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  Dot's Studio Projects/ 797 Audio C1 condenser mic.

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Author Topic:   Dot's Studio Projects/ 797 Audio C1 condenser mic.   Format Topic for Better Printing
Dot
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 12-13-2000
posted 06-01-2001 06:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dot     Edit/Delete Message
The C1 arrived today!

First impressions..

The box was well pack and much bigger than I expected. Even though I waited a month, Warren at www.macmidmusic.com was nice and professional. I'd recommend them for any purchases.

$209 was the price of the mic. With shipping, the total was $223.

Opening the Fed Ex package. Firstly, what you see and get are way more than expected for a $200 mic. The first thing I see is a well-printed catalog of Studio Projects mics – w/ 797 Audio company history as well as the other mics in the product line. And of course, there's a warranty card.

Next, there this beautiful little flight case. Warning, your girl may want to use it for a purse. This thing is cool, and alone would probably run $70 or so. BUT, the literature and the picture say the case should have locking latches. I did not get the case in the pic and it does not have the spiffy combination lock. I'll call Warren about this. Still, the case I have is very nice.

Next, I open the case. There's the mic – it's a big fucker, a very nice EA-1-type shockmount [ Neumann's shockmount is $150 by itself ]. There's also a nice big windscreen cover.

All this adds up to WAY more than you'd expect for this kind if money – even if the mic wasn't as good.

Now, on to the mic. This thing is pretty, over 8" long and as thick as your wrist. Very-well constucted – this is not cheap stuff, none of it.

I set it up easily on a stand and plugged it into an HHB Radius 40 –which I left on the same settings I'd been using for a recent project.

The C1 has a cardiod-only pattern and there are no db pads available on this model. It's bigger brother, the C3 , allows for multi-patterns.

So, let's turn it on. As I stand in front of the mic and just speak, I immediately realize I am in U87 territory. The proximity results of the C1 and U87 are virtually identical. There's a sweet spot on the mic from about 4" - 10" away that acts just like a U87. I auditioned the mic w/ a pop filter from these guys.

The mic is hot, more so like a TLM103. I instantly got about 4db more signal than w/ my AKG414. Another thing I'm noticing is that I hear the mic picking up much more noise from outside and in the room than my 414. The reason I like the 414 is because it only picks up sounds in a close proxmity – which helps since I have a studio in a apartment. But I also love the 414. Anyway, back to the C1.

I cut a track of lead vocals w/ flat EQ all the way through the chain. The mic responded beautifully. It has this "sheen" that is characteristic of Neumann. There is a nice presence on the vocals. Every little nuance is heard. There is no "edge" or cheap sound. This is smooth. This is an expensive sound.

Next, I tried a vocal track w/ +3db boost at 1.5K and 5K on the Radius. Boy, you could hear it in the mic A bit too much.

Next, I tried and EQ setting I almost always use on every vocal track I've ever recorded w/ a U87 [which is over 20 of them ]. + about 2 db boost at 1K and 8K [ though my usual boost is 10K, but that is not available on the Radius ]. Not quite right w/ this EQ. So, I switched from 8K to 12K. Here it is! This is a U87! No lie.

Now, keep in mind that even different U87's sound different, but if I close my eyes and just sing through this mic, I would have said U87.

I next tracked some trombone. Really nice smooth sound, no blast. The mic is hot and of course if I had a pad I'd use it, so I tried different positions and was able to get a nice smooth sound. The 414 has sounded terrible on trombone, and I've been recording it w/ an EV N/D257 – which has been sounding great. For horn pops and section work, I'd still probably choose the EV, but for creamier melodic stuff, I'd go w/ the C1.

I next tried acoustic guitar. This was pretty nice, but even a U87 has never been a mic I've liked to use on guitar. Actually, the C1 sounded better than a U87 on the acoustic. It seemed to be more forgiving of mic placement and proximity.

Conclusion: This is one of the most exciting purchases I have ever made. I am truly in the presence of a great, classic-sounding mic. Now, keep in mind that even a U87 does not sound great on everything – nor on all voices – but as far as I'm concerned, I have a U87 in the house now. Being that a U87 has been THE standard mic in studios for years and has been responsible for more vocal tracks on records than any other mic, a mic that works and sounds virtually identical is a good, shrewd investment for any studio owner. Actually, the C1 is quiter than a U87 – and due to its transformerless circuit, line noise and interference from computers and other devices is not a concern.

