Warm Audio WA-251 Tube Condenser Microphone
The WA-251 was created to offer a classic microphone design to a new generation of recording artists at an affordable price. Warm Audio spent a great deal of time listening to different '251 microphones to determine what people liked about them and why, how various styles of components impact the tone, and how to give the WA-251 microphone a signature that pays homage to the vintage classic, but also stands out on its own.
The WA-251 is an all-vacuum tube, large diaphragm, transformer balanced, multi-pattern, large condenser microphone, based on the classic '251 that has been used on countless hit records for the last 50+ years. The WA-251 is designed for pro studio, home studio, live, and broadcast applications and sounds great on vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, acoustic/electric bass, drums, piano, strings, brass/woodwind instruments, and an array of other sources.
The classic '251 became extremely popular as a vocal microphone in the 1960s and is now considered to be one of the greatest condenser microphones ever created. The classic '251 is still widely used today in professional recording studios but has become extremely rare and cost-prohibitive to acquire.
Designing the WA-251 to sound like the classic '251 was no easy task, especially since some of the vintage components are no longer manufactured or available. Warm Audio are pleased to release such a gorgeous sounding classic to the market at a price that's reachable to more people than ever before.
A Look Inside the Wa-251
All Brass Capsule
The WA-12-B-60V is an all-brass, edge-terminated capsule that captures all the smoothness, rich top end, and warm vintage sonics of the original CK12 capsule. The WA-12-B-60V uses a variant CEK-12 backplate as a basis, which overcomes manufacturing limitations of the original CK12 capsule. The o-ring and housing of the WA-12-B-60V are all made from brass (no teflon parts), and the diaphragm is 24k gold sputtered 6-micron, NOS PET film (mylar). The end result is a very consistent, reliable capsule that matches the frequency response and tonality of the classic 1970's classic capsule.
A Slovak Republic JJ 12AY7 vacuum tube is used in the WA-251. We auditioned 3 tube brands and fell in love with the JJ 12AY7. The frequency response of the JJ tube, and the way it contributes to the circuit is tonally smooth and vintage in nature.
The WA-251 utilizes an American made CineMag USA transformer. This transformer helps provide the present top end and the LARGE bottom end one would hope to get from a 251-style condenser microphone.
One component of a tube microphone that is often overlooked is the 7 pin cable that connects the microphone to its power supply. When auditioning the WA-251 and other tube microphones we learned quite a bit about 7 pin cables and how the shielding and wire gauge size can drastically change the sonics of a tube microphone. We have partnered with Gotham Audio in Switzerland to use their very carefully built high-end 7 pin "GAC-7 cable". Using this cable increases top-end presence and the overall size of the recorded image in the stereo field by reducing phase shift and the parasitic effect often experienced in poorly built cables. Gotham Cabling is very expensive and boutique in nature and shouldn't be considered a small addition to the WA-251 package.
The WA-251 proudly uses polystyrene coupling capacitors, wima film capacitors throughout, and an imported Solen French capacitor on its output.
- Contents: Your WA-251 package includes the WA-251 microphone, power supply, IEC power cable, shock mount, 7 pin Gotham cable, and wood storage box.
- Power Switch: The power switch is located on the power supply.
- IEC Power Inlet: The IEC power inlet is located on the rear side of the power supply and allows for a standard IEC cable to connect the power supply to your wall power outlet.
- 115v/230v Voltage Selector Switch: A voltage selector switch is located near the IEC inlet on the power supply and allows for the user to set the appropriate voltage for the country they are located. We advise being careful with this switch because plugging in the unit at the wrong voltage setting will likely damage the WA-251 and its power supply. Plugging in the WA-251 power supply at the incorrect voltage could even cause injury or death. Typically, the voltage selector switch will be pre-set to the proper voltage for the country where the product was purchased and should not be changed.
- Polar Pattern Select Switch: The polar-pattern selection switch is located on the power supply and provides 3 pattern options. Patterns are: Cardioid, Omni, and Figure-of-eight.
- 7 pin microphone cable connector (female): A 7 pin female microphone cable connector is located on the power supply. The 7 pin Gotham branded cable included in the WA-251 box is connected to this connector on one end and to the WA-251 microphone on the other.
- XLR Output: A standard 3 pin XLR male connector is located on the power supply. The microphone's signal will exit this connector. Connect this connector to a preamp via a standard 3 pin XLR microphone cable.
- 7 pin microphone cable connector (male): A 7 pin male microphone cable connector is located at the base of the WA-251 microphone. This connection mates the WA-251 microphone to its power supply.