Gear reviews

Violet Microphones – Amethyst vintage


Generally speaking

From the violet-website:

Both “The Amethyst” models are based on our own original true electrostatic capsules. Large size diaphragms are made of the highest quality 6-micron Mylar film. Using our original technology the diaphragms are tensioned and adjusted on precisely made brass backplates. The diaphragms are sputtered with our special formula of gold mixture. It gives them faster impulse transient response without sound coloration, low frequency reduction, and adds possibility to handle louder sound pressure levels. At the end of the manufacturing process each capsule is carefully checked for all parameters and measured in an anechoic chamber for optimum of performance.

Well, I am impressed by the wooden box that ships with the mics.. as well as the allover manufacturing of the mic. Looks and feels good.

Problems & technicalities

First of all, I missed a pad. I ran the mics into a shadowhills Mono Gama and the output was too hot even if you turned down the gain a lot. Well, that’s not the fault of the microphone. I ordered a GAS-10 attenuator (brand new product from a guy in the US. It’s a 4 channel line attenuator. I will make a review about this soon) and the problem was solved.

The mic-holder is a bit of an experiment to work with first. After discovering how to mount it, I can definitly recommend it to everyone who is intersted in buying this mic. I tried the difference, when mounting the mic directly to a boom and then using the spider. The mic was clearer in the lows and of course had practically no rumble (pick up from the floor).

The mic looks very solid. If you open the wonderful looking wooden box and take out the mic, 3 tiny screws appear mounted where the capsule or head of the mic is. I was told, that I have to remove those screws when the mic is used for production. Seems like the screws are holding the capsule inside the mic-head for transport reasons.

The violet finish is very attractive, the mic is relativly flat and you can close-mic a guitar cab like with an SM57.

Sound

I put a stereo pair of the Violet Amethyst Vintage on a drumkit in my studio and as well on electric guitar (death metal, hard rock style) on a 4×12″ Laboga cabinet. The preamps where a shadow hills mono gama and a daking micpre4. The shadow hills is sounding a bit old school when not driving it hard¬† on the input (means it’s a bit dark) while the Daking is more mid-forward.

The Amethyst’s shined as overhead on drums. I used an A/B configuration, relativly close to the cymbals and equal distance to the snare. I a/b-ed them with my AKG 414 ULS and EB. The short story: I never ever had such a strong, full, yet detailed overhead sound. The mics somewhat softened the “ping” of the hit and the decay sounded fantastic somewhat more compact then with the AKG 414.

A certain 3-Dimensionality was also part of the sound, which is hard to describe. I’ve heard that the last time, when using a pair of U-67 in a friends studio. NO! The Amethyst Vintage do not sound like Neumann U-67 nor do I compare the sound of the Amethyst with those old German microphones. I am just talking about the 3-Dimensionality of the sound which is comparable.

The second application was using them as on a guitar-cabinet. The Laboga was powered by a Laboga Mr. Hector and on a second try with a London City III (Plexi-style). I put an API 512c after the mic which is one of my favourite guitar-tracking preamps.

To be honest, on the first try I was disapointed. The mic sounded kinda tiny, no bottom end. I tried other positions on the cab, tried blending it with my SM57 (this mic is on every guitar-recording I do) but it didn’t work out. The sound was far from beeing full or nice. I tried it a bit farer away and whohoooo it worked. Yes the sound got better. It seems I might have overloaded the capsule at first (but couldn’t hear any distortion), that’s why the sound might have become tiny. It couldnt handle the massive lowend coming out of the very loud screaming amp. Concerning the sound: it had a tad too much highend (it was easy to turn it down with a plugin EQ), the midrange was defined, the lows seem to have a bass-roll off.. but a nice one.¬† I really liked it.

I think I will give it another run on a new project I will do soon and report back in this review.

Conclusion

Speachless, wonderful, go and buy them now if you are using them as overhead microphones.

Right now I am a bit confused about the use on guitars. I didn’t really like what I heard first but with a littlebit of distance, it became usable. I will work again with the microphone on my next project and update you guys with all the news.

UPDATE:
After trying it again on upright-bass there is really something in the high-end of the mic that makes it less usuable for stuff that has a lot of high-frequency energy, like distortet guitars and upright-bass. It’s a bit too much there (no it’s not sounding Chinese) it’s just too much character. That’s why it has not worked for me and some friend-engineers on that kind of stuff. But they love it on vocals, percussion and stuff that has a lot of midinformation as it tends to soften it a bit, without loosing definition.

All in all one of the best looking, best sounding mics I used so far.Will try it on vocals, bass too. I think it shines on percussive instruments right now.

UPDATE:
Works wonderfully on vocals that don’t need more mid-push. It’s well balanced with a littlebit more highend then you would expect from a mic called Vintage. Really cool. Takes EQ w
ell!

Go buy!

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