ADK Odin & Thor

Large-diaphragm Microphones

Published in SOS September 2012
Bookmark and Share

Reviews : Microphone

These mics are intended to offer the sound of the classic U87, while costing a fraction of the price. Do they live up to their inspiration?

Paul White

ADK Odin & Thor

ADK Microphones was founded in 1997 by recording engineer and vintage mic enthusiast Larry Villella, with the aim of replicating the sonic qualities of vintage European mics. He started by using spectrum analysis and computer modelling to see what made his favourite mics sound the way they did, then he got a team together to try to build their own, while keeping the cost within reach of the project studio owner. The A51 model was his first success story, and updated versions of that mic are still available.

A couple of notable newcomers to the line are the Odin and Thor. Both of these mics were first announced under their original names, S7A and T7, respectively, before being renamed after their development code-words. The final models were unveiled at the Winter NAMM show earlier this year.

Ye Gods!

ADK Odin & Thor

The Thor is a large-diaphragm (25mm) capacitor mic with a 32mm capsule, designed to accommodate high SPLs (up to almost 150dB) and to be as versatile as possible. It is also claimed to be tough enough to withstand live use, although it does require a pop filter for close-up vocal miking. Standard 48V phantom power is required for operation. The mic comes in a sturdy, velvet-lined and adequately padded case, with a stand clip.

Described as being well suited to pop and rock vocals, drums, guitar amps, and wind and string instruments, the Thor features a novel three-position Character switch with settings called Mellow, Neutral and Brilliant, which, in theory should make the mic match a wide range of sound sources and voice types. These settings were apparently designed to emulate the characters of the existing ADK S7, S7B and S7C models, respectively. The three settings essentially introduce different high-shelf attenuations, with Brilliant leaving the response unchanged, Mellow operating at 12kHz, and Neutral operating at 15kHz. The mic features transformerless electronics with a balanced output, a three-way pad switch (0dB, -8dB or -18dB) and a three-way high-pass filter switch, with settings for Off, 100Hz and 150Hz

The capsule can be switched to omnidirectional, cardioid or figure-of-eight patterns and the mic's sensitivity is quoted as 14mv/Pa, while the Equivalent Input Noise (EIN) figure given is 14dB (A-Weighted). To achieve the maximum SPL-handling capability of 148dB, the pad switch must be set to -18dB. With no pad, the maximum SPL is 130dB, and in the -8dB position it is 138dB.

Looking similar to the Thor, other than being significantly shorter in the body, the Odin offers exactly the same features, other than being a fixed cardioid-pattern mic, and has the same switching options. It has 1dB more self noise and 1dB less sensitivity than the Thor, but otherwise the spec sheet reads much the same.

Internally, both mics seem to be built in the style typical of the better-quality Chinese microphones I've examined, with all the circuitry housed on glass-fibre circuit boards and using good-quality but non-esoteric components.

Hammer Time

Common to both microphones is this three-position Character switch, which has settings for Mellow, Brilliant and Neutral.Common to both microphones is this three-position Character switch, which has settings for Mellow, Brilliant and Neutral.

With the Thor set to cardioid mode, both mics sound very similar. When all the controls are set flat, what you get is very typical large-diaphragm mic performance, delivering a confident and full tonality with a very slightly compressed, larger-than-life character. It certainly bolsters up that sense of lower-mid 'fullness' in the voice. We're told that ADK used the Neumann U87 as the benchmark when developing these mics, which explains their general tonal character. With the Character switch set to Mellow, there's a gentle rounding off of the highs, but the designers have kept the effect sensibly subtle. This is less mellow than a typical ribbon mic, but may be similarly useful for sweetening string recordings, taming harsh-sounding guitar cabinets, and so on. Switching to the Bright position adds sparkle and helps articulation, but without making the sound seem harsh or aggressive — useful for acoustic guitar, vocals that might otherwise lack clarity, and drum overheads. As far as I can tell, this is done electronically via filter circuitry, so doing the same thing with a good EQ should produce similar results.

In the Neutral setting, the mic suits a wide range of vocal styles, but it can also be used on just about any instrument, including kick drums, where the mic's high SPL handling is a distinct advantage. Having all the additional filtering switches is useful, as it is often desirable to tame excessive lows before the signal hits the mic preamp. The Mellow setting is more of a luxury than an essential, but it's better to have it than not. Importantly, the cardioid mode of the Thor and the Odin's fixed cardioid pattern manage to avoid the slightly nasal 'honkiness' that can afflict some cardioid-pattern mics.

In omni and figure-of-eight mode, the tonality of the Thor appears to change perhaps more than is really the case, due to the lack of proximity bass boost in the omni position and the inevitable strong proximity boost in the figure-of-eight position. Room reflections also have more of an impact when you're out of cardioid mode, but there's a reassuringly natural and open feel to the sound in both omni and figure-of-eight modes.

