Violet Design Ltd. Amethyst Vintage
Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Violet’s Amethyst Vintage is the second mic in the Amethyst family. Like its sibling, it is a fixed-cardioid, large-diaphragm FET condenser.
Both models have low-noise (7dBA) amplifier circuits and transformerless outputs.
Both the Vintage and the Standard model use large-diaphragm (26mm) capsules sputtered with gold and aluminum on 6-micron Mylar film. The difference is that the Vintage uses dual diaphragms, whereas the Standard uses a single diaphragm.
The Vintage capsule is Violet’s VD67, a copy of Neumann’s K67 capsule. Like the original, the VD67 uses dual large diaphragms and dual backplates.
Sonic differences include changes in frequency response and in the cardioid pickup pattern. The Vintage model has a wider pattern and a sound characterized as “vintage” rather than “modern.”
Also, the Vintage mic is painted blue, rather than purple.
The Amethyst Vintage ships in a padded cherry wood box with no accessories. The company’s compatible shockmount, p/n ASM, attaches via elastic cords to the chrome knobs protruding from the sides of the microphone; it is available as a separate purchase.
[T]he mic does not include accessories. The stylish and effective ASM shockmount ($171) is optional. Although it is possible to mount the Amethyst Vintage directly to a microphone stand, in all but the most serene settings, you’re going to want to use the shockmount: resonances transmitted through the stand added an undesirable lower midrange thickening during my review of this mic…
Although Violet Design recommends using the Amethyst Vintage on female vocalists, the mic provides a modern, up-front sound on male voices. The vocal tracks easily cut through a mix, yet never sound harsh, strident, or sibilant…
Suspended 3.5 feet above a drum kit, the Amethyst Vintage captured a sound that was both immediate and warm. This is the kind of overhead microphone that can really glue a drum kit together, making it sound coherent and powerful.
…I recorded a wildly unpredictable female rocker (an alto), and was skeptical of the [Amethyst Vintage]’s ability to handle her extreme dynamics; I have heard many a diaphragm bottom out from her sustained crescendos. With a Manley TNT preamp (the tube side) and an Empirical Labs Distressor patched in, we got a gorgeous vocal that captured all the power of her loud passages, and all the subtle detail of the quiet ones, as well. In fact, this mic was more linear and consistent under such divergent conditions than just about anything I’ve used previously.
Solo acoustic guitar did reveal some Amethyst limitations, as its placement seemed unexpectedly very sensitive. Its healthy, flat bottom resulted in muddiness if I miked the dreadnaught guitar’s body anywhere near the sound hole… Electric guitar was similar, with the AV yielding a thick, warm tone that wasn’t quite “modern” enough for me, but may work well depending on your source and goals…
Although capable of wide applications, I think the versatile Amethyst Vintage is a first pick for solo vocals of all kinds. This mic will shine where you may normally go with a U67: when fullness and presence are required.
Sound On Sound
Both microphones sound very open and natural, with fast and accurate transients, extended bottom ends and modest proximity effects, the Vintage model being slightly better in this respect. Comparing the two models side by side quickly revealed their sonic differences. The Standard version has more ‘air’, with a noticeable lift at the extreme HF end compared to the Vintage. It also has a mild ‘suck-out’ at upper-mid frequencies — around 800Hz or so — which emphasizes its brighter aspect. In addition, there seems slightly more bass, but I suspect that’s a proximity issue rather than a frequency-response characteristic.
The Vintage model seems to me the more neutral and linear of the two designs… However, I’m not sure that the ‘vintage’ tag is really justified — it sounds pretty modern and bright, certainly in comparison to many of the mics now available that have a deliberately ‘aged’ sound quality. Don’t expect the warm and dull sound that the ‘vintage’ term might suggest!
The Violet Design Ltd. Amethyst Vintage is also known as: amethyst.
|Frequency Response - CardioidClick Graph to Compare!|
|Pickup Patterns||Pads & Filters|
(21 mV/Pa; 20 - 20,000 Hz)
| Diaphragm diameter: 26mm
Capsule diameter: 26mm
Diaphragm gauge: 6 microns
|50 Ohms (Low)||Max SPL: 134 dB
Self-noise: 7.0 dB(A)
|350g (12.35oz)||168mm (6.61'')||63mm (2.48'')||
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