Neumann KM84

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Neumann KM 84

The Neumann KM84 microphone is a small capsule cardioid condenser and was the first mic made with 48v phantom power technology. The KM is German for Kleine Microphone (small microphone) and all the electronics were deliberately made quite small so that the mic could be made with a diameter of only 21 mm and a length of 110 mm. It has a 10 dB attenuation switch allowing the microphone to be used up close with loud instruments and by placing the pad at the gate of the field-effect transistor (FET), this "pre-attenuation" prevents the hot capsule signal from overloading the front end of the amplifier enabling the mic to handle up to 130db without distortion. The Neumann KM84 has become a real favourite for classical music recording because of its smooth faithful reproduction but its also known as a favourite mic for drum overheads. The mic is very sensitive to low-frequency mechanical vibrations so you need to be careful where you stand it and really it needs a good pop shield as its also pretty susceptible to wind noise but these are small considerations balanced against the quality of the mic. The more recent variant, the KM 184 is essentially the same microphone and apart from obvious cosmetic differences, it has the same capsule as the KM 84 but with a lift around 9 kHz, to give it a brighter top end.


ADK Thor


Possibly my favourite mic not just because it gives such a faithful reproduction but it really retains its integrity through the recording and mixing session. 10 hours down the line and 20 guitars overdubs later it's still there. It has a quality that retains its detail through the session whether as drum O/Hs or on an acoustic guitar. What happens when by the time you’ve recorded a couple of distorted guitar tracks you’ve eaten up all the high frequency so you end up pilling on a load more top end in the mix. It's great on acoustic guitar as it brings out all the detail and clarity without any of the boominess at the bottom and it doesn’t flatter the top end so you can add eq if you want to. However it's its mid range integrity that I really like and I have to say it’s something that the Rode NT5s don’t have. Don’t get me wrong they are great little mics for the money and put them up over a kit or in front of an acoustic and they sound fine on their own but once you start eating up the frequency range with other instruments they don’t hold good in the way that the kM84 does. Having a pair of 84s when I’ve needed to record a singer and his guitar I have used the 84s and got a pretty good vocal sound, not particularly close up but it worked out very well. It's the best drum overhead mic we have at Fairview but when I started the o/h mics were the Neumann U87s but I don’t think that U87s are focused enough for that particular job and I only use them now if a drummer walks in and he’s got like 10 cymbals and you just have to put a pair up over the top to get a stereo picture. But if someone’s got a small kit with a pair of really nice crash cymbals then I haven’t found anything else as good as the 84s. Just put them a couple of foot above and you get lovely detail without too much stuff from the rest of the kit. Simply a great microphone. JS

Hear the Neumann U87
Circus Envy session: Bazouki
Anya Thomson session: Hi Hats
Recording Acoustic Guitar Video
Microphones and recording 2008. Neumann KM84 Microphones