Thoughts/opinions on AKG C-12 or Telefunken 251 clones?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by MichaelK, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    (Previous post deleted and rephrased here)

    Has anyone here used the Lawson L251, Soundelux Elux 251, Telefunken M-251 or M-12 mics? I'm looking for a C12-type clone and soliciting informed opinions. There's also the AKG C-12 VR, which I have seen and heard but never used.

    I'm already familiar with the Lawson L47 (and I like it a lot), but I know nothing yet about the C12 clones out there.

    I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has actually used any of these mics.

    Thanks y'all! :)
     
  2. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    Michael, In my humble opinion I think the C-12vr's are not really that close to the C-12's I have used. I personally don't like them much and would use a M147 or M149 before a C-12VR. I know Everclear would carry around thier own C-12VR for Art's vocals. I tend to think his vocals were always a little bright and tinny for my taste. That is the way the mike sounds to me when I have tried it. That said it could sound nice on darker sources but I never tried.

    As for the Telefunken thing I have heard good things about the Soundelux and the Lawson but not tried those before.
     
  3. elambo

    elambo Member

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    The C12VR is nothing like the original. I have both and know each very well. I prefer the original 100:1, but there are two people in particular that I record from time to time that sound best through the VR. These are singers that, live, have an overload of certain frequencies in their voices that are masked by the VR, making them perfect for each other.

    But it's rare that I'd ever like the VR over a true C-12, and certainly not over a 251 (possibly my all time favorite mic).

    As for the Soundelux 251 - it's tremendous. Sounds GREAT on almost everything. Soundelux, in general, makes great mics.

    They are my favorites for 251, but John Peluso makes a terrific 47 clone, and will soon offer a C-12 clone (or so he's been saying for a long time) that I'd have to assume will be terrific also.

    On the high end of what's currently available, I'd have to recommend that you look at Korby. His C12s are supposed to be very good, but it's sort of his thing to sell multiple capsules in a package (C12, 47, 251), so maybe more than you'd want. I'm not sure if he sells them one at a time.
     
  4. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Thanks for the input, guys.

    I found Pro Audio Review had done comparative reviews on the Soundelux, Lawson and Telefunken 251 clones which were moderately helpful, considering that no two originals sound alike anyway.

    So VERY brief summary: he said that the Telefunken came closest to the original purely in sound and design (naturally), but the Lawson was a close second in sound, was more ruggedly built, and had a few more features that he found useful like infinite variable polar patterns and lo-cut bypass. That infinite variability is a feature I've found extremely useful on the Neumann M149.

    He loved the sound of the Soundelux even though he said it had a scooped midrange compared to original 251s, which Soundelux said was an intentional deviation from the original.

    The fact that the Lawson lists for $2500 while the Soundelux lists for $5500 and the Telefunken for $8000 may put Lawson way ahead of the pack with no further testing needed. :)

    BTW, Mick Jagger uses a C-12VR. If you haven't seen the film "Being Mick" I highly recommend it.
     
  5. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    Sounds like the Lawson is a winner. The extra flexibilty would be nice.

    Interesting about Mick's voice. His speaking voice sounds pretty beefy in the low register and his singing voice I guess has some of that quality. Might be why it works for him. :dude
     
  6. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I guess it's one of those things where you can't even say "why." With basically every mic ever made at his disposal, he just knows what he likes and goes with it!

    ****, I would if I could!
     
  7. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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  8. elambo

    elambo Member

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    It's always been my impression that Mick used dynamic microphones, which are even less expensive. This is the first I've heard that he uses a VR. Did the film say specifically that he records with that mic, or was he shown standing in front of one in the film, which doesn't necessarily mean that he records with one when the camera is off?

    Mick's mic preference has always been one of the often talked about oddities of recording top-level singers, and if he's using a VR now then he's sort of sold out. (That was a joke, btw. He sounds good on tape whatever he uses.)

    Many singers will only use a very specific mic, not just a specific model, that they'll travel with. Celine Dion (a 251, I believe), Mariah Carey (used to be a Sony C800), and even Kid Rock, believe it or not ("Kid" owns one of the world's absolute best 251s).

    About the varying sound of each 251 - if they do vary so much, Pro Audio Review's test be awarding a prize to the mic that most closely matched only one of the 251s, and not even necessarily the best of the bunch. Nothing against the Lawson, which is a great mic also, but the test didn't seem to be aiming for the BEST, but for the most SIMILAR to one sample of a 251.
     
  9. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Lou Gramm has a Klaus Heyne-modded U-87 that he bought from Klaus in 1977, for the first Foreigner record and has cut about every lead vocal he's ever done with it. It sounds a little dark whilst you're tracking, but when you hit it w/an 1176-style comp and give it a little boost in the highs at mixdown, there it is.

    It's got yellow and pink hair elastic thingies in place of the original elastics on the shockmount.

    Loudboy
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    What "test?" Did you read the reviews? What does "best" mean?

    They were three separate reviews written at different times and the author recorded his subjective impressions. Naturally, people would be interested in the question of which one is closest in sound to a vintage 251, so it's one of the things he addressed. It's a lot easier to answer that question than try to make a judgement of which one is "best."

    Rent and watch the film. It's a documentary. At the time they made the film (obviously) they showed him recording his scratch tracks at home with a SM58 and the master tracks with what appeared to be a C-12 VR, though I guess it could have been another mic with which I'm unfamiliar that looked exactly like a C-12 VR. I've also heard that on some albums he used a SM58. Maybe last week he changed his mind, who knows.

    What's more interesting, IMO, is his mic technique. He's a master at it, fascinating to watch.
     
  11. elambo

    elambo Member

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    A review is a test.

    "Best" means nothing, which is entirely my point. I think people would read that review and assume that the mic which most closely matched the tone of their particular test 251 was the "best," but it's the best only at matching that particular mic. This is what I said in my previous post.

    In the case of Kid Rock's 251 being called "one of the best," the term is appropriate because it's specific to what's being recorded, in this case rock lead vocals. Although "what's the best mic" is a popular question, it ALWAYS needs a qualifier -- best for what? Even then, "best" isn't quite appropriate, but "better" could be as long as the question is qualified.

    People continue to ask the question though, and others continue to try to answer.
     

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