I recently received a pair of Groove Tubes mics: one solid-state medium diaphragm class A condenser (GT-30) and a large diaphragm tube condenser (GT-60). My first thought was: ”more made in China condenser mics?!?” I must have listened to 40 mics in this general price range in the past month, but undaunted I put these two up for some tracking to see how they stood up.
On opening the package, I saw that Groove Tubes had decided on a more reasonable style of packaging than some manufacturers. Instead of briefcase style flight cases and expensive-looking wooden boxes, they chose a more economical and appropriate mini flight case style box. And the GT-30 is a front address mic with a standard mount, while the GT-60 is a side address, single pattern, with both a standard mount and a nice shock mount. Both mics have a 10dB pad and a low-cut switch. The build quality of both is about average for mics in this price range: adequate but not overly heavy duty.
At first, I thought that the GT-30 could be a good handheld for vocals. However, I soon realized that it lacks an adequate internal windscreen to keep wind and popping Ps off of the diaphragm. Hmmm. . . .
Well, the first opportunity that I had to listen to the mics was on a hip-hop vocal session. I used a Daking 52270H mic pre into a Distressor and tried both mics one at a time. In past times, I usually used a 414 on this vocalist and it seemed like both GT mics were a bit too bright for his voice and the style of his music in general. Back to the 414 for that session.
The very next opportunity for me to use these mics, however, was on an acoustic guitar recording. I decided to use both mics, although unmatched, as a stereo pair since there was only guitar and vocals. I used two Chameleon 7602s into a Manley Variable MU. I was quite surprised at the pronounced midrange in the mics. I ended up cutting about 2dB at 700Hz on the GT-60 and about 2dB at 1.6k on the GT-30. Both the artist and I were happy with the sound and we used the pair on the session.
My third listen to the mics was on a session with a female vocalist. I tracked her with an AT4033 through a Chameleon 7602 into a Manley VOXBOX for compression and de-essing. At the end of the session we put up both Groove Tubes mics for comparison. Again, the Groove Tubes mics exhibited a more pronounced midrange that gave the vocals a little better clarity than the 4033. The 4033 was a bit bigger and smoother sounding though, so we ended up using those tracks.
The GT mics both exhibit a common, low midrange presence that can be useful for certain voices and miking applications. One has to be careful of excess low end on the GT-30 though. It seems to be a little woofy on vocals and loud guitar rigs. The GT-60 does not exhibit this quality, though. This midrange could also add a stiffness or lack of richness for the wrong application. These mics definitely have their own sound though, so give them a try on your own if you plan on picking one up.