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Upgrading from Rode K2
Old 13th September 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Upgrading from Rode K2

Hello all. I'm considering upgrading from my Rode K2 to a better vocal mic. It's worked well, but I am looking for something a little less sibilant, something with a smoother sound. I usually record music in the vein of Gordon Lightfoot acoustic and acoustic rock, and for softer songs I'm looking for a sweeter vocal sound.

Current vocal chain is the k2 through a JDK pre and comp, and into a Tascam 2488. I'm looking to spend under 2k, and will be attempting to rent some mics to test, but the search results here didn't get me very far, so I figured I'd ask.
Old 13th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
sleepyhollos's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I do love the K2 but like all Rode mics, if you put a sibilant vocalist infront of it then you're heading for a world of hurt. I have K2, NTV and a Classic in the studio at the moment and all 3 of them are sibilant. Can you pocket a u87/u87ai for $2k in the states? Much better I'd say, or a Peluso P-12 if that's the sound you're after. Worth a look in. Not exotic suggestions but functional and better on the 'Ssss' front than the Rode mics.

Rodes sound great but there is something in that top end that just doesn't work too well with essing. Of course, this is all just my interpretation of their sound. Others may, and probably do disagree.

Good luck
Old 13th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Slikjmuzik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cusebassman ➑️
Hello all. I'm considering upgrading from my Rode K2 to a better vocal mic. It's worked well, but I am looking for something a little less sibilant, something with a smoother sound. I usually record music in the vein of Gordon Lightfoot acoustic and acoustic rock, and for softer songs I'm looking for a sweeter vocal sound.

Current vocal chain is the k2 through a JDK pre and comp, and into a Tascam 2488. I'm looking to spend under 2k, and will be attempting to rent some mics to test, but the search results here didn't get me very far, so I figured I'd ask.
Tfunk Copperhead is a nicely balanced option in your price range that still has good top end but is smooth. The Beezneez Elly, Perlman TM1, Lauten Oceanus and Wunder CM7fet are all fine contenders as well if you're looking for that warm, creamy and smooth sound.

If you don't care to have something that's necessarily name brand, then your search should probably end at the Advanced Audio CM47se(Advanced Audio Microphones). Take it from someone who owns a few of his mics and also has a Telefunken AR-51, which are ALL fantastic. That mic easily competes with the other mics I mentioned that cost anywhere from $300-$1k more.

Good luck in your search.
Old 13th September 2012
  #4
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the suggestions - I'll definitely try out some of the Telefunkens, and see if I can demo some of the others. I'm not worried about branding - at this point it's about getting the best sound for the money.
Old 13th September 2012
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Try the Blue Woodpecker, it's a ribbon but an active ribbon that runs off phantom power so doesn't need loads of gain from your pre. Really smooth, not sibilant at all and a nice airy top that most ribbons don't have.
It's figure 8 like all ribbons so will require a good sounding room or some close acoustic treatment around the rear of the mic.

Replaced my K2 with one recently and then got a Microtech Gefell mt71s to keep a good LDC in the locker.
Old 13th September 2012
  #6
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Interesting. To anyone who has done any A/B tests, how would the mid-range Telefunkens stack up against, say, new Neumanns in the 2k-3k range (such as the U87i, etc.)? It looks like I've got an opportunity to take 20% off at one of the major music retailers who sells, among other things, the Telefunkens. Just wondering if I should stretch a bit and take advantage of the sale, or stick with the Tfunks (they have the Copperhead, the AK-47 and the AR-51 available)
Old 15th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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Greg B's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cusebassman ➑️
Interesting. To anyone who has done any A/B tests, how would the mid-range Telefunkens stack up against, say, new Neumanns in the 2k-3k range (such as the U87i, etc.)? It looks like I've got an opportunity to take 20% off at one of the major music retailers who sells, among other things, the Telefunkens. Just wondering if I should stretch a bit and take advantage of the sale, or stick with the Tfunks (they have the Copperhead, the AK-47 and the AR-51 available)
Always best to try a few out at once to properly compare. The favorite is often the one you'd least expect. My best recommendation is buy a couple great mics, one on the mellower U47-ish side and one one on the brighter C12/251 side of the spectrum. Some of my favorites in the mid price range:

Brighter: ADK Custom Shop Z-12 or Z-251, T-Funk AR-51
Mellower: Beesneez Arabella, Beesneez James50, ADK Custom Shop Z-47/49, T-Funk Copperhead
Old 15th September 2012
  #8
Here for the gear
 
Ton Meister's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you're looking for a smooth and sweet vocal sound, why not try a Golden Age Project R1 MKIII. Very nice. Make sure to use a booth though, since it's figure-of-eight, like most ribbons. I bet your sibilance problems will be over.
Old 15th September 2012
  #9
Sen
Gear Addict
 
