Bring That Elusive Balance of Warmth and Clarity to Your Recordings
What do you look for in a studio microphone? Accuracy? Clarity? The ability to capture the special character of a voice or instrument? The Manley Reference Gold large-diaphragm multi-pattern tube condenser mic does all that and more, with design and technical specifications that meet the highest standards. Introduced in 1990, the Reference Gold is in a class by itself: not only having become an industry standard found in top studios worldwide; it’s a holy grail mic for audiophile recordings that delivers a truthful, transparent rendition of every source you aim it at. It captures all the subtleties and nuance of a performance with ease. As you start to work on more important projects with higher-echelon artists, you quickly realize the limitations imposed by your gear and the acoustics of your recording space. If you find yourself boosting high-frequency shelving to achieve a shimmery, intimate sound on vocals, it’s time for a high-end microphone. Check out the Manley Reference Gold.
Unmatched sonic purity
Often, you need a microphone that doesn’t add color, and that’s where the Manley Reference Gold comes in. Precise, revealing, and open-sounding, the Reference Gold is ideal for singers with great voices that should ideally be captured without the infusion of midrange colorations. One of the most transparent-sounding mics we’ve heard at Sweetwater, the Reference Gold boasts a neutral midrange with a touch of vintage-flavored warmth, along with the high-frequency extension and resolution to capture the nuance and air that makes a recorded vocal performance come to life.
These same qualities make it ideal for just about any acoustic instrument. It’s stunning on grand piano, acoustic guitar, strings, brass, drum overheads and percussion, and as a room mic. A particularly interesting aspect of working with the Reference Gold is your (or a vocal talent’s) ability to tailor proximity effect to achieve a desired characteristic. The Gold’s 10dB pad and continuously variable polar patterns add yet another layer of versatility to this outstanding studio mic. Furthermore, the mic’s high output is a tremendous asset, allowing you to record quiet sources without a hint of noise. On more boisterous sources, you might even decide you don’t need a preamp.
The audiophile choice for an infinite variety of recording techniques
The Reference Gold’s three polar patterns — continuously variable between omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8 positions — give you amazing flexibility when it comes to exploring different recording techniques. With two mics, you can implement stereo techniques such as Spaced Pair (A/B), X-Y (including Blumlein), ORTF array, and mid-side (M-S). For a spectacularly life-like rendition of a full orchestra performance, add a third Reference Gold for the minimalist — and highly effective — Mercury Living Presence technique: three spaced omnis across the orchestral soundstage, centered above and slightly behind the conductor’s podium. Record to three tracks panned left-center-right, and set your monitors at unity. Set your mic levels for peaks, then leave those faders alone and let the conductor balance the orchestra. If you find you need spot mics to fill in, the Reference Gold is, again, a great choice. Which Manley mic is right for you? Check out our Manley Mic Comparison and find the one that best fits your needs!
Strictly top-drawer components
As is customary for Manley, the Reference Gold parts list is strictly top-drawer. Manley has spec’d the readily available and replaceable dual-triode 12AT7 tube. The Manley-designed capsules are manufactured to precise tolerances made possible by modern, state-of-the-art micro-milling machinery. The capsules, capsule rings, and back plates are milled from solid brass and mounted on Teflon insulation rings. The capsule assembly itself is mounted on a neoprene rubber shockmount. The 3-micron gold diaphragm film, sourced from Germany, is tensioned using proprietary techniques that ensure capsule-to-capsule constancy. It all adds up to the the speed, air, and superior ultra-high-frequency response you’ve fantasized about being able to capture. Well, now you can.
Weapons-grade build quality
Every aspect of the Manley Reference Gold mic is designed for superior day-in, day-out performance and sonic purity. The mic’s output is coupled through a substantial Manley-designed output transformer encased in high-permeability mu-metal to shield against magnetic fields. The open-weave stainless-steel capsule-window grille is designed to allow the high frequencies of the source to reach the capsule unobstructed. You can always add a pop filter when necessary, but left to its own devices, the mic will “hear” to the furthest frequency extremes.
As an example of Manley’s thoughtful design and construction, consider that the inner works of the microphone can be slid out from the housing in one piece, should service be required. Another nice touch is Manley’s proprietary swivel with T-bar handle and locking clutch that requires no tools to adjust. The mic body is machined from brass — a material with superior shielding properties — that is polished to a high luster before being plated with 24 karat gold for a simply gorgeous finish. Which brings us to this point: If you have clients coming into your studio, appearances matter. When they see the Manley Reference Gold, they’ll know they’re dealing with a professional studio. And when they hear a playback, you may well have a client for life!
|Microphone Type||Tube Condenser|
|Polar Pattern||Cardioid, Omni, Figure-8 (variable control)|
|Diaphragm Size||0.98″ (25mm)|
|Max SPL||150dB SPL|
|Output Impedance||200 ohms|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||120dB (A weighted)|
|Tube||12AT7 vacuum tube|
|Power Source||Custom-designed outboard switched-mode PSU|
|Connector||6-pin XLR cable to PSU, 3-pin XLR from PSU|
|Included Accessories||Hardshell Case, Custom Suspension, Mic Cable, Capsule Cover|
|Manufacturer Part Number||REFGOLD|