The Neumann company has, over many years, built up a reputation for designing and manufacturing the fnest microphones available. This has not happened by any sort of accident and it defnitely didn’t happen overnight. But, it is through their quest for excellence in audio capture that such results are achieved and so, I know with each and every Neumann microphone I have to use that I will be working with the absolute best quality. Yes, this does sound like a bit of a glowing recommendation, but that’s because it’s backed by the knowledge that these microphones deliver what they promise, and don’t just tease us with tempting specifications whilst falling short on results. Therefore, as I unpacked the KM 184 this month, before I even had a chance to plug it in, I knew this was going to be good.
Taking it from the box, my mind was taken to images of the Sennheiser e614 microphones that live in my kit. This comes as very little surprise as both companies are now owned under the one roof and shared ideas from both areas are resulting in better products across the board. But, this is not an e614, this is a whole different class of microphone, and you know this as soon as you get it in your hands. The build quality is amazing. You have to hand it to the Germans; they really understand and thrive on delivering precision. It weighs very little, which is excellent given that this is the sort of microphone that you are likely to have at an extended reach on a mic stand, so it isn’t going to weigh the boom arm down and cause it to sag in any way. Even the microphone clip supplied with the unit is of amazing quality, with metal threading and a self-clasping nut on the tightening screw. This is a microphone you know you can depend on for continued results year after year.
HITTING A HIGH NOTE
With such a solid build, it is easy to guess just how this microphone is likely to sound. With an end-fre design, like a smaller pencil condenser, this is the perfect microphone for getting into tight places round percussion and pianos. It offers a rich sound that is just how you would expect the instrument to be heard. On an acoustic guitar it captured all the brilliance of the string noise whilst still staying faithful to the tone of the instrument, and it worked a treat as a drum overhead microphone, although I thought it worked even better focussed on just the hi-hats, as it really allowed them to sizzle. And best of all, because it is a Neumann, you know you can get any two of these and they will work as a matched pair, they are that good.
Hits and Misses
Beautiful, precision German engineering
Lightweight and compact
Truthful sound capture
It’s a Neumann
There just aren’t any
- Microphone Type - Condenser
- Polar Pattern - Cardioid
- Frequency Response - 20Hz-20kHz
- Max SPL - 138dB
- Output Impedance - 50 ohms
- Signal to Noise Ratio - 81dB (A weighted)
- Self Noise - 13dB (A weighted)
- Connector - XLR