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Neumann KM 185

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Vunz, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. Some members on this board, such as Wil Davis, have praised the qualilties and usefulness of the Neumann KM 184 when recording and amplifying double bass. Does anyone also have any experience with the more recent Neumann KM 185? It is from the same series as the 184, but hypercardioid instead of cardioid, so it is even less prone to bleed and feedback than the 184.


  2. Well, I guess I will be the first to test this mic out: I have ordered one and hope to receive it any day now. I will keep you all posted.

  3. I'd be interested to hear how you make out with the 185. What you say is correct - however, if you look at the polar-diagram of the 185 hyper-cardioid, you will see that there's a lobe which comes out the back of the mic, which indicates that it's quite sensitive 180º off-axis, something a regular cardioid isn't… but it's not going to be as bad as a 183 (the omni of the same series) or a DPA 4061 (see threads passim). Let us know how you get on…

    - Wil

    BTW - One of the reasons I went with a matched pair of 184s, was that I could use them for stereo recordings - a pair of 185s would have been (slightly) less useful.
  4. AFAIK, all hypercard mics show a similar pattern, but still are the preferred mics to use in a setting in which bleed and feedback is an issue (at least, that is how Neumann market the KM 185 mics). But you are absolutely right: cardioid mics do not have this "back lobe." I will post a full review as soon as I have tested them.

    To be continued...

  5. Well, I finally received the mic and tried it out in my living room. I mounted the mic on a stand, about 20 cms in front of my bass, just below the bridge, facing a bit upward. It goes into a SPL Gainstation 1 AD mic preamp, a Lab.gruppen iP450 power amp and a Glockenklang Acoustic Art Mk. 1 cab. I compared it to the AKG C 3000, and, not surprisingly, the sound quality of the Neumann is far better. I also seem to be able to get louder without feedback with the Neumann than with the AKG.

    A few weeks ago I had a recording session, where my bass was recorded using a Neumann U87. When I compare that recording with the one I made using the KM 185 and my SPL Gainstation 1 AD, directly into the soundcard of my computer, then I have to conclude that I even prefer the KM to the U87! The sound is much clearer, without losing bottom end.

    A real winner, in short. But of course, the real test will be on the bandstand, standing next to a drummer. Let's see if the mic can hold up in such an environment!

    To be continued.

  6. I use two KM 184s in my home studio to record my bass and also use them when I want to record my band at a gig (directly to a 24 bit DAT via a Millenia HV-3 mic preamp and Apogee Rosetta A/D converter). This rig is exctremely accurate and would expose any issues with the mics. I am very pleased with the results. I mount the mics on the same stand at an angle of 110' from each other (this is a standard mic set-up for live two track recording and renders a very pleasing image and sound).

    I have tried amping my bass with the KM 184 on a gig with good results and have considered getting a KM 185 to decrease bleed from the drums. When either mic is used, it is important to set up so that a good angle away from the drums can be acheived.

    John Patitucci uses a KM 185 to mic his bass into the house (he uses an AMT into a Walter Woods for his own monitor) supplemented with a little bit of the Realist pickup (bottom of the sound only). He is very pleased with the results he attains with this mic and brings it with him wherever he goes. As you may well know, he is absolutely meticulous about his sound. I have been very pleased with his results as an audience member in many settings (PS, he endorses Audix mics but actually uses the Neuaman).

    I would recommend the KM 184 from my own experience and the 185 from my experience hearing Patitucci's sound in many settings.
  7. Indeed, it was in part because of Patitucci's sound that I chose the mike. I attended a masterclass Patitucci gave at the Blue Note in New York last march, where he explained his setup. When, at the end of the masterclass, he remarked that all during the masterclass he was amplifyng his bass by using the Neumann only (not even using the AMT or Realist for monitoring or for mixing with the Nuemann), I was sold.

    BTW: a very nice recording setup you have, Jazz Lawyer!

  8. Hey, I was at that class too!
  9. How was the mike mounted/positioned?
  10. On a low stand, about 20 cm in front of the bass, a little below the bridge (it is not by accident that I positioned my mic in the same manner...)

    Great! Did you enjoyed it? I found it to be very inspirational (not only gearwise...), especially the part about soloing as a musician instead of as a bassist (not implying here that a bassist is not a musician!).

  11. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    so here is what I dont understand. Why is Dr. P using both the amt and the N184? Why not send the 184 to his monitor or the AMT to the house? What does one do that requires the other?
    BTW I have been using the 184 for recording both vibes and bass and it is a fine sound. I had not considered it for live sound because of the polarity (cardioid) and cause of the stand issue (I hate scratching up my bass or mic-ing the drums)
    Did P. explain why he uses both mic's instead of one?
  12. He didn't say but I think it is because of the sound. The Neumann simply sounds better than the AMT. The AMT is convenient and sounds good, the Neumann, a little inconvenient and sounds great.

    PS, he uses the 185 not the 184.

    I'm sure he uses the AMT for his monitor because he likes to hear his natural sound coming throught the amp.

    Yeah, I enjoyed the masterclass too, it sounds like for the same reason you did. In fact, since then, I have been studying horn players a bit more to improve my soloing.
  13. Did you happen to notice what he was using for his moniter cab?
  14. I believe it was an Aguilar 1x12 with a WW head, but I'm not 100 % sure. Yet, the Neumann did not go into the WW and the Aguilar; it was sent directly to the board and the WW was switched off, except for the moments when he played his sixstring electric bass. The monitoring he got, if any, where the Blue Note's house floor monitors.

  15. Yeah, you are correct. He had the Aguilar 1x12 cab and he always uses his WW super high power (blue light) 1200 watt amp. Its funny though, even though he is an aguilar endorser, he hardly ever uses that Aguilar cab when he is playing an upright-only gig. He usually uses a Bag end 1x12. When he brings out the six string, he will use an Aguilar, usually the 2x10 for a small venue and the 4x10 for a larger venue. When its a doubling gig, he still goes with the Aguilar.
  16. Here is an update after gigging for a while with the Neumann KM 185: my regular dates, during which I use my own rig - KM 185 on a stand, SPL mic preamp, Lab.gruppen power amp and a Glockenklang Acoustic Art cab - I had absolutely no problems at all being heard. The sound I achieve in this setting is so unbelievably wonderful, that it literally almost brought tears to my eyes! The sound is so incredibly natural, it is an utter joy to play. During these regular gigs I play with a guitarist, a drummer and a singer. The volume can get very loud (we do not only play jazz standards but also some more poppy tunes before audiences that vary between 50 and 250 people), but no problems at all.

    A more serious test was a gig I had subbing in a bigband. This gig was in a very (and I mean very) large room (a former church) before about 300 people, and the whole bigband went through a PA. The drums, too! Furthermore, there were both a guitar player (with his own amp, which also went through the PA) and a pianist who played a grand piano (also miked). unfortunately, I had to stand between the drums and the piano... I used my KM 185 on a stand, which went directly to the board. I did not have an amp with me. The pianist and drummer had monitors, which I also sort of could hear. But, despite all this, I could hear myself very well, and - as others told me - the sound coming from the PA was wonderful. Of course, there was a lot of bleeding from the drums (which I noticed when the volume of the bass in the monitors went up), but no feedback. And all players in the band could hear me, and the director was happy. And so was I!

    As many have remarked, playing unamped or with a mic is a wonderful thing. And it really is! And especially after the big band gig, I know that it is possible, even in less than perfect circumstances, as long as your equipment is ok and you know what you are doing. I'm not going to use a pickup anymore, never!

    But, as always, YMMV...