Based on the samples I've heard, the Studio Projects mics C1 for cardioid - C3 for multipattern - are better sounding than the C3000. I own a pair of C3's. I also compared the C3 to that AT4050 before I bought.
The C-1 is really nice. For $200 I'd consider it amazing! FWIW, I have a couple of C-3000s which I never liked on anything but drums and percussion. The very characteristics of these that most people hate on other things make them ideal for certain drums, particularly frame drums, toms, some ethnic stuff, etc.
The C3000 (and C1000) are evil. Any loud treble comes out so harsh and brittle. I had 2 of each. i replaced the C3000s with Rode NT1000s (still bright, but without the ear-shredding distortion).
I replaced my C1000s with Oktava MC012a (from The Soundroom - regular Oktavas suck in the QC dept). When I got them, I tried going "PSSSST at each". The MC012a sounded like going 'PSSSST" in the acoustic environment in which I was. The C1000 sounded like being stung in the ear by a wasp.
A more direct 'general purpose' improvement on the C1000 would be a Rode NT3 - also a 3/4" capsule. I think I'd tend to go for that .
Although being a 'cost-performance breakthrough' in the early '80s, the AT4033 is reputed to be quite harsh-bright too, but I've not heard one in the flesh.
I'm really surprised that nobody here has said anything about the Marshall 2001 or the Cascade M20.
There is not a better large diaphragm microphone out there. You may find something that sounds different, but this Neumann copy microphone is absolutely amazing.
Both of these Mics are made at the same factory in China. They use the exact same diaphragm as the Neumann U47 and come in at a whopping $130. These are both large diaphragm condensors. Cascade also has the M1s (small condensor) for $79 each or a pair for $149.
*All prices shown are USD. Cascade mics come from my friend, Mike Chiriac at BayViewProAudio ...you can tell him TMR sent ya'.
If your an electronics buff, you can take your existing Marshall 2001 or a Cascade M20 and add a U47 Tube Amplifier Kit (MA-2 Upgrade Kit) from Mojave Audio for $299 and turn one of these mics into an identical copy of the classic Neumann U47. Mojave Audio also sells a very nice cosmetic version with the mic (still a kit) for $499.
If you buy a Delta 1010 sound card from Bayview Pro Audio, they throw in one of these M20 mics for free with a spider shock mount. Get one and put it side by side with any condensor you have and tell me what you think. I promise you'll freak completely out, just like I did.
All I can say Byron is ...."Give the Cascade a try .... I'm SURE if you are not completely satisfied with what you got, then Mike (the owner) will take care of you".
On many occasions I have put the Cascade up on a stand next to mics that cost 10 times the price and ended up cutting with the Cascade. It's really scary! .... I know that you will have many applications in your environment that you will experience the same thing.
I think anyone who's serious about their mic collection MUST have these mics in it. You could get the entire series (5 different mics) for less than what you would pay for a single vintage mic and you WILL have much more application from the series.
We haven't even talked about the M36, M55 or MX56 which are amazing, too! They're more in the price range of your AT4033 or AT4050, but brother they're incredible. You & I would have gladly paid at least 10 times what these mics go for a decade ago.
TMpro, you are joking, aren't you ?! The chinese mics from 797 factory (which account for nearly all the no-name brands out there) are nowhere near the mics they emulate. They certainly are *not* 'the exact same diaphragm as the Neumann U47' . Some include a cheap mass-produced copy of the Neumann capsule.
Some of the 'brands' assemble and/or tweak the indifferent componentry , but many merely stick a label on (or get 797 to do it for them).
That being said, the SP and Marshalls do offer excellent value for money, at an appropriate quality level for users attracted to buying them. Duuno about the Cascades or zillion other mics from the flood, but they do not compare to the up-market mics that they emulate in sound quality. Projects done entirely with such mics often end up with a lacklustre 'glaze' - something missing that is difficult to define.
Although the 797s may have other anomolies, they don't exhibit the crass treble of the 'consumer' AKG Cx000s.
If you want some enlightening reading on the subject, do a Google Groups search on rec.audio.pro with "chinese 797" in the content and author "Scott Dorsey or Ty Ford". Also Ty's website has many reveiws @ http://www.jagunet.com/~tford .
