On Monday last week, I visited Audix at their facility just south of Portland OR, first of my stops on a ToneMatch Quest (see Breedlove visit, this section also). I worked for a day with Audix cofounder Cliff Castle and we did presets for a bunch of their popular vocal mics. We also added a few surprises later on. When we first approached Cliff about doing this work, he was sort of puzzled. "The OM5 sounds great-we love what you did. What work?". It turns out they bought one of our systems as a reference and everyone was borrowing it, trying it at the gig and loving it. I think all the employees are in bands out there. Amazing. Cliff himself is in this big EWF-type band with some really great singers and world-class players. We did the tone work in a large performance room being revised for doing big shows, recording, etc. I heard some of their recordings and it sounded like a record. These people are totally living their work.

But I stressed the importance of doing this work in collaboration with them, so that they would have a hand in the work and actually approve the results. Plus, there were a bunch of mics that we didn't have presets for, some I didn't even know existed. Cliff, probably under the usual time crunches of a growing business, finally relented and we set a date.

We started by listening to the OM5 and its preset. "We love it" was Cliff's reply. So this became a "reference" of sorts for the others to come. We ended up getting really good presets for the OM2, 3 and reaffirmed our love for the 5 and 6. Then we went on to their new condenser, the VX5 and an older vocal condenser, the VX10 (oh...my...goh...idd...). These two actually sounded great flat, so we did some "enhanced" presets at my suggesion, to make them sound spectrally similar to the OM5/6 and dump some of the very low frequencies, always a good idea for two good reasons: less re-broadcasting of onstage bass signals and normal speech does not have a lot of 40Hz. So, I added a highpass and a little upper-mid sweetening to give a really exceptional vocal delivery and something that was similar to the OM5, a really exceptional combo with our #5 preset and a big fave in our live music theater. We have a bunch of these in the mic closet. But, oh baby, the VX10 is all there, totally organized. More on this. I now have one to use and will report as I get more miles on it.

They had a 6' Kawai grand piano, which drew me like the bees to the honey. When we took a break, Cliff left the room and I played the Kawai. It turns out they have a very interesting large-diaphragm condenser mic (SCX25), sold in pairs for live piano. The mics clip on the harp frame, so you can actually close the lid. Important, I thought. So, at the end of the afternoon, we decided to do some presets for it. I was skeptical, having had little luck with miking grand pianos and having them maintain tone once show levels were acheived. My opinion has increasingly been "get the digital". But, we had an hour or so left of the day (I had to fly to Bend that evening, visiting Breedlove) so, might as well. Playing around with position and mixing strategy, I ended up with the following for a mono pickup: Mic #1 is over the bass strings and, with tone adjustment, picks up most of the instrument. Mic#2 is over the higher strings with most of the low end and mid-midrange dumped. It too pucks up most of the instrument, with emphasis on the nearby strings and becomes a "treble control" of sorts. With the ch1 and ch2 presets in place, get mic1 up to show level, then bring up mic2 to make the whole instrument bright to taste. I'll attach a photo. I must say it sounded like the piano when I was finished and I could play it louder than I would want to. Also, it sounded way better on the short stick, closed-lid was not as good. On the short stick, I could still play it loud as I wanted without feedback. And so, this is the first live piano setup I ever had a real experience with that actually worked well without feedback.

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Hello Darlington

When I first used the VX10 during my trip to Audix, I was blown away, sorry for the cliche. I heard it right away. It just hit me as very special and together. It was all there, all organized and all getting out the speaker intact. It was like you hear in a vocal booth with a good large-diaphragm condenser (u47) over good cans in the studio. Only coming out of the speaker. I've been rehearsing with it and I'm getting real used to it. Funny how that works.

