The V16-BB is a handmade large diaphragm condenser mic.
There's no pad or low cut, and the pickup pattern is a fixed cardioid. The grille and capsule proximity give the impression it places little between the source and the diaphragm, and aurally it appears to do just that.
This is a sensitive mic, providing a healthy output alongside a low noise floor making it ideal for quiet, delicate sources. This sensitivity is most noticeable in the high-frequency range where there is a 'tinsel' quality that really brings out the life and detail of a source.
Cheap condensers often feature a hyped high-end that is quite grating and breaks up easily when EQ is applied to correct an over/underemphasis. The V16 does not do this at all, which is why it is not cheap.
Transients are captured beautifully and in tests we found no reason to lift the high-end, or even touch it, and though sources could be overly sibilant, the V16 did not add to this. Vocals and acoustic instruments really benefit from this high-end quality, though the sensitivity of the mic does mean extraneous noises get equally well represented in recording.
At the other end is a surprisingly weighty bass response and, much like the HF range, it seems smooth and satisfyingly malleable in a mix with regard to EQ. The V16 does not offer a lot of protection from external impacts, either direct or transmitted through the mic stand and shockmount, despite some absorption in the latter.
Vocals and many acoustic instruments are best recorded with a low-cut or high-pass filter engaged, but when recording bass instruments or alongside drums some effort is needed to mitigate this weakness. The relatively unguarded capsule necessitates a pop filter for vocal work too, especially as getting right up on this mic can produce a wonderfully rich and intimate sound.
The pickup pattern is relatively wide: more 'super' than 'hyper' in cardioid terms. This is good for vocal work as well as acoustic instruments that rarely stay put during recording.
Maybe as a consequence the rear rejection is not as extensive as some condensers of this type, so placement and baffling are key in a multitrack situation. In a room on its own it can hold focus on the source while still allowing in a quality room sound.
The V16 possesses sensitivity, openness, a well-balanced frequency response and a little sprinkle of magic treble dust. It does not carry a vintage pricetag and has a five-year warranty.
We would like a more comprehensive shockmount solution so its qualities could be deployed over a larger range of recording duties. If vocals and acoustic instruments are regular work, then the V16 will be worthy and satisfying tool in your studio.