Obviously, a device like the Tula Mic that costs less than $300 will never be able to match the performance of high-end mics like Soyuz or Neumann which can cost many thousands of dollars but they can provide audio that is more than sufficient for content creators, digital nomads and even musicians. In addition, the Tula doesn't require an interface (sound card) and is even able to record in high-quality .wav format without the need for a computer or phone.
So, what makes the Tula better sounding than many of the other options available on the market?
One of the main reasons why Burr Brown op amps are preferred for audio applications is their low noise and low distortion. These characteristics are important in audio devices because they ensure that the signal being amplified is as pure as possible, with minimal interference or degradation.
Another reason why Burr Brown op amps are popular in audio devices is their high slew rate. The slew rate of an op amp is a measure of how quickly it can respond to changes in the input signal. A high slew rate means that the op amp can accurately reproduce fast-changing signals, such as those found in music. This results in a more dynamic and lifelike sound.
In addition to their low noise, low distortion, and high slew rate, Burr Brown op amps are also known for their wide bandwidth. The bandwidth of an op amp is the range of frequencies that it can accurately amplify. A wide bandwidth ensures that the op amp can accurately reproduce the full range of audio frequencies, from the lowest bass notes to the highest treble notes.
When we were developing the Tula Mic, we identified all of the variables that we could adjust and did our best to zero in on the most pleasant sound profile possible. One of the most important variables was the tuning of the DSP settings in the Tula's CODEC. As a baseline, we compared the EQ curve of our Soyuz 017 Tube microphone to the Tula Mic and then attempted to adjust the EQ in the Tula's DSP settings to mimic the 017. Of course, it could never approach the quality of the 017 but it helped us to get the Tula into neighborhood of what has come to be known as the "Soyuz Sound"
Most people don't have acoustically treated rooms in which to record. We wanted to the Tula Mic to be able to provide high-quality voice recordings with very little background noise even when the recording was happening in an ordinary bedroom or office setting. Enter Brusfri by Klevgrand. It's a unique noise reduction algorithm that divides the audio signal into sixteen different bands and then assigns gates (and other secret things) to each one thus providing a very gentle and organic sounding noise reduction. We were obliged to optimize the code of Brusfri by a factor of ten in order to make it efficient enough to work on our chip. Fortunately, our firmware engineer, Stefan, if one of the best in the business and he was able to achieve the needed results with no loss in performance.
The Tula uses a dedicated cardioid capsule for directional recording and also features an omni capsule for recording in 360 degrees as well as the option for using a lavaliere microphone via the Tula's 3.5mm headphone jack.
To conclude, although there is no such thing as a microphone that can be all things to all people and it's unreasonable to expect that a sub $300 microphone will be able to achieve the same quality as one that costs ten times as much, the Tula provides a very pleasant sound profile and combines it with unique functionality like mobile recording and embedded noise reduction (and it will look great on your desk!)