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ADK Microphones - Overview and Application Guide

ADK is a collaboration of Musicians, Producers, Sound Engineers and Design Engineers. It is the sum-total of it's community of like-minded end-users seeking to improve their craft. The Sole Mission is to build an Optimal Signal-Chain without the Ridiculous Price Tag. ADK is unabashedly old-school bare-wire-theory take-the-picture-right "sound-painters". Musicians Run the Place, which is what definitely gives ADK its unique character. Listen to some recent CD's Tracked on ADK and think about sound!!


for many items - BEST PRICE GUARANTEE applied!!!



ADK AND 3 ZIGMA AUDIO ARE DIFFERENT BECAUSE: It's a Truly Democratic Process where A-List End-Users Drive the Design-Team.

  • ADK Audiophile - All-Around Studio Mics that can handle modern musical needs - Live and Studio.
  • ADK Custom Shop - Ultra-Fine-Tuned Vocal Mics and Solo Instrument Mics for High-Value Tracks.
  • 3 Zigma CHI - Super Low-Noise Choir and Orchestra / Instrument-Spot-Microphones w Ultra-Purity.



The Audiophile series are created for critical recording environments and fine acoustic sources. An affordable alternative to the super-expensive European mics, the Audiophile Series ADK Microphones have many European sourced components and European Designs. When your tracks really matter, ADK Audiophile Series delivers Stellar Performance at affordable prices.

End-users of ADK Audiophile Mics are a Who’s Who of the Music World – for good reason!!


State-of-the-art Upgrades for ADK Microphones. ADK Custom Mics are Performance-Upgraded Condenser Microphones. C.S. are Re-manufactured in USA using Aerospace R&D and the best possible materials to offer top-tier state-of-the-art analog solutions.

Take two Steinway experts from Seattle, add a Mic-Wizard from Belgium and engage the services of a PhD in Physics from Sydney (yes, he really is a Rocket-Scientist!) - Put Three and-a-half years of Design, R&D and Exhaustive Bench & Beta Testing. Result: A forty-year mic locker filled with museum quality vintage mics has a real challenger!!!! Not accepting the idea of ‘almost as good as vintage’ – but better than!!

ADK has CUSTOMIZATION-OPTIONS for All 3 Parts of the Original ADK T-Series Microphones as follows: Capsule Only – as in the case of the TT-Au and TC-Au series. Capsule, PCB, & Transformer – as in the case of CS Series and FET Microphones.


Larry Villella, serious vintage mic collector, musician and co-founder of ADK Microphones, combined decades of experience with the latest modern technology, and yes, even a rocket scientist.

CHI (Capsule/Head-Amp Integration) is the perfect combination of technology and tone. Finally, sound is not sacrificed for Specs. And still - the CHI System has some of the best specs in the universe!


Make your choice please...


ADK Audiophile Series:  Vienna MK8, Hamburg MK8, A6
ADK Custom Shop:  Vienna Au, Hamburg Au, TC-251

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-O or SD-C or C-LOL-12 or C-LOL-251

An acoustic guitar can be surprisingly hard to record. The starting point should be a single microphone aimed at a point somewhere between the end of the sound hole and the 12th fret. You will always find a sweet spot there, requiring only a minimum of EQ to give a satisfying recording. If the guitar’s radiation pattern is not too complex, you can use a spaced pair, usually placed following the 3 to 1 rule: the distance between the mics should be 3 times the distance between each mic and the source. If the radiation pattern is very complex, a coincident pair is often a better choice. In any case, a distance between the guitar and the mic of at least one foot is recommended. Distant recordings of acoustic guitars can be spectacular if the acoustics of the room are pleasant. Using pairs of SD mics or trying one-each Hamburg and Vienna in “Un-matched” LD Pairs can offer tone-blending possibilities.


