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Mickeyrouse

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Mar 18 17 8:03 AM

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Couple years ago I acquired a Blackspade UM17R. It came with the Thiersch Blue capsule. The thinking apparently in its configuration was to use Oliver Archut's take on a M49 circuit with the polyester membrane capsule shooting for as close as feasible for the vintage M49 sound. Which, never having used the real McCoy, I can't speak to its succes in this.
 However, I've been wondering about the membrane. Since the classic M7 capsules used polyester that is now self-destructing 60 years on, I can only wonder if this Thiersch will similarly deteriorate - 50 plus years from now?
   And as long as I'm talking about this Blackspade, I am curious as to similarities-differences to the Lucas CS-1. Isn't the circuit pretty similar? And the capsule? Body work- very different. Power supply- very different. Transformer- same, no? Shock mount- don't even ask. Cable- comparable (Gotham). Polar patterns- 11, way more than I'll ever use. Build quality? And, most importantly, performance?
   Inquiring minds want to know.
 
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gtoledo3

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Mar 18 17 8:48 AM

I think the UM17R would have the redline capsule, no? Redline=polyester, Blueline=PVC. It is the PVC that can shift with age.

My impression of the UM17 is that it uses elements of M49 circuitry to serve as a quality amplifier for the k47 or m7 type capsule, but then has a couple choices that push it more in a U47 sounding direction; the transformer and the head grill. Basically, it has more low, low mid heft and proximity effect than an M49, to my ear.

The CS-1 has a modern variant of the edge terminated brass CK12 type capsule, which does inherently lead towards a different tone. I don't think the transformer is the same, I am pretty sure the CS1 transformer is specific to the mic. It has maybe less low mid than the UM17, and seems leaner in frequency response in some ways, but also seems "taller" and a bit more realistic. The CS-1 may seem to capture a bit more extreme lows and highs, with greater clarity.

I don't know what shock mount you have for your UM17, but in my opinion, using a Rycote shock mount isn't necessarily inferior to the integrated standmount/cable thing that comes with a CS-1. Not that the CS-1 clip is bad, if you have the neoprene washers setup to give enough tension to the tightening knob.

Last Edited By: gtoledo3 Mar 18 17 9:02 AM. Edited 1 time.

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soapfoot

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Mar 18 17 9:48 AM

I think George is right that a stock UM17r should have a red line Thiersch (mylar) capsule. It's possible Mickey has changed his, however.

Thiersch's PVC formulation will necessarily be different from the original M7 formulation; double-check with Klaus, but I do believe he's said that Neumann's original PVC formulation cannot be made exactly anymore due to environmental concerns/regulations.

To that end, it's hard to project the longevity of Theirsch's formulation 50 years down the road.

The UM17 is a cool mic; not an awful lot like an M49, though. Perhaps "inspired by," in some ways. But there are many differences-- for one thing, it uses an inexpensive 5840 tube (which was originally most-often used in hearing aids) as opposed to the expensive AC701k (which was specifically designed for microphone use). Not that there's anything wrong with the 5840, it's a fine tube, even in microphones. But different from an AC701k for sure.

brad allen williams

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Mickeyrouse

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Mar 18 17 9:56 AM

The last UM17R's were offered with either Red or Blue Thiersch's. Mike suggested a Blue to compliment the Neumann, Bock and AKG tube mics I presently have.

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gtoledo3

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Mar 18 17 10:30 AM

I think that would be considered the "UM17B" spec.

Just as a point of interest, the 5840 was a replacement tube that Oliver would use in U47 circuits sometimes, along with a solidstate voltage divider.

Whereas, I do not think that the 5840 tube was as typical in his M49 builds.

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soapfoot

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Mar 18 17 11:32 AM

I always knew Oliver to use an EF804, EF800, or EF80 as a VF14 replacement.

I'm very sad that he's not here to weigh in. He is greatly missed.

brad allen williams

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gtoledo3

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Mar 18 17 11:53 AM

http://www.neumann.com/forums/view.php?site=neumann&bn=neumann_archive&key=975631110

http://www.neumann.com/forums/view.php?site=neumann&bn=neumann_archive&key=1018667025

I have some email correspondence about it as well, because I was curious to write him about it after reading him talk about it, but this gives the general idea. I can add that the main reason expressed to me for the EF8x series being the upmarket choice is that a greater percentage are usable in microphones after burn in, and possibly less noise.

