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M-Audio Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic  

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    M-Audio

    The end of microphone envy.

    Based on a classic vacuum tube design and manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities to exacting standards, this multi-pattern, large diaphragm studio condenser delivers the lush, classic sound normally associated with rare and expensive vintage mics like the Neumann U47 and AKG C12. Sputnik's combination of hand-picked military-grade vacuum tube, ultrasensitive evaporated gold Mylar diaphragm, solid brass construction, and multiple polar patterns makes it ideal for a wide variety of voices, instruments, and applications--especially putting that signature sound in the spotlight. M-Audio engineered this amazing microphone from scratch with input from top recording industry studio engineers.

    Signature Sound
    Great sounding vocals and other acoustic tracks start with the microphone itself. Building on years of expertise, our engineering team conducted exhaustive research into this phenomenon and established just what gives the top high-end studio condensers their ineffable qualities. Then they distilled the best characteristics of these classic vacuum tube designs into one extraordinary mic with M-Audio's trademark value pricing. In fact many listening test participants feel that the Sputnik mic exhibits the praised throaty lows and low-mids of the Neumann U47 along with the upper-mids and open airy highs of the AKG C12--making it ideal for faithfully capturing a wide variety of sources including male and female vocals.

    Built for the Pros
    When tweaking the Sputnik mic's capsule and circuitry, we worked closely with top L.A. recording engineers and producers to make sure we hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head. These are professionals who have some of the world's finest vintage mics at their disposal. And in final side-by-side listening tests, these same pros agreed that Sputnik performed flawlessly for the most critical recording situations.

    More Than Just a Great Vocal Mic
    Many microphones are best used for specific applications--which is why most engineers have a more-than-modest investment in a locker full of mics. We spent many engineering hours working to insure that Sputnik would provide excellent results in a wide variety of situations: vocals have that signature sound. Saxophones are both throaty and silky. Pianos and acoustic guitar are clear and full-bodied. Brass and woodwinds are realistic. And hand percussion is tight and crisp. Sputnik allows you to put any instrument in the spotlight--and selectable cardioid, omni, and figure-8 patterns give it the flexibility to be your ultimate secret weapon in the studio.

    Optimized Electronics
    Sputnik's Class A amplifier circuit is an all-discrete transconductance design based on thermionic studies by researchers at Harvard and the American Institute of Physics. The amp uses a classic cascode circuit to increase the gain-bandwidth product and eliminate the effects of parasitic capacitances, giving the system a wide frequency response. The resulting high output impedance makes the mic very tolerant of load conditions (it's in the meg-ohm range so it acts like a perfect current source). And while the tube does all the heavy lifting, Sputnik's head amp employs an n-channel depletion-mode JFET for biasing so you don't get all the nasty artifacts like hum and crackle common to tube-only designs. In essence, the Sputnik's tube circuitry delivers ultra-smooth harmonic detail and rapid response to signals with fast rise/fall times, thereby eliminating transient problems. The amp is quite linear and features graceful overload characteristics and an enormous dynamic range due to high-voltage operation. These qualities simply cannot be achieved with a standard transistor amplifier or one of the more common Class A tube designs.

    Solid Brass Backplate
    Condenser mic design is based on the changing capacitance between the moving diaphragm and fixed backplate. Where many of today's microphones cut corners with a metallized plastic backplate, the Sputnik features a precision-machined, solid brass backplate that yields much greater crucial rigidity, precise tolerances and faithful sonic reproduction. We use a dual backplate design similar to the one that lends the AKG C12 its trademark open, airy quality. We also tune the backplate for optimal on- and off-axis frequency and pickup response and pattern symmetry.

    Custom Power Supply Delivers 200-Foot Cable Runs
    The Sputnik's power supply features a sophisticated circuit designed to ensure optimal performance of the mic and audio signal path. It also features a voltage ramp-up when powered on in order to further extend tube life. As an added bonus, an automatic load-sensing circuit compensates for varying transmission line impedances, allowing you to run cables as long as 200 feet.

    Vintage Tube Warmth
    The Sputnik mic's military-grade 6205M vacuum tube is a diminutive pentode wired as a triode; the output behavior is like that of a perfect current source so it's tolerant of a wide range of load conditions. The tube operates at high voltages--allowing an enormous dynamic range--but with less heat dissipation than other designs. As a result, you can easily hang this mic upside down or use it upright without having to worry about overheating the capsule.

