REVIEWED: AUDIO-TECHNICA STUDIO RECORDING COMBO
Once upon a simpler time, all there was to recording was to put a talented musician in front of a giant horn and a wax cylinder. If the devil came through with his end of the deal, you could press that groove onto a molten wad of licorice and sell enough copies to make it into The National Archives. Almost a century later, what was once a simple energy transfer concept has evolved into an exact science. Coupled with the idea that the internet age has rendered the handing over of your creative output to a trained expert almost obsolete, you have the strange and intimidating dichotomy that is modern home recording. Researching what equipment to best start out on can be a boggy mire to say the least so packages like the Studio Recording Combo from Audio-Technica can be the key to the secret garden of sound reproduction.
REVIEWED: ADK STUDIO SERIES MICROPHONES
I think it is safe to say that ADK Microphones certainly gained its popularity and worldwide fame from the A-51 valve microphone that ended up in so many home and professional studios. This was a microphone that not only met the needs of many musicians’ budgets, but also delivered exceptional quality that had many people at a loss to how good they sounded. The A-51 has come out on top on numerous microphone shootouts and blind listening tests, because it was so good for what it offered. I recently had access to a pair of them that were serviced and loaded with select valves, and they were hard to give back. moving on from the A-51, ADK has set out to deliver a range of microphones that captures the soul and warmth of so many classic European microphones from over the last century. They were not interested in creating a budget range of microphones that just grabbed a quick sale, instead they have focused on creating the ideal capsules and electronics to faithfully emulate certain microphone characteristics and improve on previous tone. Best of all, I got to play with three models this month that all stood up on their own.
REVIEWED: THE BLUE SNOWBALL STUDIO USB MICROPHONE
Blue Microphones have grown a reputation for delivering recording tools that look a little unusual. They have shocked us so many times with their inspiring designs that most of their new releases don’t seem that unusual at all. The Snowball Studio has the team at Blue trying to get our attention once again, but carries that Blue promise of also sounding great.
MXL DX-2 DUAL DIAPHRAGM DYNAMIC MICROPHONE
I have always grumbled about guitarists who spend so much money on not only their guitar, but their amp, valves, speakers, effects, cables and haircuts all in an effort to chase that perfect tone. Funnily enough, so many of these players forget about this all important tone once it leaves their amp’s speakers and don’t concern themselves with how it gets to the audience. Why even bother if you are going to let it get ruined with the character of a beaten up old microphone that some engineer puts in front of your cabinet. Every guitarist should care about the microphone used on their guitar sound and so, it would make sense that every guitarist should get the right microphone to retain their tone.
SOYUZ SU-017 TUBE CONDENSER MICROPHONE
Every now and then a product arrives on my desk that really gets me excited. It usually has to be something very special to get any sort of reaction out of me, and that is exactly what the Soyuz SU-017 tube condenser microphone did this month. Before I even got it fully set up, in fact, before I even had it out of the box, I knew this microphone was rather special. The care and attention to detail that has gone into the packaging lone tell you that this is no ordinary microphone. There have been plenty of renowned engineers and producers raving about this microphone, and after getting my hands on one, I can now see why.
Neumann TLM107 Condenser Microphone
I have to say, I always enjoy being sent a microphone from Neumann to test out. Every detail is a joy – from the packaging, to the wooden cases, to the unveiling of the actual microphone itself. Then it comes to the actual listening and the good times simply roll right on. So call me biased, but this has not come from anywhere but a continued use of Neumann microphones that have failed to disappoint me. They simply are built to an incredible standard. So, when the TLM107 arrived on my desk this month, having not heard one of these for almost two years now, I was quietly excited about getting this microphone warmed up and ready to roll.
Audio-Technica ATM230 Hypercardioid Dynamic Microphone
I do enjoy getting my mits on a microphone that I’ve previously not tried out. So, it was a pleasure, and a delight to have the Audio-Technica ATM230 end up on my desk this month. I get so many vocal microphones for stage and studio to try out; it makes for a pleasant change when I get an instrument specific microphone turn up, and so the ATM230 was winning already, even before I pulled it out of its packaging.
Sennheiser MK8 Dual Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
One thing I love about my work is that I get to use some really great gear well before I often expect to. Not long ago I was looking at the Sennheiser website and reading about the new MK8 microphone and thinking about how popular the MK4 was to begin with. Not six hours later and I happened to have an MK8 sitting on my desk ready and waiting for me to test out. How good is that! Well, I’ll tell you how good it was. For those of you who own or used the popular MK4 microphone from Sennheiser, you will be glad to know that this one is a very good follow up and worthy of a product code that is twice that of the previous offering. Twice the microphone deserves twice the title.