ADK Audiophile Series:  S-7 or S7-B (Any Size Amp)
ADK Custom Shop:  Hamburg Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  C-LOL-47 or C-LOL-67

The mic is typically placed at a 90° angle to the cabinet’s grille. The position itself is very important and moving the mic by a fraction of an inch will change the sound sometimes dramatically. The distance from the cabinet has a big impact on the frequency response when using a directional mic: proximity effect especially is the cabinet is front ported, can be dramatic. The center of each speaker cone will have a brighter, more present and less warm balance and as the mic is moved towards the edge of the cone, the sound will become more mellow and rounder.


ADK Audiophile Series: S-7 or S-7B
ADK Custom Shop: Berlin 47-Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  C-LOL-67

Tuning the kick drum is vital to get the desired sound. Once the kick drum is properly set up, miking experiments can start. The two schools are “dry” and “roomy”. For a “dry” approach, the mic will be peeking inside the drum or will be placed inside, looking at the beater. If the front skin doesn’t have a hole, the mic can be placed very close to the skin. For a “roomy” approach, place the mic higher and farther. A meter high and 2 meters away is not unusual. A hybrid approach can be used, by bringing either channel up to help the other - either making the dry a bit wider & deeper, or adding definition to the distant mic.


ADK Audiophile Series: Hamburg MK8; S-7, S-7B
ADK Custom Shop: Hamburg Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-C or C-LOL-67 or C-LOL-47

The best spot to place the mic is usually about neck and body joint height, in front of the Cello, looking straight. Aiming a little bit up or down will give more or less bow noise. Distance can be critical in live/reverberant rooms, where ambient to direct sound ratio and proximity effect will play an important role in getting the desired image. Placing the mic a little bit to the side, looking either straight or at the F-hole will give a more mellow tone with less attack and more body.


ADK Audiophile Series:  Hamburg MK8 or Vienna MK8 or S-7 or A6
ADK Custom Shop:  Hamburg Au, Vienna Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-O or SD-C or SD-H

A Choir will require a stereo pair to obtain the full power it gives in real life. A spaced pair is usually preferred over a coincident pair. Distance is totally up to the engineer and will greatly depend on the acoustics and the desired amount of ambiance heard on the recording. Omnis can be helpful in getting a nice natural sound but cardioids are the first choice of most engineers to get at least some balance control between the reverberation of the space and the direct sound. When the choir is recorded with other musicians in the room, cardioids or super-cardioids might be a better choice than Omni’s.


ADK Audiophile Series:  A6, Vienna Mk8
ADK Custom:  Vienna Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-C

Clarinet can produce a lot of valve noise and the instrument should be properly prepared for recording (oil where needed). The soft tone from a clarinet often asks for an equally soft microphone and the engineer should be careful when picking the mic: if the overall sound is too bright, it might bring up unwanted parts of the sound in the high frequencies. If the mic sounds too soft/dark, the resulting recording might lack life and detail. Clarinet is usually miked from several inches to a few feet away, to give a good sense of fullness and depth.


ADK Audiophile Series:  Hamburg MK8 or Vienna MK8; S-7 or A6
ADK Custom Shop:  Hamburg Au, Vienna Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-O or SD-C or C-LOL-12 or C-LOL-251

A full orchestra can be recorded with a very simple and minimalist stereo setup if the acoustics and the overall balance of the orchestra are good. Walking around the room looking at the orchestra will help finding the best position for a coincident pair. If a spaced pair is chosen, a considerable amount of time could be required to achieve the right stereo image, depth of field, overall balance and direct to reverberant sound ratio. Spot or Group miking of an orchestra is a more modern and now common way of working and will give good results if the various mics have been placed carefully. They should give a natural sound but also shouldn’t interfere with other channels when brought up in the mix. Checking phase correlation is vital when dealing with so many sources and microphones and the sources happen to be part of a whole. Sometimes, ambient mics are added to a closed mic setup to add reverberation and depth.


