Avantone is an audio-equipment manufacturer that, in its own words, “bring(s) to market the things we see as missing in the industry. This can be as simple as a certain price point we feel should be met to give excellent quality for reasonable pricing. At other times, it may be an item that simply does not exist until we build it.” The present focus is on speakers and microphones, and the speakers fall squarely into the latter camp.
A long-time staple of high-end studios, the small cube-shaped Auratone 5C Sound Cubes were used as reference speakers for checking the balance of mixes that might find their way onto non high-end playback systems, such as TVs and other consumer items. Much to the disappointment of professional mixing engineers, the originals were discontinued many years ago. Today, the original concept is available in an updated form and in several new configurations.
The MixCube Powered Full-Range Mini Reference Monitors are shielded, full-range monitors for use in fixed or remote locations and are available in cream- or black-finished pairs or individually. The 5.25-inch die-cast aluminum frame driver/cone assembly is powered by a built-in 60-watt amplifier. Construction of the cabinets has been enhanced, resulting in a smooth, more open, transparent top-end response with extended bass, while maintaining the basic character of the originals.
The MixCubes Full-Range Mini Reference Monitors are passive versions of the Powered MixCubes, and are also available in cream and black pairs, or individually. The recommended power rating for the shielded and full-range speakers is 50 to 200 watts of solid-state power, or 10 to 100 watts of tube power, per speaker. Like the active versions, the cabinets are made from a highly rigid and dense MDF board for low resonance performance. Machined solid metal binding posts accept bare wire, spade lugs or single or dual banana plugs.
The company’s microphones offer impressive performance at down-to-earth prices. The CK6 and CK7 are, respectively, a cardioid and multi-pattern large-capsule FET condenser microphone. The body and capsule assembly of each are precision-machined brass with an elegant Cabernet Wine-Red finish, accented with polished nickel trim. The CK-6 features a 32mm gold-sputtered Mylar capsule, while the CK-7 has a 35mm gold-sputtered Mylar capsule offering cardioid, omni, and figure-8 patterns.
The CK40 is a stereo, multi-pattern FET microphone with a similar body construction and finish to the other CK models and features twin 35mm center terminated pressure gradient transducers that provide accurate stereo imaging without phase issues. The top assembly rotates up to 180° relative to the lower assembly that, along with the independent multi-pattern selector, allows for various stereo recording techniques to be utilized, including XY-Coincident/Blumlein, and M-S.
For drum miking, drum overheads, acoustic instruments or for recording piano, the CK1 small-capsule FET pencil microphone delivers professional results. Visually it follows the construction and color scheme of the other CK series microphones but, as is common with this style of microphone, it includes a 10 dB pad and an 80 Hz low-cut filter. Two additional capsules are included, providing hyper-cardioid and omni patterns, in addition to the standard cardioid capsule. An included shock mount takes care of unwanted vibrations.
Speaking of drums, the CDMK-8 8-Mic Drum Mics Kit solves the issue of miking up an entire kit. Housed in a deluxe tweed case, the kit includes a kick drum microphone, snare microphone, three tom microphones and three CK-1 microphones. Mounting hardware and the appropriate SSM shock mounts are included. The SSM shock mount is solidly constructed from zinc, and four o-rings will hold most small-body microphones securely while "floating" them away from body-to-body contact. Additionally, the o-rings can also be positioned in an "x" configuration to allow a better fit on the very slim barrels of some measurement-type microphones.
Rounding out the company’s microphone offerings is the CV12 large capsule multi-pattern condenser tube microphone, and the CR14, a classic ribbon microphone. The transformer-coupled tube circuitry of the CV12 has its origins in famous European vintage designs and the external power supply provides access to the nine selectable patterns. A 10 dB pad and an 80 Hz low-cut filter are also included. The CR14 is highly versatile regarding source usage, including a guitar cabinet and room microphone, drum overheads, vocal or utility room microphone. A superior SPL capability and fast and accurate transient response complement its warm and pleasing sonic signature.