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C1 Specifications
Type: 1 FET condenser microphone with
1" 6 micron single diaphragm
Polar pattern: cardioid
Freq. response: 20 - 20,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 14mV/Pa = -37dB
(0dB = 1V/Pa)
Output imp: < 200 Ohm
Load imp: > 1000 Ohm
Max. SPL 131dB SPL for 1% THD @ 1000Hz
(0dB SPL=0.00002Pa)
Noise (Line): 27dB (A weighted)
S/N: 77dB
Power req: 48 +/- 4V
Current consumption: < 2.5mA
Circuit: transformerless circuit, featuring extremely low self noise and large dynamic range
Connector: Gold-plated 3-pin XLR
Size: dia: 2.1" length: 8.9"
Weight: 26.9 oz.
At the NAMM show, I was able to A/B the mic with a Neumann U-87, and though the show itself was noisy, I found the C1's self-noise to be slightly lower than that of the U-87. In my first tests, I set up an AKG 414, an Audio Technica 4050, and the Studio Projects C1. Using vocal improvisation as opposed to a steady test tone, the C1 output was 6 to 10dB hotter than either the AKG or the Audio Technica. I've worked with the 414 extensively (vocals, drums, trumpet, you name it), and have done several weeks of recording vocals with the Audio Technica. Aside from the added output (I attenuated the C1 appropriately to compare), the C1 gave me a warmth, a clarity, a sheen in the upper mids and highs, yea, a presence that I did not experience with the other two mics. Excuse me, I have to go dance a tango now.

Speaking of presence, my experience with a Neumann U-87 was somewhat different than that of the C1. The Neumann has a quality that I want to compare to a telephoto lens. Everything in its field is more reachable, seems closer. There's a certain presence that a Neumann mic posesses.

To test this further, I contacted Hook Studios in North Hollywood. Hook advertises an array of vintage mics, including a stock U-87 and a Klaus Heyne-modified U-87. I asked them if they were interested in a shootout, and studio owner Mike Frenchik graciously complied.

Staff engineer Toshi Kasai set us up with the Studio Projects C1, and AKG 414-EB (silver body), a stock U-87, the Klaus Heyne U-87, and a U-67. The comparison to the EB 414 was similar to the previous 414, with about 10dB greater output on the C1. The 414 is a clean, precise mic, with little coloration. For certain vocals and instruments, that comes across as lackluster. Sometimes that's not what you want.

Believe it or not, the Studio Projects held up against the Klaus Heyne modified mic. There's a definition in the high-end that the Klaus Heyne mods are noted for, and the Studio Projects mic did not posess this definition. However, there's a presence and robustness in the mids
that this U-87 had, that was closer in quality to the Studio Projects mic than the stock U-87. I could dance on and on about audio gear, but instead, I'll post the recordings we did of each of the mics. Click for short uncompressed clips recorded with each mic. These are finger-picked acoustic guitar clips at 44.1kHz/16-bit, courtesy of Toshi Kasai.

Ultimately, each of the Neumanns had a signature sound, as did the Studio Projects C1. Not even taking the price of the C1 into consideration, this mic stood up to some rather hefty opponents, and emerged as a contender. For any studio that runs out of mics quickly, or just doesn't want to bust out the name brand mics for a generic session, it would serve them to have a pair of these around.

Hook Studio's analog control room

For any studio that needs an array of mics, or even just one good vocal mic, this is an excellent sounding piece of equipment. Sturdy in its construction, you just cannot beat the Studio Projects C1 for the money. Find out more about the C1, C3, and T3 microphones at www.pmiaudio.com.

I want to give a shout out to The Hook Sound Studios in North Hollywood, CA. Hook sports a great-sounding analog room with a vintage Neve 8068, and a tasty array of microphones (which may include a couple of C1s in the near future). They also have a digital room with a Neve Logic 3. Recent projects include the Tool, Sugar Bomb w/ Mark Endert producing, Dan Hicks w/ Ricky Lee Jones and Bette Midler, and Aimmee Mann's Bachelor #2 CD. Check them out at www.geocities.com/thehookstudios.

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JD Mars is the producer of Digital Pro Sound.



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