Fast FactsApplications: Studio
Key Features: Cardioid pattern; Class A discrete solid state transformerless amplifier circuit; bayonet design for interchangeable new and vintage capsules; includes Type B pressure-gradient capsule features a 6-micron gold-sputtered 1-inch Mylar membrane; ships with 22-AWG Blue Microphones Cranberry mic cable, wood case, shockmount.
Contact: Red Microphones at www.vintagemicrophone.comFormed as a division of Blue Microphones, VintageMicrophone.com is a direct-to-consumer source of replacement capsules, shockmounts, pop filters, cases and other parts for classic microphones as well as a Blue designed line of vintage-style microphones. Available on the site are such items as replacement wood cases for ELAM 251, SM69, U67 and U87 mics, shockmounts for U47 and U48 mics, and “The Wonder Mount,” a universal shockmount that can accommodate a huge range of mics including the AKG 414 family, Earthworks SR series, Audio-Technica 40XX series and many others.
VintageMicrophone.com is also the direct source for the Red Type B condenser microphone. Designed by Blue Microphones, the Red Type B microphone kit ($699) includes the Type B solid state microphone body, the Red lollipop cardioid capsule, a 22-AWG Cranberry mic cable, shockmount and wooden case.
The Red Type B microphone body features a Class A discrete solid state transformerless amplifier circuit, and is designed to act as a foundation for interchangeable lollipop-style capsules. The capsule mount is compatible with the full range of Blue Microphone’s bayonet-style capsules (the ‘Bottle Caps’) as well as vintage capsules such as Neumann M7, M8, M9 and 55k.
The included Type B pressure-gradient capsule features a 6-micron gold-sputtered 1-inch Mylar membrane. It is designed to be a good, all-around cardioid capsule appropriate for a wide variety of recording applications.
Frequency response of the Red Type B microphone plus Red capsule is stated as 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The mic’s frequency response chart shows a significant 8 dB boost in the high end starting at around 3 kHz and ending at 11 kHz, with its peak at around 5.5 kHz. The chart shows flat response from 100 Hz to 3 kHz and a gentle 3 dB low-end rise between 35 Hz and 100 Hz.
Manufacturer’s specifications for the mic include a sensitivity of 27mV/Pa (1kHz into 2.5K ohm), output impedance of 50 ohms, A-weighted noise level of less than 7.5 dB, a dynamic range of 130 dB and a maximum SPL of 138 dB (0.5% THD into 2.5K ohm).
Well, if initial impressions are worthwhile, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the Red Type B microphone right out of the box. Within minutes of unpacking the mic, the “Blue” emblem glued to the capsule popped off right into my hand. And attempting to adjust the angle of the shockmount from the right angle in which it came shipped resulted in the over-tightened thumb key breaking off from the screw (To its credit, Blue said it was aware of this and has corrected the problem; a new shockmount was shipped out immediately.).
But none of that really matters in the scheme of things because, friends, after considerable use on a variety of applications, I have concluded that this is an awesome mic. And at $700, the Type B is an incredible value to boot.
I first used the Red Type B on a male singer whom I have recorded many, many times. Needless to say, I am intimately familiar with his vocal sound. I have yet to hear a mic capture the range of his voice with such nuance and detail as well as the Type B. The singer now refers to the Red Type B as “his mic” and practically refuses to entertain using any other mic (previous favorite mics on his voice have included current and vintage mics costing two to six times as much).
While the sound of the mic is definitely on the bright side, it is not nearly as severe as the frequency response chart would have you believe. Perhaps this is because it is tempered somewhat by the gentle rise in the lower end, and my preferred use of “warmer” tube preamps for vocals instead of more clinical and uncolored solid state ones. My overall impression of the various vocal recordings I have made with the Red Type B mic is a sound that is detailed, throaty and full, without any trace of harshness or breakup in the high end. The only singer on which I found the Type B to be inappropriate was a female vocalist with very little low-register energy and a naturally bright high-end spread.
In other uses, I found the Red Type B to be a guaranteed winner on cello, tenor and baritone sax, and bass clarinet. I also used the Type B to record a fair amount of jazz electric guitar with excellent results. Although the mic handled the SPLs nicely, for high-energy distorted electric guitar, I preferred the old standbys over the Type B when it came down to placing the tracks in the mix.
The Type B also made an excellent out-of-shell kick drum mic, and performed well on a floor tom (though I was a bit shy about putting this loaner close enough to the head to get decent proximity effect). I would have liked to have two of these mics to try out as overheads; I suspect the emphasized highs and low boost would have yielded an excellent overall kit sound with little or no EQ.
Straight out of the box, the affordable Red Type B is a great-sounding cardioid condenser microphone that proves to be an excellent choice for a wide range of recording applications. For those with bigger budgets, its interchangeable capsule design allows for an even greater range of uses.