Having a device branded as an industry standard is immeasurably hard to come by. It doesn't get there by simply winning numerous industry awards or even being particularly amazing at what it does, although both certainly don't hurt. A piece of gear becomes an industry standard by capturing that perfect blend of quality, reliability and accessibility that gives it a mass appeal above and beyond expectations, being the de-facto choice in its field for countless professionals and consumers alike. Capturing lightning in a bottle, as some would say. It’s not a term to throw around lightly, but that’s exactly what the Earthworks M30 measurement microphone has become.
Interestingly enough, Earthworks Audio – the company behind the M30 – didn’t start off as a microphone designer and manufacturer. It began with company founder David Blackmer and his lofty goal of creating the absolute best loudspeakers possible. It was during the initial design stages of that dream speaker that he realized that the measurement tools he was using – tools considered to be the world standard at the time – were simply not enough. A new standard in measurement tools would have to be created if he were to even come close to the results he knew was possible. Soon after, the OM1 omnidirectional measurement microphone was born.
Although this new microphone was initially meant as simply a means for Blackmer’s true goal of a better loudspeaker, he was persuaded by his colleagues to design other microphones (as well as preamplifiers). While Blackmer’s dream of the ultimate audiophile’s loudspeaker was eventually realized, after many years of research, with the release of the Earthworks Sigma 6.2. After David Blackmer's death in 2002, the company decided to focus on microphones and preamps and stopped making the Sigma 6.2 speakers. Despite this major departure from the original objectives, Blackmer’s initial ambitious quest for the absolute best in quality, clarity, reliability and accuracy can be seen in all of Earthwork’s products to this day.
A Closer Look at the M30
Known for its extreme reliability and accurate frequency response, the Earthworks M30 is a first-class reference microphone that was painstakingly designed for the best acoustical measurements possible. This makes the M30 tailor made for any job where an accurate free-field measurement microphone is required such as loudspeaker design and quality control, sound system setup, troubleshooting room acoustics or even recording the midnight sounds of the Amazon rain forest!
The key to the M30's success lies in its core features: an extremely flat frequency response for exceptionally accurate and clear sound capture, fast impulse response with virtually no handling noise and outstanding stability and reliability at a wide range of temperature and weather.
But you don't create a mic like the M30 just by luck or by following the competition. Along with equipping the M30 with top of the line circuitry and years worth of patented techniques, Earthworks takes their quality control to another level. They painstakingly test their circuitry and hand select a matching capsule, resulting in the signature clarity and realism their mics are known for.
“The accuracy of the Earthworks M30 microphone is stunning,” says Brad Divens, front of house sound engineer for acts such as Enrique Iglesias, Garbage and Bob Seger. “I know that when the system is tuned using this microphone the results will be pure audio bliss.”
With such respected, accurate and reliable sound measurements, it’s no wonder why the M30 – along with the M Series of Earthworks mics in particular – is recommended and used by SMAART, LSSA, Spectrafoo, TEF and RTA along with acoustic measurement systems manufactured by Rational Acoustics, DEQX, DBX and others. It speaks volumes about a mic when it is being used by multiple leading professionals as a tool for their own quality control!
More Than a One Trick Pony
You don’t have to be a speaker designer, an acoustician or a researcher in the wild to take advantage of the M30. In what is a true testament to its success, quality and reliability, this mic been adapted for use outside of its native purposes, becoming a favorite of home and professional recording engineers that want a pure, “as if you were right there” sound without any of the coloration that some microphones tend to add on.
From vocals to acoustic guitars, pianos to violins, the M30 works amazingly well in recording. You can even use a matched pair as drum overhead mics or to take advantage of the various dual-mic recording techniques employed on various instruments. This makes the M30 is not only an excellent measurement tool, but a very high quality recording microphone as well.
But those unfamiliar with mics as precise and accurate as the M30 should be aware that with such clarity comes an important caveat – it will capture everything! If you record an instrument with a few flaws or use it in a room with bad acoustics, it will show! But for those who take the time to create a quality source and want the most accurate representation of their sound with no alteration, the M30 will definitely deliver.
A Clear Choice
A reference microphone used throughout the industry for its reliable and accurate sound capture, the Earthworks M30 was made for pure, clean and precise sound capture. Whether you’re ready to troubleshoot a sound system, about to document the nighttime calls of hyenas in the Serengeti or just want a very crystal clear, precise and accurate recording, the Earthworks M30 is an excellent, affordable choice. It's the standard for a reason, and rightly so.