Sen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Miktek CV4 is what I just bought for a smoother vocal sound. Nicely rounded, balanced mic, still haven'y had to use a deesser on it, either on male or female vox. AB-ed it against Copperhead and U87ai. Copperhead had a bit more excitement to it than CV4, but at the same time was a bit sibilant on my voice. Went with CV4 mainly for the multipattern reason. U87 was the least exciting out of the 3, although still very nice and smooth. YMMV.
Old 15th September 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Peluso's offerings are worth a look. I was in your exact situation, looking to upgrade from a K2. I wound up with a Peluso 251. Lots of great options in the price range your scouting though.
Old 15th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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kidvybes's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slikjmuzik ➑️
If you don't care to have something that's necessarily name brand, then your search should probably end at the Advanced Audio CM47se(Advanced Audio Microphones). Take it from someone who owns a few of his mics and also has a Telefunken AR-51, which are ALL fantastic. That mic easily competes with the other mics I mentioned that cost anywhere from $300-$1k more.
...I agree on the AA Audio mics recommendation...and at even better prices (same identical build quality and manufacturing origin) check out Stellar Microphones:
Stellar Microphones - Home

...the CM-6 sounds wonderful when coupled with a transformer based Neve-style preamp...very modern and silky smooth...The CM-5 has a bit more mojo and offers a more "vintage" vibe (compare to the AA CM-12)...

...I use a selection of tube microphones from both AA (CM-47, CM-12 & CM-67SE) and Stellar (CM-5 & CM-6), as well as Beesneez, Mojave and Rode...IMHO the Stellar tube mics definately hold their own in the company of Telefunken RFT Series, BeesNeez Studio Series and Peluso tube mics...I sold both my K2 and NTK after using the AA and Stellar mics...only my Rode NT Classic I has held it's position in my mic locker...
Old 16th September 2012
  #12
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MadGuitrst's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cusebassman ➑️
I am looking for something a little less sibilant, something with a smoother sound.
Greg B's advice is excellent.

However, if that's not feasible, the sound you are describing is the sound of the BeesNeez James. Smooth, buttery, no sibilance at all, IME.
Old 16th September 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Ive owned a Telefunken AR-51 and it was an excellent sounding mic. Sounds like your after a slightly mellower sound, so try the AK47 or the Copperhead. Id be surprised if you didnt like them. Warm those tubes up for 20 min and you'll be getting all of the presence of your K2, but with a smoother, tighter high end. Bye bye harshness!
Old 16th September 2012
  #14
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
91 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I'm a K2 user (mainly vocals and guitar) - I'm happy with it but keep an eye/ear on the market...these Dave Pensado videos compare some of the mics mentioned above:

Telefunken Mic Shootout (Part 1) - YouTube

Telefunken Mic Shootout (Part 2) - YouTube
Old 6th October 2012
  #15
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Well, so far I've tried the Telefunken AK-47 - I let it warm up, worked with it for a few days. I don't have any samples to post, but I found it to be very mid-range forward for my voice (to the point where it was taxing to listen to).
Conversely, the top end was definitely smoother than the K2, the sibilance was mostly gone, and there was no "spitty" or "fizzy" sound. I'm starting to see what slightly better mics have to offer Alas, for now, I will have to keep trying other recommendations... and try not to get stuck with something as a result of abusing return policies :/
Old 14th October 2012
  #16
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Update!

I need to get some A/B samples and post them, but I ended up buying a Beesneez Jade and Arabella from a fellow 'slut. The Arabella is pretty much everything I could've hoped for in an upgrade from the K2 - it's essentially what I've always wanted the K2 to sound like. Some initial observations:
  • Nice bottom end as you would expect from an LDC
  • The mid-range is more balanced than the Telefunken AK-47, sounds great
  • The mic has a mellower top end but doesn't lack clarity - nice and smooth
  • The mic kills sibilance for my voice, and I have major problems with it. It smooths out the sound while still sounding natural
At the end of the day, all I can say for the Arabella is that it sounds "professional" - it gives a sheen to the recording that you hear from any professionally produced music with smooth vocals. At $2800 USD new and around $1300 USD used (from the prices I see here in the classifieds occassionally), I would recommend this to anyone looking to spend under $1500 used or under 3k new if you are looking for a K2 upgrade.

