Recording - October 2015 - 45

to wrestle with. According to the Cathedral
Pipes website: "We wanted to use our own
M7 inside the original design of the FET;
however the polarization voltage drawn
from the shared wimpy 48V phantom
proved to be a challenge. We use a custom
booster circuit to get around the issue and a
current limiter to carefully portion out the current to each section of the design."
Internally the Saint Jean Baptiste is a brilliant balance of vintage craftsmanship and
modern design. One side of the mic's circuit
(the high-impedance portion) consists of
point to point wiring and components like
Wima MK4 and polystyrene capacitors, all
attached to old-school ceramic rails. Literally
on the flip side of said rails is a modern circuit board using surface-mount ICs and components. All of this flows to a large, weighty
Cinemag CM-13101 output transformer.
Outside: checkmate!
The outside of the mic is dressed in an
alternating checkerboard pattern of
chrome squares and white enamel
squares with the Cathedral Pipes family
crest in the middle. All of this is protected
by a lacquer coating to help with finger
prints and discoloring.
The mic measures 7.75" by 2.25" and
its chrome-plated triple mesh head basket
is visually a match to that of a vintage
U 47 fet. Inside this capsule are the small
LEDs that glow beautifully in bluish-white
light when the mic is fired up and receiving phantom power.
Outside the outside: the toolbox
The mic comes in a large red toolbox
that is generously lined with thick gray
foam, trimmed with a layer of red foam for
looks. Like the Notre Dame, the Saint Jean
Baptiste comes with a custom red and
white Rycote Invision shockmount and a
special custom-made red XLR cable.
This cable is also made in house by
Charles out of OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast)
copper wiring. As with an old-school vintage
mic, the cable screws onto the microphone
with a special Binder style 3-prong end. The
kit finishes out with a cloth drawstring bag to
hold the cable, which is secured inside the
lid of the toolbox via tiny bungee cables. The
only thing I think Charles should add to his
mic packages is a polishing cloth to keep the
mics shiny and fingerprint free.
Sound
The first thing I noticed about the Saint
Jean Baptiste, despite it not being a specfor-spec reissue or clone of a U 47 fet, is
how close it actually gets to the sound of
the original. In side-by-side tests it can trick
the ear into thinking it is the real thing.
However, upon more careful listening you
will notice that the Saint Jean Baptiste has
a nice hint of clearer modern highs as well
as a touch more low end. It's a gently
extended clean low end that you feel,

rather than just a big woofy bass boost.
Overall this is a more modern, open variant of a U 47 fet. We are talking 5-10%
difference, but it's there.
The Saint Jean Baptiste has a good
smooth off-axis rejection. Its proximity effect
is a bit more pronounced, almost like
adding a hint of a sub to a monitoring system, thanks to the mic's slightly extended
bass response. One last difference between
it and an original/reissue U 47 fet is that it
does exhibit a more pronounced low-end
body resonance when tapped, than the
almost zero resonance of the real thing.
In use
Let's get the obvious question out of the
way first: can you use the Saint Jean Baptiste
everywhere you'd use a real U 47 fet?
Absolutely! It works fantastically on kick
drum, guitar cabinet, brass, and-my personal favorite for this mic-bass cabinet.
I also had great luck with it on male
vocals, and on the inside of a baby
grand piano where I used it in tandem
with Neumann's U 47 fet reissue. I had
the original on the top end strings on the
left and the Saint Jean Baptiste on the
lows. Both mics worked so well together
here that no one could tell that it was two
different models and manufacturers.
But we won't stop there. Since it is just
a hair more open on the top end, the Saint
Jean Baptiste is slightly more versatile than
the original. You can add acoustic guitar,
shakers, tambourine, congas, and more to
the list of things it records well. About the
only place I did not like the Saint Jean
Baptiste was on front of kit and on drum
overheads, where it was too blunt and
mid forward for my taste.
Overall, Charles did a fantastic job of voicing the Saint Jean Baptiste to the original and
capturing its spirit. It's not a clone so much as
a rethink and expansion of the U 47 fet's
sound, purpose, and applications.
The bottom line
Remember how at the start of this review, I
suggested that you keep in mind that this mic
is hand-built to order when you see what it
costs? It's not for the reason you might
guess... not because this mic is extremely costly, but because it's unbelievably affordable.
Most mics of this ilk cost $1800 and
above, and that's without a case, shockmount, or cable. It blows my mind that
Cathedral Pipes sells a completely handmade
U 47 fet style mic with a non-sourced capsule
and all the trimmings for way less than that,
but I'm not complaining... and you shouldn't,
either. If you want your own U 47 fet-flavored
mic, the Saint Jean Baptiste needs to be at the
very top of your "listen" list.
Price: $1300
More from: Cathedral Pipes,
www.cathedralpipes.com
RECORDING October 2015