ADK Audiophile Series:  Hamburg MK8 or S-7 or A6
ADK Custom Shop:  TC-251
ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-C or SD-H

Flutes can have a very delicate sound and their harmonic content can easily get disrupted by acoustic or electronic noise. A low noise microphone with high output and a cardioid or hypercardioid pattern should be tried first and picked to give the proper sound. Mellow sounding mics can be used for a 60’s texture but usually, a relatively bright mic will be picked. The mic will usually be aimed at the body of the flute, about half way down. Aiming too close to the mouth will give too much “breath” although it can be the desired effect.


ADK Audiophile Series:  S-7 or A6
ADK Custom Shop: Hamburg Au, Vienna Au
as Stereo Pair, TC-251
ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-O or SD-C. C-LOL-47 or C-LOL-67

A Grand will need a nice sounding room to develop its full potential. Getting a realistic sound can be a challenge is the room is too small but using a touch of extra reverb on the recording can give some depth and space to a seemingly dry recording. The most common way to mic a Grand is by using a stereo pair looking down at the soundboard. A coincident setup will be more focused and a spaced pair will sound more spacious. Extra mics are sometimes added to pick up body resonance and of course room mics are quite common too. When balancing the mics in the mix, it’s important to check phase correlation and moving the mics a little bit before recording to make sure there’s no major phase cancellations taking place will save a lot of time during mixing, trying to save an otherwise nice recording.


ADK Audiophile Series:  Hamburg Mk8; S-7B or S-7
ADK Custom Shop:  Hamburg Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  C-LOL-47, C-LOL-67, C-LOL-251 (for Dark Jazz Cabs)

Many great guitar sounds have been achieved by using multiple mics during recording. A typical setup consists of a close mic almost touching the front grille, a distant mic from a few inches to a few meters away, and perhaps one or two room mics, to capture room resonances. The close mic is usually placed at an angle to the cabinet’s grille, the more you turn it off axis and towards the edge of the cabinet, the less attack you get and the sound will become more mellow and rounder. Aiming at the center of the cone gives a very midrange rich, aggressive sound and moving the close mic by a fraction of an inch will change the sound dramatically. The distant mic should be used to give a more natural sound but for a realistic image, a spaced pair of mics will usually have to be brought up in the mix, panned left and right. These ambient mics will give the unique room “sub” resonance which is needed to make the recording feel like the real thing.


ADK Audiophile Series:  S-7 or S7-C
ADK Custom Shop:  Vienna Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-C or SD-H

Spot miking of the HH is fairly straight-forward: place the microphone where it won’t be hit by the drummer, looking down at the HH. Move it around to obtain a good balance between good a tone, low leakage from the rest of the kit, and of course playing comfort. You can usually get quite close without proximity effect being a problem, since the energy is concentrated in the higher midrange to very top end of the frequency spectrum.


ADK Audiophile Series:  Vienna Mk 8 Pair, All TC, TT, S-7 or S7-C or A6
ADK Custom Shop:  TC-12, TC-251

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-O or SD-C or C-LOL-12 or C-LOL-251 or C-LOL-67

A spaced stereo pair is the classic setup for overhead recording. The pair can be relatively close to the kit, say one meter or less from the cymbals, or in a larger room, 2 or 3 meters away. Placing the pair further up will give a more natural the image and overall sound. For a more focused and precise but less spacious image, a coincident pair can be used and is often chosen for Jazz kits. In fact, Jazz kits can be recorded with a single, judiciously placed microphone. Note: Sometimes, the Hi Hat mic becomes the second overhead in a stereo setup. It’s important to remain open and flexible when miking a drum kit and do the required mic placement changes to achieve the desired sound.


