One of the most crowded booths at the year’s AES convention was also one of its smallest.
Almost everything about these few dozen square feet, nestled deep in back rows of the trade-show floor, was memorable: From the single microphone on display, to the rigid black business cards, to the perpetual queue of onlookers, and the man in the booth himself.
Dimitri Wolfwood, the slight and sharp-eyed young designer behind Ronin Applied Sciences, speaks in complete, precise paragraphs. His manner is assertive and polite at once and he carries that half-cocky, half-conciliatory attitude of a driven professional.
When I first met Wolfwood at a Tape Op afterparty, Engineers Larry Crane and Joel Hamilton introduced me to him with broad smiles and back-clapping praise. I was told he had invented a new microphone. “Oh, neat, what’s it based on?” I asked, thinking it was only natural to ask which of the erstwhile old favorites a boutique designer was trying to re-create.
“Nothing,” said Wolfwood. “It’s not based on anything. It’s a completely new design.”
Whether you fall under the mic’s spell or not, it’s impossible to deny that there’s something uniquely novel about each stage of the first microphone from Ronin Applied Sciences. But what first caught my eye about the Pegasus large-diaphragm condenser microphone was its power supply.
First of all, it’s enormous. And secondly, its sleek, contoured design looks somewhere between a futurist toaster and a Mac Mini. This is the tube microphone as re-designed by Steve Jobs. Most intriguing however, is what this power supply allows the mic to do.
Wolfwood designed the tube in the Ronin Pegasus to run in pentode mode, as opposed to the more conventional triode.
“Most microphones essentially run their tube in starved-plate mode,” he says, indicating that the tube is under-nourished by both current and voltage.
“That can be okay if you’re trying to force some ‘warmth’ out of the microphone. But if you put that mic up in front of a belter like an Aretha Franklin, an Alicia Keys or a Steven Tyler, things start getting a little weird.”…