So something odd was happening to one of my microphones, so I booked a Doctors appointment to have it looked at. Whilst my Neumann microphone was away having an operation and on rest & recovery, it gave me a reason to look at some new microphones and possibly purchasing one (another excuse to always have another microphone to add to the collection of course!)
After the VOX Conference this year where the British company Sontronics were exhibiting and doing a talk, it made me jump at the chance to have a go and test some of their microphones out.
Trevor Coley, was a pleasure to talk to and is a very knowledgeable guy when it comes to microphones and sound. He was really helpful and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to have a play with a few of the microphones in my studio, which is an important factor for a Voiceover Artist.
In this modern day of everything being online and all, it was good to actually pick up the phone and talk to someone about what I need. It’s really nice to have this personal touch and passion to actually help the customer individually in order to get the right product for them and their business and not just thinking about another sale. Steve at Sontronics was exceptionally kind and willing to show me what these microphones were all about! Sontronics are based in Dorset near Absolute Music, which is a one stop shop for all your needs too, including the Sontronics selection of microphones.
So along came the Sontronics Saturn microphone. I have to say when it first came to me it was rather large compared to my Neumann microphone I use, so that was the first thing to get used to, but it did look pretty cool. I like being different and so that ticked the first box! Also the fact that they are British ticks another box as always like to fly the ‘Made in Britain’ flag!
It also came in a sturdy lovely box and what was great was the other microphones have their own unique boxes and styles too. The Orpheus microphone also comes in a wooden cask style box and really nice packaging, which always makes you feel that you get lovely quality when it’s packaged right!
So what is it about the Saturn and specs on it:
Well It has five Polar patterns (omnidirectional, subcardioid, cardioid, hypercardioid, figure-of-eight), which is great for different types of recording and sound depending on what type of work you do and it’s great to have this as an option when needed.
It’s really solid and a great looking microphone. It is mixed with some of the old 1940’s-50’s style, but of course modernised. A very clear and all round sound, which is great for speaking. It has a really nice warmth and presence without effecting the natural voice, just lifting it.
Sontronics say it’s ideal for: Vocals, drums, piano, acoustic guitar, guitar amps, brass, strings, ensembles, voiceover.
It’s other specifications are; Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz, Sensitivity: 20mV/Pa -32dB ±1dB (0dB = 1V/Pa @ 1,000Hz0, Impedance: 200 Ohms, Equivalent noise level: 14dB (A-weighted), Maximum SPL (for 0.5% THD @ 1,000Hz): 130dB, Power source is Phantom power 48V ±4V.
It has a three-pin XLR connector and all supplied with a unique Sontronics-design shockmount and aluminium flightcase.
It is also reasonably priced and matches up to some great microphones like the Neumann U87, which compared to is much more expensive!
I then wanted to test the Orpheus Microphone as this was then suggested to me. This is a lovely microphone too and smaller as doesn’t have the frame work around it and all the other features of the Saturn. It was really interesting as this microphone is very crisp and picks up everything! Of course you want a microphone to be as clear as possible, but as a Voice Artist for me I felt this wasn’t so suited for the work I do and of course my voice. That doesn’t go without saying that this is why it is so important to really think about the microphone you get and choose the right one for you and your voice. For me this is a quality microphone and at a reasonable price.
The spec is similar to the Saturn, but does not have as many polar patterns (only Omni, Cardioid and Figure-of-8).
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Neumann microphone and it has done me proud and will continue to use it for recordings I’m sure. Interestingly I did a session with a Producer, who knows a bit or two about microphones and he was surprised how good I sounded on a Neumann TM 103 as he has experienced other female voices to be rather too bright and piercing at the top end, but felt the diaphragm of the Neumann TM 103 works well with my voice (Thank you T!). Obviously that also has to do with my technique, talent and voice of course :-)!
BUT…This really did make me think and affirm about how important looking and testing a microphone out is and getting the one that suits your voice and style whether you are a singer, voiceover artist, musician, DJ, presenter, or journalist. It’s so important and everyone is different, so make sure you get the one that’s right for you. I know another male voice who loves the Sontronics brand and swears by the Orpheus, so it really is up to the individual. Also if recording with musically instruments I would suggest the Orpheus for the clarity and crisper sound.
So my decision was made.. The Sontronics Saturn Microphone it was to be!
There are different types of microphones, so ask yourself whether you want a Dynamic, ribbon or condenser microphone for the particular work stream you are in. If you need it explained in further detail and more help on understanding what each one is, click here for more information about microphone types.
So if you are looking for a new microphone then have a look on the Sontronics website and if you want to have a trial then there are some stockists that they recommend that you can do this with. UK Stockists / Worldwide Stockists
What was also great to hear was that after a couple of weeks using my Saturn microphone, Peter Dickson was seen using it live on the XFactor and Dermot O’Leary even had a go in the studio! You can keep up-to-date with this new Sontronics fame on their Facebook page.
Some other great reviews on it:
So now already my Saturn has been used and abused and will do for many years to come I’m sure…oh and with a lifetime guarantee you know you are getting a good solid sound product! Visit the samples pages on this site to hear some samples of TV & Radio commercials, web videos, Promos and more that I used with my lovely Saturn Microphone… or contact me directly and I’ll send you some snippets!