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Blackspade UM25 Vocal Files
Old 21st September 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Blackspade UM25 Vocal Files

Got my hands on a UM25...I have walking pneumonia and sound like crap, but here you go anyway. Tried to do something dynamic - don't be a hater (I hope Blackspade doesn't hate me for this!)

Six files:

1) UM25 into Helios with no EQ
2) UM25 into MR816 pre with no EQ
3) UM25 into Helios and Brute compressor with no EQ
4) UM25 into Helios and Brute with EQ (taking out a little 1K)
5) CV4 into Helios and Brute with no EQ
6) CV4 into Helios and Brute with EQ (same EQ setting)

This is certainly not scientific - volume levels seem close...it will give you the general consensus on what it sounds like. I am pretty bright in the 1-4khz range, so it's gonna be different on ever vocalist. In one of these, you can hear the shit rattling around in my lungs at the beginning...You're welcome for that.

Post your opinions and then I'll give my take on it...(I'm waiting on the "they both sound like crap to me...viva la Europe!")
Attached Files

UM25_HeliosOnly_NoEQ.wav (6.59 MB, 1111 views)

UM25_MR816Pre_NoEQ.wav (6.59 MB, 717 views)

UM25_Helios_Brute_NoEEQ.wav (6.59 MB, 796 views)

UM25_Helios_Brute_WithEQ.wav (6.59 MB, 819 views)

Old 21st September 2011
  #2
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3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
And the CV4...
Attached Files

CV4_Helios_Brute_NoEQ.wav (6.59 MB, 816 views)

CV4_Helios_Brute_WithEQ.wav (6.59 MB, 674 views)

Old 21st September 2011
  #3
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Matti's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Both mics sound good, cannot decide...

Matti
Old 21st September 2011
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn ➑️
Got my hands on a UM25...I have walking pneumonia and sound like crap, but here you go anyway. Tried to do something dynamic - don't be a hater (I hope Blackspade doesn't hate me for this!)
I thought your voice sounds great! I've got a bad cold, much less than pneumonia and I couldn't sound like that. And you sound great through both mics.

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hey John - great vocal as always. I always enjoy listening to you sing. heh

I only listened to TWO clips.

CV4 into Helios and Brute with no EEQ
UM25 into Helios and Brute with no EQ

I wanted to hear a little compression and only hear 1 clip for each mic. I was disappointed that they were two different takes. It makes it so hard with an expressive singer like yourself who sings it great - but different - each time. A simple A/B of one phrase is not possible - you sang every phrase differently I think.

All that said....both mics sound really good (maybe it's your voice heh). But that said, I don't think either mic is "the ultimate" mic for your voice - at least on this song. Beyond that, I'd need to hear both on the same take to be more specific about what exactly is "not quite right" to me.

I was expecting a bigger difference. Both mics are on my "when I get some time, I need to audition these" list.

Cheers,

bp
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
just listened to the two helios no eq clips, through some small speakers, I much prefer the CV4 on your voice - it is much warmer sounding.
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #7
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maxy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I also just listened to the "brute no eq" examples. Hard to tell when they are not the same take but I'd still have to say I slightly prefer the CV4.

Doesn't seem to go as low or as high as the UM25 but kind of sounds more finished.

Interested to hear what you think...
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #8
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3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Yeah - I only have one Helios...so I couldn't do one take at the same time...

I'll hook both up to the 816 pres and do a take. Then I might do a version with the Brute really hitting hard on both.
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #9
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3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Hey Joe -
Don't know if Pepper go this one from you, but this mic seems to have a 60hz hum...not sure what the deal is, but I don't think its normal. I'll let Pepper know tomorrow. Also, is this a production run or a prototype? It's kinda blueish and doesn't have the gold hardware like the one in the promo pic.
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
Both great mics, I think it's your voice that is the most important factor on there, not the mics you used.
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #11
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maxy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Great singing by the way - only made more impressive by being sick!

Thanks for doing this test. It really cool to hear these two mics as they are both ones I'm interested in.

It would be informative to hear with the same take and I think using the 816 pres will plenty fine.
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn ➑️
Hey Joe -
Don't know if Pepper go this one from you, but this mic seems to have a 60hz hum...not sure what the deal is, but I don't think its normal. I'll let Pepper know tomorrow. Also, is this a production run or a prototype? It's kinda blueish and doesn't have the gold hardware like the one in the promo pic.
Hi John,

That's the exact same mic that Cathedral Guitar used for all of the samples that he posted on GS here. Same unit, not just model. So either something happened in shipping or the power supply doesn't like something else nearby.

That is the production prototype. The power supply is the final version, the inner components are the final version. The color of the body tube is not. The color that we wanted the factory did not have and their close approximation is not correct. We have a vendor in Kansas that will use the correct RAL powder coat color on the production units. The pictures on the site were an earlier prototype that is in Europe with the folks from Blackspade. Anything gold must be a reflection or an artifact of the photo editing as that proto also had nickel hardware.

