Looking For A Good High-End Studio Microphone? Manley Reference Cardioid Review 2021

Pricey, high-end, and well worth it, that’s what sums up the Manley Reference Cardioid. The Manley reference is a super, high-end, studio condenser that is a great alternative to U87. Its tone is nice, bright, and detailed and will sit in a mix without a lot of additional EQing.

It is also widely compared with the gold reference series due to its similar features. The purpose of this Manley Reference Cardioid review is to give a high-end option to professional studio owners looking to build up their arsenal. It is mostly known for its clarity and ‘crispiness’ in sound.  


  • Brilliant sound and adjusts well with all vocal tones (male and female)


  • Considerably pricy

Editor Rating

Sound Quality100%
Ease Of Use90%
Worth It?95%

Looking For A Good High-End Studio Mic?

Some might think it is too bright, but for the majority of musicians and studio owners, this is the best thing they could have for vocal recordings. Most popular reviews consider the sound of European vintage tube microphones, such as the earlier U47 as another reference to what the Manley microphone actually sounds like. Despite being a pricey pick, it is a worthy investment. Maybe not for those who carry on a hobby, but definitely for those who’re seeking a professional career in music, as musicians, or as producers.

The Manley Reference Cardioid has been used by quite a bunch of famous musicians, such as Avril Lavigne, Randy Thomas, and the famous voice actor Don LaFontaine, which shows us the versatility of sound produced by this piece of equipment. It’s not just the vocals, Manley Reference’s rich tone has been preferred for recording drum overheads, guitars, and other instruments as well.

It has been seen that this microphone is generally used by rock and similar-sounding musicians, nevertheless, as the names above prove, there’s a lot more than the Manley reference has to offer to all musicians and studio owners trying to get that ‘something in the tone of their music to make it sound professional and just right!

I run a studio in Louisiana and let me tell you if I could only choose one mic, it would be my Manley reference cardioid.

I think it’s a really good mic. Also, I believe shania twain did her “come on over” album with the cardioid or the gold cardioid manley.

I want the vocals “crispy & in your face”.. don´t we all. The Manley Reference cardioid gives that IMO.

The thing that impresses me most is the clarity of the image throughout the frequency spectrum. The lows are tight and well defined while also being big. Many mics with big-bottoms can be muddy down there.

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