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If I could buy only ONE high-ish end mic, what should I buy?
Old 6th March 2019
  #1
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If I could buy only ONE high-ish end mic, what should I buy?

So, if you had to buy one reasonably high-end mic, what would you buy? What do you suggest I buy? I have a lot of what I think of as nice mics. Mainly Peluso. But nothing actually high-end. Maybe I mean something with more name recognition? The nicest mics I've ever used were Telefunken Elam 251, AEA 44, Korby with all of those capsules. Or were they Neuman and Blue with Korby caps? It's been a long time. I'm looking at $5k-ish.

I'd be using it on vocals and saxes. I'm a jazz guy. I can see doing roots music as well. Partially I need something that looks high-end or has a name to go with the studio and the other mics.

I'm thinking Neuman 149. I'm not a fan of the U67. I've never used the U87. I've heard meh opinions about it. Yes, and I'm thinking of used. eBay or Reverb or the like.
Old 6th March 2019
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Vocals/Sax/Jazz/Roots = 44 Ribbon IMHO.
Chris
Old 6th March 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Assuming a $5K budget, perhaps consider a combination of mics, as there is no real "one size fits all" for your situation. I might suggest a U87 (there's a reason it was the traditional"when I get some money..." asperational mic - it works on a broad range of sources and looks like money to boot), a ribbon like an AEA 44 or 84 (depending on budget constraints) and a Shure SM7. This combination would give you a wide range of options to place in front of your sources.
I always liked the M149 but it's surprisingly neutral for a LDC and you're probably looking for a little more personality.
There is endless discussion about the choice among the U87, 87a, and older/newer 87ai. I'd encourage you to actually listen to the particular mic you're considering (if possible - I know you're looking at eBay and Reverb as sources.) I don't think that a dealer is going to be much, if any, more expensive than the auction sites and they have return policies if it isn't your cup of tea. There aren't necessarily a lot of bargains to be found on mics like this on the auction sites. Just a thought...

As always, YMMV.
Old 6th March 2019 | Show parent
  #4
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henryrobinett's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
Vocals/Sax/Jazz/Roots = 44 Ribbon IMHO.
Chris
Yup. I agree. I have 5 nice ribbons already. I recorded a jazz singer using the AEA 44. It was amazing.
Old 6th March 2019 | Show parent
  #5
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cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett ➡️
Yup. I agree. I have 5 nice ribbons already. I recorded a jazz singer using the AEA 44. It was amazing.
I was going to say a nice ribbon (but since you already have 5)..

If you don't have the 44 (or the aea reissue) sell some of the ribbon you're not using much and get a 44 (or an rca77) maybe?

A Neumann M149 might be a very good candidate indeed, it doesn't have the "usual" neumann mids, it's rather a smooth mic, quite classy if you ask me. Nice for your eandeavours imho.
Another one might be the Manley Silver Reference..although this mic has a different vibe from the m149.

Or as somebody else said a very "utilitarian" vintage U87..

I'd highly suggest to TEST some mics in your space and with your stuff and get what sounds best to your ears and ignore our blabbering



Cheu
Old 6th March 2019
  #6
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henryrobinett's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks! I guess I wasn’t very clear. I have a lot of mics. Nice little home studio. I have more than enough mics I’m happy with. But it seems every studio needs a Neumann or the like. Something nice a with name recognition. I have a AEA r84, Roger 121, and three Pelusos, two of which are actives. Very nice mic.

I don’t want to buy several nice mics for the money, although that’s a great idea. I want ONE really nice mic that people will go, “Oh yeah, well damn.” I have great uses for all the mics I have already. It’s a silly question.
Old 6th March 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 
FWIW I'd be WAY more excited going to a studio, and singing through a 44 vs. a 87.
(unless it was a Klaus Heyne modded 87 )
Chris
Old 6th March 2019 | Show parent
  #8
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henryrobinett's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
FWIW I'd be WAY more excited going to a studio, and singing through a 44 vs. a 87.
(unless it was a Klaus Heyne modded 87 )
Chris
I agree! That AEA 44 I used was the best. Believe me I’ve been thinking about it.
Old 6th March 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'd look at the various LDCs from Josephson. I have a Josephson c700s, and while that's a bit of a stretch for your budget, it's a unique mic that sounds incredible on everything, including saxophone (former player myself, have gotten rave comments from Sax players on the tone of the mic). It's also a stereo and native b-format ambisonic mic, which makes it even more versatile. It's a gorgeous mic in every way, and definitely grabs clients' attention.
Old 6th March 2019
  #10
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett ➡️
So, if you had to buy one reasonably high-end mic, what would you buy? What do you suggest I buy? I'd be using it on vocals and saxes. I'm a jazz guy. I'm looking at $5k-ish. Something nice a with name recognition.
It's hard to say what you'd buy and I'm honestly not sure what your 'balance' is between getting the best mic you can for jazz vocals and sax, or just getting something with what you reckon to be 'name recognition'.

Hmm...

