Ah Mother Russia, what strange, terrifying and wondrous secrets are hidden behind your borders? We in the western world are snuck glimpses of your treasures every now and then, and truly and more often than not they change the way we think about so many things. Your Big Muffs are thicker and more intimidating than our measly Yankee ones, your vodka more potent and life affirming, and now, with this Soyuz Bomblet SU-023 on a mic stand in front of me, you might just have changed what I expect from a large diaphragm condenser mic.
Early on in the course of my research into this odd looking metal artifact, I stumbled across an intimidating list of artists who have used Soyuz mics on recent recordings. Suffice to say if it’s good enough for Radiohead to use on A Moon Shaped Pool, it’s good enough for just about any recordist on the planet. The Bomblet is 100 percent hand tooled by some of Europe’s finest master builders in a facility deep in the heart of Russia, and it is abundantly clear just from holding it that every care has been taken to produce an honest to goodness rarity. The capsule comprises two 33mm membranes, one of which is gold flecked, and it is propelled into absolute clarity by the magic of FET.
There are a number of demos of varying quality of these mics available on the internet, and I must say that I was impressed enough just watching those. At the risk of sounding like I’m some sort of double agent, I was nothing short of dumbfounded when I actually breathed into the thing. I already anticipated greatness, but I was blown away by the subtlety, crispness and detail inherent in even the slightest whisper in the direction of this mic. Now, my rig is by no means up to speed; my humble Focusrite Saffire 6 is a long way from Abbey Road. In spite of this limitation though, I could hear every falling leaf outside my window, every creak in the back of my throat and every glistening harmonic I wrestled out of my acoustic guitar with a musicality and sensitivity I am barely worthy of. There is no question in my mind that the SU-023 is fit to stand in the pantheon of sound capturing devices alongside names like Neumann and Sennheiser.
Bear in mind, Dear Reader, that I am but a modest, low-level serf when it comes to the mic world. My knowledge and experience of most mics is limited to the graces of those that have been kind enough to put me in front of their vintage gear. I may not know the ins and outs of the history of ribbon mic crimpers and all of the physics at play, but by God do I know a next level mic when I hear it. With its charming, wooden box, Sputnik-like construction, and absolute sonic purity, the Bomblet SU-023 by Soyuz is just that: a gold standard sound capture device whose only limitation is the ear that plugs it in.
Hits and Misses
Its crispness and clarity is only bettered by its original sense of musicality