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Warm Audio WA-19

Dynamic Microphone By Sam Inglis
Published July 2024

Warm Audio WA-19

For their latest vintage recreation, Warm Audio have resurrected a dynamic mic revered by Beatles fans and audio engineers alike.

Recreating iconic studio products from the past is now big business, but it’s a business that tends to focus on the same few products. If you want a microphone with the number 47, 67 or 251 in its name, you’re spoilt for choice. But if you want a microphone closely associated with the Beatles and responsible for most of Ringo’s early drum tracks, you’re at the mercy of eBay and Reverb. That is, until now...

Warm Audio’s catalogue already includes homages to the U47, U67, ELA M 251 and all the other familiar classics, and they are now expanding into areas where there’s less competition. Last year, for example, they introduced preamps based on the Ampex 351 — and in 2024, they’ve tackled that legendary Ringo overhead mic. The WA‑19 recreates the AKG D19, a moving‑coil dynamic model that was a mainstay of stage and studio throughout the 1960s.

Back in May 2021, I attempted to piece together the history of the D19 for an SOS feature. I won’t reproduce that entire story here, but if you’re interested, it’s freely available to read at For the purposes of this review, a brief summary will have to do!

Introduced about 1957 and discontinued towards the end of the following decade, the cardioid D19 was a highly popular mic which went through several iterations, and was rebadged by numerous other manufacturers and distributors. It was notable for its compact size, relatively hi‑fi frequency response, and for AKG’s implementation of something analogous to Electro‑Voice’s Variable‑D technology for reducing proximity effect. Low‑frequency control was further aided by an unusual mechanical high‑pass filter, switched by rotating a ring at the base of the capsule. The D19 is sought after today partly because of its association with the Beatles, but also because it has a distinctive, airy sound that can be somewhat like that of capacitor mics, especially on acoustic guitar.

From the texture of the paint to the pattern of the grille and the action of the rotating filter switch, Warm Audio have got the look and feel absolutely spot on.


Warm Audio don’t offer the same confusing array of variants with the WA‑19, thankfully, but it is available in a choice of nickel and black finishes. The nickel version was supplied for review, and its resemblance to the original is uncanny. From the texture of the paint to the pattern of the grille and the action of the rotating filter switch, Warm Audio have got the look and feel absolutely spot on. And the similarities go much deeper: developed specially for this remake, the capsule assembly is a dead ringer for the original, to the point where Warm Audio say that it fits in the D19 shell and will be available as a spare part for reanimating the many dead AKG mics out there. This is great news.

Look closely, though, and there are a few differences in the detail. The screws that hold things together are larger than on the D19, and Warm Audio have added a discreet badge to the front of the grille. The filter ring works ‘backwards’ compared with the original, and they’ve replaced the M(usic) and S(peech) legends with the standard symbols for flat and high‑pass filtered responses, which seems sensible. Only one change strikes me as potentially significant, though. The capsule vents into a narrow brass tube running the length of the mic, as it should. On the original, this tube is housed in a channel within a second brass tube, which is omitted from the WA‑19. Warm Audio told me that this second tube existed purely to strengthen the shell of the original, and that it isn’t needed on the WA‑19 because of improvements to the design of the body.

The WA‑19 is a transformerless mic with a 200Ω output impedance, which is both significant and faithful to the original; the D19 was available in 50Ω, 200Ω and 50kΩ variants, and the 200Ω model was indeed transformerless, with the capsule connected directly to the output. The D19 was sold with multiple different output connectors, but I’ve never seen one with the now‑standard three‑pin XLR; this, of course, was the only sensible choice for the WA‑19, and means that it’s perhaps half an inch longer than the classic D19C. Copying the D19’s charming wooden box would no doubt have added quite a bit to the cost, so the WA‑19 is supplied in a pouch, with just a mic clip for company.

Up Close & Personal

Back in 2021, when I wrote the article referenced earlier, my studio was home to six D19s, plus a couple of related models. Shortly after that feature appeared, however, I got talking to the mic technician at a well‑known studio, who told me that the D19s they’d had since new were now failing and unrepairable. As a result, my collection now has a new home, and I’ve only managed to pick up one working D19 since. No two of the D19s I owned sounded the same, but there is a kind of sonic signature that is common to all the working D19s I’ve ever used. It’s a mic that really loves being close up to the source; there’s a lot less proximity effect than you hear in most cardioid mics, and it’s not blessed with tons of low end to start with, so you can jam it right up to an acoustic guitar or other instrument without things getting at all muddy or boomy. With a presence lift that’s higher up the frequency spectrum than those of most dynamic mics, it gives the impression of detail whilst suppressing all those annoying pick noises and other transients that capacitor mics deliver when used close up. It’s simultaneously bright, yet quite soft‑sounding.

...rather than use any single surviving D19 as a model, they have tried to extrapolate backwards from multiple examples to recreate what they think a D19 might have sounded like when new.

Talking to the team at Warm Audio, it seems that their experiences with the vintage mics were similar to mine. So, rather than use any single surviving D19 as a model, they have tried to extrapolate backwards from multiple examples to recreate what they think a D19 might have sounded like when new. In terms of frequency response, they say this means the WA‑19 may have slightly more going on at either end of the spectrum than a typical aged D19.

Spot the difference: the WA‑19 (right) with an original AKG D19C.Spot the difference: the WA‑19 (right) with an original AKG D19C.In their publicity materials, Warm Audio say the mechanical filter in the D19 design doesn’t introduce phase‑shift in the way electrical filters do. My physics isn’t up to evaluating that claim, but I had the opportunity to compare my D19 and the review WA‑19 in a small test chamber; and, curiously, there was a noticeable difference in LF phase and frequency response between the two with the filter switched out. Whether that missing brass tube has a role to play here, or ageing has just taken its toll on mine, I can’t say.

In any case, I wouldn’t expect the WA‑19 to measure or sound identical to my D19, but the important thing is that it approximates the general character very effectively. You can get intimate with it without low‑mid bloat becoming a problem, and you can strum fiercely without things getting harsh. It puts across an impression of air and detail in the treble range without being the least bit harsh, or emphasising unwanted micro‑transients. The review mic perhaps had a slightly harder‑sounding midrange than my D19, but it’s right in the ballpark.

Fresh Vintage

Manufacturers who specialise in reproducing classic gear attract their share of critics bemoaning a lack of innovation, or questioning the morality of copying other people’s designs. In some cases I share these concerns, but I’m delighted with the direction Warm Audio have taken here. The last D19 rolled off the production lines more than 50 years ago. The factory, tooling, staff and designers that made that mic are all long gone, and there’s little chance of AKG reissuing it. The only people who will be hurt by the WA‑19 are the profiteers of eBay and Reverb, and few will shed a tear for them.

Warm Audio have clearly put a huge amount of work into the WA‑19, and the fact that they’ve brought it to market at such a reasonable price is highly impressive. And, strange though it sounds, it really does tread new ground, at least as far as recreating vintage gear goes. There have been innumerable copies of classic capacitor and ribbon mics, but to my knowledge, this is the first serious attempt to replicate a vintage moving‑coil model. Now that Warm Audio seem to have the expertise to do that, what will they bring us next?


Warm Audio have recreated the classic AKG D19 with impressive attention to detail!


£209 including VAT.

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