Not long ago I’ve received a package from Chris Church in Canada. Chris is a sound engineer who runs a small cottage industry in Hamilton, Ontario making microphones and preamps at his home. Church Audio CA-14 high sensitivity omnis are one of his hand crafted mics, and after a moment of hesitation I made my choice based on rave reviews at the omniscient taperssection.com forum and also on Chris’s advice.
Pros: impressive sound quality, good build quality, low noise level, reliable cables and plugs
Cons: zero stealth factor, poor wind-proof
Ordering CA-14’s may look like buying a pig in a poke. There are NO specifications for that model available, at least it is not provided at the Church Audio ebay or home webpage.
CA-14 are not listed on ebay, they are custom made upon request which takes 3 or 4 weeks to build. Chris looks unwilling to unveil all the know-hows related to the capsules and mods he uses, which is understood really. And on top of it all Church Audio stuff is known to be good for tapers, and little is heard on the subject from field recordists.
Isn’t it strange?
Despite having a permanent foam, CA-14 are prone to wind. With a sensible inclination towards catching low frequency sounds, these mics stand unarmed against the gusts. Also, please note that it is very easy to be taken as a Mickey Mouse wannabee with those black foam balls attached to each side of your cap when head-worn.
Apart from this, I have nothing bad to report about CA-14. They are warm sounding, providing a decent spatialisation even if they are not intended to be worn inside the ear canal. Think of this as of an extra advantage because the sounds recorded with the head-worn mics could be perfectly listened through the speakers, not only through headphones as in the case of in-ears.
A few live recordings made with CA-14 found on the web may sound boomy, but this may be influenced by the hall acoustics. Personally, I’m quite happy with the colouring they produce while recording outdoors. They stand agains the relatively high sound pressure level quite well, which could be benefited by the battery box.
They are also available as cardioids, though this means the lost of the binaural magic which I value so much. The Mogami cable is rather long and flexible, the plug is made by Neutrik – look out, the cover turns off very easily. Paired with an external preamp CA-14 is a promising gear indeed.
In the meantime here’s a few recordings made with CA-14 high sensitivity omni mics plugged directly into the Edirol R-09HR recorder.
Published August 1st, 2010.