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Author Topic: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics  (Read 3614 times)

Mark Lemaire

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comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« on: August 04, 2011, 01:43:46 am »

...with my ears!

Now, I know the 105 was designed to do this, and the KM84 is not. I also know that the electronics of the two mics are quite different. Nevertheless, I am trying both microphones side by side and finding them remarkably similar.

Very similar:

Proximity effect,
bass/ treble/ mid response!! (more on this later),
sensitivity to plosives (with a puff-ball on the 84)
Sensitivity to variations in distance to the mic are about identical

Different:

Of the level of the KMS 105 is about 15db lower than the 84 (perhaps to keep from overloading PA systems' inputs??)

The tone of the two microphones is remarkably similar. The KMS 105 is a little puffy in the 400hz to 800hz range (compared), and the 84 has a more 'solid' sound, with more edge around 5-8k, and a more authoritative bass. But I sing into them through a PA, switching back and forth, and find them more similar than different.

With a puff-ball on the 84, the sensitivity to 'plosives are almost the same, but with the 84, there is more of a bassy 'thump' when I do manage to 'pop' it. The 105 somehow avoids this deep thump- probably with a low bass rolloff, as it is only supposed to be for a live vocal application.....

Is it the same capsule inside? Does anyone have any info to clarify this for me?


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Mark Lemaire

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2011, 09:28:59 pm »

More info:

The KMS 105 feeds back a little less easily than the KM84- Probably because of its hypercard pattern, and also because the 84 has more highs- that is where the FB kicks in. Strange- Because I don't notice the hypercard/ card patterns as any different as I sing into each microphone and move off mic from side to side.

But the 84 also has beefier lows (even when I try to emulate the low-end rolloff built into the 105) and a cleaner edge as well. Likely this is because of the cleaner, leaner circuitry in the 84??

I imagine that I may be the only one to have done a side-by-side of these two mics for live vocals. And (judging from the lack of discussion here about my thread) I may be one of the few that finds this of much interest. BUT, if anyone has any info to add, I'd love to hear it.
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gkippola

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2011, 10:21:37 pm »

Better to compare KMS84, w/ KMS105----KMS84 is an awesome mic---and also works double duty as an 84 w/ the screen off--
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Mark Lemaire

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2011, 03:19:03 pm »

I am thinking that, aside from the perhaps 15 db lower output of a 105 to a KM84, that a KMS 105 may be useful as a KM184 substitute if I just remove the ball.

But the main reason I started this thread is to express my surprise that a KM84 (which few would think of as a live vocalist's mic) is essentially interchangeable with a KMS105 (a favorite live vocalist mic) if you simply put a puff-ball on it. Actually, after further testing, I am likely to sell the 105, as I prefer the 84's tone.
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Mark Lemaire

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2011, 05:01:00 pm »

.... I am trying to point out what is not so obvious to most. That a KMS 105 is, from my experimentation, a KM184 with low output and a windscreen. The 'supercard' pattern is only very marginally less feedback prone than an 84. While the published response patterns may be not identical, my (admittedly imperfect and subjective) work here has shown the differences to be small.

Yet what I see is that the KMS105 has been integrated into the live community from big-time acts with FOH mixers to coffeehouse acts with no FOH mixers- as a replacement for the Shure SM58. But no one has taken any pains to 'integrate' it, and it has not suffered from feedback issues, etc. And it is, essentially, a KM184. I am trying to point out that this is not so obvious to most, who assume that the mics are essentially different and not interchangable.

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Tim Campbell

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2011, 03:25:02 am »

I am really more interested to see if it wouldn't be possible to transform a Km184 into a KM84 by the addition of a transformer and some minor electronic changes.
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Karl Winkler

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2011, 11:58:42 am »


Of the level of the KMS 105 is about 15db lower than the 84 (perhaps to keep from overloading PA systems' inputs??)

snip

Is it the same capsule inside? Does anyone have any info to clarify this for me?

Hi Mark,

The sensitivity/output level chosen for the KMS105 (4.5 mV/Pa if memory serves correct) was so that the settings at the input of a console or mic preamp would not need to be radically different when compared to other live sound mics. I'm a big believer in making things as practical as possible, and it did not make sense to me to have a studio mic-like output level on the KMS105.

The capsule in the KMS105 is a modified version of the KK85 used in the KM85/KM150/KM185, so indeed it is very similar to the KK84, but not identical. Without the basket around it, the KK85 exhibits a hypercardioid pattern but the basket changes this.

So, overall, your findings are not surprising - these are two different microphones designed for different purposes but based on the same core ideas. As pointed out before the KM84 is a terrific mic - one of the best ever made, and has been used quite often for live sound work - even for vocals. The handling noise & pop sensitivity probably have prevented it from being used more in this application.
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In theory, theory and practice should be the same. In practice, they are not.

Mark Lemaire

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2011, 02:51:09 am »

Thanks, Karl.

I did forget to mention that the KMS105 is able to be hand-held, and the KM84 won't work that way. A difference, but not to the sound, of course...


Without the basket around it, the KK85 exhibits a hypercardioid pattern but the basket changes this.

Changes it in what way? Can you be more specific? Thanks!


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David Satz

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2011, 06:17:23 am »

Karl, long time no see. I hope you're doing well. Just a curmudgeonly note to clarify that as you know, the KK 85 was the speech cardioid capsule of the fet 80 series, decades before Neumann offered its first single-diaphragm hypercardioid or supercardioid microphone (the KM 150, an "in-between" that is more nearly a supercardioid). The modern-day counterpart of the KK 85 is somewhat confusingly the capsule of the model KM 145, but I don't think either capsule is used in any present-day Neumann "KMS" microphone. If you need to replace the capsule in a KMS 105 you do not order a KK 85 but rather a K 105.

As you also know, despite considerable misuse of the terms, hypercardioid and supercardioid are two distinctly defined pickup patterns; supercardioid is closer to cardioid than hypercardioid is, while hypercardioid is closer to figure-8 than supercardioid is. (Those are a logical outcome of the actual definitions, which optimize the random energy efficiency two different ways.) So the KMS 105 is definitely not a hypercardioid. Even calling it supercardioid, as Neumann does, is a compromise; in the midrange it is between cardioid and supercardioid.

--best regards
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Karl Winkler

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2011, 09:39:56 am »


Without the basket around it, the KK85 exhibits a hypercardioid pattern but the basket changes this.

Changes it in what way? Can you be more specific? Thanks!

Mark, it becomes more like a supercardioid once the basket is applied. But as David points out, it is not a "perfect" pattern by any means. The goal was to have a supercardioid, because in my experience, this is the best polar pattern for a stage microphone - it is "wide" enough to not be super-picky for singers, but narrow enough to help a bit with rejecting stage wash and improving gain before feedback.
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Mark Lemaire

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Re: comparing KM84 and KMS105 as live vocal mics
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2011, 02:24:44 am »

Thank you for your assistance, Karl. I certainly appreciate your insights on this. I still singing every day into a KM84 and a KMS105 side-by side thru a PA, learning much.
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