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?