Do a google search for BM800 Microphone and you will find a million sources of them on Amazon, Ali express, ebay and many other online outlets. You can often buy one for less than $20 including a cord and a shockmount! These are seriously cheap mics. I belong to several Facebook Groups about home recording and every once in a while someone posts a link to one and says “can I use one of these?”. Within minutes all the seasoned pros jump on the poor guy and rag on this microphone endlessly. My response is usually “well if you let me mod it, it can be great”.
By mod of course, I mean totally gut it and replace everything inside the body.
Although until now, I had not done an actual off the shelf BM800, this is really nothing new for me. The bodies that I import from China to build my RS/47s in are actually empty BM800 bodies. The internal frame and cylinder are nearly identical across all manufacturers of these mics. As such, my jaSb (just another Schopes board) circuit board is designed to fit perfectly in these bodies (as well as lots of other cheap mics from MXL and others).
My buddy Jeff from Newclear Studios in NY found a broken BM800 on craigslist and fetched it for me. I thought it would be fun to give it a new life.
Normally, I like to do a little before recording to demonstrate the improvement, but in this case the mic was non functional and I really didn’t want to spend the time doing a repair only to throw away all the guts afterwards.
Out with the old…
The board in this mic is a very minimal Schopes style board built entirely with surface mount components (except for the FET). The capsule looks like something you would find in a telephone from the ’70s!
In with the new…
The assembly was no different from my RS/47 build. The frame and headbasket in this one were actually decent quality and this one even has gold-plated XLR pins (most BM800s do not) so I didn’t have to replace that.
Lastly, we had to do something about that color… So off to the “paint shop” (a cardboard box on the floor) and the final marketing photo shoot:
What’s it sound like?
This mic is exactly the same as all my other existing Transformerless LDC builds. I don’t have a recording of this mic in particular, but the best illustration for the way these sound can be found in this video. Everything you hear is recorded with my builds using the jaSb circuit and these Brass Ring k47 Style Capsules.