ZZ Top occupies a strange place in the pantheon of modern music. If you asked the everyman on the street what they thought of the band, nine times out of ten the best reaction you could hope for is to have “SHE’S GOT LEEEEGS…” screeched in your face. Their comical, Muppet-like appearance and oversexed, bikes n’ babes subject matter tends to lead most people to drop them in the box marked ‘novelty’. Unbeknownst to many, however, their influence is a little further reaching than you’d expect. The seemingly simple, fuzzed out guitar wizardry of the one and only Billy Gibbons has garnered a cult following that far outreaches the few songs you know from karaoke bars the world over, and modern rock bad asses like Josh Homme and Jesse ‘The Devil’ Hughes count him among their key influences. All that being said, even the most avid Top fan would scarcely call him a singer’s singer, so it seems odd that sE Electronics would etch his signature on the side of their V7 dynamic microphones.
Upon lifting the lid, this confusion becomes a little less distracting. The mic itself is almost as showy as the man to whom it is attributed. Its polished steel chassis certainly looks the part and comes surrounded by more added extras than your run of the mill vocal mic. There is a leatherette pouch, mic clip and thread adjuster, a wind sock for when you’re playing one of the windier Hells Angels conferences, a micro_ bre cloth for maintaining that sheen, and a pouch full of picks garnished with cartoons of Mr. Gibbons himself. It’s a fun little package, but there’s more than just add-ons and bling that makes this mic worth your brogue.
I’ve reviewed an sE dynamic mic before and was suitably impressed by the liveliness and clarity of such a modestly priced unit. This is where my mind went racing when staring back at the bespectacled mug emblazoned on each side of the box. I liked the first V7 I tried for all its female and soprano vocal friendly high register detail; surely the guy who sang ‘Lowrider’ should require a much more bass focused frequency graph! Strangely enough, said graph is almost identical to the non-signature model bar a few tweaks and peaks here and there. In an effort to understand the thinking, I embarrassingly attempted an impersonation of that southern, drawling baritone and noticed something I had not accounted for. Far from leaving me lacking, all of that shimmer served to balance out and enhance the lowest tone I could muster in a descriptive and colourful way. As opposed to choosing a mic that leans toward the guttural, sE and Gibbons have chosen rather cleverly to brighten it up, which makes for a crisper and more ear-friendly listening experience, particularly in the live setting. On the whole sE Electronics are not setting out to change the world with their designs. Many of them take an existing rubric and expand on it ever so slightly with a few choice adjustments. In the instance of the V7 BFG, this makes for an ultimately useful and distinct take on the industry standard.
Hits and Misses
Brilliant highs and thick around the middle in a blingy package that suits the Signature