A Family of Mics Compared: The ADK Z-MOD Series
The ADK Custom Shop Z-MOD series is a collection of valve microphones modeled after some of the all-time greats. The series contains 6 mics: Z-12 (ruby), Z-251 (top banana), Z-67 (blue), Z-47 (grey), Z-49 (black) and the Z-800 (silver). We’ve reviewed many Z-MOD series microphones in RECORDING over the years, but here I had the special opportunity to try them all out together.
Z-MOD is the ADK flagship series. The components were previously available as upgrades for its Audiophile Series TT tube microphone. Now, Z-MOD mics include these upgrades and come in a wide array of colorful powder-coated finishes. Each mic in the line is a large diaphragm multi-pattern tube condenser, built on the same body as the ADK Area 51 TT. Under the hood, Z-MOD mics share the same circuitry. Each mic delivers its sonic character by way of unique capsule tuning and output transformers. The Z-47 and Z-12 use a Sowter transformer, the Z-251 uses a Jensen transformer, the Z-67 and Z-49 use Lundahl transformers, and the Z-800 uses a Lehle transformer. Each microphone also comes with three different tube options, which include Mullard, Tung-Sol, and JJ Audio or Electro-Harmonix, depending on availability.
For this review, I used the microphones in both traditional and non-traditional applications. I tried them on a wide range of instruments and put them up side-by-side to see which shined best in a given application.