Updated: Nov 13, 2019
The Neumann KM184 from the 180 series is a small-diaphragm condenser microphone with cardioid polar pattern. The microphone is available with omnidirectional (KM 183) as well as hypercardioid (KM 185) characteristic . The KM84 is legendary for the recording of acoustic instruments such as guitars, grand pianos, wind instruments, strings or e.g. choirs and vocals. Can the successor with a very musical background and warm sound work for dialogue, ADR and field recordings?
The microphone comes in a cheap looking cardboard box with pop filter and a microphone clamp. These should be replaced with an shock mount otherwise strong handling noise may occur (Cable, Boompole, rattling etc.).
A Rycote Invision INV-7-HG-Mark III is recommended if you want to combine it with a windbreak, also from Rycote, the Baby Ball Gag 22MM. As an handheld version you can then choose to go with the Soft Grip or directly with the fixed version with grip and bracket. If you use other shock mounts it can lead to sagging of the microphone due to the high weight of the wind basket. With the Windjammer for the BBG you can find yourself recording outside on the field without any wind issues.
Field Recording And Foley:
Foley recording can be optimally implemented due to the low self noise. With the small form factor of just 107mm length is the KM184 universally applicable. The warm sound and the lack of detail are indeed not ideal but the sound quality and the signal itself is very useful. Although it clearly has the strengths in dialogue and voices, it is still a fantastic value for field recording and foley. In contrast to the Rode NT5 the higher frequencies has much more clarity.
Dialogue And Voice Recording In The Studio:
The strengths of the Neumann KM184 are in the voice recordings on set or in the studio. Thanks to the cardioid polar pattern, off-axis problems are no longer to compensate.
The application of small diaphragm microphones are found indoors since shotgun microphones tend to color the sound, because the interference pattern does not reject any early reflections. Furthermore, the realistic surround sound is better represented by cardioid microphones. On the one hand this can be beneficial, but on the other hand it can record too much room reflection which leads to sound mixers use super cardioid microphones. The KM184 convinces with the typical Neumann quality and can be used perfectly for ADR. Even voice-over can be recorded very well and clean with 30cm distance.
You can buy the whole as a stereo pair for $1269. With a Rycote Stereo Windshield or a
Rode Stereo Bar with two BBG windshields great stereo recordings will also be successful in field recording with strong wind.
The Neumann KM184 is a significant increase to the cheaper small-diaphragm microphones such as the Samson C02, Rode NT5 or Oktava MK012. Therefore, it should rather be compared to the Schoeps series and price range. The low self noise, as well as the sound and build quality are in the upper class and do not need to hide from the Schoeps CMC 5/6 or the MKH 8040. A small drawback to the Rode NT5, Oktava MK012 or Schoeps CMC 5/6 is the firmly installed cardioid capsule, which offers no great freedom and can not be removed. However, one capsule from Schoeps costs around $733 which is the price of a new KM185 microphone with a hyper-cardioid capsule. So if you search for a cheap alternative on the Schoeps and can handle the warm sound (detail poverty in the mids), the KM184 is not a bad choice.
- Mic 1 = Neumann KM184
- Mic 2 = RodeM5
- Mic 3 = Rode NTG4+
- Mic 4 = Samson C04
- Mic 5/6 = Zoom XYH-5
Acoustic operation: pressure gradient receiver
Polar pattern: cardioid
range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Field transfer factor at 1 kHz at 1 kOhm: 15 mV / Pa
Nominal impedance: 50 ohms
Nominal load impedance: 1 kOhm
Replacement noise level, CCIR1): 22 dB
Spare noise level, A-weighted1): 13 dB-A
Noise level, CCIR1) (relative 94 dB SPL): 72 dB
Noise level, A-weighted1) (relative 94 dB SPL): 81 dB
Boundary sound pressure level for K <0.5% 2): 138 dB
Maximum output voltage: 10 dBu
Supply voltage (P48, IEC 61938): 48 V ± 4 V
Power consumption (P48, IEC 61938): 3.2 mA
Required connector: XLR3F
Weight: approx. 80 g
Diameter: 22 mm
Length: 107 mm