Studio Projects C1, C3 – The Tape Op Review

TapeOp Issue #27/January, 2002 | by

You’ve probably heard something already about all the inexpensive mics being manufactured in China, with the idea being that they capture the magic and essence of the classic German mics at a fraction of the cost. I am not here to debate the issue but I am going to tell you how the new C-1 and C-3 mics from Studio Projects performed in actual studio applications for me.

The C-3 has a -10 dB pad and cardioid, omni and figure of 8 polar patterns, while the C-1 has no pad and is cardioid only. I first used both while re-amping some mixes I was doing. I sent a dead, dull, crappy snare sound out from Pro Tools LE to the amp. With the C-3 on the amp about six inches away and the C-1 a few feet away I got a snappy, airy composite, just what I needed for the mix.

The true test though came in a tracking session where I used each of the mics on amps and as room mics. The only significant difference I noticed between the C-1 and C-3 as far as character, compared to the Audio-Technicas I usually use, was that the C-series mics had a little more “air”, a little more open to my ears, which was perfect in the room applications anyway. My electric guitar tracks needed less EQ than the tracks I had recorded with an SM57 or AKG C3000 on the amp.

On vocals I’ve been specifically looking for a mic to brighten up my sound a bit. I also seem, like many male baritone/tenors, to have a problem around the 600-800 Hz range. I had been looking into some old, used mics another engineer friend had turned me on to but they’re usually too crispy to use in other applications. The C-3 gave me a robust sound not unlike the U47 I used for my last record but with definitely more “air” and less gunk in the lower mids. On acoustic guitar both mics performed well but not quite as good as the Audio-Technica and Carvin tube mics I had been using.

All in all I’d say they’re pretty decent mics for a great price. I will certainly find a lot of uses for the C-1 and C-3. Are they gonna’ replace your vintage mics? Uh, no, but did you really think that you were getting a vintage mic for these prices? (C-1 is around $220, the C-3 about $350)

Read more about the Studio Projects C1.
Read more about the Studio Projects C3.

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