If you had an opinion about the mic challenge last week you’ll probably want to hear about the results, which as a mic geek I found pretty interesting. The key is as follows:
A – Oktavamod ($829 for a new pair)
B – Neumann km84 (Approx. $2400 for a vintage pair)
C – Neumann km184 ($1600 for a new pair)
D – AKG 451e with ck28 capsules (Approx. $1500-2500 for a vintage pair if you can find one)
The ‘winner’ were the AKG (with 14 votes), followed very closely by the Oktavamod (with 11). Surprisingly, at least to me, the Neumann pairs didn’t fare nearly as well. I’ll admit that when I listened blind, my trusty pair of km84’s – I’ve used these mics on literally hundreds of recordings – was my last choice. But I’ll probably keep using them, since I know them so well that it may be simpler to stick to what I know, though objectively I liked them least of all. I love the AKG’s (and I suspected they were my ringers), but they’re not quite as predictable simply because I haven’t used them as often. ‘Use the gear you know’ is a useful dictum.
I also think that the results were close enough that a different mic setup might have yielded a completely different result. The big takeaway, to me, is that the difference between them all was really quite subtle, and one could make a great recording with any of these pairs. I could probably position each pair a little differently and trick myself into thinking it was any other pair. And of course, this was one guitar, one player, one mic pre, one room, one mic setup, etc… so there’s only so much we can infer from this particular test, but I’m pretty convinced that the various pairs are more similar than they are different, and that none is necessarily better than the other.
I’d heard good things about the Oktavamod mics, but I didn’t expect to actually like them better than my km84’s, and for the price they obviously can’t be beat. Oh – and maybe we all need to stop talking smack about the km184 vs. the km84?
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