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matched mics, is it really worth the extra $$$?
Old 10th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
kmaaj's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
matched mics, is it really worth the extra $$$?

For example, a "matched" pair of AKG C214's is @ $200 more than simply buying 2 individual AKG C214's.

Is the extra $200 really worth it, or is it simply snob appeal?
Old 10th September 2012
  #2
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Chris Parsons's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
nope
Old 10th September 2012
  #3
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camerondye's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think in certain situations like classical recordings it probably is desired because of the total accuracy they are going for but in recording rock I don't hear a difference and don't sweat the small stuff. The one bonus for me would be the bigger case and keeping the mics together in the same spot.
Old 10th September 2012
  #4
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CassidyGT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
With modern manufacturing it's not worth it.
Old 10th September 2012
  #5
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Mics uses as a stereo pair should be matched.

Some manufacturers have very tight manufacturing tolerances that all mics are matched.

Cheaper manufacturers and some high tech ones do need matching.

Sennheiser MKH 20/30/40 series do not need matching, but MKH 8000 series do.

Neumann microphones are close enough that they do not need matching.

Gefell either supply matched pairs or will match two individual mics bought at the same time for no extra cost.

Schoeps supply matched pairs.
Old 11th September 2012
  #6
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Hendyamps's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'm probably the only guy around here that actually goes out of my way to not use matched pairs. In fact, if I am doing any kind of recording that requires two condenser mics on the same source (acoustic or drums) I typically try and find two different mics.
The reason I do this is I am in love with a wide stereo spread and find that matched pairs just make things more narrow then I want typically. So I space the mics out quite a bit and use different mics to further pull the sound out L and R.
Like I said, I'm probably the only guy around that does this on purpose...haha
Old 11th September 2012
  #7
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
But you get the fancy case that is so symmetrical!
Old 11th September 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
Sometimes matched pairs are LESS $$$ Look around.

Personally, I don't care, except when I want to use the mics for preamp comparisons.
Old 11th September 2012
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Even fo stereo pairs you can often use two unmatched mics, when the serial numbers are close. As said before, some manufacturers like octava for example make good and cheap mics, but they need to be matched for stereo pairs. The manufaturing tolerances are here too high.
But if you don't want to use the mics as stereo pair you can save the money.

Old 11th September 2012
  #10
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
not worth it in my opinion
Old 11th September 2012
  #11
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doorknocker's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
There's another aspect to it, matched or consecutive numbered pairs of mics will most likely be in similar/same condition which is an advantage with used pairs I think.

Seen in this regard, my consecutive # pair of KM 84s perform better than the two single ones with different build years I owned earlier. I'm not saying that you NEED matched pairs but it certainly is nice to have.

Not sure if a new pair of mics is worth the extra price for matching but again, the resale value will be higher too.
Old 11th September 2012
  #12
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AcoosticZoo's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Matched pairs are worth price if you're recording with stereo mic arrays that need to full capture the position of an instrument accurately - for example in classical recordings (or other creative recording productions where stereo position is vital to the production). You cannot achieve this with an unmated pair of the same mic. So yes, it is worth the price imho.

Kind Regards
Josef Horhay
Mixing Engineer
www.acoosticzoo.com
Old 11th September 2012
  #13
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mics's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Matched pairs should not cost extra in my opinion, tolerances should be tight enough and it should really only take a few moments to stereo match a pair of mics.

cheers
Old 11th September 2012
  #14
Gear Guru
 
kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I think a very picky engineer might be able to tell the difference in very critical situations, but the end user would never know matched pair from unmatched in any use. You might be able to A/B matched to unmatched to a very critical end user, and get a reaction, but it's debatable as to which pair-sound the user would prefer. The unmatched might sound better to an individual. Not worth it, IMO. A way for companies to sqeeze a few more bucks out.

Like buying matched guitar amp tubes. Heat them up for 5 minutes, and they are no longer matched.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro ➡️
I think a very picky engineer might be able to tell the difference in very critical situations, but the end user would never know matched pair from unmatched in any use. You might be able to A/B matched to unmatched to a very critical end user, and get a reaction, but it's debatable as to which pair-sound the user would prefer. The unmatched might sound better to an individual. Not worth it, IMO. A way for companies to sqeeze a few more bucks out.

