so at the moment i'm using rode nt5's on a stereo bar with fostex fr2le, well it sounds not bad, but when i hear line audio cm3 samples from other recordists, i instantly want to sell my rodes and switch to cm3's(cm3 sound a lot smoother, and not so harsh to my ears, thou i never heard direct comparison between these two), thou there is one thing that bothers me...on papers, specs of these mics are almost identical as far as noise and impedance goes, but cm3's are less sensitive, so i will need more gain for quiet recordings, and well even rodes are not sensitive enough for some situations (i know that fr2le isn't a "sound devices" device, regarding preamps too :)). So should i just buy cm3's and don't record quiet stuff with them, and save some money for more sensitive mics, or stay with rodes?


3 Answers 3


I own both sets of mics.

its true that the CM3s are considerably less sensitive than the NT5s are, but don't mistake that for them being noisier. The equivalent input noise spec on those mics is actually very good.

What this means is that if you want fat signals on super quiet sources you'll need a high end preamp to get you there. They're entirely capable of clean signal on quiet sources.

The other big difference is that they track transients slower than the NT5s. I honestly find this to be a pleasing difference (it imparts a kind of natural compression) but its a pretty pronounced one regardless. NT5s will retain any sharp crackly transients you put in front of them much more straightforwardly than the CM3s will.

I honestly haven't taken out my NT5s much since I got my CM3s, but I'd do have them around for close miking super quiet detail sources that need a bump (like sand grains, etc)

Also, the CM3s have a much wider pattern than the NT5s (or most other cardoid mics) so keep that in mind as well.

Last thing - the CM3s are about the size of a neutrick xlr plug and weigh almost nothing.

  • great info rene, especially about the transients. in what do you think this an advantage? (besides the fact that you can choose between sharp and less sharp attacks by picking the right mic). and in regards to the wider cardiod, is it still a cardiod that doesn't pick up a lot of sound off axis at 180 degrees? Oct 25, 2013 at 16:14
  • oh and how does it sound on vocals? have you tried them on a voice over perhaps? Oct 25, 2013 at 16:14
  • I love the slower transient response for ambience and crowd recordings. Gives them a sense of distance while retaining detail. Sounds good on voice, but doesn't handle plosives well. needs some distance and a proper angle. Polar plot and freq response here: nohypeaudio.com/line%20audio%20CM3%20plots%202011.jpg
    – Rene
    Oct 25, 2013 at 18:43
  • thanks, they look more like omni's than cardiods to me :) i'd love to test them, but they're only available for purchase in the webshop, right? Oct 25, 2013 at 21:12
  • ahh, yes rodes are quite good for close micing tiny sounds, so i'll just buy cm3's, and don't sell rodes, thanks Rene! ;) Oct 28, 2013 at 7:23

I also love my CM3's, thanks for the recommendation Rene!

I recently used a CM3 for a VO and it worked amazingly well. It was originally just going to be used as a guide for a 'proper' VO at a later date but they decided that the sound was excellent and didn't need to record another time.

I use them mainly for Ambience recording and have them set up in a Rycote in ORTF.

They are really excellent mics.


I used to own the NT5. Way too bright, harsh and hard sounding. Not liquid, not smooth. The CM3 is quite neutral, more natural and liquid sounding. It's not even close. I returned the Nt5 for a full refund and ended up buying a pair of CM3s. The Little Blondie mics I had, same story. The LB has a thinner, brighter, razor-like sound that didn't seem natural to me. So I sold them at a loss. The Rode NT1A was extremely bright and rough sounding on axis, so I sold those ata loss too. So right now, for cardioids, I only have CM3s.

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