The Little Russian Startup That Could
In 2013 David Arthur Brown – a singer from Los Angeles currently residing in Barcelona – and Pavel Bazdyrev – a young Russian businessman – teamed up and formed a company to build world-class microphones in Russia, a country where less than 5% of small businesses survive for more than two years. 5 years on, the pair have 20 full time employees and Soyuz microphones are being used by the likes of Coldplay, Radiohead, The Lumineers, Paramore and many other notable artists, engineers and producers.
The meaning of Soyuz
The Russian word soyuz (союз) means alliance, or union. Soyuz Microphones is an alliance of East and West. From the East comes the fruit of a long and impressive technological tradition; from the West comes design, quality control and marketing ability.In a time of great tension between Russia and the United States, Soyuz is a rare example of the mutual benefits of cooperation.
What Makes Soyuz Microphones Special?
The most prized possessions of any major recording studio are quite often microphones and, of those, nearly all are vintage German or Austrian tube mics built in the 1950s and 1960s. The manufacturing techniques used in that era created a sonic character different than that which results from the modern, computer controlled techniques in use today. In the same way that the violins and cellos played in the finest orchestras are all handmade, microphones seem to require the “human touch” to get the best sound.Most high-end tube microphones currently in production are, essentially, copies of a few old German and Austrian models (such as the Neumann U47 and U67 and the AKG C12) but, because the manufacturing techniques employed are modern and many aspects of production are outsourced, the resulting microphones often fall short of the originals.Soyuz had the idea of creating an original tube microphone design, one that – while not a copy of any old models – and was produced in the old-fashioned way, using manual lathes and drill presses and drawing on the former Soviet Union’s rich technological history as a foundation. Unlike virtually all of its competitors, Soyuz does close to 100% of its production in-house; this includes metalwork, capsules, transformers, power supplies, wooden boxes and shock mounts.