2B Beauty Gen II
Coming end of Dec, 2019.
The 2B Beauty Gen II is a large diaphragm tube condenser microphone with a CK-12 style capsule, and a classic plate follower circuit with a transformer coupled output. This is the same magical combination of capsule type and circuit style used in the famous Elam 251, which some purists regard as the all time best sounding microphone ever. It uses newly designed, patented, pure gold coated 34mm dual sided capsule, and sits at the top of the quality spectrum with some of the best tube microphones available. It has a very clean and flat frequency response, with detailed and natural sounding mid and high frequencies. The 2B Beauty Gen II is an amazing vocal microphone, but with the switchable low cut filter, the -10dB pad, and selectable polar patterns, it can also be used in a wide variety of recording applications, such as acoustic instruments, orchestras, and even drum overheads.
This microphone went through a rigorous tube selection process, where many tubes were auditioned. We were striving to find the tube with the lowest noise, and purest sound. The PsVane 12AX7-TII was once again the winner (it was also chosen for the original 2B Beauty). However, pristine sound is not always the most pleasant sound, and we found the most pleasant sounding tube was the Shuguang 12AT7 Treasure Series. So because we really loved the sound of both of these tubes, and for different reasons, we decided to supply this mic with both of them, and let you decide which one you want to use.
- Microphone Body,
- Large popfilter that mounts on shockmount
- Small pop filter that mounts on the microphone body
- PsVane 12AX7 TII Premium Grade Vacuum Tube
- Shuguang 12AT7 Treasure Series Premium Grade Vacuum Tube
- Power Supply
- 5 pin XLR cable
- Power Cord
- Flight Case
Compared to the original 2B Beauty, we have made 4 significant changes to the design. All the new components were chosen based on controlled listening tests
1- New CK12 style capsule. The iSK factory has various tiers of quality which their capsules are rated, and this is based primarily on the precision to which the machinery is calibrated, and the acceptable tolerances in which it is produced. The original 2B Beauty used a medium grade capsule, which was very good, however, the new 2B Beauty is a no-compromise microphone, and we’ve selected a top grade, cream of the crop capsule to outfit this microphone. This capsule has resulted in more definition, especially noticeable in the high frequencies.
2- New, faster responding diodes in the power supply rectifier. - We had tested 4 different types of diodes and chosen the one that sounded best. We set up a controlled test, and did several days of A/B comparing. The difference was subtle, but repeatable and consistent. We chose the best sounding diode and ordered them in a large quantity for production, only to discover that the specific model we chose was discontinued by the manufacturer. This was the first major delay, because we did not simply chose the second best diode, we started over in our research to find the best possible sounding diode. The sales rep at the supplier we contacted recommended a specific model, he said they sell huge amounts of these to Samsung. When we tested this model, it actually outperformed the original diode that we had chosen. So, although this was a significant delay, in the end it was certainly worth it. The difference these made in the sound is very subtle, and hard to describe, but in general I’d say it’s more natural, and true to the source.
3- We’ve added a large, high grade filter capacitor to the power supply. This effectively more than doubled the filter capacitance in the power supply, and resulted in lower self noise, and faster transient response.
4- We are now including it with 2 different vacuum tubes, for different voicing options. Both these tubes were selected based on comparisons with every high grade tube we could get our hands on. Vacuum tubes are mass produced in factories, and at the end of the assembly line, they are tested, and graded. Based on this grade, they are organized into different lots, and sold at different price points for different name brands. The 2 vacuum tubes we selected are produced by PsVane for the 12AX7, and Shuguang for the 12AT7. A little history, Shuguang is a well established maker of vacuum tubes, with their own research and development team. They have developed their own specifications, designs, and materials. Their lead researcher, and other members of the team left Shuguang, and formed PsVane. Both of these companies make very high quality vacuum tubes, and the models we selected are the highest cost, cream of the crop selection. These are the “cost no object” very best sounding tubes we’ve tried, even compared to highly sought after vintage and NOS tubes.
In our clinical testing, the PsVane 12AX7 is the reigning champion. For the 2B Beauty Gen II, we did another round of testing vacuum tubes, and once again, this tube was selected. It has the lowest noise, and clearest sound especially noticeable in the high frequencies. However, in studio use, the 12AT7 tends to be our favourite for vocals. It has a beautiful mid and low range presence that provides a full and lush sound. Although I’m used to nice sounding microphones, when I use the 2B Beauty Gen II with the 12AT7 tube on vocals, I’m consistently saying to myself.. “wow.. that sounds really good”