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Review

Peavey CM1 handheld condenser microphone

Issue #49

Back home I tried the CM1 with a range of typical studio noisemakers and again it gave me a clear, open sound - not quite the same as a large or small diaphragm studio mic, but there’s not much that you couldn’t use it on.
Andi Picker

 

Pros:

Smooth and articulate sound
Can be battery powered
10 Year warranty with registration!
Great price

Cons:

No markings for the power/lo-cut switch
Pad switch is on the inside of the case

Peavey CM1 handheld condenser microphone

A Peavey mic in GI's studio section? It pays never to overlook the Meridian masters...as Andi Picker explains.


Peavey might not be the first name you think of when looking for studio gear, but whispers reached us at GI Towers that the company is selling a lot of its CM1 mics into home and project studios. This sounded like something we needed to check out.

The Peavey CM1 looks like a standard dynamic vocal microphone, but under the covers it’s actually a back-electret condenser design. It’s made for hand-held use, so it’s robust, has low handling noise (internal shock-mount and built-in double layer pop filter) and is voiced for close-up work. Frequency response is generally similar to standard vocal mics with a relatively flat midrange between 300 Hz and 2kHz, a fairly gentle roll-off below and a few interesting looking bumps and dips above. Sensitivity is significantly higher than most dynamic mics manage (as we’d expect), self-noise is a decent 24 dB A, maximum sound level is quoted as 135 dB SPL (for 1% distortion) and it has an active transformer/FET output stage.

I’m a rubbish singer, so as my band happened to have a rehearsal session booked, I asked vocalist Sam Warner to give the mic a work-out. The difference between Sam’s Beta 58 and the CM1 was quite astonishing – and I really don’t say that lightly. The CM1 was far more hi-fi sounding, not so much toppier or brighter, but cleaner and more open; as though the proverbial blanket had been taken off the speakers. Handling noise was low enough that we never even thought about it, and we had no feedback issues in a small room, even when we let Rob use his heavy sticks so that everyone else had to turn-up to earplug levels!

 

In practical terms there are pros and cons to a mic of this type; because the output is higher than a typical dynamic mic we don’t need as much gain on the desk, which can be a big help if the pre-amps or mic cable are a bit noisy; and the transformer/FET output stage means that it should sound pretty-much the same into a wide range of input impedances. On the other hand, if you don’t have working phantom power (the “+48V” label had worn off the button on the studio mixer for some reason!), you’re sunk before you start.

Back home I tried the CM1 with a range of typical studio noisemakers and again it gave me a clear, open sound - not quite the same as a large or small diaphragm studio mic, but there’s not much that you couldn’t use it on. If you’re prepared to do a bit of hunting online, you can find a CM1 for about the same price as an SM58, and rather less than an 58Beta, which, for a mic that’s very competent both onstage and in the studio, makes it a bit of a bargain.

Overall, I'd say this is great general purpose SDC mic that any studio can afford to buy a pair of.

 

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Issue #50

John Petrucci

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