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Sony C80

Sony C80

Sony’s latest microphone makes their C‑series magic more affordable than ever.

Sony have made great studio microphones since the ’50s, but in the West at least, they’ve sometimes been better at designing them than at marketing them. Models such as the C48 and C38 haven’t always been easy to discover or buy, and even the flagship C800G valve mic has been an elusive beast in recent years.

In 2018, the Japanese electronics giant tried to change this, rebooting their studio mic range with three entirely new models. The ECM‑100U and ECM‑100N are small‑diaphragm ‘pencil’ mics, whilst the C100 is a more unusual design that features a second capsule mounted directly above the first, in order to capture ultrasonic frequencies. Intended as a studio all‑rounder, the Sony C100 offers switchable polar patterns, plus a pad and a low‑pass filter. I reviewed it in February 2018 and came away impressed.

However, although the C100 is less costly than the U87s of this world, it’s still quite a bit more expensive than typical project‑studio mics, and probably out of the reach of some potential customers. Enter the new C80: a simplified, cardioid‑only version of the C100 without the ultrasonic capsule, at a much lower price.

The C80 ships with a padded case and plastic shockmount.The C80 ships with a padded case and plastic shockmount.

Little Brother

With its businesslike, black shell, the new mic looks very similar to the C100, except that it’s about half an inch shorter. Build quality appears equally good, and the C80 comes in a robust padded case. It comes with a fitted shockmount, which seems reasonably heavy‑duty even though it’s made almost entirely of plastic, but unfortunately there’s no room for this in the case. The C80 retains the C100’s low‑cut filter and 10dB pad....

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