KM 184 vs. AT 4041 vs. AT 4051 (2023)

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  2. Microphones
  3. KM 184 vs. AT 4041 vs. AT 4051
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  • #1

Hi everybody
I’m new in this forum and I have been reading a lot of your posts and can see there’s a lot of people with solid knowledge and experience with mics.
So I think you can really can help me the way I need.
Ok: I own a single KM 184 and now I want to have a pair of SC mics mainly for acoustic guitar stereo recording and general purposes ( percussions & acoustic instruments).
I have been reading good things about the Audio-Technnia small condenser mics.
So; the question is: Would you complete the KM 184 pair, or buy a new AT pair? And if AT wins, which would you prefer the 4041 or 4051? Which are the differences?
I know the prices are different but don’t worry about it. I just want to buy definitive mics. So, if three options (complete the KM 184 pair, buy a 4041 pair and buy a 4051 pair) would cost the same, what would you do?
Thank you very much.

April 15, 2005 @12:18pm

  • #2

I would complete the KM184 pair first.
Next choice would be a pair of 4051.
I'd actually pick a pair of 3031 over 4041 because they have lower self-noise and a more balanced frequency response (even if it's not as wide a frequency response as the 4041).
I only use my 4041's if I must have that brightness they exhibit.
The 4051's are both more balanced and have the wider frequency response of the 40 series.

April 15, 2005 @02:10pm

  • #3

I really like the 4051. In my opinion a lot of the great reputation that the 4041 and 4031 have is really due to the 4051. It is the real deal. Saying that, the 184 is also a great mic. Since you have one I would think it makes sense to complete that pair, depending on exactly what your application is of course.

April 15, 2005 @02:34pm

  • #4

For acoustic guitar miking, I wouldn't worry about completing a pair of anything, although a matched pair of something would certainly be useful for other things. I almost never use a matched pair for acoustic guitar.
Given that the KM184 isn't even close to "balanced" in terms of frequency response (it's WAY bright), if you like that sound, head straight for the 4041. It's a bright mic as well, but not nearly as brash as the 184, and it sounds bigger too. I've got four of them now, and one of them almost always ends up as one of the two mics I use on acoustic guitar (the other is usually one of my Korby-modified KM84's, a Soundelux U195, or a U99). The only downside to the 4041 is the lack of a pad switch, no doubt to meet the price point, which certainly isn't a problem with acoustic, but which makes it challenging to use close-miking drums, for instance.
Another mic which I think gets overlooked a lot is the Shure KSM144/KSM137. It's a nice, fairly flat response, sounds NOTHING like the old SM81 (or the 4041), and has a silky, almost vintage vibe to it. I use it mostly for piano and percussion, but it's nice on guitar, too.

April 15, 2005 @02:53pm

  • #5

DAS and Soundguy63: Thank you for posts.
So 4051 better than 4041.
And thinking only in Acoustic guitar application, Do you prefer the KM 184 or the 4051?

April 15, 2005 @02:57pm

  • #6

Originally posted by Arturo
DAS and Soundguy63: Thank you for posts.
So 4051 better than 4041.
And thinking only in Acoustic guitar application, Do you prefer the KM 184 or the 4051?

I do like the 4051 better than the 4041, but I get the feeling (from this and other posts) Michael feels differently?
In general I would probably take the 4051 on acoustic guitar (compared to the 184), but it REALLY depends a lot on the sound of the guitar. Different instruments have wildly different sounds once you get them miked up and take a listen. I have used almost every mic in my locker on acoustic at one time or another.
I agree that it's not really necessary to have a matched pair, however I do sometimes like to get a good stereo recording of an acoustic and that's when I'll usually use a pair of the same mic.

April 15, 2005 @03:06pm

  • #7

Thank you Michael.
So you prefer the 4041 over the 4051.
Let’s see: In stereo acoustic guitar application, I want them for a finger picked guitar driving the song. Do you remember that hit by Richard Marx “Now and forever”? That style.

April 15, 2005 @03:07pm

  • #8

I own a Takamine SantaFe ltd '97, and a plan to buy a Martin in the future.
The thing is that I don’t think I will have the chance to test the mics before purchase it

April 15, 2005 @03:16pm

  • #9

Honestly, I haven't used the 4051 enough (only a couple of times) to make a definitive comparison between it and the 4041, so I'm not making a qualitative statement comparing the two.
What I am saying is that I like it quite a bit on acoustic guitar, to the point that I almost always use one of them. It's also brilliant as a percussion mic, for drum overheads, and on snare drum (provided you have a mic preamp with a good pad switch). It's a great mic, probably one of the best I've used in that price range. It was a briiliant deal when they still costed $250 or so, but it's still a good deal at $300. There's just more stuff that competes with it (like the KSM137, which I also like quite a bit) in that price range.
If the application is acoustic guitar, this mic is great for it. I'm not sure you'd need to spend any more money. If you like the sound of 184 on acoustic, you'll like the 4041 as well, maybe better.
I DO like it better than the KM184 on just about everything. The only weakness is the lack of that pad switch.

April 15, 2005 @03:36pm

  • #10

I like the 184 but I'm not in love with it. I just wont to test a different thing to compare.
I have been having a look to the charts of both 4041 and 4051 and it seems that the 4051 has a more acoustic guitar “tailored” frequency response. I don’t understand how you say that the 4041 is more brilliant.

April 15, 2005 @03:59pm

  • #11

I'm not saying it's more brilliant, only that it's a bright mic. Almost all AT mics are bright to some degree. Whatever the other guy said about one being brighter, I'm not taking responsibility for.
I also think frequency plots are fairly limited in their ability to convey microphone character. A Soundelux and an AT 40-series have some similar peaks and dips going on on the freq plot, but they don't even sound remotely similar. Don't get hung up on spec sheets.
I do think you're rapidly getting to the point where frequency plots and a bunch of guys on the internet are going to be less helpful to you than you getting some of these different mics in to audition for yourself. The things you like and the things I like might be completely different, and there's only one way to find out.
I can only share my esperiences, and with the 4041, they've been very good. I have 8 or 9 40-series mics, and the 4041s always gets the most use these days.

April 15, 2005 @04:23pm

  • #12

You’re really really right about the plots and the real sound, and I know that the best way is to test it myself. The problem is that I can’t test it from my dealers without purchasing.
I will try again to find somewhere to compare, and if I can’t, I will have to take a blind decision.
Thank you very much to all of you.

April 15, 2005 @04:39pm

  • #13

The KM184's but only if you want a bright tone, the older KM84 has a much warmer tone to these ears. Why not a Large diaphram?
I love AKG414's on acoustic guitar. We have the new XLS version in a pair and it was money WELL spent! I also like the Gefell, what is it M300, but don't quote me on that. If I got the model numbers correct they sound very, very close to the KM84's.

April 21, 2005 @10:43pm

  • #14

4051's would be my first choice out of the 3.
I've used them a few times on acoustic and have always been more than pleased with the result.

April 22, 2005 @06:32am

  • #15

Thank you very much Randy.
Lzi; The AKG’s are in my list. I will have a look to the Gefell too. But by now, My objective is to have a good pair of SDC’s in medium budget that work well in acoustic guitar and general purposes. My next objective will be the LD pair where the the 414’s are in the first place (I don’t know if XLS or XL II).
So by now I’m trying to Get some Audio-Technnias to A/B with my 184 and choose.
Thank you very much to both of you.

April 22, 2005 @07:52am

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