Hello, and welcome back to the blog! It’s starting to get warmer, but with that it’s also starting to rain a lot here in the UK, so I’ve had a lot of time this week to answer a very simple question: what makes the BT-202 special? Well, a lot of things actually!
Today, as part of our focus for the months on Small Diaphragm Condensers, I want to help you all understand just why I’ve fallen in love with this microphone so quickly, as well as give some insight into how it sounds so you can make your own thoughts and feelings on these wonderful microphones.
If you’d like to hear the BT-202 in action while reading this blog, then you do so by clicking here, where I’ve compiled a folder for you to either download and listen to in a way that suits you, or listen directly from the cloud folder (but please also make sure to read today's blog so you can see the way in which we tested and why!)
Let’s dive in!
Over the course of the last week or so, I’ve been trying to get a few different ways to test out the new BT-202 pair I have, and came to the conclusion that in order to do a fair, and precise testing of them as stereo pairs, I’d need to take my time - however, it won’t be very long I promise! Instead, this week I’ve taken as much time as I could do to test and experiment with them in a mono situation, such as on a guitar cabinet, or as a spot mic. Mono comparisons are sometimes a way better way to properly hear the contrast from one microphone to another as well.
Before I share those comparisons, I should explain how we set up the tests in order to make them as fair as possible, as well as share the mics we compared together and why. We chose to first test against our own mics so that you can all hear where in timbre the BT-202 sits in regard to how bright or dark it is comparatively to the rest of our line. With that in mind, the obvious choices for me were the Amethyst and the BH2 due to them both being very neutral but also to give flavors from our vintage and modern lines respectfully. Later down the line, of course I will be doing tests compared to other companies' mics as well, so make sure you keep an eye out for that or subscribe to the email list so you’re kept up to date.
We tested again a few different instruments, mainly those you’d likely see a small diaphragm condenser at home in such as acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, spot mic’ing cymbals, and vocals. As you can see in the photo below, we also made sure to try and have all the capsules from all 3 mics in as much of the same space as each other as possible.
How Do They Sound?
Well, this is the thing; that's what makes them so special… I genuinely can't believe how neutral they are. They don’t sound like your typical small diaphragm condenser microphone, and in fact they sound closer to a large diaphragm condenser! The biggest surprise for me personally was how at home it seemed to be on a guitar amp. If you are part of the JZ Mics Members Area on Facebook, then you may have seen the live Q&A I did about a week ago, explaining why this would be a big deal to me. The issue typically with SDC microphones on sources like electric guitar cabinets is that it’s very difficult to place them in a way you’d like to and they always end up sounding far too bright and thus, totally unusable in the end. There's only one microphone I personally can name off the top of my head that a number of audio engineers would reach for in this scenario, but I have to say this does an even better job if I’m totally honest.
On the ride cymbal we spot mic'd as well, I chose one of the brightest cymbals I have here in order to really try and test the capability of the BT-202 to try and see if it would end up being like all the other SDC microphones I’ve used in the past, and turn out too bright and harsh. But yet again, much to my surprise and also relief, that wasn’t the case with the BT-202 and instead it sounded detailed but controlled as well as having a very neutral overall capture of the sound in general.
I wouldn’t hesitate to say that these are possibly going to end up being the new 3rd very natural option for any of you to use in the future, the same as say the Black Hole series and the V67 and Amethyst also are for many people when they want to capture a source without coloring the sound too much with either the microphones built in sound or via the preamp used. All in all, these have to be heard for you to really understand just how astonished I truly am at the capabilities of the BT-202’s and the way they hold up against the other microphones in our line up. I said before that the closest comparison I could make to the new mics would be probably the V12, however I’m not sure that's the case any more; I think the BT-202 has all the best qualities of the V12 and the Black Hole Series in terms of the upper midrange and high end frequency character, coupled with the very natural lower midrange that the V67 or Amethyst has, just with a little less low end frequency response (which is completely reasonable given the capsule size difference).
If you want to hear them for yourself, I’ve compiled a folder online here for you to either download and listen to back to back in a way you’d prefer, or listen to them as they are without downloading them. As always, let me know if there are any other sources you’d like to hear the BT-202 on, and keep a sharp eye on the blog as we’ll have the next comparisons in the form of stereo pairs very soon!