1. Let your ears be the judge. If the mixes you are hearing seem to be missing something, simply judging a mix on the mics that were used would be ridiculous.... Madonna made a lot of hit records cutting her vocals on a Shure 57.....
2. You are right about my mistaken statement concerning the U47 ... the diaphragm of the 2001 is not identical to it. The Marshall MXL 2001 uses a capsule that is copied from the Neumann KK67/87 capsule, which was used in the Neumann U-67, U-87, SM-69 and M-269. It is, in fact, built to the exact same specifications. The copied capsule works darn well in its own right, if it is matched with well-designed electronics. Here are some additional facts...
The U-47, like any other condenser microphone, can be divided into three parts:
1. the condenser microphone capsule
2. the head amplifier
3. the power supply
The “capsule” of a condenser microphone consists of a metal disc called a “backplate” and, spaced approximately 40 microns in front of it, a metal or metal plated (usually gold sputtered) plastic diaphragm - which is typically about 6 microns thick. This diaphragm is clamped around its edge like a drumhead, so that the central part is free to vibrate when acted on by sound waves. When the diaphragm is “driven” by a sound wave, it vibrates and the space between it and the backplate changes as the diaphragm is moved toward and away from the backplate under the influence of the sound wave.
The diaphragm and the backplate are electrically insulated from each other and they form the two plates of a capacitor (condenser). The capacitance of this capacitor is directly proportional to the size and spacing of the diaphragm and backplate. Since the spacing is a variable quantity, which corresponds to the sound waves actuating the diaphragm, an audio signal can be picked off of the capsule if a suitable electrical circuit is included to translate the capacitance change to an AC voltage change.
The original condenser microphone designs had one diaphragm and a solid backplate - such a microphone will be omni-directional. On the other hand, if the backplate is drilled so that there are holes that go all the way through it, things can be arranged so that a pre-determined amount of sound can “leak” to the back of the microphone’s diaphragm, just enough so that the pickup is “nulled” from the rear. To this day, several small capsule condenser microphones are available in alternative omni and cardioid versions, which differ only in this crucial detail.
Finally, if two diaphragms are used, one on each side of a common backplate, the result will be two capsules, each with a cardioid pattern. By electrically combining the outputs of the two “halves” of the capsule in pre-selected phase and signal level combinations, it is possible to get a selection of several patterns.
The Neumann M-7 condenser microphone capsule (used in pre-1958 U-47s and M-49s) was a fine microphone capsule, which, when paired with the Neumann electronics, worked very well indeed.
The reason I've included all of this technical information is to provide some of the readers of this forum a part of the knowledge that I draw from and to point out that I completely understand the differences between these knock-off microphones and the originals.
Ty Who? Come on Geoff, what has Ty done FOR REAL? Ty's a freakin' journalist who writes articles about engineering. .... I hear that there's lots of records being made in Baltimore these days... HA! ...As far as I'm concerned, he uses his mouth more than he uses his ears. This wouldn't be the first time I disagree with his statements and I'm sure it won't be the last.
Geoff, try the mic. Put it in a side-by-side comparison with any mic of your choice in your room listening to your monitors. I promise you'll find applications where its sound is best suited. Don't listen to someone else's mix and say; "Oh, those mics are missing something". If you had $150 to spend for 1 microphone in your studio, I promise you'd buy this one.
PS: I'm not trying to make smart ass remark about the $150 thing either. I'm saying that in literal terms, as if you were only going to get one good inexpensive mic.
Add to the mic FAQ that good capsules are precision engineered items that are expertly tensioned and tuned by skilled experts, or these days more in precision cleanroom faclities with critically calibrated precision equipment. The electronics connected to the capsule is in an extremely high impedence environment that requires care in design, componentry, and manufacture.
"Built to the same specifications " ? Yeah, a Lada is just as good as a Fiat 125, eh. Call it a Marshall or a Cascade or a Nady, or whatever - they all have the same bits inside, and for the most part outside too.
Having a mic selling business I regularly do just what you suggest - comparing mics side-by-side. There is a reason why great mics cost more, and a reason why cheap mics sell more. I don't sell many expensive mics, so don't call me biased !
