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Shure KSM32, A love story.

March 23rd, 2011 | 50 Comments   « Previous  |  Episode 29  |  Next »

In this episode Ronan tries to explain his love affair with the Shure KSM32 microphone, as well as giving shout-outs to Bongo Ties (Thanks to Home Recording Weekly for turning me on to these) and the Home Recording Show. Be warned: the intro to this episode may be the dumbest thing we have ever done, but we had fun.

To watch on your iphone or ipad dowload the M4v version

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50 Comments ~ Speak your mind »
  1. Chris

    Another great show. Thanks for doing these.

    ….searching craigslist now….

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  2. Ian!

    What, no download link this time?

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  3. Diamond Jim Hewitt

    So were you really in Venice? Or is that green screen….

    Nice show, thanks.

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  4. jhk

    I really liked that you didn’t try to make it a review. And the intro isn’t as dumb as you think, just funny.

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  5. Bruno Fornazza

    Hey Ronan!!! you´ve got and natural for acting dude!!! great intro hehe!!!

    great to see a new episode!!! next love affair episode should be the Pacifica.. I love it as well!!

    cheers brow

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  6. Virginia Wagner

    Thanks for a great show about my main vocal mic! My engineer did a shoot out with 8 different vocal mics and the KSM32 was outstanding! It’s been his “go to” on my voice for the last 6 years. I also record most of my strings using it.
    Ciao, Virginia

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  7. Michael Izzi

    Great intro! Hilarious! Fantastic show! Thanks 4 taking the time out to do this! ~M

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  8. Darrin

    I have a pair…it wasnt so much your recommendation but the fact it was used exclusively on Steely Dans “Two against Nature” on all instruments sold me…

    …Funny…if a voice came to me like yours…Id put an AT4047 in front of you…have you tried one of those?

    …seriously…break your clip…Ive got a few…one came with my KSM44 too…Ill sell you mine $50 each…now that is a bargain :P

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  9. Darrin

    If you wanna sell people on the KSM32…show them this video…this guy rocks…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT9C_NmImjM

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  10. Paul Speer

    I don’t own one of these but have used them. When asked for gear recommendations by musicians with home studios, this is the one “good” mic I suggest they purchase, along with an outboard mic pre.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see you do a show on the KSM32 and I completely agree about sounding good on just about everything. Thanks for another terrific show, Ronan. You are a generous man.

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  11. Richard Herrera-Lopez

    Hey Ronan, I put up a pair of KSM 44’s in a clutch and was pleasantly suprised. Do you think there is a big dif between the 44 and 32? I know the 44 is voiced for vocals.

    How do you think the 32 compares to an Audio Technica 4050?

    Thanks for the episode,
    rhl

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  12. Mike EX KGB

    Very cool episode! Ah ah ah I remember the intro! UHHHHH

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  13. Darrin

    Richerd…Ill go out on a limb and compare it with the AT4033…AT3035 is like a lite version of it.

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  14. Ronan

    Thanks for the reminder about the download link. Fixed it.

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  15. John

    Thanks Ronan. It’s been awhile, I can honestly say you put it on the line. I currently have the SM57,Sm58, SM58 beta, and the Sm7b. Why not the KSM32? Going to check it out soon. Keep up the great work.

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  16. John Mc

    I love this mic also. Sweet on bluegrass stuff here in Nashvegas.

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  17. Ryan Canestro

    I have had a Shure KSM32 for about 7 years now. I have loved it on most sound sources this whole time. In the last year I got a second one to use as a pair. I highly recommend them as well and am so glad that Ronan has had the same results. It helps to justify my sanity. I tell anyone who will listen about this mic.

    Thank you for the shout out for The Home Recording Show. Looking forward to future callobroations.

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  18. Ernest Buckley

    Nice fun show Ronan. Thanks for sharing. I`m recording a live concert of a 40 person orchestra on May 1… Have you used the KSM32 on an orchestra?

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  19. Brad Kinder

    I actually just recorded vocals at a friend’s studio the other night with the KSM32. It was my first experience with the mic and it sounds great. Gonna have to pick one up soon!

