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Brauner Phantom Classic

Brauner Microphones Phantom Classic

4.1 4.1 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

Great mic, great price, new sound.


23rd December 2011

Brauner Microphones Phantom Classic by mista min

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Brauner Phantom Classic

The Brauner Phantom Classic is a reissue of Dirk Brauner's first microphone the Brauner Phantom C (cardioid). It has a cardioid only polar pattern. Some tech specs include equivalent noise < 11 dB A (IEC651), signal to noise > 83 dB (1 Pa/1 kHz-Cardioid), sensitivity 28 mV / Pa, frequency range 20 Hz - 22 kHz and maximum SPL 142 dB SPL @ 0,3 % total harmonic distortion. It operates on 48 volt phantom power.

Now sonically, this is one of the best mics I have heard. It is very natural and smooth, but still a bit of an edge. On some sources it can get very harsh especially sibilant vocals. But over all it sounds very good.

Recently used it for acoustic guitar with the mic placed at the 12 fret and the guitar was so clear and smooth it sounded better from the mic than in person , (well I don't know about that really; albeit, it did sound amazing). I did eq it a bit to get rid of some bright twang I was getting, but for that session, I couldn't have picked a better one for it.

It's cardioid pattern is very tight and stays solid even if the performer moves a little. The reason for this is the well manufactured, very unique capsule that they are using. It is a high quality capsule manufactured by the German company MBHO. This capsule appears to be similar to a Neumann K67, but sound nothing like it. It is smoother on the top end. According to Brauner's website, "its capsule is based on the ideal of the VM1 giving the Phantom C a very natural and pristine sound character."

Now on groupdiy, they discussed the internals of this microphone and most would say the mics internals are not that "impressive" so the capsules is definitely the sound and this mic has sound! Guitar, drum overheads, vocals and other acoustic instruments and this is a go to bad boy for the price! Really hard to beat! And also as room mic when amping electric guitars, watch out!

This mic is crystal clear, but with it's own style and a really great "high-end" addition to a smaller or project studio... and if your a vocalist looking for an affordable high-end sound this mic maybe your ticket!

Groupdiy link....
Microphone design tutorial

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21st July 2017

Brauner Microphones Phantom Classic by VoiceShow

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Brauner Phantom Classic

I preface this review with the reminder that I am a voice-over guy. That is the “world” of my real-world impressions. I have been recording spoken-word projects for over 35 years, and there is also much about it that is unique in terms of equipment specs and listening criteria. As I’m certain every other spoken-word producer will attest, there are precious few equipment reviews that address these specific concerns. So, those of us who exclusively record spoken-word are required to interpret impressions and data from the perspective of music recording in order to come to any conclusions for VO-specific suitability. Nowhere is this more true than in microphone reviews. With that in mind, on to the review.

The Brauner Phantom Classic is the successor to the Phantom C, which was discontinued in 2004 and replaced (for one year) by the Phantom Anniversary Edition. The A.E. was a limited edition (2,000 total units) run and sold during calendar year 2005 only to celebrate Brauner’s 10th year in business. The Phantom Classic went on sale in 2006, and has carried the Phantom torch ever since. All three models are said to be identical, but my ear tells another story. More on that in a moment.

The Phantom is the “entry-level” to the Brauner brand. But that fact should never give you the impression that this is a budget mic. To be sure, Brauner’s “base” model is on a par with several mid-line models from Neumann, and clearly surpasses the top-of-the-line mics from several other professional brands, in terms of build quality and overall sonic integrity.

The Phantom Classic has a list price of $1,599 US, which puts it in the same category with other VO favorites such as the Neumann TLM49, Soundelux U195, Telefunken R-F-T AK47, Pearlman TM1, Peluso 2247 LE, and Gefell M930/1030. That’s some pretty impressive company, and the Classic deserves it’s place in this group. Through it all, the Brauner Phantom retains a classy and distinctive sound all its own.

I’m no product engineer, but the build-quality of this mic appears to be first-rate. The mic body is machined from a solid lump of metal, and deeply etched with the brand, model, and serial number on the address-side of the mic. No tacky painted on logos or decals on a Brauner. On the other hand, the mic ships with a shockmount that is not one of my favorite features.

