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Studio Projects B3

Studio Projects B3

3.75 3.75 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

Multi-pattern condenser mic with shock mount


3rd December 2011

Studio Projects B3 by Confusionator

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Studio Projects B3

Let me start by saying that I'm a user of Blue KIWIs, AKG C414s, Neumann U87s, and so forth. Those are all terrific multi-pattern microphones that, while they sound different from one another, will find a place in anyone's studio.

Having said that, I was very skeptical about buying a multi-pattern mic, complete with shockmout, that costs about as much as only a shock mount for a premium mic. But, I wanted some condenser mics for tom-toms. I think that condensers often sound better than dynamics on toms, and the added brightness was necessary for me at the time, as I was recording in a room that was overly padded and didn't have a sparkly high frequency range. Furthermore, my business could afford to have a drummer take out a $200 mic once in a while, but I could not afford to watch a more expensive mic get destroyed.

On to the sound: the mic is quite bright, but it's never nasty as I think most lower-price MXLs and the older Rodes are. Indeed, there is a sort of grating quality to Studio Projects' own C-series mics (other than the T3) which I simply don't hear with these less expensive B-series ones.

Negatives: the mic is hot: even with the 10dB pad in place, I would still typically use an inline attenuator for close micing of toms. The off-axis rejection is kind of poor, which wound up being a bit of a problem in my application with toms. Finally, there's a sound, a bit like a phase shift, in the high frequencies that smears things a bit compared to more expensive mics.

Shootouts: Having said all these negative things, I should also say that the mic won a lot of shootouts versus Rode K2s and NT1As, CAD mics, and Shure KSM32s. Again, this is in my old studio, which I think benefitted from the brightness. But, still, the mic often won as a vocal mic or guitar mic against this competition, even though the B3 was significantly less expensive.

I have recommended the mic to novice friends, who have been absolutely enthralled with its sound. I consider it to be one of the best values in its price range. For people searching for a true large diaphragm, multi-pattern condenser for under two bills, I think that it is a fantastic buy. The next step up, in my mind, is an AKG C414, but that's going to cost you a lot more, and it won't have the pleasing presence lift that the B3 gives you.

Overall: thumbs up!

I hope that some of you find this review helpful.

  • 1
5th December 2011

Studio Projects B3 by ears2thesky

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Studio Projects B3

In looking for a multi-pattern mic for my home studio, I spotted the Studio Projects B3 on ebay which I subsequently purchased for $100.

My initial experiments with the B3 were as a figure-of-8 side mic in a M/S drum overhead configuration. Pairing it with a variety of mid mics, I felt that it excelled in this application giving a very detailed representation of the recording space. Employing the pad it handled loud drum sets without distortion, and as far as EQ, it rarely required more than an occasional low roll-off to sit nicely in the mix. I found the sensitivity to be less desirable on close-miked loud sources like toms and snare, as even with pad switched in, it could be overloaded.

Electric guitar amps sounded best in cardiod with the mic placed further back than the typical close SM57 position. The B3 complimented '57s and i5s very well on both clean and distorted tracks adding the right amount of "hi-fi" clarity to the dynamics' meat and potatoes tone.

On acoustic guitar I used it on the body (in cardiod and omni) with a SDC on the neck joint and was rewarded with a fantastic balance of attack and woodiness. The transients were smooth seeming subtly compressed in a good way. Once again, very little EQ or dynamics processing was needed to achieve the best sound.

On male rock vocals the B3 had a nice balance of lows and highs giving nice detail without getting too harsh or boomy. The cardiod proximity effect was pretty light, so it might not be the first choice on VO work. On some screamed passages I placed a '57 in precise alignment with the B3 and tracked both simultaneously which yielded a nice balance of guts and sheen.

The only tracks that didn't really work with this mic were loud female vocals. The peaks and valleys of the mic's response seemed to match the singer (a blues/rock belter) too well accentuating resonant frequencies in an unpleasant way. Even with extensive EQing it just never got good. Quiet breathy female vocals worked better, but not amazing.

The B3 also got duty as a distant room mic, close upright bass, and BV vocals with excellent results.

All in all, I'd say the Studio Projects B3 is the best bang-for-the-buck mic in my home collection (with the possible exception of the MCA SP-1: but that's another review). I'd recommend it highly to recordists with a tight budget that need a great-sounding workhorse multi-pattern mic.

5th December 2011

Studio Projects B3 by gehauser

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 1 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 2.5
Studio Projects B3

My B3 sounded great on vocals, but I did not like it so much on acoustic instruments. It was slightly scooped sounding in the mids on stringed instruments.

My B3 developed a problem with a rumbling noise in the first year. The noise would go away for the most part after the mic warmed up. But even after warmup, the mic appeared to have more noise than my other mics. I could sometimes make the bad rumbling go away by fiddling with the pattern switch, so I suspect it was related to the switch.

I sent the mic back to the mfr for repair (actually Sweetwater did this for me, to their credit). On return from this service, the noise appeared to be fixed, but then it started up again a few weeks later.

The pattern and pad switches on this mic drove me nuts - they are not tucked away, so they constantly get touched and repositioned. Also, it was odd that one switch was used for both the pad and hpf. Your choices were flat or hpf or pad, but only one of these (e.g., no pad + hpf option).

In summary, a good sounding mic on vocals, but poor reliability. There was no rating field here for reliability/build quality, so my disappointment is reflected primarily in the Ease of Use rating, because getting rid of the rumbling noise was a pain each time I needed to use the mic. But also in the Features rating, in that, although the mic had a lot of features, the switches for these features were troublesome.

 
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