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Author Topic: CT-12 Capsule?  (Read 14872 times)

meverylame

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CT-12 Capsule?
« on: May 19, 2009, 01:41:41 pm »

Has anyone checked out this Tim Campbell CT-12(Brass CK-12 imitation) capsule? I understand they are quite excellent but haven't heard from anyone with a authoritative position on the matter.

http://www.timcampbell.dk/index2b.htm
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Jason Kingsland

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Barry Hufker

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2009, 01:52:38 pm »

Jason,

You need to search the forum for all the discussions on this topic.

Barry
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J.J. Blair

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 02:36:59 pm »

I recently did a shootout of several CK12s and some CK12 inspired capsules, including Tim's.  The most important thing to note was the tonal differences between real CK12s can be extreme.  I was using three of my own CK12s, two of which I bought NOS, and then one from a 414EB.  I was also using one which a friend had me listen to, which he described as his favorite one.

In all the capsule listenings I've done, I have to say that the tonality of CK12 varies more than any group of K47s or K67s I've heard.  The various revisions are one of the reasons.  Also, even within a revision, I've learned that there's something about the way the delay network in the backplate can be adjusted that causes them to have phase shift variations in the mid range, that I have not heard in the Neumann capsules, where no such tunable network exists.  As well, some CK12s were as much as 5dB different in the 10kHz region, and some were much more robust in the lows.  While some Neumann capsules tend to be brighter or darker than others, or have more or less bass, the mids are far more consistent than I've heard on the CK12s.  

Of my favorite CK12s, I like the ones with the most pronounced highs.  This differed from my friend, I suppose, whose capsule exhibited more muted highs, yet the most full lows.  But when i was looking for a replacement capsule for a friend's mic, the highs were one of the main criteria for me.  

The reason I'm pointing all this out, is just to say there is a lot of variation out there.  Tim's capsules had the pronounced highs that I want out of a CK12.  One of the capsules in my test was the old 3
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Klaus Heyne

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 02:52:42 pm »

I just got off another long phone conversation with Tim Campbell. One thing I can say for sure: He tries very hard to make a good capsule, is humble and pleasant to deal with, and does not mind critical feedback to his efforts.

I do not feel comfortable quite yet in sharing my opinions, because I have only tested two AKG CK12 capsules with defective diaphragms I sent him for re-diaphragming.

Regarding J.J.'s observations about the range of AKG CK12- I agree, these are ALWAYS all over the map.
And yet, once you have heard enough healthy specimens of the original CK12s,  this capsule has something special, despite the wide variations in sound. That something special I have not yet heard from aftermarket copy capsules or re-diaphragmed original ones. It is that magical dance and blend of the frequency ranges- low, mid, high-and all done at fairly high speed.

Put another way: a good CK12 stops your thinking and analyzing right in its track, and gives way to a positive emotional response. And that is what I am still waiting for.

Judging Tim's efforts in regards to the CK12, we might get there sooner rather than later.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks
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J.J. Blair

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 07:36:29 pm »

I also want to say something about Tim's efforts that I wish all companies would take note of:

Tim has been giving examples of his work to highly competent engineers and designers who have a lot of great information to share, in terms of feedback, and then he is listening to them to try to incorporate their findings towards making his product better.  

As Klaus said, he's very receptive to critical feedback.  I wish I could say the same about other manufacturers.  It seems he will get to his destination sooner than those who don't do this.
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

maarvold

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2009, 01:11:42 pm »

I was fortunate enough to spend several hours last night at my friend, Carlos Castro's studio hanging out with him while Martins Saulespurens (BLUE microphones) worked on Carlos's beautiful pair of Telefunken ELAM250's.  Carlos had heard 1 of Tim's capsules in the 250-type mic that I hired Dave Pearlman to build for me as an experiment and was so impressed that he immediately ordered 2 capsules for himself.  