    We've also mounted the tube itself upside down to facilitate shorter connections that, in turn, make for more controlled impedance and less stray capacitance--a design trait shared by German mics like the revered Telefunken 251. The Sputnik also employs a socketless design eliminating the potential for impedance mismatch, signal deterioration and contact corrosion. What about changing tubes on the fly, you say? Research shows that tubes go bad within the first 10 hours of use. We hand-pick military-grade tubes to ensure the highest specs, consistency and reliability, then burn them in for a week so you don't have to worry about changing tubes in the first place.

    Beauty is More Than Skin Deep
    Sure, the Sputnik mic's space-age "lollipop" design is cool, but it's truly functional as well. It minimizes diffraction from the body, resulting in superior off-axis response. And the body itself is durable solid brass with an attractive polished nickel finish. Sputnik delivers in both performance and looks.

    Close Tolerance for Matched Sets
    Sputnik mics are manufactured with a close tolerance of ±1.5dB across the entire frequency range. This means that any two or more Sputnik mics you buy qualify as a matched set for stereo recording.

    3-micron Evaporated Gold Diaphragm
    A microphone's ability to capture detail owes primarily to the thinness and uniformity of its diaphragm. Sputnik's durable mylar diaphragm is an impressive 3 microns thin--a spec that carries a much higher price tag in most other mics. We also use a high-precision evaporated 24-karat gold process to coat it for conductivity--which yields a much more uniform result than the sputtered gold or sprayed-on processes used in many other mics. Here, too, this delivers higher precision and tolerance within and between Sputnik mics. The specs on Sputnik's diaphragm and backplate are only possible using computer-controlled manufacturing processes in a state-of-the-art facility.

    Everything Included
    With the Sputnik mic, you'll be up and running as soon as you open the box. Each mic includes a professional shockmount, dedicated power supply, 7-pin mic cable, grounded IEC power supply, soft cloth bag and a custom flight case. All you need to do is plug it in and open up a channel.

    Features

    • Vintage tube design (high output impedance cascode circuit)
    • 3-micron evaporated gold Mylar diaphragm
    • Low-current 6205M pentode tube, wired in triode mode
    • Selectable cardioid, figure-8, and omni polar patterns
    • -10db (attenuation) pad
    • 80Hz 2nd-order high-pass filter
    • Solid brass body with polished nickel finish
    • Dedicated power supply with included 7-pin cable
    • Professional shockmount
    • Soft cloth bag
    • Custom flight case

    A boutique-quality microphone at a price that's not in the stratosphere. Order today!

     

    Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic Specifications:

    • Capsule: 3-micron thick Mylar with evaporated gold, double-sided
    • Transconductance amplifier: 6205M pentode vacuum tube, wired as a triode, military grade selected
    • Frequency response: 20Hz — 20kHz ±1 dB
    • Sensitivity: 30mV/Pa (-30.5dBV)
    • Max. SPL for 0.5% THD: 132dB (or 142dB with 10dB pad)
    • Equivalent noise level: 18dB (A-weighted)
    • Output impedance: 200 Ohms, transformer isolated
    • Recommended load impedance: > 1 kOhms
    • Connectors: 7-pin male XLR for mic output to power supply; 3-pin male XLR for power supply output
    • Attenuation and rolloff: switchable 10dB pad; switchable 80Hz 2nd-order (12dB/octave) rolloff
    • Polar patterns: cardioid, omni, figure-8
    • Size/weight: 8-1/4" (h) x 3" (w) x 2" (d); 1.6 lbs.
    • Compatibility:
    • Octane
    • Tampa
    • DMP3
    • ProjectMix I/O
    • FireWire 1814
    • FireWire 410
    Customer Reviews
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    Review Snapshot®

    by PowerReviews
    M-AudioSputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic
     
    5.0

    (based on 8 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (8)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    Reviewed by 8 customers

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    Displaying reviews 1-8

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    5.0

    I Love This Microphone!!

    By Natey Love Star

    from Portland, Oregon

    About Me Professional Musician

    Ask me a question

    Pros

    • Clear Sound
    • Durable
    • Easy To Use
    • Versatile

    Cons

    • none

    Best Uses

    • Home Studio
    • Professional Recording
    • Vocals
    • Vox

    Comments about M-Audio Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic:

    I Pretty Much Started With M-Audio Microphones. First, I Got The Producer Mic, But Worked My Way To The Solaris, Which I Still Have, But The Sputnik Is The Truth. The Moment I Started Using It, I Realized That I Would Never Touch Another Mic For My Vocals Again. There Really Isn't Any Reason To Pay More For A Microphone Unless You Are An A n a l Gearhead. I Record All Of My Vocals With This Mic & I Must Say That It Is Clear As Ever. Trust Is M-Audio When It Comes To This Awesome Tube Condensor Microphone. You Won't Be Sorry.

