First a nod to history. It is fairly difficult to design or define a microphone with traditional appearance, a vacuum tube based preamp and a dual bobbin transformer without mentioning the obvious debt modern microphone design owes to the famous giants of the mid twentieth century such as the Neumann U47 and AKG C-12. With history in mind, I can humbly make the statement that the CM-6 owes several key components as well as the overall appearance to the giants from the past. These statements are not meant to imply the CM-6 is in any way a replacement for these vintage mics.
The output transformers is shown in photos. The transformers are wound on high nickel laminations and are designed and constructed using dual bobbins. This construction method is used by the original vintage designs as well as the companies that produce high quality replacement transformers for the German originals.
The capsule was also influenced by the giants from the past. In this case we need to keep in mind that the actual design and construction cannot claim anything close to an exact copy. Still, the capsule is dual sided and has a center mounted connection. Additionally, the capsule is “full size”. The standard capsule size for imported microphones is 30 mm. The capsule in the CM-6 is 34mm.
The choice of the tube for the on board preamplifier is worth mentioning. Though there are many very good sounding and very affordable 12AX7, 12AY7 and the 12AT7 dual triodes on the market. The historic German microphones often choose pentode tubes for the active element in their preamps. The EF86 is a very good sounding pentode that is currently being used in the Neumann U67. In addition to its native good sound the EF86, and the premium version of the tube the EF806, is very desirable as the active component in the preamp due to the availability of a number of NOS and modern versions of the tube. During the design phase of the CM-6, we auditioned many tubes, both modern and NOS. Indeed, there are many very good sounding choices. The general agreement in the audiophile community is that the best sounding EF86 is the Telefunken EF86/EF806. I do agree with this analysis. However, starting a modern microphone production using NOS tubes is not desirable due to cost and limited supply. Enter the TungSol EF806. The tube was modeled after the Telefunken EF806 and sounds very, very similar. The Telefunken tube and the TungSol tube both exhibit bright, clear highs, full bass and well defined mids. It was an easy decision to decide to use this tube in the CM-6. The EF806 is configured as a Class A triode preamplifier.
The passive electrical components that surround the TungSol EF806 determine the gain, frequency response, sound quality and the “vibe” of the preamplifier. The CM-6 uses high quality polystyrene, WIMA film capacitors and audiophile grade Nichicon Muse electrolytic capacitors. Finally, the CM-6 has a film 2.2uF output capacitor to support full bandwidth sound.
So, what are the design goals for the CM-6? My hope and expectation is that the CM-6 will provide the pro-sumer market with an exceptionally good sounding, affordable studio tool. The CM-6 is the combination of unabashedly borrowed elements from one of the best microphones of the past and modern high quality audiophile grade components produced with the finest modern manufacturing techniques.
While respecting the past, every Stellar Custom designed microphones has its own voice and personality. The tonal response of the CM-6 has been described as velvet smooth. The tone circuitry adds the right amount high end air while reinforcing mid and adding fullness to thin sounding audio sources. Without sounding harsh, the CM-6 captures a very accurate, articulate, detailed sound.
The CM-6 standard selling configuration includes the follow:
-CM-6 Microphone which included:
-1.07” 6 micron gold sputtered German style capsule
-<200 ohm Impedance
-20hz to 20khz Frequency response
-Class A tube preamp featuring a Premium TungSol EF806 tube
-BV8 style Dual Bobbin Output Transformer
-Power Supply which supplies power for the tube preamp and bias voltage for the capsule. The power supply has a nine position switch that varies the bias voltage to the capsule and enables the CM-6 to operate in 3 primary configurations; cardioid, omni or figure 8 as well as the six intermediate configurations.
-30 foot link cable that connect the CM-6 to the Power supply
-AC cable to provide power to the power supply
-High quality shockmount
-Foam wind screen
-Aluminum Road Case
PLEASE READ: It is extremely important that you check the position of the red voltage selector switch on the power supply before you apply AC power to the power supply. The red power selector switch has two positions: 115V and 230V. Please set the switch for the AC power in your geographic area. Do not apply power to the power supply until you verify that the red power selector switch is set correctly.
It is recommended that the preamp you use on the CM-6 should have an input impedance of at least 1K Ohms.
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