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Ear Trumpet Labs has been making great microphones with a steampunk aesthetic for years. Recently, they have re-designed their Josephine model, and while it’s not inexpensive (keep in mind it is a boutique product), it does deliver an excellent audio “picture” of whatever it’s paired with.▼ Article continues below ▼
All the external features are done in the natural finishes of the metals: brass, copper and steel. Inside, the components are high quality and handmade, making sure each part lives up to its specs. This is where a handmade item is really defined. All of this time matching and assembly does have a cost, and at $599, this is where that money goes.
The large ring has a 26mm condenser capsule suspended in the center, and can handle a frequency response of 20Hz-17Khz. Despite its seemingly delicate appearance, it’s meant for live use. It can capture a nice, natural sound that isn’t harsh while still retaining clarity and depth. For vocals, it is a bit bright, but amazingly wouldn’t feedback even when really getting on it. There is a built in pop filter as well, so there’s no need for a wind sock or any external dampening devices. For instruments, especially acoustics, it can really capture all that top end that usually has to be reined in with FOH EQ.
Recording wise, it delivers the goods here as well. Some may think the large ring might be tough to get the capsule close to a sound source, but this mic can deliver a great sound at a distance other mikes start to lose focus. A lot of new microphones are designed with high tech sound modeling software, but the Josephine seems to capture natural sounds in a much more organic and simpler way.
Condensers really excel at getting an excellent audio picture of an instrument and its environment, and this is probably the audio equivalent of a classic camera. Overall, it is a unique looking mic that has handmade quality written all over it. The only downside is the metal mesh enclosure of the capsule felt a bit thin and fragile. Ear Trumpet Labs does include an extremely nice padded metal case to protect it during transport, but if it took a tumble against a hard stage it might not survive as well as industry standard dynamics you may be used to. A slightly stiffer mesh, like on their Edwina Microphone that we reviewed in January of 2013, might prevent such disasters. Considering it sounds so good, and its cost, a little extra protection would go a long way.
Excellent for capturing natural vocals or instruments, live and studio friendly.
Mesh capsule could be a bit more robust.
-Hand-made microphone with unique appearance
-Capsule and electronics tuned for close vocal use on the loudest of stages with excellent feedback rejection
-Internal shock dampers for minimal handling noise
-Integral silk and mesh pop filter, for effective control of plosives without loss of clarity
-Transformerless FET fully balanced electronics
-Highest quality hand-wired electronic components, with component values tuned for the individual circuit.