I might take after my cat, because curiosity got the best of me today. I got an email that made me think about mics (probably because the email was about mics – I think that makes sense). The thing was, that I was thinking about a specific mic line (Ear Trumpet Labs). Ear Trumpet is a new line for us at FEA, and I really haven't had the time I've wanted, to spend with them. So out of curiosity, I grabbed the Edwina and Louise to lay down some slam'n acoustic tracks with my Taylor 114ce. I also did a little speech and vocal recording.
First of all, I'll say they are both great mics. Plus, there is a lot to like about Ear Trumpet Labs in general. They are hand built, and I mean HAND BUILT, in the US. They are built from repurposed materials (everybody likes to go at least a little green), which gives them a charm. They are simple. No flash, no nonsense, just a solid well built mic that does their job – with a raw (attractive) look and musically vintage vibe. But how do they sound? (see the next paragraph for the answer).
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The first mic I checked out what the Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina. I really like this mic. It has a softer top, clear detailed upper mids, full mids/low mids, and a present but natural bottom end. It sounded very solid on the voice (keep in mind, I am a male baritone). It did have a little bit “brighter” sound on the voice, due to the upper mids. There was just this slight presence in the upper mids that made the voice sound “more alive”. Then, I recorded some acoustic guitar. I placed the mic about six inches from the guitar, around the 11th/12th fret, and pointed it at the heal of the neck. This is were I fell in love with this mic. Maybe it is my specific acoustic (which has a warmer Spanish sound to it), but the Edwina seemed to really like it. The finger noise and pick noise was there, but rounded. It was pleasant to hear. I like those noises. To me the make an acoustic sound real. Overall there was plenty of cut, plenty of detail to make that guitar clear. The mid range was big and smooth. The resonance and body of the guitar came out, without being boxy or having mud. The lows reached well and were natural, but honestly – who cares. I mean, we are all going to be high passing an acoustic around 100Hz anyway. Though based on the low end response of the mic, I really want to check out the Edwina on drum overheads.
The Ear Trumpet Labs Louise is a different story – only in how it sounds. Build quality, looks, performance – it's all there. Like all Ear Trumpet mics, it has that attractive steam punk look to it. The sound is a noticeable difference from the Edwina. It has an airier, more open top end, similar mids (with a little less bloom in the low mids), and a more rounded bottom with a faster roll off. This one, I really liked on vocals. It was clear but sweet. Just a nice smooth clarity to the upper mids and top end. Very pleasant to listen to. The mids were full enough to give strength to the voice, but not muddy at all. The low end was there for the foundation, but only enough was there – it wasn't over done or boomy. I did like it on acoustic guitars, but not as much as the Edwina. Or well better stated, I like the Edwina more on my acoustic. Given the performance on acoustic, though I did not like the Louise as much, I do think that it would be great on mandolin, banjo, dulcimer, stringed instruments of that nature. It would probably be a sweet mic for drum overheads as well.
The one thing that struck me about both these mics, is that they sounded more like a really nice condenser had a baby, with a really really nice dynamic mic. You get the presence and detail of a condenser, with a smoother more sweet and natural sound of a dynamic. All in all, Ear Trumpet is doing something very unique. Not just in looks, but in performance and sound. I'm really looking forward to checking out the rest of the line in more detail. Keep an eye out on these mics people. These are something all their own.