This “review” is a little different than most you’ll read on the CK-7 because we here at Nashville Trax own and actually use one. Most reviews are either verbatim copies of the manufacturer’s sales materials or written by professional writers who tested the product specifically for the purpose of writing a review. As a studio owner and music producer in Nashville, TN this review is based on my experience over the last six years.
Here’s the link to the ZZounds page where you can buy one if you like, I’m making no money from ZZounds if you do so.
The bottom line is the CK-7 is a great microphone, although the applications are somewhat limited; in those applications though, it excels.
It’s listed on ZZounds as a vocal mic and for most studio vocal use it would be far better for vocals than, say, a dynamic like the SM 58. But there are many other large diaphragm condenser mics that I’d choose over it for vocals, even in that same basic price range. The sound of the CK-7 is a little gritty on male vocals which could be a good thing sometimes but I’ve had no use for it at all for female vocals, in A-B comparison tests it’s never once won out on a female singer.
Where this mic has excelled is on acoustic instruments. It’s sensational for acoustic guitar and just as good for fiddle, banjo and mandolin. In combination with a good pre-amp, it can’t be beat. More than one Nashville session quality acoustic musician has remarked that no studio achieved a better sound on their instrument, thank you CK-7!
A good acoustic guitar sound can be achieved with the CK-7 placed a few inches away from the guitar neck around fret 12. For most acoustic instruments you’ll want to use the mic’s roll off switch to eliminate some of the low frequencies. In most situations you’ll likely prefer the unidirectional setting.
Of course the preamp you use has a lot to do with how a condensor mic sounds. I use the Avalon VT 737 setup to the Avalon recommendatins for acoustic guitar. For drums, vocals, horns and other items you need to record I’d keep looking but the Avalon/CK-7 combo should give you a great sound for just about any stringed acoustic instrument. – b.e. watson