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Behringer B2 Pro

Multi-pattern Capacitor Mic
By Paul White

This entry-level large-diaphragm mic has enough facilities to grow with your needs, and also comes complete with case and suspension shockmount.

If you're one of those people who think Far Eastern microphones are indecently cheap considering the performance they can turn in, then Behringer's current forays into the mic market might just shock your sensibilities even more. For around the price you'd expect to pay for a decent shockmount and camera case, the Behringer B2 Pro comes complete with both — and it's a switchable-pattern mic into the bargain. Offering cardioid, figure-of-eight, and omni patterns, the B2 Pro also has switches for low-frequency roll-off (6dB/octave at 150Hz) and for a 10dB pad. It utilises a one-inch, dual-diaphragm capsule, FET transformerless electronics, and, on looking inside, I have to say that it's just as well put together as any of the other budget Chinese-built microphones I've reviewed recently. Stylistically, the B2 Pro looks like a typical European, high-end studio mic, but without quite resembling any specific model, and once in its shockmount it looks extremely impressive — not an unimportant factor where clients are involved.

Behringer B2 ProBeing a capacitor mic, the B2 Pro needs 48V phantom power to operate, and the XLR socket, which carries both the signal and the phantom power, has gold-plated pins. The sensitivity of the mic varies from -14mV/Pa to -18mV/Pa depending on the pattern selected, which in practical terms means its not that dissimilar in sensitivity to the majority of large-diaphragm capacitor models. Its frequency response extends from 20Hz to 20kHz, but rather than being ruler flat, the mic has a presence peak at around 12kHz, giving it an open, airy tonality. It can stand SPLs of up to 138dB (148dB with the pad switched in), so loud sound sources won't scare it, and the 'A'-weighted signal-to-noise ratio is between 76dB and 78dB depending on the pattern setting. While there are quieter mics, the level of background noise in typical vocal miking applications is insignificant.

The mic has a robust metal body and chassis with an equally tough grille protecting the capsule. All exterior surfaces are finished in what appears to be satin chrome, and the locking ring at the bottom of the body allows the circuitry to be exposed after slipping off the outer cover, though there are no user-serviceable parts inside. All three switches are recessed toggle types.

The shockmount is of the type that grips the mic body, as opposed to the type that mounts to the mic base using the locking ring — and there's also a foam wind shield. However, a proper pop shield is essential for studio vocal recording, as foam shields are insufficiently effective for close vocal use and may compromise the tonality of the microphone. The microphone and its accessories come in a very smart aluminium case with sculpted foam inserts.

Critical Auditioning

I used the mic with a pop shield on a studio session with a particularly powerful male singer and got good results with no EQ and only minimal compression. The sound came over as solid and assertive, but with a little extra edge due to the high-frequency presence peak. Being critical, I don't think the top end sounded as smooth as you'd expect from a big-name, big-budget mic, but on the other hand it could help a singer with a slightly soft voice to cut through a mix. It also adds presence and detail to stringed instruments, such as acoustic guitar.

Given the low UK price of this mic, it delivers a very credible sound, and having the further options of the omni and figure-of-eight patterns, as well as filter and pad switches, makes it an ideal entry-level choice for any newcomer to capacitor mics. The B2 Pro should prove particularly attractive to the budget-conscious home studio operator who would like to experiment with different pickup patterns rather than relying on a cardioid for everything.

Pros

  • Great performance/price ratio.
  • Comes with case and high-quality shockmount

Cons

  • Presence peak may sound too aggressive with some voices, although it may also be a bonus with less well-defined voices.

Summary

The B2 Pro is a good-value entry-level capacitor mic with a choice of three patterns, and it is capable of making high-quality vocal and instrument recordings.

information

£143 including VAT.

Behringer UK +49 2154 9206 6441.

support@behringer.co.uk

www.behringer.co.uk

www.behringer.de

Published April 2004