Review in IN-OUT Magazine (Russia) in english

Review in IN-OUT Magazine (Russia) in english

A modern sound recording studio never can say that is has got enough microphones. Every producer has his own preferences and a large studio should own different models of microphones for different occasions. For smaller project-orientated studios it is more rational to own some universal microphones, which can cope with the largest part of sound recording tasks. They are the microphones we are going to describe in the following article.

Violet Design, an Estonian firm, comes out onto the overcrowded microphones market presenting its new products. Although the trademark isn't well known in Russia, it isn't also a beginner into the field. The firm has got years-long and very successful experience into producing professional condenser microphones. It designs and manufactures all parts of mics - from capsules and electronic circuits to the smallest screws. Engineers of the company didn't copy their famous competitors, like "Chinese companies", although they had favourable conditions - the firm restored (and is restoring) exclusive vintage microphones and if a customer wants, the original capsule can be changed to the firm's one. It means the engineers know about microphones everything. Today the firm presents 8 different models of microphones (see below). Some more are in the process of development. A wish to create something special plus perfect technological knowledge plus an ambition to compete and win materializes into The Amethyst microphones line, we are going to tell you about. To be aware of a price category let's announce prices (some can stop reading after the numbers) : The Amethyst Vintage - 1295$, The Amethyst Standard - 995$, the elastic spider type shockmount - 100$. Are you here? It means you haven't lost an interest yet. It looks like a little bit expensive for an unfamiliar trademark. Perhaps it's safer to buy 414 or to save for 87.

What do we expect from The Amethysts? Let's go into details - technical specifications. Both models have got a large-diaphragm - 25mm electrostatic capsule: Vintage has two diaphragms, Standard - one. The result is - two different characters of a sound: the first - softer, the second - more affected. Capsule patterns are Cardioid's. Hot output - 21mV/Pa. Incredibly low self-noise - 7dBA. Distortion of the mics' internal pre-amplifier is so low that measuring is quite complicated. Distance of recording 5-15cm, it differs from accustomed 15-40cm. High sensitivity - it catches every signal. Nordic durability - easy copes with high sound pressure levels. No overloads - even putting into a bass drum or close to a loudspeaker's cone. You can use the mic in the annual Japanese Screaming Competition. Even there the response will remain natural, of cause, if we can call 'natural' the scream of 130dB. Although our job is- to take off a sound and to record it. Certainly writing about brilliant recording qualities on paper - a thankless task. It requires some proves. Therefore some months ago the specialists of the company brought both mics to Andrey Bochko Studio and left them into responsibility of the leading sound engineer Sergey Bolshakov. I don't want to exaggerate, but think it is the best live music recording studio in Moscow.

It refers to everything - attitude towards sound, as well as to musicians, selection of the equipment, and professionalism, which is, I would say, a rare quality in our huge country. They, who had pleasure to be recorded here, will agree with me completely, but all the rest will have to believe me. The Studio has got almost all famous types of microphones and adequate pre-amplifiers. We asked Sergey to test The Amethysts using different musical instruments and vocals and to make an evaluation. We weren't in hurry to take the mics back and he started to use them in his work. After a while he purchased a selected stereo pair of Vintage's (it is possible!). Before writing the article I got in touch with Sergey and asked him to tell about The Amethysts more closely. What he said on a dictaphone: "It's cool that I can put the mic so close and it sounds flat and nice. There isn't any distortion. With other microphones a frequency response becomes unnaturally extended, but with The Amethyst it stays natural." "I didn't feel any discomfort with sensitivity, there weren't overloads, absolutely." "If there is a task to make another 87, it will be silly - it already exists. But the advantage of The Amethyst is that it isn't the same as 87. That's why I like it and want it." "Pluses of the mic are also minuses on the other hand. Plus - it can cope with high pressure, but minus - you have to sing close enough, therefore it takes in more breath. Sometimes it is good, sometimes - not so good. There could be a lot of artists to whom the nuance needs to be highlighted." "What I liked most is the response of the electric guitar. As for me I haven't come across anything better. The mic is positioned traditionally - towards the centre of a speaker, close. It is simply a super sound. I can't say that I liked an overdriven sound. I'm accustomed to dynamic microphones. But the mic hears much more details." "What refers to acoustical music, snare drums, brushes, jazz - the response is breathtaking, although it takes in some hi-hat and I'm not accustomed to that."

"It's great, that the mic is flat, it can be positioned close to any percussive source. At the moment it hangs in a "spider" and it is good, because sometimes with other microphones positioning is a problem."

"Recently I started to record bass combo using it and I'm satisfied. Before I couldn't choose what to use, I've got Bruel, sometimes I liked it, sometimes didn't. The same with RE-20 Electrovoice. But then I tried The Amethyst and now I don't want to change it." Everyone visiting our studio noticed the visual design of the mic. Everyone liked it. All regarded it as an old microphone, perhaps because they know we are collecting the old ones. I haven't met people who considered the mic plain-looking." "Just for information - a new album of B-2 is coming out and 90 per cent of guitar was recorded by The Amethyst. Keyboards, Hammond's, brass were recorded by two Amethysts. What are musicians saying? Nothing. They like it, thank God." Sergey was talking mainly about Vintage. He said that Standard was simpler in proportion to the price. It is only normal, because the quality of components and precise technological process are crucial in manufacturing capsules. Again I can't help recalling Asian manufacturers, who made all the world test the origin of 58 when purchasing.

I can add that the firm offers warranty of 5 years to all models. As we remember they are eight. Besides the described Amethysts there are some more: large-diaphragm budget- microphone The Dolly in two versions - Standard and Vintage (615$ and 700$) with splendid 'spider shockmount' and metallic pop-filter (110$); mid size capsule - 14/17mm microphone The Pearl, again Standard and Vintage (520$ and 550$). A distinguish feature of the mics -'holding' high - 140dB sound pressure (ideal for recording combo or a screaming championship- see above). And completely new line of universal microphones - mid size capsule - 14mm mics Black Finger and Gold Finger (325$ and 354$). They show neutral sound and quick response.

We didn't describe all models, because only The Amethysts were tested in Moscow. Soon the company is going to give other models for testing in Sant-Petersburgh's studios and we'll tell you the opinion of the sound engineers in the next article. If you are interested in the mics, you can buy them in Multimusic, which is a distributor of Violet Design products in Russia.

Detailed information can be found on the site

At the end some news - Violet Design offers a new product - an exclusive near field and mid field studio monitor 8"LF.

As you could understand , the firm Violet Design has undertaken the most important job - converting acoustic signal into electric and vice versa.

Violet Design's "converters of your sound"

Engineer/Mixer/Producer John Paterno is an LA based Grammy Award winning audio professional. He...