Gi75....Studio To Stage....Ear Trumpet Labs Myrtle & Louise Microphones
Ear Trumpet Labs Myrtle & Louise
MSRP: (UK) £TBA / (US) $640
Straightforward/Feature Rich: 1
For fans of –
Highest quality hand-wired components
Microphones with a unique appearance
Superb recorded results
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Ear Trumpet Labs Myrtle & Louise Microphones
The folks at Ear Trumpet Labs produce hand-made microphones from their craft workshop that are unlike anything else you've seen or heard—combining state-of-the-art sound quality with playfully eclectic design—the perfect recipe for the creative performer. Nick Jennison explores the Ear Trumpet Labs Myrtle & Louise Microphones.
It's hard to overstate the importance of a microphone when it comes to both recording and live performance. Aside from the obvious point that without microphones it's impossible to record acoustic instruments (including drums, vocals and acoustic guitar) or to perform on any stage bigger than the smallest folk club, your mic of choice is a huge factor in how good your sound is. A great mic will capture your voice or instrument with clarity and realism while flattering the best parts of the sound without adding too much artificial hype or harshness. A less than great mic… not so much.
Ear Trumpet Labs' microphones are definitely the former. Hand made in Oregon, USA using carefully selected parts and a beautiful vintage aesthetic, they're high-end tools for the most discerning of users. Their range is pretty extensive, but we're going to take a look at two of their large-diaphragm condenser models - Myrtle and Louise.
I won't lie, I did let out a happy little gasp when I opened the metal cases these mics shipped in. These microphones are absolutely gorgeous looking, with bare copper construction and the capsules suspended in very sexy looking mounting rings. These rings aren't just a gimmick though - they greatly reduce handling noise, and really help with accurate positioning. I've handled mics with a similar visual style before that have felt flimsy, but that's absolutely not the case here - everything about these mics oozes quality and durability.
Both mics are cardioid large diaphragm condenser mics (and as such require phantom power), but unlike the majority of large diaphragm condenser mics out there, these mics have remarkably good feedback rejection, meaning you can use them live! In fact, mic-ing soloists and ensembles are these microphones' forte: just a single Myrtle or Louise will be enough for a solo singer-guitarist, a bluegrass ensemble, a jazz drummer or even a choir (provided the performers have their internal dynamics nailed, that is).
Sonically, both mics have a similar character with a very smooth and accurate midrange. Myrtle is a little warmer and more rounded in the highs - great for bright female vocals, brighter stringed instruments and electric guitar speaker cabinets - while Louise is crisper and more extended, and ideal for darker vocals (like my own) or instruments that benefit from a little high-end lift (like large-bodied acoustic guitars, or as drum overheads).
In direct comparisons to industry-standard mics, both Myrtle and Louise performed extremely well. On a speaker cabinet, both Ear Trumpet mics sounded smoother than the SM57 we used as a comparison, and more "true" to the sound of the cab in the room to boot. Myrtle's relaxed highs sounded almost ribbon-like, and either microphone would be a great "second mic" for a killer sounding blend in the studio.
On a live vocal, both Myrtle and Louise completely outclassed our reference Beta 58. To be fair, you'd expect this from a large-diaphragm condenser in the studio, but don't forget that these mics can both be used as live vocal mics, with killer performance to match the showstopping aesthetics. Lastly, on an acoustic guitar with a bit of distance between the mic and the source, both Ear Trumpet mics sounded superb, with tons of detail and a balanced delivery that responds extremely gracefully to EQ and compression. For a solo guitar I'd probably choose either the warmer-toned Myrtle or a blend of both mics, but the extra presence Louise delivers is ideal for an "in the mix" acoustic sound without the need for additional processing.
Ear Trumpet Labs' Myrtle and Louise sound every bit as gorgeous as they look, with unprecedented performance in the live domain. If you're looking for a mic to be your main studio vocal/acoustic guitar mic that can perform just as well on ensembles, as a drum overhead/room mic, and that you can also use live, you need to check these out. Not just a pretty face!