Advanced Audio CM49LE Microphone
By Drew Robertson
Among almost all the recording engineers I ’ ve ever met , the Neumann M49 is without a doubt one the most sought after , beloved , or just flat out spoken about microphones in the world ; talk to a recording engineer long enough and it will come up . To own a real M49 would be most engineer ’ s dream come true . As a result , many manufacturers and boutique builders have recreated the M49 in their own way . The CM49LE from Advanced Audio Microphones , a small family-run company out of British Columbia , is a beautifully handcrafted , bespoke recreation of the classic M49 .
Construction It ’ s immediately clear that each CM49LE microphone is entirely handmade with exceptional care and attention to detail . Inside the included travel case you ’ ll find the microphone itself , the power supply , shock mount , a generous 15-ft . seven-pin cable , and a carry pouch for the mic should you need to store it but don ’ t want to leave it in the case . The CM49LE has a surprising amount of heft to it , largely due to the all-metal body and internal circuitry , so you ’ ll need a sturdy mic stand , especially if you plan to sling it up high as a room mic or in a Decca tree . Inside you will find the single 34- mm gold plated K47 dual diaphragm capsule as made famous in both the original Neumann U47 and the Neumann M49 .
The power supply for the CM49LE is also hand assembled , consisting of a two-piece galvanised metal body with an integrated carry handle on top for easy movement and rubber feet to stop it sliding about . On the front face of the unit you will find the nine-position polar pattern selector knob , which is satisfyingly chunky and has a solid positive click into each position , as well as the seven-pin input and the XLR output . On the rear of the power supply we will find our standard power cable in , power toggle switch , LED indicator , and a recessed fuse toggle . The power stage itself is a single class A sockitable 5654w / 6J1 tube connected to a BV11a output transformer . The result is a rich , wonderfully-smooth sound that is clean across the entire frequency range and is a modern take on vintage ear candy .
Sound The first words that come to mind when you hear the CM49LE are smooth , rich , and elegant . True to the original M49 , the CM49LE is smooth across almost the entire frequency range with a very subtle roll off under 100Hz without killing the bass and with just a tiny presence bump around 9-10KHz followed by a roll off at just over 12KHz on the top end . The body is rich and full while the high-end remains clear and delicate . At a max SPL of 138dB , the CM49LE will handle just about whatever you throw at it , though be warned as there is no pad switch present . To get a good feel of the full range of the CM49LE , I used it in a variety of test recordings from voices to wind instruments . A few vocal and voiceover sessions sounded rich and smooth , pointing the CM49LE at a colleague ’ s tenor sax in a funk track really helped it to stand out in the mix , giving it some extra grit and warmth without any of the dreaded honkyness one can get with any sax .
I would have loved to have had a second one to use as a stereo pair as the adjustable polar pattern makes stereo mic techniques a simple and easy proposition . I was very pleased to discover that the CM49LE ’ s sound signature does not change dramatically as you change polar patterns . Some shift in the profile is to be expected , though , since you are changing how the diaphragms respond to all incoming sound .
Conclusion With most original M49 mics reaching an age that should see them in a museum , and when they are available for sale , the price point makes them impractical for most buyers , so boutique purveyors and builders are the most practical place to find modern reproductions . I think the CM49LE is an absolutely fantastic recreation of the original and at a very reasonable price point of around $ 1,680 CAD , it is right at home in any studio from small project studios to massive professional studios .
It ’ s clear that CEO and Lead Designer Dave Thomas put a lot of care and effort into the overall design and circuitry of the CM49LE , and the fit and finish of the mic and power supply of my review sample speaks volumes to the dedication and skill of the team at Advanced Audio as well . If you ’ ve ever thought about adding a tube-based microphone to your locker , I would highly encourage you to consider the CM49LE as it is in fact a wonderful modern take on a vintage classic . Frankly , I want two more for a Decca tree .
24 PROFESSIONAL SOUND