturers it's more a matter of history and of drastically changing times. I can tell you that Schoeps' main incentive for eliminating the transformer was technical rather than economic. The maximum SPL of the transformerless versions was one or two dB higher, depending on the model (e.g. CMT 34, 125 dB SPL; CMT 44, 126 dB SPL; CMT 54, 124 dB SPL). Those are small differences, but if a user exceeded the given maximum SPL by (say) 5 dB, particularly at low frequencies, the transformerless microphones would have markedly lower distortion than the transformer-equipped ones. When you consider what was going on in the music recording business at this time, with the rise of the Beatles and rock-n-roll in general, people were close-miking louder and louder sound sources, and the upper SPL limit was being reached much more often than it ever had been in years past. In 1973 Schoeps raised that limit to 130 dB with the introduction of the Colette series, and now that all of their new models were transformerless, that was a softer limit.

Neumann introduced their first transformerless phantom-powered microphone with a great deal of fanfare about ten years later, the TLM 170. Compared to the already existing model U 89 which used the same capsule, it had 6 dB greater headroom for the same level of sensitivity. Their catalog said that it had been possible to "reduce significantly the self-noise level of the microphone compared to similar types" and while the noise specifications for both microphones varied by some 4 dB between different catalog editions back then, the TLM 170 generally came out about 2 dB quieter.

--best regards
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 10:32:39 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

 

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