MIKTEK CV4 TUBE MICROPHONE
Miltek’s multi-national CV4 tube condenser has arrived in Australia, and it’s got a nice zing to it.
Review: Greg Walker
The large diaphragm tube condenser market is pretty crowded these days so it’s an ambitious company that embarks on this well-trodden road with a new offering. Apart from the asking price, the main points of difference between many of the current crop are in their design (classic or modern), their voicing, versatility and of course their mode of manufacture and country of origin. Miktek has a somewhat unique claim in this last instance, being hand built in Asia from local, US and European components and then tested and packaged in Nashville, Tennessee.
SUPPLY & DEMAND
The CV4 is not a clone of any classic tube microphone but out of the box I liked the cut of its jib. The large silver grille houses the proprietary Miktek MK9 1-inch dual diaphragm capsule and the long matte nickel body is separated from the capsule by a little black rubber collar which lends the mic a stylish, dare I say, clerical air. The classic microphone it most resembles physically is undoubtedly the AKG C12, but unlike that very collectible classic the CV4 offers nine polar patterns from a compact power supply. The high-voltage circuit incorporates an AMI T7 transformer and NOS Telefunken EF800 tube. The CV4 comes in a sweet little cherrywood box within a professional looking flight case along with a serious suspension mount, 7-pin XLR cable, PSU and manual as well as an individual frequency response graph of each mic. So off the bat I was impressed by the hardware and build quality as well as the look of the CV4.
Soon, I was away with the CV4 and it got a lot of use on a variety of sources as I beavered away at a TV scoring job. My first impressions of the Miktek sound were favourable. I really liked it on my voice and it did a good job on a bunch of acoustic sources like guitars and percussion. It struck me as by no means a dull mic, lending a detailed zinginess to most sounds it captured. Looking at the frequency response chart backed up what I was hearing, with a gentle rise showing between 1kHz and 4kHz followed by a slight dip around the sibilant 6-7kHz frequencies before rising again strongly around the 10kHz region. I should qualify this though by saying that the CV4’s top end is quite sweet and much more useful than the brittle top end of some cheaper condensers I have tried.
Further down the scale the mic is pretty flat and has a tight, accurate midrange and bottom end. I found the Miktek a little scratchy on violin and cello but it really hit the sweet spot with electric guitars where I got beautiful crisp realisations of my Fender amps with great tonal balance and plenty of chime. Another great application for this mic is as a drum overhead. I found a number of really good positions for it with the polar pattern tuned to a wider cardioid, which captured nice articulation across the kit while also gathering up some room ambience. Coming back to vocals, the CV4 did a great job capturing a female vocalist — again plenty of airy highs without anything too nasty, and good body in the midrange.
I think the Miktek CV4 is a mic that will divide opinion. High-end purists will shake their heads at the multi-national approach to microphone manufacture and the pronounced upper frequency response. The counter argument to this, of course, is that the CV4 doesn’t cost four grand and require velvet gloves to handle.
While the mic is bright it does sound good and, truth be told, I’ve seen those same high end purists many a time adding bucketloads of top end EQ to the sound of their expensive vintage mics. While it’s good to have dark mics in your cupboard, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the odd brighter one too, and for the money I reckon the Miktek CV4 is well worth checking out for yourself. I certainly missed it when it left the studio and I particularly enjoyed singing through it. If you’re in the market for a mid-priced tube condenser that covers quite a few bases there’s a new face in the crowd and your decision just got that little bit harder.