The OM5, so far, is our fave for vocals; we have a wheelbarrow full of them in our theater and use them for all shows here. We're not the only ones either, judging by what I see on the street and hear over our forum. Compared to the OM5, it's much less sensitive to proximity. The OM5 drops dead when you back off and the VX10 is a lot more forgiving, something I personally like for singing and playing piano. I probably don't crank the gain enough to be able to tell if the gain-before-feedback is any different from the OM5, but my guess is that he OM5/OM6 are better because of the level-sensitivity to proximity. I have gotten a few upper-octave squeaks that go away when my head is between the mic and the L1 but I'm only a few feet from the system in my rehearsal space.

We'll never do any "exhaustive testing" of the mics, just give you impressions as a player. The VX10 seems like the King to me right now, nothing better. I'm planning to compare it to the 105 and SM87 sometime this week. Stay tuned. The preset I did will be listed as "enhanced" (really quite subtle), giving the VX10 a slight bit of upper-mid presence boost (a few dB) and a midbass highpass. Flat, it sounds very normal but the enhanced preset makes it closer, spectrally, to the OM5/preset#5 combo everyone loves.

More as it comes.
Thanks for the fast comeback! I'm ready to invest in a better mic, and it may be the OM5. I use an SM58 now. I eat the mic anyway and don't expect a problem with the OM5's proximity. However, I can afford the VX10 (at the moment) and when someone of your ear and caliber is blown away by a mic, I take notice. I have back up mics by the box full, but have never had a golden favorite since an old AKG back in the day. I still have that mic and guess what, not so golden today. Everything is so improved and the L1 is so clear that the game is all new. I'm going to wait for your review of the 105 and the SM87. I am much entralled by the feedback rejection properties of the OM5. For smaller gigs which I actually play more of, I use a Fender Passport 250 which is surprisingly good. I expect the OM5 would shine with that setup. The VX10 can't possibly have the feedback rejection of the OM5, but the tradeoff for that special something that I gather the VX10 has.....well....that's what I want. I should add I play as a single, baritone stratocaster through a Vox tonelab SE and sing through a Presonus TubePre. Larger gigs I use two L1s with two subs each. Can you hear me now??!! Yes! Thanks again, Cliff. I'm going to buy one, spendy, special mic just for me, and it's going to be the one you recommend. So far I'm hearing, OM5 best all around deal, VX10 best period. I'm standing by!!
Now that I'm thinking Eek (and who knows how long THAT will last) I just remembered that I have a Crown 311 headset "drummer's" mic that I don't use because I can't "work" it.How would you say the 311 compares to the OM5 and VX10? It wouldn't hurt my feelings to NOT spend a small fortune for the VX10, but I think I want it. The only deal killer might be if the VX10 proves to be feedbasck prone. The Crown 311 is not.
Don't touch that dial, D. We're going to do an informal evaluation in the live music theater tomorrow with our 105, SM87 and VX10, both flat and with our presets, maybe the new ToneMatch preset for the VX10 too, just put into the can. Actually, I can recreate this on our preset EQ processor.

I never liked using the 311 because you can't get away from it. That has nothing to do with the mic itself, just with the KIND of mic it is. With our v2 presets, it actually sounds very attractive, but you have to want it in your face all the time. The 311, in my opinion, is a very good live microphone.

The OM5/preset5/L1 is a really nice voice delivery system if you can be on-mic all the time. I have a bit of a problem with it playing keys and singing. I am finding the VX10 better for this and also much much smoother and organized sounding. This is my personal opinion (and not that of Bose Corporation). Audix just introduced a more cost-effective VX5 and it sounded very good. I can't give you an opinion other that this from memory. You really should try them out, like at the GC. Maybe wait for the new presets tho.

I'll post here tomorrow about our little ABC.

Also, beware of opinions about mics from non-L1-users, like people listening to monitors and such. With the instrument/preset/L1 combination, you have a basis for communication. What you hear is what I hear and so on. Those NOT using this system will not have information you can use. Everyone's monitors are different and they are so bad re: lighting up any environment that the same ones will sound different at every venue or stage. And forget about talk about mics used with various FOH speakers. No one hears these when they play. I'm not saying that the L1 is "the best sound system in the world" and everything else is worthless. But if you and I have a conversation about how things sound and we know the preset used and that it's heard over the L1, we can speak intelligently about what we hear. These systems are very consistant from unit to unit. Otherwise, we're way up high on the tower of Babel.

