Close Up: Sound Sleuth LLC


Bewitched Microphone Kits: Reflective of the sonic magic they’re designed to capture, the growing line of microphone kits created by veteran audio designer Jules Ryckebusch of Sound Sleuth LLC (in association with JLI Electronics) features items named after female characters from the classic sitcom Bewitched—Samantha, Endora and Serena, with Tabitha on the way. Ryckebusch began developing the products with JLI capsules, and when he came up with the circuitry, he reached out to JLI Operations Manager Brad Confer to see if his company could build and market them. The greatest challenge was sourcing the microphone bodiesbut Confer was able to source them from his established vendors. 

Background: Ryckebusch has an extensive background in analog design for audio, building compressors, mic preamps, EQs, etc. and always aiming for “clean and pristine.” He started building mics eight years ago with kits from Microphone Parts. He started replicating the classic FET Schoeps circuit with a few minor improvements. Working through issues with parts obsolescence (most of the through hole components were 40 years old), he found a FET input opamp that could provide a high input impedance and had low distortion and low quiescent currentmeaning it runs on Phantom power. With the Bewitched line, the PCBs are fully assembled and tested. To build their mic, users simply need to solder 5-9 wires, assemble a few items with small screws.   

Samantha, Serena, Endora: The starting point into OPA based Sound Sleuth microphones, Samantha uses a 26mm electret condenser capsule reminiscent of the CAD E 100 mic that’s been a go to for voiceover artists. Its design goal was low noise, low distortion, high bandwidth and a lot of headroomwhich led to a Texas Instruments operational amp. Its audio quality is perfect for voiceovers and podcasters. Serena builds upon Samantha and takes it to the next level, using the same OPA circuit but replacing the capsule with a TSC-1, a full 34mm K67 style (Center Terminated) cardioid capsule. It’s ideal for choirs and orchestras. Endora is like having two Serenas in one microphone, using a dual diaphragm capsule. Each side of the capsule is a mic that faces the opposite direction. While all multi-pattern microphones do this, each side of Endora is brought out separately, which allows users to create the pattern they want after recording via DAW or audio software.  

Jules Ryckebusch: “What separates these Bewitched products from anything similar on the market is the simplicity of the kit. The circuit board has modern components and straightforward state-of-the-art pre-built circuit board. These are mics you build yourself that are on par with expensive Neumanns. My philosophy is, if you capture everything pristinely the first time, you can add anything in post to make it sound the way you like. These mics don’t sound vintage or colored, they just sound good.”

Contact Sound Sleuth 214-399-0931