A while back, i purchased a Maroon Audio MT100 tube mic, i took a chance on it and bought direct from the manufacturers (whom i have no professional connection with other than being a punter) and i was very pleasantly surprised at the price/performance ratio of it. Being in the UK, it's nice to support an English firm.
I road tested the MT100 pretty thoroughly and wrote a few things here on GS about the mic. Not too long afterwards, Ian from Maroon emailed me asking if he could quote me on some of the things i said about the mic and i said yeah no worries. We then got into a few email exchanges and he offered me the chance to try the latest Maroon mic, a deluxe "special edition" MT100 with improved selected component electronics and NOS mullard tube, officially known as the MT100 SE.
Of course i jumped at the chance, and withing a week the courier had delivered the mic just a few days prior to a pretty intense tracking session.
I tried to record as much with the mic as i could within the 4 day session, here are some of my observations.
I used the microphone on vocals, acoustic guitar, overheads, clarinet, and bass cab.
First up, the regular MT100 is no slouch itself, but as soon as i plugged in the SE, it was immediately apparent that this was an another ballgame entirely.
First off, this mic is seriously smooooth! The tone on it, paticularly on vocals is kinda transparent but ironically with a subtle colour, great definition at the bottom without being boomy, good proximity effect when worked a pleasing subltlty to the mid range without being scooped and a silky top end with air but despite this i did'nt have any problems with sibilance. Suffise to say, i fell in love with it pretty quickly, and could'nt believe that it does'nt cost more. I must repeat here, even tho i'm gushing praise on this mic, i have absolutely no vested interest in Maroon audio whatsoever, other than having used 2 of they're mics to date and being very impressed with them.
The mic itself comes in a very attractive old english cream/off white powder coated brass body with the vintage lollipop styling of the original MT100, and the same generic power supply and shockmount, cable and foam muffler/shield thingy...........it's a weighty serious feeling mic and impressive in the flesh.
Much has been made of the 67 capsule used on other OEM chinese designs, as as the basic microphone is of chinese manufacture (before undergoing customisation and QC by Maroon) i'd hazard a guess that the MT100 SE uses the 67 type capsule, but if one has read the writings of Micheal Joly et all, there is an inherant faux pas in this generic approach of the chinese manulfacturers in that there is no de-emphasis circuit in these chinese mics as was originally found in the Neumann U67........well, i dont want to knock Michael Joly, whom i admire and respect a great deal, but i found no sibilance issues with this mic, and although it does have a sheen (more 251 than 47) i did'nt find it too bright, instead i found it very pleasing at the top end...........i know this metaphors are purely subjective and overused, but "silky" is the word that immediately comes to mind (ahem, i know, sorry about that! i'll try and think of another metaphor next time!!)......
This mic was an absolute gem on acoustic guitar, revealing the body of dreadnought type but also catching the picking and crispness of the strings on gentler phrases. I tried it on clarinet, but opted for a ribbon instead, which i thought i'd have to anyway as i always usually use ribbon on the woodwinds and reed instruments to avoid them revealing too much top end! On overhead above a kit, after a few position tweaks, it revealed a nice tone on the kit, which along with a 57 on snare and a D12 on kick, gave me a fantastic old school phat drum sound.........
If you live in the UK and are looking for a good LDC tube mic with mojo, then i would highly recommend the MT100 SE as a contender for your mic locker, it really is a no brainer, and performs well above it's price point (£499-direct from Maroon-no middle man or dealers, keeping prices down....hurrah!).........Maroon themselves seem like top folks and communicate well, the quality control seems to be pretty good, to the extent that Ian from Maroon informed me a few days ago that due to some inconsistancies with some of the NOS mullard tubes on pre installation testing (noisy) they will be using a similar NOS tube in forthcoming mics with the same performance level. These guys are on it, they care about what they do and seem to want to do the best they can at the right price point, and i'm glad to have found a UK company making affordable mics.........