Like buying matched guitar amp tubes. Heat them up for 5 minutes, and they are no longer matched.
{With respect} I disagree with most what you have said...

Now it is true with computer stamped, glued capsules [many/most on the market today] there is a pretty tight tolerance - or not much at all if done poorly, but if you are talking brass, hand tensioned, hand tuned [the way they used to be made], well there is often a difference between capsules.

One of the reasons that you don't see cheap mic's offered as matched is that most smaller mic companies don't have an anechoic chamber and proper test gear. It shouldn't be much of a premium as Ben has rightly pointed out, you can match the test results quickly [because you did test your mic's didn't you!!]. Some manufacturers don't even charge for matched pairs [like sE for example], and most boutique mic makers [like Ben] will do this for free since you are supporting their company.

As both Josef and the honorable Mr Willet have mentioned if you do stereo work, then having them matched is quite necessary! You do work from time to time in stereo I presume... I have rarely heard two random older Neumans or AKG's that matched [either when new or now] because they were hand made, tensioned, and tuned. Look at the sweeps of a dozen of them and disagree with me... That is why they were offered as factory matched pairs in the first place...

As for matched power tubes? You are kidding right? Try putting some fairly mis-matched tubes in and put a matched pair in [re-biasing correcrtly of course] and tell me you can't hear a difference? If not in your gtr amp try in a tube monitor amp. Power tubes very wildly in performance... and if they are matched correctly with a curve tracer and under load, and in actual use [which doesn't happen as much as it should] you will hear a pretty clear difference...

Best
Jonathan
Old 11th September 2012
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Rascal Audio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My ears aren't matched.



Joel
Old 11th September 2012
  #17
Gear Nut
 
Burger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Wondering about this for some time:

Since most matched pairs are more expensive,
Is there a certain rule when 2 (or more) mics are to be called "matched", and when NOT?
Old 11th September 2012
  #18
Lives for gear
 
dabigfrog's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
matched pairs are just nice to have.... also if using just one as a vocal mic...if that mic has a problem...bam - switch it out for the other one and the tracks will match... helps when one mic has to go in for service.

also I have one engineer who does everything with matched stereo pairs, so I like to keep him happy

studio rule #37 .. don't buy anything you cannot afford 2 of...its always better to have a pair...
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dabigfrog ➡️
matched pairs are just nice to have.... also if using just one as a vocal mic...if that mic has a problem...bam - switch it out for the other one and the tracks will match... helps when one mic has to go in for service.

also I have one engineer who does everything with matched stereo pairs, so I like to keep him happy

studio rule #37 .. don't buy anything you cannot afford 2 of...its always better to have a pair...
What he said...

I always recommend people buy pairs [of mic's or outboard or eq], and matched pairs tend to hold their value longer.

If you want different sounds for your l/r - use actually different mic's, ie a condensor and a ribbon, not two condensors that are supposed to be matched but aren't...

Best-
Jonathan
Old 11th September 2012
  #20
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
some match by measurements (seldom i think), most by numbers
number isn´t showing the truth... the production line has a tolerance, if the graph is in the "boarders" the mic is ready for shipping
can´t remember how much tolerance there was at the sennheiser factory, maybe 1 or 2db?
the extra step would be to measure the mics again after production line, which is another step and has extra work on it
maybe smaller mic companies hand select the parts and do it different
mic production often is mass production
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kultjoe ➡️
Even fo stereo pairs you can often use two unmatched mics, when the serial numbers are close.

Usually, often, but not always. The closeness in serial numbers accounts for the slight variance / shifting in production over time from a period of hand made hand wound production. Stereo matching really requires listening to mics and manually matching them. SO mics with serials with big differences could be well matched.

Consistency on just about everything built by today's robots is super close so, as stated, any two modern mics from most reputable companies will be stereo matched.

