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Manley Reference Cardioid Large-Diaphragm Tube Condenser Recording Microphone


Manufacturer's Description

The world's most popular modern tube vocal mic.

The Manley Reference Cardioid Tube Microphone has that “finished” sound right out of the box, making it the favorite vocal mic of top producers and voiceover artists alike.

This is modern pop music’s go-to mic: flattering, present, and larger-than-life. Some refer to the Manley Ref C as the “Just Add Talent” microphone.


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.


As of June 2020, the Reference Cardioid also utilizes our new MANLEY POWER® Switch-Mode Power Supply.

This new power supply is empirically quieter than the older PSUs. Sonically, we hear faster highs, generally more clarity, and ‘blacker blacks’ in the silence. The new power supply is also universal - accepting any voltage or frequency - so it works anywhere in the world without a voltage changeover switch or power transformer rewiring.


  • All-Tube triode design 12AX7 (Previous versions used 12AT7 and 6072.)
  • -10 dB switchable pad
  • Frequency response: 10Hz-30KHz
  • Sensitivity: 17mV/Pa
  • Noise typically -120dB EIN
  • Max SPL: 150dB
  • Output Impedance: 250 Ohms
  • Weight: 2.25 lbs (mic)
  • Size: 4.5" x 9.7" x 4.5" (mic)
  • Shipping weight: 15 lbs
    • As of 6/2020 SMPS Power Supply versions REFCARD7P####:
    • Universal MANLEY POWER™ Switch Mode Power Supply; works worldwide
    • Power Consumption: 8 Watts
    • Weight / Dims: 2.35 lbs / 5 x 3.3 x 9.3” (with handle)
    • Fuse: 250VAC 2A SLO BLO Ceramic - 5mm x 20mm
    • Input Voltage: 90VAC to 250VAC (Universal)
    • Mains Frequency: 50~60Hz
    • 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.
    • Older units might have 120-220V Voltage changeover switch
    • Size: 5" x 9.3" x 3.3" (PSU including handle)
    • Weight: 2.6 lbs (PSU)
    • Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~60Hz
    • Mains Fuse Value: 250mA @ 100~120V; 125mA @ 220~240V operation
    • Mains Fuse Type: 5mm x 20mm SLO-BLO Glass or Ceramic
      (older units used 1/4” x 1 1/4” size MDA or MDL type)
    • Power Consumption: 70mA @ 120V = 8.4 Watts