JZ Mics

JZ Microphones Vintage Series: Classic sound for today’s recording professionals

Why pay a significant price premium for a classic microphone when there’s a more cost effective solution available at a fraction of the cost?

JZ Microphones Vintage Series offer a sound profile similar to iconic microphones from AKG and Neumann, with a sound described as ‘Silky- smooth, warm with the right amount of detail,‘ but boast unbeatable advantages in price, durability and versatility.  

They’re ideal for anywhere you want to add extra soul and a little bit of coloration, Andris Zemmers, JZ’s Head of Marketing & Ecommerce, told Audio Media International.

“I think every microphone company must have its own line of unique products. So that’s why we have Black Hole series, it’s our unique sound using the unique Golden Drop Capsule technology.  Vintage series is a different story; if you’re not making mics with that warm vintage sound, you’re robbing yourself and your clients. Everybody is looking for a new, better twist for that classic sound!”

The JZ Microphones Vintage Series comprises the Vintage 12 cardioid condenser mic (V12), which clearly pays homage to the AKG C12, which first saw duty in 1953; the JZ Vintage 47 (V47) which takes inspiration from the Neumann U47, launched back in 1947, and the JZ Vintage 67 (V67), which apes Sixties favourite, the Neumann u67. 

“The V12 is a workhorse on acoustic guitar and  definitely does magic on not-so-bright vocals,” says Zemmers. “Its brightness can help those darker vocals to stand out.

 “The V47 is a true vintage gem. It’s really warm, smooth and not as bright as V67 and V12. V47 will be a top choice if you’re working on brighter vocals or blighter acoustic guitar. It works really well on brass instruments!

“And V67 is a kicker on any vocals, grand piano and drum overheads. It’s a real winner when you’re looking for versatility. You can’t shoot wrong with either v12 or v67. It depends on characteristics. V67 is a bit darker, smoother, V12 is brighter and a bit more airy.”

Of course, while the JZ Vintage Series go a long way to replicating the sound of these classic microphones, they’re built using solid-state transistor technologies and construction techniques.

They also share the same retail price, just 1,299 Euros/$1,199 (hint – make sure to subscribe to their newsletter as they do massive storewide sales a few times per year!)

This is a huge saving, when compared to the mics they take inspiration from. By way of comparison, a vintage original C12, U47 or U67 can run you the best part of $30,000, while new iterations sell from $8,000.  

Discovering you can achieve similar results with JZ Microphones Vintage Series, at a price that won’t cause bean-counters to hyperventilate, comes as something of a revelation.

“On the availability aspect,” says Zemmers, “not all people are willing to spend five  or six grand per mic;  I also have to mention that the majority of the classic legends are not available anymore, the models available now are modern remakes.”

The JZ Vintage Series also boast another advantage over their iconic predecessors – they’re free of the reliability issues associated with tube technology.

“Some people just don’t want that hassle that comes with a tube mic, its not as durable, you can’t travel with it and it adds extra cost in using the mic (like a car). I don’t say that tube mics are bad, I love how those tubes sound. It’s just – not all engineers are willing to spend 5x more for a mic and trade in that hassle.”

JZ Microphones Vintage Series: their sonic characteristics explained

The JZ V12 emulates the famously flat frequency response and sonic signature of the C12, as favoured by the likes of Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. 

Sonically, it’s neutral but has a rich low end, albeit with more detail. Some might even suggest that it sounds more agreeable to today’s listeners.

Says Zemmers: “I think this trio 12, 47 and 67 covers the whole vintage spectrum without going too much in niches. V12 was the hardest one, it has much more ‘special’ capsule design to match that sound.”

All JZ Mics utilise the Golden Drop Capsule patented by company founder Juris Zarins, so named because they use gold sputtered diaphragms in their capsules. Ingeniously, drops of gold are spaced across the diaphragm to reduce its weight. 

This lighter diaphragm can vibrate faster and therefore capture more detail.  

The V47 and V67 boast similar response curves to the Neumann U47 and U67, but bring their own benefits.

The JZ V47 shares that tubed mic’s neutral smoothness, but adds its own treble brightness, a benefit of its solid-state transistors and electronically balanced outputs. Producers tend to favour the V47’s extra high-end detail.

 Rafa Sardina, recording engineer and record producer, said this of the V47 and its V67 stablemate: “Having worked in so many session over the years I have to say it was really exciting to do some out of the ordinary sessions for Lady Gaga using some of my new toys, the JZ mics V47 and V67 microphones. They excel in so many uses, from acoustic bass, to amplified bass, or vocals, strings, and guitar. I ended up naturally gravitating towards them, even though I had a great vintage microphone selection at my disposal.”

The V67 is designed to be a little brighter than the V47, and works particularly well on electric guitars.   

“A few weeks ago I spoke with our friend, engineer/ producer Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Motorhead, Twin Atlantic), he told that he has those classic legends in the locker, but they are eating dust,” recalls Zemmers, “because with our V67 or V47 he can achieve much greater results, he is planning to sell them as they are not in use. I’ve heard it a bunch of times. During the Namm show I had around eight clients coming to our booth telling me that they just sold their original C12 or U67. I think that’s the biggest compliment!”

Adds Zemmers: “Choosing a mic for your locker is not a zero sum game. There is no perfect mic that fits everybody and every application. Engineers are looking for a variety, so when the situation comes, they have the right tools available. JZ Vintage series are not clones, they are fresh versions inspired by these classic legends tuned for the modern day ear.” 

All JZ Microphones Vintage Series are hand-crafted and tested in-house in Latvia, and come with 5-year warranties.