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Let's Talk about the Avantone CV-12 Mic
Old 9th December 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 

Let's Talk about the Avantone CV-12 Mic

The CV-12 is currently the front-runner on my microphone wishlist.

What is your experience with this mic? Has it been good to you? Does it have any unique issues that may be important to know before making a purchase?
Old 9th December 2013
  #2
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well it's bright but in a good way. All mics have their own color. Of all the mics i've used this one does handle sibilance very well, kinda glassy on top, hard to describe. I mean you definitely need to de-es but the top end is very clear, almost too clear. But next to neumann, this is gearslutz favorite mic to hate on.
Old 9th December 2013
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patchprogrammer View Post
The CV-12 is currently the front-runner on my microphone wishlist.

What is your experience with this mic? Has it been good to you? Does it have any unique issues that may be important to know before making a purchase?
...don't get me wrong, the Avantone CV-12 is a decent tube mic at that price (or buy one "pre-owned" for even cheaper)...

...I had one...there's a much better option for a bit less money...do yourself a favor and google "Stellar CM-5"...like getting the upgraded Avantone BV-12 for less than the cost of the CV-12...

Sent from my SPH-M820
Old 9th December 2013
  #4
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...I had one...there's a much better option for a bit less money...do yourself a favor and google "Stellar CM-5"...like getting the upgraded Avantone BV-12 for less than the cost of the CV-12...

Sent from my SPH-M820

Cool, thanks for the rec.
Old 9th December 2013
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by patchprogrammer View Post
The CV-12 is currently the front-runner on my microphone wishlist.

What is your experience with this mic? Has it been good to you? Does it have any unique issues that may be important to know before making a purchase?
I can't say enough good things about this microphone! It was great straight out of the box but I decided to upgrade the tube and all the major components $300(New CK12 Capsule, Olivers TAB transformer, Power Supply Capisitor/Resistor's upgrade, Also new Caps and Resistors inside mic). It's really a great mic for the money!

Its very smooth, has a bit of that 251 vibe, although I did loose some output(around 6db) I recently recorded vocals with Demi Lovato and rented a Telefunken Vintage 251 per request, after the session was over I did some non scientific comparisons and felt like it held up nicely. Did it sound exactly like a Tele?...no...but close enough for me to be happy about the cost of my microphone.
Old 9th December 2013
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah421 View Post
It was great straight out of the box but I decided to upgrade the tube and all the major components
...Stellar CM-5 comes stock with upgraded 34mm 6-micron C12 capsule, modded CCDA circuit with upgraded metal film capacitors, and vintage-style T14-style transformer...all for $415...

..the Avantone CV-12 comes with a wood box...

Sent from my SPH-M820
Old 10th December 2013
  #7
Gear Head
 

How does the Blue Baby Bottle stack up against the CV-12 and the CM-5?
Old 10th December 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patchprogrammer View Post
How does the Blue Baby Bottle stack up against the CV-12 and the CM-5?
...IMHO, not even close...

...the "upgraded-at-the-factory" tube mics being sourced from this particular Chinese manufacturer (who make Avantone, Stellar, Advanced Audio, Gauge, etc) are, for the most part, outstanding at their price points...just my two cents...
Old 10th December 2013
  #9
Gear Head
 

That was my suspicion. Just wanted to check though.

What about the SM Pro MC03, ever heard of/used that one? I found a used one for 250 but it retails for 400, I'm trying to research it now but there are not a lot of reviews online.
Old 10th December 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patchprogrammer View Post
That was my suspicion. Just wanted to check though.

What about the SM Pro MC03, ever heard of/used that one? I found a used one for 250 but it retails for 400, I'm trying to research it now but there are not a lot of reviews online.
...OK, let me explain further...the MC03 is an example of an OEM (stock) Chinese tube mic...these products are built to meet an affordable price point, but the components used in most of these OEM models are very basic and less expensive...

...the tube mics that I am referring to in my last post are what might be referred to as "pre-modded" at the factory...this means that certain components have been upgraded or modified as per the request of the vendor who purchases them to sell under their brand...these will perform measurably better than OEM models...

