Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
Similar to the Bumblebee II, the second revision of the King Bee looks quite a bit cleaner than the original. The first one had a large blocky body with a yellow and black theme that stood out in both its color and shape. The King Bee II, on the other hand, has a smoother body with curved down sides. It looks similar to the Bumblebee II as it is also fully black, with the exception of the Neat logo. When I asked about the departure from the original design, Neat Microphones founder Skipper Wise noted they wanted a more "modern and contemporary" look. Even so, I think this microphone still has bee vibes with its body reminding me of the insect's body, while the mount is sort of like its wings. The top head has a metal mesh grille to protect the condenser capsule with a flat head on the front and a bulbous backside that sits in line with the curvier look. The mesh is very hard and does not flex at all. Otherwise, the body's only input is at the bottom, which is an XLR connection. As such, if you do want to use this with your computer, you will need an audio interface, which you will see in our testing. You can also take a look at the shock mount attached. Overall, I like the evolution that the King Bee II has taken. Even if it does not stand out from other microphones as much, it is clearly a Neat product, pun intended.
With a closer picture of the Neat King Bee II and its pop filter, this plastic structure sits in front of the microphone with a thin mesh filter in between to reduce plosives. This Honeycomb filter, as Neat calls it, has a honeycomb pattern on the front to ensure it does not alter the recorded sound too much while still staying structurally sound. There is still quite a bit of flex on the plastic here. Removing the mesh filter is a matter of twisting this off the front. The good thing is that this mesh pop filter stays in the same place relative to the capsule, since changing the relative distance between the two could change how the microphone would pick up sounds. We will see if this pop filter affects the overall tone later on.
Internally, the Neat King Bee II has a 34mm center terminated condenser capsule found inside. This picks up sound with a cardioid pattern, but we will explore this later in our review. The microphone features a 16Hz to 20kHz frequency response and a maximum 140dB SPL, or sound pressure level. This refers to the maximum volume of sound the microphone can take before any distortion. This is the highest SPL we have seen, even compared to the Bumblebee II, which makes it more flexible for louder instruments or sound sources. Otherwise, the recording sample rate and bit rate depend on the audio interface used, at least when we connect it to a computer. Other specifications include an 89dBA signal to noise ratio, 134dB dynamic range, and a 50Ω output impedance. Finally, this microphone requires +48V DC phantom power for operation.
The Beekeeper shock mount is a pretty substantial structure on its own, with a mix of metal and plastic elements holding the King Bee II in place. You can see the metal frame encompasses the inner plastic frame and the two are connected with multiple thick rubber bands. These bands are held onto pegs that slide about on the plastic frame to further reduce any vibrations being picked up. In my recording tests, the mount did a decent job at preventing these sounds from being picked up, especially when tapping on my mounting arm and the metal outer ring. However, when I tapped on the plastic frame, a more resonating ping was recorded, which could indicate some more dampening is required on the frame that is directly attached to the Neat King Bee II.
As for the whole Neat King Bee II, this is 215.9mm in height, and 76.2mm at its the widest point. Adding the shock mount increases the width to a 124mm width at the widest point. Together, the whole package weighs 1.121kg, which is quite heavy. In fact, I had to obtain a separate stand for mounting the King Bee II, because my old stand could not support it. This might be something you have to keep in mind, especially with how heavy this microphone is.
In order to install the mount to the King Bee II, you need to screw in the microphone to the Beekeeper mount, which attaches to the base of the unit. After, you can see the mounting hole on the shock mount. A 3/8" adapter is included and already installed into the mount, but can be removed depending on the arm you install the Neat King Bee II onto. Otherwise, you can see the XLR connection directly at the bottom of the unit with a locking clip on the side to ensure the connector stays plugged in.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Recording Performance Tests