On the later point, definitely.

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Mickeyrouse

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Mar 18 17 9:59 PM

gtoledo3 wrote:
I think that would be considered the "UM17B" spec.

Just as a point of interest, the 5840 was a replacement tube that Oliver would use in U47 circuits sometimes, along with a solidstate voltage divider.

Whereas, I do not think that the 5840 tube was as typical in his M49 builds.

No, this mic is the UM17R. The "B" series wasn't out justt yet.

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gtoledo3

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Mar 19 17 7:18 AM

No.

A UM17 with the Blueline is a UM17B.

The "UM17B" thing that Blackspade currently purports to make, and uses the UM17B designation for, is not a UM17B.

Oliver made many UM17B. That is a UM17 with a Blueline.

Period.

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gtoledo3

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Mar 19 17 7:28 AM

BTW, I have 3 UM17, and the first UM17R that was made, and I'm certain I had asked about this matter specifically from Oliver.

Mike Tholen has or had some UM17B, as well as others, which Oliver put together many years ago. Have run across several others that bought "UM17B".

As far as the badges/plates go however, he didn't have UM17R or B designation ones at the very beginning, so labelling is hit or miss.

I had forgotten that BSA has suggested they would now use this model name for something different, that they are putting together after Oliver has passed. Though I am fairly sure the mics were never really made by them to begin with, all done at Oliver's shop. I think originally they just did some body production *after* the very first ones were made.

Last Edited By: gtoledo3 Mar 19 17 7:48 AM. Edited 1 time.

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klaus

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#10 [url]

Mar 20 17 11:02 AM

soapfoot wrote:
 
Thiersch's PVC formulation will necessarily be different from the original M7 formulation; double-check with Klaus, but I do believe he's said that Neumann's original PVC formulation cannot be made exactly anymore due to environmental concerns/regulations.
To that end, it's hard to project the longevity of Theirsch's formulation 50 years down the road.

Thiersch's PVC M7 behave like all other PVC membrane capsules behave: they dry up with time, fracturing the gold sputtering, thus compromising the capacitance between sputtering and backplate.
I have several new old stock M7 from MT Gefell from the early to mid 2000s and two of them have already fractured at the center hole, rendering them useless.

The bigger problem I have with all of Thiersch's M7: the sound. But that is veering away from the subject (unless the subject title was a general inquiry into all differences between a vintage -pre-2000- and current M7).

Last Edited By: klaus Mar 20 17 11:07 AM. Edited 3 times.

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Mickeyrouse

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#11 [url]

Mar 21 17 11:45 PM

gtoledo3 wrote:
No.

A UM17 with the Blueline is a UM17B.

The "UM17B" thing that Blackspade currently purports to make, and uses the UM17B designation for, is not a UM17B.

Oliver made many UM17B. That is a UM17 with a Blueline.

Period.

I realize model number characteristics can change over time, particulary if comparing an AMI offering of an item also offered by Blackspade. However, I still have my correspondence with Mike Tholen in which he cleary states that the Blackspade UM17 had a) asian power supply b) Chinese capsule c) asian 7 conductor cable d) imported shock mount. The UM17R had a) AMI power supply b) choice of  Thiersch Red or Blue Line capsule c) Gotham GAC-7 cable d) Rycote shock mount.  Further, he stated that the UM17B, when avaible a few months in the future, would have an updated circuit. 
However, regardless of the designation, the mic is a pleasant mic, that, while not the "ultimate weapon", is certainly a pleasing and useful mic in many situations. I'm glad I have it- though according to Klaus' observations, that cap may have a short life.


 

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gtoledo3

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#12 [url]

Mar 22 17 9:48 AM

I don't think BSA Mike is not Mike Tholen, afaik. That would be very surprising!

I stand by the accuracy of what I wrote. :-)

I would happily point out the facts to BSA Mike, and I am pretty damn sure he wouldn't argue them. I think they have motivation to be playing a little footloose with the facts, since they are now trying to sell a new mic without Oliver's circuit, and call it the "UM17B".

