Review: sE Electronics BL8 

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Review: sE Electronics BL8 

sE BL8
Words by Josiah McRitchie

sE Electronics BL8 | Sound And Music | RRP $499.99

sE Electronics are the specialists in affordable, expert-quality audio gear. Novice or professional, live or studio engineers alike will have come across their reliable range of products. The sE Electronics BL8 is the new boundary layer microphone for any audio enthusiast looking for a versatile option. It is rare that a boundary mic, like the BL8, addresses so many common needs. 

There is always room for error in live audio, and no engineer can prepare for  everything. Thankfully, the BL8 is designed to come in handy in a variety of live  and studio sound situations. The microphone has three separate EQ voicings  tailored for kick-in applications, as well as two low-cut options and three pad  options. Its built-in mounting brackets are easily accessible, allowing  the microphone to be mounted to any flat surface in a pinch. The low-cut options allow conferencing, speech and piano applications, going far beyond  use as a kick-in microphone. The BL8’s versatility makes its appeal clear: a multi-purpose microphone that can act as backup or the main star in a variety  of scenarios.  

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The BL8 is tailor-made for the road. Its hand-crafted, all-metal build makes it  perfect for busy stages and tours. Its internals are housed in a red, dent-proof  grille designed for placement in a kick, on a piano or on the ground. Weighing  in at just over half a kilogram, it will stay sturdily in place on any flat surface. Compatible with the Kelly SHU FLATZ Isolation System, it can be mounted in  any kick drum for peace of mind and stay there all tour.  

A robust, gold-plated XLR connector ensures reliable signal transmission for  decades of demanding use. The BL8’s half-cardioid polar pattern is typical for  boundary microphones, suiting it to capturing the low-frequency energy of a kick drum. The BL8 features a hand-crafted, specialized diaphragm to enable excellent transient response. On top of that, the capsule can be swapped with an omnidirectional capsule, allowing a level of  versatility that will flatter any microphone collection.  

The transformerless, Class-A circuitry of the BL8 allows ample headroom with  minimal distortion. It is the heart of the versatile design of the microphone,  allowing low-noise applications such as grand piano or room micing while still  capturing low frequencies with utmost accuracy. Neither application of the  microphone compromises the other, providing a solution for various use cases.  The BL8’s frequency response, pad and low-cut options take full advantage of its  hardware.  

The BL8 features three low-cut settings: flat, 80Hz, and 160Hz. Enabling the low-cut in ambient, room and piano micing settings will cut unnecessary  bass and sub-bass frequencies to maximise headroom and gain. A 10dB or 20dB pad can be enabled to switch the maximum SPL of the microphone.

BL8 EQ settings

These options make the BL8 the professional engineer’s best friend. The  Modern and Classic EQ profiles are borrowed from the sE V KICK microphone.  The sE V KICK is a kick-out microphone at a price point over $100 more  expensive than the BL8, so including these EQ profiles at a lower price-point is  a touch consumers will appreciate.

If your clients are looking for a punchy kick in the studio or live, the Modern EQ  setting is the way to go. The Modern EQ profile boosts high and low  frequencies for a “scooped” sound. For a different client, achieving a warmer  sound is as simple as switching the microphone to the Classic setting, which 

rolls off high frequencies and emphasises low-end punch. As a result, the  appropriate kick tone can be dialled in to suit any client’s demands.  

The BL8’s range of uses can cover the role of another, more limited microphone in an emergency. If an ambient microphone malfunctions at a live event, the BL8’s low cut options allow it to become a detailed ambient or room  microphone in a pinch. If a venue is too small for a more conventional setup,  the BL8’s form factor allows it to be placed on the ground, walls or even the  ceiling.

The sE Electronics BL8 is designed to replace many of the tools in the working  sound engineer’s toolkit, and boasts a competitive price point. It boasts the trademark craftsmanship and build  quality of any sE Electronics microphone, with internals enabling its use in a  wide range of cases. Its handmade, ultra-thin capsule allows accurate transient response. Transformerless Class-A circuitry captures low-end detail  and offers plenty of headroom with minimal distortion. The BL8 is a versatile  microphone designed to address a variety of situations, whether meeting an  emergency need in live sound, or achieving the perfect tone in the studio.  

sE Electronics BL8 Overview

The BL8 reduces the risk of coming up short in a professional audio situation.  The all-metal build and included pouch ensure its reliability as a touring  microphone, while its metal brackets enable it to be easily attached as a fixture  in any venue or studio. Audio enthusiasts of all disciplines will find a myriad of  uses in the BL8. The omni capsule is sold separately, so the stock half-cardioid  polar pattern can be seen as a limitation in some scenarios. Still, it is about the  best thing an engineer could ask for in a boundary microphone at this price  point. sE Electronics have succeeded in building a quality, long-lasting product  and offering it at an affordable price.

For local enquiries, visit Sound And Music.