Austrian Audio CC8 stereo set: What is it?
If you want to record in stereo you can either use a stereo mic or a matched pair of individual mics. It’s the latter configuration we have up for review in the form of the CC8 Stereo Set from Austrian Audio.
The Stereo Set includes two small capsule cardioid condenser mics, two clips, two windshields and a stereo bar, all bundled together in a compact flight case. It’s basically twice the price of the individual mic, but with the added bonus of the case and stereo bar.
Austrian Audio calibrates all CC8s to 15mV/Pa output, with a maximum tolerance of +/- 0.5dB at 1kHz. So although you’re getting a stereo pair, you could equally buy two single mics and expect the same performance.
The CC8 is handbuilt in Austria and includes its stylish grey/red colour scheme. The capsule is a true condenser (therefore not pre-polarised) design, that uses a gold coated 3-micron polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) diaphragm. Austrian Audio says this is more robust than Mylar.
Combined with the weighty metal body and fine grille that protects the capsule slots, the design definitely feels ready for professional everyday use. The mic incorporates transformerless electronics, and the healthy 15mV/Pa output is matched with 16dBA self-noise, which is very respectable for a small capsule condenser. It’s also great to see on-body controls for attenuation (-10dB and -20dB), and 12dB/octave high-pass filter (60Hz and 120Hz).
Austrian Audio CC8 stereo set: Performance and verdict
Austrian Audio says the CC8’s capsule sound is inspired by the classic CK1 cardioid capsule found in AKG’s original C-451. We were unable to directly A/B the CC8 with a C-451. However, the C-451 tends to sound quite bright, imparting a particularly splashy sound to hi-hats, for example. To our ears, the CC8 offers a much flatter delivery. Indeed if you look at the frequency plots, the C-451 has a broad high frequency lift up to 4dB. The CC8 meanwhile has two modest lifts at 6kHz and about 16kHz.
Comparisons aside, on acoustic guitar, for example, the CC8 delivers a lovely sound, full in the low mids and with plenty of articulation, but not overly bright. This theme follows through into percussion and drum kit overheads, both of which sound very natural and not unpleasantly harsh. Testing an individual mic, the cardioid polar pattern is reasonably broad, and the transition to off-axis quite smooth. And with that healthy output level, you don’t need too much gain.
Unsurprisingly for pencil-style cardioids, the CC8s are sensitive to wind noise and plosives. The included foam windshields do help a bit but if you want true outdoor protection you’ll need something more fluffy. We can’t emphasise enough how useful a stereo bar is, particularly for cardioid techniques such as ORTF and XY. The included CC8 bar is solid and works well, although it lacks space and angle markings, and riser fittings, all of which can be useful. Aside from these aspects, we have no other gripes.
In terms of price, the CC8 sits well above the budget category without being silly money. What you get for that is a pair of very refined mics with a spec to match, and we’d be more than happy to use these in a professional setting.
MusicRadar verdict: Another great Austrian Audio package that gives you a marked uplift on budget options, but still without the need to sell a kidney.
Austrian Audio CC8 stereo set: The web says
"The CC8 is a brilliant small diaphragm condenser microphone, especially at its price point."
Austrian Audio CC8 stereo set: Hands-on demos
Produce Like A Pro
Austrian Audio CC8 stereo set: Specifications
- TYPE: Cardioid.
- CAPSULE: Handmade true condenser.
- LEVEL PAD: 0, -10, -20dB.
- HP FILTER: 0Hz, 60Hz, 120Hz 12dB/octave.
- FREQUENCY RANGE: 20Hz – 20kHz.
- MAX SPL: 156dB SPL.
- IMPEDANCE: 275 Ohms.
- SENSITIVITY: 15mV/Pa.
- EQUIVALENT NOISE: 16dB SPL (A).
- PHANTOM POWER: 48V (<3 mA).
- CONTACT: Austrian Audio