Microtech Gefell M 300 by Puffer Fish
The Microtech Gefell M300 small diaphragm condenser microphone receives a great deal of praise from its users. If you give it a careful examination and compare it to other similar microphones, you will understand why this microphone is held in high regard.
At first glance, the M300 seems like a very simple design. It is a typical 'pencil' design that does not even have a pad or high pass filter included. Sheesh, what a rip-off, right? But we are audio people and since we are NEVER influenced by how items look, I know everyone will immediately want to skip ahead to the sound. But bear with me...
As it turns out, the M300 is NOT a simple re-packaging of M2xx series technology (M200 and its ilk are another small diaphragm mic Gefell produces and has produced for quite some time). The capsule in the M300 (as well as in the hyper-cardioid version M310) have a new(-ish... it was created more than a decade ago now, so not REALLY "new" anymore, right?) designed capsule using ceramics along with traditional capsule manufacturing to apparently make a more stable capsule, as I understand it all---but I am not a physical engineer, only sharing what I sort of learned. The mic has great headroom, so no pad is required (and the 'no pad required' claim is true in my experience) and I for one never missed having a high pass filter on a mic body--I prefer to access high pass control from my mixer/ recorder instead of reaching eight feet above the floor to a mic suspended from a tall boom stand. But that is just me. I am lazy.
The fit and finish on the mic are solid, it ships in a cool wooden box (unless you get it from Vintage King, in which case they package matched sets with sweet Rycote shock mounts in a metals case!) and most importantly from a build stand point, at least for THIS user, the M300 (and M310) are not susceptible to RF radiation (no AM radio receiving here) and handling noise does not affect this mic like some other small microphones I own. Many years of microphone manufacturing experience apparently DOES amount to something and the folks at Microtech Gefell know how to build a microphone without flaws.
And we finally arrive at the SOUND! If you have an opportunity to take an M300 for a test drive, expect to capture sound across the entire audible spectrum. Do NOT let the low frequency roll-off beginning at around 100 Hz that gradually slopes to 20 Hz, according to the published specifications, trouble you---it is GRADUAL and look closely at the spec. sheet: the drop is only about -2dB at the most severe point in the curve which is not much of a drop at all. And the often mentioned (in reviews I have read) high frequency 'mound' is equally gradual and again at the most severe point only equals approximately +2dB--that is not very much. And while we are on the subject of technical data, do yourself a favor and review the polar pattern information Microtech Gefell has provided (of which they deliver in copious amounts, I should add): the off-axis response of the M300 is very, VERY uniform. It is only at the very high frequency statistic of 16kHz that the microphone demonstrates a change in uniformity... and I can verify that this is a realistic claim. Yes, the sweet spot is wide and the fall off of sound is generally one that comes across as the microphone simply becomes less loud rather than some crap-sounding, phase-shifted, EQ-curious, off-putting, unreal off-axis response found way too often in other microphones. Yes, sometimes a good engineer will use an off-axis sound as an intentional EQ adjustment. But in the case of the M300, you can use the polar pattern much in the same way you use you ear to decide where to place the mic as the off-axis response is similar to the way your ears operate and interestingly enough, akin to how an omni microphone operates... think of this as an omni microphone with a directional property to it and you will bet the idea of how to use this mic.
Other information regarding how the mic 'sounds', or as I like to better describe, how it captures or reproduces sound.... When I have compared the M300 to other microphones, I consistently find the M300 often has better reach into low frequencies, excellent reach into high frequencies, but at the same time, delivers rich midrange reproduction. Yes, other mics have the same reach into the lower register, but the M300 almost always out-shines them by delivering better DETAIL in the low sound frequencies, often showing a more rich resonance. In the high frequencies, yes, there are many mics that have a strong showing of that information, but the M300 seems to effortlessly deliver the high frequencies in a very pleasing way without ever coming across as harsh or brittle, the way adding EQ after the fact often makes a sound come across... the M300 sounds great in the high frequencies from the start, no need for adjustments and it delivers clarity and detail without ugly harshness. And everything in between... almost always sounds more open, more "3-D" (silly term to describe sound until you hear it in action), has more depth with detail across the range and often simply sounds more correct than other microphones can deliver.
I find the M300 useful in a very wide variety of circumstances. EVERYTHING acoustic (thus far, anyway) has been a good thing to place the M300 in front of, around, to the side of, underneath, above... The capture is pleasing to the point that sometimes it seems like a lovely sheen was applied to the sound within the mic. Not real, of course, but it sort of comes across that way to my ears.
One place to beware of using the M300 is the center of a speaker cone--especially a growling electric guitar. That more crisp sound emitted from the center of a speaker is accurately captured by the M300 and it does NOT come across all that well---in the sound community we all know about this and it is why mics with weak high frequency detail are often used on guitar amps and why products like the "Beam Blocker" for guitar amps are sold. The M300 is not your best tool for the task when it comes to guitar amps. On a related subject, the sibling M310 hyper-cardiod mic (same capsule as I understand it, different mic body design) actually DOES work pretty well on guitar amps, so there is another tool for you to check out! ; )
There are a plethora of wonderful microphones at good value for us to choose from. I have had the privilege to put the Microtech Gefell M300 up against a number of other microphones and it delivers nuances and character not found in many other microphones. While the M300 does indeed land in the high-end price point, it also delivers good value for the money. I humbly suggest the M300 is a microphone you will buy and not want to sell because it will be a VERY useful tool for you to use on all your recording projects. You listen to the sound captured through an M300 and will respond internally with the glowing acknowledgement, "Now THAT is what a microphone is supposed to sound like."