Norses For Courses?

Perhaps the performance of these mics doesn't quite match that of the U87 benchmark, but they certainly lean heavily in that direction, in terms of character. These are both very capable mics, given their price, and they stand up well in comparison with other high-quality mics of Chinese provenance. There's a lot of competition in this price range from the likes of SE, MXL, Audio-Technica and countless others, but the additional filtering options and good basic performance make these mics well worth considering, especially as they can tackle anything from vocals to kick drums.  .

Alternatives

This list could end up longer than the review, but look at the available SE and MXL models in the same price range, as well as the Audio-Technica AT4050.

ADK Odin £199$299 & Thor £259$399
pros
Affordable.
Very versatile.
Good basic sound quality.
cons
No shockmount included.
summary
Two very capable mics that compare favourably with other similarly priced models. ADK have tried to offer something new, too, by providing the three Character settings in addition to the filtering and pad options.
information
Odin £199; Thor £259. Prices include VAT.
Golden Age Music +46 322 665 050.
Odin $299, Thor $399.
Dana B Goods +1 805 644 6621.

SOS Readers Ads
GRAB A BARGAIN

£478,524

of Second-User Gear for sale now — don't miss out!

Audio-Technica AT4047 MP

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Audio-Technica AT4047 MP

Audio-Technica have added multiple polar patterns to one of their already successful designs, bringing increased versatility in the studio.

Audio-Technica AT4047 MP | Media

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

Audio files to accompany the article.

Audio-Technica AT4050 ST

Stereo Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Audio-Technica AT4050 ST

There's more to this variation on Audio-Technica's flagship microphone than the simple addition of a second capsule...

Peavey Studio Pro M2

Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Peavey Studio Pro M2

Paul White explores the capabilities of the understated-yet-powerful Studio Pro M2.

Schoeps VSR5

Microphone Preamp

Thumbnail for article: Schoeps VSR5

Schoeps make some of the most revered mics on the planet, so when they release a commercial version of the mic preamp they use for testing, you have to take it seriously...

Schoeps VSR5 Mic Preamp

Test Measurements

Thumbnail for article: Schoeps VSR5 Mic Preamp

The following charts, made using an Audio Precision Analyser, accompany our review of the Schoeps VSR5 microphone preamplifier.

Blue Encore 300

Handheld Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Blue Encore 300

Designed as a hand-held live vocal mic, this mic has a cardioid pickup pattern, and seems very robustly engineered.

Cartec EQP1A

Mono Valve Equaliser

Thumbnail for article: Cartec EQP1A

British 'boutique' outboard manufacturers seem to be rather thin on the ground these days, but if this Pultec clone is anything to go by, newcomers Cartec look set to make a big impression.

Prodipe TT1

Dynamic Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Prodipe TT1

Prodipe say they wanted to offer a high-quality, live-sound, cardioid-pattern dynamic mic at a very affordable price.

Sontronics Saturn

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Sontronics Saturn

Sontronics mics usually sound as distinctive as they look - and this one looks more distinctive than most!

MXL Revelation

Multi-pattern Valve Microphone

Thumbnail for article: MXL Revelation

Hot on the heels of the impressive Genesis cardioid valve mic, MXL have unveiled their flagship multi-pattern model, the Revelation. Does it live up to its name?

MXL Revelation | Audio Examples

Multi-pattern Valve Microphone

These audio files accompany the SOS September 2010 review of the MXL Revelation microphone.

Samson Go Mic

USB Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Samson Go Mic

USB mics are nothing new, but the Samson Go Mic is probably the smallest and cutest I've seen to date. This metal-bodied mic,...

AKG Perception 820

Valve Microphone

Thumbnail for article: AKG Perception 820

Does AKGs Chinese-made Perception 820 maintain the Austrian companys impressive reputation?

AKG Perception 820 | Audio

Audio Examples

Hear for yourself how this mic performed during the SOS tests.

Audio-Technica AT4080 & AT4081

Ribbon Microphones

Thumbnail for article: Audio-Technica AT4080 & AT4081

A-Ts brand-new transducer technology has produced a robust design intended to deliver high signal levels as well as that prized ribbon character...

Earthworks DP25C & DP30C

Snare & Tom Condenser Microphones

Thumbnail for article: Earthworks DP25C & DP30C

Despite the ubiquity of the SM57 for use on snare, there are other options — and Earthworks aim to help you capture a more natural sound.

MXL Genesis

Cardioid Valve Microphone

Thumbnail for article: MXL Genesis

We put MXLs Genesis through its paces alongside a much pricier model, to find out just how good a tube mic can be at this price.

MXL Genesis Mic | Audio Files

Hear For Yourself

To accompany our July 2010 Genesis review, we recorded a series of standard tests with the review mic alongside a more established mic (in this case, the AKG C12 VR).

WIN Great Prizes in SOS Competitions!

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Blog | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media