ADK Audiophile Series:  Hamburg Mk8, S-7 or S-7B
Custom Shop:  TC-47, TT-67, CS-67, CS-47, Hamburg Au, Berlin Au
ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  C-LOL-67 or C-LOL-47

The Sax family covers a surprisingly wide spectrum. The mic should be chosen to react to the range of the instrument so a very bright mic might not be the best choice for a dark, mellow baritone sax. However, a slightly dark mic can work wonders on a screechy Alto. The mic will usually be relatively close to the source but far enough so that the player’s movements don’t result in sudden changes of sound, as the mic is static. A distance of a couple of feet is a good starting point, high enough to be able to “look down” a bit at the bell. The mic can point straight at the horn at a 90° angle for maximum attack and “wind”, or it can look up for a lighter sound or down for a mellower response. As with all other instruments using valves, mechanical tuning and lubrication are vital to avoid unwanted noises.


ADK Audiophile Series:  S-7C Top / S-7 Bottom w. HP Filter On, Out of Phase.
ADK Custom Shop:  TC-12, TC-251
ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-H
or SD-C

Snare drums can be miked with a single mic on top or one on top and one on the bottom, pointed at the snares. Bringing up the bottom mic to compliment the overall tone of the top mic can help achieving a realistic sound. The bottom mic is usually phase reversed but it can be used without phase reversal is the combined sound is satisfactory. A relatively bright mic will help getting the attack of the snare drum. The distance from the snare drum will once again influence the bass response as proximity effect will increases as the mic is placed closer to the drum. This can add body and impact but will also increase low frequency leakage from the rest of the kit.


ADK Audiophile Series:  S7, S7-B; S-51
ADK Custom Shop:  Hamburg Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-C or C-LOL-67 or C-LOL-47

Individually Miking Toms, if required, is achieved with 2 directional microphones placed to give the best compromise between good tonal balance and rejection from the rest of the kit or with a single mic, either cardioid pointing at the Toms or a bidirectional placed closer, between the Toms. Once again proximity effect is noticeable and can be used to get a full but clean sound as attenuating LF response with EQ will also reduce the level of the leakage from the kick etc. The Floor Tom can be miked the same way. It has more depth and lower frequencies than either Tom-Tom and will have more resonances.


ADK Audiophile Series:  Hamburg Mk8; S-7B or S-7
ADK Custom Shop:  Berlin-Au, Hamburg Au, TC-47, CS-67
ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  C-LOL-67
or C-LOL-47

Trombone is not hard to record, and a good tone is usually obtained easily. A single directional mic aimed at the bell will do. The mic shouldn’t be too close as trombone players tend to move even during steady rhythm parts due to the necessary slide movements and this could result in audible changes in timbre if the mic is too close to the source. A couple of feet should be considered a strict minimum.


ADK Audiophile Series:  S-7B
ADK Custom:  Hamburg Au, Berlin Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  C-LOL-67 or C-LOL-47

Trumpet can generate high SPL and will usually require switching the pad on when using a condenser mic. Aiming the mic directly at the bell at a short distance will give an aggressive, raspy and usually harsh tone unless the mic has a mellow response to start with. Some trumpet parts should indeed be miked from a distance to fit properly in the mix. Muted trumpet miked up close can give a very midrange rich, retro sound that might be just what the song/mix needs.

UPRIGHT BASS (Contrabass)

ADK Audiophile Series: S-7B
ADK Custom:  Hamburg Au, Berlin Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-H or SD-C. C-LOL-67 or C-LOL-47

Upright bass is usually recorded with a single microphone placed to look at the bridge or somewhere between the edge of the top and the bridge. The sound hole will produce sometimes muddy low frequencies so placement requires care if the mic is to be used near that area. Setting up the mic to look at the players fingers or bow by the bridge can add definition.


ADK Audiophile Series:  S-7 or A6
ADK Custom:  Vienna Au, Cremona Au

ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  SD-O or SD-C or C-LOL-47

Viola and Violin are very similar and only differ in their range and overtones. The miking technique is usually the same, keeping in mind that some players move quite a bit, the mic should not be too close and should rather be placed on a mic stand above head, looking down at the instrument, ideally somewhere between the bridge and the middle of the neck. Since the player will move it’s useless to look for the sweet spot and once again, a certain distance should be kept between the mic and the instrument. Choosing a mic that works well with the instrument’s harmonic content is very important.


