Avantone Audio CK-1 Reviews4.5/5.0 based on 14 customer reviews
I'm using an Avantone Audio CK-1 pair for room mics at church and am very impressed with their quality and the versatility. They sound very good and very responsive. I'm loving them.
The Other Doug
January 14, 2013Music Background:
Live Sound 20 yrs
Bang For Your Budget BuckSkeptical when I first saw this mic with all of the "extras". I was looking for a decent pair of mics for the choir and this one seemed to be the ticket. I was sold by the reviews but missed using for Christmas a couple of years ago waiting for them to arrive. The first use was on mandolin, then a violin, aux percussion then eventually the Easter choir presentation. I had a pair of Crown CM700's and two CK1's and the ability to pick up with clarity went hands down to the Avantones. They are built solid, look great, have an awesome shock mount (which I plan to pick up more of for use with the Crowns and possibly our SM81's). Some of the reviews have mentioned some manufacturing related issues. I had a couple as well. The grille on the Cardiod capsule came off but a dot of SuperGlue took care of that just fine. One of the mics seems not to have the groove for the female XLR connector machined out sufficiently. Some of our mic cables just can't be used with that particular mic. It's probably something that I could fix with a small dremel bit but we have enough cables that work fine so I've never even messed with it. All in all Avantone still has a rock solid product for the price. It makes me want to consider some of the other mics in their line.
from Los Angeles CA.
October 29, 2012Music Background:
Musician, Engineer, Arranger
Unbelievable dealI haven't done any A/B tests against KM84s, but I have been very happy with recordings of piano and string section. The omni capsules in particular give a smooth and pleasing sound from close micing as well as back a bit for a roomier sound. The capsules are a bit tricky to change (very narrow threads), but all 3 sound great in their own way.
from Northern California
August 14, 2012Music Background:
Fine MicWe're a simple group with fiddle, guitar & cello. The cello is fabulously rich acoustically, but has always sounded muddy in live sound and recording. I should say, however, that our options for mics heretofore has been very limited.
Well, the CK-1 with the hyper-cardiod capsule is wonderful. It feels solid, it performs well, with that capsule it picks up very little of the other instruments...it's well priced...in short, no complaints. [That summation may sound modest, but it's the thing I seek the most in sound equipment.]
from Somerville, MA
June 8, 2012Music Background:
Great little micMy band uses this as a mono live-in-the-room mic to record rehearsals, and it does a great job. The drums are especially nice. For $150 you can't beat it.
from ransomville NY
May 21, 2012Music Background:
Pro Musician/Recording Engineer
Amazing!You have got to be kidding me. Try these mics out for drum over heads, or put when up for hi hats. They sound amazing! At this cost I am going back for more.
from Tehachapi, Ca.
November 14, 2011Music Background:
Outstanding value!This mic package is nothing short of amazing at this price point! I've used a lot of mics over the past 35 years or so and I know what a good mic sounds like, believe me. The Avantone Ck-1 sounds wonderful on everything I've used it on. Although it is bit on the bright side, it never sounds harsh or edgy like so many inexpensive SDC mics do. It has a silky smooth top end balanced with a nice meaty midrange and solid bottom end. It compares favorably to my Shure SM 81's (a bit brighter) and, while it isn't a Neumann KM 184 or (my favorite) the vintage KM 84, it is not far! Plus, it comes with three capsules, omni, cardioid and hypercardioid. Haven't had a change to use the omni for anything yet but the other two sound great on acoustic guitars, mandolins and other acoustic stringed instruments. Even used it with the hyper capsule for some VO recording and it did quite well, considering it is really an instrument mic. The main thing about this mic is how clean and quiet it is. It's built with very high quality capacitors and it really is evident in the sound of the mic. And the overall build quality is excellent...built like a tank! Comes with a very nice shockmount and in a wooden case too. Highly recommended.
June 9, 2011Music Background:
20 years studio experience, 12 years field recording
Best Indoor location microphone in the world, for the money...I've done a lot of indoor location recording the past 7 years. That said, I retired both of my high end shotguns from indoor recording and ordered a matched set of these puppies, after trying my friends set one tday "on a dare".
Simply the cleanest top end, and the best on-mic filtering I've ever seen indoors. Clear, crisp, great definition, good body and dynamics, along with a very controllable field [with 3 very different heads] and a bass pad that all but eliminates any low end dirt.
I have another friend with a set of similar Russian made mics [you know which ones] and they sounded like mud next to these.
