Top-of-the-line small diaphragm condenser microphone that boasts a tight, frequency-independent hypercardioid polar pattern. Renowned for its natural, transparent sound and impressive performance with low self-noise and high SPL capability, the KM 185 has become a standard microphone in stages and studios worldwide, catering to various applications from classical piano to heavy metal drums.
At a glance
- Uniform hypercardioid pattern without off-axis colouration
- High suppression of unwanted sound
- Linear frequency response with a slight treble lift
- Low self-noise (15 dB-A)
- Low impedance output for long cable runs without transmission losses
- Compact size, visually unobtrusive
The Neumann KM 185 is a top-of-the-line small diaphragm condenser microphone that boasts a tight, frequency-independent hypercardioid polar pattern. Renowned for its natural, transparent sound and impressive performance with low self-noise and high SPL capability, the KM 185 has become a standard microphone in stages and studios worldwide, catering to a wide range of applications from classical piano to heavy metal drums.
Unlike many modern microphones that add their own sonic characteristics, the Neumann Series 180, including the KM 185, is designed for faithful reproducing the original acoustic event without any alterations. This series comprises three members, each with different pickup patterns: KM 183 (omni), KM 184 (cardioid), and KM 185 (hypercardioid), effectively covering the majority of stage and studio requirements. Being non-modular, the Series 180 microphones are more cost-effective than the modular Series KM A and KM D, which offer interchangeable capsule heads for analogue and digital output stages.
The KM 185 incorporates state-of-the-art Neumann engineering despite its attractive pricing. Its hypercardioid pattern remains frequency-independent, delivering excellent rearward sound rejection (120°) even at low frequencies. In practical usage, it exhibits no sound colouration over a wide pickup angle, a critical feature for multi-microphone setups and precise stereo/surround imaging. The microphone's frequency response is smooth and linear, with a slight treble lift around 10 kHz for added brilliance. Additionally, its innovative transformerless head amplifier provides a wide dynamic range of 127 dB and is carefully designed to preserve the capsule's sonic integrity.
Furthermore, the KM 185 boasts an impressively low self-noise of only 15 dB-A and can handle high sound pressure levels up to 142 dB without distortion. Its low-impedance output stage can drive long cable runs up to 300 meters (1000 feet) without experiencing transmission losses.
Due to its versatility, the KM 185 is a universal microphone perfectly suited for studio and stage applications. Its transparent sound reproduction makes it an outstanding choice for various instruments, including piano, acoustic guitar, upright bass, violin, cello, wind instruments, drums, and percussion. Its exceptional rejection at 120° without off-axis colouration makes it an ideal problem solver in demanding scenarios, such as recording the snare drum while minimizing spill from the hi-hat. While not specifically optimized for human vocals, the KM 185 is often utilized for classical vocals when authenticity is paramount. Moreover, its compact size ensures visual unobtrusiveness, making it an excellent fit for TV and radio applications.