To reiterate, putting a Redline on it would be a "R" model, putting a Blueline is a "B". The R literally stands for Redline, the B for Blueline.

However, the plain and the "R" models were the only ones that got write ups on the website, and pushed in a marketing sense. I think that BSA is taking advantage of this, and now using the B designation for a new mic, with what reads on paper as some unwise tweaks, at least to me. Oliver likely retained rights over the design, which I'm guessing necessitated that they do this.

If you still want to call a mic with a B capsule, an R model, well.... whatever floats your boat! :-)


FWIW, the guts in all of the power supplies are actually the same, that I've seen, even though the outer casings may look different.

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gtoledo3

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Mar 22 17 9:51 AM

IMO it hangs with plenty of more expensive mics, and would be a top choice for many things. It can have something to it that is very forgiving on certain instruments and voices.

I recently found it interesting that someone who bought the new REDD47 mic was saying how it really reminded them of the UM17.

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rodaffleck

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#14 [url]

Mar 23 17 10:52 AM

Is it possible that you're both right? It sounds like Mickey bought his mic at the tail end of the UM17R days, so perhaps BSA had already pulled the UM17B model out of their lineup in anticipation of the updated mic with the same name but still wanted to offer the M7 Blue so they called it a UM17R with Blue capsule.

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gtoledo3

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Mar 23 17 5:24 PM

I'm just describing what the naming convention was, in reality. 

As far as I know, the supposed "new circuit" BSA UM17B is vaporware anyway.

So if someone said they had a UM17B, I would have an expectation of the original circuit, and a Blueline capsule. At least at the moment. I personally think they have pulled a bit of a fast one to appropriate the model name in the way they have, but everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Anyway, I feel like I've beaten the point into the ground! :-) Sure, it's semantics.

Side note - I don't think the Thiersch capsules are bad. They do have a bit more low, low mid, not the same air or bite as a k47. But it can smooth things out in a way that a k47 might not. It's really a matter of taste, though I do overall prefer a legit k47/49.

Last Edited By: gtoledo3 Mar 23 17 5:29 PM. Edited 1 time.

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maarvold

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Mar 23 17 7:50 PM

gtoledo3 wrote:
...Side note - I don't think the Thiersch capsules are bad. They do have a bit more low, low mid, not the same air or bite as a k47. But it can smooth things out in a way that a k47 might not. It's really a matter of taste, though I do overall prefer a legit k47/49.

 
I have 2 U47-inspired mics, both with Thiersch PVC M7's.  A few years back, as a result of MDM's post about EF14 vs. EF12, I changed one of my mics from an EF14 to an EF12.  That mic has now become my most-used vocal mic and sits pretty squarely between the EF14 version--with its big baritione/more aggressive flavor--and my ELA-M250-inspired mic, with its beautiful and somewhat stylized top end.  FWIW.  

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soapfoot

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Mar 23 17 8:08 PM

I made a U47 copy with Oliver's transformer, an EF800, and a Thiersch blue-line M7.

It's different from our original U47 with K47, but I do like it. It's GREAT on sibilant female singers.

brad allen williams

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gtoledo3

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Mar 23 17 8:36 PM

FWIW, I've a/b-ed redline and blueline capsules, or identical mics with the two different types of capsules installed, a number of times. I don't find a tremendous difference between the two, when new or newish, on average.

I *think* I hear a little more 3D character and sense of depth with the redline, but I wouldn't swear I could tell the difference in a double blind. I find the difference between either and a k47 totally obvious though.

I think the point about them being useful on fairly sibilant singers is right on. Or even certain types of raspiness. I think of it adding a sort of silky smoothness in the right context.
--

On another note, it may be worth mentioning, just for fun, that not all of the Gefell M7s are PVC... they've been doing mylar for a good time now. I think it varies on the mic?

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maarvold

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Mar 24 17 8:47 AM

gtoledo3 wrote:
...I think the point about [Thiersch Blue Line (PVC) M7's] being useful on fairly sibilant singers is right on. Or even certain types of raspiness...

My 'solution mic' for raspy/edgy is a Shure SM7.  

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