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charter oak sa538

Charter Oak SA538

4.7 4.7 out of 5, based on 4 Reviews

26th February 2012

Charter Oak SA538 by mahasandi

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
charter oak sa538

I do not own this mic but have worked with it.

It is a good vocal mic. Of course it depends on the voice but on one female artist this mic out performed a Telefunken M16II and a Brauner Valvet.

It has a really lush character but maintains presence in a mix.

If you’re a small studio that wants to buy a nice vocal tube mic, but can’t afford both a C-12-ish mic and a U 47-ish mic, you simply have to audition the SA538. While it’s not a direct replacement for either, it’s a solid performer. Likewise, for location or mobile gigs, the SA538 would be a perfect centerpiece for your mic pack. No need to take a bright and a dark mic, because the SA538 can manage nearly any vocalist type. Its sturdy construction (the tube is protected by a rubber guard) makes it suitable for the rigors of the road.

I think having more experience with the mic I might conclude the same , however the vocalist I was working with had a lot of range and different voicings and this mic won out over others.
I dont know if there is as much awareness of this mic as it deserves

Charter Oak SA538 & 538B

These are not the cheapest mics of their type around but, judged on their sound rather than their technical spec or the origin of the parts, they are probably worth the extra cost, as their sound compares favourably with high-end/classic mics costing a lot more, and they somehow help a vocal sit comfortably within a mix without getting buried or being too loud. In this regard, the use of higher quality electronic components certainly pays dividends. Just like the classics they are being pitched against, the noise figures are nothing special, but unless you're recording quieter sounds at a distance that shouldn't be a worry.

So a good all around-er and able vocal mic . not sure of other apps but this mic has a forgiving sonic signature without being overly colored in any direction .

Acoustical Operating Principle Pressure Gradient
Diaphragm Dual 1.07" 6 micron thick gold sputtered Mylar
Frequency Response 30Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity 12mV/Pa 0dB=1V/[email protected]
Polar Pattern Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8, and intermediate stages selectable from power supply
Impedance < 200 Ohms
Recommended Load > 200 Ohms
Equivalent Input Noise 22dB A weighted IEC651
Maximum Sound Pressure Level 128dB for 0.5% total harmonic distortion @ 1kHz
Power Requirements Custom supply 115V or 230V operation with IEC type 2 AC Cable
Connection between
Mic & Power Supply

1st May 2013

Charter Oak SA538 by producerjay

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
charter oak sa538

I had one in the studio last week for a session. Really nice sound. I'm a sucker for tubes though. I love how female vocals shine through and how upfront the rap vocals stand-out in the mix.

Really don't need much EQ with good mic placement, but when added, just makes the ending so much better.

Clients really do think bigger is better... this thing is huge.

4th March 2015

Charter Oak SA538 by Chrisreedjr

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
charter oak sa538

After not caring about most things I heard in modern LDC's I came across the SA538 in a shootout YouTube video. I loved how honest it was to the source with no weird frequencies to jump out or extra character to impart. It was just the source being recorded with a perfect, indescribable quality that made the track sound "finished". I can not wait to get at least one more of these - they are phenomenal.

9th August 2017

Charter Oak SA538 by chazzrabble

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
charter oak sa538

I have owned many microphones in my time as an audio engineer (12+ years), ranging from Vintage Neumann U87, Modern Neumann 87, Blue - blueberry, Slate VMS (just to name a few). But the Charter Oak SA538 is better than them all - hands down.

I first fired up my 538 and let it warm up for around an hour (as recommended), then put on some headphones and sang a few lines into it. I first noticed how rounded it not only sounded but felt. It had a 3d character to it, and even with large variances in dynamics, the signal felt controlled and the lower level signals felt every bit as detailed as the higher volume parts (something cheaper mics don't seem to handle well).

To say I'm pleased with my purchase would be the understatement of the year. I'm over the moon! I feel like I've finally found THE microphone I've been searching for.

The other thing I noticed about this mic is that it handles compression and EQ REALLY well. I owned a Microphone system that emulated other mics, and any touch of eq or compression would somehow make the mic fall apart, so this was a big issue for me.

I love the fact this mic is 100% USA made. And it really shows! The build quality feels excellent, and the fully adjustable polar patterns are great too!


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