Canadian Musician - March/April 2023 - Page 25


Austrian Audio OD5 and OC7 Microphones

By Drew Robertson

When AKG closed down its Vienna offices in 2017 , it should come as no surprise that a core group of engineers and designers would take the opportunity to form their own firm and move forward as Austrian Audio . In a summation of their own words , Austrian Audio has expressed a desire to use their decades of collective knowledge to create unique and compelling products that stand out in an otherwise crowded marketplace . The new OD5 and OC7 are certainly unique offerings and I ’ m excited to take them for a test spin and see what makes them tick and what keeps people talking about them .

Construction Both the OD5 and OC7 share very similar designs . Both are constructed of an all metal alloy housing featuring a unique 220 ° rotatable capsule mount . I really like the swivel mount , it feels exceptionally well built and very precise . Couple this unique swivel capsule with the overall smaller footprint of both the OD5 and OC7 and you end up with a microphone that is able to be placed in positions that would traditionally be unavailable to you . This in turn grants you the opportunity to record sounds from unique perspectives with a higher degree of precision thanks in part to the super tight cardioid pickup pattern of both mics .
Both the OD5 and OC7 feature built in analog -10dB pad switches and two position switchable high pass filters though they differ slightly from each other with the OD5 ’ s filters being set at 80 Hz and 120 Hz and the OC7 ’ s filters being set at 40 Hz and 80 Hz . The OD5 and OC7 are truly designed for the live stage or very busy studio environments , with the analog -10dB pads enabled , both mics are capable of handling a truly impressive max SPL of over 160dB meaning your ears will tap out well before they do . Both the OD5 and OC7 feature Austrian Audio ’ s Open Acoustics technology , which helps keep acoustic interference down and keeps the cardioid pickup pattern even , tight and precise . Austrian Audio has managed to create a pair of ruggedly engineered microphones that will take years of punishment and come out shining and can be any engineer ’ s secret weapon of getting just the right sound no matter the challenging situation or environment .
While the OD5 and OC7 look very much alike with their shared designed language , they couldn ’ t be more dissimilar in sound . This all comes down to the type of capsule that sits at the heart of each microphone .
The OD5 contains the ODC5 capsule which is an active dynamic design , something you don ’ t see very often . What this means is that it takes 48V phantom power in order to drive the circuit that controls the pad and high pass filter along with the capsule itself . This has the additional benefit of stabilising the amplitude emitting out of the mic giving it greater integrity over longer cable runs and making it less prone to interference . Thanks to the active design the OD5 has a wider frequency response then most dynamic microphones and I can best describe the sound of the OD5 as rich , dark and detailed . The tight cardioid pickup pattern and swivel design make it an excellent choice for any loud instrument , however , I really feel like it shines best on drums and guitars . The OD5 can withstand a truly impressive volume of sound and its unique capsule is able to capture some exceptional detail and nuance you don ’ t normally get in a traditional dynamic microphone . In testing I tried the OD5 on several wind and brass instruments and was delighted with the results I got with the saxes and horns , but I was most impressed with it as a drum mic . The unique capsule was able to capture far more detail in toms and the snare than I normally get , which was very nice indeed . The OD5 makes for a cunning tool in the right situation and should be considered for any engineer ’ s mic locker .
The OC7 features a true condenser design , bearing Austrian Audio ’ s OCC7 small diaphragm capsule . This gives the OC7 a wider , smoother and more sensitive frequency response especially in the high end of the spectrum . The OC7 has a wonderfully bright and airy sound that is alive with detail . Once again the high SPL rating makes the OC7 a great choice anywhere , but it sings on cymbals and other high detail transient instruments like hand percussion , piano and high wood winds . Pairing both the OD5 and OC7 on strings is a killer combo , with the OC7 capturing the bow attack
and high harmonics and the OD5 picking up the rich details of the body . Alone or together , you can ’ t really go wrong with either the OD5 or OC7 as both offer their own unique captures of any given sound , and it ’ s worth trying either in any situation when hunting for that perfect sound .
Conclusion Austrian Audio has a long reaching pedigree and some of the most talented engineers in the industry and it certainly shows with the OD5 and OC7 . With unique rugged designs and exceptional sound both mics are fantastic choices for any instrument and will be right at home on both the stage and in the studio . I rather like the full bodied sound of the OD5 and was pleasantly surprised with the results I got with it , particularly with drums . The OC7 might be one of my new favourite small diaphragm condenser mics and I ’ m eager to try it in as many new situations as possible to see what details it can capture , as I ’ m not afraid it ’ s going to be damaged like more traditional small diaphragm condensers . Overall the OD5 and OC7 are great high value entries as instrument mics that are loaded with features and should be considered by any engineer looking to add to their locker , truly great work from Austrian Audio .
Drew Robertson is an audio engineer , live sound tech and educator based out of London , ON . He can be reached at RobertsonAudioPost @ protonmail . com .