|Live-Ready Ribbon and LDCs: condenser cardioid D84, ribbon D82, dynamic supercardioid D80.
CAD designs and builds truly affordable
workhorse microphones that shine especially
in live applications. To date, the CAD
e60 cardioid condenser is still one of my
favorite affordable all-purpose live microphones
that works well on virtually anything,
especially loud sound sources.
I’ve wanted to use a “warm and forgiving”
ribbon microphone live (especially on
guitar cab and some wind instruments),
but have never been comfortable
bringing out pricier ribbons
for some dirty club gig or
confident in buying a generic
“cheap” one either.
Thus enters the new CAD
Live Microphone Series with its
flagship ribbon, the D82, priced
at an amazing $159 street. It’s
a robustly built side-address
microphone capable of handling
up to 140 dB (@100 Hz).
It feels solid in the hand, just like
CAD’s other offerings on the higher
end of its price list, and should inspire
confidence in on-stage musicians, too.
The other two CAD Live mics currently
in the series—the large diaphragm
condenser cardioid D84 and large diaphragm
dynamic super cardioid D80
($159 and $99 street, respectively)—
are also fine performers, effectively
bringing affordable and abuse-ready large
diaphragm condenser performance to the
In use, the D82 provided a distinct voice
for guitar tracks, a “silky” variation on my
typical “57 to preamp” approach. As such,
it ever so slightly highlighted its sound
source. Over the next few months, I quickly
found myself using at least one D82 per
event and often two, especially in two guitar
bands as well as horn-augmented shows.
The D82 is super on saxophone; I may have
sold a player on buying his first ribbon ever.
The D84 and D80 are also solid microphones
and worthwhile of investment if
you need a live-friendly LDC. For the money,
you can’t beat the $99 D80 super-cardioid;
it replaced my kick drum mic for a show,
no complaints. Yet for most live apps, I still
prefer smaller, less obtrusive models for
ease in positioning.
If you’re still ribbon-less, I’d suggest
picking up a D82 to get started. If you need
more ribbons, these D82s can effectively
augment your collection—and no one even
has to know that your half-dozen ribbons
cost less than $1,000.