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Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone
Features & SpecificationsMSRPTech NotesTroubleshootingPhotosDownloads

The Reference Cardioid Microphone shares the same electronic attributes as the Gold Reference Series, but has a center-fixed cardioid-only capsule with a thicker gauge (6 micron) gold sputtered diaphragm. With the similar film thickness and construction, similar high frequency resonance (a little edge), similar proximity effect and pretty good immunity from pops and sibilance problems, our Reference Cardioid more closely recalls how many of the vintage European tube mics such as the beloved U47 sounded like when they were new. Its rich tonal balance and liquid character is consistently admired for instruments such as guitars, drum overheads, saxophone, and especially vocals. With your present mic, if you find yourself leaning on your compressors and boosting 5 or 10K to score a bit more testosterone, then the Reference Cardioid just might be the mic you’re looking for to cure what ails ya. If you seem to be constantly boosting 12-18K and trying to get a clean, intimate sound, then probably the Reference Gold would be the safest bet.

If you want to sound like God, then use the mic Don LaFontaine used! The Manley Reference Cardioid mic. And have a voice like his too. Here's an article from Mix Magazine about DLF.

Etta James

The late Etta James chose to feature her Manley Reference Cardioid Mic on her penultimate album cover. She recorded this record in the summer of 2005.

r.i.p. Etta 1/20/2012. We love you.

Don LaFontaine

"In A World..." The Manley Reference Cardioid Mic is a revered Voiceover mic. We were proud to be part of The Voice of God!

r.i.p. Don 9/1/2008

Watch the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab Videos

  Click here to watch the YouTube Video

Randy Thomas

Randy Thomas

Here is VO superstar Randy Thomas with her Manley Reference Cardioid Mic and her Manley VOXBOX!

Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne's Manley Reference Cardioid Mic

Avril wanted a custom paint job adorned by her logo for her Manley Reference Cardioid mic and so our mic man Chris was happy to get it done for her in early 2010.

Features & Specifications

Manley Cardioid Reference Microphone

  • All-Tube triode design 12AT7 (2011 build. Previous versions used 12AX7 and 6072.)
  • -10 dB switchable pad
  • Frequency response: 10Hz-30KHz
  • Sensitivity: 17mV/Pa
  • Noise typically -120dB EIN
  • Max SPL: 150dB
  • Actual output impedance 200 Ohms
  • Weight: 2.25 lbs (mic)
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs (PSU)
  • Size: 4.5" x 9.7" x 4.5" (mic)
  • Size: 5" x 8.2" x 3.4" (PSU)
  • Shipping weight: 15 lbs
  • Selected matched pairs available
  • Outboard Power Supply is factory set for 100V, 120V or 220-240VAC operation for original destination country's mains voltage.
  • Operating Mains Voltage changeable with power transformer re-wiring via internal jumpers and fuse value change.
  • Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~ 60Hz
  • Mains Fuse: 250mA @ 100~120V; 125mA @ 220~240V operation
  • Power Consumption: 70mA @ 120V = 8.4 Watts

    Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price

    • Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone: $3000

    2012 Special Version available now! Manley VOXBOX Manley VOXBOX Manley VOXBOX
    Technical Notes

    If you need to make a conversion, please download the necessary document under the downloads section on the right side of this page and then then request the schematic from Paul in our Tech Support department here. Or if you want to stick with the 6072 tube, you can try to find some on the open market. We have none in stock anymore.

    Note: Custom transformerless internal preamp version is NO LONGER available to order

    Photo by Janne Ketola

    Trouble Shooting Hints:

    How to change the O-RINGS:

    The mic suspension is held onto the mic by a set of red silicone o-rings connecting FIVE pillars surrounding the mic, one set on the top and the other on the bottom of the mic. There are two sets of stainless steel screws and spacer nuts that hold the silicone o-rings onto these points and all you do is loop the o-rings onto these posts inner and outer. You can double up the o-rings for extra security and put two of 'em on each point and order two sets (20 total) if you'd like to.

    If you needs to order more o-rings, you can order a set of them from our parts store, www.tubesrule.com. They are RED SILICONE #114 O-RING's.

    How to change a TUBE:

    Disconnect the power cable at the mic. Do not remove the mic suspension. You never need to.

    Remove the three phillips screws at the base (red part) of the mic that hold the case on.

    Grasp the body of the mic with one hand, grasp the base with the other hand.

    Carefully pull at the base of the mic (sometimes a slight twist will help), and slide the base out of the body just enough to expose the tube

    Grasp the tube while holding the tube socket, and wiggle and pull to remove it. Install a new tube and put the case back on.

    BUZZ! My mic started buzzing! Those damn bees...

    First thing I would check is that all the case/chassis screws are in nice and tight and making good ground to exposed metal. Remove the 3 x silver phillips screws that hold the cover/case onto the mic. You can slide the body of the mic up a little bit to check the holes on the base. Slide up and wiggle. (The base and guts of the mic are all contained by a sub-chassis.) Make sure there is silver metal on the case housing in the countersink and also under them on the base piece. Use a 1/4" drill bit in your hand and turn and press the drill bit a few times to make sure you have exposed silver metal showing in those places. Put the screws back and test. Next: There are some little set screws around the circumference of the base piece hiding in their holes. Using 1/16th allen key, back them out and run them back in. These are the guys who hold the XLR connector in place. We use stainless steel ones these days. Try those and re-test.

    If the buzz is still there, with the mic on, see if touching the screen or top of the screen makes any buzz go away. Hold the XLR cable shell so you are making the ground path. If the screen is loose, it will need to be expoxied back in place with silver conductive epoxy. If touching the case makes the buzz go away then we still have grounds not being made so repeat steps 1 & 2.

    Next would be to replace the tube with any good working 12AX7 or 6072 you have kicking around to see if it is the problem.

    Next would be more advanced, checking the power supply volts, especially the heater regulator to make sure you have 12V coming off him... looking for a bad cap in the PSU that isn't doing his job of removing ripple, etc. If nothing you try works then we'll arrange an RA# for you to send it in.

    You can fill in the service form here to get that going or to request a schematic.

    Where is my mic's serial number?

    The Manley Reference Microphone serial number is located on the inner face of the mic suspension plate flanking the hole where your mic stand attaches to the mic suspension.

    Above: You can even use the Manley Reference Cardioid to mic up champagne! - Photo courtesy of Douglas Henderson.

    Left: Eric 'Roscoe' Ambel likes his Manley Reference Cardioid on kick drum!

    Here's a couple of photos of our pals at the Bob & Tom radio Show (using the Manley Reference Cardioid Mic). You can check out their web site at:


  • Reviews
    Word on the Street
    PDF Downloads
    Memorable Remarks

    Good lord this mic makes me sound better than I am. What do you guys do, sprinkle some kind of secret "Vocal Mojo" on these things before they leave the factory? I have over a dozen mics in our cabinet...good ones from Neumann, BLUE, Audio Technica..this thing is unreal!


    --Eric Smith

    The Manley Reference Cardioid Mic,
    the SOUND of pop music!
    Here is Savannah Sanchez having some fun posing for a few pictures with her Manley Labs Reference Cardioid mic between takes at Gospel Light Studios.
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