I finally wanted to try a different vocal mic again. I've been using a Shure Beta 87A or an Audix OM5 for the most part over the past couple years. I also have an AKG C535EB that sees some use. The 535 was the mic that I was told I sounded best on when we did the shootout at the Bose conference in Ashland back in 2006.

I like the way the 87 cuts, but it also feeds back a little more than I like even with judicious EQ usage. The OM5 sees mostly L1 Compact duty when I go direct in since the 87 requires phantom power and the Compact doesn't have it. I prefer a condenser when I can get phantom power. I was looking for a similar cut to the 87, but I was also hoping for a little smoother response with less feedback. So on a whim when my Sweetwater rep called I asked for his recommendation on a good condenser mic comparable to the 87 with the other characteristics I wanted. I asked him about the Blue enCORE 300 since we have talked about this here on the forum, and he said he liked that mic but really thought I should go for something like the Neumann KMS105. I had tried one of those a couple times, and although I like them they don't fit my voice very well - very smooth, but sounds nasal on my voice without as much cut as I like. His next recommendation was the Audix VX10. Although I know Cliff Henricksen really likes that mic, I really didn't want to spend 5 bills plus, so he suggested the little brother to the VX10 - the VX5 for $270. The VX5 has a supercardioid pattern, so I thought it would be good at rejecting feedback. (That was another thing that made me stay away from the VX10 - it has a cardioid pattern and thus wider area pickup and more chance for feedback.)

The VX5 arrived a couple days ago just before I was leaving for a gig. I put the Audix presets on my T1 and headed out. I only had a little time to try the mic before the gig, and I really wasn't impressed with its sound with the VX5 preset. So I tried the VX10 preset and did the gig with that. It still didn't have the punch and cut I really like in the 87, so when I got up the next morning I A/B'd both the 87 and VX5 along with the OM5, 535, and an odd Audio Technica condenser I had lying around (can't remember the model name.) When I tried the KMS105 preset on the VX5 it came to life. I use this preset on the 535, so I figured I would like it on the VX5, and I was right. It had nice bite and warm low end with most of the qualities I really like. I haven't had enough time on stage yet with this mic, but my initial impression is that it is very nice and will be a good addition to my mic arsenal. It has a 10dB pad as well as 150 Hz rolloff, so I think my bases are covered.

The most curious thing to me was that the VX5 preset didn't sound very good to me. I trust Cliff's golden ears implicitly, and I remember when he wrote of traveling to Audix and creating these presets. It appears that the mic may have gone through a redesign since Cliff made the VX5 preset which may explain the difference. The mic used to have a mesh grill inside the ball windscreen, but it now has two foam windscreens inside the ball. This makes it less susceptible to wind noise which is great for my purposes, and it also may have changed the characteristics of the mic enough to make it need more high end EQ. that's my feeling anyway. So I'll use the KMS105 preset. I'm taking my the advice we so often espouse here to use whatever preset seems to sound the best.

So I have a new mic and hopefully a better way to express myself.

Have any of you tried the VX5 and what did you think of it?
Original Post
Hi Tom,

Thanks for posting this. I've been really curious about the Audix VX5. Strangely, none of the bricks and mortar stores around here stock the Audix vocal microphones anymore.

My KMS105 is going on 8 years old, and still going strong, but I have been very impressed with the OM2 and OM3b (almost identical to the OM5). I use these with the Compacts and they do very well. But back to you...

Thanks for the detailed impressions. The way you framed your comments in the context of the AKG C535 (my long-time go-to microphone before the KMS 105), this really helped to get a sense of what you were hearing.

Do you prefer the VX5 (with KMS 105 Preset) over the AKG C535? I know that the VX5 will probably be a better performer on our stages simply because it is has the supercardioid polar pattern.

So aside from that - how's the the sound and responsiveness of the VX5 compared to the AKG C535?
ST,

I think I do prefer the VX5. I didn't answer right away because I wanted to do some more A/B'ing at the other two gigs I had today. The two mics are very similar in a lot of ways. The VX5 is a little more pronounced in the midrange and low end. I've always described the 535 as having kind of a fuzzy midrange if that makes sense. After singing on both of them today I find the VX5 a little more forgiving and able to smooth out peaks better. It's also a little less harsh in the high end. The thing I liked best about it was that it didn't pick up as many plosive pops. I did have to stay on the VX5 pretty tight which is my normal technique. You'd expect this with a supercardioid pattern. It also has a slight flat spot on the ball grill that helps locate the center of the mic with your lips.