45


http://www.ribbonmics.com http://www.ribbonmics.com http://www.facebook.com/ribbonmics http://www.cathedralpipes.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - October 2015

Contents
Recording - October 2015 - Intro
Recording - October 2015 - Cover1
Recording - October 2015 - Cover2
Recording - October 2015 - 1
Recording - October 2015 - 2
Recording - October 2015 - 3
Recording - October 2015 - 4
Recording - October 2015 - 5
Recording - October 2015 - Contents
Recording - October 2015 - 7
Recording - October 2015 - 8
Recording - October 2015 - 9
Recording - October 2015 - 10
Recording - October 2015 - 11
Recording - October 2015 - 12
Recording - October 2015 - 13
Recording - October 2015 - 14
Recording - October 2015 - 15
Recording - October 2015 - 16
Recording - October 2015 - 17
Recording - October 2015 - 18
Recording - October 2015 - 19
Recording - October 2015 - 20
Recording - October 2015 - 21
Recording - October 2015 - 22
Recording - October 2015 - 23
Recording - October 2015 - 24
Recording - October 2015 - 25
Recording - October 2015 - 26
Recording - October 2015 - 27
Recording - October 2015 - 28
Recording - October 2015 - 29
Recording - October 2015 - 30
Recording - October 2015 - 31
Recording - October 2015 - 32
Recording - October 2015 - 33
Recording - October 2015 - 34
Recording - October 2015 - 35
Recording - October 2015 - 36
Recording - October 2015 - 37
Recording - October 2015 - 38
Recording - October 2015 - 39
Recording - October 2015 - 40
Recording - October 2015 - 41
Recording - October 2015 - 42
Recording - October 2015 - 43
Recording - October 2015 - 44
Recording - October 2015 - 45
Recording - October 2015 - 46
Recording - October 2015 - 47
Recording - October 2015 - 48
Recording - October 2015 - 49
Recording - October 2015 - 50
Recording - October 2015 - 51
Recording - October 2015 - 52
Recording - October 2015 - 53
Recording - October 2015 - 54
Recording - October 2015 - 55
Recording - October 2015 - 56
Recording - October 2015 - 57
Recording - October 2015 - 58
Recording - October 2015 - 59
Recording - October 2015 - 60
Recording - October 2015 - 61
Recording - October 2015 - 62
Recording - October 2015 - 63
Recording - October 2015 - 64
Recording - October 2015 - 65
Recording - October 2015 - 66
Recording - October 2015 - 67
Recording - October 2015 - 68
Recording - October 2015 - 69
Recording - October 2015 - 70
Recording - October 2015 - 71
Recording - October 2015 - 72
Recording - October 2015 - 73
Recording - October 2015 - 74
Recording - October 2015 - 75
Recording - October 2015 - 76
Recording - October 2015 - 77
Recording - October 2015 - 78
Recording - October 2015 - 79
Recording - October 2015 - 80
Recording - October 2015 - Cover3
Recording - October 2015 - Cover4
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