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FET/Transformer-based large-diaphragm mics - which are the..

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Anonymous
December 7, 2004 9:23:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I'm in the market for a low-to-mid-level FET/transformer-based
large-diaphragm mic. The contenders I've found so far are:

Audio-Technica 4047 @$500
Rude! Audio RA MultiFet @$250
ADK A51 V @$150-@200
ADK Hamburg edition @$300 (supposedly a Neumann U-47 emulation)
ADK Vienna edition @$300 (supposedly an AKG C12 emulation)

Does anyone here have any experience with these mics or have any other
suggestions as to a very high value-to-price ratio FET/transformer-based
microphone in the $200-$600 range?

Secondly, exactly what sonic coloration do output transformers and FET-based
circuitry lend to the sound, if trademark sonic characteristics exist for
this combination.

Thanks,
Tim



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Anonymous
December 8, 2004 12:07:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Noise Farm <tim@noisefarmstudio.com> wrote:
>I'm in the market for a low-to-mid-level FET/transformer-based
>large-diaphragm mic. The contenders I've found so far are:
>
>Audio-Technica 4047 @$500

This is a mike with a Japanese capsule that is designed to have a very
pitched up top-end. It's supposed to be reminiscent of a U47 with a
brittle capsule, I think, but it really is much cleaner. Very peaky on
top.

>Rude! Audio RA MultiFet @$250

This is a Shanghai mike.

>ADK A51 V @$150-@200

I think this is also a Shanghai mike.

>ADK Hamburg edition @$300 (supposedly a Neumann U-47 emulation)
>ADK Vienna edition @$300 (supposedly an AKG C12 emulation)

These are interesting mikes, but they don't have capsules that are even
a little bit like the U-47 and C12 capsules.

>Does anyone here have any experience with these mics or have any other
>suggestions as to a very high value-to-price ratio FET/transformer-based
>microphone in the $200-$600 range?

Well, what are you trying to record and what sound do you want? Do you
already have a good neutral small diaphragm mike?

>Secondly, exactly what sonic coloration do output transformers and FET-based
>circuitry lend to the sound, if trademark sonic characteristics exist for
>this combination.

Whatever you want. The designer can build a huge range of coloration into
the sound. For the most part, the inexpensive Chinese microphones suffer a
lot from poor transformers, so the transformerless Chinese mikes tend to have
a bit of a step up from them.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 12:07:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> I'm in the market for a low-to-mid-level FET/transformer-based
> large-diaphragm mic. The contenders I've found so far are:
>
> Audio-Technica 4047 @$500
> Rude! Audio RA MultiFet @$250
> ADK A51 V @$150-@200
> ADK Hamburg edition @$300 (supposedly a Neumann U-47 emulation)
> ADK Vienna edition @$300 (supposedly an AKG C12 emulation)
>
> Does anyone here have any experience with these mics or have any other
> suggestions as to a very high value-to-price ratio FET/transformer-based
> microphone in the $200-$600 range?

The ADK mics have chinese-made diaphrams, and I would expect the Rude one
does too. I can't see any mic under $1k having a both a good diaphram and
transformer, at which point you start shopping for one that suits your needs
sonicly.

> Secondly, exactly what sonic coloration do output transformers and
FET-based
> circuitry lend to the sound, if trademark sonic characteristics exist for
> this combination.

If you don't know that, why are you trying to find one? It will do you no
good if you don't know how to use it (said the actress to the bishop)
Related resources
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 1:02:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Scott Dorsey" <kludge@panix.com> wrote in message
news:cp5nl4$5nk$1@panix2.panix.com...

>>Does anyone here have any experience with these mics or have any other
>>suggestions as to a very high value-to-price ratio FET/transformer-based
>>microphone in the $200-$600 range?
>
> Well, what are you trying to record and what sound do you want? Do you
> already have a good neutral small diaphragm mike?

Thanks Scott. The small-diaphragm condenser mics that I currently have are
two PG81's and two Oktava MC012's.

The background behind my question is that most of the mics in my collection
are in that general class - the $100-$200 range. You can view a list of all
my mics in the web site I sent to your email address if you're interested.
So I'm slowly wanting to step up to mid-quality mics ($200-$600) then
eventually add a couple boutique microphones. These are false categories
but I think everybody gets the general idea.