The C! is sensitive – and like I said it picks up more of the room – so, that if you have a shitty, boxy-sounding room, you'll hear it w/ the C1. On the plus side, using this mic can help you to make your room sound better by giving you excellent feedback on the sound of the room and the materials.

I have staggered Sonex in my studio and also a live end w/ a mirror and a dead end w/ a big curtain. I cut the tracks w/ the C1 facing the curtains.

Bottom line: If you are looking to make your first large condenser purchase, this mic is light years ahead of anything else for under $1000. I would highly recommend it over the TLM103, which'll run you over $700.

If you are woking w/ a female singer, get a C1. Period.

If you have a large condenser and are looking to buy another one. Look no further.

If you are looking for a nice pair a large condensers for stereo recording, get two of these beauties.

If you already have a Neumann U87 – which run over $1700 – you may not be interested in the C1, as it will only duplicate what you already have. Better to go w/ something different - like an AKG 414.

Last word: Run, do not walk, to your nearest computer [ which is probably in front of you ] and ORDER THIS MIC.

You will NOT be disappointed. For $200, this is THE choice for an inexpensive condenser. As a matter of fact, this could be THE choice in ANY price range. This mic – while not perfect for everything – is as good a large condenser mic as I have ever heard.

Yes, you can get a $200 mic that acts, sounds and feels like a $2000 mic. Not only that, but you also get a spiderweb-type shockmount, windscreen and a bitchin' case to boot.

[This message has been edited by Dot (edited 06-01-2001).]

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spweedah
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 10-18-2000
posted 06-01-2001 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spweedah   Click Here to Email spweedah     Edit/Delete Message
Wow, Dot, that's what I call a ringing endorsement. Isn't is nice to purchase something that exceeds your expectations on so many levels, yet doesn't set you back financially? Excellent. Thanks for sharing the details.

In your opinion, would this mic be suitable for micing a guitar amp? How much SPL can it take? Sounds like perhaps it would make a good 'room' mic in this application.

spwee

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Dot
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 12-13-2000
posted 06-01-2001 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dot     Edit/Delete Message
Yeh, spweedah, this would be the ultimate room mic. For an amp, I'd throw a 57 off-axis right into one of the cones, and then run the C1 say, 6' back.

Also, I have always liked 414's. Last year I bought a TLM103, which turned out to be a great snare mic, but it didn't sound good on my voice. I traded Steve Lorch straight up for his 414 TLII. I'm glad I did.

The U87 and 414 are the most popular large condensers in studios and have very different characteristics.

A U87 also sounded good on my voice, but I often prefered a 414. Now, the C1 sounds GREAT on my voice. With the 414 I have to get about 2" away and stay there to get the right sound. With the C1, just about anywhere from 4" away to 10" away gives a great and very similar sound – which is also how a U87 acts.

The boost EQ boost I mentioned of +2db at 1K and 10K [12K in my case today ] is the perfect setting for this mic for vocals. I've recorded hundreds of vocalists w/ the same EQ on the U87.

I honestly could not be more pleased. I'm ordering another one soon so I'll have a great pair of large condensers.

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spweedah
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 10-18-2000
posted 06-01-2001 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spweedah   Click Here to Email spweedah     Edit/Delete Message
...and there ain't nothin' sweeter than a great pair of large condensers to keep you warm at night! Oooh, baby.

Thanks,

spwee

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worm
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 04-12-2001
posted 06-02-2001 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for worm   Click Here to Email worm     Edit/Delete Message
Dot,
Thanks for the info. I think I'll order a pair. Do they offer stereo pairs? One last thing, what's your take on the NTK? I LOVE tubes, and want a good tube mic. Would the NTK be a good choice?
-worm

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JimmyT
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 04-26-99
posted 06-04-2001 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JimmyT   Click Here to Email JimmyT     Edit/Delete Message
Dot,
How would you compare this to the Shure KSMs?