Personally, I do think the L1 is the best system in the world. In my opinion it sounds normal (not spectrally hyped or exaggerated), it's way powerful enough for where we all play (200 people or less) and it puts the music back in the hands of the musicians, for the first time in the history of live amplified music. What we play and hear gets to the audience. Please excuse the banter. It's all really added up for me lately, hearing live recordings of rehearsals. The thing is monster. Happy New Year in advance.
So happy you're in love with your own system! lol! I am, too. I agree about the common reference point and for me, that's the WHOLE point. I want what sounds the BEST through the L1. An SM58 will sound pretty good through anything, and it's price point and durability is why they show up on stage more than anything else. I'll always carry one for backup. BUT...the L1 isn't just anything. Pristine sound equipment is only as good (or bad) as what you put into it. The L1 will unmask you, both in playing technique and vocal quality, something I have only recently come to grips with. Once you accept how you really sound, then the use of effects becomes minimal or non existent. I have used my audiences as informed guinea pigs more than once, and everytime they confirm what Bose has said all along, live sound is clearer and better WITHOUT effects!! Yikes......the main people who like effects are the performers ourselves....it makes us sound better.....to us. But actually, in the audience, straight ahead, clear, unmuddied sound communicates the best of all....and in the end.....communication is what it's all about! It has helped me to realize that an audience will warm up much more to a singer they can actually hear, croaks, wheezing, and all, than to a better voice who is muffled and unintelligible. Tom Waits clear and in your face is better than Elvis mumbling behind a bathroom door.Roll Eyes(What??!!) So what's the point? I think the point is, the L1 is capable of delivering painfully accurate, clear, unmuddied sound reinforcement, and that ability is largely wasted if you input mediocre sound. A bad guitar with poor pickups will sound like a GREAT BIG bad guitar with poor pickups. Effects will actually improve that situation....chorus and reverb will make bad...better. But a quality instrument? Just let it shine by itself.....quality is in subtlety and nuance, and effects will mask quality. Effects for a desired particular sound is a whole different thing, but in general, IMHO, all effects degrade signal quality. Which brings me around to wanting the best mic. Best meaning clearest, warmest, most natural through the L1. I'm suspecting the VX10 will be the winner simply because of your first reaction to it, Cliff. We all know immediately when we hear "it" even if we can't define it. As a sidebar. I have received several responses from Audix concerning Ebay resellers with really low VX10 prices. Audix says there are Chinese made knockoffs out there and you may not get the real thing. I gave them some resellers names and they verified they weren't "legit". Audix will not honor any warranty claims from those outfits. I did find one reseller, however, that Audix gave their blessing to, who's email 15 day quote is as low as the bogus guys!! Whoo hoo!! So.....fully expecting the VX10 to emerge the overall victor, I'm ready to order one from Santa! BUT....you've got the means, you've got the place, you've got the ear, and you've got the know how, to better evaluate these mics than I ever could. Your musician to musician opinion will work just fine for me. I am eagerly awaiting tomorrow's shootout!! I know you'll post ASAP with results and thanks for the effort! What fun, eh??!!
D

It's not really a shootout. Some voices sound better thru some mics, not so for others, and so on. It's like having a shootout between a Les Paul, a Tele and a Strat. They're all different and have different tone and different feel. The 105 and the 87 have a good fan base, for all kinds of reasons. Same for the VX10.

Yeah I do love the system. But it's not coolaid-induced. It's based on my use of the system onstage all over the world in huge and tiny places and everything in between. I do know what I'm talking about on the ground level, not some theoretical one. The system is a very impartial presentation tool, first and only of its kind. It's the best thing I ever played my instruments and my voice through.

