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Manley Reference C Or AA CM800T
Old 20th July 2018
  #1
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Manley Reference C Or AA CM800T

Anyone own both of these mics?

For a while the Manley was the mic that came closest to the sound of a Sony C800g. I was planing on buying it, but if the AA comes that much closer and sounds better I would rather save some money.

It seems like there isnt too much hype on AA yet. Not many places selling it other than the AA website.
Old 20th July 2018
  #2
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There's a similar thread on this subject you may want to read. There's also a Sony C100 thread which has audio samples comparing the C800G, C100 and AA CMT800.

I've just bought the CMT800 due to those samples (thought it was the C800G in the blind test - bonus!), will be comparing it to the M990 this week (which I prefer over the Ref C).
Old 20th July 2018
  #3
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What's your budget? Can you afford to have that much wrapped up in one mic right now? They were so close in the shootout, if you're only doing vocals then the AA might be the smarter choice. I've used the Manley a fair amount and can tell you it doesn't remind me of a C800 when it comes to acoustic guitars and drums.

Check your budget and what its going to be used for.
Old 21st July 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
What's your budget? Can you afford to have that much wrapped up in one mic right now? They were so close in the shootout, if you're only doing vocals then the AA might be the smarter choice. I've used the Manley a fair amount and can tell you it doesn't remind me of a C800 when it comes to acoustic guitars and drums.

Check your budget and what it's going to be used for.
If the Manley is that much better than I have no problem buying it even brand new. The thing is, it seems like is not 2k better from what I hear. Reason why I asked if someone had both to clarify.
Old 21st July 2018
  #5
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As always your own ears & environment will have to determine & answer your question.
That said, my own subjective view, based on either owning or extensively having used a lot of the mics mentioned:
If there's anything that "comes close" to a C-800G, brand new & right now, it would have to be the Chandler REDD.
The Manley is a phenomenal mic - in it's own right.
The Sony C-100 sounds nothing like an 800G.
I've never heard the AA mic.
Old 21st July 2018
  #6
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If you got the Manley used, you could get the AA mic as well and compare them for the price of a brand new Manley C. Just saying....

Old 21st July 2018
  #7
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Manley Ref C is a waste of money. Chalky, painful sibilance.
Old 21st July 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
If you got the Manley used, you could get the AA mic as well and compare them for the price of a brand new Manley C. Just saying....


Not saying much for the Manley if the resale values is that low. - I've got no experience with it though
Old 21st July 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phanlon View Post
Not saying much for the Manley if the resale values is that low. - I've got no experience with it though
Especially with audio gear (microphones), I've found depreciation to be around 30%. So no, the resale value of a used Manley Reference Cardioid is meaningless.... It's right there with everything else. There are other mics like the Blue Kiwi that have depreciated over 50%, and it's still a good mic. So not really sure what you're getting at?
Old 16th November 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
There's a similar thread on this subject you may want to read. There's also a Sony C100 thread which has audio samples comparing the C800G, C100 and AA CMT800.

I've just bought the CMT800 due to those samples (thought it was the C800G in the blind test - bonus!), will be comparing it to the M990 this week (which I prefer over the Ref C).

Whats your thoughts on the AA mic for vocals?
Old 16th November 2018
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ministertrav1 View Post
Whats your thoughts on the AA mic for vocals?
Amazing: great tonal balance, smooth but open/bright high end, full body (and an absolute bargain), but you can hear for yourself - check out Paul G's AA CM800T vs Sony C800G files. They're in the Sony C100 thread.

Last edited by b0se; 16th November 2018 at 06:27 PM..
Old 16th November 2018
  #12
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Originally Posted by zohomoho View Post
Manley Ref C is a waste of money. Chalky, painful sibilance.
Ouch. And then there’s a rough review like this one. I know this mic is considered very “modern” sounding. Would it be safe to say that people who like “vintage” sound just don’t LIKE the Manley, or is it really a “not living up to the hype” situation?

Meaning, are the negative reviews about taste and preference, or actual quality?
Old 16th November 2018
  #13
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I have a very bright voice (in 2nd Tenor), and when I tested/sang through that Manley there wasn't a sibilance issue. I'd be tempted to contact the GS member "Bowie", and replace the stock $15 tube with a NOS Telefunken, or long plate Mullard
(whatever he advises).

