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Brauner Phantom Inspection
Old 19th August 2017
  #1
Brauner Phantom Inspection

I am the new owner of a used Brauner Phantom Classic with an unknown history.
To my ear the mic sounds very dark, which is the opposite of what most reviews report about the sound of the Phantom. Most refer to it as very bright and airy. My copy retains good articulation and very low self-noise, but just doesn't have much upper-end presence. EQ can overcome much of the tone, but my concern of course is that there might be something wrong with it. I am willing to ship the mic to someone to have it inspected, but not sure who does that kind of work. I would prefer that it be inspected by someone that works with Brauners specifically, rather than just a generic mic shop. So my question is: does anyone have a recommendation for who to send this mic to. Before you recommend the Brauner factory, I have already tried to contact them and I get an auto-responder that says they won't be returning to work until some time in September. An earlier email to them on another subject was never responded to. I'll wait until September if necessary, but not even certain that the factory provides this service at all. Perhaps you know something about that also. I appreciate whatever help you can provide for giving me some peace of mind that this mic is working as designed, or that it can be made to. Thank you in advance.
Old 19th August 2017
  #2
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Will The Weirdo's Avatar
Brauner mics are always generically described as bright, but really IMHO they are just extremely detailed covering different tones for a modern sounding mic I personally love. Some are brighter and others darker, so I would not stress too much as long as your Phantom Classic is detailed, but swapping tubes or comparing it with another Classic owner in your area is an option.

I can easily recommend Brauner in Germany for service, nobody knows Brauner mics like Dirk Brauner, he serviced my VM-1 and it sounds fantastic. It did take about 2 months to get it back but it was well worth it for me as it is in like new condition now.
Old 19th August 2017
  #3
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Only Brauner can tell if your Phantom Classic is up to spec, so it's better to send it there anyway. What have been your reference experiences with other microphones so far? "Bright" is a very relative quality, depending on what your reference is.
Old 19th August 2017
  #4
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Will The Weirdo View Post
Brauner mics are always generically described as bright, but really IMHO they are just extremely detailed covering different tones for a modern sounding mic I personally love. Some are brighter and others darker, so I would not stress too much as long as your Phantom Classic is detailed, but swapping tubes or comparing it with another Classic owner in your area is an option.

I can easily recommend Brauner in Germany for service, nobody knows Brauner mics like Dirk Brauner, he serviced my VM-1 and it sounds fantastic. It did take about 2 months to get it back but it was well worth it for me as it is in like new condition now.
I agree with you, although the Classic doesn't have any tube to swap of course.

To the OP: I'd wait 'til they come back or try to get ahold of a distributor in your country and see if there's something they could do in the meanwhile.

Anyway I'd recommend to speak with Brauner.. Even if that might require some patience.

just my 0.02$,



Cheu
Old 20th August 2017
  #5
OP

My references are many: U87ai, Miktek C7e, Senny 416, are the most noteworthy. Definitely more subdued top-end to any of those.

Thanks for the input about the source (Brauner HQ). It sounds like sending it back to them for the inspection is the best course. I realize I'll be without it for some considerable time, but fortunately I have other options I can rely on in the meantime.

I'll feel kinda dumb if it checks out ok as it is. Brauners are just a different animal than what I'm used to (mostly in a great way), so this may very well be just another piece of that.

Any other thoughts?
Old 20th August 2017
  #6
Also wanted to mention that I can bring out a better HF response by adjusting the input impedence. Fortunately my mic-pre has that capability (Focusrite ISA); the higher the impedence, the brighter it gets. Still not sure though if that is just compensating for a flaw with the mic. I haven't been able to determine what the recommended impedence setting is for this mic. Is there a downside to using impedence to brighten up a mic?
Old 20th August 2017
  #7
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceShow View Post
Also wanted to mention that I can bring out a better HF response by adjusting the input impedence. Fortunately my mic-pre has that capability (Focusrite ISA); the higher the impedence, the brighter it gets. Still not sure though if that is just compensating for a flaw with the mic. I haven't been able to determine what the recommended impedence setting is for this mic. Is there a downside to using impedence to brighten up a mic?
Input impedance of the preamp is a major factor of how a microphone sounds. It is a very underestimated aspect of what decides for the sound of a preamp in conjunction with a microphone (and makes a lot of generalisation preamp talk void). Some microphones work very well with low input impedance on the preamp, while others work much better at high impedances. Some mics are rather insensitive to variations in input impedance. You hardly ever read about this, even though the differences can be enormous. Usually the output level of a preamp goes down a bit when you push the input impedance up. There's no harm in using the impedance that fits the sound best. On the ISA it can even be considered a creative tool. You may note though that the ISA does not bring out the most detail and transparency of a (any) microphone. It's a bit slow in comparison to other (mostly transformerless) preamps. It's pretty mid strong too.

