Top Marks for BM9 & Black Ops
Below is an English translation of the review (original German review available here bonedo )
Extinct Audio BM9 and Black Ops review
Author: Nick Mavridis Date: 25.10.2022. 5,0 / 5
Extinct Audio from England has caused a stir in the audio world with the BM9 “The Viking” ribbon microphones and the closely related Black Ops. That’s one reason to have specimens come to the test from the new German distributor Echoschall for a test.
Two Extinct BM9s have arrived for this review, as well as a single Extinct Black Ops. The BM9 is also available in a stereo version as the Extinct Valkyr Stereo. As with other stereo ribbons, these are suitable for Blumlein or – provided that they are aligned and demattricated later – for MS stereo.
Roy & Olufsen
Anyone who yelled “Royer!” when they saw the Extinct ribbons is right and wrong at the same time. Because actually you should scream “Bang & Olufsen!”, even if it doesn’t come out quite so smoothly. But wait a minute: Bang & Olufsen? “Really?” That’s right: the Scandinavian manufacturer of consumer audio equipment with a soft spot for striking design built ribbon microphones half a century ago. And that’s exactly what the Extinct are based on. This also explains the abbreviation BM9, because the Danes had BM1 to BM8.
The most important point should be revealed directly, because it is also considered a flaw among proven friends of the B&O ribbons: The reincarnations rustle much less, especially due to the strong magnets, which are now resistant to aging and retain their properties over time. Incidentally, the shape of the openings is by no means purely a design decision: the vertical corrugations of different sizes help with this. to keep the sound input on the ribbon, which is also vertical, constant and to keep the directional characteristic of the eight constant up to the higher kilohertz range. According to the polar diagram, this is also possible.
Extinct Audio BM9 Viking: The “normal”.
Extinct Audio uses a 1.8 micron thin aluminum ribbon in the BM9. Black Ops’ is thicker – of course there’s a reason for that. The Viking should be handled with typical caution, such as never standing in a draft.
Custom transformers – in the truest sense of the word.
The “little wings” on the flanks of a narrow ribbon microphone are the two magnetic parts. Because stronger magnets are available today, more levels can migrate from the motor to the transformer. After this transformer, the open-circuit transmission factor for the BM9 is 2.23 mV/Pa. Said transformer is not bought as is often the case, but manufactured by Extinct. The standard impedance of 300 ohms can therefore also be ordered differently. The manufacturer does not charge a surcharge for this. Where else can you get this?
Black Ops for the rough stuff
Blowing into a ribbon to test is a bad idea. Ribbons can stretch or even tear. “Normal” ribbons are very reluctant to be set up in front of the ultra-loud amp, on the brass and bass drum. Even tricks like angling can sometimes not work and result in damage or a defect.
For this reason, there are more robust ribbon microphones. These are not an invention of Extinct, but also an option at Royer, for example. The Extinct Black Ops comes with a stronger ribbon (2.5 microns), and the grill has more protection. Such “safeguarding” usually comes at a price, namely slightly weaker highs and slightly less agility. A not insignificant part of the higher level tolerance of the Black Ops is to be found in the higher iron content of the transformer used there. In addition, it has a lower inductance. Less Henry means less proximity effect. The Extinct Black Ops can therefore be closer to the sound source without the signal becoming bassy and details being lost.
I’m happy to see and read that Extinct uses packaging without plastic and other avoidable waste materials. The microphone itself is made almost entirely of metal, making it easy to recycle. But recycling will probably not be necessary any time soon: The best gear is the one that lasts almost forever and can be serviced. And it seems to be the case that the mics will still be alive when Extinct itself is “extinct” – paradox or not.
Each Extinct microphone comes in a beautiful wooden box – stereo pairs share one. The suspension mount “Fenrir” is not included. It has to be bought separately and is not necessarily cheap. But it is functionally similar to the spider that Shioto Okiwa developed for the Audio-Technica 5045.
- rich, warm bass
- fine details up to the heights
- stable (Black Ops)
- moderate price
- Output impedance as desired at no extra charge
Our thanks to Echoschall for arranging this review.
October 25, 2022