The Sontronics Halo is a dynamic microphone suspended in a circular frame designed specifically for use on guitar combo amps and cabinets.
With a functional retro design, the Sontronics Halo, designed by Sontronics' founder and guitarist, Trevor Coley, features a dynamic capsule suspended on four spring mounts within a circular frame, reminiscent of the old broadcast mics of the 50s, is one of the best-sounding dynamic mics you can put in front of your guitar cab. Being a guitarist himself, Coley wanted to create something that looked and sounded a bit more exciting than a regular handheld mic to put in front of the amp grille. The Halo, most likely named for its surrounding spring-loaded shockmount suspension positioned concentrically around the mic’s larger than your average diaphragm. (After all, why sample something as huge as a guitar amp with something the size of a nickel?) The suspension mount not only prevents low-end rumble from entering the mic, it also makes it easier to place in front of the grille cloth. And the sound? Are you familiar with the phrase, “clear and present danger”—only without the danger of wimpy guitar tracks.
Sontronics Halo—Just the Facts:
- Dynamic microphone
- Designed specifically for guitar amps by a guitarist
- No EQ necessary
- Superb tone and easy to use
- Lifetime warranty
Sontronics Halo—Behind the Grille
Traditionally, engineers have relied on dynamic mics for guitar recording due to their natural compression characteristics and relatively heavy diaphragms, which enable them to handle high SPL. Certain dynamic mics also have a presence bump in the upper midrange, which is quite useful but can sound a little harsh when centered on a speaker’s dust cover. Hence, teaming up a dynamic on the “paper” with a ribbon dead center on the cone to tame the highs and capture the entire frequency range. Halo was designed to give you the full range of the guitar with clarity, presence, and without the need for EQ. Just plenty of raw tone that can poke through a mix like a laser though . . . well, just about anything.
Sontronics was aware that users were getting stunning results on amps (as well as vocals) from their best-selling STC-80 handheld dynamic mic, and adapt its dynamic capsule to fit into the Halo's vintage-looking body. The capsule’s circuitry was also subtly enhanced to allow it to capture the exact frequencies of any guitar amp. The result was the Sontronics Halo, which gives you all the bite, crunch, and presence you could ever wish for, without needing to lay a finger on the EQ control (just like the STC-80).
Halo is an indispensable tool for any recording or gigging guitarist. It can handle high sound pressure levels with amazingly accurate and realistic results, plus its recorded signal sits in the mix beautifully. And since the Halo doesn’t require EQ going in, it makes your equalizer feel more powerful should you choose to apply EQ.
Because of its frequency response and peak presence, the Halo is also very well suited to recording other amplified string instruments (such as electric violin) and also plucked instruments such as banjo, 6- and 12-string acoustic guitar, bouzouki, and others. It also sounds fantastic on harmonica.
Interestingly enough, despite not having been designed with voice in mind, Halo is often used for vocals with brilliant results, especially for live performances. French jazz/techno band Caravan Palace use Halos for their live vocals. It was even used by Robbie Williams (formerly of pop band, Take That) for a vintage-themed swing performance.
Sontronics Halo in use
Sontronics Halo can be placed directly in front of any guitar amp or cabinet without fear of overloading the dynamic element. Experiment with placement but about 1" to 2" (3 to 5 cm) out from the grille is recommended. Also, it should be positioned at the edge of the speaker cone, where the dust cover is attached to the paper. If you can’t see it through the cloth, use the Ross Hogarth technique, which involves using a mini Maglite to see through the grille. Also, and here’s the secret bit, the length of the Maglite’s rotating head is exactly the perfect distance to place the mic from the grille. When recording amps in the studio, you don't need them turned up past 5 . . . (11 is right out) Even at low gain, the amp's tone and character will be captured by Halo.
- Guitar amps and cabinets
- Plucked instruments (banjo, mandolin, bouzouki)
- Users have also reported great results on harmonica and vocals
What the pros are saying about Sontronics Halo
"Halo is awesome on guitar amps. It gives you a real direct, in-yer-face sound. It can make your amp push through the mix like a DI guitar with a plug-in. I love it!" — Andy Gray, producer-composer (Hard-Fi, Gary Numan, Hunters)
"Halo is amazing and not just on guitar amps… I use it on all kinds of instruments and percussion all around the studio and even on vocals too.
The combination of Delta with Halo on amps is stunning and we have four of each for our live set-up" — Pete Holmstrom, guitarist-producer (Dandy Warhols)
"Our pair of Halos have been in constant use. They accurately recreate all the frequencies meaning little to no EQ is required to give a rich tone. Sonically
and visually these are all-around fantastic mics!" — Jake Belben, engineer
Halo users include:
- Queens of the Stone Age
- Michael “Fish” Herring, guitarist (Cristina Aguilera, Prince)
- Bring Me The Horizon
- Dandy Warhols
- Enter Shikari
- Steve Stevens, guitarist (Billy Idol, Terry Bozzio, Michael Jackson)
- Louis Riccardi (Katie Melua, Natalie Imbruglia, Tom Jones)
- Carey Willetts (Athlete)
- Andy Gray, producer/composer
- Caravan Palace
- Ont'Sofa Sessions
- Tambours du Bronx
- Tigerman (aka Paulo Furtado)
- Keith Lines (Adele, Barbara Dickson)
- Soundhub Studios (Whitemoor, James Warner Prophecies)
Sontronics Halo is supplied with a simple dust cover (and a free Sontronics plectrum!) and, like all our mics, is protected by a LIFETIME WARRANTY. If for any reason your Halo becomes damaged when subjected to life on the road let us know, and we'll help get you and your mic back up and running again.
There’s no harm in following tradition, but you’re not going to break any new ground either. If you’re looking for a different flavor for you guitar recording, put a Sontronics Halo in front of an amp. Order yours today.
- Polar pattern: Cardioid
- Frequency response: 50Hz - 15kHz
- Sensitivity: -53dB ±2dB
- Impedance: ≤600 ohm
- Power: Phantom power not required
- Connector: 3-pin XLR
- Dimensions (approx..): 6-3/8" x 4-7/16" x 2-7/16" (162 x 113 x 62mm)
- Weight (approx.): 14 oz. (396 g)
- Dust bag
- Padded box
- Lifetime warranty