But, with occasional exceptions in both directions, you get what you pay for. The current rash of relatively inexpensive condensers are fine for project studios, and occasion pro use, but they ain't as good as the exotics, and there is a middle range that do bridge to two extremes.
>>But, with occasional exceptions in both directions, you get what you pay for. The current rash of relatively inexpensive condensers are fine for project studios, and occasion pro use, but they ain't as good as the exotics, and there is a middle range that do bridge to two extremes.
Geoff: Like tmpro did, I'd really appreciate it if you'd share some of your *specific* experience and input about the above: "occasional exceptions" and the "middle range." I think this kind of information is truly helpful for a lot of folks.
I'm not going to argue with you about it, any more. Your Lada, Fiat & cleanroom comparisons are nothing more than statements based completely out of ignorance. BTW, exactly what do you mean by "extremely high impedance environment"?
******Having a mic selling business I regularly do just what you suggest - comparing mics side-by-side. There is a reason why great mics cost more, and a reason why cheap mics sell more. I don't sell many expensive mics, so don't call me biased !******
But you've never listened to an AT4033 and you refer to the AKGs as having "ear-shredding distortion"...... Hmmmm....
If you really believe your going to get something that was engineered any differently from the methods that are used for the knock-offs when you need to replace the diaphragm in your U87, then you are sadly mistaken and you are only being foolish. Frankly, your replacement diaphragm will most likely come from the same manufacturer and will be sold to you at twice what you would pay for an M20.
The physics/mechanics of creating the correct capacitance for a condensor capsule are specifically defined in my last post.
If the level of skill of an individual or a group of individuals is measured by experience, then you would have to believe that the Chinese (who manufacture about 100 to 1 in the world of diaphragms) would be the authority in this field and those who carry out the procedures regarded as the "skilled experts".
I would love to lead the mic comparisons with you as the blindfolded listener. Your statements from this thread lead one to believe that you listen with your eyes, not your ears.
******Geoff: Like tmpro did, I'd really appreciate it if you'd share some of your *specific* experience and input about the above: "occasional exceptions" and the "middle range." I think this kind of information is truly helpful for a lot of folks.******
Geoff said earlier in this post that he hasn't heard an AT4033 and said that the C1000s & C3000s delivered "ear-shredding distortion". He's never mentioned any personal experience regarding the Chinese-made mics. This in itself is enough for me to draw a conclusion.
If you were still in nashville .... I'd let you borrow one and see for yourself...
Hold on a sec about these slave labor mics. You can give two companies an identical blueprint and build sheet and come up with results years apart. Theres a studio right here in phoenix where the owner copied the inside dimensions of a famous nashville studio, perfectly, but without regarding the dimensions of every bit of the room you DONT see. The result is a muddy reverb factory with NO bass trapping.
If anyone thinks ANY of the slave capsules are "exactly " like any capsule in a magic mic, I challenge you to take the capsule OUT of your magic mic and put in a slave capsule and use it in an important session
I double dog dare you
Ihave heard probably every 797 variant out there, and the truth is, theyre fine. Nothing wrong with them. Not at all noisy. Nice hi's ( kinda spitty sometimes but thats flavor ).
Gotta say I really don't understand what all the fuss is about. Buy a RODE Microphone.
Cheap, rugged, well built, and the sound is quite simply outstanding.
As far as I'm concerned... my RODE NTK is certainly a 'magic' mic.
on a tight budget... RODE NT1A
fantastic all-rounder. I use it on guitar cabs over any other mic in my collection. It seems best in my amp room.
Comes with shockmount, pouch, cardboard box... (steady now)
I'm sure some of the knockoffs are OK... I've heard bad things about Marshall MX2001 however... really bad things. Though again, not had one in my studio, why would I bother?
That's the other thing... emulations of microphones.. or copies generally concern me, unless you are paying some serious money (I.E. Tracy Korby's convertible)
Weevil... Yes there are boundaries between performance and gear. I've had recordings that shouldn't have sounded anywhere near as good as they did on the gear I was using.
However, to have ONE good condenser mic is ESSENTIAL to make something sound even close to professional! The difference between a C3000 and an NT1 is a masssive one, yet they are similar prices. A little advice goes a long way but trying it out for yourself goes a lot further!