...these upgrades/modifications may consist of just a circuit modification with a few better quality capacitors and a higher grade 6072A tube (as in the case of the CV-12), or also include further circuit mods, a larger better quality C12/K67/K47-type capsule, a vintage design transformer, and the higher quality 6072A tube (as in the case of the Stellar, Advanced Audio and Gauge tube mics)...

...the Avantone CV-12 has only the upgraded/modified circuit and tube, but still maintains the same smaller 32mm K67 type capsule and stock transformer as the OEM (Apex 460 type) mic...

...the CM-5 has the larger 34mm edge-terminated C12-type capsule and a vintage style T-14 transformer, as well as further circuit modifications...you would have to move up to the more costly Avantone BV-12 to get similar upgrades...

...in most cases, the Nady, Apex, SM Pro, Golden Age Projects, (as well as many other brands) are essentially just putting their names on OEM stock mics...
Old 10th December 2013
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...OK, let me explain further...the MC03 is an example of an OEM (stock) Chinese tube mic...these products are built to meet an affordable price point, but the components used in most of these OEM models are very basic and less expensive...

...the tube mics that I am referring to in my last post are what might be referred to as "pre-modded" at the factory...this means that certain components have been upgraded or modified as per the request of the vendor who purchases them to sell under their brand...these will perform measurably better than OEM models...

...these upgrades/modifications may consist of just a circuit modification with a few better quality capacitors and a higher grade 6072A tube (as in the case of the CV-12), or also include further circuit mods, a larger better quality C12/K67/K47-type capsule, a vintage design transformer, and the higher quality 6072A tube (as in the case of the Stellar, Advanced Audio and Gauge tube mics)...

...the Avantone CV-12 has only the upgraded/modified circuit and tube, but still maintains the same smaller 32mm K67 type capsule and stock transformer as the OEM (Apex 460 type) mic...

...the CM-5 has the larger 34mm edge-terminated C12-type capsule and a vintage style T-14 transformer, as well as further circuit modifications...you would have to move up to the more costly Avantone BV-12 to get similar upgrades...

...in most cases, the Nady, Apex, SM Pro, Golden Age Projects, (as well as many other brands) are essentially just putting their names on OEM stock mics...
Thanks for all the info! I appreciate you helping me sort through these murky waters. So I'm boiling this down to "buy the CM5!" haha. I think that's what I'll do then...

Any preamps that work particularly well with it? (Budget $400) The GAP Pre73 seems to get a lot of praise...
Old 10th December 2013
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patchprogrammer View Post
Any preamps that work particularly well with it? (Budget $400) The GAP Pre73 seems to get a lot of praise...
...the GAP is a good choice in the "Neve-style" category...other similar options are the new Black Lion B173 ($449) and the new Gauge MP-1073 (introductory price $379):
Products

...also worth considering are the WARM WA12 (pre-owned go for under $400) or the Focusrite ISA One (under $400)...
Old 10th December 2013
  #13
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zohomoho's Avatar
 

Buy a steller! buy me buy me! Kid is here to tell you how much better it is than any other budget mic.
Old 10th December 2013
  #14
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kidvybes's Avatar
 

...clearly you're buying into the hype promoted by the former sales director of Avantone:

Quote:
Originally Posted by zohomoho View Post
Supposedly the Avantone CV12 was modeled after the sony c-800g.


...the Avantone founder/designer Ken Avant's original version of the CV-12 shared it's circuitry/capsule/transformer with the ShyuaiYin OEM SYT1200 much like the TNC ACM-1200 (or the Apex 460 with added pad and low-cut switches)...the factory OEM SYT1200 was not modelled after a C800G, but utilized the stock Chinese CCDA cathode-follower based tube design marketed in both a U47-style body (Nady TCM-1050) or C12-style body (Apex 460) but with the added switches... Avant later revised to what is now the current version CV-12 by using some of the CCDA circuit mods (including the large rectangular metal film capacitor) originally implemented by Dave Thomas for his Advanced Audio CM12, shared by the Stellar CM-5...more info here:
http://recordinghacks.com/microphones/Avant/CV-12

...both Stellar and Advanced Audio further modify the circuit, upgrade their capsules (to true edge-terminated 34mm 6-micron capsules) and their trannies to either vintage BV11-type (Advanced Audio) or T14-type (Stellar)...