ADK Audiophile Series:  TT, TC, Hamburg MK8 or Vienna MK8 or A6
ADK 3-Zigma Audio:  C-LOL-12 or C-LOL-251 or C-LOL-67 or C-LOL-47
+ Any & ALL ADK Custom Shop Mics: Four Variation-on-Historical Microphone Curves -Multi-Configured – Engineered to Ultra-Flatter High-Value Vocals & Lead Instruments.

The typical setup is a choice of large diaphragm mics, compared in the control room to be able to pick the best match for the voice and the song. Distance can be an inch to several inches depending on the desired effect. Pads are rarely needed but when close miking a loud singer it’s safer to switch the pad on, if only to make sure the head amp won’t distort on peaks. Always use a good-quality pop filter to protect capsule. For best results, pair with Class-A Pre-amp.





To the best of our knowledge the following is a partial list Artists who own, have recorded with, or use ADK live in concert:

  • The Manhattan Transfer - http://www.manhattantransfer.org
  • Mr. Ray Charles - http://www.raycharles.com
  • Paul "Wix" Wickens - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Wickens
  • Jon Anderson - http://www.jonanderson.com
  • Danny O'Keefe - http://www.dannyokeefe.com
  • Miss Patti Page - http://misspattipage.com
  • Miss Patti Page - http://misspattipage.com
  • Johnny Matthis - http://www.johnnymathis.com
  • Gladys Knight - http://www.mcarecords.com/artistMain.asp?artistid=50
  • Amy Grant - http://www.amygrant.com
  • Lenny Kravitz - http://www.lennykravitz.com
  • Kathy Mattea - http://www.mattea.com
  • Jon Vezner - http://www.jonvezner.com
  • Michael W. Smith - http://www.michaelwsmith.com
  • Bebo Norman - http://www.bebonorman.com
  • Phil Keaggy - http://www.philkeaggy.com
  • Michael Card - http://michaelcard.com
  • Chris Tomlin - http://www.christomlin.com
  • Starfield - http://www.starfieldonline.com
  • Jaci Velasquez - http://www.jacivelasquez.com
  • Ellis Hall - http://www.ellishall.com
  • Kid Rock - http://www.kidrock.com
  • Harris Brothers Horns - http://www.harrisbroshorns.com
  • Sam Rivers, Jr. - http://www.rivbea.com
  • Vinny Valentino - http://www.vinny.com
  • Spyro Gyra - http://www.spyrogyra.com
  • Joel Rosenblatt - http://www.joelrosenblatt.com
  • Bill Cooley - http://www.billcooleymusic.com
  • Joe Augustine - http://www.joeaugustine.com
  • Ziggy Marley - http://www.ziggymarley.com
  • Megadeth - http://www.megadeth.com
  • Ronnie Montrose - http://ronniemontrose.com
  • Jonny Lang - http://www.jonnylang.com
  • James Byrd - http://www.jamesbyrd.com
  • Victoria Shaw - http://www.victoriashaw.com
  • Chris Joyner - http://www.chrisjoyner.com
  • Aimee Allen - http://www.aimeeallenmusic.com/
  • Annie Moses Band - http://www.anniemosesband.com
  • John Michael Talbot - http://www.johnmichaeltalbot.com
  • Allen Shamblin - http://www.allenshamblin.com
  • John Standefer - http://www.praiseguitar.com
  • Denny Jiosa - http://www.dennyjiosa.com

And many, many more!

* May or may not be ADK Endorsers. Go to Testimonial Page for Unsolicited End-User Opinions.


