Monoprice LC100

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k brown

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Hmmm - they claim SN/ 78dB, but capsule looks like TSB-160a; 'course they also say the capsule is 14mm, when the 160 is 16mm (?). Just ordered one, so we'll see . Could just be that cheap, Chinese knockoff that's seen in the BM700/800s, but more likely it is TSB-160a, as that's the capsule in the SC100 described below.

Looks like same circuit as Samson C02. 2K660 FET and same output Qs; no surface mount devices. Capsule connection to FET gate is done in air, not on the board - nice. Input caps look like film types. In fact the mic seems to be a knockoff of the AT2020 - same rubber, multi-hole ring around the capsule; 2020 also has TSB-160a, I believe (maybe 165a).

$29 on eBay, including shock mount.


Also, a report on the Monoprice SC100 (SDC) : TSB-160a 16mm capsule (same as used in the Behringer C-2), but also comes with an omni which looks exactly like the 160, but without rear vents - not shown on JLI's or Transound's websites (?). Sounds pretty good, but quite bright; much quieter than the cardioid. With treble down on my mixer, it's difficult to distinguish from Okatva MK-012 omni, so not too shabby; a bit noisier, though. The board is the same circuit and components as the LC100.

The board itself seems quieter than the Samson - I don't know how, as it uses the same FET and bipolars. I kludged a Primo EM23 onto it and its VERY quiet. I fitted it with an old Sony capsule (out of an ECM-969 MS mic) that sounds much better (though not much quieter).

LC 100 perfect candidate for that nice large diaphragm electret capsule discovered by kingkorg.
 

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k brown

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I found the 'mystery' omni capsules usable enough that I made these with them - bodies made from shortened empty AT8533X power module housings, with 2SK660 FETs and RF blocking caps inside. Captive mini cables (high quality AT 'mini-quad' with foil+braid shield).

(I then turned the SC100 mic bodies into phantom power modules [that can be used with any 2SK660-fitted mics] by severing the boards behind the FET, and attaching a minijack pigtail.)

With levels matched, they have exactly the same noise as ATM10a, which are 70dB S/N, so very usable. The cardioid TSB-160a is rated 66dB (though they sound noisier than that).

They're approximately as bright as ATM10s (see below), but sound flatter through the upper midrange.

Apparently these omnis are not just TSB-160a with an unvented rear plate - I blocked the holes on a 160 and it didn't sound at all like the omni; jacked up in the bass and scooped in the middle. So I guess that means the omnis have a differently-tensioned diaphragm?

The 160a card capsules are going in the dumpster; no use for that Behringer C-2 sound. Someone posted a measurement of the card capsule on the Monoprice website - yikes, that's a crunchy capsule!
 

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k brown

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The LC100 arrived, and I'm happy to report this is several cuts above the usual BM700/800 types. The body is considerably thicker and less ringy. The head basket is larger in diameter, so a more comfortable fit for 34mm capsules, and also seems less ringy.

The internal wiring is of much higher quality, the solder joints to the XLR are heat-shrinked and the circuit board is of higher quality.

Though constructed in basically the same way as BMs, the fit and finish overall is much better.

The capsule is an actual Transound TSB160a - not a knock-off (as my BM700s and Neewer were), and is mounted in a larger diameter multi-hole ring (turned out to be plastic, not rubber) than the Samson C01, AKG Perception 100, etc. Still, the capsule is a noisy and bright TSB-160, so - bye, bye! I immmediately replaced with a TSB-3412.

What's nice, though is that the capsule assy is in a proper ~34mm saddle, and has a dome under it (just like the 'big boys'!).

As noted in earlier post, the circuit is essentially the Schoeps style one found in the Samson, etc. but with film caps (Wima?) on the inputs, not electros - and all through-hole parts. And pretty quiet (unlike the capsule). Compared to my TSB-3412-modded AKG Perception 100, it sounds exactly the same, but has a bit more self noise, but not surprising given the AKG's higher parts quality and circuit sophistication; I suspect the LC100 could benefit from quieter bipolars.

The shock mount is a bit of a mis-step, as it is essentially the same as those supplied with the BM700/800 mics - the clamp ring is not tapered like the mic's body, so doesn't grip as tightly as it should; I wouldn't hang the mic upside-down with it. Luckily the mic has the proper threads for one of those 'universal' shock mounts like the LyxPro, etc.

All in all I'd say a terrific deal for $30 (including zipper bag and shock mount) - only thing not usable is the capsule. This mic with the capsule replaced by TSB-3412 would beat any mic that's at least three times the cost.


- EDIT - I just noticed that Monoprice has raised the eBay price to $50 - boy, that was fast! Still $25 on Amazon, so get 'em before they raise it!
 
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thelochias

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Thanks for the writeup! I bought 2 of LC-100's + 2 LTM500's and am glad to know that this mic can be easily modified. Do you have any other capsule recommendations for this circuit?
 

k brown

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Since it's designed for electrets, I imagine it would work fine with any electret you wanted to put in there.
My other favorite is the one mentioned in the first post.

The other large electrets that so many use (TSB-2555 and TSB-25AX) I've tried and rejected because they are just too bright for my purposes (recording classical music).
 

thelochias

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I'm very glad I asked then! I also record classical music so that is exactly what I'm looking for, thanks again!
 

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