...so based on component topology, you can essentially consider the CM-5 as a further modified/upgraded CV-12 sans the switches, for less dollars...

...the more costly Avantone BV-12 implements similar upgrades and wraps them up in a pretty buttercreme vintage package for $899...how much of that price is reflective of the cost for the nifty wood box, tweed roadcase and vintage styled PSU?...

...very simply, the Stellar CM-5 offers the most bang for the buck (more steak, not sizzle)...all of these mics originate from the same manufacturer, and Stellar sells direct to the public without the middleman/retail markup...

...pick your poison...
Old 11th December 2013
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...very simply, the Stellar CM-5 offers the most bang for the buck (more steak, not sizzle)...all of these mics originate from the same manufacturer, and Stellar sells direct to the public without the middleman/retail markup...
they all made in china, right?

if you go to NAMM, down in the basement are Chinese manufactures who will make anything you want with your own name/brand on it if you order the minimum quantity.
Old 11th December 2013
  #16
Gear Head
 

If you guys are going to argue, at least do it using facts, like kidvybes.

If you're just being dismissive and ornery, then please stop posting in the thread.

Offer a constructive opinion or point of view.
Old 11th December 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearAndGuitars View Post
they all made in china, right?
...yes, they are...but don't kid yourself, the Chinese can build some serious gear if you don't pressure them to scrimp on cost...there's plenty of expensive "boutique" brands getting capsules, components and complete product builds out of Chinese factories these days...

...better yet, go over to the Group DIY forums and look at some of what they're building, much of which is sourced from these same factories:
http://groupdiy.com/index.php?topic=50015.0
http://groupdiy.com/index.php?topic=53177.0

...btw, Feilo, one of China's oldest mic manufacturers can hang with the best of 'em, no joke...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearAndGuitars View Post
if you go to NAMM, down in the basement are Chinese manufactures who will make anything you want with your own name/brand on it if you order the minimum quantity.
...yeah, that's kinda funny when you consider how much of what's "upstairs" at the show is sourced from some of those same Chinese manufacturers...
Old 15th December 2013
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...yeah, that's kinda funny when you consider how much of what's "upstairs" at the show is sourced from some of those same Chinese manufacturers...
agreed.
Old 18th December 2013
  #19
Gear Nut
 
traxkeyzvox's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...don't get me wrong, the Avantone CV-12 is a decent tube mic at that price (or buy one "pre-owned" for even cheaper)...

...I had one...there's a much better option for a bit less money...do yourself a favor and google "Stellar CM-5"...like getting the upgraded Avantone BV-12 for less than the cost of the CV-12...

Sent from my SPH-M820
What worries me about the Stellar CM-5 (& several others) is the lower SPL handling. States 125db SPL while the CV12 (and BV12) both state 136db SPL (146db w/ the pad engaged!)... Although I have been unable to try any of these in person, I have decided on the BV12 after deciding that I would like to have the "air" of the CV12 while getting a bit more solid tone on the mids/lows (CV12 sounds like it might be a little thin on my voice)... But I gotta say it was a tough decision after hearing some AMAZING Advanced Audio CM-12 clips.

