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U47, M49, C12, Elam251 - pick one
Old 21st November 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
U47, M49, C12, Elam251 - pick one

If you could only have one microphone to record male voice, acoustic guitar (and drums and piano), which microphone of the classic four would you pick and why based on your experiences? Thanks much.
Old 21st November 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Silver Sonya's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Way too huge a question. All excellent microphones.

Let's start with a more helpful premise:

Name three of your favorite records. Recordings that have influenced your aesthetic. Better yet: recordings which your music resembles.

We'll go from there. A little research can turn up what the chief microphones used on those recordings are. It's a good starting point.

- c
Old 21st November 2009
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Getcher Elam here!!!
Don't push...don't shove...there's plenty for all!

Favorite specific:

"I hear sound that it is better than an original.
I heard and compared it - The original ELAM and My elam251.
My elam251 exceeded the original. Laughter did not stop because of impression!!!"

Well now....I'm a believer...honey...where's the checkbook for our credit line?


Telefunken ELA M251 Excellent condition!!! ( ELAM251 ) - eBay (item 170405918289 end time Dec-11-09 14:19:33 PST)


Sorry....back to the OP.
Old 21st November 2009
  #4
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The MPCist's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Without knowing what kind of male vocals we're talking about, I would say at least 2 of the 4 would work very well. Also, the micpre makes a difference as well --- what micpre are you thinking?
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Gretschman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
One of each please

I Own all of them , So , I would say the 49 . No doubt .

Unless the Male singer is less manly and has a Femme voice , the drums are made
of Cherry wood and the guitar is a Gretsch duo jet through a AC30 with blues in it .
then I would change to the 251 .

If the male singer is from San Francisco , and the drums are made of birds eye
Maple and the guitarist plays a classical guitar or a Telecaster through a Fender Twin ,
Then give me a C12 .

But , If the singer is a marine , and the drums are made of walnut and the guitar
being played is an SG with p-90's through a Marshal Major ,
then give me my U47 back !!
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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tiny333's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
lol thats funny

what he said
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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TanTan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I own all of the except for a C12, and my 251 is a Tele USA one..

If i had to choose one it would be the M49
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #8
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya ➑️
Way too huge a question. All excellent microphones.

- c
At the METH LAB, we have a new TELEFUNKEN 251E, a new TELEFUNKEN C12 and a new TELEFUNKEN U47. These are ALL amazing microphones for what they do.
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #9
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I would be interested to know what modifications were done to this "F" model 251? The ELA M 251 F was the budget model until it was discontinued in Q-2 of this year. It had a power supply that would work, but was at best a "cost effective" solution [which is why the model was discontinued]... so, again, I'm curious what mods were done to take the "budget" item in the series to turn it into a $16,800 beast... and why you didn't go for one of the other models [ELA M 251 E or ELA M 251 (no suffix - the one with the AC-701 tube)] instead?

As for the original thread... that is an exceptionally personal choice. There was a reason that Tom Brady passed on Bridget Moynahan in favor of Gisele BΓΌndchen while I'm sure either would have been absolutely heaven to have seen on our arm when going out for the evening.
Old 21st November 2009
  #10
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
47, without question.
Old 21st November 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Joram's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitreouswindows ➑️
..one microphone to record male voice, acoustic guitar (and drums and piano), which microphone [..] would you pick and why based on your experiences?
Haven't worked with a 251 but I know the U47 tube is excellent for male voice, acoustic guitar, drums (overhead) and piano (at a little distance to avoid proximity effect)
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Thank you for the responses. To post #2 - I've enjoyed so many recordings, and they all used a variety of mics (perhaps this is in and of itself telling). To post #9 - the analogy is helpful, and it would be enhanced if you could note which mic you would pick and why. To post #10 - again, could you note why you'd choose the 47?

Any other experiences? Which one mic would you pick and why?
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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Croaker's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretschman ➑️
I Own all of them , So , I would say the 49 . No doubt .

Unless the Male singer is less manly and has a Femme voice , the drums are made
of Cherry wood and the guitar is a Gretsch duo jet through a AC30 with blues in it .
then I would change to the 251 .

If the male singer is from San Francisco , and the drums are made of birds eye
Maple and the guitarist plays a classical guitar or a Telecaster through a Fender Twin ,
Then give me a C12 .

But , If the singer is a marine , and the drums are made of walnut and the guitar
being played is an SG with p-90's through a Marshal Major ,
then give me my U47 back !!
LMAO...dam thanks for the laugh
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitreouswindows ➑️
To post #10 - again, could you note why you'd choose the 47?

