Gear reviews

review: Avantone CR-14 ribbon mic

from the page: “The CR-14’s dual, low-mass ribbon element which enables a much better sensitivity rating than most single ribbon designs. This design lends to fast and accurate transient response, ultra-high 148 dB SPL capability, and overall stunning realism. It has a figure-8 audio directionality (pickup) pattern via front and rear, with extended sweet spots (as compared to Large Diaphragm condenser mics & single ribbon designs).”.

So here I am with a CR-14 to review. I invested quite some time to test it on different sources and within a mix and it behaves phenomenal for the price!

avantone ribbon_1



It seems to be an Alctron RM-14 with a different shockmount. I had the opportunity to get an alctron RM-14 as well and put them side by side and what feels better to me is the Avantone shockmount, the coloring and the overall look. The shockmount holds the mic well in place. The mic is solid and feels like that (pretty heavy).  The ribbon is made out of aluminum, which is a pretty fast transient responder (remember the aluminium cones in your Mackies?). It’s a dual ribbon btw, 2 microns thick and 5x35mm spaced. The official frequency response is 30khz up to 15khz. It felt more like 50hz to 12khz but that’s not measured, just a comparison to a Royer 121, a shinybox with Lundal and a LRM-1 from noHype audio. Actually it’s not a bad thing. 🙂

the maximum SPL is remarkable: 145dB (but they didn’t mention which dB they mean.. dBA, dBU..).



I put it on guitar and it had too much brightness compared to the other ribbons I use to own. I put it on drums and again, the brightness was remarkable. Not judging good or bad here, just mentioning that you will be surprised how much topend a ribbon can have. It didn’t work for me on guitars as I am going for the lowend and 10khz with a ribbon mic. It didn’t work on drums because I had too much zzzzizlll from the overheads on the mic. But then I put it on female vocals.. and this mic killed my Violet Amethyst, Neumann U67 (rented) and behaved better then most mics I use on female vox. I tested it on different female singers and problems only occured with very loud singers (one had this Nightwish opera-style singing going on) where I had self resonances from the mic itself. That usually happens with all mics below 1000 US$. The avantone costs 249US$! Calm down again. We are on track.

I put it again on guitars and this time not in front of the speaker, no.. I put it on the back of my 4×12″ Orange cabinet and this was big! turning the amp up and up (Laboga Alligator/London City MKIV if someone wants to know) got this enormous rumble and lowend coming out of the cabinet. It started to rattle and spark and the Avantone captured all that without problems. It sounded “huge” in terms of lowend representation and at the same time transporting the topend to my DAW.


beating the shit out of a mic:

I use to work near an airport (informatics.. servers and stuff for an IT-company) and hey.. I put the mic on a stand and a loudness meter. I recorded short bursts of audio when the 747 started and I can tell you, the mic lived well up to 125dBA and started to crackle afterswards. So, that’s the highest measured SPL for a ribbon so far in my small world. The good thing, it didn’t break (Royer tend to go nuts if you put too much pressure on the ribbon).



Halleluja. Great mic for the money, use something else in front of a guitar cabinet, use it on female vocals, maybe distant kickdrum mic or live for your favourite jazz bass sound, something that needs lowend and topend sizzle.

All you jetpilots out there: buy something else.


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