I bought two KSM 184s (do I hear laughter from peanut gallery?) at separate times and they sound exactly alike. I don't think Neumann matches mics anyways, though they do sell them in pairs. So, to op, I would save $200.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Dutchman ➡️
some match by measurements (seldom i think), most by numbers
number isn´t showing the truth... the production line has a tolerance, if the graph is in the "boarders" the mic is ready for shipping
can´t remember how much tolerance there was at the sennheiser factory, maybe 1 or 2db?
the extra step would be to measure the mics again after production line, which is another step and has extra work on it
maybe smaller mic companies hand select the parts and do it different
mic production often is mass production
The [usually considered right] way to do this is a sweep in an anechoic chamber [after production] and match the plots up for least amount of variance. With the classic Austrian and German mic's matched pairs were often of the same run but could be made on different days or weeks, which is why most companies put the serial numbers on after careful matching. sE does it that way with sweeps and audible testing. So do the better smaller or boutique microphone makers and rehabbers. I believe that Klaus Heyne, for example, tunes and tensions and listens very carefully. The best of those guys [Klaus, and the best of the EU guys] can rehab/rebuild your mic and match it to another vintage one pretty amazingly well.

Mass produced stamped, glued, etc. capsules are usually pretty close. Close to what is another story... HA!


Best-
Jonathan
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #23
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➡️
The [usually considered right] way to do this is a sweep in an anechoic chamber [after production] and match the plots up for least amount of variance. With the classic Austrian and German mic's matched pairs were often of the same run but could be made on different days or weeks, which is why most companies put the serial numbers on after careful matching. sE does it that way with sweeps and audible testing. So do the better smaller or boutique microphone makers and rehabbers. I believe that Klaus Heyne, for example, tunes and tensions and listens very carefully. The best of those guys [Klaus, and the best of the EU guys] can rehab/rebuild your mic and match it to another vintage one pretty amazingly well.

Mass produced stamped, glued, etc. capsules are usually pretty close. Close to what is another story... HA!


Best-
Jonathan
Old 11th September 2012
  #24
Lives for gear
 
The Elf's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you plan to buy two identical mic's, and you plan on using them as a stereo pair, then I see little point in *not* getting a matched pair - as long as the difference in price is not unreasonable. The definition of 'unreasonable' is then the deciding factor...

So far I've not had a problem getting matched pairs for what I consider a 'reasonable' premium.
Old 11th September 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
 
ddageek's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It all depends on as stated above tolarances should be close enough that it should not matter, ask the manufacture what the tolarances are for unmatched, and what they are giving you for the extra dollars!
I'll bet you find your getting a lot less than you think!
And I said the manufacture not the dealer!
Old 12th September 2012
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I have quite a few microphones that I either have three or four of the exact same models. For instance, I have four AKG 414B ULS microphones that I bought singly. I found that two of them sounded a bit darker than the other two, so I basically matched them sonically by ear. The same goes for my four Audio Technica 4033s, although there was a bit less difference between microphones. I just jot down the serial numbers that sound closer to one another and grab them when I need a stereo pair. I don't believe that I've actually ever bought a matched pair of microphones. Another microphone that I've found to have very little unit to unit sonic difference is the Electrovoice RE20.

Dennis
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech ➡️
Another microphone that I've found to have very little unit to unit sonic difference is the Electrovoice RE20.

Dennis
Great for stereo drum overheads.
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by electraluxx ➡️
Great for stereo drum overheads.
HA LOL!
Old 12th September 2012
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Larry Villella's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
While my clients tend to place more emphasis on SD Matched Pairs for Co-incident
Recordings, we have a policy of having nearly 80% of our 3 Zigma Mics created in
Matched Pairs at the factory, and then we do a second round of culling them here.

And no - we don't charge extra for twice-matched.
Old 13th September 2012 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
Fab Macedo's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hendyamps ➡️
I'm probably the only guy around here that actually goes out of my way to not use matched pairs. In fact, if I am doing any kind of recording that requires two condenser mics on the same source (acoustic or drums) I typically try and find two different mics.
The reason I do this is I am in love with a wide stereo spread and find that matched pairs just make things more narrow then I want typically. So I space the mics out quite a bit and use different mics to further pull the sound out L and R.
Like I said, I'm probably the only guy around that does this on purpose...haha
Same here!
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