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Shure KSM-32 vs KSM-44 (cardioid)
Old 4th February 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Mad John's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Shure KSM-32 vs KSM-44 (cardioid)

Hi everyone,

I just got two new (used) KSM-44's and I just love them! I have not tried them on most instruments yet, but the vocals sounding amazingly clear, full and rich sound these 44's have, yes indeed!

My question is this: I have owned a KSM-32 for 10 years (that is before there was a 44 or 27 for that matter) and I always liked it for instruments and overheads, but I never cared to much for it on vocals.

Are these two mics completely different designs? The sound is quite drastic between the 32 and 44 respectively.

In cardioid position and at the same db and bass roll off settings (which I would switch to test all the similar positions that each mic had) , I tested the two Shure's side by side.

The 32 is lower in volume by quite a bit. The top end sparkle that seems to be a trademark characteristic of the 44, was not present on the 32 and sounded lifeless and mushy by comparison.

Am I missing something here? How could these mics be so different in the same setting? Perhaps there is something wrong with my 32? I plan to sell it, but I will first need to compare another 32 with to make sure that I do not have a dud!

What is your consensus?

Cheers,

John
Old 4th February 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Thet are very different mics. The 32 has a slightly smaller diagragm that has a quilted surface. I think that is unique to a 32, although I am not sure if it is patented or what benefits it is supposed to give. I think its a .75" element.

The 44 and 27 have a conventional capsule, I think its a 1" diapragm.

The electronics are different as well.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Mad John's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Interesting. Thanks for the info Steffmo! I guess I have a typical 32, but I do want to check it with another to be sure there is nothing wrong with it!
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Addict
 
Jay Dee's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Mad John, Re. your signature, I thought that was Frank Zappa's quote? Woulda been way before 2008...
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Mad John's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Dee ➑️
Mad John, Re. your signature, I thought that was Frank Zappa's quote? Woulda been way before 2008...

Hi Jay. Actually the quote is from Edgard Varesse. I changed the to THIS, as in me, I am a composer. It is an old signature that I have used since 2001, perhaps I should change it.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The two mics are quite different. As stated before the capsule is in the 32 is smaller. The KSM32 is a very has a very neutral non hyped top end which i love (it takes EQ very well if you want to have a bright top), and the designers designed the KSM44 to have a little more of the shiny top that people usually associate with LDCs.

Both mics are great, but I actually like 32s a bit better. Its one of my favorite mics.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
When I was looking for a mic for my own voice (female, alto) I auditioned a lot of mics, many more expensive than the KSM32. and on my voice, the KSM32 was the sound that I was looking for. I use it with a Summit 2BA-221 preamp. It's clear, but warm, and not at all hyped.

Antaren
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
insomnio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➑️
The two mics are quite different. As stated before the capsule is in the 32 is smaller. The KSM32 is a very has a very neutral non hyped top end which i love (it takes EQ very well if you want to have a bright top), and the designers designed the KSM44 to have a little more of the shiny top that people usually associate with LDCs.

Both mics are great, but I actually like 32s a bit better. Its one of my favorite mics.
Yes, I've seen you're a fan of the KSM32. But, do you use it in vocals?
I've used the 44 (never tried the 32) in ac guitars also, but didn't like it. Too hyped for my taste. I assume I wouldn't like it in OHs either. But is a great vocal mic.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by insomnio ➑️
Yes, I've seen you're a fan of the KSM32. But, do you use it in vocals?
Yes. Absolutely. I have done shoot outs for certain vocalist where the KSM32 has run neck and neck with mint original U47s. Of all my mics, its the best for my voice. Of course, like all mics, its not the right match for every voice.
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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Mad John's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➑️
Yes. Absolutely. I have done shoot outs for certain vocalist where the KSM32 has run neck and neck with mint original U47s. Of all my mics, its the best for my voice. Of course, like all mics, its not the right match for every voice.
Very interesting rcm!

Great responses everyone!
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➑️
the KSM32 has run neck and neck with mint original U47s.

LOVE my 32 for my vox!

Glad to see it is regarded in such high company.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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Paul Vnuk Jr.'s Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I am a huge fan of the 44. Great all-rounder. Fantastic as drum overheads, percussion, acoustic guitar and such. I also love them for MS and Blumelin work.

Very clean and open, but not sterile and not cheap and chinese sounding.

XJ
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
zimv20's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➑️
Of course, like all mics, its not the right match for every voice.
indeed, though i've never put my 32 on someone and thought "that's bad." At worst, it's "decent". occasionally brilliant, but i feel in a pinch i could use it on anyone.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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rectifried's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have a pair and love them on OH and perc..and ac gtr. and BGs
I like the balance of tone from them, it was Dan Lanois who told me about them.
Old 16th May 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Mad John's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Anyone else have opinions on the KSM32 vs 44? I find this very interesting!
Old 16th May 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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KRStudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I was at one of Ronans classes and did a shootout with the 32 and a Brauner. They were soooo similar it was scary! I was shocked (and pleased) and glad I was not the owner of the Brauner.
Old 16th May 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Nut
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
i have a KSM44, i use it with the pacifica mic pre "great combo", for vocal, ppl often prefer it to the U87ai, sounds amazing on a lot of instruments, it has a little bump in the mids which make it cut through in the mix, it has a very useful proximity effect too, good for voice over work
Old 16th May 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I've had a KSM44 since they came out. I LOVE it and the 32. I have used them on just about everything you can think of. There is a session drummer here in town who actually brings 2 pair of the 32s with his drums to every session he does. He obviously LOVES them too!