For the money, the best mic you can buy in my opinion, bar none.
from Oklahoma City, OK
December 14, 2010Music Background:
Studio Owner, Recording Engineer, Producer, Musician
Awesome Pencil CondenserI have been able to A/B the CK1 with other pencils 10x's the price range on Drums, Guitar, and Choirs. All I could say was WOW. 3 capsules, 10db pad, and HPF, all for $150. This mic packs a lot of punch into an affordable platform that meets, if not exceeds, the abilities of the more expensive pencils out there.
from Spartanburg, SC
June 27, 2012Music Background:
Amateur Recording Engineer, Producer, Guitarist, Cellist
Very Glad I Own This MicI bought this mic to use on hi-hat, but so far I have used it on acoustic guitar, cello, and for room ambiance. At this low price, I was a little wary of the CK-1. However, it is worth every penny and probably more! It sounds and looks great. The wooden case is nice, too. The only thing that keeps my rating below a 5.0 is the fact that two of the three capsules included in the case had something smeared on the outsides of them. It took a little effort to get them clean. The sound was not affected; that was just odd to me.
from Central Illinois
April 26, 2012Music Background:
Semi-pro musician that enjoys recording, also.
Avantone CK-1 pencil condenser, my honest evaluation.OK, so this is not a huge amount of money to pay for a small diaphragm condenser. I have other pencils, but I was really curious if the comments that I've read elsewhere on the web really matched what this mic is all about. The other selling point for me was an omni capsule, which I was lacking in my mic cab.
I first tried it in cardioid mode and was really pleasantly surprised by the definition and clarity of this mic. It does everything a small diaphram condenser is supposed to do and really causes you to take notice of how well it performs. This is going to be my go-to mic for about anything that I can throw at it, especially instruments with high top end potential like fiddle or mandolin. It actually seems to add a bit more presence in the upper mids that has the effect of smoothing out any tendancy toward edginess on these instruments.
My next experiment was changing to the omni capsule, wrapping the body in foam and tucking between the bridge feet of my upright bass facing upward toward the fingerboard. The resulting recording has sold me totally on this method and justifies the purchase of this mic for this use alone. This trumps my medium or large diaphram miking methods hands-down.
Three capsules to choose from certainly gives this mic a competitive edge over the competition.
Visually it is a stunning piece of kit and demands that you pay attention to it. If I were a budget-priced condenser and I didn't sound this good I certainly wouldn't draw attention to myself. The CK-1 has no problems living up t o it's racey appearance.
If the mic wasn't enough, the shock mount is a perfect match. It works great, and it's so beautiful you'll want to leave it out on the coffee table.
Nothing's perfect in this world, so I have to find SOMETHING to complain about. Two things; The tiny switches on the mic body do not instill confidence in their use, and the small plastic holder for the mic caps is a little too snug to allow one of them to slide in and out easily. I can live with that, the switches don't get used that often and I tend to keep the cardiod capsule on most of the time.
Although I purchased not really expecting this mic to meet the hype, its all true. I'm going to get another to use as a stereo pair. They won't be a matched set, but who's going to notice when these sound so lovely by themselves!
from Chicago IL
May 2, 2013Music Background:
OverheadsI really like how these sound on cymbals. With the hyper cardiod capsule the cymbals sounded less harsh then typical lower end mics.
from North Kingstown, RI, USA
October 30, 2012Music Background:
Hobbyist, electronics engineering background
Nice features, good price, great sound.3 capsules, 10db attenuator switch, low cut switch, shock mount and a great sounding mike. Can't be beat for the price.
from Greenwich, CT, USA
November 1, 2012Music Background:
Professional Guitarist, Engineer
Good ValueI think that for this price you really can't go wrong with this mic. However, compared to the KM184 there is a huge difference in quality and clarity. The CK-1 is responsive on acoustic guitars but seems to have an increased mid-range that is not found in the KM184s. I do feel like the construction is a bit weak and some part seems to be rattling around inside the mic. The capsules are not very easy to change but do sound very different from each other once you do switch them.
The mic clip that it comes with is very sturdy and secure.
I bought this mic to take on the road so that I can record ideas when not in my studio. I think it's perfect for that application.
June 4, 2012Music Background:
Musician, hobby recording...
Good mic with some issues...Good for the money -but I exchanged my first one because it died very soon after purchase. The first one also sounded much different in the high end. This second mic also is the noisiest mic I have - it is definitely nice on certain things, though. It would be 4 or 5 stars if not for the noise issues...