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Cascade Microphones FAT HEAD II Manual And User Manual

Made by: Cascade Microphones
Type: Manual And User Guide
Category: Microphone
Pages: 8
Size: 0.14 MB


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FAT HEAD II Active/Passive 

Ribbon Microphone

Manual And User Guide

Meticulously Designed And Assembled In The USA


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Welcome To The FAT HEAD II Active/Passive Ribbon Microphone

Cascade Microphones is pleased to offer the first Active/Passive Ribbon 

Microphone to the pro audio market. This microphone is truly capable 

of offering a wide variety of  uses by employing sophisticated modern 

technology with  the best of old school workmanship.  Cascade’s pat-

ent pending Active/Passive switching allows the user to choose the best 

method for getting their desired result in the recording process.  The 

Active electronics utilizes a world class amplifying circuit that provides 

up to 25db of gain with very low noise.  The end result is an Active Rib-

bon that is very open sounding, with plenty of gain.  The sound is still 

very natural and completely phase coherent. For users that also desire a 

Passive Ribbon we have included an internal switch that will allow users 

that option by simply flicking a switch.  In Passive Mode the microphone 

becomes essentially a FAT HEAD II with a Lundahl LL2913 transformer.  

This combination has received rave reviews over the years, and has found 

it itself equally at home in large recording studios as well as home studios 

all over the world. This manual is intended to provide you with basic 

instructions as well as tips and care so that you may get the most out of 

your new Cascade FAT HEAD II Active/Passive microphone.

Your Microphone Includes The Following Accessories:

•  Aluminum case 

•  Heavy duty premium schockmount 

•  Padded storage bag 

•  Drawcord cloth storage pouch (very handy when leaving your micro-

phone on a mic stand)  

•  Microfiber cleaning cloth

We have many resources and information on our website at:



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General Information About Ribbon Microphones

For those of you new to ribbon microphones welcome and to those of 

you that have used ribbon microphones in the past or present just think 

of this as a reminder.

•  Ribbon microphones are known for their very natural sound and 

gentle compression that they add to the audio signal. They are espe-

cially useful in todays world of digital recording by providing a nice 

smooth top end. We do not employ any electronics that change the 

frequency response of our ribbons, we have believed that the more 

natural the sound the better the result. 

•  Cascade ribbons can handle up to 135db of sound pressure, but air 

pressure (wind) is the enemy of all ribbon microphones.  It is highly 

recommended that you use an approved Pop Filter (such as the 

Cascade PF-1) when recording Vocals, Horns, or any other source 

that produces air movement.  It is also highly recommended that 

you take extreme caution if you plan on recording bass guitar or 

kick drums.  A burst of air can stretch your ribbon leading to di-

minished performance and the need to re-ribbon your microphone. 

•  Your microphone is a figure eight pattern and will give you many 

recording options not found in most dynamic and condenser mics. 

Please visit www.cascademicrophones.com for complete informa-


•  Your ribbon microphone is sensitive and should always be used in 

the provided shockmount for the best result. 

•  Use your microphone on a suitable microphone stand and be sure 

not to drop it or let you microphone hit any hard surfaces. 

•  We have provided a cover for your microphone when leaving it on a 

stand, this helps keep dust from the ribbon element. 



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General Operating Instructions

It is very important the read and understand the instructions for operating 

this microphone.  Failure to follow the instructions in this manual could 

lead to damage of your audio equipment and/or your microphone.

Here A Few Basic Concepts Of Your New Active/Passive Microphone.

•  When operating this microphone in Active mode you will need to 

employ 48 volt phantom power.  This is usually a switch that can be 

found on most mixers or recording devices.  

•  When the microphone is in Active mode you will receive about 25db of 

increased gain.  Please take care when plugging your microphone into 

your recording device or mixer that the input and output gain knobs/

faders are down. 

•  You are able to switch this microphone into a Passive mode that allows 

it to function as a traditional ribbon microphone.  Although Cascade 

Ribbon Microphones are phantom power safe it is still a good idea to 

turn your phantom power off when using this as a Passive ribbon mi-


•  Caution should be used when using a microphone patch bay. Do not 

hot swap through a patch bay. Unplug your microphone then patch 

then plug your microphone back in. It is also best not to “hot swap” this 

microphone with phantom power on, please turn off your phantom 

power whenever you plugging this microphone into a mic cord. 

•  Use caution when switching between Active and Passive modes.  If for 

some reason you are not sure if your microphone is working properly 

it always best to check what mode your microphone is in and be sure 

to have your mixer/recording device set-up properly to work with the 

selected mode. Do not apply phantom power to this microphone with 

your input gain up or your headphones on.  Always take your head-

phones off your ears if you are applying phantom power or adjusting 

your gain settings. 



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Operating Instructions In Active Mode

Your microphone is shipped to you in Active mode, and will require 48 

volt phantom power.

