Samar Audio Design AL 95 - User review - Gearspace.com
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Samar Audio Design AL 95
4.75 4.75 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

Great and relatively inexpensive new microphone from Mark Fouxman

28th October 2019

Samar Audio Design AL95 by RPC

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Samar Audio Design AL 95

Last Tuesday, a box landed on my desk. Upon opening, I found foam peanuts and two nondescript black cases. Inside the cases were SAMAR AL95s serial numbers 11 and 12!
Since I already own a pair of SAMAR VL37s, I’m going to compare the microphones here. I’ve thought that the MF65 and VL37 look like what Brancusi might have sculpted had he been tasked with designing microphones; they’re gorgeous to look at. With the exposed screws and the rust patches on the side plates the AL95 comes across as much more utilitarian. I’m intrigued by those threads at the bottom of the case, though – has Dr. Fouxman got something up his sleeve?
The AL95 weighs a LOT less than the VL37 – 140g vs. 355g. And with the frame essentially being the motor, it’s VERY magnetic – let a pair of these get together and you’ll have some trouble prying them back apart! They fit very nicely into ziplock snack bags and I’d recommend putting them in some kind of bag or sleeve when not in use – they’re bound to attract tramp metal.
The one disappointment of the package is the shock mount. It’s obviously meant to hold a tapered microphone body; it only holds the AL95 at one end and none too tightly at that. Fortunately, a Shure A55M shock mount fits the AL95 perfectly.
As to the sound…wow. I just had a chance to make sure they worked before I used them to record a chamber music concert. The sound can best be described as “effortless” – the music just passes right through them into the preamp. Here’s a short sample of a Blumlein pair on soprano and piano. (96/24) https://www.dropbox.com/s/sbvj4xb51g...sard3.wav?dl=0
On their second outing, they recorded saxophone quartet, wind ensemble and pipe organ. Here's a bit of sax quartet. (48/24) https://www.dropbox.com/s/1z2tqsqtqx...lanka.wav?dl=0

UPDATE: Mark Fouxman replied to my concerns - I'm posting his reply below.

"Thank you for your feedback! I will address the rust and shock mount problems.

Most likely, it is a surface rust due to temperature changing during shipping, which created condensation. It is very easy to wipe off with ScotchBright. If you don't have a piece please let me know and I will send it your way. From now on we will be shipping the mics in ziplock bags with silica packs, to absorb any moisture and prevent the problem.

The shock mount is indeed not the ideal, however, we could not find any other solution without raising the price and this mount is the only one with shock absorption ring available--the smaller size version, which would fit the body perfectly unfortunately has been discontinued. On the low part of the body you can see threading. That one is for our optional mount we are working on at the moment. This one is very effective, slick, elegant, and unobtrusive. It should be available very soon. Also, we made that threading interchangeable with most of the import spider mounts, which can be easily found online. Rycote, of course, is also an option."

Attached Thumbnails
Samar Audio Design AL 95-boxclosed.jpg   Samar Audio Design AL 95-boxopen.jpg   Samar Audio Design AL 95-al95-vl37-front.jpg   Samar Audio Design AL 95-al95-vl37-side.jpg   Samar Audio Design AL 95-al95-stock-shock.jpg  

Samar Audio Design AL 95-al95-a55m.jpg  

  • 14
28th November 2021

Samar Audio Design AL95 by shadrin

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Samar Audio Design AL 95

There is just nothing to complain about this mic!

It has overall very balanced sound and the build quality is the top. Pretty strong output for a ribbon, very convenient to use, compact, lightweight and more durable than other ribbons.

Also love the fact that it's true figure eight frequency response - it's a great candidate for MS or blumlein. 90 degree of axis null zones is superb - virtually nothing comes in from the sides

The top end is very smooth due to it's piston design. It might not give you as much high end saturation as some zig zag ribbons, but provides cool vintage (tube like) vibe to it and very clean sound reproduction.
I noticed a very precise on axis "sight" (feels like you zoom in to the sound source point) and surprisingly good sounds separation on the records i did so far

You can vary the color of the sound from mellow to bright by changing the distance to sound source. The mic will provide the most natural results on a distance 2+ feet away from the source. The sound you would get this way is very close to what you hear with your ears in a room.
Putting it closer than 1 foot starting to introduce very pronounced proximity effect, which adds huge and deep low end and compression. This might be beneficial when blending with other mics for creating bigger than life sounds.

Great all around mic, easily could be compared to the best and much more expensive ribbon microphones and has it's own vibe to it! Gift for the money!

Here is quick and dirty audio sample i did at home in the night with API 312, Marshall 1watt Offset amp and Fender 63 Reverb Unit in front. Mic was 4 feet away straight on axis with speaker cone. Relatively quiet sound source, no eq or any other post processing added:

Attached Files

samar-al95-1wmarshall.wav (6.20 MB, 572 views)