join

ADK TC-47Au Tube Microphone Review

Brandon Drury —  January 9, 2012 — Leave a comment

I keep my microphone reviews short and sweet.

ADK-TC-47AU
I boxed up the ADK TC-47 to send off to it’s rightful owner, u2redLight, the winner of the ADK Mics Metal Mayhem contest.  I was sad to see it go.

The ADK TC-47 is doing the U47 kind of thing.  This means it’s designed to sound BIG BIG BIG.  It does.  For voiceover work, you definitely get that God-like feeling.  When using the proximity effect to your advantage and eating the mic, this thing gets larger than life.  You instantly hear that double bowling ball pants sound that the big time DJ’s use on the radio commercials.  It’s a monster.

For rock and metal you can’t really get away with this larger than life sound and you have to use some high pass filtering or low shelving to get it to fit in a dense mic.  For softer, more sparse acoustic stuff this mic is BAD ASS.  It’s got that enormous low end you’d expect from a tube mic in this price range.  It’s always an “expensive sounding” low end…whether you want it or not.

I never had a shred of sibilance problems with ADK TC-47.  In cases where I used extreme compression and decided to use a de-esser, I was barely getting the blue light meter to show up with the UAD Precision de-esser.  This was impressive.

On acoustic guitar, my Neumann KM84 had a bit more sparkle and my Gefell M930s were a hair more “hi-fi”.  Most people only reach for a U47-type tube mic for acoustic guitar when they want something slightly  vintage-like….whatever that means.  For that application, the U47 nailed it.

On electric guitars, I wasn’t in love with it, but my guitar cabs in my live room often have more bottom than I want.  Backing the mic off the cab helped, but my crappy little room doesn’t making distant micing too practical, either.  I could see this mic being pretty fun on Fender amps, particularly when overdriven.  Fender amps, generally speaking, don’t do the mammoth low end that many of the old Marshall amps do.

On tambourine and percussion, the ADK TC-47Au had no problem keeping up with the high frequency transients.  As a general rule 47-style mics are intended to be a hair slow and this generally makes them  good for things like tambourine which can get a bit too sparkly with a faster mic.  That’s subjective.  I guess it’s fair to say the ADK TC-47Au handles the key test quite well, but in more  practical, unhyped way.

In the months that I used it, it was 100% reliable except for one session where I tried to use it 5 minutes after turning it on to **** up.  Being a tube mic, it plays much nicer when you give it 30-60 minutes of lead time. I did manage to only let it **** up for 20 minutes for one session with zero problems.

Downsides

The shockmount is much like my U99 and I don’t love the way the mic mounts to it.  The mic slides into two circular clamps with pads on them.  You tighten those clamps and the mic stays put.  I found that I had to SERIOUSLY tighten them.  Missouri humidity is always a test for this kind of thing and the glue wasn’t perfect that held the shockmount pads together.  Once I tightened it as tight as my wimpy little typing fingers could go, the mic had zero issues.  In all fairness, the only shockmount I ever praise is the style where the mic actually screws directly to the shockmount.  If you don’t use that design, I’m probably going to bitch….and here I am.

The low end on this mic was hit or miss.  I mean that I tried it on a screamo vocal and it was just way too much low end.  Heavy filtering would have been needed.  Even when backing abourt 24” from the mic, it’s still fairly thick.  I generally don’t like to record that far back in  my room anyway so it wasn’t an option I could fully explore.  While a combination of high pass and low shelving helped thin the mic out for denser mixes, I generally don’t love to do this.  With that said, most of us would prefer a mic that’s a hair dark and a maybe too thick over a mic that’s thin and too bright.

Conclusion

ADK is a real-deal mic company.  I thought their $199  ADK S51 MK5.2  was an incredible deal…probably best thing going in the $199 range.  However, it’s clear to me now that ADK’s upper end microphones are right up there with mics in the $2,000 ballpark.  I felt the  ADK TC-47 was a step above my Peluso 2247 short body which has quite a bit more bark in the upper midrange.  (A power supply issue in the Peluso kept me from doing a fair test between the two.)

