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Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone  From Manley

Manley's Cardioid-Only studio workhorse microphone. Known for vocals, this mic performs well on a variety of instruments as well. While not a vintage microphone, the Ref C is certainly a studio classic!

Manley Laboratories Inc

$2,999.00

Retail:  $3,000.00

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What We Think

This mic isn't a clone, nor is it supposed to "sound" like anything from yesteryear. It is just supposed to sound good (and that it does!).  We'd describe the Reference Cardioid as a very modern and forward mic. Very low self-noise, great detail and a slight push up around 8k. This push really allows the microphone to sit "up" in busy modern mixes without having an over sibilant presence. The proximity effect is also on point, which allows the user to really dial in the low-end presence if more is needed.  

This mic is hailed as a workhorse for the studio (piano, drum OH, guitars, etc), but for my money, this is mainly a vocal mic that can sound great on other sources.  The detail does allow you to use it in a plethora of instruments, but to me, this is mic made for vocals, especially vocals that are sitting in denser mixes.  

If you are looking for a great all-around vocal mic, with a touch of top end push, the Manley Reference Cardioid is a great place to start.

Tour of Types Vocal Mic Shootout: Shure SM7B vs AEA R44 CXE vs Manley Ref C vs Neumann U87Ai

In this video, we put four different types of microphones up against each other on female vocals: the Shure SM7B (Dynamic Mic), the AEA R44 CXE (Ribbon Mic), the Manley Ref C (LDC Tube Mic), and the Neumann U87Ai (Solid State LDC Mic). Joining us for this shootout are Ayisa Adderley (vocals) and Caige Crampshee (guitar) from the band Eyes Eat Suns. Check them out at WWW.EYESEATSUNS.BAND.

Manufacturer's Description from Manley

The Reference Cardioid Microphone shares the same electronic attributes as the Gold Reference Series, but has a center-fixed cardioid-only capsule with a thicker gauge (6 micron) gold sputtered diaphragm. With the similar film thickness and construction, similar high frequency resonance (a little edge), similar proximity effect and pretty good immunity from pops and sibilance problems, our Reference Cardioid more closely recalls how many of the vintage European tube mics such as the beloved U47 sounded like when they were new. Its rich tonal balance and liquid character is consistently admired for instruments such as guitars, drum overheads, saxophone, and especially vocals. With your present mic, if you find yourself leaning on your compressors and boosting 5 or 10K to score a bit more testosterone, then the Reference Cardioid just might be the mic you’re looking for to cure what ails ya. If you seem to be constantly boosting 12-18K and trying to get a clean, intimate sound, then probably the Reference Gold would be the safest bet.

Manley Laboratories Inc

About Manufacturer

The MANLEY brand has been around since the late 1980's. Manley's first commercially available products were upper echelon high-fidelity vacuum tube amplifiers and preamplifiers constructed at the old Vacuum Tube Logic of America factory.

In this history lesson, we'd like to direct special focus on our people at Manley Labs. The people whose years of dedication, service, and expertise bring you people, our customers, these products. It's all about the people...

On January 30, 1989, a 20 year old EveAnna on sabbatical from her studies at Columbia University met the crew and was hired on to the production team. Baltazar Hernandez, already with two years experience, taught her how to solder in those first few days. It was in 1989 that the first Manley professional products were developed, starting with the original 1u Reference 60dB Microphone Preamplifier and soon followed by our Manley Enhanced Pultec and Mid Frequency Equalizers. Baltazar and EveAnna, busy building gear, were soon joined by Saulo and Ramiro. Just next door, Elias was employed by a printed circuit board maker later brought into the Manley Labs fold when in 1993, Manley Laboratories, Inc. became a separate entity apart from VTL. The new Manley Labs factory at 13880 Magnolia Ave. in beautiful and bovine Chino, California was outfitted to house the Manley HiFi and Pro Studio manufacturing as well as the Langevin production lines, our newly acquired machine shop, and printed circuit board facilities.

Specifications

  • All-Tube triode design 12AT7 (2011 build. Previous versions used 12AX7 and 6072.)
  • -10 dB switchable pad
  • Frequency response: 10Hz-30KHz
  • Sensitivity: 17mV/Pa
  • Noise typically -120dB EIN
  • Max SPL: 150dB
  • Actual output impedance 200 Ohms
  • Weight: 2.25 lbs (mic)
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs (PSU)
  • Size: 4.5" x 9.7" x 4.5" (mic)
  • Size: 5" x 8.2" x 3.4" (PSU)
  • Shipping weight: 15 lbs
  • Selected matched pairs available
  • Outboard Power Supply is factory set for 100V, 120V or 220-240VAC operation for original destination country's mains voltage.
  • Operating Mains Voltage changeable with power transformer re-wiring via internal jumpers and fuse value change.
  • Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~ 60Hz
  • Mains Fuse: 250mA @ 100~120V; 125mA @ 220~240V operation
  • Power Consumption: 70mA @ 120V = 8.4 Watts