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Author Topic: How Good Are Capsules From Boutique Manufacturers?  (Read 485 times)


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How Good Are Capsules From Boutique Manufacturers?
« on: February 24, 2021, 12:29:31 pm »


Having read quite a bit on this incredible sub forum..Thanks to Klaus for taking the time
to be an active provider of info..this is an invaluable educational and informational resource.

I finally have a question..I, recently, read the evaluation on BeesNeez capsules, all very interesting..I've heard an Arabella that a friend of mine has and it's pretty impressive -upper mids through the top end,, as well as having a low and lower mid stature that feels appropriate...and i think what im hearing
is a very good capsule before a good circuit..

Im wondering about capsule quality on ADK mics and other microphones in this market slot

..I have no first hand experience with any of these mics, I've listened on the ADK site and a few other places..very hard to know what's happening in mixing or post production on any of this stuff..

So I'm wondering if the capsules these companies are sourcing/then tweaking, building,etc are up to
the quality the Klaus found in his rundown of BN capsules or, even other respected capsules makers Gefell, Josephson, Neumann..as a comparison. Thanks.



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Re: Boutique Capsules Vs Well Known Capsule Manufacturers..
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2021, 03:50:25 pm »

I'd separate the answer by Country Of Origin, and limit my comments to large diameter capsules. I'll leave aside products from Neumann "reskinners". They are uniformly amateurish, and devalue any original Neumann capsules considerably.

Chinese capsules are still stuck in the "Project Studio" quality class, no matter the label on the mic: coarse, no fine points rendered, usually way too bright (as bright sells, at least upon initial listening, but don't ask me why: since the plague-like proliferation of MP3s, we are back in low-res audio land, like we were during the first generation of digital processors in the late 1980s. The irritating rendition of high frequencies was and is a hallmark for bad digital processing)

European capsules (aside of Neumann) are generally quite good in resolution but not so good in musicality (don't ask me what that means: like porn, you know it when you hear it).

I have posted at length about the disappointing turn MG's formerly exceptional M7 took after the PVC re-formulation in the early 2000s, to the point that MG's polyester version of the M7 beats the PVC version with better frequency balance and appeal.

Herbert Haun has consistently made his capsules with tight tolerances and to high manufacturing standards, but, aside of the one-off capsules he made for the KHE, whose design, especially the diaphragm surface treatment, was specified by Dirk and me, I am not a fan of the sound.

Australia: I keep being asked about the Beez Neez K67/47-copies. But I must admit that, since I tested one that Ben Sneesby had sent me, more than a decade ago, and which sounded very good, I have not kept up with this capsule products.

Denmark: Tim Campbell has offered more than once to send me one of his CK12 copy capsules (I am not aware of any Neumann-style capsules from him). But in the past I've always been "too busy" to test yet another product that will keep me away from serving my clients who've patently waited their turn. So, Tim: send me one, and I'll promise to stick it im my C12 tester, and listen.

The U.S.: David Josephson is a consummate microphone designer and admired AES-theorist to boot. His CK12 copies are widely praised as balanced and pleasing sounding. I do not know whether he makes Neumann-style capsules with center lead-outs comparable to the originals.

Finally: Neumann. It seems that, for me at least, the dust has finally settled on the dreaded "bass starvation" issue. All of Neumann's LD capsules now deliver at minimum a tad less bass in the 100Hz and below region, and sometimes way too little for my taste.

The overall timbre of their capsules that is so enticing, the processing of transients, guttural sounds, the reedy transmission of the rapid movements of the vocal chord - both with male and female voices - that character can be easily recognized and is on par with the best they've made in past decades, which, despite the loss of some foundational bass response, is still far above the competition.
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®


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Re: How Good Are Capsules From Boutique Manufacturers?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2021, 01:11:08 pm »

I've owned a few of the 1500-2500 'boutique' mics (that term annoys me) and have found similar issues across the board re: capsule sound and then eq on the circuit board that never really accomplishes what it set out to do, mitigating harshness- some feel phasey to me when certain instruments, like a steel string guitar, tickle these areas..They all seem to have a dose of that cackling and hashy brittle stuff that you can't effectively kludge away in eq without killing everything.

All through this current mic search for something in my budget, I've been very focused on the Neumann TLM 107. This mic seems to punch higher than its price describes. It sounds like it has a nicely conceived capsule, s's and hard consonants sound very natural and it feels like a perfect step up in top end sparkle from my U89..Which is what im after right now..keeping the U89 but want an option with just  a bit more natural top end.

Not sure if you have any familiarity with this mic, Klaus? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

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