The ADK Custom Shop’s Custom Z-Mod mics—which include the ADK Z-800, ADK Z-251, ADK Z-49, ADK Z-12, ADK Z-47 and ADK Z-67—are ADK’s definitive microphone line. Each model is hand-built in the USA in the sonic tradition of one particular classic microphone that is well-known in the history of recorded music. Each of the mics feature discrete Class-A tube electronics and offer nine polar patterns. The Copper (or standard) edition of each mic (priced at $2,695 street) includes an aluminum case that houses a velvet-lined wood mic case, shock mount, ring mount, pop filter, switchable 230 v/115 v Power Supply, 16-foot Accusound oxygen free copper 7-pin tube microphone cable, 16-foot Accusound oxygen-free copper XLR cable, and spare replacement tube. An upgrade to the Silver edition (priced at $2,995 street) swaps the aluminum case with a chic, American-made tweed case, upgrades the cables to the Accusound Silver Pro series and adds a five-piece low-noise tube sampler pack for fine-tuning tonality (as well as adding the $300 to the price tag).
The Z-67 is extremely musical and, in most situations, requires little to no EQ. Compared to vintage tube microphones, it is stunningly quiet, too. While the mic sounds good on nearly any sound source, its real strength lies in application to vocals and acoustic instruments. I used the mic coupled with the Gordon Model 3 mic pre to record a lightly-strummed Taylor 514-CE acoustic guitar and the result was impressive: rich, full sound with an extended (but not boomy) bottom end. Switching to fingerpicking, the guitar again recorded wonderfully. The mic also sounds fantastic on cello and mandolin.
Over a period of several months, I recorded several male and female vocalists via Z-67 through the Gordon Model 3 mic pre; in every instance, the results were great. The mic’s high-frequency response is smooth and open, and there were no sibilance problems.
I used the mic along with the Retro OP-6 to record electric guitar, too. While I typically lean towards a ribbon (or occasionally a dynamic) microphone for this application, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the mic performed. Since the mic doesn’t have a pad, it’s not perfectly suited for exceptionally loud sound sources. That said, this is likely a moot point as most engineers aren’t too keen on placing a microphone that costs nearly $3,000 on a sound source that could potentially damage it. Don’t get me wrong, though; while there isn’t a pad, the mic has a 128 dB maximum SPL, which isn’t too shabby.
Though the Silver Edition costs extra, it’s quite a bonus having the tube sampler pack. While it doesn’t include any NOS (new old stock) gems, it does have enough options to allow some flexibility to tonally shape the microphone to taste. It’s a bit too time consuming to do a tube shootout with a vocalist, but it sure is nice to have some tonal options.
No doubt the ADK Z-67 is a costly microphone, but based on its build quality, included accessories and—most importantly—its sound quality, it is fairly priced. I’ve been using ADK microphones as long as I can remember and I have always found them to be exceptionally rugged and reliable. Any engineer or studio in need of a no-compromise microphone should give top consideration to the ADK Z-67.