microphone-parts.com

keith.rogers

Well-known member
Does anyone have any experience with the SDC (or any) mics, kits or pre-assembled, at micparts.com? (The guy that runs that also sells LDC mics under the Roswell name, but no SDCs.)

They have an SDC kit (or pair kit) that presumably clone a Schoeps or a Neumann. (Links below.)

Curious about the actual mics themselves, though I'd opt for a kit just for something to do out on the garage workbench when the temps drop. I'm not worried about the technical part at all.

https://microphone-parts.com/product...microphone-kit

https://microphone-parts.com/product...ann-km84-style
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
My feeling is that if you enjoy this for fun, then it's worth doing, but the price is far too expensive. The danger in this sort of thing is that we're encouraged to look at the components and then align their cost with the kit cost. It says 'Schoeps style' - but it is NOT a Shoeps, it's foreign sourced parts, nicely packaged and presented. For the self-builder who can solder, it's a nice project, but there are plenty of really nice Chinese microphones out there without branding that sound nice. I've had loads of screw on capsule mics from one of my old suppliers and I still have twelve of them in a conference kit I use from time to time, but I can use them for all sorts with cardioid and omni capsules. They sound very similar to my AKG 451's but the differences are in the materials. The AKG tubes are very heavy, the Chinese ones are a much lighter alloy. They use the same quite fine threads so you need to be careful, but they cost me less than £40 each. I'm also very unsure of resale value - micparts is never going to have the Kudos of a big brand. I'd build a mic if it was sensibly priced - these claim too much and are too expensive.
 

keith.rogers

Well-known member
@rob aylestone - I can't comment on whether the price is fair or not, I sure don't have any contacts in China to get a special deal from, but I do get that resale should be a concern, if it's important. If someone had actually A/B'd them against their design goal/target, it would be interesting.

You can buy SDC pairs from anywhere between about $100 to several $k from what I saw. I actually have a pair of Studio Projects C4s that, while probably not fantastic, I doubt if my ears can hear a big difference, but I'm not stone deaf, yet. I did sell one of my (non-pair) AT SDCs to a friend, and so now have 2+1, and just thinking I'd like to have 4 again, so maybe sell the old, but nice sounding, AT4051a and just get another pair of something, someday, though not wanting (or able!) to get really too crazy, so trying to keep a max around the $1k area. No rush, and maybe something used will fall in my lap.
 

Papanate

Active member
Curious about the actual mics themselves, though I'd opt for a kit just for something to do out on the garage workbench when the temps drop. I'm not worried about the technical part at all.
They are approximations of the Microphones they attempt to clone - depending on your Soldering Skills you can come pretty close. I'm not sure why you would get a kit microphone if you aren't technical - maybe I misunderstood you? The kits themselves are not all that complicated if you have experience assembling and soldering things.
They are a lot of money - for the kit - and a lot of money for the Prebuilt ones as well.
 

keith.rogers

Well-known member
They are approximations of the Microphones they attempt to clone - depending on your Soldering Skills you can come pretty close. I'm not sure why you would get a kit microphone if you aren't technical - maybe I misunderstood you? The kits themselves are not all that complicated if you have experience assembling and soldering things.
They are a lot of money - for the kit - and a lot of money for the Prebuilt ones as well.
Maybe I wasn't clear. I've done a fair number of technical things, and my eyes and fingers are still functional enough, so the kit process wouldn't daunt me. Yes, it's not a cheap kit, but within budget, so I just was trying to see if anyone had experience with this particular set. Thanks.
 

Papanate

Active member
Maybe I wasn't clear. I've done a fair number of technical things, and my eyes and fingers are still functional enough, so the kit process wouldn't daunt me. Yes, it's not a cheap kit, but within budget, so I just was trying to see if anyone had experience with this particular set. Thanks.
Yes I have done there KM84 style - it was a bit brighter than my original KM84s - but well within specifications. I am pretty accurate when it comes to soldering, wiring and assembly - so may not be typical of the outcomes for most people.

