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Brauner Phantom AE review with audio samples
Old 29th November 2008
Gear Maniac

Brauner Phantom AE review with audio samples

Brauner Phantom AE

Below is my review of the Brauner Phantom AE with included audio examples. All audio examples can be found at Index of /braunerreview and all are in both mp3 and wav format:


Over the past few years I’ve steadily been purchasing music and recording equipment to allow me to go out on location and offer recording services to amateur and professional musicians. I started off with a very basic setup based around an ibook running Logic Gold with Emagic A6|2 interface. My only microphones were a stereo pair of Red 5 Audio RV4’s and a Samson C03. This was about 5 years ago and my knowledge, finances and requirements have all moved on quite considerably! I’ve replaced all of the above (with the exception of the RV4 pair which can still be quite useful) equipment with better and more expensive things. In the microphone department I added a CAD M177 to my list which has proven to be a very versatile and an excellent bargain. A few months ago I decided it was time to add another mic to my small collection. I decided to set the limit of the budget around £600 to allow me to have some left over finances to upgrade my laptop. I started doing some research into various mics in this price range including those from Audio Technica, AGK, Groove Tubes, Neumann ect. It was then that I came across Brauner. Unable to find anything but praise for their products I decided to purchase the Phantom AE from KMR for £599.

Build quality and spec:

The microphone is supplied in a good quality metallic case complete with a stylish solid shockmount and Vovox cable. The build quality is excellent in all areas. It’s a heavy mic which topples my budget mic stands very easily unless I’m careful about the positioning. I’m not too concerned about my other mics falling over but this one is a little different so perhaps its time to invest in a decent mic stand! I’d hate to see it come crashing down on a hard stone floor (although the floor may well be worse off at impact!). The specifications are excellent. The self noise is a low 8dBA and sensitivity quoted at 28mV/Pa. The sensitivity proved to be a small problem when I used the mic to record a loud male rock singer (partly as a fault of the preamp on the saffire pro 26). I had the gain as low as it could go on the preamp (focusrite saffire pro 26) and still came close to clipping at the loudest points of the song however, it’s not a problem if your preamp has a pad switch of some kind. Max SPL is quoted as 142 dB, a frequency range of 20hz-22Khz and phantom power is required.

In Use:

I’ve had the opportunity to use the microphone on a variety of sources since the purchase. The first time it was put into use was on the male vocalist as mentioned above. It worked well in this role (although a pad switch of some kind would have helped!) however something like an SM57 or ribbon microphone might have been more appropriate as the singers voice came across a little too sibilant. I was able to tame this at the mixing stage using EQ and a de-esser. I also tested the mic on heavy distorted guitar and was very pleased with the results. I normally reach for an SM57 or similar for electric guitar but now I’m just as likely to use the Phantom AE. The sound it captured was more inline with what I was hearing in the room than that produced by the SM57.

My second opportunity to use the mic came about during a local choral society recording. The choir was positioned at right angles to the organ and covered with spaced MKH30’s. The organ mic’s were a pair of MKH40’s in ORTF setup. I used the Phantom AE as a spot mic for the tenor and bass soloists. There are audio examples of the mix using the Phantom AE as the primary solo mic and with the spot mic muted (titled: Tenor Solo Brauner and Tenor Solo no spot respectively). The Phantom AE was positioned about 1 meter away from the soloist and blended with with the outer choir mic’s, organ mic’s and ambient pair. I had to turn down the center MKH30 as it was causing phase issues if used as the same time as the Phantom AE. We chose to use the version with spot mic on the final CD as the director and I both preferred the closer, more intimate sound. Preamps were those built into the Saffire Pro 26.

The third set of audio examples comes from a recent school concert recording. I used a main ORTF pair of Beyer MC930’s and a widely spaced pair of Rode NT55’s with Omni capsule. Once again there are two versions. The file titled “female solo brauner spot” uses the Phantom AE positioned about 1.5m in front of the soloist, piano spot mic and spaced omni’s. The “female solo main pairs” is a blend of the omni’s and ORTF pair. In this case I feel the spot mic mix words much better but it is always going to be a matter of personal taste! The ORTF pair preamps were the Audient Mico Pre and all other mics connected to the Saffire Pro 26.

The fourth set of examples are acoustic guitar recordings. These are just very rough and not particularly well played. They were both recorded at the same time using the Phantom AE and CAD M177. The M177 holds up very well against the the Phantom AE but I feel the Brauner has the edge (and should do as it costs 5 times as much as the M177!). Both recorded through the Audient Mico Pre.

The final exampes are once again female vocals but this time in a studio environment. “Song Vocal Section Brauner” is a short clip of just vocals with no processing recorded through the Audient Mico Pre. The full version is the vocal as part of a demo version of the song which is still to be completed. The vocal part in the full song was recorded through the Audient Mico Pre with the HMX at about 60% to add a little extra colour to the vocal. It is in this area that the mic really shines and I look forward to using it as a vocal mic on future intimate and laid back vocals.


So far I’ve been very pleased with the results I’ve had from the microphone. It nearly always captures a warm and very accurate representation of the source. While it might not be perfect for every recording situation I would feel comfortable pointing it at just about any source! The addition of a pad of some kind would have been useful but it is understandable that it hasn’t been included as this is a price reduced anniversary edition. This problem is easily solved by using the mic with a preamp that offers low gain or a pad switch of some kind. It is in no way a dull microphone so might not be suitable for overly bright sources such as vocalists who tend to sound sibilant. I understand that there aren’t many of these left out there in the market as a limited number were made. For £599 the mic represents excellent value for money and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a top class cardiod LDC to add to their collection.
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