Is it impossible to make great new mics?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by MichaelK, Apr 19, 2005.


  1. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    This discussion of vintage Neumanns, C12s etc. and great old vacuum tubes...

    Is it utterly impossible for a mic manufacturer today to make a mic as great as the old vintage mics? Are there NO tubes made today that, even if not exactly the same, are as good, or can be made to sound as good?

    Let's assume price is not an obstacle. I'm not asking "under $500" or anything like that. I'm wondering, can it be done? IS it being done? Are there any mics today that, if the supply dried up tomorrow, would be as highly sought after as a U47?

    If not, why not?
     
  2. heinz

    heinz Guest

    I think Royer and Josephson are both making mics that stand up to the classics, even breaking new ground as far as that goes.
     
  3. loudboy

    loudboy Supporting Member

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    You can add Soundelux, Brauner and Telefunken to that list, too.

    Loudboy
     
  4. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I think it is similar to what we see in guitars - nostalgia drives most of the market. There are new guitars being made that are technological improvements over the guitars from the 50s and 60s, but they do not have the mystique of having been used on the classic records.

    Bryan

    P.S. I love my Josephson C42s on my acoustic guitars.
     
  5. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Not until they have decades of history, lore, and classic tracks behind them. With vintage stuff, there'll always be that cahe, same as with guitars.

    But yeah, i'm with loudboy - killer mics are still made.
     
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I agree. Killer mics are still being made, and in my humble opinion, you can add some of the Blue mics to the list.

    The question is, "Is killer MUSIC still being made?" ;)
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I regret having responded to that question, so I deleted my response.

    Can we please not hijack this thread with the same stuff about "music these days" that's in every other thread on this forum? Thanks.

    I should have mentioned that my question was intended to be about large diaphragm tube vocal mics in particular. Sorry I didn't make that clear.
     
  8. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I had the opportunity to sit in on a session that had a pair of BLUE Cactus tube mics being used for vocals - on a barbershop quartet, no less.

    They picked up every nuance, every subtlety of the singers that I could hear with my ears in the live room. I can't say it was a result of anything else in the signal chain, as the mics were jacked in pretty much straight to a ProTools HD system with no mucky-muck in-between. No compressors, no EQ, no nothing, just straight in.

    I don't have any experience with using or even hearing first-hand any other high-dollar tube mic, but as far as clarity, warmth, and presence is concerned, if I had the money I'd be after a Cactus.

    --chiba
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>an we please not hijack this thread with the same stuff about "music these days" that's in every other thread on this forum? Thanks.<<

    I only said that in jest. There's tons of killer music still being made, including yours, Michael.
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I knew that... it just took a little detour for a few posts, which was my fault, not yours. :)

    So have you heard the Cactus? If so, what did you think? What kind of capsule does it have?
     
  11. Impulse 101

    Impulse 101 Member

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    The Manley reference mic is truely a classic, it wasn't even designed until a few years ago.

    As for Les's question about music. Hell yes it is!

    JT:D
     
  12. glasman

    glasman Guest

    Good point, I don't think you need a U47 for death metal.


    But in all fairness there is still some good music being made as well has a handful of extremely well made mics. Just look at those new Tele's releaseed about a year ago.

    As far as the tubes, I am sure that even todays manufacturers can come up with good tubes. Even the old VF14 has to be hand selected for the use in the U47.

    Gary
     
  13. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>So have you heard the Cactus? If so, what did you think? What kind of capsule does it have?<<

    Yes, I thought it was great. It's a multipattern condenser, which, if I recall, you select from the power supply.

    Which in and of itself is a work of art.
     
  14. muddy

    muddy Member

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  15. elambo

    elambo Member

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    Wagner's mic definitely looks like a 47, until you look closely.
     
  16. muddy

    muddy Member

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    gunter wagner, who lives in oz, is widely respected as THE u47 restorer in the world to go to. so when the guy chooses to make a u47 clone, you can trust that he knows what he's doing if he chooses to use or do something different. from his website:


    ml
     
  17. elambo

    elambo Member

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    Gunter is the man - i agree - but that was sort of my point: even HE can't make them like they used to because the components just aren't around anymore. I'll bet he is running out of what little supply he once had.
     
  18. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    Ah, but this Gunter stuff begs the question -

    You definitely can't exactly re-create things made using techniques that no longer exist, etc. You'll get no argument from me.

    However, there are great new mics still being made. They sound different from the old classics, it is true. But they still sound very good indeed. Case in point: Blue Mouse.

    I no longer have my Mouse, sold it to get the Kiwi, which, while a great mic, still doesn't sit in a track the way the Mouse did. Yes, it has more patterns, yes it is more expensive, and no, I just don't like it as much. I had the original version with the heavy transformer (but not with the black rear grille, which version wasn't as good). That Mouse, in its own way, gave me sounds that I'd consider the equal of anything in terms of quality of tone. Different? Yes. But still "classic sounding" in its own unique way.

    Huge mistake letting that one go.

    Also, I've used the Blue Bottle with several capsules, and it's also a very interesting mic.
     
  19. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    As you may recall, I was pretty blown away with the vocal tracks you cut with that one. I was a bit surprised when you sold it. Have you tried another Mouse since?
     
  20. elambo

    elambo Member

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    Very true, LSchefman - there are some great modern mics, like the Blue stuff, but the thing about the vintage mics is that they've been proven to sit well in a lot of different genres over and over and over again. Plus, we're all used to the sound after hearing it a few thousand times over many decades. It's hard to compete with that.
     

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