CAD Signature Series Microphone Packs

Imagine this, you’re a large microphone manufacturer, and you want to know which of your microphones are going to sound best on electric and acoustic guitars. Well, what better way than to send your complete array of products to two of the world’s most respected guitarists: Joe Satriani and Al Di Meola.
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This is how CAD jump-started its versatile and affordable Signature Series Microphone Packs. The two guitar legends auditioned a ton of the company’s mics, and selected the models that best captured their transcendent tones. Satriani picked his two favorites for recording electric guitars, and Di Meola chose a duo that caressed his acoustic-guitar timbres.

My Name is Al

The Al Di Meola Acoustic Mic Pack contains the e60 small-diaphragm cardioid condenser, and the e70 small-diaphragm dual-capsule condenser. The e60 posts a frequency response of 30Hz–20kHz, a switchable high-pass filter (40Hz/85Hz/122Hz), and a maximum sound-pressure level of 140dB (with the 10dB pad engaged). The e70 switches between cardiod and omni polar patterns, has a frequency response of 20Hz–20kHz, offers a switchable high-pass filter (75Hz/150Hz), a switchable pad (0dB/10dB/20dB), and includes a shockmount.

Hey, Joe

The Joe Satriani Guitar Amp Mic Pack contains the Trion 7000 ribbon mic and a D189 dynamic microphone. The spaceship-inspired Trion is a dual-ribbon microphone set to a figure-eight pattern with a frequency response of 25Hz–9kHz. It comes with a very cool spider shockmount and a metal carrying case. The supercardioid D189 posts a frequency response of 40Hz–18kHz.

Electric Session 

On a recent project, I had previously recorded a Fender Stratocaster dry in Pro Tools (monitoring through the Amp Farm plug-in), and I decided to re-amp the guitar signal through a Marshall half-stack. There weren’t many rhythm overdubs on the record, and I needed a beefy guitar tone to craft a full and thick track. I set the D189 about two fingers from the grille, and a bit off-axis to the top right speaker cone. Then, I placed the Trion 7000 around six inches from the grille, directly in front of the cabinet. Both mics were routed through the microphone preamps of a DDA DCM224 console.

The Trion delivered a full, round sound with a lot of gloss—a nice, warm fullness. Although the D189 captures a very direct, in-your-face type of sound, I wasn’t very impressed by its tone when I soloed it. However, I had two mic tracks to work with, and when I blended the two sounds together, the combination sounded simultaneously fat and punchy. But I wanted to dial in the sounds a bit more, so I tried panning the D189 and Trion hard right and left. This wasn’t the way to go, as it was unsettling to hear two completely different sounds on each side of the mix. After playing around for a while, I ended up duplicating the Trion track, and panning the two tracks hard right and left. Then, I added the D189 right up the center. I could hear some phase cancellation as I added in the D189, but it served to make the sound much more direct and crunchy. This was the tone I was after. 

Acoustic Session

To test out the acoustic duo, I enlisted the help of regional guitar hero Scott Greason, who played a beautiful Martin acoustic. We tried both mics in a series of different ways, searching for the perfect tone. My first impression led me to try a standard XY pattern with both mics positioned directly in front of the Martin’s soundhole. This did not work out—it just captured a lot of muddy tone. After trying a few other positions, we concluded the best option was to place the e70 around two inches from the Martin, and off-axis to the right side of the soundhole. The e60—with its pad and roll off engaged—was placed about a foot from the soundhole, and directly in front of the guitar. With both mics panned hard right and left, and balanced at the same signal level, we were rewarded with a light, full-bodied sound without too much woof or chug.

The Package Rate

The CAD Signature Series packages offer home recordists some hip miking variations for very little cash—each model has a street price of just $299—and both options deliver good sounds. In a sense, you get a pretty cool “mic cabinet” for around $300, and if you can double the budget, you’ll have four versatile mics (ribbon, dynamic, and small-diaphragm condensers) that can ably handle almost any application—from vocals to percussion. That’s what I call a sweet deal.

Product Type: Dedicated dual-microphone setups for recording electric and acoustic guitars.

Target Market: Home-recording zealots looking to expand their microphone options without decimating their wallets.

Strengths: Versatile miking options. Good Value.

Limitations: Nothing significant—although recordists who have never used ribbon mics might want to do a little research before tossing the Trion (from the Joe Satriani Guitar Amp Pack) in front of a bellowing bull.

List price: $399 each