Audio / Hands-on Review

Miktek Vintage Sound Microphones and Preamps


When it comes to technological advances, it's not uncommon to lose some of the more desirable qualities of a product when "improving upon" the attributes of newer-generation replacement products. In the world of audio technology, for example, there are more than a few enthusiasts who still mourn the passing of tubes.

Sure, chips can reproduce sound frequencies more accurately and more clean than their tube-based predecessors, but in many cases, a bit of soul has been lost along the way. When designing Miktek's new lineup of mics and mic preamps, the goal was to squeeze the max out of current audio technologies while preserving the warmth and tonal qualities of vintage microphones and preamps.

For music enthusiasts, this is a noble cause. If anyone is qualified to pull it off it would have to be Michael Ketchell, who along with his brother Larry, are the faces of Miktek Audio. Michael Ketchell is no stranger to the intricacies of reproducing faithful sound recordings. In addition to Michael's 10-plus years experience as a product developer for Samson (not to mention being the creator of the original USB microphone), Mike and Larry Ketchell are counted among the "good ole boys" of the Nashville music scene. And it is their shared appreciation for the tonal qualities and unique personalities of classic vintage microphones such as the Neve 1272, AKG C112 and Neumann U47 that inspired them to go full-throttle with their new line of audio gear.

Primarily designed to faithfully capture the nuances of acoustic instruments, the Miktek C5 Small Diaphram Cardioid Pencil Condenser Microphone is fitted with an MK5a 0.5" cardioid capsule with a 5-micron Mylar, evaporated gold diaphragm; tight tolerances and precise machining of the back plate for a full bodied, super-linear response. Other hi-fidelity enhancers include hand-selected transistors and a head amplifier designed around an AMI T5 transformer. In addition to faithful reproduction of acoustic instruments, the Miktek C5 is also well-suited for overhead recording of drums and hi-hats. The Miktek C5 Small Diaphragm Cardioid Pencil Condenser Microphone is packaged with a mic clip, and comes in an aluminum carry case.

The Miktek C5 Small Diaphragm Cardioid Pencil Condensor Microphone is also available as a matched pair, which in addition to dual Miktek C5 microphones also includes two microphone clips; two shock mounts; two windscreens; a stereo bar; an aluminum storage case and a wood box designed to contain all of the above.

Optimized to record vocals, Miktek's C7 Large Diaphragm Multi-Pattern FET Condenser microphone features MK7 dual 1" capsule; 5-micron, evaporated gold diaphragms; cardioid, omni and bi-directional pick-up patterns. Other performance features include a high-pass filter; -10dB pad switches; 48-60V variable capsule bias voltage and an AMI T7 transformer. In addition to a serialized frequency response graph, each Miktek C7 comes with a wood presentation box with a swivel mount and a rugged aluminum carrying case.

The heavy lifter of the bunch is the Miktek CV4 Large Diaphragm Multi-pattern tube Condenser mic, a classic large diaphragm tube condenser mic that features an original NOS Telefunken EF800 tube; dual MK9 1" capsule with 5-micron Mylar, evaporated gold diaphragms; an AMI BT4 transformer; carefully tuned back plates and nine selectable pick-up patterns designed to satisfy the needs of recording artists, producers and sound engineers. The Miktek CV4 can faithfully record single or groups of vocalists, acoustic instruments, piano, wind instruments, drum overheads, as well as ambient studio sounds with warm, full-bodied tonality and clarity.

The Miktek MPA-201 Dual-channel Class A Mic Preamplifier features 70dB of gain; 48-Volt phantom power and variable impedance selector; large analog VU meters that can be switched from input to output and an LED peak output meter. Other features designed to optimize your audio recordings include a phase switch; discrete transistors; six Miktek custom transformers; linear response of 1dB down @ 10Hz and 1dB down @ 100kHz; a variable high-pass filter; a relay-controlled phase switch; smooth output loading for racked and in-console sound; an impedance selector for 300, 600 or 1200 Ω load; 1/4" direct input with dedicated input transformer and 2X routing with four impedance-loaded tone contours; +4 XLR balanced outputs and a steel chassis with a milled aluminum front panel.

While some of the individual components of Miktek microphones and preamps are manufactured in Europe or Asia, the final assembly and hand testing of each component is performed in Miktek's Nashville facility, and a serialized frequency-response graph is included with all components.