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Sontronics Mercury

Multi-pattern Valve Microphone
Published December 2017
By Jack Ruston

Sontronics Mercury

Sontronics have had great success building mics for specific applications — but their new flagship is designed to take almost anything you can throw at it.

Back in November 2015, I reviewed Sontronics’ large-diaphragm valve cardioid mic, the Aria. And I liked it — in fact it’s fair to say that it was a glowing review, an opinion which I stand firmly behind, having had the opportunity to use the microphone on a number of subsequent occasions. So when I heard tales of a new Sontronics product, the Mercury, I was keen to get my hands on it and find out more. The question is, what exactly does my hot little hand now hold? And the answer is that it holds another large-diaphragm valve condenser. What does it not hold? It does not hold an Aria MkII. Friends, gather round...

The Mercury is a dual-diaphragm valve microphone with a continuously variable polar pattern. It’s a robust, bottle-type design, built with premium parts — in a move by designer Trevor Coley towards the high end of the market, this design incorporates the finest electrical components. Coley told me: “To be honest, a microphone is quite a simple thing — it’s a transducer and an amplifier, but there’s some magic in the middle. You design a circuit, and that design dictates your component values. But I was experimenting with some of these things, with the tolerances, the quality and consistency. I wanted to find out if the best really made a difference, and in what way. Was there an audible improvement that would justify the extra cost to the customer?”

Some would say, without...

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Published December 2017