When the legendary ’67 was introduced in 1960, many audio pros lauded the large-diaphragm tube condenser as the most natural-sounding microphone yet. Of course, it went on to become an enduring, coveted classic and spawned legions of worthy descendants, both tube and solid-state. Back in the day, pro audio equipment was handwired and assembled with mil-spec parts and materials — which, together with their extraordinary sonics, explains why we still see half-century-old microphones in major studios worldwide. The cost and complexities of maintaining these vintage treasures in working order, however, are more than most small studio owners care to take on. Enter the Universal Audio Bock 167. David Bock is well known in the contemporary pro audio community for the excellence of his vintage-style microphone designs. Equipped with its custom K 67 capsule and optimized tube electronics, the Bock 167 delivers the sonic proficiency of the venerable ’67 in a cutting-edge modern design with enhanced sensitivity, detail, and enhancements that render it considerably more versatile than the original.
Continuously variable polar pattern
One of the unique features of the Universal Audio Bock 167 is the fact that it offers continuously variable polar patterns. While the ’67 and the many microphones it inspired are equipped with the traditional switching arrangement that selects between discrete omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8 settings, a dial on the Bock 167’s power supply unit lets you sweep seamlessly between the three. Access to all points in between allows you to craft hybrid pickup patterns that give you a tremendous degree of flexibility for capturing sources under challenging conditions.
Another singular feature of the Universal Audio Bock 167 is its tone-shaping switch that selects between four high-frequency response curves. The flat setting gives you the naturally rising high end of the K 67 capsule, which you may find appropriate for a majority of applications. You can also boost HF response; this setting yields a beautifully silky and open top end that’s ideal for lead vocals and instruments you want to feature in the mix. There are two HF cut settings that produce a darker, velvety rendition of sources reminiscent of vintage ’67s and classic ribbon mics, respectively. Whether you’re recording a relatively dark source like a marimba or a singer with a tendency towards shrillness, the Bock 167 is the one mic that can capture it all with aplomb.
The Bock 167 has yet one more unique feature that helps set the mic apart from its contemporaries (and vintage counterparts, for that matter): the Fat switch. This proprietary David Bock circuit changes the bias timing of the tube to serve up two distinct sonic personalities that Universal Audio describes as “traditional 1950s lean” and “modern super size.” The Fat Switch makes the Bock 167 fantastic as a massive-sounding room mic with incredible dynamic range, courtesy of its tube electronics. Having access to four distinct high-end responses — plus a 50Hz rumble filter and Fat switch — in one masterful microphone design means the Universal Audio Bock 167 can handle virtually any capture scenario, making it a high-value addition to your mic locker.
Inspired design by a master designer
For pro audio engineers and studio owners, the name David Bock needs no introduction. Bock fine-tuned his craft as chief technical engineer in the ’80s and ’90s at top studios such as Hyde Street, The Hit Factory, and Ocean Way. Naturally, these world-class facilities owned sizable collections of coveted vintage microphones, and a vital part of David’s job was maintaining them all in perfect working condition. This led to a deep understanding of how these mics worked and why each one sounded the way that it did — and ultimately to the next phase of David’s career. It was while working at Soundelux Studios in Hollywood that Bock became involved in microphone design. Intrigued by the concept of integrating the desirable sonic properties of vintage mics into new designs that leveraged modern manufacturing precision, David was responsible for a string of acclaimed microphones, including the Soundelux 251, E47, and E49. Building on his successes at Soundelux, he launched Bock Audio in 2007. In 2020, the design genius of David Bock teamed with the manufacturing prowess of Universal Audio, where David is a senior product engineer.
Another Bock modern classic
At UA, Bock microphones are built the way they always have been. Handcrafted in small batches using unique, high-end components, these precision recording tools are designed to a sonic target rather than a price point. This is what microphone production looked like back in the Golden Age of Analog, and the process is credited with the enduring sonic superiority of cherished vintage microphones, some of which are still in use today. But access to Universal Audio’s vast resources means that Bock microphones also leverage state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques that ensure a level of precision unimaginable back in the day. Hand assembled and hand tensioned to exacting tolerances, Bock’s proprietary all-brass capsules employ robust 6-micron diaphragms for a gorgeously transparent sound without a hint of artificial brightness. Bock-designed multi-sectioned transformers are used for a deeper and smoother bottom end than that other production microphones. Old-school inductor-based power supplies deliver beefy dynamic range for Bock’s discrete audio amplifiers, as well as increased longevity for tubes. It all adds up to a line of modern classic microphones that are essential to today’s well-appointed mic locker. Sweetwater looks forward to many exciting new microphone designs from David Bock and UA in the years ahead!
Universal Audio Bock 167 Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone Features:
- Continuously variable (omnidirectional, cardioid, figure-8) polar pattern
- 4-position HF tone-shaping switch for impressive versatility
- Fat switch changes tube bias for 2 distinct sonic personalities
- 50Hz rumble filter removes undesirable LF content
- Proprietary all-brass capsule with 6-micron diaphragm
- Inductor-based power supply for increased dynamic range and tube longevity
- Includes shockmount, power supply, 20-foot cable, and signature wood storage box
- Handcrafted in the USA