Large diaphragm vocal condenser microphones are the most scrutinized when it comes to microphone roles and purposes. A subset of them, vacuum tube condenser microphones, is also a valuable tool in any studio engineer’s arsenal. The classic sound of microphones like the Neumann U47 or the AKG C12 are well-known. The RodeK2 Microphone is a good example of this. What is the relevance of this microphone to other competitors that were long established?
Rode K2 Microphones’ Design
Let’s begin with the K2. The K2 features a 1″-wide, gold-sputtered diaphragm and a class-A 6922 vacuum tubes. It also has a variable pickup pattern. Internal shock-mounted class-A circuitry ensures a very low noise floor of just 10dBA, translating into a signal to noise ratio of 81dB. The microphone construction is solid, with a steel mesh grille and all-metal housing. A locking ring can be used for mounting.
Variable pattern control is an innovative concept. It allows you to place the microphone in any type of pattern, from omnidirectional to cardioid to figure-8. You can also finely control the shape of the Polar pattern as it transitions between these three.
It sounds great, but how does it sound? It’s no surprise that the vacuum tube produces the same warmth as any other microphone. The vacuum tube has a remarkable frequency response. It can be operated omnidirectionally with a slight 12kHz presence peak, and a subtle 5kHz lift when used in a cardioid configuration.
Variable pickup patterns are powerful because they can be used with different vocal types and applications. The microphone’s characteristics are somewhat blurred when it is used in different patterns. It was too wide for me to use at distances greater than 8 inches in live environments. Even though it is a cardioid design, the proximity effect gives smooth results at close proximities. This makes it a good choice for those situations where it works best. The 6922 vacuum tube has a smooth top-end, a very detailed middle and surprisingly strong low-end.
The power supply, multi-pin cables, and suitable shock mounting are all included in the solid flight case. Mounting the microphone, which weighs in at 1.8 pounds, requires that you have a suitable stand. This precious piece of gear is yours to protect. The filter is a notable omission. A roll-off microphone pre should be used. This is especially useful when you are using it in close proximity applications. K2 can handle transients up to 162dB SPL. You’ll have enough headroom at your microphone to handle some extra excursion.
This microphone is a great choice amongst its older competitors, considering all of the above. Different microphones will have different characteristics. A microphone can be better suited for a song or vocalist than another microphone, depending on many factors. The K2 is a great microphone, and it can compete with the U47 or C12. The K2 also comes at a price that makes professional tube microphones affordable to small and large studios. It is also extremely durable. Tubes can be easily replaced without soldering, in addition to the 10-year warranty from the manufacturer. The K2 has a higher level of warmth than other solid-state models, such as the U87 and TLM103. It is a good choice for applications that require a smoother sound, such as when one wants to reduce the harshness at the top end of the spectrum.
Rode K2 is a classic Australian microphone that has been redesigned by the Australian company. It’s a versatile and musical microphone that can be used in a variety of situations. This microphone is a great choice for musicians looking for warmth for their recordings, as well as audiophiles and tonemeisters who are searching for a new sonic color.