In 1916 the condenser microphone was patented in an attempt to increase the sound quality of telephones. After another 84 years, the CAD M179 came along. EC Wente, the inventor of the condenser microphone, would have never imagined his invention would become as widespread as it is today.
Even by today's standards, the CAD M179 stands out as a unique condenser microphone. Where most microphones have an option of set polar patterns, the CAD M179's pattern is infinitely adjustable. Rather than choosing individual patterns, the CAD M179 has a knob that continuously adjusts its pattern. This feature makes the CAD M179 a unique microphone that may be just what your setup needs.
Closest Options to the CAD M179
It's difficult to find microphones that perform similarly to the CAD M179 at its price point. There are cardioid microphones out there that sound better than the CAD M179, but they usually lack pattern adjustment and the ability to record instruments. The closest microphone regarding versatility to the CAD M179 is most likely the Blue Yeti Pro. When it comes to audio quality, the SE Electronics SE2200a II C and Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ are most likely the closest you'll find for a reasonable price.
SE Electronics SE2200a II C
The SE 2200a II C is a large diaphragm condenser cardioid microphone with a smooth sound to it. When it comes to features, the SE 2200a II C has a -10db pad and high-pass filter. Unfortunately, this model is locked into the cardioid pattern, so it's best for those looking to record vocals. As far as frequency response goes, the curve is relatively flat beside two "bumps" at 3-6kHz and at 10-15kHz.
- Condenser microphone with USB output for digital recording
- High quality A/D converter with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kilohertz sampling rate for superb audio
- Headphone jack with volume control allows you to monitor the microphone signal with no delay
- Mix control allows you to blend your microphone signal and pre recorded audio
- High output internal headphone amplifier delivers superior clarity and musical detail as well as more volume overall
Another microphone that has great value for its price is the AT2020USB+. This cardioid condenser USB microphone has a clear sound that's due to its generally flat frequency response. Vocals sound excellent through the microphone, and it's still able to record instruments well. On the microphone, you'll find a headphone jack for real-time monitoring.
Along with the headphone jack, you'll find a knob to adjust the headphone volume as well as a knob to mix the microphone audio with pre-recorded audio.
Blue 1967 Yeti Pro
- Three custom condenser capsules and four different polar pattern settings: Cardioid, Stereo, Bidirectional and Omnidirectional
- Cutting-edge A-D converter chip and separate analog circuit path for use with professional studio mixers and preamps
- Built-in headphone amplifier for zero-latency monitoring, and direct controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, mute, and microphone gain
- 15 Hz - 22 kHz frequency response. Headphone Amplifier: Signal to Noise 114dB. Yeti Pro is not capable of simultaneous analog and digital operation. To ensure proper operation, only connect the digital (USB) or analog (XLR) connectors at any given time. In the event Yeti Pro becomes unresponsive, simply unplug all connections for 10 seconds and re-connect your Yeti Pro with the desired output cable.
- 192 kHz/24 bit Sample/Word. Proprietary capsule design to capture sounds with detail and articulation
One of the more stylish microphones on the market is the multipattern Blue Yeti Pro USB Condenser microphone. A unique feature of this microphone is that it's both USB and XLR compatible, bringing a lot of versatility to the table. The ease of the USB compatibility is nothing to be scoffed at. Simply plug the Blue Yeti Pro into a computer, and it'll be ready to go. The microphone is also able to record in cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo patterns. Along with multiple patterns, the Blue Yeti Pro allows you to control the gain and headphone volume of the microphone. There's also a mute button and pattern selection switch for ease of use.
What's Special About the CAD M179?
- Equitek large dual diaphragm capsule
- Infinitely adjustable polar pattern
- 20Hz to 20KHz frequency response; 36dBV (16 mV) @ 1 Pa sensitivity
- 200 Ohms impedance; 143dB (pad engaged) max SPL; 11dBA self noise
- 100Hz, 6dB/Oct Hi-Pass; 20dB Attenuator
The CAD M179 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone with an infinitely variable polar pattern. That means whether you're recording drums, vocals, string instruments, or basically anything else, you'll be able to use the CAD M179. Because of this, the CAD M179 will be a dream for many audio engineers. Whether you're recording a live performance, a solo studio session, or a room of guests for a podcast, the CAD M179 will be ready for the task.
Pros and Cons
There's a fine balance between the pros and cons of the CAD M179. On the other, the overall design on the CAD M179 is less than desirable.
Features of the CAD M179
For a beginner to a mid-tier microphone, the CAD M179 has most of the features you'd expect. Although it's not packed to the absolute brim with features, it still manages to rise above expectations.
On the CAD M179 is a knob that allows you to control the polar pattern of the microphone. You can set the microphone to cardioid, hyper cardioid, subcardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and anywhere in between. The ability to modify the polar pattern as much as you wish makes the CAD M179 a very versatile microphone. And to avoid confusion, there are five marks on the pattern control knob, giving you the ability to switch between modes quickly. The cardioid position is also centrally located and detented to allow you to switch back to the mode when needed easily.
The CAD M179 has a 20dB pad so you can compensate for situations where your audio source will be very loud.
With a high-pass filter, you can keep your mic from picking up low-frequency sounds. Often if you don't have a high-pass filter you'll pick up sounds caused by a passing individual or vehicle. Someone walking by your microphone stand can cause enough movement to shake your microphone, making a low-frequency "rumbling" sound. Another source of low-frequency sound you'd want to filter out is the sound of an HVAC system. If you plan on taking your microphone outside, then a high-pass filter can also help remove the sound of wind blowing on your mic.
Dual diaphragms sit within the CAD M179 that are 1.1-inch gold sputtered. An internal stainless steel pop/EMI filter sits within the microphone as well. Along with the filter, there's a "6dB/Octave @ 100Hz high-pass filter" and a "20 dB non-capacitive pad." The entire microphone weighs four pounds and has dimensions of 10 x 7 x 4 inches.
If you're looking to record vocals exclusively, you may be able to get away with a cheaper cardioid microphone. However, if you plan on recording vocals as well as other various instruments the CAD M179 could be just the microphone you're looking for. The adjustable pattern of the CAD M179 lets you set up the microphone for a wide range of situations, making it quite the workhorse.