Beesneez Microphones Arabella by Kyleseglin
Reviewed: Beesneez Arabella Pro - Tube Condensor Microphone
What is a Beesneez?
Seems like a reasonable question if you're not already familiar with these amazing, handmade microphones. Beesneez is a relatively small microphone manufacturer based in Australia, owned and run by Ben and Veronica Sneesby. They make all of their microphones by hand, and most of the parts you'll find in any of their producer series microphones are made by Ben in their factory. This matters for 2 reasons: Firstly, they take great pride in their product; each mic is assembled as per Ben’s specs, and they even burn in all the tubes so you have a mic that is tested and ready to go. Secondly, any questions, concerns, etc. can be addressed with Ben or Veronica directly, and since they operate the business and build the microphones they can tell you anything you want to know. Also, they offer a lifetime warranty on their products. One last note on the company is that from what I understand Ben has worked with customers to customize their microphones for their respective applications. I was happy with my Arabella as it comes, but the possibilities are endless with this company.
Why an Arabella pro?
Because it's awesome? First of all, as I stated above, these things are made by hand by a family who take incredible pride in their product. In fact, all of their microphones are named after people in their family-- Arabella, Lulu, Phelicity, etc. I am sure all producer series microphones are on par with one another, it simply depends on what you are after-- and in this case, we will be discussing the Arabella. This microphone sounds incredible. As stated on the Beesneez website, the Arabella sounds "like a mansion with the entire front wall missing, open and huge with a classic expensive sound." They are correct. They also state that, "Sonically we wanted to create a microphone that had a sense of cochlear linearity (TM) ie; hears and creates an amplified analogy of what we hear." Again, they are correct.
The Arabella collects every detail put in front of it, and reproduces it both faithfully and with just enough ‘mojo’ to make you smile during playback. There are no hyped frequencies-- this was a major selling point in today's mic market where a high-end boost seems to be the norm. I was tired of having to use de-essers on singers that simply did not have particularly 'essy' voices, but who were coming out sounding sibilant due to the hyped frequency response of certain popular mics. This is not to say that companies like Neumann and Blue do not make phenomenal microphones, nor is it to say that a high-end boost is not favorable or useful at times. However, if you record something with an Arabella, it's going to come out sounding like what you put into it, and if you want a high-end boost, well, that's why you have EQ.
Just for the benefit of anyone else in the mic market I'll add this as well: At the time I was shopping for this particular microphone, I was also considering various Neumann, Blue and Manley microphones, amongst others. The thing about Beesneez is that you truly do get a 'bang for your buck' so to speak. Beesneez is a reputable, high-end brand, but they are not as well known or prevalent as some of their competitors. And as we all know, when brand recognition increases, so does the price. Given that logic, you can get a microphone from Beesneez that might cost you $3,000, but if they had the same brand recognition as say Neumann, that same mic could cost upwards of $5,000. Furthermore, Ben makes his capsules by hand, crafts and paints the microphone bodies, hand picks NOS tubes, assembles each mic one by one by hand, etc. One look inside a Beesneez mic and you'll see what I mean-- it's like a work of art.
It sounds fantastic on male and female vocals—I have recorded vocals of all genres, from rap to country to rock, and it continually works flawlessly. Just yesterday I recorded an acoustic guitar solely miked with the Arabella, and it sounds huge and detailed. On horns and strings this mic shines as well. I kid you not when I say that other engineers I know repeatedly ask to borrow this mic despite owning seriously high end mics of their own.
Lot’s of awesome things wired together to make you sound good. As stated by Beesneez, they, ‘Take only the best materials (bronze and Brass), NOS European steel Vacuum Tubes, Paper in oil and foil film Capacitors, American made resistors that have been designed for use in medical imaging add to this a hybrid capsule that captures the sound of the M7 with the stability and repeatability of the K47 mixed with over 1000 hours in R&D and last but certainly not least, build the entire microphone in our factory including the ENTIRE power supply.’ They use Cinemag transformers, dual lapped K7 capsule, and 9 polar patterns. I’m not a particular techy guy, but if you want even more specifics you can always contact Beesneez.
Why should you care what I have to say about a microphone?
I am not an expert, but in my time as an engineer I have put a lot of effort into researching and testing various gear. When I purchased the Beesneez Arabella I was looking to get a microphone primarily for use with vocals, but also for all around use. I tested many, many, many options, and the Arabella pro just blew me away. I currently have access to various Neumann, Blue, EV, Tele mics, and my Arabella stands up with the best of them. It has all the vibe and allure of a vintage mic, but it's made with modern components and has a lifetime warranty. It's like the best of both worlds. If there is anything I can say that is negative, it is that there can be a small wait before you get your mic—because as I mentioned, each mic is made by hand, and often made to order. In closing, this is a solid choice if you are in the market for a tube microphone in the U47 family, but with it's own personality.