The CharterOak SA538 is an affordable, high quality alternative to other condenser microphones in its class. Its sonic integrity, extreme durability, overall design simplicity, and serviceability make it an attractive option to any of the condenser microphones of its type currently available.
The CharterOak SA538 is a dual diaphragm vacuum tube condenser microphone. Nine (9) pick up patterns are switchable. It is delivered in a locking flight case, power supply, shock mount, and appropriate cables.
The high standard of quality and affordability of the CharterOak SA538 have been achieved through an extended period of research and development, including beta testing by a wide variety of end users.
The parts of the CharterOak SA538 are machined from solid brass and high quality electronic components are used throughout.
The process of creating a CharterOak SA538 Condenser Microphone is started by hand under the strict supervision of CharterOak personnel. Under that supervision the parts are quality checked and assembled at our facility in Connecticut.
The microphones are finished and the parts are quality checked a second time by experienced engineers. The process involves a seven (7) day burn in of the vacuum tube and no less than ½ hour spent with each microphone in a studio environment. Careful listening tests employ high quality microphone preamplifiers and high resolution monitoring systems. Quality checks on every component of each kit complete the process.
It is only after this exhaustive finishing and quality control process is complete, that an SA538 will be cleared for sale to the customer.
From the research and development to the delivery of every SA538, it is this attention to detail that makes the SA538 truly unique in its class.
The microphone is delivered with a lifetime warrantee on all parts and labor and easy access to factory technical support.
Acoustical Operating Principle Pressure Gradient
Diaphragm Dual 1.07″ 6 micron thick gold sputtered Mylar
Frequency Response 30Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity 12mV/Pa 0dB=1V/Pa@1kHz
Polar Pattern Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8, and intermediate stages selectable from power supplyI
Mpedance < 200 Ohms
Recommended Load > 200 Ohms
Equivalent Input Noise 22dB A weighted IEC651
Maximum Sound Pressure Level 128dB for 0.5% total harmonic distortion @ 1kHz
Power Requirements Custom supply 115V or 230V operation with IEC type 2 AC Cable
Mic & Power Supply 7 pin XLR
Don Miller, ejer af Airborne Audio Productions (John Mayer, Ben Folds, Nathalie Merchant) skriver:
“Every mic in my arsenal including the beloved classics has characteristics I love and some I dislike. So far with our new matched pair of SA538´s I have yet to hear ANY characteristic I dislike. It´s the most perfect, well rounded mic I´ve heard for broad range of sound sources. Obviously designed by someone who LISTENED to this mic during the design process. It´s the most perfect, well rounded mic I´ve heard in years. The craftsmanship and attention to detail in construction and sound (and packaging!) is some of the best I´ve ever seen”.
“I have two matched pairs of the SA538 and continue to be stunned daily by their performance. Today I tracked vocals, cello and an acapella group. Attached is an MP3 of a snipit of the acapella group I just finished tracking minutes ago. Just a Bluemlein pair thru Neve 1073´s and a tiny bit of Neve 2254 compression, our great room and a little lexicon 300 plate. WOW! what a treat to hear sound like that coming back at ya. Keep up the great products!”
Prosound Magazine – Japan – April 2007
First, let’s start from SA538. This is a dual diaphragm tube type condenser
Checking it with vocal, it sounds like thinking of a vintage microphone and the
bandwidth ranging from mid-low sound to low sound is solid. Nevertheless, it is not
like a dull sound, but, it has apparently a feeling of existence against the sound source
in the back. Listening to only the vocal track carefully, it is understood well that the
room noise was not almost felt. Then, after recording while selecting the directivity
newly, with transferring gradually from non-directivity to cardioid(middle value), the
noise is becoming decreased and it is a feeling that I went to the country side where has
clean air, being away from the city. In doing like that, the high technique is necessary
in order to decrease only the noise, without spoiling a feeling of air. I feel that
CHARTEROAK ACOUSTIC DEVICES has very high technology research level.
SA538B is being the same, but, as this is a side termination type, the high frequency
sound is much extending with a feeling of hybrid.
Sound On Sound – Dec 2006 [download as pdf]
By Paul White
Can mics at this price really compete with the classics? Sound On Sound puts them to the test.
These are not the cheapest mics of their type around but, judged on their sound rather than their technical spec or the origin of the parts, they are probably worth the extra cost, as their sound compares favourably with high-end/classic mics costing a lot more, and they somehow help a vocal sit comfortably within a mix without getting buried or being too loud.
Pro Sound News – September 2005[download as pdf]
The CharterOak Acoustic Devices SA538 tube microphone makes a good first impression before it¹s even plugged in. The case and build quality are quite impressive, demonstrated by the sheer weight of the product. It has the look and feel of the some of the old classic European tube mics. With a stylish matte black colored body (machined brass) with an embossed silver CharterOak emblem, you won¹t get confused on which side is the front of the mic.
Tape Opp Review -June 2005[download as pdf]
If you´re a small studio that wants to buy a nice vocal tube mic, but can´t afford both a C-12-ish mic and a U47-ish mic, you simply have to audition the SA538. While it´s not a direct replacement for either – it´s a solid performer. Likewise, for location or mobile gigs, the SA538 would be a perfect centerpiece for your mic pack. No need to take a bright and a dark mic because the SA538 can manage nearly any vocalist type. It´s sturdy construction (the tube is protected by a rubber guard) make it suitable for the riggors of the road.