Carlos, who was Bruce Swedien's assistant (my impression is that it was for several years), has a serious love for well-maintained, sonically excellent equipment and, although he is not what I would call 'a technical guy', he has a great ear and owns some of the best-sounding gear I've heard and used.  His 250's have a special midrange magic that I've been trying to coax out of my mic.  

The reason why Martins was there is that, although both of Carlos's 250's were extremely well-matched in cardioid, one of the mics wasn't sounding right in omni and he wanted to fix that.  

So Martins began by replacing the CK12 capsule on the problem mic with one of Tim's capsules in hopes that the match would be quite good and the other mic could be left alone.  We spent a lot of time level-matching the 2 mics prior to testing and after testing my personal feeling was that Tim's capsule was very close to the CK12, but I preferred it: it felt like the original CK12 was a slightly more 'pale', or less robust-sounding,  version of the same sound.  It almost struck me as if you had 2 bottles of a really great wine and drank one in its prime (Tim's), then drank the other one 10 years later (CK12) and you were reminded of everything you loved about the bottle in the first place, but the effect wasn't quite so strong this time around.  This was a top-to-bottom feeling--not just about one area of the frequency spectrum.  

Unfortunately the capsule swap didn't cure the omni problem (which now seems to be switch-related); Carlos also preferred Tim's capsule and asked Martins to replace the CK12 in his other mic as well.  Roughly an hour later we had the mics back on the stands and again did the level-matching and after some further testing, Carlos gave it his 'thumbs up' that both of Tim's capsules were very well matched.  (Klaus, I was providing the 'program material' for the testing at this point and didn't officially hear the matching between Tim's 2 capsules, but I know Carlos and he wouldn't have signed off if it hadn't been "spot on".  But if you feel this is 3rd party information, I'll understand.)  

Then Martins suggested that I put my mic up to see how it did against Carlos's.  Dave Pearlman built mine into an Apex 460 body (although I rebuilt the head basket with a mesh configuration that much more closely resembled the real 250 and that made a significant improvement) and the components that I bought for Dave to use were based on knowledge that I gleaned from much reading on these forums (Thank You, Klaus, J.J., Terry, Oliver and others).  My mic held up very well and, at one point, Martins and I both guessed that mine was the 'real' 250, although ultimately it didn't quite have the 'see-through' transparency that Carlos's mic had.  FWIW, I also had Dave build--from scratch--the correct power supply from the schematic.  I wanted to try this out because the B+ rail wasn't based on a bridge rectifier-type configuration, like the supply (which Dave modified as well) that came with the Apex 460 was and I thought that it might have some effect on the mic's sonics.  

Bottom line: It takes a long time for me to fully evaluate gear--sometimes a year or more.  But I've been using one of Tim's capsules in my mic for a couple of months now: in my book, they are great and I'm very pleased.  
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Michael Aarvold
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David Bock

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2009, 03:06:56 pm »

Quote:

 It almost struck me as if you had 2 bottles of a really great wine and drank one in its prime (Tim's), then drank the other one 10 years later (CK12) and you were reminded of everything you loved about the bottle in the first place, but the effect wasn't quite so strong this time around.

Not a good generalization since it really depends on the wine (cheap stuff excepted as per your argument)- some need ten years before you even start thinking about drinking them, some age and it's just a matter of taste preference to the young/old debate.

Quote:

Bottom line: It takes a long time for me to fully evaluate gear--sometimes a year or more
try to tell THAT to the "please post a sound file" crowd.

compasspnt

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2009, 03:25:29 pm »

Michael, can you please post a sound file?
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maarvold

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2009, 04:33:38 pm »

dbock wrote on Sat, 30 May 2009 12:06

Quote:

 It almost struck me as if you had 2 bottles of a really great wine and drank one in its prime (Tim's), then drank the other one 10 years later (CK12) and you were reminded of everything you loved about the bottle in the first place, but the effect wasn't quite so strong this time around.

Not a good generalization since it really depends on the wine (cheap stuff excepted as per your argument)- some need ten years before you even start thinking about drinking them, some age and it's just a matter of taste preference to the young/old debate.