Any other experiences? Which one mic would you pick and why?
IMO a good 47 always works to one degree or another on male singers. 251 can be awful on a male and the C12 can be voiced to high and miss the magic. The 49 is cool but a good 47 really brings out the chest resonance. Sinatra, Beatles...
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Joram's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
IMO a good 47 always works to one degree or another on male sings. [...] the C12 can be voiced to high and miss the magic. [...] a good 47 really brings out the chest resonance.
That's the reason we are so happy with our "new" old 47. Think TONE, vitreouswindows.

Gretchman's words are pretty accurate. But as I wrote in other threads, I like to compare mics with painters/paintings: Neumann=Rembrandt (U47=selfportrait, M49=scene), Schoeps=Vermeer...C12=Dali
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
...and the 47 you guys got is amazing!
Old 22nd November 2009
  #17
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Space Station's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitreouswindows ➑️
If you could only have one microphone to record male voice, acoustic guitar (and drums and piano), which microphone of the classic four would you pick and why based on your experiences? Thanks much.
For me, in that scenario, the M49.

Have you heard the Mark Hollis solo record? Every instrument and voice was recorded on a crossed cardioid pair of M49's through an 1178 to tape, same settings for every instrument, nothing changed during tracking. No Eq used either.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Nut
 
Mix Master's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Impossible to say. There is no "best" mic for anything, period. In my not so humble opinion, there is no "best" mic, only the most "appropriate" mic. A well maintained C12 or a 251 are friggin knock outs. But I certainly wouldn't put one up in front of Billy Joe from Green Day or Anthony Kiedis from the RHCP.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think original question was if you could only have one of the mics not is having one of the mics optimal. Obviously having a choice would be better.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Correct. You only get one.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
(Side note: Mark Hollis disc is a masterpiece. Extraordinary recording but it has more to do with the genius of it's creator and the sound of that particular room. The approach is not a good guidepost for most of us.)

My personal vote would go to a Tele 251, but that has more to do with some of my favorite vocal recordings.

I still say researching favorite records is a good way to start investigating this question.

- c
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #22
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitreouswindows ➑️
To post #9 - the analogy is helpful, and it would be enhanced if you could note which mic you would pick and why.
I just noticed I was "post #9"... the analogy obviously wasn't helpful as I was trying to illustrate that no matter how much you think something may be gorgeous, there is someone who will think it isn't quite good enough.

If it were my session and I have examples of the fore mentioned tools at my disposal [which I have had in the past... and then some] I would line them up and try them with the singer FOR EACH AND EVERY SONG on the production.

Every singer is different, every song arrangement is different. Each and every tool you mentioned [if it is in proper / well maintained condition] is a fantastic and unique tool. There is no "best tool" only tools that in your sense of aesthetic are "right" for the track you are recording at any given moment.

Over time I have met A LOT of "classic" microphones that were in dire need of maintenance... so even with their "pedigree" name tag they still sucked balls. I have met others that were in amazing condition that were incredible and took the presentation of a song to new and nearly unimaginable places... and on the next song where we tried the same mic on the same singer [with a different arrangement in a different key]... not so much.

They're different. There is no "best". You need to evaluate every tool in every production and come to a place where you find it to work... or in the rare and golden scenario, to be drop dead amazing.

Bridgette looks like a total piece of ass to me as does Giselle... and while neither would give me the time of day I wouldn't say no to an opportunity to have dinner with either. Obviously there is a man who has had that experience and got to make an educated decision... whether or not I would share that opinion is entirely up in the air... my correlation?

While I have a very strong suspicion you have never tried the microphones you've listed, which would make if very difficult for you to "make a choice" the fact of the matter is that you can only find a real / meaningful answer to your query through experience.

You need to get yourself to a place where you can have these kinds of tools at your disposal, gain experience, and make an educated decision based on YOUR experience... not the experience of fools you've not met and whose work you've never heard [which is why I WILL NOT give any kind of recommendation... as I try to be as little a fool as possible and only a fool would say one of those tools is better than another].

I realize I've not even come close to answering your question... so in the interest of giving you a tangible answer... ANY of the microphones you've listed [with the caveat that they're in excellent condition] will suit your purposes without a struggle. They're ALL amazing in their own way. NONE of them will "suck", though if you have all of them at your disposal one will almost always shine above the rest in a given application.

