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Microphone Month

Groove Tubes GT50 Review

The GT50 has earned a prominent place in my mic cabinet due to its versatility and overall outstanding performance.

Groove Tubes is one of pro audio’s best-kept secrets – one I’m happy to let out of the bag. They’ve been around for nearly 30 years, but their name doesn’t immediately leap to mind when you start talking about preamps and mics – though it should. The GT50 is a large-diaphragm condenser sporting GT’s exclusive Disk Resonator design and a hand-assembled 1.25″ all-brass capsule with a 1.04″ ultra-thin 3 micron gold-evaporated Mylar diaphragm. Electronically, the GT50 is pure Class A FET. I took the GT50 for a spin, and was shocked at how good it sounded, considering the amazingly meager price of $359.97.

I set up the GT50 in front of an acoustic guitar, about a foot back, and aimed at the 12th fret. For a preamp I used a mic input on my Digi 002 Rack. The resulting sound was full-bodied and detailed, with a nice round (but not boomy) bottom, and very smooth highs. Just to have a reference point by which to compare the GT50, I proceeded to try out a ribbon mic, a tube condenser, and another FET condenser, all of which were priced at least twice as high as the GT50. The other FET mic offered the closest competition, with the GT50 flat-out decimating the tube condenser and the ribbon mic.

Being impressed with how the GT50 handled acoustic guitar, I tried it on a 10-song session for an alternative band, and used it for every single guitar and vocal track. On guitar cabinets, the GT50 handled everything from rhythm guitar to lead with exceptional clarity. From there we moved on to vocals. The singer was surprised by the sensitivity of the GT50, remarking that he could actually hear himself shifting his weight in the headphones. Once we were into the song, the FET circuitry responded perfectly – particularly on the choruses by adding a bit of warmth and grit when the singer really belted it out.

Overall, the GT50 outperformed mics that retail for many times more. It was great at handling anything I put in front of it. On acoustic guitar, it sounded just like it did in the room, if not a bit better. On electric guitar the GT50 delivered more clarity and punch than I’d ever been able to get with distorted guitars before, and vocals sounded right at home in an alternative rock tune, bringing plenty of edge to cut through the mix – but with absolutely no harshness. The GT50 has earned a prominent place in my mic cabinet due to its versatility and overall outstanding performance. In fact, the other mics in my locker are now forced to handle another form of rejection (for which there is no spec) since I find myself turning to the Groove Tubes GT50 time and time again in a variety of situations. I don’t know if there’s a better mic at this price point available. You owe it to yourself to check the GT50 out.

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