In recent years, the onslaught of Chinese made condenser microphones has at least given the home/project studio the 'look' if not the 'sound' of pro studios. Many of these imports are excellent values for the money but still aren't quite up to the standards required for professional recording. The Sterling Audio line of microphones changes all that. I purchased the ST69 with the intent of using it primarily as a vocal mic, wanting the traditional 'warmer' sound found in tube microphones. However, the first application I got to use it on was recording an acoustic guitar. Normally I would have used a small diaphragm condenser to capture the transients and give the guitar more bite on the picking. I was awestruck at the results of the ST69!
The clarity, transparency, and the dynamic response resulted in one of the best recordings of guitar I've had in 30 years. I immediately tried it on a square neck Dobro, and the results were just as stunning. Male vocals recorded using the mic were warm and silky smooth.. the proximity effect that cardioid mics are known for sometimes means that the low end blows out the overall sound.. not so with ST69.
By using the high-pass filter, the resulting warmth is enhanced and lets the true character of a voice shine. The 3 micron diaphragm obviously results in a superior dynamic response. Coupled with the class-A tube amplifier and very low self-noise, the ST69 compares (and in my opinion) exceeds the quality of some well-known German mics that one would pay 4 or 5 times the cost of the Sterling Audio. Additionally, the mic features an -10db pad and a switchable high-pass filter. The mic is incredibly solid and well-built. The included shock mount is far superior than that found with most Chinese imports and the power supply is rugged and appears to be built to last. Overall, I cannot find any faults in this microphone other than I now want several more. Take the next step up in recording and try out the ST69. You won't be disappointed
The ST69 is large diaphragm tube condenser mic. Very versatile having three polar positions. The main target customer for the mic would probably be the project studio/home studio user. Really ideal for acoustic instruments, vocals, etc.
The ST69 when matched with a clean preamp really is a remarkable microphone for money. It gives a very clean tonality with round tube "warmth" For a 600 dollar mic it's good, depending on your needs their might be other mics out there that suite your interest. I bought mine for 208 plus tax, thought for that it was pretty good. What I don't really like about the mic, well like practically all chinese made mics, the ST69 ssseeems to have ssssibilance isssssues. It's not as bad as others I've heard, but definitely not professional for male/female vox. Which kinda sucks, because for a male vocal I enjoy the close mics proximately effect, but I think it's really better at performing for room mics, acoustic instruments, vocals at a 12-18in distance. The other dislike about it, is if your the type to buy cheaper mics, than use them and later get them modified, this mic is really not a good choice for modding due to the complicated circuitry. It's even a pain in the ass to swap the tube. But although I have dislikes about it, it reminds me of higher end mics for a fraction of the cost. I've used lots of mics, from high end to dirt cheap, and I feel the ST69 is good if you can haggle, go to guitar center and haggle, believe me you'll get it for cheaper, and you'll get your money's worth.
The Sterling Audio ST69 is a tube condenser microphone that is designed for use in the recording studio. It's got a few different pick up patterns to choose from, including cardioid, figure eight, and omnidirectional, which are pretty much the three standard pick up patterns at play with tube microphones. The ST69 has a frequency response ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and has a class A tube inside of it. The mic also has a high pass filter at 75 Hz and a -10 db pad. It comes with it's own power supply and a 7 pin cable, as well as it's own shock mount and a sturdy carrying the case. The accessories do feel a bit cheap, but that's what you have to expect with Chinese made microphones and the like.
While I can't say that the Sterling Audio ST69 would be my first choice for a budget tube condenser microphone, it's still a very solid choice. It's got all of the standard features and accessories you'd expect from a tube microphone, although I'm not sure the exact type of tube that it's got in there. I haven't had a chance to shoot out this microphone with more expensive/popular models, nor have I used it on very many applications, but for recording a male vocalist, the sounds was as much warm as it was clear. There's definitely no getting around that the mic has a very nice sound in general, but I don't think that it would stand up to some of the classic tube microphones out there as some would lead you to believe. These days there are plenty of tube condenser microphones to choose from in this price range and lower, but this is still a pretty good deal. My only concern with the ST69 is that it feels a little bit cheap at times, or at least the corresponding parts do. Either way, the price is still very reasonable. I'd also recommend checking out the Aventone CV-12's as they sound a bit better to me and are also a bit less expensive. Definitely do your research when choosing a tube microphone in this price range, but absolutely keep the ST69 in the discussion.