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JZ Microphones BT202

Small-diaphragm Capacitor Microphones By Neil Rogers
Published April 2024

JZ Microphones BT202

JZ’s first small‑diaphragm mics combine a distinctive appearance with excellent technical specs and an appealing sound.

JZ Microphones have been building an excellent reputation for their distinctive‑looking mics for well over a decade now. Manufacturing in Latvia, they aim to offer high‑end sound at a more manageable price than most established European marques. The most well‑known JZ models can be found in their Vintage series, which includes a selection of large‑diagram capacitor mics that promise a classic valve‑like sound from solid‑state electronics, and which employ their unique Golden Drop capsule design. I had the pleasure of reviewing the Vintage 12 from this series last year, and had plenty of good things to say about how it fared in my studio.

The subject of this review is JZ’s first small‑diaphragm capacitor mic, the BT202. Sold exclusively as a stereo pair, it’s intended as a high‑quality option for all‑round instrument recording.

Pencil Power

The BT202 is a smart and compact‑looking pencil mic and, like all JZ designs, has a characterful appearance that doesn’t immediately conjure up associations with a specific design of yesteryear. The technical specifications are impressive, with dynamic range quoted as 128dB and maximum SPL at 140dB, meaning the (A‑weighted) self‑noise figure is only 12dBA — about as good as it gets for a small‑diaphragm mic. The published frequency response is flat from 30Hz up to 6kHz, before a slight bump peaks around 8‑9 kHz. The BT202s have a fixed cardioid polar pattern, and the same Golden Drop technique JZ use in manufacturing their large‑diaphragm capsules is employed for the 13mm capsule found in this model. JZ say this makes the diaphragm lighter and more responsive to transients. The electronics in the BT202 are all Class‑A, with a transformerless circuit that is intended to offer an uncoloured, faithful representation of the source.

JZ are one of a number of mic manufacturers who offer the option of purchasing a proper wooden case for their microphones at an additional cost — as standard, the BT202s come in a cardboard box. I totally get the reasons behind this, but I think the price point here is very close to the level where...

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