Reviewed: sE Electronics Voodoo VR1 Ribbon Microphone

Sound & Music | sound-music.com | Expect To Pay: $470

I know there are many of you who simply own one studio microphone - or worse, have several yet still fall back on the same microphone time and time again. Going with the safe option on a microphone, you know it can have its pros and cons. Yes, you understand how that microphone works and can get a good result with it, but usually the results are all the same. There is no variation in colour or tonal texture, which is why I always recommend using several microphones in different ways for any application. Whilst the large diaphragm condenser is the staple for studio recording, the benefits of a ribbon microphone usually stand out in the mix when added for some tracking. It’s because of this that the sE Electronics Voodoo VR1 is such a clever option for the home studio recording kit.

The Voodoo VR1 ribbon microphone is a passive microphone (with the VR2 being the active model) that implements a patent pending design by Siwei Zou, the company’s CEO, which enables a full frequency capture from 20Hz to 20kHz, with a fairly linear response across the range. That is what the folks at sE Electronics tell us. This is what I will tell you: it does just that. Although a fairly compact microphone, the special design incorporating a metal plate with the housing enables the VR1 to capture all the top end frequencies that are often lost with a ribbon microphone, but at the same time maintain the openness and natural character that you would expect. The smooth response that sees ribbon microphones employed in various recordings is not lost with the additional capture of higher frequencies with this microphone. This means that the VR1 can be used for a far greater number of applications than most ribbon microphones. It works very nicely in most situations where a high quality condenser microphone would be employed and is an ideal option to double up takes with when wanting to add a slightly different flavour to your sound capture.

 

Whereas many ribbon microphones I have come across in the past are delicate tools, the VR1 is built to last. Although it is fairly compact, it weighs a lot more than you would expect. The rugged housing that contributes to this weight is what makes it so durable. This feel like a workhorse, and looks like it is set to become one. Packaged in a neat little wooden case, the VR1 comes complete with a standard microphone clip to attach it to any microphone stand, also housed within the wooden case. In addition to this, sE Electronics has also included a suspension mount for use when low end rumble is an issue. The elegant design is, like the microphone it is designed for, quite unlike many other suspension mounts on the market in looks, although it still uses the same isolation techniques as most cradle style suspension mounts.

 

I am sure most of you out there who own a few microphones for recording tend to go with the safe options. There are always the same few microphones that turn up again and again when people start to build a collection, and this means many recordings tend to have a similar sound. Why not break the mould and have a go at sE Electronics’ new Voodoo VR1 ribbon microphone? It will certainly add a new character to your recording that any condenser microphone on the market cannot offer.

Hits and Misses

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Compact housing and very tough build

Detailed sound with extended frequency response

Handles very high SPLs with ease

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