The small diaphragm cardioid microphone KM 84 was built until 1992 and remains one of the most popular Neumann classics. Its even frequency response and consistent pickup pattern make it a sought-after microphone for all genres.
The KM 84 is a small-diaphragm FET condenser with a fixed Cardioid pickup pattern. It was the world’s first phantom-powered microphone, built to run on 48v DC. Its design goal was to be as small as possible; the model name ‘KM’ stands for Kleine Mikrofon (“small microphone”).
The model number indicates the powering mechanism (8 = phantom power) and polar pattern (4 = cardioid).
Although discontinued in 1992, the KM-84 remains a favorite of vintage mic enthusiasts for drum overheads and hi-hat applications.
Neumann’s KM 184 was intended to be a replacement for the KM 84, but the two mics sound sufficiently different that the KM 84 has remained a standard by which modern FET pencil mics are judged. (See the KM 184 page for additional discussion of the physical and sonic differences between these microphones.)
The mic is known for having an exceptionally flat frequency response and its ability to maintain its cardioid pickup pattern across the frequency spectrum.