new microphones in the Advanced Audio pipeline

Sunday, April 27th, 2008 | by

We caught up with Dave Thomas of Advanced Audio Microphones while he was on the road, spreading the gospel of vintage microphone design to a class of up and coming audio engineers. Read on for audio gear news from British Columbia:

RH: Do you have any new products in the pipeline? Will the CM-414 ever see daylight?

DT: I have just put an order in for the CM414, which I worked with at the factory in Shanghai back in 2006. [The AKG 414 is a FET version of the C12 tube design; the CM414 will be a FET mic with 3 polar patterns.]

They also are building me a CM12 tube microphone with the same capsule as the 414, but we will upgrade the tube circuit and output transformer here in Canada.

I also ordered some CM-47 (U-47 type) tube microphones which will have the same capsule as the CM-87 but we will upgrade these our custom circuit improvement and custom output transformer.

RH: Would you characterize the performance change resulting from these upgrades as subtle or dramatic? Would the average home-studio owner hear the result of these upgrades in a blind test?

DT: The transformer upgrade is very subtle on vocals or acoustic guitar, but on something like a single headed tambourine the high end is less “blurry” and the low end is tighter and rounder sounding.

Our custom tube circuit has 2-3db more headroom than the original C12 and U47 circuits. The transformers will handle 6db more level than the stock Chinese transformers and produce 2db more output at 20hz.

RH: One of the common complaints about Chinese-made mics is the lack of effective quality control, e.g. ribbon mics showing up with the ribbons sagging out of the magnetic field. Have you had any issues with QC?

DT: We test all the microphones here before shipping, even the FET microphones that are completely manufactured in China. The Shanghai factory has very good QC, better than Alctron which makes the HST11a, and the 797 microphones which have inferior capsules for the most part.

Dave has been guest-lecturing at the Recording/Music Production course at Okanagan College in BC — British Columbia is one of my favorite vacation places on the planet, incidentally, just after Santorini. Anyway, that’s all we had time for, but Dave promised to send more details and some pictures once he returns from the road. We’re looking forward to that and intend to hold him to it. 🙂

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One Response to “new microphones in the Advanced Audio pipeline”

  1. Michael Bowler

    September 28th, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for interview with Mr. Thomas. He seems to know what he’s talking about, and his mics sound like a cool idea (buy cheap mics and replace the capsules, etc.) They are very reasonably priced, especially the FET versions. But I’m hesitant to drop the money on a mic that looks the same as a $50 CAD. I’d love to hear some comments from people who’ve used his Advanced Audio mics!

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