Zeppelin Design Labs of Chicago has released the The Cortado, a phantom-powered contact mic with Balanced Buffered Output signal properly impedance matched to your console or recorder. By balancing and buffering the signal (utilizing a circuit based on the work of Alan Rice), the Cortado preserves the piezo’s wide bandwidth, avoiding the thin or tinny sound of some contact mics. The powered circuit can drive the signal over very long cable runs with negligible signal loss. Careful shielding and a closely-matched pair of JFETs contribute to Cortado’s high signal-to- noise ratio.
The Cortado is available ready-to- use or as a simple DIY kit. The kit can be configured in a variety of ways:
- Build the standard Contact Mic for use in the Studio or in the Field
- Make an instrument pickup that you can install inside (or outside) almost any acoustic instrument
- Incorporate it into a killer Tin Can Microphone
To demonstrate its versatility, the Cortado was used to mic and record an entire band. You can listen to the results here:
https://soundcloud.com/zeppelin-design- labs/summertime-recorded- with-the- cortado-contact- mic
Zeppelin Design Labs LLC is the brainchild of Brach Siemens, an expert audio products designer, and Glen van Alkemade, veteran project manager. They started some years ago doing freelance audio product design, working from a broom closet. In 2015 they released the Percolator 2W Tube Amp, the popularity of which allowed them to move out of the broom closet and into a reclaimed rest room. All ZDL releases are available as DIY kits or ready-to- use, targeted to working musicians and studio techs as well as amateur DIY enthusiasts.