We’ve been talking on the team about what microphone we would choose if we could only keep one?
Confession time once again, I own a lot of microphones, I think it’s over 100 again. I have many of the usual suspects like 57s and 58s, expensive valve condensers, modern ribbons and even some vintage stuff, but a mic I always end up gravitating back to is my Sontronics Saturn (I have three).
The Saturn is my workhorse mic. It’s a multi pattern condenser with 5 very useable polar patterns, everything from full omni, which I use when using the Saturn as a room mic when recording drums or acoustic guitars. Figure 8 which is great when using a pair of Saturns for an M/S pair or where the switch normally sit, Cardioid or Hyper-Cardioid (there is also a Wide Cardioid setting). It also features a a 75Hz and 125Hz bass roll off and a pad offering -10dB or -20dB of attenuation.
The Saturn is what I call a no effort mic. You put it up in front of the thing to be recorded and set the gain to avoid an red lights or overs and hit record. That’s it, and 9 times out of 10 I have no need to reach for any EQ to sweeten the tone as the Saturn gives me a nice smooth yet bright top end. Saturn is (in my opinion) everything the AKG C414 isn’t. It’s not harsh in the top end has a nice smooth midrange and can give a massive low end punch when required. It’s a power all rounder of a mic. It even looks super cool on video and in images due to it funking retro styling.
Saturn is also the mic I like for my own voice, be that for singing or spoken word. It is the mic I have been using for the Pro Tools Expert podcast for the last 4 years. It just works for my vocal tone.
This is what Sontronics say about the Saturn…
“The Sontronics SATURN is a hugely versatile, incredible sounding condenser microphone with five polar patterns. Since its launch in 2010, SATURN has become an indispensable all-rounder for any studio.
Developed with the help of top producers and musicians, including the legendary Flood and Alan Moulder, Sontronics SATURN has been designed to give perfectly detailed, refined results, no matter what source you put it in front of.
The Saturn began life as a simple vocal microphone, but during early tests with producer Flood (U2, Nine Inch Nails, The Foals, Editors) who was trying out the mic with everything around the studio, it became clear that Saturn had the potential to outperform many other mics on plenty more sources.
The final incarnation of Saturn that you see today has five polar patterns – the regular omnidirectional, cardioid and figure-of-eight plus the extra sub-cardioid and hypercardioid – plus variable attenuation (0, -10dB, -20dB) and filter (linear, 75Hz, 125Hz) controls for total flexibility.
The combination of all these controls lends the Saturn enormous versatility and therefore the ability to give fantastic results on vocals, spoken word, guitars, brass, woodwind, strings, piano, drums, ethnic instruments, ensembles, overhead, room miking… the list goes on!
The retro-styled Saturn, whose design was inspired by classic vocal mics of the 1940s and ’50s, really does set a new standard in high-grade audio reproduction and flexible microphone performance. It captures all sources accurately and sympathetically, and its realistic, natural results will sit almost invisibly in any mix (digital or analogue), allowing you to be creative in the mix or leave it real. The only limit to Saturn is your imagination!
The Sontronics Saturn comes with our unique shockmount, designed to isolate the mic from any noise or vibrations that might be transmitted through the microphone stand. The mic is supplied with its shockmount in a sturdy aluminium flight case”.
You can find out more about the Saturn and the full range of Sontronics microphones at their website.