Reviewed: Sennheiser HandMic Digital
Nowadays it seems everybody with half a brain and a mixed bag of opinions wants to be a podcaster. Not only has The Internet Age brought about an army of bedroom producers and engineers, but it has also given rise to the concept of DIY journalism, and as usual technology has followed suit. As with music recording, the demand for products that make it cheap and easy to be Brian Naylor or Stephen Colbert from the comfort and safety of your own home has been met with haste by some manufacturers. Others, however, have taken their time in developing a product that meets the quality quotient as well as that of quantity. Take a company like Sennheiser for example, who has made home stereo and recording equipment with a steady and unfaltering eye on fidelity for decades. Would they dare rush to market with a second rate, throwaway mic just for the sake of rising to a trend? Not a chance.
Reviewed: sE Electronics sE8 Stereo Condenser Microphones
There is a lot to be said for quality when it is delivered at a price that is well below expectations. Let’s face it; the team at sE Electronics have proven that they know how to build a good microphone. It’s something they have been doing for a while now and these guys continue to kick goals. But, they also continue to bring out lower priced microphones to meet market needs. To be quite frank, I was initially a little put off by this new microphone set from sE Electronics, purely because of the price-point that it came in at. One gets a little worried when something just seems too good to be true. Considering what I would expect to pay for a quality pair of matched pencil condensers, this set is an absolute steal, coming with all the accessories and none of the cutbacks in sound quality.
Reviewed: Sennheiser MK4 Digital Condenser Microphone
It’s been a number of years since Sennheiser first unveiled their original MK4 studio condenser microphone and raised the bar for large diaphragm microphones in a new, lower price-point. This has continued to prove itself to be a very solid workhorse. I use one for a wide range of applications and just love the consistent and level sound it delivers. Well, it’s been around long enough for the team at Sennheiser to consider an upgrade and with that, they have delivered a new take on this quality microphone, making it even more usable to a wider range of musicians. Now, you don’t have to suffer from a poor capsule just because you are not using a dedicated interface with phantom power. The new Sennheiser MK4 Digital gives you the capsule we have come to love, with A/D conversion built into the housing for great quality plug and play use.
Reviewed: Blue SL Microphone Range
The new SL range of microphones from Blue takes a very distinct look at three sounds of condenser microphones. The three models in the range are the Spark SL, Bluebird SL and Baby Bottle SL. Each has a particular price point covered as well as capturing a certain sound and style. Ultimately - for those of you able to do so - owning all three would be an ideal solution for a plethora of vocal and instrument applications, and would certainly make a very solid foundation for a serious microphone collection to cover a range of genres, styles and recording applications.
REVIEWED: AUDIO-TECHNICA STUDIO RECORDING COMBO
Once upon a simpler time, all there was to recording was to put a talented musician in front of a giant horn and a wax cylinder. If the devil came through with his end of the deal, you could press that groove onto a molten wad of licorice and sell enough copies to make it into The National Archives. Almost a century later, what was once a simple energy transfer concept has evolved into an exact science. Coupled with the idea that the internet age has rendered the handing over of your creative output to a trained expert almost obsolete, you have the strange and intimidating dichotomy that is modern home recording. Researching what equipment to best start out on can be a boggy mire to say the least so packages like the Studio Recording Combo from Audio-Technica can be the key to the secret garden of sound reproduction.
REVIEWED: ADK STUDIO SERIES MICROPHONES
I think it is safe to say that ADK Microphones certainly gained its popularity and worldwide fame from the A-51 valve microphone that ended up in so many home and professional studios. This was a microphone that not only met the needs of many musicians’ budgets, but also delivered exceptional quality that had many people at a loss to how good they sounded. The A-51 has come out on top on numerous microphone shootouts and blind listening tests, because it was so good for what it offered. I recently had access to a pair of them that were serviced and loaded with select valves, and they were hard to give back. moving on from the A-51, ADK has set out to deliver a range of microphones that captures the soul and warmth of so many classic European microphones from over the last century. They were not interested in creating a budget range of microphones that just grabbed a quick sale, instead they have focused on creating the ideal capsules and electronics to faithfully emulate certain microphone characteristics and improve on previous tone. Best of all, I got to play with three models this month that all stood up on their own.
REVIEWED: THE BLUE SNOWBALL STUDIO USB MICROPHONE
Blue Microphones have grown a reputation for delivering recording tools that look a little unusual. They have shocked us so many times with their inspiring designs that most of their new releases don’t seem that unusual at all. The Snowball Studio has the team at Blue trying to get our attention once again, but carries that Blue promise of also sounding great.
MXL DX-2 DUAL DIAPHRAGM DYNAMIC MICROPHONE
I have always grumbled about guitarists who spend so much money on not only their guitar, but their amp, valves, speakers, effects, cables and haircuts all in an effort to chase that perfect tone. Funnily enough, so many of these players forget about this all important tone once it leaves their amp’s speakers and don’t concern themselves with how it gets to the audience. Why even bother if you are going to let it get ruined with the character of a beaten up old microphone that some engineer puts in front of your cabinet. Every guitarist should care about the microphone used on their guitar sound and so, it would make sense that every guitarist should get the right microphone to retain their tone.