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  20. Best mic for under $500

    [...] Just to add to the pot, you might be interested in watching Ronan's latest video about his love affair with the Shure KSM32. It's a $500 LDC. Shure KSM32 microphone and bongo ties review | Ronan's Recording Show [...]

  21. Ronan


    Nice fun show Ronan. Thanks for sharing. I`m recording a live concert of a 40 person orchestra on May 1… Have you used the KSM32 on an orchestra?

    I have used them on small string sections a number of times with very cool results, and a good friend of mine recorded an orchestra once using a pair at an outdoor concert (charity event in a tent!) and the sound was surprisingly good. The one thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to be using just a stereo pair the KSM32 are cardioid and not a super wide one at that as far as I can tell, a lot of classical recording guys (which I was many years ago) tend to like wider pattern mics. On orchestral instruments I find the KSM32 rather focus vs the more open sound you would get with something like a DPA4011.

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  22. Ronan

    Hey Ronan, I put up a pair of KSM 44’s in a clutch and was pleasantly suprised. Do you think there is a big dif between the 44 and 32? I know the 44 is voiced for vocals.

    I talked about the difference in the first edit of this episode, but cut it out as the video was getting to be waaaaay toooo loooong. They are very different mics. I like the KSM44 a lot. It is voiced much brighter than the 32, more in line with what you would normally expect from a Large diaphragm condenser. But there is something very particular about the tonal balance and mid-range detail on the 32 that I miss when using the 44. That said I think the 44 is a great all around mic, especially if you need a multi-pattern mic, and I think it beats most of the competition in its price point.

    How do you think the 32 compares to an Audio Technica 4050?

    4050 is a very solid mics. But if I could choose only one it would definitely be the KSM32. Now if you had asked about the AT 4060 there might be some debate. The 4060 is an outstanding mic!

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  23. Thomas

    Thank you for doing such a great show. This has pushed me to buy a pair of these. Keep up the good work!

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  24. Justice Constantine

    Ronan,

    Thank you so much for this review of the Shure KSM 32. My friend and fellow musician Chris Schlarb referred me to your opinion of the microphone when I was asking about condensers. When he told me that you used them on King Crimson’s records, I was sold. I am stuffing quarters into my piggy bank saving up for one now.

    Justice Constantine

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  25. Jeff

    Hi Ronan

    Oddly enough I got one of these about two weeks before your “little affair” arrived. I know they work well with acoustic guitar [if you take the 15db pad off] and I’ll believe you on the drum overheads though I don’t have any and I’ve had good success on Clean guitar [Vox'ish]. But I’m not having such good luck on distorted guitars. My 57’s still out class the KSM32. Is that your experience?

    It took about 2 weeks and 30-40 set ups to get used to the “no color” sound and lack of prominent high end [the official curve starts to drop off at 10K]. The organ really sold me on getting back to practicing with it.

    It’s been an interesting re-education.

    And yeah, that shockmount basket’s nice.

    Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us all.

    Jeff Dahl

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  26. Ronan


    But I’m not having such good luck on distorted guitars. My 57’s still out class the KSM32.

    As I said in the video, I hardly every use condensers on electric guitars. I almost always prefer the SM57.

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  27. B

    Hi Ronan,

    How does the Shure stack up against a Joy modded, Oktava mk-219?

    I’ve got an Oktava mk-219 and could either pay for the premium electronics upgrade from Michael Joly or sell it and buy a Shure KSM 32.

    Do you or anyone out there have any, personal, experience with either mics?

    Thanks and keep up the great & informative vids!

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  28. Ronan

    How does the Shure stack up against a Joy modded, Oktava mk-219?

    I’ve got an Oktava mk-219 and could either pay for the premium electronics upgrade from Michael Joly or sell it and buy a Shure KSM 32.

    Do you or anyone out there have any, personal, experience with either mics?

    I actually had a chance to compare the two side by side in a shoot out a few years ago. The Oktova mod was fine, but every one in the room liked the Shure better.

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  29. B

    [I actually had a chance to compare the two side by side in a shoot out a few years ago. The Oktova mod was fine, but every one in the room liked the Shure better. ]

    Thanks so much for the reply…

    Here’s the thing, I intend to use it only on male vocals. I’m a baritone and need a great vocal mic to capture the rich bottom mids.

