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Neumann Microphone Comparison – Part Two

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Welcome to Part 2 of our Neumann Microphone Comparison – in Part 1, resident reviewer Mike Aiton, introduced us to the selection of microphones he would be reviewing over the coming weeks and we gave you the opportunity to listen and vote for your favourite during the Cello and Male Voice Over Tests.

Once again we give you the opportunity to be part of the discussion; we’ve got more blind testing and your chance to vote for your favourite!

‘The Family’ of German Studio Microphones – Part Two

 

At my Twickenham studio, Mikerophonics, I have been feasting on a spread of some of Berlin’s finest Teutonic studio microphones from the house of Neumann (now part of the Sennheiser Group).

PART ONE

In PART ONE I described the physical and audio properties of each microphone and what we could potentially expect.

I recorded a cello and male voice-over to enable you to compare and we put up the Pro Tools session file and wav files on Soundcloud to enable you to vote for your preferred microphone

PART TWO

Here for part two is a female singer, the very talented Ziza Muftic from Johannesburg (www.zizamuftic.com) who was kind enough to allow me to record her singing an acapella version of Misty, the jazz standard.

We chose this song as it allows us to feature a large dynamic range (loud to quiet), big changes in pitch (low to high) and some long sustained notes to enable you to hear character (or not) on a constant pitch.

The mics were recorded again with the Focusrite ISA One mic amp (with the input impedance at 1k4Ω, the ISA110 standard), into Pro Tools HDX via an Avid Omni AtoD, at 48KHz 24bit, with no EQ or compression.

Again, I started with my standard reference microphone, the AKG 414 ULS (in cardioid).

All files were recorded as close to -23LUFS loudness as possible, then they were corrected post recording to exactly -23LUFS by Nugen Audio’s LM Correct2 (on average less than 0.5 dB correction required!), so that they are all equally as loud (the ear tends to prefer louder sounds).

Download the Pro Tools session (48Khz 24bit) for a listen in the highest quality on your studio speakers.

Listen on Soundcloud here

Please vote as to which microphone you prefer for this recording here

What is your favourite Female Vocal Recording?

View Results

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The second part of part two is some guitar recording; the acoustic guitar I used for this was a Yamaha FG-180 from the 1970s and the Electric was a Tokai Telecaster custom:

1)To see how the microphones take a tube amp “giving it some welly”, where often ribbon or dynamic mics might be used

2)Some acoustic guitar strumming, to see how the microphones react to fast high pitch transients, where often small diaphragm condenser mics are used (to avoid having to move a large diaphragm)

These two recordings are not necessarily the strong suit of large diaphragm condenser microphones, but if you can only afford one microphone, how well would these microphones cope?

Apologies world for my guitar playing (I am not Eric Clapton – and he doesn’t engineer!), but it should still make the point…

The electric guitar part was recorded into a TC Flashback pedal, in loop mode, so each microphone’s recording is truly completely identical (and for my recording convenience).

The amp is a Koch Twintone 2 (1x12inch) 50w valve amp, with a Lexicon LPX5 in the send/return loop for a meagrest smattering of reverb. The amplifier was running on the clean channel, but at almost full tilt, so plenty of pre and power amp compression. It was very loud (around 100 dBA).

What do you think sounds best? Please vote

Acoustic Recording

Download the Pro Tools session (48Khz 24bit) for a listen in the highest quality on your studio speakers.

Listen on Soundcloud here:

What is your favourite Acoustic Guitar Recording?

View Results

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Electric Guitar Recording

Download the Pro Tools session (48Khz 24bit) for a listen in the highest quality on your studio speakers.

Listen on Soundcloud here:

What is your favourite Electric Guitar Recording?

View Results

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Once voted make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter for a chance of winning 1 of 3 Sennheiser HD280 Pro Headphones

 

ESV are an approved certified Neumann reseller who are committed to carrying a large amount of stock available on a free, next working day delivery service – you can purchase all of the featured microphones from their website:

The TLM 102 Studio Set- Nickel / Black

The TLM 103 Studio Set- Nickel / Black

The TLM 107 Studio Set- Nickel / Black

U87AI Studio Set-             Nickel / Black 

Price Match: ESV will not be beaten on price and to ensure this they offer a Price Match Guarantee*.

HireESV also offer an extensive range of Neumann microphones for rental just drop them a line for more info: 0203 137 2901 / info@eastwoodsoundandvision.com

 

 

Still to come…

PART THREE: Observations & Conclusions

To listen and get feedback, I recruited some pairs of ears I really trust with a wide variety and experience base.

  • David Hamilton-Smith (of Olympic Studios fame) – multi gold disc award wining recording engineer/mixer for Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Wayne Urqhuart (himself) – freelance Post Production Dubbing Mixer & ‘the Cellist’
  • George Shilling – multi platignum disc music engineer/mixer & cellist
  • John York – Sound Supervising Re-Recording Mixer & ex Head Of Sound at ‘The Bill’
  • Mike Wabro – Supervising Sound Editor

In part three I give our combined opinions and compare these to the poll results.

Missed Part One – read the full review here

 

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Mike Aiton
Mike Aiton was weaned at the BBC in the 80s, but after breaking free 30 years ago and becoming a senior mixer at Molinare, he ran several London post-production sound departments. He is now mostly found mixing and sound designing in his boutique Twickenham post production studio, mikerophonics. In his spare time, when not thrashing gear to within an inch of its life, he takes therapy for his poor jazz guitar playing and his addiction to skiing & Nikon lenses.