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Michael Rogers
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 05-04-2001
posted 06-04-2001 02:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Rogers     Edit/Delete Message
DOT, thanks for the review. A enthusiastic endorsement for a low-cost high-performance piecce of gear is always a wonderful thing. I had hoped to chime in with my two cents worth, but alas my mics were shipped GROUND and I will not have them until this wednesday or thursday. Based on your review, I am waiting with even less patience...

BTW, I used the Otava MC012s this weekend with excellent results. Very quite, and a nice bright yet round sound. They worked well on my guitar, and also sounded good on my piano. I still give the edge to my Marshal MXL2001 for voice, but it was not a dramatic difference.

Although I have heard there are QC problems with the Russian mics, they matched up just fine as a stereo pair.

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Dot
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 12-13-2000
posted 06-04-2001 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dot     Edit/Delete Message
worm, not sure about matching pairs. maybe someone else knows or I'll find out through the grapevine. I'm interested as well.

Jimmy, I compare the KSM32 a little more closely to an AKG 414. The 32 is great, and has often been my first large condenser recommendation – until the C1 came along.

The 32 will give you what some might call a "truer" respresentation of the sound, whereas the C1 adds a sort of "presence" and a "sheen" in the high-end.

With these mic [ KSM32, MC012 and the C1 ] there is honestly no reason to spend a lot on mics any more.

My mic recommends, in this order would be;

Studio Projects C1 $200
Shure SM57 - get 2 at $79 each
Oktava MC012 - $200-$300 pair or $149 each at GC.
An additional C1 at $200
Audio Technica ATM25 $139. For kick or low-end instruments.

There is very little you could not do w/ a mic selection like this – and the entire total cost of all these mics is less than $900.

That's a pair of C1's
That's a pair of 57's
That's a pair of MC012's
And an ATM 25

7 great mics for less than a grand.

Then if you want to add more, I'd recommend the KSM32 at $499 and the ML19 Unidirectional Ribbon Mic for $399.

That's 11 amazing mics, including 3 pairs, for less than $1800.

No, the TLM103 of is no longer on my list. The C1 blows the 103 away.

I, personally, also really like the AKG 414 B-ULS which can be found for about $600, but it is not one I would recommend as a first purchase. You'd really have to have experience w/ it to know whether you liked it or not.

Some other really inexpensive mics appearing on the market come from Soundelux.

Radio Shack PZM plate [ boundary ] mics are also great and super cheap at $49. Alan Parsons uses them. They make great overheads and also good on piano. You can also put them in a room w/ a set of speakers and tape them to a wall in a room and use them as returns for a "room" sound.

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BobO
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 08-16-2000
posted 06-04-2001 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BobO     Edit/Delete Message
Hello Dot (and everyone)...

I think I already know the answer to this, but...will the C1 give me far, far better vocal (and acoustic guitar) results than the SM58 I currently use? I'm on a low budget but, after reading all of these posts, I'm really interested in picking up a C1. And as someone else said on another thread, "Don't tell my wife!" She'll kill me if I spend another nickel on this stuff!

Thanks...

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Dot
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 12-13-2000
posted 06-04-2001 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dot     Edit/Delete Message
Yes, Bob. Way better sound than the 58. In another galaxy.

Look, if you get the C1, give the cool case to your wife to use as a purse. She'll love it.

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Mosco
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 09-14-2000
posted 06-04-2001 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mosco   Click Here to Email Mosco     Edit/Delete Message
O.K. it looks like the C1 is great multipurpose and vocal mic. Is it a good mic for acoustic guitar??? I'm looking to get my first large diaphram mic. I currently own a 57 and 58. I am a guitar player who happens to sing, so I want to capture acoustic guitar sound the best I can while still getting good use out of the mic for vocals. What do you think??

Thanks,
Mark

[This message has been edited by Mosco (edited 06-05-2001).]

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Dot
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 12-13-2000
posted 06-04-2001 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dot     Edit/Delete Message
mosco, I'd probably recommend an Oktava MC012 in your case. Acoustics generally sound better w/ a smaller diaphram mic. The MC012 also sounds great on vocals.

OTOH, the good news is you good get a C1 for $200 and a MC012 for $149 at Guitar Center. That's only $349 for 2 excellent mics.

