New Toys: Neat Microphones Worker Bee II Condenser Microphone

Neat Microphones' Worker Bee II is just that: an all-around utility, hard-working condenser mic that is great for recording nearly any source, from the loudest guitar amp cabinet to the most delicate vocals.

Worker Bee II is a cardioid condenser mic with a 25-mm diaphragm that is internally shock-mounted; it requires standard 48-volt phantom powering. The big plus is that you may position the Worker Bee, as close to the source as you like—be it a vocalist, acoustic guitar, percussion instrument or a loud guitar amp. 

In fact, my first test was recording a small, 5-watt guitar amp driving a Celestion 12-inch speaker. I put Worker Bee right on the center and in front of the speaker's dust cover and got a clear sound—it might be a little bright depending on the guitar, amp tone controls and player but that is easily solved by moving off-center by a couple of inches. In all cases, the Worker Bee II was almost touching the grill cloth and I used about 30dB of mic gain from a Sunset Sound S1P Tutti mic pre-amp.

About 45dB of gain from the same pre-amp setup was required for a medium loud singer right up on the mic. I used a windscreen and the sound was warm and articulated correctly—not overly bright or overly thick and dull. The mic has a swivel mount you can use to tilt the mic upwards to get more head tone and less nasal sound or tilt it downward to soften the high frequencies. Mic technique is everything.

Neat Microphones Worker Bee II sells for $99.99 MSRP and a couple of them would make fine starter mics for any studio.