Sincerely,

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #13
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3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Thanks, guys...but I definitely sound a little like shite...

So - here's my take. I'm gonna just tell it like I hear it:

I think they are VERY similar...just voiced a little differently.

Seems like the UM25 has a tad less bottom and maybe a little brighter on top. Seems to handle transients in the 1-4khz range a little better - they don't seem to stick out as much as on the CV4. Seems to have more 8khz and up as compared to the CV4.

As for the CV4 - I have to say I was much more comfortable singing because of the sound in my phones - not sure why other than the CV4 being a little less bright. It seems a little bigger around 250hz and definitely less bright on top. Neither mic is close to having a huge, hyped voice-of-God bottom. (Does God know we dial that out?)

When listening, I like certain things about both. I like the way the Blackspade handles the mids. (1-4khz) This is a very subtle difference to my ears - and honestly, it could just be that the take is less harsh in that freq...By "handle" I mean that I notice in cheap mics, these frequencies get harsh and distorted when really pushed - they thin out. Didn't notice it very much in the UM25. I don't feel like this particularly sounds like the Tele 251V AC that I demo'd and almost went to jail before giving back...That mic had this "reedy" quality in the mids. This resonance that you could feel in your chest. A velvety tone. Like sitting next to the world's greatest bassoon player and running your hands through a velvet reproduction of Michelangelo's "Pieta"...I digress...Anyway, I would probably like a little less top and a little more bottom. It probably can be tuned that way too.

I find that the CV4 might be tilted that way a little more. I often find myself (for my voice) adding a little 240hz, pulling out 1 or 1.4khz and then taking out 2db of 10k. It just kinda gets me right where I need to be on the CV4. I talked to Miktek and they mentioned that the capsule could be tuned a little darker - but that makes me a little nervous. I'd hate to mess with a good thing. Maybe I'll inspire Miktek to make a mod - much less top, rolling at @10khz, less 1-2.4khz and a little bigger bottom. I might throw that at them.

I wouldn't be scared AT ALL to go with either one of these mics. I would prefer the UM25 to be a little less bright, but it's still a great buy at this price. It does have a beautiful top that reminds me of a C12. And it's sexy (don't laugh, it matters) Everybody knows my thoughts on the CV4...this did nothing to change them.
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I'll move the PS around...

I attached the pic I was talking about - I swear that's gold! No biggie at all though. Is that the RAL color in this pic? That's one SEXY looking mic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeyhavoc ➑️
Hi John,

That's the exact same mic that Cathedral Guitar used for all of the samples that he posted on GS here. Same unit, not just model. So either something happened in shipping or the power supply doesn't like something else nearby.

That is the production prototype. The power supply is the final version, the inner components are the final version. The color of the body tube is not. The color that we wanted the factory did not have and their close approximation is not correct. We have a vendor in Kansas that will use the correct RAL powder coat color on the production units. The pictures on the site were an earlier prototype that is in Europe with the folks from Blackspade. Anything gold must be a reflection or an artifact of the photo editing as that proto also had nickel hardware.

Sincerely,

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
Attached Thumbnails
Blackspade UM25 Vocal Files-248372d1312844141-blackspade-um25-um25prodprotoweb.jpg  
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn ➑️
I'll move the PS around...

I attached the pic I was talking about - I swear that's gold! No biggie at all though. Is that the RAL color in this pic? That's one SEXY looking mic.
I have to agree, in that file it does look gold. That one was edited by me and my version looked nickel. I probably need more training on managing photo files...

The color of the mic body in that picture is closer to the actual RAL color of the mic.

Thanks so much for taking the time to record the samples and listen to the mic!

Sincerely,

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Well, I'm kind've a doofus...I recorded the same take really quickly, but recorded it a little hot - so there's a little pre-distortion at the end. It's not bad, but sorry...

Anyway, here's the UM25 and the CV4 recording the same take at the same volume levels.

BTW, Joe - I noticed when I was moving the mic around that when I grabbed the bottom in a certain place, the hum would stop. I unscrewed the bottom and re-tightened it and now it's whisper quiet.
Attached Files

UM25_816_sametake.wav (7.13 MB, 1018 views)

CV4_816_sametake.wav (7.13 MB, 868 views)

Old 22nd September 2011
  #17
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Matti's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I like UM25 here, with some slight eq maybe

Matti
Old 22nd September 2011 | Show parent
  #18
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3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Kinda six and one half dozen to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matti ➑️
I like UM25 here, with some slight eq maybe

Matti
Old 22nd September 2011
  #19
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Matti's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Its so near to my ears, with these mediocre monitors, sorry -only impressions

Matti
Old 23rd September 2011 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Liked UM25 better. Full, warm sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn ➑️
Well, I'm kind've a doofus...I recorded the same take really quickly, but recorded it a little hot - so there's a little pre-distortion at the end. It's not bad, but sorry...