The  ADK TC-47au is highly recommended for anyone looking for the 47 sound for huge vocals.  The only problem is figuring out whether to do with the TC-47 or their upper end ADK custom shop offerings.  I’m not even sure what they could improve, honestly.

Brandon

Saved Comments


artzeal – 01-03-2012, 01:55 PM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

Thank you Brandon for reviews you can use. A clear sense of what it does and how is conveyed. I’d rather wrestle with big low end on a mic of this type than compromise on anything else. A high pass filter would be nice, but I’m sure there’s reasons for not including one. Sounds like it handles transients just the way I want in a tube mic.

brandondrury’s Avatar
brandondrury – 01-03-2012, 05:18 PM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

A high pass filter would be nice
For this, you’d really want to deal with this during mixing with a parametric EQ. That’s what I intended when mentioning this in the article anyway.

Sounds like it handles transients just the way I want in a tube mic.
Yes. There’s something exactly right about the way this thing handles the midrange that I really liked.

Brandon

nulldevice’s Avatar
nulldevice – 01-03-2012, 06:39 PM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

I would hope the 47au contends with a $2000 mic – it’s MSRP is nearly that!

m24p’s Avatar
m24p – 01-03-2012, 10:39 PM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

Quote Originally Posted by brandondrury View Post
For this, you’d really want to deal with this during mixing with a parametric EQ. That’s what I intended when mentioning this in the article anyway.
Or during tracking with EQ before the compressor… And then fine tune it later ITB if you didn’t quite nail it exactly as the mix needed on the way in. At least you’ll be closer and won’t have your compressor responding as oddly. I don’t tend to like much EQ after compression very often. Either way, lots of preamps and mixers have HPF built-in, so I can’t say I find them super useful on mics. (The Golden Age Pre 73 doesn’t have one, so I do you the SM7B’s HPF with it.)

brandondrury’s Avatar
brandondrury – 01-04-2012, 01:40 PM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

I don’t tend to like much EQ after compression very often.
It was reassuring when Dave Pensado said he likes to cut before a compressor and boost after. Personally, I’m fairly certain I had the patent on that, but this isn’t the first trick he stole from me.

For most of the review of the TT-47AU I was experimenting with a zero compression phase that I ultimately ended up hating almost as much as over compression…maybe more. Hell, time to start a thread on that. Overcompression vs Undercompression

Much of the vocal “meat” I was talking about is more like 100-150Hz, which these sorts of filters rarely deal with.

Brandon

Audio~Geek’s Avatar
Audio~Geek – 01-04-2012, 06:25 PM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

lots of typos dude.

Seems like a pretty sweet mic.

Producer / Engineer’s Avatar
Producer / Engineer – 01-06-2012, 08:32 PM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

Out of 24 mics in the studio, this is one of my favorite mics and one of the first one’s to go “up” on male vocals. Truthfully it lives on a mic stand.
If I want more air, the TC251AU goes up, and if I want something that is more neutral, the KSM32 comes out.
We use 8 ADK mics, and use them very often. Big ADK fan here.

u2redlight’s Avatar
u2redlight – 01-07-2012, 04:18 PM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

can’t wait to find some time & record something decent with it. this fools I’m dealing with right now take me so much time I can’t find time to play with this new monster.

Mackanov’s Avatar
Mackanov – 01-08-2012, 08:18 PM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

Quote Originally Posted by nulldevice View Post
I would hope the 47au contends with a $2000 mic – it’s MSRP is nearly that!
Ah, the MSRP, aka consumer bait.

nulldevice’s Avatar
nulldevice – 01-10-2012, 08:37 AM
Report Post
Edit
Reply

True, but even after a markdown, it’s still not exactly a cheap mic. Street on a 47AU is still roughly $1500. That’s pretty close to in price to the 2247 mentioned above.

 

Brandon Drury

Posts Twitter Facebook Google+

Brandon Drury quit counting at 1,200 recorded songs in his busy home recording studio. He is the creator of RecordingReview.com and is the author of the Killer Home Recording series.
join

No Comments

Be the first to start the conversation.

Leave a Reply