    I use tube preamps and guitar rig for all guitars and have drum softwares so I would never use the mic for anything other than for my own vocals.

    Knowing that…would you STILL recommend the Shure over a modded Joly Oktava?

    Thanks again!

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  30. Ronan

    Here’s the thing, I intend to use it only on male vocals. I’m a baritone and need a great vocal mic to capture the rich bottom mids…would you STILL recommend the Shure over a modded Joly Oktava?.

    If its just for one vocalist, you REALLY want to test the mic. In general I think the Shure is a better mic, but you never know how a mic will match a voice before you try it.

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  31. B

    Hi Ronan,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to steer in the right direction!

    I am a constant viewer of your outstanding videos!

    I, also, have a Groove Tubes Md1b tube mic that I love. I am thinking of 3 choices for a 2nd vocal mic so as to add a little different flavor / texture when I stack voxi:

    1) Mod out my Oktava mk219 with the Joly Premium Electronics

    2) Get the Avant cr-14 dual ribbon mic (Have you had a chance to check out these new ribbons?)

    3) Shure KSM-32

    Thanks again, take care m’man!

    B.

    P.s.- loved your latest video regarding the fethead!

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  32. Ronan

    2) Get the Avant cr-14 dual ribbon mic (Have you had a chance to check out these new ribbons?)

    I have not experience with the Avant mics yet.

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  33. B

    [I have not experience with the Avant mics yet.]

    They are suppose to offer a real warm, but open airy sound, from the reviews online (plus they, JUST, look SO cool, lol):

    http://www.studioauditions.com/gearreviewdetail.php?GearReviewID=49

    I would have overlooked the Shure KSM-32, had it NOT been for your videos. I did read a review of the KSM-44, a few years back in a MIX Magazine, Recording, or some other very reputable magazine when it (KSM-44) first came out…AND THEY WERE VERY COMPLIMENTARY ON THE RESULTS OF THAT MODEL FOR VOCALS…ESPECIALLY THE LOWER MID END FREQ’S.

    Just thought that you’d find that amusing, being that you ACTUALLY perfer the KSM-32 over the 44’s.

    Thanks again, Ronan!

    B.

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  34. The Captain

    Very cool show! Sent here through a link from the Bongo Ties newsletter. Great stuff to stock up on, they have uses you haven’t thought of yet. I keep two at the bottom of my iPhone pouch for emergency quick fixes. In your line of work, I can see you using the pack of ten in a session, easy!

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  35. karmacable

    On the raw acoustic slide track at the end, what was the rest of the signal path (e.g. preamp / mixing board, A-D converter)? Thanks,

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  36. laurent

    Hi Ronan,

    I follow your advice and bought one of those KSM 32 mic. I am very happy with it but I think I can get better from it. So I’m asking about what preamp to use in conjunction to it. I’m recording jazz, classical, some folk and sometimes rock but essentially acoustic instruments and vocals. Searching over the internet, I saw 4 mic preamp flavor : Neve 1073, API 312, John Hardy Jensen Twin Servo and Millennia Media HV.
    Price won’t be a problem since I’ll go the DIY way (Seventh Circle Audio)
    What is your advice ? What is, in your opinion, the best couple (mic / preamp) ?

    Best regards and thanks again for your show,
    Laurent

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  37. laurent

    Hi Ronan,

    I think I found the anwser alone… I’m going to buy a A-Designs P1 pre and a Lunchbox.

    Bye,
    Laurent

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  38. Yoav Tzfati

    Hey, love the show!
    I was just wondering how you set up blind AB shoot outs (of the files).
    Thanks!

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  39. Monty Jones

    Awesome show, man! Really learning a lot from ya.

