Warm Audio WA14 Microphone – Review and Shootout

WA14

Warm strikes again ! After their successful debut microphone, the WA87, their all new brass CK12 style WA14 is out for sale.

We genuinely tried to understand the build and tested it out on various sources to find out what is so special about this workhorse. Lets get going..

WA14 Build:

The WA14 build is based on the classic 414 condenser microphone from the 70’s that has been used on countless hit records. The WA-14 utilizes fully discrete classic circuit topology, including an all-brass CK12 style capsule design by “Lens Kondensator” and a custom premium CineMag USA transformer. The WA-14 provides a realism and thickness that is true to the vintage sonics, but now at an affordable price.

The Audiophile's Record Company

We tried to understand the build of the WA14 and this is what we inferred. The LK12-B-60v is an all-brass, edge-terminated capsule that captures all the smoothness, rich top end, and other sonic qualities of the original CK-12 capsule.  By using the backplate of the more modern CEK-12 variant as a basis, the WA14 capsule overcomes many of the manufacturing limitations of the original hand-made capsule which made it prohibitively complex and difficult to manufacture consistently or in high numbers.  Warm also claimed that the o-ring and housing were all made from brass, meaning no teflon parts. Moreover, the capsule diaphragm is 24k gold sputtered and skinned using 6 micron, NOS Japanese PET film (mylar) resulting in a very consistent and reliable capsule which matches the frequency response and tonality of the classic.

Uses:

Warm Audio has claimed that the WA14 can be used on an array of sources, which includes: punchy and warm intimate lead vocals, aggressive guitars and heavy percussion. But we got to try it on Vocals, Acoustic guitars and a Violin. Later this week we would be trying it out as drum overheads. The results were phenomenal on Female Vocals and Acoustic guitars.

 

Shootout:

We got to compare an 414 XLii as we did not have access to the EB’s here in India. Check out the results below ! Also comment and request for RAW files for comparison.

Signal Chain : Shadow Hills Equinox Mic Pre –> Lynx Aurora 16 TB. The signals were level matched and were given a little reverb.

Specifications:

• Large diaphragm condenser microphone with variable pad and three polar patterns
• Features our own “Lens Kondensator” LK-12-B-60V  edge-terminated, dual-backplate, all-brass vintage CK12 style capsule
• Custom CineMag USA transformer
• Includes shock mount and hard mount
• Frequency range: 20Hz to 20kHz 
• Output pad: 0dB, -10dB, -20dB
• Cardioid, figure of eight and omnidirectional patterns
• Impedance: 150 ohms
• Connector: 3-pin XLR
• Requires +48V phantom power
• Color: black (painted)
• 1- year warranty 

 

Verdict:

We found its character very appealing when used on intimate female vocals and acoustic guitars, but its versatile characteristics on everything else threw us away. If you are looking for a Microphone under $500 that can used on almost anything? The Warm Audio WA14 is your best bang for buck. We still are huge fans of their WA87.

 

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