Product Review: Page (1) of 2 - 10/09/02 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Studio Projects TB1 Tube Microphone

By Doug "Jazzooo" Robinson
Im happy to be writing about this mic. You might recall that in the recent blind mic shootout Don Boomer and I did, most of us picked the Studio Projects C1 as our favorite on three out of four voices, and also as a snare mic over seven others. Given the prestigious mics the C1 was up against, I felt a little guilty, as if we had gotten it ?wrong. But in reality, all that was wrong was that I had placed too much faith on hallowed reputations and marketing hype. A mic that sounds good on your voice is just that?regardless of the cost at retail.

PMI Audio Group (designer and distributor of Studio Projects microphones and preamps) sent me three more mics, all from the company's new B series, to review. Sadly, two out of three got lost in UPS! Only the TB1 made it. I was initially disappointed, as I wasnt really interested in checking out a tube mic with a separate power supply, even one that only costs $299 on the street. But fair is fair, so I set out to get comfortable with this piece of gear. And its a good thing?I basically loved it right away, with a few slight reservations.

The B-series mics from SP seems to be their new "budget" line. Interesting that a company that is already perceived by a lot of us as providing impressive bang for the buck would bother to dip down into this price point--the cheapest B series mic is a knockoff of the C1 and it runs about $79, competing with the least-expensive large diaphragm mics Ive seen. Of the three Bs available, the TB1 is the most expensive?it's sort of a less-expensive version of Studio Projects' $699 T3, and it has dual-triode hand-tested tubes and a multi-pattern variable power supply and a faux-anvil "road case" just like the one the C1 comes in.
It's a large-diaphragm cardiod mic, with (and I quote from their literature) "a 3 um dual capsule for thick warm natural reproduction of the vocal range." Let me continue with more from the ?instruction manual that accompanied it: sensitivity is rated 25V/Pa (-32db re Odb=1V/Pa); Max output is 500V rms @1000Hz, <1% THD; Noise level is 16 dB-A; S/N ratio is 78 dB. Do I personally care about most of these specs? Not really. If you care about them, please feel free to compare, evaluate and discuss them in your mic reviews. Just to make it perfectly clear, I only care about how it sounds, but I fully accept that my philosophy is not always the most satisfying to other buyers, thus the inclusion of specs in this review.

The TB1 comes with an almost petite-looking mic clip that I thought was going to be a joke, but it turned out to fit like a glove, causing me no real concern that the heavy mic would slip out and crash to the floor. Still, I think the mic is a little too heavy for this clip?I tried to do some tricky positioning at one point and the clip kept rotating until I tricked gravity by manipulating the stand.

But in talking with Alan Hyatt of PMI, he showed me how to tighten a hidden screw on the clip which should make it stay in place. He also mentioned that there will soon be a special shock mount holder for the TB1, though I don't know if it will be included in the purchase price.

The mic comes with a special 5-pin mic cable to hook into the power supply. This cable was a bit of a pain?the pins were tiny and thin, and it didn't take much effort to bend them trying to insert the cable into the supply initially. I eventually got it in, but it started off as a hassle.

The mic sat untouched in my studio for over a week, not only because I was waiting for the other two to find their way (they never did), but also because I was kind of nervous?this time, I wouldn't be doing a blind comparison like the last time, but instead focusing on a single mic. I'd prefer to evaluate without knowing what I'm hearing, because I think the knowledge of the brand and model can influence me too much. But hey?I had to get on with it so I could send it least that was my plan!

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Related Keywords:Studio Projects TB1, Tube, Microphone, Studio Projects C1

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