If you can only have one, then any of them should net exemplary results... which ever ONE you land upon will be a prize and a treasure and over time you will get greedy to have them all... and over time you will find yourself in a place where you can [will] make educated decisions as to which will be "best" for your immediate purpose. In the meanwhile, you have to start somewhere so start with the one you find you can afford that is in great condition and add the rest as you go along.

Hope this makes sense.

Peace.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I do realize that my own personal subjective experience will be the most clarifying.

I have had experience with the U47 (which I quite like), and some with a C24 (which I realize is slightly different than a C12); but I've not tried an M49 (though it was recommended to me by the fellow that used to record Judy Collins - I believe it was Alan Silverman), and I've no experience with a 251.

Perhaps my question might be better put as to the personalities/colours of these mics:

If you had to choose one exemplary specimen of a U47, M49, C12, Elam 251 to use to record primarily male voice and acoustic instruments, which would you choose and why? You can only choose one. There is not the opportunity to have different mics for different situations.

I am interested in your subjective perspectives based on your experiences. I realize they may or may not generalize to me and my situation(s), but I'm curious nonetheless. Thanks much.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Gretschman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
OK

Under that specific usage , and if your budget is such ,
then I recommend a Lawson 251 tube mic . about $ 2500.00

It is a great mic , well built , will do the job nicely and it is not overpriced .

If you want to spend more , then check out the Josephson 700 series mics .
Great stuff . Sort of airy with a c12 thing going on .

Also , my favorite is a Gefell UM92.1 with a NOS Telefunken tube installed
Very good U47 sound .
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
If really good original one than 251, but that's almost impossible so Tele USA (but not previous 'F' version).
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitreouswindows ➑️
If you had to choose one exemplary specimen of a U47, M49, C12, Elam 251 to use to record primarily male voice and acoustic instruments, which would you choose and why? You can only choose one. There is not the opportunity to have different mics for different situations...
I guess most of us have our favorites - in the absence of being able to hear the specific source. Like James, I lean towards the 47 ATM. But reporting that here seems meaningless and subjective out of context.

The problem is, it is a beside-the-point kind of question. It's kind of like asking "if you had to paint color pictures using only one color, which color would you use". The only correct answer is "I wouldn't paint color pictures using only one color". Any other answer tells you nothing useful - it may convey a personal color bias on the part of the responder, but it says nothing at all about what may work for (or appeal to) you.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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Space Station's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya ➑️
(Side note: Mark Hollis disc is a masterpiece. Extraordinary recording but it has more to do with the genius of it's creator and the sound of that particular room. The approach is not a good guidepost for most of us.)

My personal vote would go to a Tele 251, but that has more to do with some of my favorite vocal recordings.

- c
Er..so if you use a Tele 251 you dont need a genius creator or a decent room?
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #28
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Station ➑️
Er..so if you use a Tele 251 you dont need a genius creator or a decent room?
Obviously apples and oranges.

No matter what microphone you choose it should be chosen by how its texture relates to not only the sound that is to be recorded, but how that sound relates to the other sounds that comprise the presentation.

There are many examples of "boxy" rooms that "make" the sound of the presentation, there are also a plethora of examples of rooms that sound absolutely amazing in the context of the presentation as well as rooms that get in the way of a cohesive presentation.

At least from my perspective it is a goal that a song sound like "a song" and not a collection of tracks that may or may not support the musical statement.

As always, YMMV.

Peace.
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
With vintage mics, it really depends on the specific mic.

If we're talking about the best ones I've come across of each model...

Personal preference, the 251 for me.

Oh and Gisele
No.. Bridget
No.. Gisele
Old 22nd November 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I own a vintage Soundelux E49 that I bought through Adam and Fletcher back when Fletcher was still w/ Mercenary on thier reccomendation at the time for a song...I've since shot it out with a vintage M49 with the incredibly talented Bob Hoag at flying Blanket, we both prefered my Soundelux.

*Shrug.*

I do look at my E49 as a treasure...I really do love that mic! My next goal was to try to aquire a 251 or C12 style mic to have something geared for singers with higher register voices...but to be perfectly honest, If I match that mic with an appropriate preamp and a bit of EQ I can get it to come alive on anyone with a great voice in all of ten seconds. I still think I'll search for a 251 when budget allows, but I'm not in a rush.

Also...I think the Pearlmans are fantastic for the price as well, as well as the Telefunken USA AK47...you don't have to take out a federal loan to get something professional. I would love to have any of those mics in my locker as well.
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