I have chosen them many times over much more expensive mics. They are really great in my opinion.
Old 17th May 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you take a look at the frequency response graphs on the Shure website, you will see why the two mics sound different - their capsules are tuned differently. Buying mics is not about brand names, it's about sound, and checking the frequency response graph will tell you more about how it's going to sound than the name stamped on the body. Of course, finding a Behringer with a response graph that matches a Nuemann doesn't mean they're going to sound the same, but at least they'll be in the same ball park, after which distortion, crappy components and lack of quality control could make the two sound worlds apart.
Old 17th May 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan ➑️
If you take a look at the frequency response graphs on the Shure website, you will see why the two mics sound different - their capsules are tuned differently. Buying mics is not about brand names, it's about sound, and checking the frequency response graph will tell you more about how it's going to sound than the name stamped on the body. Of course, finding a Behringer with a response graph that matches a Nuemann doesn't mean they're going to sound the same, but at least they'll be in the same ball park, after which distortion, crappy components and lack of quality control could make the two sound worlds apart.
I have a KSM32. I bought it when they came out. My sister sounds great on it. But I sure don't. So I bought a TLM103 about a year later. That one doesn't work for my voice either. RCA 44bx was the ticket.
Old 13th December 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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chrisdee's Avatar
 
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I also have a KSM32. It was my first condenser mic. It defenetly was a big step up from my old $150 dollar samson dynamic mic. Like day and night.

Unfortunately after buying the AKG 414 XL II I have not used the KSM32 at all. There almost was as lagre step up going from KSM32 to 414 XL II, as it was going from the dynamic samson to KSM32. A different league.

Recently i got the TLM49. Not a big step up from the 414, but a different flavor. Like a brighter and better version of the KSM32. TLM49 can sound thin, bright and harsh singing loud standing a little bit to far (not much) away from the mic. But close tracking, with a smooth, soft voice it sounds smooth and great. For acoustic guitar it sound great. Better than 414, and much clearer and better than KSM32.


The KSM32 sound a bit dark and woolly compared to the TLM49 and AKG 414.

I bought the U87 last week. Still waiting for it to arrive by mail. Coupled with my LA610 I'm hoping it will blow my other mics away, so I can get rid of them and keep the best allrounder.



Note that I'v only tested the above mics with my voice and guitar playing and my vocalist voice. Different vocalist and settings will probably produce
different results.
Old 14th December 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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Mad John's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I recently purchased a second KSM-32! My first is from 1999 and the second 2009!

Now I have a pair of 32's and 44's!

The 32's are KILLER in the overhead position. I placed the mics way high up, close to the ceiling (never tried this before) and had the mics going through a 2-610 (set very clean..-10 gain stage) and two Distressors (NUKE) ....pure bliss!
Old 14th December 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
JCRockit's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Have used the KSM 44 alot. Nice mic but not much vibe and lacks
the dimension/detail of my AKG C12b. Good all around mic tho. Good for vocals for sure.
Old 22nd February 2010 | Show parent
  #24
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Mad John's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The 44 really is a totally different mic...much brighter and louder than the 32. It has proven it can handle overheads nicely, but it seems not as "Deep" sounding as the 32. I tried mono comparisons with drums and stereo with the 32's and 44's. Have not tried the 44 as a room mic yet though...anyone tried this?
Old 22nd February 2010
  #25
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edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
IMHO the 32 is one of the best mics Shure has made in a long time. Can be a bit bright on some sources, but usually works on almost everything. One poster called it "wooly" - I would have that mic checked for repair, as this is not a wooly-sounding mic, IMHO, YMMV.
Old 23rd February 2010 | Show parent
  #26
SRS
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SRS's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My 32's pretty much live on the overheads nowadays. If I want a different sound, I tend to send them to various pres. I also like my Josephson C42's for OH duties, but they to me are a lot brighter in general than the 32's, which is often not the goal for me in that position. If I want more brightness, I will switch the 32's from the Great River pres to maybe 512c pres or P1s and drive the pre harder.
Old 23rd February 2010 | Show parent
  #27
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Mad John's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SRS ➑️
My 32's pretty much live on the overheads nowadays. If I want a different sound, I tend to send them to various pres. I also like my Josephson C42's for OH duties, but they to me are a lot brighter in general than the 32's, which is often not the goal for me in that position. If I want more brightness, I will switch the 32's from the Great River pres to maybe 512c pres or P1s and drive the pre harder.
Nice! thumbsup
Old 23rd February 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Bump

Bump On Mad John's Question about the 44 as a room mic. Used the 32's as OH's, really liked the result. Never really had a chance to use the 44's, trying to figure out some good uses as I will have a chance soon.
Old 10th November 2011 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
guitarboy94's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Just purchased a Ksm32. Really, really, really nice mic on vocals. I really have no clue how anyone couldn't get a decent vocal take with this mic. Keep in mind that you HAVE to do some EQ'ing. This is a super dry, flat mic. Don't expect any shine with the dry take. Come on folks! You'll never get better at recording if you don't learn how to EQ properly.
Old 11th November 2011 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
Rusted Vacuum's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
+1 for the 32.
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