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Tube condenser microphones are one of the most coveted tools by studio engineers. Different from other mics in the market, a tube microphone utilizes a vacuum tube (also known as a “valve”) as part of its internal circuitry. These mics have a complex build and tend to have a warm sound that can add color and personality to the audio, making them highly appealing. However, these characteristics are also the aspects that give tube mics their expensive price.
While a lot of tube condensers may have a premium asking price, there are also excellent mics that come with a more reasonable tag, and one of them is the Rode K2.
The K2 is a professional tube condenser microphone that provides a platform for users who want a warm, vintage sound. This microphone comes with character and subtleties. It’s a great microphone for small studio owners who want to level up their audio quality without having to dig a deep hole in their bank accounts.
Rode is a top-tier brand that produces a vast range of microphones designed for various applications. The K2 is an exceptional mic for vocals, with its design reminiscent of classic studio microphones. This mic also has a variable pickup pattern feature, allowing you to dictate the direction of your voice. It’s a good mic to use to fill out vocals or to round off your voice. Learn more about how the K2 can upgrade your vocals and audio in this review.
The short answer to this question is yes, the K2 is worth it. Tube condenser microphones usually sit on the higher end of the scale. Unlike other tube condensers, the K2 is one mic that delivers a first-rate design and audio quality without a steep price tag. It comes with excellent features which can be used on a wide range of sources. Read on further to know why the K2 is worth investing in.
|Polar Pattern||Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8|
|Frequency Response||20Hz – 20kHz|
|Sensitivity||-36.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (16.00mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz|
|Product Dimension and Weight||8.1 x 2.1 inches|
Any recording artist would love a microphone that can continuously perform and deliver a present and detailed sound. A high-end valve condenser, the K2 is a microphone designed with a double-layer stainless steel grille mesh and an all-metal housing finished with a matte nickel coating. Inside of this excellent rock-solid build is a large gold-sputtered diaphragm, designed with the tube classics in mind but with the reliability of modern technology.
Built with Rode’s exceptional mechanical and electrical engineering, the K2 is an all-rounder microphone that sets the bar high when it comes to recording quality. Here are its highlights:
The quality control on the K2 is top-notch thanks to its hand-picked 6922 dual-triode tube, running in a Class-A mode together with bipolar output transistors. The tube is placed in a porcelain socket and secured with a plastic spring clip. This microphone’s capsule also sits in a shock mount, and all of its electronic components are fixed on a glass-fiber circuit board.
Thanks to this incredible engineering, the K2 has an extremely low noise floor of only 10dBA, giving it a signal-to-noise ratio of 81dB. It can also handle a maximum SPL of 162dB and a sensitivity of -3dB, making it quite a powerful mic.
Vocal recording certainly isn’t a problem for the K2. Along with flat frequency response, this microphone also has a variable pickup pattern feature, providing three polar patterns, namely figure-8, cardioid, and omnidirectional. The K2 has a circular knob in front of its power supply unit, allowing you to choose your desired polar pattern. The cardioid mode has a subtle 5kHz lift, while its Omni mode has a presence peak of 12kHz.
As a vocal mic, any recording artist would be pleased with the K2’s ability to control any polar pattern. The K2 also delivers a sound that’s classically warm with a smooth top-end, extremely detailed middle, and a robust low-end. For example, you can record a smooth hip-hop style song in a lightly treated large space with the K2. It rounds off vocals, adding color and personality to the voice. While there is a lack of roll-off filter with the K2, there are still no issues recording with it as your mic pre-amp will be able to provide that.
Aside from vocals, the K2 is also highly capable of recording instruments, delivering a combination of warmth and evenness of tone. It’s a great mic to use for a strummed acoustic guitar performance, hand percussion, and more instruments up-close or in a wide-room capacity.
As it’s a tube condenser mic, the K2 comes with a dedicated power supply unit. While the PSU has no pad or filter controls, this shouldn’t be an issue as most mic preamps come with a low-cut filter. The PSU has a continuous rotary control fixed on its front, allowing users to modify the mic’s polar pattern according to their preference.
Constructed with an all-metal housing, a double-layer stainless steel grille, and a locking ring for mounting, the K2 has a rock-solid build that protects the capsule from any kind of physical harm. Aside from the PSU and the mic itself, Rode has also included a multi-pin cable and a suitable shock mount. The microphone sits securely in a provided RC2 plastic travel casing that accommodates not only the shock mount but also the PSU.
|✔ Dedicated power supply|
✔ Multiple polar pattern tube microphone
✔ 20Hz-20kHz frequency response
|✘ Lacks a low-frequency cut switch |
✘ Does not include a pop filter
The K2 is one of the best Rode mics around, employing a 20Hz-20kHz frequency range, a low signal-to-noise ratio, and comes with a variable pickup pattern feature. It also has a dedicated power supply where users can switch the mic pattern according to their desire. You’ll want to engage a bass roll-off switch on your mic pre and get yourself a pop filter as neither of those is included with this mic. The K2 isn’t the cheapest tube mic in the market, but it delivers high-quality technicality and musicality that anyone looking for a multi-pattern microphone should try out.
Considering other microphone brands? Check out our guide to the best microphone for vocals.