Manley Labs Reference Microphones | Just Add Talent


When you are recording you want to make sure you have the right gear. You need the right guitar, the right amp, and the right pedals. Additionally, all other members need the right gear. The right bass, drums, etc. But there is one other instrument that is essential to recording the best sounding music possible. I mean of course, the microphone. If you are using a cheap microphone it is not going to sound anywhere near as good as if you are using a quality mic. It really does make a huge difference. A great microphone will save you time when mastering because the recording will be the best it can be.

Some of the best microphones out there are from Manley Labs. I know there are several choices out there and all claim to be the best, but I am going to go over some of the Manley’s microphones and let you make your own decision. Manley offers up three microphones all with different applications, the Reference Cardioid, Reference Silver and Reference Gold.

Reference Cardioid

First up we have the Reference Cardioid tube microphone. This is the world’s most popular modern tube microphone and for good reason. It has a “finished” sound right out of the box which makes it a favorite among producers and voice-over artists alike. Additionally, this is modern pop music’s go-to mic: flattering, present, and larger-than-life. Some refer to this as the “Just Add Talent” microphone.


  • All-Tube triode design 12AX7 (Previous versions used 12AT7 and 6072.)
  • -10 dB switchable pad
  • Frequency response: 10Hz-30KHz
  • Sensitivity: 17mV/Pa
  • Noise typically -120dB EIN
  • Max SPL: 150dB
  • Output Impedance: 250 Ohms
  • Weight: 2.25 lbs. (mic)
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs. (PSU)
  • Size: 4.5″ x 9.7″ x 4.5″ (mic)
  • Size: 5″ x 8.2″ x 3.4″ (PSU)
  • Shipping weight: 15 lbs.

Reference Silver

Next is the Reference Silver tube microphone. This microphones can be summed up in three words; classic, smooth and versatile. The Reference Silver was inspired by the fabled Sony C-37A and offers a warm rich tone. There is a mechanical selector on the rear of the head basket that is switchable between cardioid and omni pick-up patterns. So, it is perfectly suited for recording instruments that range from female vocalists to saxophones, from drum overheads to banjos. Use the Manley Reference Silver Microphone where you might be thinking about a ribbon mic and use it with confidence!


  • Condenser Transducer based on vintage Sony C-37A Hand Made in the USA by Josephson Audio
  • Single-Sided Large Diaphragm Capsule Edge Tensioned
  • 5 Micron Evaporated Gold Diaphragm 1″ diameter
  • Dual Pattern Cardioid or Omni Directional adjustable via the vent on the backplate
  • 5670 Internal Vacuum Tube Head Amplifier
  • Constant Current Source for Tube Minimizes Noise and Tube Selection
  • Hand Wound Nickel Core Manley Iron Output Transformer
  • Output Impedance: 30 Ohms
  • High Pass Filter Switch -3dB @ 55Hz 6dB/8va
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs. (mic)
  • Weight: 2 lbs. (PSU)
  • Size: 2″ x 9.7″ x 4.5″ (mic including suspension)
  • Size: 5″ x 8.2″ x 3.4″ (PSU)

Reference Gold

Last but certainly not least is the Reference Gold multi-pattern tube microphone. Try to say that five times fast. The Reference Gold is a nimble microphone that lets you hear deep into a room. It is perfect for capturing subtleties and nuances that most microphones would miss. Offering just as much, if not more of that classic Manley warmth, the Reference Gold really shines on the bass end. It retains all the clarity, still while giving warmth and bass. From the highest highs and the lowest lows, this microphones will capture every little sound.


  • All-Tube triode design 12AT7 (2011 build. Previous versions used 12AX7 and 6072.)
  • -10 dB switchable pad
  • Frequency response: 10Hz-30KHz
  • Sensitivity: 17mV/Pa
  • Noise typically -120dB EIN
  • Max SPL: 150dB
  • Output Impedance: 250 Ohms
  • Weight: 2.25 lbs. (mic)
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs. (PSU)
  • Size: 2″ x 9.7″ x 4.5″ (mic including suspension)
  • Size: 5″ x 8.2″ x 3.4″ (PSU)
  • Shipping weight: 15 lbs.

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