I haven't tried that AA yet, but it already has a good rep, with respected GS members-like Paul G.
Chris
Old 17th November 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
Amazing: great tonal balance, smooth but open/bright high end, full body (and an absolute bargain), but you can hear for yourself - check out Paul G's AA CM800T vs Sony C800G files. They're in the Sony C100 thread.
I heard them. and it does sound like the sony. 'I have a manley ref but im going to return for that mic maybe..
Old 17th November 2018
  #15
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I´m trying to decide between the manley ref c and a cm251, kinda hard when i cant try them out to see how they sound for me.
You been happy with the manley ref?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ministertrav1 View Post
I heard them. and it does sound like the sony. 'I have a manley ref but im going to return for that mic maybe..
Old 17th November 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattiasSwe View Post
I´m trying to decide between the manley ref c and a cm251, kinda hard when i cant try them out to see how they sound for me.
You been happy with the manley ref?
Between those two I'd recommend going with the manley. I used to own the cm251 but ended up selling it. It sounded good, but definitely a bit thinner than the ref c in my opinion.
Old 17th November 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halcyo View Post
Ouch. And then there’s a rough review like this one. I know this mic is considered very “modern” sounding. Would it be safe to say that people who like “vintage” sound just don’t LIKE the Manley, or is it really a “not living up to the hype” situation?

Meaning, are the negative reviews about taste and preference, or actual quality?

It's 100% preference. The Ref C is a fantastic mic. I owned one for a year and I would happily buy one again. I'd also pick it over most other mics in that price range.

There is no "chalky, painful sibilance" to speak of. Sure, it's bright, but to call it "painful" is laughable — that is perhaps the last term that comes to mind. "Painful" would be better reserved for cheap LDCs like the Rode NT-1A or Blue Bluebird.

The Ref C has a whispery, airy, open-sounding top end. If you're comparing it to old ribbons and vintage tube mics, then yes, it's going to sound quite bright. But it's bright in the best way possible. It never struck me as harsh, painful, or sibilant. The midrange is smooth, rich, and detailed, and the low end is actually pretty huge (people tend to gloss over this for some reason). It easily hangs with any other high end, modern vocal mic.
Old 17th November 2018
  #18
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Great post, I agree totally!
And this coming from someone who's favorite microphones, are vintage sounding LDC's and ribbons...
Chris
Old 17th November 2018
  #19
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Quote:
The Ref C has a whispery, airy, open-sounding top end.
More like a cheap Chinese capsule in a 2700 dollar mic. If you are going for that soulless Avril Lavigne sound, it is just right.
Old 18th November 2018
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zohomoho View Post
More like a cheap Chinese capsule in a 2700 dollar mic. If you are going for that soulless Avril Lavigne sound, it is just right.
It pains me to have to address this every time you unfairly berate this mic, but I’d hate for somone to miss out on owning a great mic because of some silly misinformation on GS. To clarify:

1. Yes, the capsule is made in China. In 2018, such a statement is effectively meaningless. This is not indicative of any issue whatsoever with regards to sound or build quality.

2. The capsule is made by Feilo (one of China’s most reputable manufacturers) exclusively for Manley and is fitted/tested in the US where it is subject to rigorous QC standards. Bad capsules are discarded. The same capsule has been used in the Ref C for close to 30 years, and was also used in the highly regarded Langevin CR3A before it. The folks at Manley are utterly transparent about this. Why aren’t you?

3. I don’t know about you, but the fact that Avril Lavigne (and Don LaFontaine, and John Feldmann, and Backstreet Boys, and Dr. Luke, and Joe Chiccarelli, and...) uses this mic is infinitely more meaningful than some anonymous GS poster bashing it based on one misconstrued factoid about its construction.

Last edited by tkaitkai; 19th November 2018 at 02:03 AM..
Old 18th November 2018
  #21
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It sounds like the perfect mic for me. At least i cant find anything in the same price range that seem as good. I really need something bright since i always gotta eq the **** out of the vocals i record with my tlm103.

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai View Post
It's 100% preference. The Ref C is a fantastic mic. I owned one for a year and I would happily buy one again. I'd also pick it over most other mics in that price range.

There is no "chalky, painful sibilance" to speak of. Sure, it's bright, but to call it "painful" is laughable — that is perhaps the last term that comes to mind. "Painful" would be better reserved for cheap LDCs like the Rode NT-1A or Blue Bluebird.