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Dot
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 12-13-2000
posted 06-04-2001 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dot     Edit/Delete Message
Lemme' just add that both mics will do a really good job, but it depends on your priority.

If gtr is #1 and vox #2, get the Oktava.

If vox is #1 and gtr is #2, get the C1.

Or, like I said, get both. : )

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BobO
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 08-16-2000
posted 06-05-2001 07:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BobO     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for the "C1 case as purse" idea, Dot. It's actually her birthday tomorrow, so this may work out perfectly!

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worm
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 04-12-2001
posted 06-05-2001 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for worm   Click Here to Email worm     Edit/Delete Message
I was informed by a man that works at PMI Audio Group that they do not sell stereo matched pairs. He did tell me, however "our consistency is so good, just
order consecutive serial numbers, and you will be right on." I am also eyeing the T3. It sounds amazing. They are putting it up against c12's and the like! Does anyone have a T3? It is said to compete with $4000. priced mics and UP!? I would love to hear one, but if someone out there already owns one I would be interested in there thought(s). Here is some interestinginfo: www.digitalprosound.com/2001/03_mar/reviews/studio-projects.htm
-worm

[This message has been edited by worm (edited 06-05-2001).]

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Ray Link
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 07-16-1999
posted 06-07-2001 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ray Link     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Dot,
Thanks for the review, I appreciate it.
By the way, since you are touting the great MK-012 mics from Oktava I saw in the latest Guitar center catalog that they are selling MK-012s for $99 each when bought as a pair. I have not tried the GuitCenter MK-012s, but I did use a matched pair from the SoundRoom and they were great.
Thanks,
Ray

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Dot
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 12-13-2000
posted 06-13-2001 08:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dot     Edit/Delete Message
I'm not as down on GC as I used to be, considering the salespeople are knowledgeable and there's a 30-day return policy. If you buy Oktava's from GC, just spend some time w/ several of them before making your selection. $200 for a pair of MC012's is definitely worth a little extra effort.

BTW, I've made arrangements w/ Alan Hyatt of Studio Projects to audition the
T3 valve mic. I'll post a review when I've had a chance to run the mic through the paces.

The T3 has been favorably compared to mics costing $4000. The retail on the T3 is $1099, which would make it available for a street price of about what a Neumann TLM 103 or an AKG 414 would run.

Considering the C1 [$200 ] can easily hold it's own against $2000 mics and is a far superior mic to the TLM 103 [ $800 ], I'm quite interested in checking out the T3.

macmidimusic.com has the T3 here online for a selling price of $799.

Also, the SP VTP-1 mic pre [ MSRP targeted at $299 ] will be out in a few months, and I've also arranged to take one for a test drive. I'll post when I've checked it out.

[This message has been edited by Dot (edited 06-13-2001).]

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+3dB
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 09-18-1999
posted 06-14-2001 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for +3dB     Edit/Delete Message
Guitar Center wont honor the return policy on mics due to "health reasons" its on the back of their receipt. All mic sales are final at GC.

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Stuart
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 07-14-1999
posted 06-19-2001 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stuart   Click Here to Email Stuart     Edit/Delete Message
Jesus, just when I'm financing my wife and daughter's vacation, new kitchen floor(Pergo),new AC,wife's not working,daughters birthday on the 22nd,need new brakes... now all of a sudden I need a new vocal mic...can I pass this up and retire occaisionally my SM58? Oh man she's gonna' kill me!

[This message has been edited by Stuart (edited 06-19-2001).]

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Stuart
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 07-14-1999
posted 06-19-2001 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stuart   Click Here to Email Stuart     Edit/Delete Message
Just a thought ...What 's the cheapest way to provide the phantom power since my preamp does not provide.

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Thunder
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 08-17-1999
posted 06-21-2001 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Thunder   Click Here to Email Thunder     Edit/Delete Message
You can buy a phantom power supply from Guitar Center for about $35. I think its made by Rolls. I've got one and it works fine.

Thunder

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Stuart
VSPlanet Elite

Registered on 07-14-1999
posted 06-23-2001 02:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stuart   Click Here to Email Stuart     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks Thunder!

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