New Toys: Aspen Pittman Designs AP 1B-FET Condenser Microphone

The AP 1B-FET is Autumn Pittman's fitting tribute to her late father. It uses their largest, 32-mm all-brass capsule and is center-terminated. This hand-built capsule has an ultra-thin 3-micron gold-evaporated Mylar diaphragm. A thin diaphragm means better detail and articulation, yet it still keeps a warm tone. The phantom-powered AP 1B-FET is a cardioid-only condenser mic with a stylish black stainless steel body and striking bare metal head grill assembly. It uses a Class-A FET (field-effect-transistor) amplifier driving a large magnetically shielded nickel-core output transformer.

The complete Aspen Pittman Designs AP 1B-FET kit includes the SM4 shock mount, a simple HM1 swivel stand adapter plus a handsome, foam-lined aluminum carrying/storage case. Also included is the all-metal APD PFM+ pop filter that attaches magnetically right on the shock mount—saving setting up an additional stand.

The AP 1B-FET went right to work recording lead vocals for a cool Pop R&B track. I had my singer sing right up close to the AP, as it can take up to 134dB SPL; I used my Retro Instruments Power Strip—an all-tube channel strip with mic pre-amp, EQ and variable-Mu compressor sections.

The mic produced an upfront vocal sound for my singer who initially, I thought, might be too powerfully strident for a condenser mic. In that situation, I would usually go to a more "mellow" microphone such as a ribbon, but I found the AP 1B-FET to have a solid mid-range presence that cut a busy track mix but never sounded shrill or overly bright. It also had more output than another much more expensive FET microphone I own.

The Aspen Pittman Designs AP 1B-FET kit sells for $849 MSRP and is great value with an excellent sound. Highly recommended!