Maybe a better analogy would be Natalie Wood in "Sex and the Single Girl" and Natalie Wood 10 years later.  Still a lot of great stuff there, but in 1964, and in that film, OMG!  


compasspnt wrote on Sat, 30 May 2009 12:25

Michael, can you please post a sound file?



Terry,

As is often the case (when you are being witty), you crack me up.  
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Michael Aarvold
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Marik

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2009, 11:24:12 pm »

maarvold wrote on Sat, 30 May 2009 18:11



Unfortunately the capsule swap didn't cure the omni problem (which now seems to be switch-related)  


With all due respect, the pattern switch would be the first (and rather easy) thing to check before resorting to capsule swap, which is rather an expensive procedure...

Best, Mark Fouxman
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Mark Fouxman
Samar Audio & Microphone Design
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maarvold

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2009, 12:55:48 am »

A very reputable L.A. tech (not Martins) already replaced the switch.  Since this had been done, I'm guessing that Carlos thought the next most logical thing appeared to be a faulty capsule, but that turned out not to be the case.  And it may yet turn out that the newly replaced switch is not the problem, but I know Martins was concerned that some aspect of the replacement switch didn't look the same as the switch in the other 250.  Martins had only limited time, so he took the head assembly with him to try to find out what was going on.  
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Michael Aarvold
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Rick Sutton

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2010, 11:52:03 pm »

I know that this is an old thread but I didn't want to start a new one as this is related.
I recently had damage occur to a CK12 in a 414EB. Thanks to the info on this forum and this thread specifically I sent the mic to Tim Campbell to reskin one side of the capsule.
I just got the mic back a couple of days ago and I am extremely happy with the work that Tim did. An extra bonus was he was very pleasant to work with. I don't know what I would have done without Tim's good work and I feel indebted also to the community of this forum that I was able to learn of the existence of Mr. Campbell so many miles distant from my studio.
The mic in question has been with me for 35 years and now I feel more confident that it will have many more years of usefulness.
Thanks to all.
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Barry Hufker

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2010, 01:10:56 am »

That's great to hear.  I have nothing but good things to say about Tim and his capsules.  He's been great to deal with and I love the sound of his capsules.  I'm glad your experience is the same.

Barry

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maarvold

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2010, 04:51:53 pm »

This thread popped up again--otherwise I probably wouldn't have bothered to post this; however... my ELAM250-inspired mic uses Tim's CT12 (as well as a GE 5 Star 6072, Oliver's transformer, etc.).  I have just been liking that mic more and more.  I was reminded twice in the last few days as I recorded 2 different female singers.  I just put it up and hit the red button--didn't fuss, didn't eq (or want to), didn't wonder if something else might be 'righter'--even though I had a couple of excellent choices within easy reach.  

In a way, the mic seems like it has gone into a different (and better) phase as it gets a bit more use and age (2 years old now)--I don't know if anyone else has had this experience.  It kind of feels like an engine that has now fully broken in and is in its prime.  I honestly no longer wonder whether the studio(s) I'm working in have a C12 or 250/251 because I'm so happy with this.  BUT, I had to work on it--swapping various components, power supply, etc., for quite a while to get it to this point.  
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Michael Aarvold
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kats

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Re: CT-12 Capsule?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2010, 04:24:01 pm »

You know, I built 2 c12 type mics using Tim's capsules, Oli's xformer,  and a Ge 6072 5 star. I had a few mechanical issues with some parts that I finally resolved and I must say I just love his capsule.

I'll do a review on JJ's forum soon including some wonderful unprocessed vocals and acoustic guitars and some pics.

What I find wonderful is how I can place a singer 2 feet back from the mic and get so much detail in the recording it sounds like they are inches aways (sans proximity). A very intimate sound. So far I have not encountered sibilance issues yet there is a lovely bump on the highest of hi's.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get around to posting. It's either that or pull out a patchbay... I think I'll take mic pics instead Smile

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