#1
Was surfin the Long & Mcquade website and came across an AKG C12 vintage re-issue vacuum tube recording mic and the price tag was $7,500. Now I really don't know much at all about microphones and what's better and such. So what gives this such a high price tag?
#2
In no particular order:

1. Legacy
2. Components
3. Good luck finding an original
4. That sweet sweet C12 tube tone

Also, this is a microphone that will be in a mic locker at a legit professional studio, they're not aiming for the home studio guys (although depending on your income and regular genres, this is still an appropriate purchase for some home studios).
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#3
It gets worse. Here is a re-issue of the Frank Sinatra mic:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=769300&gclid=CNzvje7An8kCFRSEfgodaFEAwQ&is=REG&A=details&Q=

Complete overkill for a home studio. I see little value in spending over $500 for a single project studio mic unless your last name is Walton or Gates. Others will surely disagree.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

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#4
So essentially it's the name that adds a couple thousand?

What about the Mics that are $1,500-$3,000? Like audio technica or Neumann.
#5
Quote by esky15
So essentially it's the name that adds a couple thousand?

What about the Mics that are $1,500-$3,000? Like audio technica or Neumann.


They are nice mics. They will just never occupy space in my mic locker.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#6
Quote by esky15
So essentially it's the name that adds a couple thousand?

What about the Mics that are $1,500-$3,000? Like audio technica or Neumann.

Name, design, components, sound, quality, etc.

It's worth that price to many studios, but you'll be hard pressed to find someone on this board who would ever consider buying one.

If I were booking time in a pro studio, it's something I would expect to find in the locker and one of the first mics I'd reach for on vocals.
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#7
$7500 is definitely cork sniffing territory, even for a professional studio.

The Telefunken ELA M 251E or the U47 reissue goes just as crazy expensive...

It is just one of these reissues that are aiming to capitalize on the hype of the original mic.

There are plenty of fabulous mics that will do it just as well at around or under $2000.

Depends on what you need but I'd look at some of these:
Telefunken AK-47 MKII
Telefunken AR-51
Lauten Audio Atlantis FC-387
Neumann TLM 103MT
Mojave Audio MA-200
AKG C414 XLS
sE Electronics Gemini II

or the U87 Neumann which will run you up at about $3500
#8
I was just looking for an instrument mic like a shure 57 or something of the like and came across these and it made me wonder why the hell they are so expensive and then wondered how many of these they actually sell.
#9
Ill be honest, Ive never used any microphone that is over $300 before. But that being said, Ive found that listening to recordings with expensive mics used, you can pretty much replicate their sounds by boosting around the 10khz range (gives you that nice sparkly warm air sound), some light tasteful compression, and some saturation (even just from a digital saturator plugin). That sort of chain (coupled with other treatment like hpf and some more compression) is a recipe for getting good sounding vocals that sit great in a mix. I guess using those expensive mics gives you that sort of sound right out-of-the-box, but i think the pricetag isnt really worth just learning a few mixing techniques that youll need anyways
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#10
You can't really fake the expensive mic sound, I'd disagree. It is basically a cumulative effect - when you pile on good gear on a session, the end results are phenomenal. That's the reason why still a lot of people can not replicate the expensive session sound.

I did one session with a Christian label, and since those guys had the coffers of the multichurch congregation, they've loaded up on $1000 and up AKG and Neumann mics.
The end results was phenomenal, especially the drum sound. Neumann's U87 for overheads and room mics, and every drum was spot miked with AKG C414, it was pure heaven (no pun intended).

You can't do that with boosting certain frequencies as you need to have the captured information there in the first place.

Now...the music itself wasn't all that special...but they had captive audience that will lap it all up.
#11
Quote by diabolical
You can't really fake the expensive mic sound, I'd disagree. It is basically a cumulative effect - when you pile on good gear on a session, the end results are phenomenal. That's the reason why still a lot of people can not replicate the expensive session sound.

I did one session with a Christian label, and since those guys had the coffers of the multichurch congregation, they've loaded up on $1000 and up AKG and Neumann mics.
The end results was phenomenal, especially the drum sound. Neumann's U87 for overheads and room mics, and every drum was spot miked with AKG C414, it was pure heaven (no pun intended).

You can't do that with boosting certain frequencies as you need to have the captured information there in the first place.

Now...the music itself wasn't all that special...but they had captive audience that will lap it all up.


Haha i cant stand that christian stuff (and i grew up catholic, too), but I will say they usually do have good rich sounding mixes. However, I sort of having to disagree; i think if you know what youre doing, you can 95-98% of the way there in terms of replicating. I dont think that the information "isnt there" or isnt being captured (unless the mike is totally garbage); i just think think some of the information (usually the highs, especially if you are using a dynamic mic) is attenuated and you need to raise it up and clean up the low end clutter to really bring it to life
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#12
You're mostly paying for the legacy and name of those mics and that the originals are hard to find and often command even higher prices. There are plenty of clones out there that will get you a very similar sound for WAY cheaper. These are meant for large studios who are going to draw in customers and engineers because of the name recognition of the gear they own, more than anything else.

While I've never owned a $7500 mic, I have owned several in the $1000-2500 range and there are many outstanding products to be had. That being said, mics aren't that expensive to make, you can find a few in the $500-1000 range that can easily compete with those much, much, higher priced. However, there are very few under that range I'd consider ever buying again.
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#13
Quote by MatrixClaw


While I've never owned a $7500 mic, I have owned several in the $1000-2500 range and there are many outstanding products to be had. That being said, mics aren't that expensive to make, you can find a few in the $500-1000 range that can easily compete with those much, much, higher priced. However, there are very few under that range I'd consider ever buying again.