As for the Jade, I find my voice is too sibilant for that mic. I'll need to try it on other sources and other voices. Might work well on finger-picked acoustics since it is naturally brighter.
Old 14th October 2012 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
kidvybes's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cusebassman ➑️
I ended up buying a Beesneez Jade and Arabella from a fellow 'slut.
...Ben's mics are amazing!...great quality!
Old 14th October 2012 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes ➑️
...Ben's mics are amazing!...great quality!
That's something I forgot to mention - the build quality is amazing. Heaviest-duty mics I've seen in a while. Also very attractive mics, especially the Arabella It's also impressive-looking since the body is the diameter of the business end of a baseball bat
Old 14th October 2012
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Hey, why don't you get a new k2? Seriously, this is what i did to my k2, and it sounds about as good as any mic i've ever heard. NOS mullard tube=by by sibilance. I swapped out all the electrolytic caps in the mic and power supply with elnas and elna similic ll's, also a few film caps. It took the mic to a new and very expensive sounding level. Next throw a tim campbell ck12 capsule in it(which is next for me), i'll post back when I'm done with that one, but i expect even more amazing results. Net cost under $500
Old 14th October 2012 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonycamp ➑️
Hey, why don't you get a new k2? Seriously, this is what i did to my k2, and it sounds about as good as any mic i've ever heard. NOS mullard tube=by by sibilance. I swapped out all the electrolytic caps in the mic and power supply with elnas and elna similic ll's, also a few film caps. It took the mic to a new and very expensive sounding level. Next throw a tim campbell ck12 capsule in it(which is next for me), i'll post back when I'm done with that one, but i expect even more amazing results. Net cost under $500
I assume you mean $500 on top of the price of a K2 new? So, $700+$500 = $1200 after mods. Does that include the capsule swap? Even if it does, I'd rather find a mic that works out of the box rather than something I need to mod (or in my case, have someone else mod). The Arabella just worked for me from the get-go, and by itself was not much more expensive than a K2+mods.

The mod'd K2 probably sounds great - I just wasn't going to invest money in a mod that I couldn't know for sure would work for me, and any mods done are money down the drain if they don't have a positive effect.
Old 15th October 2012 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cusebassman ➑️
I assume you mean $500 on top of the price of a K2 new? So, $700+$500 = $1200 after mods. Does that include the capsule swap? Even if it does, I'd rather find a mic that works out of the box rather than something I need to mod (or in my case, have someone else mod). The Arabella just worked for me from the get-go, and by itself was not much more expensive than a K2+mods.

The mod'd K2 probably sounds great - I just wasn't going to invest money in a mod that I couldn't know for sure would work for me, and any mods done are money down the drain if they don't have a positive effect.
You already owned the mic?, the capsule about 350$ the other parts total around 25$ and any electronics guy can throw them in. JMO, anyway you look at it, cheaper than the Beesneez(great mic btw)
Old 15th October 2012 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonycamp ➑️
You already owned the mic?, the capsule about 350$ the other parts total around 25$ and any electronics guy can throw them in. JMO, anyway you look at it, cheaper than the Beesneez(great mic btw)
you meant make a "new" K2 by mod'ing the one I already have. I'm a bit slow sometimes. I looked into K2 mods, but I know nothing about mod'ing mics. I would still feel the same about spending any money on something I can't guarantee will be a step up, when I can test mics by renting, buying then returning, reselling, etc. I may look into mod'ing the K2 now that it is not a go-to mic in the locker. Any suggestions on places to look for discussion on K2 mods?
Old 15th October 2012 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cusebassman ➑️
you meant make a "new" K2 by mod'ing the one I already have. I'm a bit slow sometimes. I looked into K2 mods, but I know nothing about mod'ing mics. I would still feel the same about spending any money on something I can't guarantee will be a step up, when I can test mics by renting, buying then returning, reselling, etc. I may look into mod'ing the K2 now that it is not a go-to mic in the locker. Any suggestions on places to look for discussion on K2 mods?

Hey, i get where your coming from. As far as k2 mod info, no is the short answer, i didn't find anything on mods specifically for the k2. None of the usual players do the K2 for some reason, and i asked. One guy you could send it off too, is a guy named jon bonnell, he will change the electrolytic caps out for you and ?, I would ask for elna caps and elna simlic ll's in place of the electrolytics where ever possible, they sound very smooth. the biggest changes will come through a nos mullard tube swap, gets rid of the strident sibs, and darkens up the top a smidge. Also, (i'm betting) a tim campbell capsule will take it to the moon. My mic as it sits now is killer, but i'm still doing the capsule swap. If for some reason its not as good, i'll swap it back...doubt it though

IMO I will say, AT IT'S BEST, the k2 is a very clean modern sounding tube mic. Not old school by any means, but an awesome tool, that holds it's own against ANY mic for sure.

let me know if you find someone to set it up for you..good luck
Old 15th October 2012
  #24
Lives for gear
 
guitarboy94's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Kel HM7U is a very nice mic at a great price.

