Matthew McGlynn undoubtedly knows microphones. As the creator of the Recording Hacks website, I imagine Matt sat down and evaluated all the best and worst qualities of numerous makes and models during the design of his Delphos large diaphragm condenser (LDC) microphone. As such, his wide view and obvious attention to detail has yielded a microphone with great components, flexible voicing and a shockingly wide range of applications at which it excels.
The Delphos LDC starts with hand-selected vintage JFETs and bipolar transistors populated into PCBs right here in the USA. The 34 mm K67-type capsule and electronics are placed in a brass body, then finished with a three-layer baked dark-blue enamel.
The transformerless Delphos design offers a -10 dB pad and either cardioid or omni polar response. Each mic is sweep-tested and ultimately hand-tuned (by swapping out components) until the target response curve is achieved. That target curve is apparently flat, reaching for extended high and lows without distortion or coloration.
I received a pair of Delphos (or Delphis? I digress) and immediately began trying them out on most every sound source I had come through the studio. Long story short, the mic seems to excel at just about everything. It really is flexible and versatile enough to earn the ellusive “one mic good enough for everything” moniker of flexible excellence.
On both male and female vocals, Delphos is quite capable. Being transformerless, tubeless and FET, its tone is more crisp and articulate than it is warm, fuzzy or forgiving. There’s enough bottom end to stop tenors and sopranos from sounding thin, and enough top end and detail to allow baritones or mumbly altos to remain clear and distinct. For group backup vocals in omni (where Delphos puts out a little less level, about -5 dB) I received a nice spherical response coverage and that slightly flatter frequency balance that often happens when selecting the omni pattern.
I really liked the Delphos pair in my drum room, where they made a fine pair of overheads, whether in a spaced configuration, XY or ORTF. But they equally impressed me as room mics, where I typically go with ribbons to avoid the harshness and often nasty off-axis response sometimes experienced with LDCs. Utilized in mono, either about six feet behind the drummer or in front of the kit, cardioid or omni, I received nicely balanced tones that achieved my goal of non-obtrusive cymbals, adding air to snare/toms and some nice kick drum presence and room decay.
Some say that acoustic guitar presents the greatest challenge to LDCs and Delphos clearly passed that test. The overall dynamics were very lifelike and unrestrained; the tonal balance seemed very natural and flat with a slightly euphonic caress of the mids; and the amount of detail was just right to highlight sonic nuances without accentuating sonic distractions.
I find that mics that sound great on acoustic guitar are often good choices for piano, too. That said, my upright Yamaha presents an ongoing problem; it has a nasal honk that needs subduing, a bottom end that needs reinforcing (I often add a thick ribbon) and upper-end detail has to be there without harshness. A Delphos pair really did the trick! It provided enough top to not require boost, enough bottom to eliminate the ribbon, enough sculpt to mitigate the honk and the open/airy dynamics that make a piano truly beautiful. A Delphos pair in cardioid spaced about a third of the way in from the sides, placed about three feet off the lid via a pair of Neve mic preamplifiers and a little quick/clean FET compression equaled a fine piano sound in my book!
I honestly couldn’t get the Delphos pair to fail at anything! Upright bass benefitted from the extended low-end response and lack of distortion; percussion benefitted from its quick transients and clarity; trumpet was recreated with ample accuracy and crisp detail (almost too much top end like many LDCs, but not quite); and even the shock mount held up to a multitude of tricky placements. I’m lucky to be the kind of engineer who typically reaches for specialized mics as compared to versatile mics to get the job done. That said, I think I have discovered an affordable, versatile, non-colored do-it-all microphone to capture most anything under the sun for $899 street, each.
Roswell Pro Audio