It's hard to say if an sm57/8 will sound good thru just about anything, because there's no consistency. It's a huge crapshoot that, up to this point, musicians have had to deal with, rather than not play. But, they (we) shouldn't have to do this; sort thru a zillion combinations and permutations of mic/pre/EQ/amp/speaker and all their settings. The audio industry that should be serving the players simply hasn't taken responsibility for doing this work so the artists don't have to. We have. Plug your favorite mic (or instrument) into our L1, select the preset we created for it and you can pretty much just go do a show with that without any big science project onstage. It will sound good, and normal. Plus, if you have a question or comment, you can tell us what you're using and where and how you're using it and we can probably recreate the setup here in Framingham, so we have a basis for conversation and information exchange. Everything's known. There's only one system and its state to describe.

I hope you understand my comment about the system empowering musicians because it puts the music back into our hands; into our (and no one else's) exclusive control. We finally get to hear and run our own show. All we have to do is what we do best: play the music. This is a big huge concept to understand and even harder to grasp because it's so simple. Believe me, it took me a long time to understand what a monster this is. I think it's like the reinvention of electricity for amplified musicians.

Re: fun - We're just getting started...
Aieee: the eye of God! You never know where it will appear. On our forum? We're not worthy (but apparrently WE ARE). To be honest, when I find myself in times of trouble, Brother Vince; he comes to me, speaking words of wisdom. And how did you get that little green melon so well crafted to fit the kitty's head? My life is complete. thankyou thankyou thankyou.

This brings to mind fond memories of "The Vince": Our favorite rest stop on America's most scenic and entertaining drive - The New Jersey Turnpike. ("dad, can we stop now?") I'm tellinya, that picha brawt tears to my eyes. I coombaleevit.

So, anyway, getting to the results of our "Best Mic in The World" contest, here's the winner: The SHUGA mic. http://bose.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/1266055944/m/...831086814#9831086814

For the runners-up, we listened to the 105, 87a and vx10. They all need preset help, the VX10 needing the least (just a highpass and some upper-mid emphasis). The VX10 has almost no proximity bass boost and is closest to usable flat on close vocal. The 105 and 87a both need a big reduction in the mid-midrange, some reduction in the low-midrange and a highpass to work right over the L1. But comparing them all with the recommended presets (12 and 17 for 105 and 87)) is pretty much a matter of third-order subtlty, in my opinion. They're different but they're equivalent. This is not a weasel-out. It's what I heard. Do the math yourselves.

