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I own 4 vintage U87s from the 70s among other vintage Neumann, AKG and Telefunkens. But those are the main ones I use for voice-over and they get a lot of mileage. I'm thinking of sending them in somewhere to get checked up on. They are doing fine but I don't know if a routine check-up is necessary. I know of some recordists who have never sent their mics in to be looked at.

How often do you send your microphones to be checked up on?

Do you keep a reference file to refer back to for it's frequency response?

How do you take care of your mics and what maintenance do you do to them?

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Well if you send your mics to Klaus Heyne at German Masterworks, they'll sound better than they do now...or when they were built.

If you're using them everyday for voice-over and that's your bread and butter, I'd say that you should have them looked at every year or so. Back when I worked in music the engineers I know would send their prize vocal mics to get cleaned every year. Instrument mics not so much (if at all).

I guess the old adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it" has always applied to my mics (mostly used for fx gathering). I haven't had my Schoeps pair looked at since I bought them 10 years ago...but that's because I'm still happy with the results. Of course, I baby them and keep them safe in a zepplin, even indoors. My other mics always stay in the case and I baby them as well.

Keeping a reference file is a good idea though...gotta try that one.

  • @Justin thanks for responding. I guess I'll give it a shot and send one out for cleaning. I've used them heavily for about 8 years and they get babied beyond belief but I think it may be time. – Utopia Jul 16 '10 at 3:43
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I just got my Sennheiser MKH418s back from a checkup, this is the first time I have done this. I bought the mic second hand and have now had it a few years. It didn't cost me a cent to send it to Sennheiser in South Africa (even though I didn't buy it from them).

I was really worried that it was damaged as I feel that it is noisier than it should be. They said it is in perfect condition. The only issue was the cable having some corrosion, which they cleaned for me.

I was hoping that the noise was coming from the cable, but when testing it again it is just as noisy. This makes me wonder if I'm becoming too picky or it is indeed a noisy mic and didn't notice too much until recently. The MKH series is supposed to have a very low noise...

  • The MKH series is the lowest of the low when it comes to self-noise, but the side element of the 418 for some reason is notoriously noisy (still quiet compared to many mics, but not the best for quiet nature stuff). You're much better off using an MKH MS pair. – Justin P Jul 16 '10 at 15:37
  • @Justin yeah, I read that somewhere too. And I ran some tests and the noise definitively is concentrated on the sides. I think the main problem with this mic is that unless it's a "loud" source, I have to run it very hot, which brings out all the noise. – Andrew Spitz Jul 16 '10 at 16:38
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I don't have a lot to say about sending mics in to be cleaned, but I will tell you that CAIG Labs DeoxIT works wonders on inputs and mic connections. Just a sprits, connect a cable a few times, wipe up, and it will help. If you have faders or knobs that are noisy, shoot some Fader-F (used to be called CaiLube). I keep little mini cans of each with me at all times, and when I go to work on live sound systems, I take full size bottles and usually clean every connector, knob and fader with them.

Sorry I sound like an advertisement, but those two things have refurbished more equipment than I can list.

  • @VCProd Wow cool, good advice. What are some of the things dirty connections can cause? Distortion? Hum? Bad tonality? I haven't had a problem yet with my connectors in my studio but it's good to know for live situations. – Utopia Jul 16 '10 at 20:07
  • @Ryan Dirty connects can cause crackling, hum, and loss of signal (either partially or in full). Those connectors will oxodize over time, expecially if you take them out of the studio. I have to regularly clean the inputs on my field recorder, but still fight rust. I've also seen weird channel ghosting fixed by deoxing and lubing. It's not a bad idea to take your board completely apart once every year or so and give it a good cleaning. Fader-F is good for fixing pots that don't turn as smoothely as they used to and faders that might have grit or gunk in them – VCProd Jul 19 '10 at 15:03

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