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To Switch Or Not to Switch? (but where is the question)


I've gotten a few questions about the new edition of the SAE tube 47 and 48 historic editions with the mechanical headbasket switch in the tradtional configurations. I thought it would be a good time to answer those here.


The first question is whether a '47' and '48' headbasket can be interchanged on my design. The answer to that right now, sadly, is no. The 47 headbasket has 2 terminals coming down to the main body and the 48 headbasket has 3. The main boards for each design are actually quite different. It is something that I know is possible; but it will require me to redesign the board as well as to move many more components into the headbasket area than I honestly feel comfortable about. Right now, I'm able to do the 48 with only one component migraded to the top headbasket deck, and one extra wire. I like it that way for now, and apologies to anyone inconvenienced.


The second question I've gotten is whether this new edition is better than the relay based system with PSU-based pattern switch that I've been making in some form since 2017 or so (and still prefer). The answer is, absolutely not. I also would not say its worse... but hear me out. I have been making the reed-relay based system for six years now. Over 100 units out in the field. to my knowledge, ZERO are in repair here or anyone else... All still making records. That kind of reliability and track record speaks for itself. Is the mechanical system going to hold up? Yes, I think it will. I definitely wouldn't offer it if I hadn't worked to get it as reliable as I could. But which one would I want with me on a desert island, and which one is in my personal mic locker? Relay, all the way! That relay we use is a German audiophile grade 'reed relay', which is vacuum sealed, potted, mu-metal shielded, silver-tipped, and vibration dampened. Every wire relating to it is silver teflon wire. The rotary switch used on the PSU is an insulated high-voltage Grayhill switch. It may actually cost more to build that version than the mechanical switch version (I think truthfully they are neck and neck... the switch version costs more because it requires more time and labor to build).


Almost all of the mics I've sold since the update have been the historical switch edition. And I am immensely proud of them. But, I think people should ask themselves if they need the convenience and cosmetic quality of that switch in their particular studio setting, or if just absolute ruggedness is of top concern before making a decision. That's really how the decision should be made. And I know for some, that the historic switch is just an absolute cosmetic requirement to have that '47' look. totally understandable, and this is why we made it. But I will continue to make the reed-relay based system as my go-to as well. I still stand by my initial assessment nearly a decade ago on this subject that a relay based system would in fact be the most 'audiophile' way to go, and I still stand by that. It's why I am working on new 'vintage' mic designs which will also incorporate the use of high quality relays. So, if you happen to not require the cosmetic and tactile quality of the headbasket switch, be sure to give the original relay based system some consideration and maybe even save a few bucks$$ in the process! Just my 2 cents!


Chad

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