The Ref C has a whispery, airy, open-sounding top end. If you're comparing it to old ribbons and vintage tube mics, then yes, it's going to sound quite bright. But it's bright in the best way possible. It never struck me as harsh, painful, or sibilant. The midrange is smooth, rich, and detailed, and the low end is actually pretty huge (people tend to gloss over this for some reason). It easily hangs with any other high end, modern vocal mic.
Old 18th November 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai View Post
The Ref C has a whispery, airy, open-sounding top end.
That's a nice description. I have a pair - like them a lot and have no plan to ever let them go. I also have some "cheap chinese" mics (honestly can't be sure that they're truly Chinese - definitely cheap, though) that sound terrible - maybe gratey, diesel-exhousty, scratchy-sounding top end. They're nothing alike.

But I've never even seen an AA CM800T, so I can't add much value for the inquiry...
Old 19th November 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai View Post
It pains me to have to address this every time you unfairly berate this mic, but I’d hate for somone to miss out on owning a great mic because of some silly misinformation on GS. To clarify:

1. Yes, the capsule is made in China. In 2018, such a statement is effectively meaningless. This is not indicative of any issue whatsoever with regards to sound or build quality.

2. The capsule is made by Feilo (one of China’s most reputable manufacturers) exclusively for Manley and is fitted/tested in the US where it is subject to rigorous QC standards. Bad capsules are discarded. The same capsule has been used in the Ref C for close to 30 years, and was also used in the highly regarded Langevin CR3A before it. The folks at Manley are utterly transparent about this. Why aren’t you?

3. I don’t know about you, but the fact that Avril Lavigne (and Don LaFontaine, and John Feldmann, and Backstreet Boys, and Dr. Luke, and Joe Chiccarelli, and...) uses this mic is infinitely more meaningful than some anonymous GS poster bashing it based on one misconstrued factoid about its construction.
There's no misinformation here. I shot it out against dozens of mics an have owned two myself. There are just are so many better options out there now at a better price point. It doesn't sound like a c800 like so many say, speaking of misinformation. The chalkiness in the top end gives it away every time. I guess some people like that, I don't. And I'm entitled to my opinion even if my music isn't schlock pop. As for Mr. LaFontaine, he never had the opportunity to hear a Mojave MA-50. Now that is a smooth voiceover mic and only costs 500 bucks. Mojave MA-50 Microphone Test by Ken Collins-Voice Over (SAG-AFTRA) | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Old 19th November 2018
  #24
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I’ve been happy
With my Sony c-100 at 1500 it’s not bad IMO.
No harshness to speak of..
Old 19th November 2018
  #25
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Every time I've tried out all the Manley vocal microphones, my ears went "wow". IMHO they're right up there with Neumann/etc.
At the next January NAMM, I'll make a point to sing again through the Ref C.

FWIW (since my voice is so bright) the Silver, works the best on me.

Zoho, did you ever test the new Sondelux U195?

Bock further improved that K67 capsule and IMHO it sounds phenomenal!
In a sparse arrangement it's a little bright (not harsh), but still smooth.
(that's why putting the FAT switch on, fixes this on my voice)

Chris
Old 19th November 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Zoho, did you ever test the new Sondelux U195?
No, I did hear it on the sweetwater shootout. I like it too. And it's on my list. It does have a c12 thing going on without the fat switch. I really like soyuz SU-023 for bang for your buck too. I've been getting away from tube mics. I'm preferring the FET sound these days.
Old 20th November 2018
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zohomoho View Post
There's no misinformation here.
Sure there is. This constant insistence that a capsule being sourced from China is some sort of strike against the workmanship or sound quality of a mic is absolutely misinformation. You're being disingenuous by not telling the whole story, as I outlined above.
Old 20th November 2018
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkaitkai View Post
Sure there is. This constant insistence that a capsule being sourced from China is some sort of strike against the workmanship or sound quality of a mic is absolutely misinformation. You're being disingenuous by not telling the whole story, as I outlined above.

If you are into the zippity-do-da zing, go for it. If you can't hear it, maybe get your ears checked. And why single me out? There are plenty of people who have complained/mentioned the strident sibilance of the ref c, especially on male vocals.
Old 20th November 2018
  #29
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What should one get instead in the same price range? For male vocals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zohomoho View Post
If you are into the zippity-do-da zing, go for it. If you can't hear it, maybe get your ears checked. And why single me out? There are plenty of people who have complained/mentioned the strident sibilance of the ref c, especially on male vocals.
Old 20th November 2018
  #30
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IMHO this is a classic GS question, with 2 classic answers..
1) Try out a variety of "likely suspects", before you
buy.
2) A dealer who'll let you demo some mics,
or a dealer that has a lenient return policy.
Chris
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