I was heavily leaning towards the CM-12se, but it looks like that one also has the lower 125db SPL rating... If all these mics come from the same plant initially, it confuses me as to how the only ones that are above that 125db SPL rating are the CV12 & BV12 by Avantone... Nonetheless, after considering all the above, alongside the fact that I emailed AA w/ some very basic pre-sale questions over 24 hours ago & got no reply, I was turned off from purchasing. Would probably be more patient if I wasn't "micless" as we speak (my mic crapped out on me recently & had to send it off for repair), but if communication is this bad BEFORE the sale, I can only imagine how it would be AFTER you get my $900 dollars :-O
Old 18th December 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traxkeyzvox View Post
What worries me about the Stellar CM-5 (& several others) is the lower SPL handling. States 125db SPL while the CV12 (and BV12) both state 136db SPL (146db w/ the pad engaged!)... Although I have been unable to try any of these in person, I have decided on the BV12 after deciding that I would like to have the "air" of the CV12 while getting a bit more solid tone on the mids/lows (CV12 sounds like it might be a little thin on my voice)... But I gotta say it was a tough decision after hearing some AMAZING Advanced Audio CM-12 clips.

I was heavily leaning towards the CM-12se, but it looks like that one also has the lower 125db SPL rating... If all these mics come from the same plant initially, it confuses me as to how the only ones that are above that 125db SPL rating are the CV12 & BV12 by Avantone... Nonetheless, after considering all the above, alongside the fact that I emailed tech support nearly 24 hours ago & got no reply, I was turned off from purchasing. Would probably be more patient if I wasn't "micless" as we speak (my mic crapped out on me recently & had to send it off for repair), but if communication is this bad BEFORE the sale, I can only imagine how it would be AFTER you get my $900 dollars :-O
...the CM-5, CM-12se and BV12 all use the same 34mm edge-terminated 6-micron capsule, so I suspect the SPL ratings are less than accurate (the CV-12 uses a smaller 32mm center-terminated capsule that probably does handle a bit more SPL)...frankly, I just think Stellar and AA are being conservative in their ratings...the structural differences between the CM-5, AA CM-12 and the BV12 are truly minimal...and with Glen Hefner's recent departure from Avantone, I'm not surprised about the lag in email response (Glen was prompt and personable)...

...the CM-5, upgraded with an NOS GE 6072 tube and either of the C12 or 251 reproduction headbaskets ($31) offered by DIY guru Chunger (studio939.com) is the best value in a C12/251 type mic you can buy, IMHO...

CM-5 review: Stellar CM5 Review | recording hacks
Attached Thumbnails
Let's Talk about the Avantone CV-12 Mic-microphone_types.jpg  
Old 31st December 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...the CM-5, CM-12se and BV12 all use the same 34mm edge-terminated 6-micron capsule, so I suspect the SPL ratings are less than accurate (the CV-12 uses a smaller 32mm center-terminated capsule that probably does handle a bit more SPL)...frankly, I just think Stellar and AA are being conservative in their ratings...the structural differences between the CM-5, AA CM-12 and the BV12 are truly minimal...and with Glen Hefner's recent departure from Avantone, I'm not surprised about the lag in email response (Glen was prompt and personable)...

...the CM-5, upgraded with an NOS GE 6072 tube and either of the C12 or 251 reproduction headbaskets ($31) offered by DIY guru Chunger (studio939.com) is the best value in a C12/251 type mic you can buy, IMHO...

CM-5 review: Stellar CM5 Review | recording hacks
Thanks 4 that info man! Heard back from AA & you are correct (they just hadn't updated the specs on their site). From your experience, what do you think the "1 layer" (type 1 in the picture) C12 style headbaskets would do sound-wise compared to the dual-layer ones that come stock on most of the "460" mics? If my original mic has dual-layer, should I stick with that or would it be safe to change over to single-layer?

Due to the wait time, I may not be able to get the CM-5 as I need it by mid-January, but I am considering one of the other 460 clones & would like to grab that 1 layer headbasket for aesthetic reasons (but not if it is going to have an adverse affect on the sound)! I'm imagining that it will give a more open sound & hoping it doesn't take away from the low end... BTW, the site you mentioned that sells the baskets seems to be under construction, so I may have to get it elsewhere (Custom C12 Head | AKG C12 Headbasket clone | Mic & Mod)
Old 31st December 2013
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traxkeyzvox View Post
Thanks 4 that info man! Heard back from AA & you are correct (they just hadn't updated the specs on their site). From your experience, what do you think the "1 layer" (type 1 in the picture) C12 style headbaskets would do sound-wise compared to the dual-layer ones that come stock on most of the "460" mics? If my original mic has dual-layer, should I stick with that or would it be safe to change over to single-layer?