I've used them on a wide variety of sources - Overheads,Classical guitar and a little Piano - and I used my two originals with the two built microphones configured in a Blumlein array which was exceptional - with a slight EQ to balance the originals with the built microphones - there were no artifacts or overshadowing,
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
The Microphone Parts mods and the Roswell mics are the darlings over on GearSlutz. I always wondered about the big push to mod microphones. It seems everyone over there wants to buy a mic, yank the capsule out and put a Mic-Parts capsule in to get rid of the "cheap Chinese" capsule. So where does Mic-Parts source their capsules? I don't think they are coming from any German manufacturers.

I don't have an issue with buying and building a kit, but their kit does seem a bit pricey. The WA84 is $399, $750 for a pair. How do you QC the kit to make sure it's right? Just listening isn't a great way to verify that things are working right.
 

Papanate

Active member
So where does Mic-Parts source their capsules?

Most of them are sourced from China - with an extra layer of QC thrown on. If you were to buy them from Alibaba you would have to go through them and reject the errant ones. It is expensive to get your kits from Microphone Parts - but they do all the legwork for you - and you don't have to be concerned if you've got the right parts. As for modifying am existing kit? Take the Behringer C2 for example - after you upgrade the capsule you might have to update the electronics - and you may end up with a quality product - but it's hard to tell in adavance.

 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
The snag nowadays is that labour costs, so we tend to look at china as cheap labour (who make mistakes) working on quite decent designs. With these kits I struggle with the pricing, because components are dirt cheap, and PCBs even in limited runs like hundreds rather than thousands is automated so price is cheap. The tube and other mechanical parts again are not expensive - so where on earth does that price come from? Bag of components - maybe $10 make, but probably $5. Mic clip $3, lets say the tube is expensive - UK price would be $30 max. The PCB would be no more than $5. Condenser capsules are less than $40 for large ones, the smaller ones a lot less - plenty between 10 and fifteen dollars. If you build a kit you don't even get a warranty as you build it!
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
It does seem rather expensive? but thats not the point of the thread.

....as for fun when the temp is ready it could be a good time!

The whole "clone a Neumann or Schoeps " is a bit of a stretch isnt it? I dont know... seems the capsule would be the hardest to manufacture, and the resistors capacitors and wire not so much, the pcb material.....from what Ive read the capsule is the big item for sound.
Although watching Shure videos of the 57/58 the head-case screen/ is a resonance filter etc..so maybe the second most important, is headbasket or whatever they called it.

I guess the point is to get a project and solder it up and learn what each part is along the way, is cool. DIY in assembly.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Yes I agree, if, the kit was $50? Actually making a dynamic capsule is harder. That’s why they can make and mass produce condensers. There are so few bits. The back plate which is easy on current CNC machine. A film of Mylar, gold sputtered an edge ring to attach it to the backplate and a solder tag and nut and bolt. I’m not sure my stubby fingers would do a good job, but in the Neumann videos on YouTube, it’s a jig and steady hand. The basic design is pre-WW2 so probably public domain now.
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
the Warm has a CineMag transformer, Fairchild FET, Wima caps... and already built for about the same price as that kit.
thats why I always ended up not doing these things, the Jensen transformer cost etc...Neutrik connectors cost...$$$
it has to be for the fun and learning for the DIY to be worth not just buying something.
Ex. I just grabbed a used Shure KSM44 for $379 and it came with case and holder and velvet pouch... same price as the kit.


so yeah $50 would make it a project to say "awesome deal and sounds!! and saved cash!", then it would be something without the money loss worth vibe.

not trying to be a downer on projects though, theres the fun aspect and theres the money aspect.... maybe its a I want to build my own mic for once!