Totally agree with this. These mics can probably approximate a mix recorded on much more expensive mics as long as the original mics capture well.

I have an acquaintance that is a somewhat known violinist and she was upsold one of these mics, can't remember the model but AKG mic with its own preamp, around $4000) as she walked in GC and wanted something to capture all the nuances of her performance. She had the $$$ and no way to test it in store so she bought it. This mic ends up being honky on her violin, yet a $500 AT4040 sounds much more open and robust. So now she has this expensive doorstop. Luckily she lent it to a friend who does recordings and it sounds amazing on vocals and other sources.

These expensive Telefunken replicas, etc. are mainly to capture the Celine Dion level of talent. If you bring in a world class vocal talent you have to have these mics, because their producer won't take them to your studio.

If you think about it, you need Celine in there for just 10 days and that mic is paid off
#14
Going upwards in scale, a more expensive mic will generally either sound cleaner/clearer, or will have a warmth or character that makes it appealing. Nobody buys a JCM800 because of it's specs or clarity. They buy them because it sounds like a JCM800. On paper, a Behringer ECM8000 is a much more accurate mic, but it is entirely uninteresting. That can be a benefit, though, too.

A more expensive mic will also have a "larger than life" or a "depth" or even a "three dimensional" aspect to it that cheaper mics just don't have.

And then, when you get into the stratosphere of pricing, it is often in part an ingredient of "paying the price of admission to join the club." When people are looking at hiring out studios, they're going to look at gear list, and a person who actually HAS a C12 and similar stuff is going to get the job before the person who has the Studio Projects or whatever knockoff of the C12. Just like the person who actually has the Neve1073 will get the job over the person who has the Golden Age Pre 73 knock-off.

And sure, many mics at a fraction of the cost will get you 90% of the way there, and that's pretty damned good. Good enough, in fact, for most of us. But every percentage point beyond that is going to cost you waaaaay more than the first 90%.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#15
Brand name and legacy/history disgustingly affects the price tag now days. I literally can't take anyone seriously who would she'll out that kind of dough for a mic. The quality will obviously be exemplary, and you can rest assured that it will get you an amazing sound, but 7.5k?
Last edited by evan_m at Dec 3, 2015,
#16
Quote by evan_m
Brand name and legacy/history disgustingly affects the price tag now days. I literally can't take anyone seriously who would she'll out that kind of dough for a mic. The quality will obviously be exemplary, and you can rest assured that it will get you an amazing sound, but 7.5k?


For people like me - and presumably you - anyone who shells out that kind of coin for a brand name like that, I expect, has more money than they know what to do with.

But if you're a professional facility, there is an expectation that you have high end gear. When people check out your gear list, they're expecting to see a C12, a couple 414's, a U87, along with front-end stuff from API, SSL, Neve, etc. Having things like that in your gear list makes a statement, "I'm serious about this. I mean, REALLY serious."

This can mean the difference between getting the job - or even landing the "big job" or not. The $7500 will pay for itself in time through attracting more clients, and higher-paying clients. Those people aren't booking at studios like mine, or presumably yours.

They can justify the expense, where we can't.

Of course, you could make the argument that "people don't hire you for your gear, they hire you for your resume." That's true, but if you've made those recordings that sound like a million bucks, you probably did them in the studio with the high end gear.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#17
I worked as the 2nd engineer at a nice studio that had an AKG C12. As far as I know it was never used. I suspect there was a problem with it. I was told that if the client requested that we use it we steer them to another microphone which was pretty easy to do. "You know for your voice I think I have a mic that will fit you better," then steer them to another AKG like the C414 (which is my all time favorite). You can buy a used C414 for about $1,000. Notice I said "you" cause I can't afford that.
Sid is right in that having a microphone like that adds more prestige to your list of equipment at a studio. There are lots of older gear that fall into that category. LA-2A compressors is another. Are they worth $3,000? To a studio looking to bring in the big time producers it is but not to home studios. I saw an original Fairchild compressor on EBay a few years ago and the asking price was $50,000. As ridiculous as that sounds I'll bet it was sold to some big studio no problem.
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#18
Quote by axemanchris
For people like me - and presumably you - anyone who shells out that kind of coin for a brand name like that, I expect, has more money than they know what to do with.

But if you're a professional facility, there is an expectation that you have high end gear. When people check out your gear list, they're expecting to see a C12, a couple 414's, a U87, along with front-end stuff from API, SSL, Neve, etc. Having things like that in your gear list makes a statement, "I'm serious about this. I mean, REALLY serious
CT


Completely see where you're coming from. If you are a pro studio, having the latest and greatest gear is totally the cool thing to do. I guess I was just talking from an average musicians perspective. Gear is one of those things that people will always argue over. Some people won't invest a penny in brand name while for some it makes all the difference.
#19
As long as people are willing to pay for it, they will charge the big bucks for it. lol The same applies to guitars and other instruments as well. For example, the drum company DW used to use Keller shells for their drums and you can get the shells directly from Keller for significantly less than purchasing a kit with the name "DW" printed on it. So this happens all the time. Expensive doesn't necessarily mean "good" and inexpensive doesn't necessarily mean "bad".

Going back to vocal mics, the Shure SM7/SM7b has a very long track record of professional recordings. The most notable is Michael Jackson's Thriller album, so essentially with an unlimited budget they used a $350 vocal mic on the best selling album of all time. It's actually kind of surprising Shure didn't jack up the price on this mic...it would probably still sell like crazy even if it were 100 times more expensive.