Teenage Engineering’s CM-15 condenser microphone looks right out of Apple X Braun’s design playbook
Looking somewhat like the spiritual successor to the Braun T3 radio and the classic iPod, the CM-15 is Teenage Engineering’s latest device to fit into its music-tech ecosystem. The condenser microphone boasts a design so clean it looks like it was made by Jony Ive himself, with an all-metal design, a compact body, and a whopping 1-inch condenser diaphragm on the inside to give you the most crystal clear audio capture ever. Offering a combination of 48v phantom-powered mini XLR, USB-audio interface + preamp, and 3.5 mm line output (with an internal battery), the CM-15 works with a wide range of devices including directly with your phone/laptop, or even with the company’s TX-6 handheld mixer and OP-1 synth if you’re looking to make music or record audio/podcasts on the go. The CM-15 is compact enough to fit into your bag or even your pocket. It comes with a tripod stand adapter, and even has a flip-out kickstand if you want to keep your setup frugal… and you’ll probably want to, given that the microphone has a whopping price tag of $1199.
Designer: Teenage Engineering
The condenser microphone’s design screams sophistication, with a simplicity that’s difficult to ignore. It has two controls and three ports – that’s it… but boasts compatibility with a wide range of interfaces and devices, and has the ability to record everything from studio drumsets to ASMR-style voiceovers. This is, thanks to the microphone’s massive 1-inch diaphragm, which seems unusually large when compared to the mic’s own diminutive size. The condenser offers a super-cardioid pickup pattern, making it great at capturing sounds on the front while isolating sounds coming from the side and canceling sounds from the back.
A switch on the side lets you power the microphone, while another one on the back lets you choose your gain level depending on what you’re recording. Set the gain to zero for loud sounds, and for softer, more delicate audio, adjust the gain to the II position to capture even the faintest of sounds. Meanwhile, the mic supports three types of output – a phantom-powered mini XLR, a USB-C with its own power supply, and a 3.5mm out that’s supplemented by the CM-15’s own built-in battery. What’s rather spectacular is that the CM-15 supports all three outputs being used simultaneously, allowing you to send recorded audio to three interfaces at the same time.
The elephant in the room, however, is the microphone’s staggering $1,199 price tag. Priced much higher than most other condensers, the CM-15 costs about as much as the iPhone 14 Pro, although that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that the iconic OP-1 synth itself is priced in the $2,000 ballpark. However, I’m nobody to judge if you’re an audiophile with a deep pocket and an appreciation for iconic minimalist design. The CM-15 is listed on the Teenage Engineering website but won’t go on sale until ‘this summer’, according to the site.