Keep in mind that the vocal mic presets were all created for close (eat-the-mic) vocals, like you typically need for amplified voice over the L1. All these mics will sound different when miking instruments, for instance, and many will work flat or with some of the highpass/lowpass filters applied.
Gawd....the Lombardi pic is TOO funny!!! MelonHead is in the game!! ROFLMAO!......
Shuga mic???? (am spraying old crappy mic white and affixing gold SHUGA sticker from labelmaker) Must be an inside joke, right? Although Google did find Shuga earbuds so what do I know. (More shuga in your coffee, darlin'?) Anyhoo....I gather the VX10 epiphany is wearing off as it is comparable to the others when they are properly presetted. What did you find in terms of feedback suppression? Low proximity effect on the VX10 sounds good to me, I have a low, baritone type voice already and that would be a help to not over emphasize it. And, in your sonic memory, how do these mics compare to the Crown 311A? I rumaged thru my stuff and found the 311 I had previously discarded and revisted the little guy. Sounds really good to me now.......wonder what I was thinking before? I got to looking at it and I'm sure you could cut it loose from the headset wire, bend the metal arm it's attached to, and mount it in any old mic shell, and there it is, the Crown 311A handheld!! Then just spray it white and......
OK....Please correct me if I'm wrong. My take is the Audix VX10 is probably the best, for me, of the bunch because it needs little EQ and therefore could be expected to be more useful with other systems as well as the L1 (I play on several different house systems always with my own mic). The VX10 used in the comparison and the one you first heard and used at Audix was the LO model. The LO model should work better with my Presonus TubePre because I can turn the preamp higher because the mic is not as hot. The VX10 has little proximity effect which means the EQ doesn't have to be changed much for different distances from the mic. The Crown 311A compares favorably with this group, and since I already have the Crown, I'd be better off to save my money because these mics would offer little or no improvement, just different "flavors". You didn't comment on the feedback rejection properties of the three and I am interested in that, but it's unlikely they can top the Crown in that department. (Sidebar) Shortly after buying two L1s each with 2 subs, two years ago, I became disabled. I only played out with the L1 twice before I couldn't carry anything at all. The physical rehab has been long and slow but I am now to the point where I can carry light equipment again. I have kept the L1s because of their weight, power, and sound and am now getting ready to use them again. I've read maybe a third of the forums here and that is a LOT of reading. Many useful tips here and I think I'll be better than ever!! Whoo hoo!! I'm just getting back in the world again and have a lot of catch up to do. Thanks for your help! Off topic: What is the current version of the remote? Mine are the very first, Ver 1 I believe, and what difference is there in the versions? I have someone here who can update my presets....do I need new remotes as well? Thanks again!
I am very intersted in the vx10, I sing in a rock band but I looking for cuality and clarity in vocals. I have this doubt. Would be this agood mic for loud guitar ans drums in a small room rehearsals and gigs in pubs, or it would be too much of a mic for that? in sense that the loud enviroment wont make a diffrence with om5 or 6. or that the volumen for the guitar can damage the mic. what about om7, Would be that a better option for hard rock?
Maltess

The VX10 is a very high quality mic, sounds beautiful to me, especially with its preset in the T1. You will probably get a bit more direct a signal if you consistantly eat the mic and use an OM5. The OM5 is more sensitive to proximity. In other words the OM5 needs you to be on the mic, like lips on the screen, for a consistant vocal sound. You can't be wandering off-mic much with the OM5. In contrast, the VX10 is a bit more forgiving in this department. If you're a really loud singer, there is a low-output VX10 that I'd strongly recommend. Its output is attenuated so you will still get a good signal but not overload a mic preamp as easily.

Hard rock music, polka music, rap music, lounge music, wedding music, it's all the same. You still need to hear the vocal clearly and a good mic like the Audix units will help. You also need the help of musicians who support your vocal, this being way more important. If your hard rock band insists on burying your vocal; like bashing away while you are singing; then the mic, any mic, is useless. I think that a good vocal in any musical genre is more a function of arrangement and how the band plays (and how strong its priorities re: the vocal are) than any high-quality vocal microphone.
I just purchased an Audix OM5, and tried it head to head with my EV 767a. I like the low end better for my voice on the EV. The Audix seems to need a higher gain setting on the L1, to get the same volume, and I haven't found a preset that lets it sound quite as good as the EV.

The preset for the OM6 seems to sound the best to my ear, but still not quite as good as the EV.

Oh well, I finally have a backup mic, and even though it sounds great, not quite as good as my EV. Maybe I'll sell it on Ebay, and get another EV. It just seems to brighten up the low end on my baritone voice.
quote:
I just purchased an Audix OM5, and tried it head to head with my EV 767a. I like the low end better for my voice on the EV.


Interesting Gordy, I tend to like the EV 767 a bit better myself over the OM-5. I also like it over my Sure SM58.

Surprisingly Billie and I use a pair of wireless Nady UHF-10 mikes and they work very well with the T1. I have had them for about 3 years, without any problems. They have the DM-10D cartridge and seem to realy work well, both in wireless performance and in sound quality. I normally am not a big fan of Nady, but at the time I could not swing $500.00 apiece for Wireless EV 767's. These were $139.00 at the time.

I do hear that the Wireless frequencies are changing soon, so I may wait a while, before looking into the Wireless EV767's

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