Line Audio CM3 Review

 

It was this time last year that I purchased a matched pair of Line Audio CM3 mics.

I had heard the rumours on forums like gearslutz and they sounded too good to be true, so it was time to bite the bullet and buy a pair.

The microphones are a small diaphragm condenser microphone handmade by one man in Sweden, they are designed to be extremely flat, colourless and accurate with a wide cardioid pattern, and share a similar sound tonally to schoeps… but without the price tag.

click here http://www.lineaudio.se/CM3.html for more detailed information and specs.

When I first saw them in the flesh I couldn’t believe how small they are, measuring just 77mm long x 20mm diameter, they are also extremely light and black in colour, they come in a nice looking transparent plastic box which holds the mic, clip and windshield in one place.

Line Audio CM3-3

Lets talk about the sound now: 

When I first plugged in the matched pair I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing for this kind of price tag, I own and have used some very high end and expensive mics and these microphones had very similar characteristics in terms of quality, and off axis colouration.

I first tried the mics on some classical guitar, steel string guitar, percussion, piano and then recording some ambience. I was particularly impressed with how well it handles classical and steel string guitars and after trying different micing techniques; AB, Spaced Pair and XY, there was something I really liked about XY and the wide cardiod, the bass end just blooms more with the extra spill/crossover from the slightly omni widecardiod pattern.

Next I experimented with different mic positions and found that it works best a little bit closer than usual, around 1 foot away from the source, I would usually have the mic a bit further back and other mics I own have more reach in this area.

Proximity effect isn’t as extreme as a normal cardiod pattern mic either.

The sound that the CM3 mics produce is very natural and accurate sounding, it has a particularly smooth high end with no boost whatsoever, this is usually only found in more expensive mics.

That is the main thing that attracted me to these mics in the first place, it’s rare to find condenser mics with these characteristics especially for a low price.

The sound they produce isn’t accurately brutal, it’s accurately flattering and it will enhance the source, improving whatever you throw at them.

The problem I have found with the majority of modern mics is the obsession with boosted high end that is built in to the sound that you can’t remove later, if this is something that bugs you then finally someone is making a pair of mics that is not only affordable, it sounds almost as good as microphones costing literally ten times the price.

The only difference between these mics and the more expensive options is the self noise, but if you have a decent mic preamp that is quiet, it will never be a problem, I also wouldn’t use these mics too far away from the source, for the same reason.

If you are in the UK or Europe I’d recommend searching for ‘nohypeaudio’ on ebay where I bought my pair from, there is usually a waiting list, but trust me it’s worth waiting for!

this is the best £200 I have ever spent on a pair of small diaphragm mics.

I hope you enjoyed my review, let me know if it had value to you.

©Ben Tyreman – 2016.

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