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Author Topic: Neumann KM88  (Read 12668 times)

Offline Barry Hufker

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Neumann KM88
« on: April 04, 2006, 07:10:43 pm »
I searched for all references to the Neumann KM88 in all the forums at this site.  I received no results (because of the site overhaul, I think).

So pardon me for bringing this up again.

Would someone please compare the KM56 to the KM88 both in sound quality, usefulness and construction quality.

Thanks!

Barry


Offline Michael Greene

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2006, 02:21:48 am »
I will touch on sound quality.  When I used a KM-56 next to a KM-88 I felt the 56 had clearer highs and more detailed lows.  The sound felt more 3-d to me than the 88.  But both sounded great and if I had not had the 56 I would have used the 88 in a heart beat.  The 88 is a great microphone that seems to be rather hard to find.  I wish they weren't.  I would buy a pair in a second if they were in great shape.  

Both feel really well built to me.  The 88 is a very solid microphone in the same league as the KM-84 in build.  The only issue I ever had was that the metal grill could be easily broken but if handled with the care that any microphone should be handled with they shouldn't have any problems.  

I always pulled out the 88's for acoustic guitar, piano, and string spot mics.  I never loved them on overheads but probably didn't give them a fair shot since we had a great pair of 67's around that became my goto mic.  The 56 is an amazing mic but given the age and upkeep and the shabby condition of most I have seen around I would choose the 88 just for reliability.  

Good luck,
Michael Greene
Michael Greene

Offline Barry Hufker

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2006, 09:55:39 am »
Thanks Michael for your insight.  I greatly appreciate it.

As you said, there aren't many around and a good pair is hard to find.

Barry

Offline Klaus Heyne

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2006, 01:39:51 pm »
A lot of useful information can be found here, by typing" KM88" into the search function:
http://www.neumann.com/forums/search.php

Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Offline Barry Hufker

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2006, 01:54:28 pm »
Thank you Klaus.

That search and the messages were very helpful.

Barry

EDIT: I didn't want to use up more space so Oliver and Klaus please again accept my thanks for the information!

Offline Oliver Archut

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2006, 02:11:06 pm »
Hello Barry,

the KM88 are nice mics and good to have around as long as they work. The sound is not as open and detailed than the KM56 and has several build in problems that flair up over the years.

One problem are the cut slots instead of the 56 wire mesh, those very fine and fragile metal pieces break out very easily and even a fine wire mesh trys to hold them back from the super thin full metal capsule, but it is not sturdy enough to withstand a light blow. I had some KM88 over the years where the mesh touched the capsule an that was all what was needed to hurt it. Neumann does not or better can not supply any replacements....

2nd and I guess the biggest problem with this mic is the DC/DC converter that has a tendency to be intermittent or in the worst case dies all the way. Here again no replacement from Neumann; Mr. Schneider send me the winding instructions for the coils a few years back, but it is a pain in the butt to fix them but then there is no guarantee that it will work any longer than the original part....

In my opinion if you can not get them cheap save the money and get a KM56...

Best regards,
Oliver Archut
www.tab-funkenwerk.com

We are so advanced, that we can develop technology that can determine how much damage the earth has taken from the development of that technology.

Offline Klaus Heyne

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2006, 02:48:29 pm »
...But then again, there is the sound: by far the best sounding FET small diaphragm mic Neumann has ever issued (thanks to the nickel capsules.)

Another nice feature is that the eight and omni settings on the mic do not bump up the noise by 4db, as in many other multi-pattern designs.

I also have so far not run into the mechanical and transformer problems which Oliver experienced.

All in all: this mic sounds a lot more like one side of an SM2 than a KM56.
Beautiful on piano.
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Offline Ers Bay

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2007, 04:12:19 pm »
Hi guys,

I posted this link coulpa days ago on another section, I know that this thread was started more than one year ago, but here is an example on how the KM88 sounds like.

The drums on track 2 were recorded with two KM88 in XY. The vocals on track one were recorded with one KM88. Only the +1 octave vocals in the back on track two were recorded with an U87Ai (Track 2 completely with U87Ai).

I simply adore this mic, the KM88. It sounds awesome on steel-strings, on piano, on drums, on vox, voiceover, no matter what.

Never came across a so special sounding mic before, and probably never will again.

I got me 3 from a radio station, they are in awesome shape because they never used them and cautiously kept them in the drawers.  Very Happy

Here's a link

http://youtube.com/watch?v=dNo1yvwKX3E

or a better version in stereo (youtube f##s it up somehow)

http://www.myvideo.de/watch/1890820

Offline plughead

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2008, 07:14:30 pm »
bump...

I have my eye on a KM88.
How does it compare to a KM84 sound-wise? Is it worth much more than a KM84?

