When it comes to capturing various acoustic instruments up close on stage or in the studio, relying on different mics is typical, if not expected. The Neumann MCM (Miniature Clip Mic) System shatters that norm by merging pro-grade condenser sound quality with extensive instrument-specific mounting options and connectivity that supports traditional mic preamps, as well as wireless transmitters.
Rather than making multiple mics for different instruments or environments, Neumann designed the MCM to be your go-to close mic in live sound, broadcast, and recording applications, whether you’re capturing a solo piano, spot miking an orchestra, or anything in-between. Manually assembled in Germany to align with Neumann’s high standards, the MCM delivers consistency in tone plus that classy Neumann look.
The centerpiece of the MCM system is the KK 14 capsule head, a 12mm-diameter (small-diaphragm) electret condenser element that can be paired with an array of mounts and cables to suit the situation at hand best. I’d like to highlight Neumann’s choice of electret condenser technology, because it enables the MCM to run on +48V phantom power from an XLR preamp or plug-in power from a compatible wireless transmitter.
Rightfully, the KK 14 exhibits a cardioid polar pattern to help minimize the pickup of bleed from other instruments (or stage noise) while allowing greater gain before the point of feedback. For those who are concerned about distortion, and that should be everyone, the MCM tops out at an immense 152 dB maximum SPL. The mic’s incredible SPL handling and dynamic range mean that it really can perform just as well on a delicately fingerpicked acoustic guitar as it can for the piercing crack of a snare drum.
Create your own MCM system by choosing assorted components or take the easy road and select a pre-configured package. Neumann’s specially designed MCM 114 Sets (see below) combine the KK 14 capsule, MCM 100 phantom-powered XLR output stage, AC 31 cable for connecting to the XLR output stage or to the locking 3.5mm input on a bodypack transmitter, 150mm (approximately 6") gooseneck with a rotating connector to prevent cable twists, windscreen, soft case, and an appropriate mount—magnetic, clip-on, clamp, or strap.
Drums: Mono set with the MC 7 clip for snare, tom, stand tom, timpani, and percussion instruments
Brass: Mono set with the MC 6 universal clamp for trumpet, trombone, saxophone, French horn, and percussion instruments
Woodwinds: Mono set with the MC 5 universal strap clip for oboe, clarinet, recorder, bassoon, flute, and harp
Piano: Stereo set with MC 8 magnetic clips
Guitar: Mono set with the MC 9 clip for mounting on guitar, ukulele, dobro, acoustic bass, or cello
Cello: Mono set with the MC 2 clip for mounting on the strings of a cello
High Strings: Mono set with the MC 1 clip for violin, viola, mandolin, and similar instruments
Double Bass: Mono set with the MC 3 clip for mounting on the strings of a double bass (the MC 4 is available for mounting on the rib)
Knowing that the mounts are available separately, you have the flexibility of purchasing one set now and adding other mounts later.
Each of the aforementioned sets comes with the 1.8m (roughly 6') AC 31 cable, which, as previously stated, terminates in a locking 3.5mm connector for hookup to the supplied XLR output stage or a bodypack transmitter that uses the same type of locking mini-jack input found on many Sennheiser transmitters.
If you need to plug the MCM into something other than an XLR mic input or a locking 3.5mm input on a wireless transmitter, Neumann offers three more cables (of the same length) to work with other popular wireless transmitters. The AC 32 ends in a LEMO 3-pin connector, the AC 33 has Microdot, and the AC 34 terminates in a 4-pin mini-XLR. That covers the bases for transmitters from Lectrosonics, Shure, Sennheiser, Zaxcom, Wisycom, and others.
Considering the size, sonic quality, mounting options, and connectivity offered by the MCM system, it seems like an irresistible choice for discerning musicians and engineers, concert venues, equipment rental houses, and event production companies.
What about the Neumann MCM intrigues you? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, below.