The following is a partial list Producers have tracked recent CD's with ADK Microphones and/or Pre-amps and Signal Processing:

  • Terry Howard - Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Fleetwood Mac Michael McDonald, Gladys Knight

  • Ronnie Brookshire - Steve Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Nichole Nordeman, Boyz 2 Men, Michael McDonald, Bebe Winnans, Cece Winnans. www.area52productions.com/personnel.htm

  • Phil Naish - Steven Curtis Chapman, Point of Grace, The Martins, Wes King, Michael Card, Jonathan Pierce, Steve Green, Goeff Moore and The Distance. www.philnaish.com

  • Joe Vanelli - Gino Vannelli, Chaka Khan, Gary Morris, David Meece, Kudasai, Marilyn Scott, Jimmy Haslip. www.ginov.com/joe

  • Ed Cash - Bebo Norman, Jim Brock, Chris Tomlin, Bethany Dillan, Dave Barnes, Starfield. www.edcash.com

  • Ted Perlman - Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, Chichago, Peggi Blu. www.tedperlman.com

  • Tony Martin, Jr. - Harry Nilsson, Marvin Gaye, Four Seasons, Beach Boys

  • Stevie Blacke - Chris Joyner, Randy Sacks, Carter Armstrong (the movie "Firewall"), Diane Stasion, Sarah Class, Jenni Alpert, Bluestarbaby, Byron Thames. www.stevieblacke.com

  • Misha Piatigorsky - Aimee Allen, Trio Del Sol, Mariani, Gord Clements, Barbara Mendez, Judy Bady, Tiffani, Shawn Hicks, Aya. www.mishamusic.com

  • Lauren Passarelli - Two Tru, Sarah Burrill, Thaddeus Hogarth, Michael Campbell. www.alltogethernow.us

* May or may not be ADK Endorsers. Go to Testimonial Page for Unsolicited End-User Opinions.


A short list of Institutional users would include:

  • BB King Recording Studio - Mississippi Valley State University
  • STAXX Recording and Performing Arts Center - Memphis TN
  • The Grammy® Awards - (Recorded Back-up Vocals and Guitars)
  • Faculty at Berkelee School Of Music, Boson MA
  • Faculty at Eastman School of Music, Rochester NY
  • Roberts Music Institute Bellevue WA
  • Blackbird Studios, Nashville TN
  • Westlake Audio, Los Angeles
  • Texas Women's State University
  • Crista School, King's High School, Seattle - http://www.kingsschools.org/high_school/
  • Ocean Hills Church Broadcast and Recording Facility - http://www.oceanhillschurch.com/
  • Calvary Baptist Church, Albuquerque NM - http://calvaryabq.org
  • Teen Challenge International - http://www.teenchallengemidamerica.com/
  • Seattle Symphony Reed and Woodwind Section - Tracked Music for a Disney Animated Feature Film
  • Oregon Philharmonic
  • Charlotte Symphony
  • Livermore Symphony
  • Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
  • Tampa Symphony
  • Disney Films
  • ABC
  • NBC
  • CBS
  • MTV
  • PBS
  • ESPN
  • WNCW
  • WCVO
  • WVXG
  • WCVC
  • WLQV
  • KEDD
  • Many Broadcast and Voice-Talent Facilities
  • Hope Christian School ALB NM
  • Crossroads Community Church, Lawrence GA - http://www.crossroadsconnect.com
  • North Metro Church Marietta GA - http://www.northmetro.org
  • Trinity Chapel - http://www.trinitychapel.org/index.aspx
  • NewBirth Missionary Baptist Church - http://www.newbirth.org/
  • Grace Fellowship Church - http://www.gracefellowshipchurch.com/
  • Roswell United Methodist Church - http://www.rumc.com/
  • Christ Chapel Bible Church, Ft. Worth TX
  • Christian Assembly Los Angeles CA
  • First Assembly of God, Crawfordsville IN
  • First Pentecostal Church, Splendora TX
  • New Hope Baptist Church, Jonesboro LA
  • Petra Christian Fellowship, New Holland PA
  • Southern Consortium for Children, Athens OH

ADK Microphones have been used to archive the Nobel Peace Prize Award; and served as vocal mic to both Cantors in NY Synagogues, and the Call to Prayer in Saudi Arabia.

If the UN created as much Global Harmony as ADK did, it might just be a better world !!!



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