Due to the wait time, I may not be able to get the CM-5 as I need it by mid-January, but I am considering one of the other 460 clones & would like to grab that 1 layer headbasket for aesthetic reasons (but not if it is going to have an adverse affect on the sound)! I'm imagining that it will give a more open sound & hoping it doesn't take away from the low end... BTW, the site you mentioned that sells the baskets seems to be under construction, so I may have to get it elsewhere (Custom C12 Head | AKG C12 Headbasket clone | Mic & Mod)
...I have the single-layer headbasket on my C12 clone, as I believe it does offer the most open, uncolored sound with the least reflections...I don't believe it effects low-end response...you just want to be sure to use a good pop-filter to prevent the capsule from being exposed to moisture/spit from the singer...

...I maintain a two-layer style (I just ordered the shorter, two-layer from Chung at Studio 939) for my CM-5 as it has a bit more smokey, vintage tone and I liken it more towards the 251 (double-layer) side than the C12 (single-layer)...

...Chung at Studio 939 (based in California) was the one who initiated the development of these retro-headbasket C12/251 options, and MicandMod just jumped on the bandwagon...I know that Chung was very discerning about QC and construction of his headbaskets, and switched production to a better manufacturing source since his initial run...unless MicandMod is getting theirs from Chung, I'd go with Chung's product as he's the one who did all the R&D and paid for the templates from the factory...he's currently away for the holidays but will return on the 2nd...

...here's the link again (it's active):
Studio 939 — Custom Headbasket for C12 Clone Microphone
Old 6th February 2014
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
theBF's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by traxkeyzvox View Post
What worries me about the Stellar CM-5 (& several others) is the lower SPL handling. States 125db SPL while the CV12 (and BV12) both state 136db SPL (146db w/ the pad engaged!)... Although I have been unable to try any of these in person, I have decided on the BV12 after deciding that I would like to have the "air" of the CV12 while getting a bit more solid tone on the mids/lows (CV12 sounds like it might be a little thin on my voice)... But I gotta say it was a tough decision after hearing some AMAZING Advanced Audio CM-12 clips.

I was heavily leaning towards the CM-12se, but it looks like that one also has the lower 125db SPL rating... If all these mics come from the same plant initially, it confuses me as to how the only ones that are above that 125db SPL rating are the CV12 & BV12 by Avantone... Nonetheless, after considering all the above, alongside the fact that I emailed AA w/ some very basic pre-sale questions over 24 hours ago & got no reply, I was turned off from purchasing. Would probably be more patient if I wasn't "micless" as we speak (my mic crapped out on me recently & had to send it off for repair), but if communication is this bad BEFORE the sale, I can only imagine how it would be AFTER you get my $900 dollars :-O
I just finished repairing a BV-12 and have worked on and modded a number of CV-12 microphones. The maximum SPL spec for a mic has to be made with a reference amount of distortion. Neumann used 1% back in the day. AKG used 0.5%.

My measurements of the CV-12 and BV-12 indicate that there is no way they can handle 136dB SPL with less than 1% distortion. At levels like 118dB SPL they are already above 2% distortion. There are some fundamental problems with both of these mics, because they use the same circuit.

Dave's mics from AA use an very low distortion variation of the CCDA circuit and he puts nickel alloy transformers in his higher end models. I have had them most of them here and they are very clean circuits.

So when AA and Stellar say 125 dB SPL it is a realistic value.

You can read about the BV-12 and why I say this and what it takes to fix it up from the link if you want some detail.

