Bought a broken Milab DC-96B

I read some good reviews about the Milab DC-96B and a used pair (not matched) from the late 90s were being sold on sound1.com (they sell both new and second-hand). After thinking about it and being in contact with their seller, I decided to buy. These are not cheap mics, but due to their age, I got them for half price.

This is how the mics were packed
This is how the mics were packed

When they finally arrived, I was a bit worried. The package contained a Milab case and the above picture shows what was inside. There was little padding around the milab case (only on one side) and the mics themselves were not protected inside the milab case.

Sure enough, further inspection showed the mesh on one of the mics to be dented.

Milab DC-9B mesh
The mesh on the left side of this Milab DC-96B is dented

A damaged mesh can hurt sound quality, but it can also be an indication of more serious problems. I connected both mics to my Roland UA1610 soundcard and ran the auto sense which is a feature that automatically sets the sensitivity for mics. Right away, I could see the dented mic acting weird. It seemed like it was much less sensitive than the other. At equal preamp levels, while the signal was bouncing happily on one mic, the other seemed almost dead. Almost, but not quite.

I put on my headphone monitors and listened to the damaged mic. Immediately apparent was some oscillating self-noise, much too loud for the mic to be of any use. I changed the preamp and the cable and while the self-noise changed, it was still there. I recorded both preamps and cables and made an MP3 of it.

The mic is clearly broken and I was very disappointed.

I contacted sound1.com about it and they refused to replace a used DC-96B with a new one (or the DC-96C or the DC196). However, after a bit of haggling, they agreed to replace the broken mic with a Sennheiser MK8 with a MKS4 shock mount, but I also have to pay them a little extra (1990 NOK). Of course, I’d much rather have two working Milab DC-96Bs for the price I’d already paid, but it’ll be interesting to see what I can do with the MK8.

I’m wondering if the working DC-96B (which sounds pretty sweet through my headphone monitors) could be an interesting match with the MK8 for side micing. Next sound test, I’ll probably try this out along with various other arrangements.

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