I think it is safe to say that ADK Microphones certainly gained its popularity and worldwide fame from the A-51 valve microphone that ended up in so many home and professional studios. This was a microphone that not only met the needs of many musicians’ budgets, but also delivered exceptional quality that had many people at a loss to how good they sounded. The A-51 has come out on top on numerous microphone shootouts and blind listening tests, because it was so good for what it offered. I recently had access to a pair of them that were serviced and loaded with select valves, and they were hard to give back. moving on from the A-51, ADK has set out to deliver a range of microphones that captures the soul and warmth of so many classic European microphones from over the last century. They were not interested in creating a budget range of microphones that just grabbed a quick sale, instead they have focused on creating the ideal capsules and electronics to faithfully emulate certain microphone characteristics and improve on previous tone. Best of all, I got to play with three models this month that all stood up on their own.
The team at ADK refer to this microphone as a ‘true Swiss Army knife’ and that is pretty spot on when you get it in action. It has plenty to offer for not only a range of vocal applications, but also plenty of instrument uses as well. This is a multi-pattern, dual capsule design that has a range of tricks available to handle any situation. It works great on medium to loud SPL signals, so you can use it for big rock vocals, guitar amps and even drums if you like. It offers Cardioid, Figure-of-8 and Omni polar patterns with a range of extras. A three-stage high-pass filter allows you to take control of low frequency rumble and an 8dB and 18dB pad allows you to tame even to most aggressive of audio signals. There is also a high frequency switch that gives you control over the top end, allowing you to create a more mellow signal right at the microphone’s capsule should you wish.
This is a microphone for the audio purist who wants to remove any unnecessary impedance in the signal as it travels from the capsule to the preamp. There are not switches, polar pattern changes or pads on this unit, just a beautiful sound with upgraded electronics and long-life components. The result is a microphone that not only oozes rich warmth, but also has a little bit of brilliance in its sound too, giving it a more neutral tone to others in the range, so it sounds a little like a few familiar capsules from around Europe. As a vocal microphone, this is a real joy to listen to, but it isn’t out of place when used for instrument applications either. With both male and female vocals this is one microphone that just sound sweet before you even consider tweaking the EQ in your console.
HAMBURG EDITION MK8
The Hamburg Edition is a cardioid FET condenser microphone that is designed to replicate the tones and characteristics of certain German microphones from the 1950’s. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this is then going to be a popular microphone as ADK don’t do things by halves and will be able to capture a specific tone in a certain microphone when they set out to do so. This mic features a low-pass filter and a 14dB pad for certain high SPL applications. It is, when all is said and done, a really great microphone for vocals, capturing the essence of valve microphones from the past. Those of you seeking a more modest, vintage tone in your vocals, especially for blues, jazz and classic opera, this microphone is going to leave you wanting to hear more. But it isn’t limited to just that, it will deliver the goods on instruments as well. I just wish I had a piano here to try it out as I am sure the results would have been stunning.
Hits and Misses
Great selection of classic microphone tones
Excellent construction with quality parts
Amazing sound quality across the range
Not in everyone’s price range