The genre I most often record is rock and metal, and i'm interested in a
multipolar large-diaphragm mid-quality price range that works well in the
following applications which I intend as its primary uses: (1) picking up
room ambience and body by distant-miking guitar cabinets when coupled with
close-miking with a Shure SM57 or similar mic, and (2) male vocals.

The reason I asked about FET/Transformer based mics is that I have been told
(perhaps erroneously) that when done right it lends a characteristic
brightness and thickness attributable (also perhaps erroneously) to harmonic
distortion resulting from the field effect transistor and the output
transformers. If that is wrong, please let me know. If there's any truth
to it then I'm looking for a mic that imparts this characteristic so that I
can experiment with that sound in my mixes.

The Soundelux iFet7 is way out of my current price range ($1800) but do you
have any opinions about it? They claim it emulates the characteristics of
both a U47 & 67 as a result of two totally independent switchable circuits
in the mic.

Thanks again for your contributions! And it's good to be a part of this
group.

Tim



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Anonymous
December 8, 2004 2:44:59 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

What about the Soundelux U195? It's a great mic and you can get them
for around $900 used occasionally, I think I paid $950 for mine, well
worth it. I know it's a bit out of your budget but it's a killer mic
that is useful for lots of stuff & I doubt you'd ever be sorry you
bought it. I've used mine for acoustic guitar, drums, vocals, etc etc.
It's not multipattern but it would make a good room mic.

Al

On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 18:23:08 -0600, "Noise Farm"
<tim@noisefarmstudio.com> wrote:

>I'm in the market for a low-to-mid-level FET/transformer-based
>large-diaphragm mic. The contenders I've found so far are:
>
>Audio-Technica 4047 @$500
>Rude! Audio RA MultiFet @$250
>ADK A51 V @$150-@200
>ADK Hamburg edition @$300 (supposedly a Neumann U-47 emulation)
>ADK Vienna edition @$300 (supposedly an AKG C12 emulation)
>
>Does anyone here have any experience with these mics or have any other
>suggestions as to a very high value-to-price ratio FET/transformer-based
>microphone in the $200-$600 range?
>
>Secondly, exactly what sonic coloration do output transformers and FET-based
>circuitry lend to the sound, if trademark sonic characteristics exist for
>this combination.
>
>Thanks,
>Tim
>
>
>
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Anonymous
December 8, 2004 7:14:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

noisefarm wrote:

>Does anyone here have any experience with these mics or have any other
>suggestions as to a very high value-to-price ratio
>FET/transformer-based microphone in the $200-$600 range?

For that money and some solder you could put together Dave Royer's
Mojave tube LDC mic kits.

http://www.mojaveaudio.com/products.html

--
ha
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 10:13:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Noise Farm wrote:
> I'm in the market for a low-to-mid-level FET/transformer-based
> large-diaphragm mic. The contenders I've found so far are:
>
> Audio-Technica 4047 @$500
> Rude! Audio RA MultiFet @$250
> ADK A51 V @$150-@200
> ADK Hamburg edition @$300 (supposedly a Neumann U-47 emulation)
> ADK Vienna edition @$300 (supposedly an AKG C12 emulation)
>
> Does anyone here have any experience with these mics or have any
other
> suggestions as to a very high value-to-price ratio
FET/transformer-based
> microphone in the $200-$600 range?
>
> Secondly, exactly what sonic coloration do output transformers and
FET-based
> circuitry lend to the sound, if trademark sonic characteristics exist
for
> this combination.
>
> Thanks,
> Tim
>
> MCA SP-1, about $50. Transformerless "Schoeps" style circuity with a
smooth 20 mm capsule.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
>
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Anonymous
December 8, 2004 10:50:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

(This is my first attempt at posting via Google's new interface; I hope
that the text formatting in this message doesn't come out all wacky.)

Noise Farm wrote:

> The reason I asked about FET/Transformer based mics is that I
> have been told (perhaps erroneously) that when done right it
> lends a characteristic brightness and thickness attributable
> (also perhaps erroneously) to harmonic distortion resulting from
> the field effect transistor and the output transformers. If that
> is wrong, please let me know. If there's any truth to it then
> I'm looking for a mic that imparts this characteristic so that I
> can experiment with that sound in my mixes.

