REVIEWED: SAMSON STAGE XPD1 HANDHELD USB DIGITAL WIRELESS SYSTEM
Microphone cables have a lot going for them, especially if you don’t know what to do with your hands. That said, sometimes the damn things get in the way. This is equally true of the stage and the project studio. In each instance you want to minimise the number of things that can go wrong, and clutter is a big one. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve gone to lay down a song idea but got so tangled in cables during setup that I simply gave up and barked it into my iPhone instead. It’s enough to make you throw your hands up and groan ‘there has to be a better way’, like an infomercial. Well ladies and gentlemen, Samson to the rescue.
REVIEWED: AUDIO-TECHNICA ATM350A CONDENSER INSTRUMENT MICROPHONE
I do enjoy coming across a new microphones that offer better solutions to previous applications that haven’t been addressed properly before. There are plenty of microphones on the market all trying to achieve the same purpose, but it is great when a manufacturer takes a step outside the box and considers how a microphone needs to be used in practical placement when designing not only the capsule but also the housing. This is exactly what Audio-Technica have done with the ATM350a and its associated attachments. If you’re looking for a quality condenser microphone for drums, percussion and other instruments that requires precise placement and far from standard mounting, this is going to be worth a look.
REVIEWED: BLUE ENCORE 200 VOCAL MICROPHONE
Blue Microphones’ somewhat ostentatious designs can be spotted a mile away, but whilst shocking on visual appeal, they deliver on sound quality too. It’s unsurprising that a handheld vocal microphone from Blue is going to be far form the conventional and almost certainly is going to offer more than the norm when it comes to sound. Which leads us to the enCORE 200 active dynamic microphone, the first of its kind and a classic Blue concept that will change the way live stage vocals are captured.
REVIEWED: SENNHEISER XS WIRELESS 2 – 835 WIRELESS MICROPHONE SET
When Sennheiser first brought out their XSW wireless system to replace the very popular Freeport system, the response from users was immediately great. The upgrade in transmission, ease of use and improvement to build quality did not go unnoticed. Now, after its release at this year’s NAMM show, Sennheiser’s new XS Wireless 2 systems are set to take users to a new level of quality, simplicity and reliability. With a range of options available for both microphone and instrument applications, it’s safe to say that the 835 set could very well be the most popular and in demand of the range.
REVIEWED: SAMSON CONCERT 88 CAMERA WIRELESS SYSTEM
I often come across people who are looking for a simple wireless microphone system to integrate with their DSLR so that they can achieve better quality audio while filming. It shouldn’t be that hard, but the choices are limited when you remove the option of mains power from the equation. It gets even tougher when you want to keep it compact and preferably camera mounted for ease of use. There are professional systems available for broadcast purposes, but what if you want to film YouTube videos, interview an artist or record your band rehearsal or performance? The first place you should look is at the Samson Concert 88 Camera wireless system.
MXL A-5S SNARE DRUM MICROPHONE
There are plenty of ‘do-it-all’ microphones that people use for a range of drum applications in order to get the job done. But, the problem with these microphones is that they are often the same ones being used on guitar amplifiers, as well as a host of other instruments too. So, why would you use a guitar microphone on a drum when both sound sources are vastly different in volume, tone and dynamics? If you really want to do your drum sound justice, then considering a microphone that is designed for the purpose is going to be the best starting point, particularly for the snare drum. That is why the MXL A-5S is such a good addition to any microphone kit, given that it is purposely voiced for a snare sound.
MXL A-5T TOM DRUM MICROPHONE
When you use microphones in a drum kit, the first place to start is with a pair of overhead microphones to capture the stereo spread of the entire kit. This, in theory, should get you a complete sound, with all the drums in the kit falling within the range of these two microphones. But, it is for added definition and depth of frequency response that we will almost always see microphones on all the drums in a kit along with the hi-hats too. But of course, no one microphone is properly suited to the task of capturing every drum’s different characteristics up close, so a different tool is needed for each application. The one drum, or section of drums, that often gets overlooked is the toms, but MXL have changed that with the A-5T dynamic tom drum microphone.
Aston Origin Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Many of you won’t have heard of Aston microphones, and to tell you the truth, I had never actually laid my hands on one until this week. Having spent a little time with their Origin condenser microphone, I can now say that I am glad I got the opportunity. Coming from a small production team in the UK, these microphones are set to change what you think about vocal and instrument recording. You simply need to hear them to know what is on offer.