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To King Bee Or Not To Be?: The Neat King Bee Cardioid Solid State Condenser Microphone

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The NEAT KING BEE Cardioid Solid State Condenser Microphone ($349,

The KING BEE from NEAT was developed by Skipper Wise amongst other Blue Microphones luminaries under the affiliation of Gibson brands.

The KING BEE is a unique product starting with the yellow and black striped colorways which depart from the matte black aesthetic most companies routinely employ. A bumblebee wearing a crown serves as its logo, and glows orange when the microphone is activated within your USB interface–in my case, The Fast Track Duo from Avid.

Happily, the build quality is extraordinarily durable—there is a definitive solidity to its construction, making the BEE a serious piece of kit. The diaphragm is an impressively sized 34mm. Below, is a black metal square-shaped handle covered in yellow rubber strips that lend the mic an almost tacky grippiness. Touring musicians will be pleased with this mic’s density as well as the feeling that this can be wielded as a weapon, if need be.

One never knows…

The handle for the mic is very thick thus, like many large diaphragm condenser microphones including the Marshall MXL 770 ($100,, arrives with a custom shockmount that can be fixed to the wall or to a stand. The mount is worth using because the girth of the mic handle is too thick for performers to grasp for extended periods of time.

Other great features:

Custom Audio Output Transformer: this is a major component of what contributes to the high signal level coupled with low noise–the transformer also imparts some of the “character” when recording vocals.

Class-A Discrete Circuitry – Unlike a lot of mics which use off-the-shelf IC chips for amplification, the KING BEE uses discrete, Class-A circuitry. Class-A operation eliminates crossover distortion, and the employment of discrete circuitry is a contributing reason for the extremely low noise.

Snap-On Pop Filter – The most perfect way to minimize ‘plosives with close-miking, but can be removed easily if the mic is some distance away from its source.

Throughout my testing, I observed the BEE to be an extremely sensitive microphone. Consequently, I would recommend placing the mic one foot away from your mouth for an optimal recording of vocals.  The mic appreciates its personal space so remember to give it some room to breathe. Otherwise, my whistling came out brash and screechy when the mic was held within 6 inches of my mouth.

Most importantly, the KING BEE is able to deliver appealing recordings. The overall effect is clarity coupled with a pleasant, bright coloration.

Highly recommended.