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Author Topic: Pearl/Milab  (Read 3601 times)

Timjag

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Pearl/Milab
« on: October 03, 2016, 07:07:21 PM »

Hi folks,

Was interested to hear Klaus and the forums opinions on (sadly discontinued) pearl DT40 tube mic and the Milab solid state Dc196.

About 16 years ago I was given a "matched" pair of Milab 196s for some work I did and I loved them - I thought the styling  was extremely cute and they were clear and extremely precise and with their odd rectangular diaphragm I was rather pleased with them. I did some research on Milab and discovered an interesting story that Milab were an off shoot of pearl that broke apart over some differences of opinion (possibly family feud!). I saw that pearl actually still made a rather cool tube mic called the DT40.

Soon after that I discovered the wonder of vintage tube mics so the 196s don't get much of a look in these days. I actually find solid state mics too cold for my liking these day(massive generalisation I know)

So....

TLDR

whatdaya reckon on these mics?

Tim
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Peller

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Re: Pearl/Milab
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2016, 05:53:34 AM »

I have a Pearl ST-8 multi-pattern stereo microphone, which dates I think from the 1970s and uses their trademark rectangular capsules. If I had to pick a favourite out of all the mics I own, it would be right up there. The design and build quality are very impressive, the mic has a lovely rich sound to it and the rectangular capsules have some distinctive properties that I like -- the polar pattern is noticeably tighter in the vertical plane than in the horizontal plane.

I think I'm right in saying that, unlike many conventional large-diaphragm capacitor mics, the Pearl capsule has a natural roll-off in the high frequencies which is compensated for using EQ in the preamp stage. Certainly the ST-8 is not a bright mic.

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Timjag

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Re: Pearl/Milab
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2016, 05:10:45 PM »

I've often stuck my 196s in the kick drum on omni, great wide sound! I'm wondering have I broken some ground rules here? Dawned on me after I posted this that Klaus wouldn't want people bigging up some mic or other.

I find The pearl/Milab a fascinating because of their unusual ethos. And I was intrigued to learn of a tube mic that only ceased production recently!
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klaus

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Re: Pearl/Milab
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2016, 08:26:59 PM »

Not sure what ground rules you thought you may have broken. It's all good.
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Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Timjag

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Re: Pearl/Milab
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2016, 09:09:32 AM »

That's good  :)
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Jim Williams

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Re: Pearl/Milab
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2016, 11:18:30 AM »

I've owned/used a few. Jack Vad has a custom set of 4 Milab VIP 50's he uses with the San Francisco Symphony. Those were redone with very high quality parts, a gain adjustment and a redesign of the output stage EQ circuit. Jack favors these for several reasons, one is the plate aluminum construction, it lacks any resonance and the retangular shape seems to avoid some phase isssues.

What I found was these are excellent sounding capsules but they all require an EQ boost circuit to raise the rolled-off top end. The quality of those parts is critical to the realization of the capsule's capability.
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Timjag

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Re: Pearl/Milab
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 03:00:28 PM »

I heard this about the EQ lift before - woulf you mind explaining how it works?
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Jim Williams

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Re: Pearl/Milab
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2016, 04:16:59 PM »

On earlier Pearl and PML mics like DC63/96 a small mylar film cap in series with a resistor was used parallel to the input jfet source to ground resistor. That gave it the lift there.

On the Milab VIP 50 a resistor/cap combo was used across the output resistor to add the lift. The VIP 50 has no output transformer and used an opamp with an impedance matching resistor across pin 3 to ground for asymetrical balanced output. Not the best design but with .1% resistors it can work pretty good. You get -60 db CMRR that way. Match those .1% to .01% and you get -80 db CMRR. You will need a great meter and clean probes to do that.

That VIP 50 is an opamp design with a discrete jfet for the front end. A super low noise (.7 nv/hz/sq) SOT23 SOIC RF jfet was used, that lowered the self noise considerably. Dale CMF50 1/4 watt 1% non-ferrous metal film resistors were used everywhere, 1/8 watt sized, very good sound quality. Fitting the SOT 23 jfet in and appling conformal coatings was a challenge. I used Kimber pure silver/teflon wire for that stuff. "Dead Bug" RF construction techiques are used as that is not a through hole part. Every part of that impedance conversion is degreased carefully before the conformal coatings are applied to seal it all up.

Due to current limits of the 48 volt standard I selected Burrbrown OPA1641 opamps, very low noise, jfet inputs, low current draw (1.8 ma) 600 ohm load driving capability and most importantly, rail to rail operation. With the higher output levels I added, it has more headroom that way. Higher output, lower noise, greater headroom, plus much more refined sonics makes these a winner for orchestral recordings.
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Timjag

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Re: Pearl/Milab
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2016, 01:26:14 PM »

Huh, I wonder if there's anything you could do with a 15 year old 196s. I like them but they've always seemed a little "cold" maybe even pinched in the high mid which is why they don't get used on guitars- as I say though - great in a kick drum.

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