    Comment on this review

    (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Versatile and Smooth Tube Microphone

    By WoolyLlama77

    from Portland, OR

    Comments about M-Audio Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic:

    I use this mic on nearly every track I record, whether its being used solo or in combination with a complementary mic, like an SDC. Absolutely gorgeous on grand piano, harmonica, vocals, and bass when used solo. I also use it in complement when recording acoustic guitar, or electric guitar, and even on drums. Its a bit too "tubey", or "fuzzy"(not in a bad way) for acoustic guitar picking and needs to be a bit crisper (like an SDC), but for strumming with a pick it does well. I like the darkness it adds to even sub-par cymbals I have. Not crisp enough for snare or overheads by itself but when used with a clearer, more accurate (that is to say, less coloration) mic the result is a fuller and deeper recording. My description, although subjective, is the sound is warm (obviously, its a tube), darker in the lower to upper mids with a clear, tight low and brighter in the highs with an "airy" feel, even "sparkly". Although I have not used the mics it's compared to (the U47 for example), I doubt it is quite up to that quality (listen to rubber soul, U47 was used on most tracks). But it IS affordable and awesome in its own right, with a perplexing combination of accuracy in reproducing the sound source while simultaneously adding its own unique color. Overall, this is my baby and I would replace it instantly if it were to break.

    Comment on this review

    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Feature Mic

    By pattracks-SgMnL

    from Kentucky

    Comments about M-Audio Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic:

    I used the Sputnik on a prominent brass player's debut album, and the reviews have been great. If you are trying to feature something (like a lead vocal, solo piano, or pretty much solo anything) this is a top choice mic. It has a bit more color to it than, say, a Neumann TLM 102. But that can be a very good thing, depending on what you're trying to do. It has that extra, subtle juice that dresses up the sound and brings it front and center without much plug-in polishing required.

    Comment on this review

    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Stunningly Sweet

    By Masterminds of Music

    from La Cali Baby

    Comments about M-Audio Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic:

    I have been recording vocals for over 15 years. I have never come across a piece of equipment that just jives with every project I am involved in. Well, this is it. The last mic you will ever need. Simply, Amazing.

    Comment on this review

    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    grateful

    By namjunerobot

    from washington

    Comments about M-Audio Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic:

    I won't geek out on it too much but I have to say that I love this mic. I have a simple setup and have simple requirements but this was just the right addition. I've mic'd all kinds stuff with it with great results but its all about vocals for me. If I were to fork out the money again, I would.

    Comment on this review

    (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Too good, but definately true!

    By Jet Pack Records guy

    from Boston, MA (school)/Florida (home)

    Comments about M-Audio Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic:

    Its hard to understand why it has taken so long in this industry for a company to manufacture an amazing mic at this affordable price. Here M-Audio has everything you need in a mic and way more and they're realistic about the price. Great mic, very transparent, clear colorful and sturdy and attractive for a great price. Besides any two randomly purchased sputniks qualify as paired, who else in the industry offers that at no additional charge???

    Comment on this review

     
    5.0

    Delicious!

    Comments about M-Audio Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic:

    I love my sputniks. I have 2. They are really stunning. Warm & delicious sounding. I have recorded trhough a trident s2o to logic & performed live with a sputnik through an ART MI pre with the Bose radiator personal monitoring system. Wow. The toys just get better & better.

    Comment on this review

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Excellent value, Excellent Sound

    By MSR74

    from New York

    Comments about M-Audio Sputnik Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic:

    I need to admit, I thought I would be purchasing another crappy chinese microphone. When I got the M-Audio Sputnik home, I plugged it in and started singing and doing voice overs. I was extremely impressed, kind of the way I was the first time I sang into a C800G. This mic is crystal clear, open and has all the detail of a mic that is much more expensive. It doesn't have edginess to it that other mics in it price range possess, and for my tenor voice that is a huge plus. I would recommend it to anyone on a budget, and I would also reccommend it to major budget studios looking for a new mic to add to their locker. The home recordist can't go wrong with this mic because it truly is a cross between a good U47 and a vintage C12. It's sound quality natural and it has depth of field while capturing all the nuance of any performance and is just as strong on both male and female vocals. I think it has put affordable microphones in a new category. Although I don't have the budget to purchase a C12, U47 or other vintage microphones, I think this mic combines the best attributes of that highly sought after vintage sound (at least from my experience). Try it, I don't think you'll regret the purchase.

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