Saturday, February 18, 2012

Microphones & Preamps - The “chicken and egg” of audio.

Image by Simon Howden
Want to start a discussion among audio folk? Ask whether mics or preamps are more important. Later I'll interview George Massenburg and John Hardy to get their take on transformer as well as transformerless preamps and solid state versus tubes. That’s the the main course. But before we get to them, here’s a few appetizers.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Neumann TLM 67 - Everything Old Is New Again, Or Is It?

Neumann’s most recent mic, the TLM 67, was a welcome visitor when it arrived. The mic is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum, and constrained within a riddle. To wit. How can a mic with no vacuum tube or transformer be positioned as the evolution of a mic with a tube and transformer? Is this not heresy? Let the impassioned fist-pounding arguments begin about how close to the original U 67 (or prototype U 60) this TLM 67 could be. Leave it to the Neumann marketing department to find a way to brew a controversy.

Audio-Technica AT4050ST Stereo Studio Condenser Microphone

A nekkid AT4050ST

With a list price of $1,625 and a street price of $1,299, in this economy, you have to remind yourself that this is a stereo condenser side-address mic with two separate capsules under the grille; a cardioid and a figure of eight. Well, you can sort of see that in the picture on the left.

The AT4050ST came out in September 2009 along with three or four other significant A-T mics. In the land of microphone manufacturers, Audio-Technica is a giant. They make so many microphones that when they decide to release three or four at the same time it’s easy to lose track of them. The AT4050ST is part of Audio-Technica’s top of the line 40 Series. In that line alone there are about fifteen different microphones.