Our Active/Passive Ribbon microphone features an ultra low noise high 

gain output section that will give you years of use and enjoyment. In Ac-

tive mode you will enjoy the benefits of ribbon microphones as well as 

increased options for recording.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your ribbon mic in Active 


•  The output of your microphone in Active mode will be very similar to 

a normal condenser microphone.  This will allow you to operate your 

gain stage in a normal manner without having to rely on the preamp 

as much as you normally due with many ribbon microphones.   

•  With its increased output you will be able to place the microphone in 

its ideal location when recording acoustic instruments without having 

to be concerned about gain. 

•  You will not have to worry about phantom power being applied and 

damaging the ribbon. 

•  The ultra quiet circuit and proximity effect make this microphone 

ideal for capturing vocals without any harshness.  The perfect im-

pedance output will allow you to capture all of the high frequencies 

without any distortion.  

•  Other suggested uses for the microphone in Active mode include: 

Acoustic Guitar, Drum Overheads, String Sections, Choirs, Horn Sec-

tions, and many more. As always feel free to experiment. 

•  The FAT HEAD II Active/Passive is very phase coherent making it an 

ideal microphone for recording ensembles of any type in stereo.


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Switching The Microphone To Passive Mode

The design of this microphone started out as an Active FAT HEAD II rib-

bon.  While we were designing it we tested the Active Circuit with vari-

ous gain stages in order to make this microphone as useful for as many 

applications as possible.  It became apparent to accomplish this we should 

incorporate a switch that would allow the choice of using this microphone 

as standard ribbon microphone (Passive Mode) as well as an Active rib-



To switch the microphone to Passive Mode please follow these steps: 

•  Turn down the gains on you mixer and/or recorder. Turn off the 

phantom power on your mixer.    Unplug the microphone from your 


•  Unscrew the base of the microphone and slide the body off the micro-


•  The switch is located on the circuit board as shown below. Locate the 

switch and move it to passive mode. 












•  Reassemble the microphone, keep the phantom power off on the mix-

er and plug it back in. You will notice now that you will have less gain 

and the microphone will respond as a normal ribbon microphone. 

The Lundahl transformer will still be in the circuit. 

The switch is located here. Move the switch to Pas-

sive to operate as traditional ribbon microphone. 

Unscrew the base here. 


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Switching Back To Active Mode

Operating In Passive Mode

•  Although your FAT HEAD II Active/Passive is phantom power safe 

we still recommend that you leave phantom power off when operat-

ing the microphone in passive mode.   

•  In Passive Mode you will need to increase the gain quite a bit on your 

preamp to get the same output signal that you had with the micro-

phone in Active Mode. 

•  Passive Mode works very well in situations where you would want 

the sound of our ribbon microphone without the addition of the ac-

tive circuit.  The best applications for this would be; electric guitars, 

single horns, drum overheads, or any situation where you are find-

ing that the Active Mode is providing output at a higher level then is 

ideal for you.

•  Turn down the input and output of your mixer and/or recording 


•  Unplug the microphone from your audio source.  

•  Unscrew the base of the microphone and remove the body. 

•  Put the internal switch to the Active position and reassemble the 


•  Once again check that the input and output stages are turned down 

on your recording device and/or mixer and plug the microphone 

back in. 

•  Turn on the phantom power and slowly bring the gain up to the de-

sired level. You will need much less gain then in the passive mode.

Please read the following section and make sure to follow these steps 

when switching your microphone back to Active Mode.  Failure to 

follow these steps could lead to damage to your microphone and 

audio equipment. 



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Specifications In Active Mode

Specifications In Passive Mode

Warranty Information

Contact Information

Cascade Microphones

630 O’Leary ST NW

Olympia WA.


Phone: 360.867.1799

Email: sales@cascademicrophones.com

Website: www.cascademicrophones.com

Hours: Mon-Fri.....9:00am - 5:00pm PST

Cascade Microphones warrants all products against defects in materials and work-

manship for a period of (5) five years from the date of original consumer purchase. 

The original ribbon or capsule elements carry a (1) one year warranty from the date 

of purchase and offer a one time replacement during the warranty period if they fail 

within the first year. Cascade Microphones will either repair or replace the product at 

no charge. Buyer is responsible for return shipping charges if past the initial first 30 

days of purchase. Please visit www.cascademicrophones.com for details.

Frequency Response: 60HZ to 15,000Hz +/- 3dbs

Maximum SPL: 135 SPL

Polar Pattaren: Figure 8

Sensitivity: -39dBv +/- 2 dB (0 dB=1V/Pa)

Power Requirments: 48 Volt Phantom Power

Frequency Response: 60HZ to 13,000Hz +/- 3dbs

Maximum SPL: 135 SPL

Polar Pattaren: Figure 8

Sensitivity: -56 db +/- 2 dB (0 dB=1V/Pa)