Thanks guys,


Please NO pricing information on this forum send the poster a PM if you wish. K.H.
N. Jay Burr
PlugHead Productions

Offline plughead

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2008, 08:19:22 pm »
Sorry,

I didn't know discussion of pricing was taboo - my bad - sorry!

I've searched everywhere for more info on KM88's (Klaus, your link above appears to be dead, and I've extensively searched Neumann's website and found very little info?!?) so this thread is the only resource I've found ANYTHING on this mic, other than Neumann's website.

Has anyone else experience (good or bad) with this mic?

Thanks!

N. Jay Burr
PlugHead Productions

Offline Klaus Heyne

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2008, 11:58:01 pm »
A superb piano mic, and anywhere else where you would use a KM56, but would like a bit less noise, the KM88 is easily one of the best small diaphragm mics ever made.


Strengths: super fast, yet musical, full figured performance with nice reediness in the mids. No deterioration in s/n when using figure eight or omni. Solid output, due to DC converter which primes the nickel capsules to their ideal pol. voltage charge.

Weaknesses: super-fragile nickel capsules with tendency to develop arc holes from contact between metal diaphragm and metal backplate. beautiful head basket design which is too fragile to withstand even slight stress, forcing the vertical support struts to break and the head frame to separate from the rest. Not a single spare (including housing parts) available from Neumann anymore.

There you have it.


Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Offline plughead

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2008, 08:44:21 am »
Klaus,

Thank you for your informative response.

I'm a bit concerned with this mic's fragility, however, after using KM56's for awhile, I figure having a FET version with the nickel capsule should serve my aesthetic well.

Last question - should failure occur (which, more or less, sounds inevitable), are there ANY qualified techs who could service/rebuild it? I understand no replacement parts are available, but - could a tech such as yourself repair/restore the mic to 'good' working order?

Thank you,
N. Jay Burr
PlugHead Productions

Offline Klaus Heyne

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2008, 08:06:54 pm »
The electronic restoration of a KM88 is not a problem. Capsule restoration is. Siegfried Thiersch in Germany does an OK job with diaphragm replacement, but you would need to have both replaced (for similarity of sound) and still, his sound less detailed, may I say, sexy, that the originals.
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Offline Stephen Andrew Bright

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2009, 01:18:08 pm »
I recently bought a KM88 from 1972 which I really like, but it has 2 issues that I'm wondering how best to address:

1) The capsule is seated about 15 degrees off axis in the capsule housing. The housing is mounted correctly on the body, but the amp body mounting plate (with the 4 holes), seems to be 15 degrees off. Any way to adjust that?

2) Also, the front and rear capsules don't sound quite the same, with the front capsule having less bass than the rear capsule. For me is it not that big of a problem, as the sound is still very good in all the patterns, but it would be nice to switch the front and rear capsules, so I can use the rear capsule for cardioid. Is there a simple way to do that?

Thanks for any ideas. Photos are available if needed.
Stephen
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Offline Klaus Heyne

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2009, 03:08:50 pm »
Stephen Andrew Bright wrote on Sat, 26 December 2009 10:18

(...) the front and rear capsules don't sound quite the same, with the front capsule having less bass than the rear capsule


Tell us how exactly you determined that. If you used headphones and your voice, and used figure of eight without reversing audio polarity when you spoke into the rear capsule, that alone would account for the unbalanced bass response.

If you used figure-of-eight for the test and reversed polarity upon accessing the rear, you indeed may have a capsule response imbalance.
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Offline Stephen Andrew Bright

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2009, 04:22:49 pm »
Thanks, Klaus:

I tested it with voice/headphones and switching polarity, and the back capsule has slightly nicer bass. I have heard that capsules can lose some bass response after 40 years of use, and I thought the front capsule in cardioid probably got more use than the back one in Fig. 8, hence the reduced bass response. I thought if one could easily switch them I could use the back capsule for cardioid, and they would be perfectly balanced again in about another 20 or so years.

Thanks for your thoughts,
Stephen
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Offline Klaus Heyne

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2009, 05:31:18 pm »
"slightly nicer bass' fall into the category of "Neumann's nickel membrane tolerance".

The nickel membranes stray quite a bit from sample to sample, and what you describe appears acceptable and quite normal.

No, you cannot reverse these capsules. It is very difficult and treacherous to do, even for those who do that kind of thing for a living.

I would only undertake this job if the front side was really objectionable in timbre.

Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Offline Steve Hudson

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Re: Neumann KM88
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2009, 10:50:56 pm »
One of my three KM88s recently exhibited lower output on the rear in fig 8 than the front and Neumann fixed it by replacing a single cap. Not sure if you mic has the same problem. Feel free to PM me if you want to compare your mic with the ones I have, Stephen. We just got a restored 1923 Steinway grand at the studio  and I'm looking forward to recording it with my matched pair of 88s.
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