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Review: Worker Bee Condenser Mic by Neat

Neat Microphones launched in 2014 by Skipper Wise and Martins Saulespurens, co-founders of Blue Microphones, along with Ken Niles and Clayton Harrison, also former Blue Mic employees.  With Gibson Brands (as in Gibson Guitars) as their parent company, they introduced the Bee Line of microphones in 2015 which included Worker Bee and King Bee (XLR Studio Condensers) as well as the Beecaster and Bumblebee (USB Desktop Condensers).  Neat was subseqeuntlly acquired by Turtle Beach in January 2021.

The Worker Bee is a side-address, cardioid condenser microphone with a medium-sized (25mm) diaphragm and is the focus of this Gear Review.  It is an extremly versatile mic that can be used in multiple applications such as vocals, acoustic instruments, amplifiers, and drums.  Original street price of $199 US can now be purchased on Amazon.com for under $90US or on Amazon.ca for under $150 CDN.

Quick Takes

  • Beautiful microphone with unique packaging
  • Solid build quality
  • Extremely versatile microphone that can be used in just about any application
    • Natural vocals
    • Warm acoustic guitar
    • Great presence with guitar amps
    • Tight response with acoustic percussion
  • Very controllable proximity effect
  • Heavy
  • Shock mount provides decent bump rejection

Specifications

  • Transducer Type: Fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized 24mm diameter condenser capsule
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 19.0mV/Pa at 1kHz (1 Pa=94dB SPL)
  • Output Impedance: 50 ohms
  • Rated Load Impedance: 1k ohms
  • Maximum SPL: 145 dB SPL (2.5k ohms, 0.5% THD)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 79 dB-A (IEC 651)
  • Noise Level: 9.5 dB-A (IEC 651)
  • Dynamic Range: 135.5 dB (@ 2.5k ohms)
  • Power Req: +48V DC Phantom Power (IEC 268-15)
  • Weight: 446g
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 76mm

What’s In The Box?

  • Worker Bee side-address, cardioid condenser microphone
  • Custom shockmount, a.k.a. The Beekeeper
  • Pop filter, a.k.a. The Honeycomb
  • Storage bag
  • Manual, a.k.a. Field Guide

Take It

  • Versatile all-rounder that can be used in just about any situation
  • Lots of detail on the high end without being harsh
  • Incredible value

Leave It

  • As noted earlier, it’s heavy!
  • Some might not like the look of the mic (I personally love to look)

Applications

  • Vocals
    • Excellent vocal mic that provides warmth and presence very effectively.  
    • Extremely natural sounding vocals.
  • Acoustic Guitar:  
    • Nice warm bottom end, solid midrange without overpowering
    • Lots of detail on the high end.
  • Amplified Electric Guitar:  
    • Lots of detail on the high end
    • Apply a low cut (~100Hz) to control some of the distortion on the low end.
  • Drums:  
    • High volume threshold to facilitate excellent drum kit capture.
    • Very effective in capturing the snap and resonance of drums at various distances.
  • Spoken Word:  
    • Overall a solid mic for spoken work applications such as podcasting.  
    • A low cut at around ~150Hz will help manage some of the low end but mid and high range frequencies are clear and very even.  
  • Room Capture:  
    • Manages a full room capture very well due to its excellent off axis-response.
    • A high pass filter is recommended to eliminate any strays on the low end.

The Competition

  • Neewer NW700
  • Audio Technica AT2020
  • Neat King Bee
  • Rode NT1

Bottom Line

This is a lot of mic for the price.  It can be used in just about any situation.  It is warm when you need it to be and it is always responsive and detailed on high frequencies.  Consider utilizing a high pass filter to keep some of the lower frequencies in check. It’s a great all around mic that can cover just about anything you need to mic in your home studio.

Check Amazon.ca for the latest price!