Personally, with $5k in my pocket and making the assumption that it looks like a cardioid LDC you're after(?), I'd favour the first approach in simply going for the finest mic you can that suits the application you've described and not worrying about 'name recognition', which let's face it at client-level is basically Neumann vs The Rest.

Personally I think there are a very many incredible mics in the category of 'The Rest', so I'd first be trying out some of the top-of-the-line tube models from the likes of Brauner or Gefell. For sure, the Valvet is the nicest mic I ever heard on jazz vocals, and that's not even 'top-of-the-line'.
Old 6th March 2019
  #11
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hm. I guess I’m mainly interested in branding. I never have been. But I want someone to just look at the website and go “oh yeah.” I have all my mics I love for specific applications. I want to get something very nice and useful. But you know, in this case I guess it’s at least equal branding. Lol.
Old 6th March 2019
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Wes Dooley himself knows his AEA 44 has a "golden handcuff" on me someday... Whenever I can eventually ju$tify it. Personally a 4038 or Sontronics Sigma 2, might get me by-in the cheaper seats. Chris
Old 6th March 2019
  #13
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
How’s the 149?
Old 6th March 2019
  #14
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john caldwell's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The 149 is very nice, and its 9 patterns allows a lot of work to get done. I've used it, and the Soundeluxe 251, for most lead vocals over the last few years. My last addition was the Blue Bottle, with several capsules. For your budget, you can cover a great deal of ground with the Blue setup. Blue continues to develop new capsules, with three introduced in 2018 alone. There is now a Sony 800 style capsule, for example, to compliment the Neumann and ELUX sounds.
Old 6th March 2019
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
MattiasSwe's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Since the best mic you used was a ELAM251 i´d say why not get the Bock 251? Bock Audio 251 - Vintage King
I seen a bunch of people here that swears by it.
Old 6th March 2019
  #16
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elamberth's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I'm assuming you have a good room to record in? As you know, the R44 has proximity effect, and often needs space.

Sounds like the R44 is where you are heading. I do late 50's - early 60's jazz stuff and been thinking about one myself.
Old 6th March 2019 | Show parent
  #17
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cheu78's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett ➡️
Thanks! I guess I wasn’t very clear. I have a lot of mics. Nice little home studio. I have more than enough mics I’m happy with. But it seems every studio needs a Neumann or the like. Something nice a with name recognition. I have a AEA r84, Roger 121, and three Pelusos, two of which are actives. Very nice mic.

I don’t want to buy several nice mics for the money, although that’s a great idea. I want ONE really nice mic that people will go, “Oh yeah, well damn.” I have great uses for all the mics I have already. It’s a silly question.
I'd sell the 3 pelusos and maybe the AEA R84 (which is a great mic), but for sure the 3 pelusos and I'd get the mics YOU love namely:
The AEA 44 and the tfunk Elam251.
or the 44 and the Neumann M149 (which is indeed a nice mic).

Try to book studio time and test the mics first, so that you'll know what you're getting (and leaving in case of selling your stuff).

Just my 0.02$,



Cheu
Old 6th March 2019
  #18
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Ol' Betsey's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
The thing about a really nice U87 (vintage era) is that everybody knows what they're getting. And as far as I'm concerned there is nothing 'meh' about them. They are absolutely wonderful all-rounders. And we all know that. And it has that name recognition.

The thing about an M149 (and I used one on a number of projects a few years ago) is that I'd still be looking at what other mics you might have in the closet.

If it was me, I'd grab a lovely U87 and then save up a little extra and grab a top-o-the-range U47 style mic like a FLEA or Wunder that will also spark peoples attention.

Just my 2c.

R.

P.S. I'd also agree with Cheu and Chessparov on selling a few of the other mics you have and grab the 44 as well. Go on. You know you want to!
Old 7th March 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
I personally went for the AEA A440. But, I had very different motivations and Branding is in the eye of the beholder. Mostly I use Schoeps condensors [which I prefer for almost everything], yet wanted a killer ribbon. The A440 is definitely a killer ribbon! Don't know what my next high-end would be though. . .too many great choices, and from a branding perspective, I'm jazzed by so many of them!



"Sooner or later you're going to realize, just as I did, there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." Look forward to hearing what you choose. I expect you will make it "the one" [thunder claps in the background].



Best,

Ray H.
Old 7th March 2019 | Show parent
  #20
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rnappi's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Betsey ➡️
If it was me, I'd grab a lovely U87 and then save up a little extra and grab a top-o-the-range U47 style mic like a FLEA or Wunder that will also spark peoples attention.
+1
Old 7th March 2019
  #21
Gear Guru
 
I prefer the voicing on the various Bock 251 style microphones, over the T-Funk. Haven't tried the Upton 251 yet, but also sounds great on the clips I've heard.
Chris
Old 7th March 2019 | Show parent
  #22
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idylldon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
I prefer the voicing on the various Bock 251 style microphones, over the T-Funk. Haven't tried the Upton 251 yet, but also sounds great on the clips I've heard.
Chris
I have a Soundelux ELUX 251 (Soundelux was Bock's company before it became Bock) and it's an amazing microphone. It pretty much has been the go-to vocal mic in my studio for quite a while and it never fails to live up to my expectations. Unfortunately, I don't do much studio work anymore since I opened my brewpub so I'm selling it. Hurts to part with it but it deserves to be used more than I have the past couple of years.

