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ADK S-7b, A real Gem!

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Guys:  As I had promised; here is my unscientific, but honest, trumpet player, studio owner review of an incredible microphone:

By:  Claude Gnocchi, Lawyer, trumpeter and novice AE and studio owner of CTS Group Records, Fort  Washington, MD

2 November 2007

The tested product:  Three (3) ADK S-7 Microphones; each distinctively "voiced" and marked w/blue tape as "A," "B," and "C."    These were sent by ADK co-owner and founder, Mr. Larry Villella; they arrived at my door on 2 November 2007.  This tester had/has no advance/inside knowledge of what modifications were made to which microphones.

Testing Procedure:  A/B direct comparison with the other "comparable" mics, and with a Telefunken AK-47 and a Cascade "Fat Head" ribbon mic; the first, a microphone costing 5 times more than the ADK and the latter, a ribbon microphone.

Other "comparable" microphones:  Oktava M-319 (Joly modification); Cascade M20U; and a Samson C1.  The Telefunken and the Cascade Fat Head, because of their different type (tube multi-pattern and a ribbon mic) are not really "comparable" to the ADK.

Recording chain:  

a.  Microphone preamps- Great River ME 1NV,  Ward-Beck 470D dual  pre (racked by Dave Thomas), and a Rane MS1b.

b.  Microphone Cable- Evidence and Zoalla pure silver.

c.  Multi-track recorder- Tascam DA38

d.  Mixing Desk- Phonic 3243

e.  Master Recorder- Alesis Masterlink

f.  A/D Converter - Lucid 9624

g.  Trumpet- German-made b-flat, B&S JBX with a Huttl #18 trumpet mouthpiece



    a.  All three ADK mics came very well packaged in a wood or wood-like case which seemed to belong to a more expensive mic.

   b.  Fit, "feel" and finish of these mics is impressive period; but, particularly impressive for a mic in this price range.

   c.  The -8db pad is a welcome touch and seems to be more "usable" than the typical -10 or -20 db pads commonly available on most mics.

   d.  The included utility mic clip is usable but undeserving of a mic of this high quality.  A quality "spider" mount should be used.

General Sonics:

   a.  All three mics seemed to "match" or "favor" the GR preamp.  The Ward-Beck was very acceptable, but the GR seemed to provide a more "open" sound"  i.e. the trumpet tone was "full bodied, yet had some "air."  The sound w/the WB or the Rane seemed not to have as much "realism."

   b.  Mic "B" was my absolute favorite sound; followed by mic "A;"  I did NOT like mic "C" at all, it seemed "screechy" and thin as compared to both A & B, and even the other mics.

   c.  Mic "A" was good, but it seemed just a tad too "clean" and "symphony-like" for my taste.

   d.  Mic "B" coupled with the GR had the best tone of all mics, to include the Telefunken and the Fat Head.

Comparison with all the others:

   a.  ADK "B's" ability to take front-on loud trumpet was greater than all others tested, particularly, the AK-47.  Of course, the AK-47 does not have a pad, still, I had expected it to take more volume than the ADK.  It did NOT.

   b.  Reproduction of an accurate  trumpet sound- here again, the ADK was, in this trumpeter's opinion, the truest reproduction of the live trumpet's sound as far as TONE is concerned.

   c.  The ADK has a beautiful tone to it, however, in my opinion, it did come-up a bit short to the Telefunken in its "spatial" and 3D ability."

A "Ribbon-like" Mic W/out the Hassles?

When comparing the ADK w/the Fat Head, I noticed that the ADK marked as "B" gave a "ribbon-like" sound that actually had more "presence" and high-end than a typical ribbon....thus, I would use this mic where I would normally employ a ribbon and not have the limitations of a ribbon (fragile; can't blow into it, poor highs, etc.) plus in my opinion, a better tone than most inexpensive ribbons!!  Talk about a "win-win" situation!  (I could not compare it to my Coles, since I sold it some time back).  Also note that I did NOT compare the ADK to my Beyer M-160, since I had already deemed the Fat Head a more "usable" ribbon than the M-160.  


In my opinion, with the equipment mentioned here, and for recording "jazz trumpet" and vocal sounds, the ADK S-7 mic, marked "B" was the most "beautiful sounding" microphone of the lot;  the "tone" of the ADK was the absolute best, however, as directly compared to the Telefunken, it did seem that  it did not have as much "3D super realism" and "air" around it as the Telefunken, however keep in mind that the AK-47 is a microphone which costs five times more than the ADK!  Additionally, and this is important; I am not technical enough to know whether the extra 3D and "super presence" of the AK-47 is only attributed to it by its tube and/or its multi-pattern capability....if that is the case, then I would dare say that a multi-pattern, tube version  of the ADK S-7 would be the "Holy-Grail" of microphonedom!!!!  (a new word....)


Due to the availability of the ADK mics, further tests were done during the long Veteran's Day weekend (9-12 November 2007).  Having settled on the ADK S-7b, this microphone was paired up with a Presonus MP20 Mic preamp and compared to the AK-47 through the same preamp.  The results are contained in the CD and indicate that the ADK and the Presonus are extremely compatible; more so than the AK-47/Presonus combination.

In my opinion, the ADK/Presonus combination made for a more useful "trumpet sound" than the AK-47 w/any of the tested microphone preamps.  At about one fifth the cost for the ADK/Presonus combination, I would call this nothing short of amazing; in fact, I preferred this sound at any price!  You go ADK!    

Interesting review.  I haven't tried the S-7, and I don't know that I'd find it useful for my limited uses (solo fingerstyle acoustic and classical guitar), but I do appreciate many of ADK's products.  I've used ADK mics (pairs of CE, TL, Vienna) and their preamp right along with Schoeps, Gefell and Pendulum gear.  Many of the mics are very acceptable in the sense that they simply sound good.  The preamp is quite nice, and the swapable input transformers and op amps offer many choices of behavior and sound.  I did try the A6, which is somewhere inbetween a Hamburg and a Vienna, with a bit more smoothness.

I would enjoy reading Harvey's impression of the A6 in that earlier thread.  Larry did send a pair to Harvey for evaluation.

After A/B'ing a standard TL with a modded TL (new AU capsule), I've decided to have the pair of TLs I have modded by Kevin of ADK by putting the AU capsules in them.  Somewhat flatter response and a bit smoother and honest for a mic that was pretty honest to begin with.

Trumpetman2 wrote on Wed, 14 November 2007 21:46
The included utility mic clip is usable but undeserving of a mic of this high quality.  A quality "spider" mount should be used.  

Why, exactly?

Because it looks cooler?

Was there a sonic problem with the solid mount?

Well, I would think that a sensitive condenser mic would be more prone to pick up floor/stand vibrations if it is mounted on a rigid plastic mount....,no?  Also, you are absolutely right - a great spider mount looks so much kooler!!!!!!  

Was there a sonic problem with the solid mount?


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