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Author Topic: Comparing Contemporary Small Capsule Tube Condensers- KM54 As Benchmark  (Read 3387 times)


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I've spent a good amount of time over the past couple of days, trying to learn more about the Soyuz 013 tube condenser.
I've only seen one or two serious reviews of these mics (I just read the one in Sound On Sound, by Hugh Robjohns: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/soyuz-su-013).

Thinking about writing this post, and wanting to abide by Klaus' preferences, I quickly came to the conclusion that my pursuit of a contemporary small capsule tube condenser with particular sonic characteristics is a somewhat universal pursuit for those of us who care about such things.

We all have different experiences with different mics. For me, if budget was no issue, I'd like to have at least three vintage Neumann KM-54s. I just love the way they sound/perform, in a number of settings, especially percussion and steel-stringed instruments. There's just something about the way this mic handles midrange and high frequencies.
I know there are people on this forum who could expand on the science implied by my simple statement!

Be that as it may, the pragmatic question I have is: Does anyone on this forum both have ears-on experience with KM54s, and if you do, can you recommend any contemporary small capsule tube condensers that kind of sound like a KM54? The closer in sound, the better, as far as I'm concerned.   


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I am by no means objective or omniscient. I like microphones that bring up a feeling of well-being over microphones that only spec out well. With that in mind, and given no access to any KM54, I would choose a KM84 (modified, of course) or Schoeps CMC5 with MK5 cardioid capsule.

Then there is the KM88- a secret weapon described in detail here: http://germanmasterworks.com/km88.html

I need to mention that I find Schoeps, compared to Neumann, not an easy company to deal with, when things go wrong with any of their mics, .
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®


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I think it is good to say that my experience with Schoeps is very good.
Some time ago I had a problem with a microphone and Mr. Schäfer of Schoeps was very helpful and provided all information I needed to solve the problem. Just sayin'...


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... given no access to any KM54, I would choose a KM84 (modified, of course) or Schoeps CMC5 with MK5 cardioid capsule.
Owning and having used all of the above mentioned mics for decades (except that my KM84s are unmodded) (mainly as spot mic on instruments, not vocals) I'd say these have quite some spread in characteristics and can complement each other:

- Neumann KM54: soft and clean, mid-centric, but EQ-friendly.

- Schoeps CMC5 MK5 (cardiod setting, the capsule has an omni setting too): my long term workhorse, clear, forward and a bit bright with good amount of punchy low end, sits great in the mix without EQ.
Much better then MK4 which can sound honky at times.

- Neumann KM84: good presence without beeing agressive, remarkably silky treble.
Best of the pack for available sound capture (distant miking of well balanced whole ensemble)
What is the mentioned mod?

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