TE's CM-15: A new tool in the electronic music landscape

The CM-15 is positioned as a versatile tool for the on-the-go musician, which makes it suited for a range of use cases in the field.

Richard Hogben
Cofounder of Piqued // Los Angeles
TE's CM-15: A new tool in the electronic music landscape

As an electronic music artist, I've always appreciated the ways in which innovative technology can expand my creative horizons. When Teenage Engineering unveiled the CM–15, their first-ever all-in-one microphone, it naturally caught my attention.

The CM-15's standout feature is its 1-inch large-diaphragm condenser capsule, manufactured by Peluso. For those not in the know, large-diaphragm capsules are more commonly found in professional studio microphones, not portable ones. This unusual choice for a portable device piqued my interest, promising the potential for richer and deeper sound capture.

The inclusion of the ESS Sabre ES9822Q PRO analog-to-digital converter, often used in high-end audio equipment, suggests the CM-15 is designed with high-fidelity sound in mind. Paired with an OPA 140 JFET amplifier stage, which promises ultra-low distortion, this combination could potentially deliver a clean, transparent, and natural sound.

The CM–15 boasts an array of connectivity options including a 48v phantom powered mini xlr, USB-audio interface, preamp, and a 3.5 mm line output. This versatility could be a game changer, enabling the mic to adapt to a variety of recording environments. Of course, the real-world functionality of these features will need to be tested in various settings to see if they truly deliver.

A flexible powering system is another intriguing feature of the CM-15. Being able to power the microphone through phantom power, battery, or USB-C adds to its flexibility. The promised 10-hour rechargeable battery life, if accurate, would be a welcome feature for those extended recording sessions or performances.

The CM–15’s size and weight might raise eyebrows. With dimensions of 90 mm x 65.5 mm x 19 mm and weighing in at just 132 g / 54.6 oz, it’s certainly portable. Yet, one can't help but wonder if this compactness might impact the overall sound quality or durability of the device. Only hands-on use will tell.

From the announcement, it's clear that Teenage Engineering has put a lot of thought into the design and functionality of the CM-15. It's positioned as a versatile tool for the on-the-go musician, which makes it suited for a range of use cases in the field, particularly for music creators, audio professionals, and hobbyists. Here are a few potential scenarios:

Live performances

The CM–15's portability and variety of power options make it ideal for live performances, especially in environments where traditional power sources may not be readily available. Artists can capture their performances with studio-like quality, whether they're playing at a small venue, busking on the streets, or performing at a remote music festival.

Field recordings

For those who incorporate natural sounds or ambient noises into their music, the CM–15 could be a game changer. The large-diaphragm capsule and high-quality analog-to-digital converter would enable the capture of a wide range of frequencies, from the subtle nuances of a quiet forest to the boisterous energy of a bustling city street.

Podcasting and interviews

Podcasters and journalists often need to record high-quality audio in a variety of settings. The CM–15's portability and power flexibility, coupled with its potential for clean, transparent sound, make it a strong candidate for on-the-go interviews or remote podcast recordings.

Mobile music production

As music production becomes increasingly mobile, having a studio-quality microphone that can easily connect to a laptop or tablet via USB-C could be a major advantage. With the CM–15, musicians could essentially set up a mini recording studio wherever they find inspiration, be it a cozy café, a tranquil park, or a bustling airport lounge.

Video production

For videographers who need high-quality sound to match their visuals, the CM–15 could offer a solution. Its ability to capture rich, detailed sound could enhance the overall production value of videos, from indie films and documentaries to vlogs and social media content.

As with any new device, the proof will be in the pudding. It's one thing to list features and make promises, but the true test will be in how the CM–15 performs in real-world scenarios and how it holds up under extensive use. It certainly presents exciting possibilities for audio capture in the field.

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