Avantone BV-12 review Pg 1
Old 6th February 2014
  #24
Lives for gear
Quote:
I recently recorded vocals with Demi Lovato and rented a Telefunken Vintage 251
Hi Micah

which song did you record with demi?
I just love to reference tracks and gear
Must be awesome to work with such a talented singer
Old 6th February 2014
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by traxkeyzvox View Post
What worries me about the Stellar CM-5 (& several others) is the lower SPL handling. States 125db SPL while the CV12 (and BV12) both state 136db SPL (146db w/ the pad engaged!)... Although I have been unable to try any of these in person, I have decided on the BV12 after deciding that I would like to have the "air" of the CV12 while getting a bit more solid tone on the mids/lows (CV12 sounds like it might be a little thin on my voice)... But I gotta say it was a tough decision after hearing some AMAZING Advanced Audio CM-12 clips.

I was heavily leaning towards the CM-12se, but it looks like that one also has the lower 125db SPL rating... If all these mics come from the same plant initially, it confuses me as to how the only ones that are above that 125db SPL rating are the CV12 & BV12 by Avantone... Nonetheless, after considering all the above, alongside the fact that I emailed AA w/ some very basic pre-sale questions over 24 hours ago & got no reply, I was turned off from purchasing. Would probably be more patient if I wasn't "micless" as we speak (my mic crapped out on me recently & had to send it off for repair), but if communication is this bad BEFORE the sale, I can only imagine how it would be AFTER you get my $900 dollars :-O
I just received an Advanced Audio CM12se in the mail and it is INCREDIBLE. I'm surprised that you had a hard time getting in touch with them though. AA has been one of the most responsive companies I've ever done business with with. Dave Thomas himself even called me twice while he was vacationing in Mexico to talk with me about his mics. I must say that the two I received (also a CM87) are going to be some of my most frequently used pieces of gear in my studio!

+1 for Advanced Audio
Old 6th February 2014
  #26
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theBF's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by manosar View Post
I just received an Advanced Audio CM12se in the mail and it is INCREDIBLE. I'm surprised that you had a hard time getting in touch with them though. AA has been one of the most responsive companies I've ever done business with with. Dave Thomas himself even called me twice while he was vacationing in Mexico to talk with me about his mics. I must say that the two I received (also a CM87) are going to be some of my most frequently used pieces of gear in my studio!

+1 for Advanced Audio
Like I said... :-)
Old 6th February 2014
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manosar View Post
I just received an Advanced Audio CM12se in the mail and it is INCREDIBLE. I'm surprised that you had a hard time getting in touch with them though. AA has been one of the most responsive companies I've ever done business with with. Dave Thomas himself even called me twice while he was vacationing in Mexico to talk with me about his mics. I must say that the two I received (also a CM87) are going to be some of my most frequently used pieces of gear in my studio!

+1 for Advanced Audio
I'm interested to see what your reveal is in the recent shootout you did (LDC Classical Guitar Shootout)and how the AA mics stand up to the ADK and Joly mics you used.
Old 6th February 2014
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
I'm interested to see what your reveal is in the recent shootout you did (LDC Classical Guitar Shootout)and how the AA mics stand up to the ADK and Joly mics you used.
Coming soon... or if you promise to keep the results hidden, I will PM you...
Old 6th February 2014
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmixer04 View Post
Hi Micah

which song did you record with demi?
I just love to reference tracks and gear
Must be awesome to work with such a talented singer
Her latest single Neon Lights, it's currently .69$ on iTunes. Although they did process her vocal a lot in the mix. Pre used was Vintage 1073/CL1B

I'm really thankful to be blessed to have worked around so many talented people. Demi was truly blessed with an amazing talent.
Old 6th February 2014
  #30
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Chunger's headbaskets look incredible, and sound great, and are priced very fairly. I am using the single layer on my C12 builds, very transparent and open sound. Best $11 I spent on those mics (I got the slightly misshapen, but still usable B-stock to save a few bucks). Chunger is the man.

I like the way that CM5 sounds in that Recording Hacks demo, punchy on the drums and a nice lift on the cymbals. Not the same elegance of a high end mic and capsule, but a nice mid grade sound. I was also reminded how Shure condensers on overhead can sound gritty and rock n roll. I wish they had an Avantone in that test to compare to. I hear about them a lot, but I've never heard one.
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