The Sanken CS-1

I’ve used the Sanken CS-1 a couple times now. I don’t like this mic. I know it’s a popular mid-range shotgun, but every time I use it, it just bugs me. Physically, it’s under-diameter and supplied with easily-lost rings in an attempt to make it usable with existing shockmounts. It really needs to be supplied with a sleeve or a correctly sized shockmount. Especially for it’s high price.

It does have a tight pattern for a shorter shotgun, but at the expense of smoothness as the mic moves off axis.
This is a deadly combination, as most pro sound people won’t be using the CS-1. Instead, it will be a camera mic, or PA-with-boom mic. Since sound is either a secondary consideration in the former, or handled by an amateur in the case of the latter, the mic will end up off-axis regularly.

The mic becomes highly directional above 2K. Sure, you get a nice crisp sound, but the second it dips 15-20 degrees off-axis, the highs are lost.

Hope for a good boom op or a subject that doesn’t move much…Or get a more forgiving mic. As popular as it is for the mid-range, I’m not convinced it’s appropriate out of the hands of a dedicated, somewhat experienced sound person. It does a passable job, but it won’t forgive a lackluster operator. Other mics might a little more.

Bottom line: The CS-1 is a great, high-performance mic for a lot of people…Just like a a Toyota Camry is a great, high-performance car, after only having driven a Ford Pinto.

Then we get to the whole electret vs. ‘real’ condenser debate. The CS-1 has an electret element. Even cheaper mics like the AT4073a don’t bother with an electret element. But that’s a discussion for another time.

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