Some of Teenage Engineering’s high-end design offerings sometimes seem made for design showcases as much as actual music making. But behold the CM-15: this is a gorgeous concept in an area that rarely sees genuinely new design. If it works as advertised, it seems like a new product category.
Microphones are in a funny state at the moment. A lot of the leading mics are designs from decades ago… some half a century or more, even. Then you have a whole new category of mobile and consumer mics, but some of these are, frankly, awful. Consumers do benefit from some low-cost versions of great mics. I have the terrific SD-1 from Universal Audio sitting next to me as I type this, and love it – it’s a return to classic studio engineering but affordable. But the design itself is still a studio mic.
And then there’s the usability of the mobile mics, which often are just the standard mics with a USB port instead of the XLR, or maybe both – even though that’s not what you want most of the time.
The promise of the CM-15 would be to make a great large-diaphragm condenser but also make it mobile. So it’s all in one, a portable studio microphone that’s also a preamp.
- 48v phantom-powered mini XLR
- Mic preamp operation
- 3.5mm line output
- USB audio interface
The mic itself is a super-cardioid polar pattern – so you get sounds from what you point it at (also a problem with a lot of the supposed mobile mics). They also promise “clear and transparent” sound with low self-noise and a high-quality converter. And there, let’s not even get started on how much crap is out on the market.
You can also power it three ways (and here’s where you’d definitely want to test noise):
- Phantom power
- Battery power (internal)
It will sit on a table without a separate stand – there’s one built in, and it’s mercifully not a round/tube design like so many mics. There’s also a stand adapter for use on any mic stand. And there’s a cute mini tripod stand, though that’s not in the box – you have to buy it separately.
The price for all of this is EUR 1199, coming this summer. That puts it in a class with some really high-end mics, so yeah, this is not a review and we’ll have to hear it in action and give it to some proper sound engineers to really judge it. But on paper, at least, there are some great – and overdue – ideas.