Anyway, here's the UM25 and the CV4 recording the same take at the same volume levels.

BTW, Joe - I noticed when I was moving the mic around that when I grabbed the bottom in a certain place, the hum would stop. I unscrewed the bottom and re-tightened it and now it's whisper quiet.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I think both of them are really great mics, but to me, they were really close. Certainly close enough that you can't say one was warm, full, detailed and the other one not. I'm sure I'll get in trouble for saying this, but both have AMI x-formers, both have EF800 (looks like it) and both capsules come from China. I was amazed at how much they sounded alike.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn ➑️
I'm sure I'll get in trouble for saying this, but both have AMI x-formers, both have EF800 (looks like it) and both capsules come from China. I was amazed at how much they sounded alike.
Hi John,

No trouble, just a broad observation. The CV4 uses the AMI BT4 which is custom wound and built for them. Flavor wise, it is towards the BV8 style of transformer. The UM25 uses our AMI T14 transformer. Different winding ratios, different sizes, different core lamination.

The CV4 uses a NOS Telefunken EF800. The UM25 uses a NOS Telefunken tube that we have not named at this time. However, the UM25 power supply delivers 14V to the tube, so not an EF800...

You'd have to speak to Miktek about their buffer amplifier. However, the UM25 is an Ela M251 circuit modified to work with the different tube that we selected.

The capsules are made by two different companies, use two different styles of back plates (IIRC) and the CK25 is further modified at our facility in Kansas.

So while they may sound very close on your voice, it's unclear how close they would sound on 5 different male voices, 5 different female voices, full drum kit, violin, piano, acoustic guitar, saxophone, upright bass, etc. But part of the fun of engineering is the exploration process!

Sincerely,

Joe Hauck
AMI, Inc.
Old 25th September 2011
  #23
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MadGuitrst's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
I also only listened to the Helios/no EQ.
I think they sound different enough.

The CV4 sounds bigger but softer/pillowy and a tad hollow.
The UM25 has significantly more present mids and IMHO would be much better in a mix.

Overall, I definitely prefered the UM25 for it's mid presence and focused sound.
Old 25th September 2011 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
On the first song - If You don't Know Me by Now - I thought I heard much more of a difference between the mics.

The CV4 sounded great in the bottom and low-mids, but sounded a little thinner when you sang high up. The UM25 didn't sound as sexy as the CM4 in the low-mids but it handled the transition to up high much better, keeping your voice consistent. The CV4 lost a bit of its robustness on your higher notes.

On 'Something' the mics sounded closer to me. But I preferred the UM25 here. Sounded fuller, thicker and (ironically) closer to what I heard as the sexier low-mids of the CM4 on the first song. So this made me re-listen to the first song and revise my opinion: on a second listen, the UM25 sounded better all round with that Helios.

I hear what you're saying about the 1K region. I think both mics put some of your vocal's timbre on some notes in a slightly edgier place than those two particular songs warrant. It sounds to me like both of those mics would be really fantastic for contemporary R&B or pop - or indeed anything a bit more uptempo, or more fleshed-out arrangement-wise.

But you're singing two crooner-school ballads here with solely piano accompaniment: for this particular material, if I was in the producer's chair, I'd probably see what you sounded like on a "brighter" ribbon mic, like say a KSM313.
Old 26th September 2011 | Show parent
  #25
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pasarski's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Listened to brute no eq clips. Both mics have this metallic quality I'm not necessary in love with but nonetheless, both sound good. Singing is great. I like the UM25 clip a bit more but could be just the take.
Old 10th October 2011 | Show parent
  #26
AB3
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
What mic within this tone range have you fuond that does not have the metallic quality you mention? I notice it myself as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pasarski ➑️
Listened to brute no eq clips. Both mics have this metallic quality I'm not necessary in love with but nonetheless, both sound good. Singing is great. I like the UM25 clip a bit more but could be just the take.
Old 10th October 2011 | Show parent
  #27
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pasarski's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 ➑️
What mic within this tone range have you fuond that does not have the metallic quality you mention? I notice it myself as well.
I should have said: both CLIPS have this metallic quality...

I can't say if it's the mics causing it or the room or the pre or the pneumonia.
Old 11th October 2011 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
It's my metallic voice...
Old 11th October 2011 | Show parent
  #29
AB3
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
It's a golden voice! Both mics are winners. But the voice is great.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn ➑️
It's my metallic voice...
Old 25th October 2011 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Joe, just trying to clarify this. Can a 6072 go into the mic? I'd like to get the UM25c and then pop in a GE triple mica, but maybe that's not possible? Or will it affect the mic adversely?
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