My hobbys all lose money, imo....so losing money is cool if you get some fun out of it. If I made profit Id call it a business. :)

so wheres the $50 Mic kits?
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I'm not remotely sold on boutique components. A Neutrik connector is 3 bits of metal. Jensen transformers are the best (if you live in the US) but us Brits always had Sowter, but my limit of component 'goodness' is tonal changes, for better or worse, and I don't subscribe to the audiophile stuff whatsoever, as so little has physics. A 5 puf capacitor is never going to justify ten times the price if it's voltage and capacitance specs are the same. I'd have the KSM44 any day over a budget kit with inflated price. If you buy that kit and experiment with component values - I can see the point, but it's too damn expensive and totally subjective as the component swap takes time and becomes objective. Swapping a cap for another of a different brand won't produce any objective difference on testing. Like speaker cable - it's PT Barnum film-flam sucker stuff. I also question why anyone would want a kitpart label on a mic. Shure has a certain Kudos - unbranded ones don't. Mind you, even Shure go in for impress people tactics in their adverts now, I note. 24 carat gold! Really? 30-40 Angstroms of gold just has to not oxidise and be conductive. It's no more or less important than using it on pins on the pcb. All hype really.
 

CoolCat

Well-known member
If I had time and know how ....a "custom" self designed hiend component build would be fun.
I was thinking building from a schematic while assembling the parts would be cool if a person learned what each item was doing, and going in deep would make it worth some gearhead time. I dont know ..Keith seemed to have interest in a project during the winter.

Still it seems most posts hang on the $379... it seems pricey right?
This thread got me looking at Neumann 184 and USED you might find one at $500, so for $120 more you can get a real Neumann.
Sam Ash has one at $549 now...

Maybe the mic-parts kit is more like the classic 84 than the Neumann 184?
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
You know that "more like" anything never works out.... It's either the real thing, or it's a crappy Chinese capsuled wanna-be, (or so I've read).

It reminds me of a comparison of the $75K Corvette C8 vs the $300k Ferrari F8. The F8 is 15mph faster at 211 vs 194, but then how many of us have ever gone 190 before.
 

keith.rogers

Well-known member
Just to clarify, I *really* was asking whether that pair, built or bought, really had a sonic character like either of the mics they are supposed to. I'm fully aware that most of the mics out there, and boy are there a lot, are built from mass produced parts, and the difference is, uh, well, really, I'm not sure who really knows. If they're all made from a bunch of essentially similar $50 parts, that's damn good marketing.

But, they don't all sound the same, though we know the differences are subtle, and IMO/IME, those [differences] are the kind of things that usually amount to less, or more, work to get where you want in the recorded track. Whether that costs $100, $1000, or $3000 for a pair, and who made it, well, I guess that's a decision to be made when the time comes, though, of course, if it's self-assembled, vs. something with a name and discernible market value, the "eyes wide open" choice has to assume it's a sunk cost, and not the same as a used pair of brand-Zs.

p.s. yes, the mic-parts kit is supposed to be more like the original KM-84, where I'd say the majority of folks that have tested/used both the old and new versions believe the 184 has a higher top end bump. The frequency graphs seem to show that. SDCs with a bump, esp. <10kHz, are something I'm trying to avoid (already have a pair of those!), and I can't really use omni capsules at home. Whether Neumann intentionally set out to design a more modern/typical update, or they're using that $50 bag of parts, I don't know. It isn't what I'm looking for right now, though.
 

R D Smith

Member
I'd be very much surprised if the whole thing was more than $50 worth of parts. Everything except the housing and capsule is less than $10. The housing and capsule is probably purchased from a company that makes microphones, or out the backdoor from their suppliers and they put their brand on it. Very common thing to do over there.

And BTW, there is no such thing as intellectual property in CN, if one company has it, pretty soon everyone does. I worked as a design engineer for an electronics manufacturer with a plant in CN. I have been there and spoke with our engineers and suppliers, basically that's it in a nut shell. We were always having problems with suppliers selling parts from our tooling. One time we even had an item come in for warranty that looked like it had all of our components, but we didn't make it. The way we could tell it wasn't ours is it didn't have the correct program and the circuit board did not exactly match. It was a good copy, but not good enough.

If the kit mic sounds good, great. I doesn't necessarily have to sound like mic "x" unless that's why you are buying it. Hopefully somebody can do a side by side comparison.
 
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