This suspension mic mount unit attaches by snapping the body into the mount. This requires two hands, and a fair amount of pressure applied to both the mic body and the mount simultaneously. That action can’t be completed even once without some scarring to the mic body. It’s really no big deal in any practical sense, but the scarring is something you’ll have to explain when it comes time to sell the mic. Also, I find that I don’t have the same level of confidence in the mount’s ability to secure the mic as I do with other shockmount/mic combos. I’m not sure why Brauner chose this unusual shock mount design while other common designs attach and detach with far less effort and residual evidence. A mic of this quality deserves one of those. However, I give them credit for including a shockmount as a standard item where others do not.

There are no bells and whistles on the Phantom Classic; no HPF, no pad, nothing to get between the capsule and the pre that doesn't need to be there. And, there is no pickup pattern except cardioid. For spoken word, there is oh-so rarely any need for those things. In my mind, the absence of switches in the signal path is a plus.

I have not tested the earlier Phantom C, but you will likely encounter fewer of those than the newer Phantoms. The “C” is the oldest of the Phantom line and was discontinued long ago. I have, however, A/B’d the A.E. and the Classic in a direct side-by-side comparison. While it is claimed by several reputable sources that these are essentially the same mic, they sounded very different to my ears.

I first sampled a used A.E. and I perceived it as rather thin; high in articulation, but lacking in bass response and low-mid fullness. There may very well have been something wrong with this specific copy of the A.E., so I’m not suggesting that all of the Anniversary Edition models fit this description. I only mention it because of the contrast with what I heard from the Phantom Classic moments later.

When I swapped out the A.E. for the Classic, the fullness and bass response came back in spades. In fact, it was so pronounced in the lower end that the mic was in danger of being perceived as muddy and dark. It wasn’t either of those things, but I did suspect an impedance mismatch. Sure enough, a switch from 1200 to 2400 ohms brought everything back in balance. The fullness was still there, but the mids and highs made a big entrance. Suddenly, everything was right with the world again. Another degree of high-frequency presence was available with an additional hike in input impedance to 6800 ohms. This higher setting had the mic sounding too bright for my ears, but you may want to try it for yourself if your mic pre gives you that option.

If you’ve researched this mic to any extent you have no doubt read many reviews that have reported this to be an exceptionally “bright” microphone. By contrast, my impression of the Phantom Classic was of a very neutral frequency response. And, at the time of this test I had just completed a VO assignment that had me spend several hours speaking into, and listening back to, a Neumann U87; a mic that I do consider to be a bright mic.

Not sure why the discrepancy, but I’m personally happiest with a neutral mic over a bright one, so no complaints from me. Brauner does not provide frequency response curves for its mics, claiming that they don’t tell you anything about how the mic actually sounds. True, that. But, given that Brauner is a boutique mic maker, it also raises the possibility that there is a greater difference from unit to unit than with more mass-produced mics.

The rest of the sound produced by this mic is equally impressive. In the VO realm, there are 5 primary qualities of a mic that make it attractive for the purpose of capturing human speech. I’m listing them below in order of importance. I’ll also give the Brauner Phantom Classic a grade for each so you know how it performs on this source:

  1. Lack of sibilant distortion. Phantom Classic grade: B+
  2. Solid low-end response. Phantom Classic grade: B+
  3. Low self-noise. Phantom Classic grade: B- (-11dBa)
  4. Articulation (a.k.a., accuracy, definition). Phantom Classic grade: A- (the dominant quality of this mic)
  5. Takes prodigious levels of signal processing without losing much of the above. Phantom Classic grade: B+

Overall VO grade for the Brauner Phantom Classic: B+

By way of comparison, I grade the VO industry standard Neumann U87Ai a C+. And, the U is more than twice the price of the Phantom. From this you know that I’m not nearly as impressed by brand or price as I am by what my ears tell me.

It is my opinion that spoken word is one of the more difficult sound sources for a mic to capture in a way that is perceived as even better than the original sound. I realize that the frequency response of human speech is fairly limited, but everything else about the source puts a mic's true abilities to the test.

How does all of this relate to the job of capturing more musical sources? I’ll leave that for you to interpret. I do believe that a mic that excels in capturing human speech is also highly likely to perform as well or better in most musical settings. And, the opposite is less-often true.

As for the Brauner Phantom Classic. This is one helluva mic. If you’ve got a budget that will support a mic purchase at this price point, and all the way up to U87 territory and beyond, put this mic on your list.

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