Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a "mic mod"?
A: Modifications with the goal of improving the performance of a microphone.
Q: What do you do to the mic?
A: I replace inferior stock components with the best components to achieve optimal performance and sound quality. Inappropriate components are replaced with the proper components for their position in the circuit and the design, e.g., ceramic capacitors in the signal path are replaced. The entire circuit is improved, not just the signal path, following the design principles of classic microphones, and from my extensive experience with microphone and studio electronics.
There's more involved than just changing parts, though, as often a lot of the board needs reworked and who knows what else can pop up on a given microphone. Likewise, I reengineer things as needed. My basic philosophy is to solve problems, allowing the mic to function at its best.
The power supply of tube microphones is improved, as well, with the same attention to detail. The PSU plays an important role in the overall sound quality and stability of the microphone.
Q: Do you replace the capsule?
A: It is unnecessary to replace, or swap, the capsule to achieve a better sounding mic. The stock capsule is not the source of any problems, and replacing it will not correct the problems, nor will it turn the microphone into a U87, C12, or some other mic. I can certainly swap the capsule for another if that is your wish, but I can't guarantee it will offer any improvement—you may find that it is only somewhat different sounding, but not necessarily better, and sometimes not as good.
If the stock capsule has been damaged, then it will need to be replaced. Capsule damage usually occurs if the microphone is exposed to liquid contamination: water, cleaning agents, solvents, etc. Most problems attributed to the capsule are, in fact, typically caused by other components. It's actually rather rare for a capsule to be faulty. Capsules are far more durable than most people realize.
Q: What specific parts do you replace?
A: I cannot provide a parts list, schematics, or other do-it-yourself information. I replace the problem components and make modifications as required to achieve the desired result: a mic operating at its best.
Q: What "bad" components do you replace?
A: While I cannot provide specific parts lists, or other DIY information, I can say that a "bad" component is one that is either degrading the sound quality, malfunctioning, failing, inappropriate for its position in the circuit (wrong type, wrong value, etc.), or any combination of these things.
Q: What is your shipping address?
A: I am located in Oklahoma, USA. My shipping address will be provided via email, when your order is placed.
Q: Can I have a mic shipped directly to you from a seller?
A: It's no problem to have a microphone shipped directly to me, as long as the seller is willing. I've done it many times for my overseas clients. But some sellers are not willing to ship to an address that isn't the same as the buyer, so be sure to fully clear it with them. Also, my shipping costs are calculated for a microphone only, no shock mounts, hard cases, or anything extra, so if any of that is to be shipped, there may be additional shipping fees.
Q: I'm semi-famous, what kind of discount can I get for letting you use my name, talking up the service, etc., etc.?
A: While I appreciate your enthusiasm, most people do this for free because they like the work I do so much.
Q: Is a new tube included with the mod?
A: Tube replacement is left to the discretion of the customer for user replaceable tubes, and not included in the pricing of the mod. Replacing the tube alone is not an actual upgrade or modification, but is an inevitable maintenance procedure with tube gear. In general, stock Chinese and Russian 12AX7, 12AY7, 12AT7, and 6922 tubes should be replaced, however, while sub-mini tubes (often soldered to the board) should be left alone. All tubes, stock, replacement, NOS, or current issue, should be judged individually. There are many fine choices available, both old and new, but I recommend JJ Electronic, particularly their gold pin models.
Q: What tube can you recommend for the Rode K2/NTK?
A: JJ gold pin tubes are excellent modern tubes. 6922, 6DJ8, and 7DJ8 tubes by Amperex (except the JAN USA made ones), Telefunken, Mullard, Siemens, and RCA will provide similar performance. Sylvanias are good, but darker.
Q: Do you sell kits?
A: I do not sell kits. My mods involve more than a kit can offer. Properly modifying microphones requires more than simply swapping components, and a rudimentary knowledge of soldering.
Q: What improvements can I expect? How will my mic be improved by your mods?
A: The problems the mic possesses will be eliminated, and otherwise greatly reduced to the point of being inconsequential. This typically translates to lower noise, better transient handling, fuller sound, and performance on par with expensive professional microphones.
Q: Which microphone do you feel sees the most improvement?
A: I bring them all to a professionally usable level. Another way to look at it would be, I remove problems, so microphones with more problems to correct will see a greater relative improvement.
Q: What microphone will my mic be comparable to after the mod?
A: It depends on several factors, but realistically it will compare to itself only functioning at its best, and devoid of its stock problems. Not all budget microphones are simple copies of a single given vintage mic, there are a number of hybrids, combining two or three design elements of older microphones. There are also a few more-or-less original ideas out there.
Q: What is your mod for the GAP Pre-73?
A: The GAP 73 is an amazing clone of the Neve 1073, only with grossly inferior (and historically inaccurate) components. What I do with this unit is replace these stock components with the same components Neve used following Neve's schematics more closely than what I've seen others do (I refurbish vintage gear regularly), which really brings it into the big leagues, and improves the longevity, as well. I've found the stock transformers perform excellently and do not need to be replaced. I do replace the output transistor, however, with the same type Neve used.