I have now been using the CAD M179 large diameter condenser microphones for about 8 months and, after some initial teething problems, am extremely happy with them.
I work with a not-for-profit organisation and needed to be able to capture the results of rehearsal and workshop sessions quickly and easily, and at a reasonable level of detail, so I initially bought two of these mics for use as a stereo pair in general recording, running them off a Tascam US-122L portable I/O box into my laptop.
During the sessions I had the opportunity to try out many different stereo techniques, as well as use the mics individually on a range of instruments. In all cases they performed amazingly well, however I had some problems with noise and hiss. I talked to CAD and they immediately replaced one of the mics, and paid the return postage too - service from these guys is incredible. However the noise persisted. I noticed it was a bit inconsistent too - sometimes a mic would be great and other times it would be awful.
In the end I tracked the issue to the fact I was using a USB powered I/O box - even though I had the laptop plugged in, it appears the CAD M179 is particularly demanding of the phantom supply current, and so sometimes the USB current supply just wasn't enough, resulting in voltage dips that gave rise to the noise.
I have now run these mics from a number of wall powered I/O boxes and preamps, and the more stable phantom supply has resulted in a noise floor that's even better than I expected. These things are silent! So much so that I have now bought another 2 mics!!
I have now used these mics as a stereo pair for M/S work, X/Y, Blumlein, ORTF, spaced pair, drum overheads in RecorderMan configuration. The sound is rich, detailed and open with no harshness. On toms they just rock - such a good sound!!
But I think the biggest surprise, or rather satisfaction, I had was recording a female vocalist with a Taylor acoustic guitar. I was trying to use one mic to get both vocals and guitar, and so I set up the M179 directly in front of the performer, about 18" away, and about halfway between mouth and sound hole. OMG the sound of the Taylor was incredible! It just sang! There was the richness of the guitar with just enough string and fret noise to make the performance sound 'live' - these are now my go to mics for acoustic guitar!! The vocalist was also beautifully captured, but the guitar sound made the hairs on my neck stand up.
All in all, incredible mics for the price, great service from the company, just watch your phantom supply!!!
I have been using the CAD m179 with good results for a couple years or so now. It is an inexpensive but very capable multi-pattern mic. I bought it to use in figure-8 pattern for recording singers who want to play guitar at the same time, and it has worked well in this application. The m179 has a nice strong side null in figure-8 which makes it perfect for this. I use the m179 on guitar and oktava mk220 on vocal, both in figure-8.
The m179 looks solidly built, and it is surprisingly heavy for its small size.
The m179 sounds nice on acoustic instruments - clear and present. But it has a 2-3db peak at 6K hz and can be edgy on vocals, so I usually pick another mic for singers. The m179 has an extended LF response, and it sounds spectacular on djembe and other sources with deep bass outputs. I have not tried to mic a standup bass with it, but I suspect that would work well.
You definitely need a preamp capable of supplying the m179's phantom power requirement (8ma). I had no problem using the m179 with the phantom power from better preamps, but my ART Tube MP PS budget pre failed miserably with the m179. I thought the mic had failed because I heard crackling and rumbling, but I substituted other pres and it sounded fine. I read later that the ART Tube MP is "current limited to protect your sensitive microphones", so this may be the problem.
My only issue with the mic is that sometimes I cannot tell if the pattern setting is in the notch, as the pattern display icon appears a little off to one side when I think it is locked in, and if I put the icon square in the middle of the display area, it is actually between patterns. But the pattern setting is continuous, so it is not too big an issue.
I've had a couple of CAD M179 for about two years now. They have proven to be excellent workhorse microphones with sonics well above it's priceclass.
The different polar patterns are very useful and rare in among such inexpensive microphones.
I initially bought them for tom duties. They sound very good in that application, especially on floor toms with alittle bit of space between the tom and microphone. But on rack toms (I tend to get very close to the tom) I've found that it can overload and distort on very loud hits even if the PAD switch is engaged.
My main use for the M179s has been OH duties. They sound excellent, very large and punchy sound good for capturing the whole kit. They can be a bit harsh though. There is a upper midrange peak at about 3,4 to 5,2 khz, but nothing you can't EQ out. Maybe not ideal if you are using your OH mics to mainly capture cymbals.
I've also had good results on acoustic guitars, especially useful with the figure 8 pattern to null out vocals. Tried it a few times on vocals but had better sounding options.
Now I've moved on and found microphones (much more expensive ones) that I like better in most applications, but the M179 still gets used occationally on floor toms. Overall a great utility microphone with tons of uses. The poor mans C414.
Oh, another thing. I've never noticed the phantom power problem the others speak about.
Sounds very good
The switchable polar pattern are very useful
Comes with a good shockmount
Can't handle high SPL good enough
Can be a bit harsh
I bought 3 of these mics almost a year ago to use on toms, paid about $400 for the package. They arrived each with its own very nice case, shockmount, and stand adapter. Construction of everything was very solid.
