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CardioidVTL CR-3A

Cardioid Condenser Microphone

The VTL CR-3A (aka Langevin CR-3A) is a large-diaphragm FET condenser.

The CR-3A was originally built in China by Feilo for a San Francisco-based importer called ASC. Manley Labs purchased the rights to it when ASC left the microphone business, around 1990. Manley improved component quality of the imported mics before eventually taking over complete assembly in the Manley factory in California, aside from the capsule and metalwork. Early models were black or silver with either white VTL or red Langevin logo. Later batches were silver with Langevin logo.

CR-3A PCBThe mic features a 6-micron, 1'' diaphragm and very simple FET circuitry, with an output transformer.
In 2001 the CR3A was discontinued and replaced by the Langevin CR2001 which is basically the same exact microphone in a different housing.

Recording Magazine, 1998

I gave the CR-3A a good wringing out with the sound source I know best, my Martin 00-18… I aimed the CR-3A and [Shure] SM-81 at the instrument’s fingerboard, over the 16th fret, a position I’ve found to be the best for this guitar. I set the SM-81 for gentle rolloff, but left the CR-3A flat.

The result was remarkable, and a testament to Manley’s design. The frequency balance [of the CR-3A] sounded quite similar to the SM-81’s, and at first blush they seemed comparable, but as I listened to my test bits over and over, I began hearing differences: “A little more civilized. More 3-D and body; cleaner detail. Less electronic sounding. More physical impact. Much more delicate.”

Permalink: VTL CR-3A

The mic was released in 1990.


Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Cardioid (40 - 16,000 Hz)
  • Pad: -10dB (Via Switch)
  • Filter: 6dB/octave @ 100Hz HPF (Via Switch)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Diaphragm diameter: 25.4mm
Capsule diameter: 32mm
Diaphragm gauge: 6 microns
200 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 132 dB
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
510g (17.99oz) 196mm (7.72'') 41mm (1.61'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Requires phantom power
  • Phantom voltage: 48v

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