Does that answer your questions?
Well, now you've got me thinking! I've been using a Shure Beta 58 for years and not thinking twice about changing, and certainly not a [gasp] condensor mic.

So, the Audix VX mics and the others mentioned are condensor mics, but have super tight patterns? Which is why they do not feedback or, presumably, pick up noise?

One of the things I most enjoy about condensor mics in live performances--always in super quiet venues--is that you don't have to be right on top of them.

I have my Model II et al set up and have been revisiting all of my settings recently (inspired by the happy addition of Fishman Aura 16 stompboxes for the guitars) and have been paying attention to my vocals. Really want them to have that extra something, too! Despite advice to the contrary, I have re-added a light touch of compression, after much A/B-ing on my most challenging songs. I find it just makes my vocals sound smoother, along with paying more attention to mic technique beyond 'eating the mic'.

Always something to learn. Sounds like I need to check out some other mics which might serve me better.
Hi Tom,

It would be nice to have a mic with just a bit more envelope.

Maybe I can turn compression off when I find the right mic!

Looking forward to trying the VX5 one day soon, I hope!

And congrats on the upgrade! I think it's very nifty that upgrading is possible. What a classy product!

Mary
Hi Mary,

Let me encourage you to find a bricks and mortar music store that can let you audition the Audix VX5 or VX10 and the Neumann KMS 105.

I'd really like to try the Audix VX's, but I can't find a local dealer who stocks them. And no one will buy one in in hopes of finding a buyer.

Hi Tom,

It only took seven years for me to pick up an Audix VX-5.  No local bricks 'n mortar dealers stock them, and it's a no-returns policy for special orders.  But I got my hands on one, finally. I'm very impressed.



Tom Munch posted:
I finally wanted to try a different vocal mic again.
I'm trying not to buy stuff on a whim, but I've been interested in trying the Audix VX-5 since you wrote about getting yours. I hope you're still happy with it.
I've been using a Shure Beta 87A or an Audix OM5 for the most part over the past couple years. I also have an AKG C535EB that sees some use. The 535 was the mic that I was told I sounded best on when we did the shootout at the Bose conference in Ashland back in 2006.
I still have my AKG C535 EB but haven't used it much since getting my Neumann KMS 105 in 2004.  The AKG is a terrific microphone, but I like the Neumann better for what I do.


I like the way the 87 cuts, but it also feeds back a little more than I like even with judicious EQ usage.
Ditto - same impression and experience here.
The OM5 sees mostly L1 Compact duty
I use my OM3b (similar to the OM5) and EV N/D 737A with my S1 Pro and L1 Compact. However, I'm more likely to use a ToneMatch mixer if I'm going to bring out the L1 Compact. Then I'll use the Neumann KMS 105 because I have phantom power available. And chances are good; if I'm using the L1 Compact, I'm probably in a more demanding environment compared to where I use the S1 Pro.
when I go direct in since the 87 requires phantom power and the Compact doesn't have it. I prefer a condenser when I can get phantom power. I was looking for a similar cut to the 87, but I was also hoping for a little smoother response with less feedback. So on a whim when my Sweetwater rep called I asked for his recommendation on a good condenser mic comparable to the 87 with the other characteristics I wanted. I asked him about the Blue enCORE 300
I did a benefit on Saturday. One of the performers brought a Blue Encore 300.  That microphone is super hot. (Sensitivity: 11mV/PA).  I had to turn the trim on the T4S way down. It sounded good though using the generic Vocal Mics/Handheld Mics ToneMatch Preset.
since we have talked about this here on the forum, and he said he liked that mic but really thought I should go for something like the Neumann KMS105. I had tried one of those a couple times, and although I like them they don't fit my voice very well - very smooth, but sounds nasal on my voice without as much cut as I like. His next recommendation was the Audix VX10. Although I know Cliff Henricksen really likes that mic, I really didn't want to spend 5 bills plus, so he suggested the little brother to the VX10 - the VX5 for $270. The VX5 has a supercardioid pattern, so I thought it would be good at rejecting feedback. (That was another thing that made me stay away from the VX10 - it has a cardioid pattern and thus wider area pickup and more chance for feedback.)
I considered the VX-10 but shied away because of the cardioid polar pattern (too).