As a rule of thumb: high voltage mics (with their own power supply) like low input impedance on the preamp; ribbons (also active models) like high input impedances, passive mics like high impedances; solid 48V stage brands such as Schoeps do not mind much; while 48V Microtech Gefell mics don't like low input impedances (they become dark and sluggish).
Old 20th August 2017
  #8
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mbvoxx's Avatar
Brauner has a service tech in the USA, I think he is in California. Usually, if you contact them they'll refer you to him.
contact info is:

[email protected]
Old 20th August 2017
  #9
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceShow View Post
My references are many: U87ai, Miktek C7e, Senny 416, are the most noteworthy. Definitely more subdued top-end to any of those.

Thanks for the input about the source (Brauner HQ). It sounds like sending it back to them for the inspection is the best course. I realize I'll be without it for some considerable time, but fortunately I have other options I can rely on in the meantime.

I'll feel kinda dumb if it checks out ok as it is. Brauners are just a different animal than what I'm used to (mostly in a great way), so this may very well be just another piece of that.

Any other thoughts?
It just occurs to me that you may be having a Phantom Classic with the new capsule design (made by Brauner): this is tuned considerably less airy and pristine than the earlier type used (made by Haun), as a request from (mostly) American users, who wanted a fatter/bigger sound.

Check out my pictures in this post to see what make you have in your Phantom Classic: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/8970896-post9.html
Old 20th August 2017
  #10
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

This new information is quite intriguing....I have always like the idea of the Brauner Phantom, except for it's well-known brightness. If the new capsule is darker that could be a game-changer for me.....does anyone know around what serial number the Phantoms started being made with the darker capsule? (I did a search and didn't see this info in any of the related threads)

BTW as mentioned earlier, the Phantom is about 25% more expensive than before.
Old 20th August 2017
  #11
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Earcatcher's Avatar
I have no serial numbers knowledge of the Phantom Classic. The capsule change occurred around late summer of 2012. There was virtually no communication about it, although it was quite a drastic change. Early 2013 I had a few long conversations with Dirk Brauner about the changes, which is where my info comes from.
Old 20th August 2017
  #12
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Earcatcher's Avatar
P.S.: for those who want to learn more about the complex history of the new capsules it may be worthwhile to read this entire thread: New Brauner Microphone It's the only time that Dirk Brauner himself felt that he should appear on GS, and it is also the thread that seems to have scared him off to ever mingle in GS talk again...

Then, some possible cause that could explain the recent price increase on Brauner mics*:

"2016-02-14
LONGER DELIVERY TIMES AT BRAUNER MICROPHONES

Due to a very high amount of backorders, we are currently having a longer waiting time. We are very happy about our popularity but we are well aware of the fact that this popularity has grown on the base of non compromising quality and absolute dedication to the products as well as meticulous attention to detail. Your Microphone is a piece of art made for you built by order and is not an industrial mass product.

Brauner Microphones is not - and never will be - based on industrial mass production. We only built by order and in small quantities. So be sure to order your microphone with enough time ahead."


* quoted from the Brauner website: Brauner Microphones: News
Old 20th August 2017
  #13
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VO Guy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
I have no serial numbers knowledge of the Phantom Classic. The capsule change occurred around late summer of 2012. There was virtually no communication about it, although it was quite a drastic change. Early 2013 I had a few long conversations with Dirk Brauner about the changes, which is where my info comes from.
So based on an earlier post on this subject, the way to know if you have one of the new, less bright Brauner Phantom capsules is to look for a capsule that has no screws on the front of it?
Old 21st August 2017
  #14
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by VO Guy View Post
So based on an earlier post on this subject, the way to know if you have one of the new, less bright Brauner Phantom capsules is to look for a capsule that has no screws on the front of it?
Yes.
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