Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone



The world’s most popular modern tube vocal mic. The Manley Reference Cardioid Tube Microphone has that “finished” sound right out of the box, making it the favorite vocal mic of top producers and voiceover artists alike.

This is modern pop music’s go-to mic: flattering, present, and larger-than-life. Some refer to the Manley Ref C as the “Just Add Talent” microphone.

The Reference Cardioid Microphone shares the same electronic attributes as the Gold Reference Series, but has a center-fixed cardioid-only capsule with a thicker gauge (6 micron) gold sputtered diaphragm. With the similar film thickness and construction, similar high frequency resonance (a little edge), similar proximity effect and pretty good immunity from pops and sibilance problems, our Reference Cardioid more closely recalls how many of the vintage European tube mics such as the beloved U47 sounded like when they were new. Its rich tonal balance and liquid character is consistently admired for instruments such as guitars, drum overheads, saxophone, and especially vocals. With your present mic, if you find yourself leaning on your compressors and boosting 5 or 10K to score a bit more testosterone, then the Reference Cardioid just might be the mic you’re looking for to cure what ails ya. If you seem to be constantly boosting 12-18K and trying to get a clean, intimate sound, then probably the Reference Gold would be the safest bet.

If you want to sound like God, then use the mic Don LaFontaine used! The Manley Reference Cardioid mic. And have a voice like his, too.

Driven by Manley Power®

As of June 2020, the Reference Cardioid also utilizes our new MANLEY POWER® Switch-Mode Power Supply.

This new power supply is empirically quieter than the older PSUs. Sonically, we hear faster highs, generally more clarity, and ‘blacker blacks’ in the silence. The new power supply is also universal – accepting any voltage or frequency – so it works anywhere in the world without a voltage changeover switch or power transformer rewiring.


  • All-Tube triode design utilizes 12AX7 or 7025EH (Previous versions used 12AT7 and 6072.)
  • -10 dB switchable pad
  • Frequency response: 10Hz-30KHz
  • Sensitivity: 17mV/Pa
  • Noise typically -120dB EIN
  • Max SPL: 150dB
  • Output Impedance: 250 Ohms
  • Weight: 2.25 lbs (mic)
  • Size: mic body 2″ diameter x 9.7″ long x 4.5″ (mic suspension outside diameter)
  • Shipping weight: 15 lbs

Power Supply

As of 6/2020 SMPS Power Supply versions REFCARD7P####:

  • Universal MANLEY POWER™ Switch Mode Power Supply; works worldwide
  • Power Consumption: 8 Watts
  • Weight / Dims: 2.35 lbs / 5 x 3.3 x 9.3” (with handle)
  • Fuse: 250VAC 2A SLO BLO Ceramic – 5mm x 20mm
  • Input Voltage: 90VAC to 250VAC (Universal)
  • Mains Frequency: 50~60Hz