It's definitely worth checking out.
Old 15th October 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Greg B mentioned ADK - I'd recommend taking a look at the custom shop Au models if you're looking in the $1000-1300 range. TC-Au and TT-Au. I have a TT 12-Au, and for a supposed C12 sound-alike it's not as bright as you might imagine and is very full. I've had a K2 and sent it back for being thin and bright to my ears, and against the Miktek CV4 the ADK is much fuller and bigger. I've not heard the Z mod 12 that Greg B mentioned, they're at least twice the price.
Old 16th October 2012
  #26
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Mike Joly mods ALL Rode mic's...even if he doesn't list it...or "offer" it....on either the FAQ or "About" page he says he mods ALL Rode mic's...even mention's the K2...do some searches and I'm sure you fine some thing about his K2 mod...I would try that...I'm gonna be sending 2 mic's as soon as I have the change...
Old 1st September 2013
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
K2 silibance

Admittedly, I have not had the opportunity to try many mid-range or any expensive mics on vocals. That said, I have a friend that used to work at Ocean Way in LA, an he told me once that any engineer worth his salt used a de-esser on vocal tracks, and that included Michael Jackson (lest his cred be doubted). If you're happy with the high end but the silibance is bothering you it may worth a try, as de-essers are pretty cheap (a plug-in may yield desired results). If the top end is just harsh and jarring, a different mic is probably in order.
Old 29th June 2015
  #28
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Rode K2 Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by cusebassman ➑️
Hello All,
I'm considering upgrading from my Rode K2 to a better vocal mic. It's worked well, but I am looking for something a little less sibilant, something with a smoother sound. I usually record music in the vein of Gordon Lightfoot acoustic and acoustic rock, and for softer songs I'm looking for a sweeter vocal sound.

Current vocal chain is the k2 through a JDK pre and comp, and into a Tascam 2488. I'm looking to spend under 2k, and will be attempting to rent some mics to test, but the search results here didn't get me very far, so I figured I'd ask.

Hello cusebassman,

I've just entered into the recording world recently.
I was using a Rode S1 handheld mic for many years, and it is still a very good mic to me. Comparing the S1 with a Neumann KMS-105, I like the S1 better.

I bought 3 studio microphones this April, 2015 at Tom Lee Vancouver - a Neumann TLM 107, AKG C414 XL-2, and a Rode K2 Tube. The K2 was worst of course, but not after the upgrade. I replaced the Russian Electro-Harmonix tube with a vintage Telefunken e88cc (curent price is about US$480 from TubeDepot) taken out from my Sonic Frontier DAC, and, believe it or not, its performance has surpassed the Neumann and the AKG. To cut down the tube noise even further, I discarded the 4 rubber feet from the Rode amplifier and replaced with 3 ebony-crystal Hi-Fi tips. To affix the tips firmly to the amplifier case, I used natural bee wax which is the best vibration absorbing agent (to remove the tips, use a hair-blower, the bee wax will melt with heat or pressure). I put Kingwood dices under the crystal because the crystal is too neat in transmitting vibrations. I need the Kingwood dices to bring back the warm rich tone. I tried many wood types, including ebony, burbinga, and cherry wood. Kingwood is the best, and cherry wood is acceptable.

I am using Neumann Mic cables. With Mogami Gold and Yorkville Studio One, the output is considerablely different.

If you still have your K2 with you, you may try this upgrade solution and find it feasible.
Old 29th June 2015
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
dogears's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I really like my Mojave MA-200. They also make fantastic drum OH mics in mono or pair.
Old 29th June 2015 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
kidvybes's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyRodeK2 ➑️
I replaced the Russian Electro-Harmonix tube with a vintage Telefunken e88cc (curent price is about US$480 from TubeDepot) taken out from my Sonic Frontier DAC, and, believe it or not, its performance has surpassed the Neumann and the AKG. To cut down the tube noise even further, I discarded the 4 rubber feet from the Rode amplifier and replaced with 3 ebony-crystal Hi-Fi tips. To affix the tips firmly to the amplifier case, I used natural bee wax which is the best vibration absorbing agent (to remove the tips, use a hair-blower, the bee wax will melt with heat or pressure). I put Kingwood dices under the crystal because the crystal is too neat in transmitting vibrations. I need the Kingwood dices to bring back the warm rich tone. I tried many wood types, including ebony, burbinga, and cherry wood. Kingwood is the best, and cherry wood is acceptable.

I am using Neumann Mic cables. With Mogami Gold and Yorkville Studio One, the output is considerablely different.
...so I'm assuming that there's a typo in your description, and the E88CC was actually $48, not $480...I didn't think you were actually recommending someone invest over $600 in upgrades to improve the sound of a mic that can be had for $400 pre-owned...

https://tubedepot.com/products/telef...ond-e88cc-6922

NEW 1 set Black Crystal Steel D39mm Sound Isolation Feet Speaker Spikes, Audio Cones, HiFi Mounts Amplifier feet-in Amplifier from Consumer Electronics on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group

Kingwood (Violetwood) | Artisan Dice
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