Perhaps there's some truth there, but it seems elusive. I get
frustrated with most discussions I see of "tube vs. FET" sound
and "transformer vs. transformerless" microphone designs. All
circuitry produces some distortion, OK. But I think that anyone
who claims to care about sound should ask: Can we hear it?

If it's considered stupid to talk about the amount of distortion
without considering the kind of distortion, then why isn't it
considered at least equally stupid to talk about the kind of
distortion without considering the amount of it?

I've got a test head for the Neumann KM 83/84/85 series and have
used it on a fair number of amplifiers (bodies) of that series.
Until close to overload, the THD + N levels are typically in the
0.02% range. Likewise with the Schoeps Colette (CMC) series, which
is transformerless.

The standard limit for modern studio condenser microphones is 0.5%
THD or less at the maximum SPL of the microphone. In the "vintage"
era that limit was typically 1%. Either amount is barely audible
to trained listeners in the best of circumstances using pure tones.
I've done some testing for dynamic forms of distortion ("TIM") as
well, and so far I haven't uncovered any scandal there either.

If a microphone isn't being severely overloaded on a frequent basis
then what exactly is the relevance of claims about odd-order versus
even-order distortion, or low-order versus high-order? It's not
like with guitar / bass amplifiers or analog tape, where "overdrive"
is an everyday phenomenon and "permissive" overload characteristics
are the expected norm. Or at least it was never like that until
"tube sound" became a marketing category.

The "tube revival" of recent years has brought forth microphones
and preamps, etc., which are deliberately designed to sound "tubey"
in ways that tube equipment never sounded back in the actual vacuum
tube era. Back in that era, which I grew up in, if a microphone
sounded "tubey" like some stuff does today it would have been
repaired or junked in a damn hurry.

--best regards
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 10:55:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I do enjoy using my AT4047 and I think it's a great bargain mic. But,
if you're looking for a mic that'll work for male rock vocals and be a
great kick drum mic, bass cab mic, heavy guitar mic, fat snare
mic....you get the picture? A mic that you'll never outgrow and can be
used on numerous sources and sounds great, easy to position
and.....I'll stop there. I think you can figure out I think a lot of
this mic. It's a Shure SM7. I've been seeing it show up more in
studio footage of bands with huge budgets in large
studios...Metallica's vox mic from the Monster video....Wilco's studio
vox mic, etc.

Get one of these and then get the 4047 later. It's a nice mic as well.


Both of these mics will really shine on nice preamps.....API, Neve or
clones....among a ton of others....

later,
m
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 11:27:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Noise Farm" <tim@noisefarmstudio.com> wrote in message
news:41b67d46$1_1@127.0.0.1...

> The Soundelux iFet7 is way out of my current price range ($1800) but do
you
> have any opinions about it? They claim it emulates the characteristics of
> both a U47 & 67 as a result of two totally independent switchable circuits
> in the mic.

Actually they claim it emulates a U-47fet and a U-87.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 2:08:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Satz <DSatz@msn.com> wrote:
>
>If it's considered stupid to talk about the amount of distortion
>without considering the kind of distortion, then why isn't it
>considered at least equally stupid to talk about the kind of
>distortion without considering the amount of it?

It is. The ONLY thing that is meaningful in this regard is to look at
the actual distortion spectrum. (And even that isn't as meaningful as
it might be).

>I've got a test head for the Neumann KM 83/84/85 series and have
>used it on a fair number of amplifiers (bodies) of that series.
>Until close to overload, the THD + N levels are typically in the
>0.02% range. Likewise with the Schoeps Colette (CMC) series, which
>is transformerless.

If you look at the spectrum, you will probably see a slowly rising set
of mostly even harmonics, mostly above 10 KHz.

I would bet that the distortion inherent in the capsule is higher than
that of the electronics, too.

>The standard limit for modern studio condenser microphones is 0.5%
>THD or less at the maximum SPL of the microphone. In the "vintage"
>era that limit was typically 1%. Either amount is barely audible
>to trained listeners in the best of circumstances using pure tones.
>I've done some testing for dynamic forms of distortion ("TIM") as
>well, and so far I haven't uncovered any scandal there either.

