Our review sample arrived as a single unit; however, Warm has stated that the WA-84 is also offered as a matched pair with a saving of £49, compared to buying two individually. Available in nickel or black, the mic comes with its own dedicated shockmount, pop shield and standard mic clip, housed in a sturdy carrying case.
“These days, many small-diaphragm condenser mics make use of transformer-less technology, however Warm has not cut corners with the WA-84, incorporating a CineMag USA transformer. An Australian manufacturer supplies the capsule, while the circuit is fully discrete, employing Class A technology and utilising a Fairchild FET along with the transformer; Wilma polystyrene and tantalum through-hole capacitors are used throughout.
As I am lucky enough to have access to a genuine Neumann KM 84 at our review studio, it seemed logical to begin by making a side-by-side comparison of the new WA-84 and our own original ’84. I should point out that I have several small-diaphragm condensers at my disposal, yet unless I need a matched stereo pair, the KM 84 is my go-to mic for single-channel recording; it repeatedly outclasses the competition.
Setting up the mics in close proximity, each amplified by one channel of our Thermionic Culture Earlybird mic preamplifier, I sent each channel to its own track. Before I even hit the record button, it was immediately obvious that the two mics were extremely similar, as identical gain settings on the preamp produced exactly the same level into our recorder.
Upon replay, I found it impossible to notice any sonic dissimilarity between them. Later that day, I played back the acoustic-guitar recordings to both the studio manager and his young assistant. None of us could hear any meaningful difference in either tone or dynamic response. It wasn’t long before the studio manager suggested selling the Neumann to finance the purchase of a pair of WA-84s.
Taken on its own merits, the ’84 produces an extremely clear top end, capturing transients crisply without sounding overly bright or brittle. This smoothness is evident throughout the midrange and into the lower registers, though I wouldn’t be tempted to use it on a bass amp. It’s a great choice for a multitude of percussive instruments though, ranging from tuned percussion to snare and tom mic’ing. A stereo pair as overheads on a multi-mic’d kit or ambient room mics would be ideal.”
Read the full review here.