The Sony C800G has been a loved and coveted industry standard for a long time. Now with it currently being out of production, and the future being only known to Sony, many folks are missing this mic. It was always a built to order mic, with generally a lead time of around 4 weeks. Now, they are unavailable, and if anyone was crazy enough to sell one on the used market – there would be some serious price gouging. So what to do now? While there is nothing exactly like the C800G, there are several mics that can get you in the same ballpark. Here is a list of our favorites that could well suit your needs.
The Peluso P-280 is not designed to be a clone of the C800G, but it shares some notable similarities. The P-280 features a FET and Tube in a single circuit, so you get the low-noise of a FET, combined with the warmth of a tube. Further it has a slight peak in the presence realm just like the C800G. However the C800G can have around an 8dB boost in the 8kHz-10kHz range (which many folks do tame with EQ), where as the Peluso P-280 only has a 3dB boost in the 8kHz-10kHz range. So you get that presence you want, but in an amount that enhances the sound. Outside of that slight boost, the rest of the frequency response is basically "ruler flat". If you remember Peluso's VTB, you might remember that while it was modeled after an old (rare) Neumann Bottle mic, it sounded strikingly similar to the C800G. Well the P-280 (for all intents and purposes) is really kind of a replacement for the VTB. This all makes it a great alternative.
The Pearlman Church Tube Mic
“ This is a faithful remake of the Stanley Church MGM microphone from the 1950’s. Pearlman has stayed true to the original schematics including the use of vintage, refurbished K47 and M7 capsules, a hand selected 6072 dual triode (12AY7) and the original TRIAD transformer that is being made again especially for PEARLMAN MICROPHONES after fifty years of it not being available.”
Pearlman Church has a lush rich
sound with a full, but not overwhelming, low mid. The vibe and
dimensional sound of the Church is a magic that is quite reminiscent
of the C800G's magic. While the Pearlman Church is warmer sounding,
that similar magic is what makes it a great alternative, and it is a
stellar vocal microphone.
There are actually two alternatives here. First is the ADK Z-800, which is of course modeled after the C800G. I say modeled because ADK's goal is always to pay homage, not try to clone. The Z-Mod mics are meant to sound like a final product, what the mic it pay homage to sounded like after the transformers, tape, processing – so lwhat the mic sounded like on the record.
The Z-800 has a natural balanced mid range, and slightly rolled off bottom (about what you would do for a vocal track anyway – IE that goal of the final product sound), and a gentle rise from the upper mids through the top for more clarity and air. The Z-800 features a Lehle Transformer, which adds the clarity and air in a silky way. Further you get additional tubes so you can fine tune the sound of the mic.
The second Z-Mod alternative would be the ADK Z-251, of course paying homage to the ELA M 251. While the Z-251 is a very natural and balanced microphone (nothing lacking or hyped), thanks to the capsule tuning and Jensen transformer, ADK Z-Mods are custom shop mics. Sure you still get additional tubes to tweak the tone of the mic, but we can get you a different transformer. There, we would suggest the Sowter. The Z-251 is natural, balance, and has a big 3d sound stage – a beautiful workhorse indeed. The Sowter will slightly soften the sound and push more mids forward, making it amazing for vocals. Throw in the JJ tube and add a bit more balanced richness.
The Josephson C725 is probably the closest of all the alternatives. It is big sounding, smooth and musical – yet still detailed, and natural. It has the balance, the silk, the sound stage, and magic. Though it really should not be called an “alternative”. Josephson never set out to build a mic that compares to, or sounds like the C800G. They set out to create a cream of the crop mic, their own mic. And, that is what they did. Due to that, that is why this is a great choice for those wanting something of the caliber and class of the C800G. A bit more features such as multiple polar patterns, and a unique warm/cool selector to optimize the signal path, and being a FET based Tube mic (for low noise), makes this microphone quite flexible.