My 1st few tests showed that I was using the wrong side of the mics lol. There was nothing in the documentation to show which side was the front, but maybe I should have known. I use them between cardioid and supercardiod, which gives great off axis rejection without the rear lobe. As I have seen in other reviews, with the pad engaged they were still overloading the preamps, causing distortion, when drums were hit really hard. I use the mic's built in pad and then another pad built into my audio interface. Works wonderfully, perfectly clean. I have even used them on snare and kick, both with good results.
I really believe that because of its selectable pickup pattern, extended (but flat) low end response, and not too harsh high end, the M179 can get good results on any source. I even bought 2 more to use as stereo overheads. Drums and cymbals come through very clean and clear but without harsh high end.
If for no other purpose, anyone close mic'ing toms should get a set of these. Toms and floor toms come out with such fullness and punch! By the way, you can find some other use for your MD421's and SM57's because they will never be used on a tom again.
When I hear users looking for a cheap, all around microphone that will give them the most flexibility and bang for the buck, I immediately think of CAD's wonderful M179 microphone. I can think of no other mic in this range that offers the sound clarity and flexibility of patterns.
When I first received the microphone, I thought someone had shipped me a small refrigerator. Turns out, the CAD comes in this huge, Goth lunchbox which is made out of plastic, but does an admirable job protecting the mic and its included base mount and spider shockmount, even if the latches are a bit flimsy.
Say what you will about CAD's unusual industrial/art deco styling, this mic is built well and weighs a considerable amount. The included mounts come in the standard base style swivel mount: good for mounting in drum kits for tom work, and the Neumann style spider shockmount: great for overheads, solo instruments, or voiceovers.
The mic has many features only found in higher priced brethren. These include: 20dB pad, high pass switch, and variable pattern selection with the magical capability of blending different patterns to capture just the right sound.
In use, the microphone records most sources with little coloration and just has an overall good sound. Nothing with the thick, vintage character of a '47 or the hyped sound of a '67, but a nice, overall balanced sound. Many call this mic the poor man's 414, and for good reason.
I've successfully used this mic on everything from voiceover work to vocals, saxophones to pennywhistles, and percussion to "found" samples. I've never been disapointed by this mic or any of the work that it has captures. Always detailed and works most of the time on most sources, unlike a lot of other mics on the market. These things are also a standard for use on toms; almost as much as a 421!
A word of warning: make sure that whatever preamp or interface you use outputs a full 48V of phantom power or you will have issues with this microphone. It is notoriously power hungry and many smaller USB powered interfaces can't supply enough juice to run these mics. If you have a mixer or standalone preamps, you will probably never have an issue.
I plan on buying at least two more of these to add to my project studio. CAD has always been able to produce great sounding mics at a reasonable entry fee, and the M179 (and its single pattern M177) definitely fit into that category. Get one. You won't be disappointed!
Great overall sound that works on most sources
Variable polar patterns are worth more than the entry price
Included shockmount is wonderful!
Not great on all sources
Hard to place in some situations due to size
Is known to have overload issues
May be a bit ugly looking but sounds great. Great sounding mic at any price. I like the smaller size. Easier to set up. I think the figure 8 pattern sounds best if given a choice, and use that most often. The highs are pretty smooth sounding.
Very useful mic for lots of sources.
Sound quality - 4/5: Very versatile little mic, with a clean sound and rather flat frequency response regardless of chosen the polar pattern. The M179 is a prime case of "a jack of many trades, master of none". I really like it on acoustic guitars, as a mono overhead or drum room mic and it cuts vocals quite decently. Very low noise floor too, which is always something to be praised. Since it's clean and quiet I've done quite a lot of voice overs for video tutorials and other multimedia applications with the M179 and it delivered on a very good level. I'm giving it a 4/5 because this mic feels to me like the newer AKG C 414s, but made with cheaper parts and without the pedigree. For its price it's definitely five stars, but it falls a bit short in general terms and doesn't have that extra class and finesse of more expensive mics.
Ease of use - 4/5: As others have pointed out, it doesn't love proximity and will clip and distort badly at high pressure levels. Other than that it likes a good pre like any other mic and it certainly does require a good phantom power source, which can be problematic with some USB interfaces. Placement is easy, it's not a big mic and the mounting system is foolproof.
Features - 5/5: One can not complain here with five polar patterns, attenuation pad and low cut filter. Packaging is also good, comes with a plastic case that houses the shock mount and its handy (and much smaller) alternative mounting clip. Quite a good feature set given its price and quality.
Bang for buck - 5/5: Excellent bang for very little buck. It's the "57" of the condensers as it's cheap, well-built enough and versatile enough to handle a number of different situations.