0.5% THD that is mostly high order harmonics is very audible. 0.5% THD
that is mostly second and third harmonic distortion isn't very audible
at all.

>If a microphone isn't being severely overloaded on a frequent basis
>then what exactly is the relevance of claims about odd-order versus
>even-order distortion, or low-order versus high-order? It's not
>like with guitar / bass amplifiers or analog tape, where "overdrive"
>is an everyday phenomenon and "permissive" overload characteristics
>are the expected norm. Or at least it was never like that until
>"tube sound" became a marketing category.

For the most part, most of the claims are not relevant, but to some extent
there is subtle coloration caused by harmonic distortion in most mikes.

In a lot of cases, the coloration due to response aberrations and to
off-axis effects are much more significant. But there are some odd
exceptions, like the U47.

You'll notice that the original U47 (with a modern diaphragm for the sake
of argument) sounds very different than the nuvistorized U47 or the U47 FET
with the same diaphragm retrofit. That's due to some substantial coloration
caused by the original tube gain stage (which I would consider to be really
quite a poor design, actually).

And, of course, the transformer is an important part of most of these
microphones' electronics, and the transformer is a big source of audible
distortion that we can also quantify this way.

>The "tube revival" of recent years has brought forth microphones
>and preamps, etc., which are deliberately designed to sound "tubey"
>in ways that tube equipment never sounded back in the actual vacuum
>tube era. Back in that era, which I grew up in, if a microphone
>sounded "tubey" like some stuff does today it would have been
>repaired or junked in a damn hurry.

Absolutely. And most of these microphones have deliberately exaggerated
distortion. Many of them have extreme coloration due to transformer design
that would have been considered completely unacceptable for telephone use in
the seventies.

I have one microphone on my bench for review right now that honestly sounds
broken. But I have several of them and they all sound this way.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 2:08:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <cp78u5$aio$1@panix2.panix.com>, kludge@panix.com (Scott Dorsey)
wrote:

[snip]

> I have one microphone on my bench for review right now that honestly sounds
> broken. But I have several of them and they all sound this way.
> --scott

I've been noticing the sound quality of the music accompanying car ads recently
and it sounds like the vocals are all tracked through something like this. In
fact, the whole music track sounds like this. I think we're in a lo-fi
revolution. Beyond just the mastering.

-Jay
--
x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 3:12:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> ADK Hamburg edition @$300 (supposedly a Neumann U-47 emulation)

That's news to me.

> ADK Vienna edition @$300 (supposedly an AKG C12 emulation)

Ditto.

> Secondly, exactly what sonic coloration do output transformers and
FET-based
> circuitry lend to the sound, if trademark sonic characteristics exist for
> this combination.

Actually, a good FET mic will have the same "sound" as a good tube mic using
the same capsule, if the head amp is similar in design.

I like transformers mainly because they're passive - an active output stage
will have it's own personality, but I find it easier to spec an output
tranformer for good sound than an active stage. Also, an active stage means
more current draw.

JP
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 7:26:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:

> I have one microphone on my bench for review right now that honestly sounds
> broken. But I have several of them and they all sound this way.

See, that's what ISO9000 certifried manufacturing can get you:
consistency!

--
ha
Anonymous
December 8, 2004 8:25:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks - I have heard of the SM7 and would like to try it.

<mwood5nospam@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1102521351.464437.218580@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>I do enjoy using my AT4047 and I think it's a great bargain mic. But,
> if you're looking for a mic that'll work for male rock vocals and be a
> great kick drum mic, bass cab mic, heavy guitar mic, fat snare
> mic....you get the picture? A mic that you'll never outgrow and can be
> used on numerous sources and sounds great, easy to position
> and.....I'll stop there. I think you can figure out I think a lot of
> this mic. It's a Shure SM7. I've been seeing it show up more in
> studio footage of bands with huge budgets in large
> studios...Metallica's vox mic from the Monster video....Wilco's studio
> vox mic, etc.
>
> Get one of these and then get the 4047 later. It's a nice mic as well.
>
>
> Both of these mics will really shine on nice preamps.....API, Neve or
> clones....among a ton of others....
>
> later,
> m
>
>



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