JZ Microphones Vintage V12: What is it?
The Vintage V12 is the latest reissue from JZ. Originally released a decade ago, this large-capsule, phantom-powered cardioid condenser microphone has had a visual refresh. With its flattened elliptic cylinder shape and huge headstock, the design manages to look both retro and modern at once. As we’ve come to expect from JZ, it’s also beautifully finished.
JZ is no stranger to revisiting the sound and response of classic capsule designs. Indeed a couple of years ago we tested its excellent Vintage V67 mic. Much like that mic, the Vintage V12 takes its inspiration from a classic mic, and this time it’s AKG’s C12.
Even so, it’s important to emphasise that although the capsule may be designed with that intention, the Vintage V12 is by no means a slavish reproduction of AKG’s classic. First up, it’s not a multipattern valve mic and, in fact, uses JZ’s low noise (6dB-A) discrete Class A output stage. Secondly, as mentioned above, it has its own quite distinctive physical shape.
JZ Microphones Vintage V12: Performance and verdict
Sticking with the design aspects, the microphone is mounted via a ball joint stand mount. We love how discreet this is, but much like we found with the V67, it’s not all that flexible in terms of the angles you can achieve. We would probably be inclined to grab a more flexible universal elbow to use in conjunction with it. With no cradle option and no low-cut filter, it’s also good to know the V12 capsule has some internal isolation.
So, how does it sound? First up, the mic is crisp and clear and is certainly reminiscent of the famous AKG sound. Studying the charts, the Vintage V12 has a couple of dB dip around 2kHz and three dB bell-shaped boost in the high frequencies, peaking at around 8kHz. This is similar to a C12 but we would say on paper at least the AKG is brighter.
Either way, comparisons aside, in its own right the V12 sounds wonderfully alive. There’s not a large amount of proximity up close, and it handles vocal plosives really well. On voice, we found a pop shield was only really necessary from about 20cm and closer. With the controlled proximity, using the mic a few centimetres away with a pop shield sounds absolutely amazing and wonderfully intimate. On sources such as acoustic guitar and percussion there’s plenty of presence but the overall top end doesn’t sound excessively hyped. On quieter sources, the low self noise is very welcome.
The polar pattern seems reasonably broad and as you’d expect, the fully off-axis response is a bit of a mixed bag. However, much like with the V67, the top of the headstock has a reasonably smooth off-axis response. This is certainly good news if you have to position the mic on its side. Luckily, we were also able to A/B the V12 with our V67 tests, and although there were some similarities (proximity for example), the frequency responses are clearly different, with the V12 noticeably brighter.
Overall we really like this mic. If you’re after a high quality large capsule condenser with some C12 flavour but at a fraction of the usual cost, the Vintage V12 has got to be on your list.
MusicRadar verdict: Inspired by a classic but with a signature all of its own. Ideal for vocals but delivers a beautiful sheen to all manner of sources.
JZ Microphones Vintage V12: The web says
" JZ have produced a capsule that does all the heavy lifting in capturing studio recordings with both clarity and character. The V12 is well worth checking out if you get a chance."
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JZ Microphones Vintage V12: Hands-on demos
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JZ Microphones Vintage V12: Specifications
- CAPSULE: 25mm diaphragm with JZ’s golden drop technology.
- PICKUP: Cardioid.
- FREQ RESPONSE: 20Hz-20kHz.
- SELF-NOISE: 6 dB (A).
- S/N RATIO: 87 dB-A.
- SENSITIVITY: 22mV/Pa at 1kHz.
- MAX SPL: 134 dB (2.5kOhm, 0.5% THD).
- OUTPUT IMPEDANCE: 50 Ohm.
- LOAD IMPEDANCE: 1000 Ohm.
- POWER: +48V DC phantom.
- CONTACT: JZ Microphones (opens in new tab)