Cheers,
--
Don
Old 7th March 2019 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by burp182 ➡️
Assuming a $5K budget, perhaps consider a combination of mics, as there is no real "one size fits all" for your situation. I might suggest a U87 (there's a reason it was the traditional"when I get some money..." asperational mic - it works on a broad range of sources and looks like money to boot), a ribbon like an AEA 44 or 84 (depending on budget constraints) and a Shure SM7. This combination would give you a wide range of options to place in front of your sources.
I always liked the M149 but it's surprisingly neutral for a LDC and you're probably looking for a little more personality.
There is endless discussion about the choice among the U87, 87a, and older/newer 87ai. I'd encourage you to actually listen to the particular mic you're considering (if possible - I know you're looking at eBay and Reverb as sources.) I don't think that a dealer is going to be much, if any, more expensive than the auction sites and they have return policies if it isn't your cup of tea. There aren't necessarily a lot of bargains to be found on mics like this on the auction sites. Just a thought...

As always, YMMV.
I agree with this. you need one of each: LDC, Ribbon, Moving coil.
That is as stripped down of a full kit as you can get. The 4th would be a SDC or Tube LDC if you did not get a tube one first.

If you really only want a single cap....get the U87 and the inner tube kit...tube and SS...switch out.

If you can increase the budget a bit, get the reissue 67. Basically a Tube 87.
Old 7th March 2019
  #24
Lives for gear
a neuman m149 is a pretty great mic. if i was starting over, which i kind of am, i'd go for a 149, a few coles, maybe a stereo aea or royer, and some other dynamics and ribbons.

another option would be a used blue bottle mic with a few different capsules. that is a really nice mic for the money. i've seen them on the used market for 3000-4000 depending on how many and which capsules they are being sold with.

i've always liked the m149 because it's not a character mic with a certain sound. it always seemed like a good all around mic to me. it worked on a lot of vocalists really well, sounded great on piano and acoustic instruments and was one of my favorite room mics for drum kit.

that being said...everyone has different tastes. i've used a lot of u47's and they just weren't my thing except on a few vocalists. i always preferred u67's.
Old 7th March 2019
  #25
Lives for gear
soundeluxe e49 would be another great all around mic.

i've only used one a few times, but i remember it being one of the best sounding mics i've used. was amazing on vocals, piano and drum room.

david bock makes some amazing mics.
Old 7th March 2019
  #26
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PatrickFaith's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
My most used high end mics are u47 and m149. For ok/poor rooms (or forced poor placement) I actually prefer the m149 because of pattern flexibility and precision of the pattern. I btw have a bunch of scheops mics, that's another kind of different direction and mentality which is super flexible for remote recording. (Ie I don't use big tube mics for remote recording, and even in smaller rooms I find the scheops mics holds up well to the m149)
Old 7th March 2019
  #27
Gear Addict
 
BluegrassDan's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Flea 47 gets a lot of attention around our place.
Old 7th March 2019
  #28
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah. I have two Peluso U47 styles I like a lot. I used to use two different U67s that I just didn’t like. I’ve never used an 87 so I don’t know. The suggestion to get rid of my three Peluso ribbons and the 84, nah. I love those mics. Maybe the r84. But the Elam 251 is 10k. Not in my future. It’s soubds funny but I’m using the active Peluso ribbons (TR-14) on toms. They’re PERFECT! I’m positioning the fig 8 null towards the cymbals for great rejection. I’m not getting rid of them!

I record a lot of jazz, mostly jazz, where ribbons shine. On horns mainly. So I need a bunch of ribbons. Getting rid of a few for a master ribbon, AEA 44, isn’t the best solution for me.

The 149 sounds like a good option. BTW I have a nice room. Small cottage studio but I’ve treated it really pretty well. It sounds good, I can finally say.
Old 7th March 2019
  #29
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I think you should demo a few of the highend 251 clones. Why try finding something different if that's what you like


I have a u87, u67 and a 269c. U87 is so boring, uninspiring but good. U67 is a bit thick and I'm not to fund of the highend rolloff. Very beefy though. The 269c has everything i like about the u67 but exceeds it in every way. Noise floor, beutiful open topend and a presence which is hard to beat.

I do Levitate towards mics with open topend myself so i would see myself liking c12, 251 too! I had a 414eb brass which really set off my c12 GAS haha!

Good luck
Old 7th March 2019
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
The R84 and R44 use the same ribbon. The magnet motor is different but this evidences itself mostly in the reduced proximity effect. Worked reasonably closely, the sonics are pretty similar. I love my 44 but I wouldn't give up my 84s to get one.
If branding is of high importance, I'd still recommend some flavor of 87. Having a "big" Neumann means something to clients who brand shop and the others are outside your stated budget. Plus it works well on a large variety of sources. If price wasn't a determining factor, I'd suggest chasing an M49. Long history in the jazz world. But they ain't cheap under any circumstances.
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