Top Level Mics – Five Of The Best

In this top level territory, some of those legendary mic tones come into reach…

Peluso P12 

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Price £999 Contact KMR Audio 020 8445 2446

Peluso is very honest about basing the nine-pattern P12 on the Alctron HST-11a, but crucial components are upgraded. The preamp circuit is a near copy of an AKG C12’s, with a selected 6072A valve and a reproduction T14 output transformer. The edge-terminated CEK-12 capsule is assembled in Peluso’s own lab.

We were hoping for a bright, tinselly treble with smooth but present mids and a full but not overblown bass. The Peluso P12 didn’t disappoint. Vocals had breathy presence, acoustic guitars sparkled with woody warmth and enhanced realism, and cymbals floated over mixes.

Web  www.pelusomicrophonelab.com

AKG C414 

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Price £987 ContactSoundtech – www.soundtech.co.uk/akg

Described as the fourth-generation descendent of the C12, the C414 has remained an industry standard since the early 1970s. The iconic design featured body-mounted switches that provided four pickup patterns and multiple pre-attenuation and HPF filtering.  The model has undergone continual evolution as AKG tried to improve performance while retaining the signature sound.

The current XLII version handles 140dB SPL and has 6/12/18dB pad and 40/80/160Hz HPF settings. Output is FET-balanced and it comes in an aluminium case with a shock mount, pop filter and windshield. Bright, clear, versatile and easy to use, the C414 is a bona fide all-purpose mic.

Web http://uk.akg.com

Telefunken USA Cu-29 Copperhead 

Price £1,078 Contact Unity Audio 01440 785843

Selected components include WIMA, Sprague and Russian-made capacitors with low-noise resistors and a custom-wound transformer. The valve itself is a new old-stock Telefunken 6AK5W pentode. The Copperhead ships in a wood box with a suspension mount, link cable and power supply.

The larger-than-life presence is striking, with a fat midrange and beefy valve colouration. It has a velvety Neumann-like quality with a hint of upper-frequency glisten that helps to make the Copperhead ‘warm’ but detailed. If fixed cardioid isn’t restrictive, the CU29 won’t disappoint.

Web  www.telefunken-elektroakustik.com

Peluso 2247 

Price £999 Contact KMR Audio 020 8445 2446

The Peluso 2247 is to the Neumann U47 what the P12 is to the AKG C12. Again, the only Chinese components in evidence are the body, grille housing and shock mount. The BV8 transformer comes from Cinemag and a 6072A valve is used in place of the ultra-rare VF14. The nine-pattern switch may not be vintage-correct, but it’s welcome nonetheless.

With rolled-off treble, larger-than-life midrange and a soft but clear bass, it’s a distinctive tone that will suit some vocalists better than others. Stunningly intimate, this effortless and natural sound genuinely evokes the vintage Neumann spirit at an affordable price.

Web  www.pelusomicrophonelab.com

Violet Amethyst 

Price £989 Contact Violet Design (+372) 645 5007

Violet’s designs invariably provide a refreshing blast of freshness and fun. The Amethyst’s capsule sits in a housing above the preamp section, reducing reflections and allowing the fixed-cardioid capsule housing to be shock-mounted. The all-discrete Class A preamp feeds a transformerless output stage.

The Amethyst Vintage delivers very clean, intimate and high-resolution vocals, and proximity effect adds body to the impressively detailed sound. High frequencies are very clear without sounding too bright, and the fast transient response produces lively and punchy recordings with strong, clear bass.

Web  www.violet-design.com

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