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  40. Andrew

    Thanks, Maybe we will meet some day! Keep keepin it real. peace

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  41. david

    Eddie Kramer agrees…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkXVSq99LJY&feature=relmfu

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  42. Carter

    Hi Ronan, great show. I bought my first KSM32 12 years ago as my first high quality condenser and it’s such a great all-rounder. Then after attending your awesome bootcamp and hearing what magic you can get with these as overhead drum mics, I bought another one. This mic has never blown me away with it’s character, but I think it’s greatest strength is to record what’s there with great accuracy, in a pleasing way and to sit well in the mix. And I think there is something magical about pairing it with the Pacifica preamp – just an awesome combination. Just yesterday I recorded ukelele for the first time, so I setup 4 mics to test – the Shure KSM32, AKG C414 XLII, GrooveTube MD1B and the Neumann TLM102, all through Pacifica pres. Once again the KSM32 won out. The AKG was brighter and made you go “wow” at first, but the KSM32 sounded more natural and fit better into the mix. Both the musician and I chose it hands down. And the irony is that was the cheapest mic of them all. It is good on so many sources. BTW when comparing my circa 1999 KSM32 vs the 2009 model, I find the 2009 model is slightly brighter. I don’t know if that’s manufacturing or more dust and age on the old one, but both sound great. Thanks for this great video and all your others. I still feel that the best money I ever spent on recording was to attend your Home Recording Boot Camp!

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  43. Recording

    that intro is genius! still laughing… oh and the content was useful too – thanks!

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  44. Dave Blair

    I picked a couple up based on Ronan’s recommendation. Really mix friendly mic. If you wanna hear samples check out my 2 new singles “Gonna Do” and “In Love With You” http://daveblairmusic.com
    I used on drum overheads, female backing vocals, all percussion (great on congas), and most of the clean gtr and acoustic gtr sounds. Great all purpose workhorse. If I was trying to do pro level recordings on a shoe string budget the first mics I’d get would be SM57, ksm32, then maybe an SM7.

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  45. Tony Koretz

    The KSM32 is not a mic I had even considered before, but this little video has got me interested to try one (or a pair of them) now. Love the style you use to present these videos too. Keep ‘em coming Ronan!

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  46. Joe Dvorsky

    I’ve owned and used them about ten years, many live concert bands, bluegrass, vocals. They are excellent for bass drum, tympani and I think all percussion. I’ve used them on guitar cabinets. They pick up the woodwinds (clarinet and sax) near the front, extremely well. Once in a while, I hear a “raspiness” on brass but it might be the way I placed them or my pre (Fireface 800).
    Thank you Ronan for the demo/opinion and comparisons.

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  47. Larry Sanchez

    Glad I watched this someone else who feels the same way I do about Sure KSM 32 I’ve been using them Live! on horn section for about 5 or 6 years with the Latin Jazz band I have been touring with for 25 years, I always get guys asking what Mic i’m using on the horns there have been times that I haven’t been able to use them due to certin situations and I get really bumbed, I can NEVER get the same results with any other mic’s, there is such a transparent sound with KSM 32, the only thing I do is roll of a bit of 3K on sax & tpt to take out a bit of the edge use flat on Tbn, I owned 7 of them but was reciently burglurized now left with two that are in shakey condtion, I cracked up when you talked about the Clip I’ve had a few brake on me most reciently this past sunday, really a drag!! any way just thought i’d leave my two cents here by the way I bought all of mine second hand before they were so popluar now really hard to find on craigs list ive seen a few on ebay but really pricy, anyone wanna give me a good deal ? i’m down, look me up on Face Book… https://www.facebook.com/LPS618 have a great day all…. P.S. you can find the clips for as low as $50.00

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  48. Larry Sanchez

    P.S. I forgot to mention I believe its Steely Dan’s two Against Nature DVD you can see them using KSM 32 on horns along w a AKG 414 in a Live session, also I did monitors for a gig one time with the Band WAR at the time they were opening up for Steve Miller Band, they (SMB) used KSM 32’s & 27’s all over the place I would too if I had that many… :) Cheers!

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  49. Chad Marshall

    Sooooo happy with my KSM32’s and only gets better, I original was using KSM32’s with a BLA Auteur for Overheads and Ronan is right, very great overhead mic due to it’s forgiving top end but very, very clear mids…Finally splurged and aquired a Pacifica like Ronan uses, I’m really now in Heaven…The mic and pre are magical for Overheads, The pacifica is a super responsive, clear pre with a great amount of color so it’ll be great with about any mic but for Overheads, it’s a true love affair. <3….Thanks Ronan, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have 2 great KSM32's plus a Pacifica (Probably would've just got a P1)

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  50. Eric Everhart

    I love Ronan CM :)

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