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.

ca-14

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.

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Published August 1st, 2010.

Posted by oontz.ru

5 Comments

  1. First, I would like to congratulate you on your great site and recordings – it’s nice to hear audio recordings from other countries.
    Reference the CA-14 binaurals. Good stereo width, but like all binaurals they are too prone to wind noise to be of much use out in the open unless modified with windshields and belt-mounted like my Soundmans’ (http://audiofieldrecordings.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/field-recording-equipment-used-with-audio-samples/). However the CA-14 appear to give a much fuller sound and seem to be much bassier than my Soundman OKMII Classics. I Would like to hear a recording of quiet ambience using the adapter to hear how well they would cope and to give some idea of their self-noise.
    Best wishes and keep up the good work!

  2. Thank you,
    Chris Church is selling fur windjammers now ominously called ‘dead rats’ at taperssection.com but I woudn’t dare to go out with the furry ears. Very impressive link (as well as the whole website). How long have you been recording sounds?

  3. The first recording I made was in 1971, using a second-hand Sobell reel to reel mains-powered tape recorder. I was not too serious about recording in those days. The recorder was bought at auction with a few small reels of well-used ‘crinkly’ tape. I could not afford to buy new reels of tape in those days, as they were quite expensive, so recording was limited to just a few family occasions! 🙂

  4. Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful story, I do remember those tape recorders too. Nota 304, a rather basic model owned by my father provided two separate tracks on each side of the tape. I guess recording in the seventies was much easier – no traffic noise, no aircrafts. Also it was pretty – let’s say – exotic, at least in post-war Russia. Thanks again!

  5. I would like to say thank you for your articule and review of my mics.

    The specs of the ca-14 are as follows:

    Self Noise Hi sens model 28db
    Self Noise Low sense model 34db aprox
    Frequencey response 20hz to 20khz + – 4 db
    Omni
    Frequencey response 20hz to 20khz + – 6 db
    Card
    Cable Mogami
    Connector Neutrik gold plated
    Cable standard 5 feet.

    I now have a new version of this mic that is much smaller.. The mics are available with or with out clips, and with custom cable lengths.
    My dead rat windscreens are available and will end any wind noise issue for $30 a pair.

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