The VX5 arrived a couple days ago just before I was leaving for a gig. I put the Audix presets on my T1 and headed out. I only had a little time to try the mic before the gig, and I really wasn't impressed with its sound with the VX5 preset. So I tried the VX10 preset and did the gig with that. It still didn't have the punch and cut I really like in the 87, so when I got up the next morning I A/B'd both the 87 and VX5 along with the OM5, 535, and an odd Audio Technica condenser I had lying around (can't remember the model name.) When I tried the KMS105 preset on the VX5 it came to life. I use this preset on the 535, so I figured I would like it on the VX5, and I was right. It had nice bite and warm low end with most of the qualities I really like. I haven't had enough time on stage yet with this mic, but my initial impression is that it is very nice and will be a good addition to my mic arsenal. It has a 10dB pad as well as 150 Hz rolloff, so I think my bases are covered.

The most curious thing to me was that the VX5 preset didn't sound very good to me. I trust Cliff's golden ears implicitly, and I remember when he wrote of traveling to Audix and creating these presets.
When Cliff went to Audix, he had to take the Audix engineers' preferences into account when creating the Audix ToneMatch Presets. 
It appears that the mic may have gone through a redesign since Cliff made the VX5 preset which may explain the difference. The mic used to have a mesh grill inside the ball windscreen, but it now has two foam windscreens inside the ball. This makes it less susceptible to wind noise which is great for my purposes, and it also may have changed the characteristics of the mic enough to make it need more high end EQ. that's my feeling anyway. So I'll use the KMS105 preset. I'm taking my the advice we so often espouse here to use whatever preset seems to sound the best.
I agree. I prefer the Audix VX-5 with the ToneMatch Preset for the Neumann KMS 105. That's probably because I've been using the Neumann for fifteen years, and that sound is my gold-standard (for my voice).  Using the KMS 105 Preset, the Audix sounds right to me. I still prefer the Neumann, but the Audix comes close enough for noisy environments where the subtle differences are lost anyway.  So now I have another quality microphone I can put in front of a vocalist with confidence. I set up the Audix for a good friend last night and she got along with it well, and sounded great.
So I have a new mic and hopefully a better way to express myself.

Have any of you tried the VX5 and what did you think of it?
I like the Audix VX-5 (especially for less than half the price of the Neumann KMS 105). 
Tom, how are you getting along with yours seven years later?
ST

I'm still using the VX-5 when I use the T1.  For a while I thought that it had too much bass, and so I had to modify my voice a lot to get the tone I wanted.  I went to the OM-5 preset eventually too out of preference for the tone I got with that preset.  I use my Model II so infrequently since I play mostly smaller gigs that the VX-5 doesn't see much use.

I have dabbled more in dynamic mics over the past few years in an effort to find a great mic for the Compact and S1 Pro.  I bought and tried 5 more after exhaustive research online back in 2015.  I ended up with the Audix OM-7, Telefunken M80, Beyerdynamic M69 TG, Sennheiser e945, and JZ HH1 My favorite for the Compact has been the JZ HH1, but it has quite a bit of handling noise, so I default to the OM-5 quite often.  On the S1 Pro I prefer the Telefunken M80.

Hi Tom,

Great to hear from you. Thanks for the update on your microphone journey.

I'll try the Audix OM5 Preset with the Audix VX-5 soon.

Have you tried the Hi-pass filter on the Audix VX-5. I find it cleans up the low end a bit (not much if I'm using the KMS 105 Preset. I think that Preset does that for us).

Hmmm. That Telefunken M80 gets great reviews.

You got me thinking about what I had lying in the mic drawer and I just tried the Beyerdynamic M 88 TG with the S1 Pro.  Wow, that's great.  

I hope all is well at your end.

Cheers.

ST

I have tried the Hi-Pass filter.  It seems to take too much bass away for me.  

I really like living with a mic for a week or so and seeing what all it can do.  All of the mics I tried really have different qualities.  The only one that I had difficulty using was the Sennheiser.  It had similar high-end feedback problems as the 87.

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