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This month a relatively unknown microphone: the Yamaha MZ 205 BE. Many think of Yamaha as a producer of motor cycles only, but founder Torakusa Yamaha's first product, over 125 years ago, was a reed organ, and the company is a major producer of many musical instruments and pro-audio items.
The MZ 205 BE was produced in the late Eighties, after much research by Yamaha, to achieve the ultimate drum mics . To capture drum sound you need to record the rapid sound bursts (transients) as accurate as possible, and the mic has to be very sturdy, making it impossible for drummers to destroy it (as is often done with the Shure SM 57, which was considered by many the ideal snare drum microphone) . The third important point is the size of the mic : sometimes with large microphones it is not possible to place them at the ideal spot near drums, because they are in the way and hinder the drummer.
All three of these conditions were answered by the MZ 205 BE and, to a lesser extent, the longer MZ 204 BE, which has more bass frequencies and therefore is first choice for bass drum and floor toms . The microphones had a BE entry , which meant that the diaphragm is made of triple laminated beryllium​​; ultra-thin and very strong. These diaphragms had no interfering peaks in the frequencies between 3 kHz and 20 kHz, resulting in a deep, clear and natural sound. Unfortunately, the marketing of Yamaha was insufficient and availability was bad .
Around 1990 I worked as a sound engineer in the Trojan Horse, in The Hague and could buy a MZ 205 BE, through my sound guru Aad van Zon. After a few tests my colleagues and I were convinced: there was no better snare microphone! Until I left the Venue, in 1999, I never used another microphone for snare drum, while it also sounded great on toms, percussion and trumpets . The attachment is fragile, the microphone indestructible; in the Trojan Horse it still delivers good services after 25 years.
Meanwhile, these microphones also received an indestructible reputation in the studio , where many people swear by them. They are easy to place and sound so realistic that there is often little need of EQ to record the perfect drum sound.
Who owns these microphones never parts with them. Too bad that Yamaha, which provides wonderful products in the field of pro-audio, no longer makes this series.


Yamaha MZ 205 Be