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.
DesignThe classic ‘251 became extremely popular as a vocal microphone in the 1960’s 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 their 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
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 back plate 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 which 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. Warm Audio 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.
The WA-251 proudly uses polystyrene coupling capacitors, wima film capacitors throughout, and an imported Solen French capacitor on its output.
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 warm Audio 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. They 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.