In a world that will shortly be drowning under a plethora of imported microphones, FLEA stand out for their philosophy, design and craftsmanship.
Let me say immediately that I am not a fan of mics that claim to reproduce their historic forebears. We’ve seen some chunky, wannabe high end mics from the States that have their genesis in Chinese factories, albeit with some tweaking and cosmetic frills in the US . The bottom line, though, is that all these units suffer from the same adequate but mass-produced capsules. They perform well, are certainly worth considering in their basic, ultra cheap, form but lack the character and individuality of classic European mics.
Eastern Europe is rapidly becoming the workshop for true craftsmanship at affordable prices. After all, the former Soviet bloc industrialised a century before the Far East (Japan excepted) and has produced some of the best engineers and craftsmen that Europe has to offer. Let’s face it, if the Russians can put men on the moon they can surely engineer good mic capsules and transformers.
FLEA are unashamedly in the retro market. They set out to manufacture the most accurate clones possible of tube Neumann and AKG mics, and have succeeded admirably where others have failed. These handmade mics replicate classic designs down to the transformers, the capsules, the power supplies and even the bodies and grills. Original tubes are used throughout rather than the cheap Russian varieties found elsewhere. Other than the name tag and the pristine appearance, even an expert would be hard pressed to distinguish a FLEA C12 from an AKG original. They are indeed small objects of desire.
We’ve been impressed and have demo units on order so that you can try them for yourself here at Funky’sville or in your own studio. Compare them to other, more expensive, pretenders and they’ll convince. Be warned, though…these are meticulously made by hand with stunning attention to detail so supplies are inevitably limited. However, I guess that means that lucky FLEA owners will not merely have a great sounding mic and a beautiful looking piece of gear, they’ll also have an appreciating asset.
Definitely a Funky Star Buy