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Affordable Tube Condenser Microphone Roundup (Part 2)

Mic Roundup Part 2: Affordable Tube Condenser Mics
Mic Roundup Part 2: Affordable Tube Condenser Mics
Hi, this is Justin from Sonic Scoop, coming at you from Bronze Studios, and thanks to B&H, we’ve got a lineup of some affordable tube condenser mics that we get to compare to one another.

The last time we did one of these affordable condenser mics series, we did try out this Rode NTK microphone, and now you can hear me talking through this Rode NTK. This is probably one of the most popular tube condenser mics out there. It sells for just over $500. It has a really kind of bright, clear, forward sound. A really decent mic.

There’s not much in the way of control on this. It’s just a cardioid only microphone, no polar patterns, no low frequency roll offs, no bells and whistles. Just a decent sounding mic.

We have a few others here, the sE Electronics Z5600, the Lauten Audio 320, the Avantone CV12, and we’re going to kind of see how they stack up against this basis of comparison.

This mic here, the sE Electronics Z5600a to me is a very bright and clear mic. Maybe even a little brighter than the Rode NTK. One of its biggest selling points, even though it’s a bit more expensive than the Rode NTK, it does have nine polar patterns that you can select between, as well as a pad, a negative 10dB pad so you can bring down the level of the mic, and a low frequency roll off.

Also a decent mic, but quite a bit more expensive than the NTK if you want some of these additional features.

The next mic in this lineup is this Lauten Audio LA320. This is from Lauten Audio’s new Series Black. Right now, you’re actually hearing this mic with one of the unique features on this one, which is a high frequency roll off. This mic is naturally pretty bright and clear, but they allow you to roll off some top end, 12kHz and above if it sounds too bright for your tastes.


I’m going to go ahead and undo this high frequency roll off so you can hear the full top end of the mic, and if you’re on a good set of speakers or headphones, you may get a sense for some of the extra clarity of 12kHz and above.

So here we are now with this Lauten 320 with the high frequency roll off flat, and the low frequency roll off flat. Those are really the two features on this one. Nice, bright, clear sounding mic, but you have the option of a low frequency roll off and a high frequency roll off.

The last mic in this series is the Avantone CV12, and the Avantone CV12 is probably one of the other most popular, affordable tube condensers. To me, this is a little bit more kind of full bodied than the rest of these mics, maybe a little bit smoother sounding, not quite as bright and crispy, but this can be really pleasant, and if some of these tube condensers are too bright for you, the Avantone CV12 might be the way to go. It also has a low frequency roll off, it has a negative 10dB pad, and it does have polar pattern adjustments on the power supply.

Well, you’ve heard me talk through each of these. I think it would be great to hear these on some acoustic guitar and vocals. We’ve got a great singer/songwriter with us today. Name is Sulene. Really excited to dive in a little deeper and hear these things in action. Let’s give them a shot.

[acoustic guitar, Avantone CV-12 into API 3124]

[vocals, Avantone CV-12 into API 3124]

[vocals and acoustic]

[acoustic guitar, Lauten LA-320 into API 3124]

[vocals, Lauten LA-320 into API 3124]

[vocals and acoustic]

[acoustic guitar, sE Electronics Z5600a into API 3124]

[vocals, sE Electronics Z5600a into API 3124]

[vocals and acoustic]

Thanks for joining me for this roundup of affordable tube mics, and thanks to Sulene for playing and singing for us so we could really get a sense for how they sound.

This has been Justin of Sonic Scoop at Bronze Studios. Big thanks to B&H for helping us put this whole thing together. Want more great videos like this one? Go to b&, go to, and I’ll see you next time.


Justin Colletti

Justin Colletti has been obsessing about audio for more than 20 years, and working in the field for nearly 15 years. Learn more from Justin in Mixing Breakthroughs.