SE Electronics Microphones
Made in China based upon designs of Telefunken, AKG and others, plus the modifications introduced by Church in the U.S.
This is a poor-manís high end studio vocal mic that can also be used as a drum overhead or for various stringed instruments and orchestras.
Most of these use large gold-sputtered diaphragms that are about 1Ē round and 6 to 10 microns thick. Most of are of the condenser design, which means you mean to use a power supply (which is included, saving you some bucks unless you already have 48 volt phantom power on your board). Because of the ultra light diaphragm you also need to use a spit screen (which isnít included and these will cost you between $50 and $100 unless you want to make one out of panty hose and a clothes hanger) and a shock mount (which is included).
The premier mic, pictured at the left, is called the Gemini which has 9 pattern selections, but handle with care! An associate of mine who runs a major high end audio rental house in Los Angeles says this pattern switch is fragile and could get broken or stuck. With the price a premium ($1,499, although Iíve seen it priced at $900 or less at some retailers on-line) maybe you should give the cardioid model a look!
The Icis, pictured at the right, is the fixed cardioid pattern version of the Gemini and carries a list price of $1,000 (which means you can probably find it for under $600 at selected dealers).
What cardioid means is that it only records from one side and you need to be positioned in a pattern shaped light a heart around that side, any other position and the sound quality drops to the point of almost total rejection. With the more expensive Gemini you can obtain a figure 8 pattern, an Omni (all directions around the mic head) pattern, plus some very directional patterns that allow you to isolate instruments in an orchestra from other nearby instruments by selective rejection.
Both the Icis and Gemini make use of 12AX7 and 12AU7 electronic tubes (aka: valves), the same tubes used in Mesa Boogie and Marshall tube amplifiers, plus many older Macintosh stereo tube amps which are sought after by the audiophile. In the U.S. the Church group has modified the older U-47 and other Telefunken mics made between 1940 and 1960 to use these newer, less costly tubes (and original German tube for the Telefunkens sells used for $500+ if you can find one to buy, which these newer tubes sell for about $20 and can be found readily).
Tube mics deliver a warm tone with natural, random harmonic fluctuations.
The Z3300A (at left) is an FET version of the Gemini, which only 3 patterns (figure 8, cardioid and Omni) to select from. It sports a similar diaphragm, but uses field effect transistors (FETs) instead of tubes (valves). The tone isnít as warm or rich as the tube models and the harmonics are uniform and consistent.
This mic is in the same basic class as many of the current AT mics (the 4066, 4033, etc.) and the Sennheiser U-87. While competitively priced against the AT line (in the $450 to $600 range) it is far lower in price than the Sennheiser U-87 or U-89 (priced well over $1,900 list).
The SE2200 (at right) is a cardioid version that is priced well within reach of anyone at $350 list (which means if you look hard you can buy it for as little as $225, about twice the price of a Shure SM58 and far superior in studio applications for vocals, acoustic guitar and as a drum overhead).
This mic should be checked out by every vocalist on a budget who wants to make good quality demos or other recordings at home or in low cost studios.
If you go into a studio, set this mic up against their best mics then A and B them to see which works best. Most low end studios donít have much of a mic selection.
In a recording situation this mic will outperform almost anything else in the same price range, unless you can find a 4066 or 4033 AKG around the $300 to $400 range used.
If you can find the older versions of the tube mics new or used, check them out as my studio rental associate says they were higher in quality then the current crop, but you still canít find too many ďgoodĒ mics priced under $1,400 and certainly canít find anything decent priced at $350 like the SE2200!
The lower end FET mics come with an aluminum case and mic cord.
2005 Music Special |
Making It In Today Music Scene
Our Music Special Issues Continues With These Other Offerings from 2003:
Our Regular Music Reviews:
Articles and Information from the 2003 Music Special:
Articles and Information from the 2002 Music Special: