Although my “ears” have steadily improved since I began VO work, I’m by no means an audiophile. The finer points of audio engineering escape me. But I’ve read enough forum threads about mics to know choosing one is a subjective thing. The most expensive mic in the world may not be the optimal one for my voice. Over time, you come to “hear” the mic that’s JUST right for you.
A couple of years ago, I became convinced that buying new or “better” equipment for my audio chain was not the magic wand for making ME sound better. There’s just a threshold where thousands of dollars only bring small increments of improvement.
Nonetheless, I’m fascinated by technological improvements, and new products, and I’m fortunate enough to have the luxury of trying different mics.
Everyone knows the EV RE-20 is the workhorse of radio stations everywhere. The RE-20 is the absolute knee-jerk default choice for broadcast and mic-intensive environments where producers don’t know what else to get. Later, the RE-27 became part of the EV family. The 27’s shinier nickel-plate finish gave the appearance of an improvement on the more grey metal-plate RE-20.
Then comes the RE-320…Black. About $150 less expensive than the RE-20. I’ve always wanted an RE-20 in my collection, and the reduced price of the 320 was a draw…and it was new… that’s all it took. Now I’m trying it out on some auditions and jobs.
Below is a pretty good summary/comparison of the 3 mics written just after NAB earlier this month by a guy who talked to the ElectroVoice rep at the exhibit booth. It’s a pretty good write-up. This excerpt comes from the Digital Video Information Network forum by John Fairhurst:
First, the RE20. It’s a classic. If you’ve listened to any high-profile talk radio hosts over the years, you’ve almost certainly heard this mic. Speaking into this mic, my voice sounded as good as it ever has. The pop filter is perfect. You can nearly eat the mic without plosives, yet the bottom end is full and rich. It’s easy to work the mic as the proximity effect is well controlled. For those of us who aren’t EQ masters, this mic delivers straight out of the box. You can tune the bass response for your voice with the variable bass “tilt down” control on the mic.
The RE27 tells a slightly different story. It has a more efficient magnet structure in order to deliver a hotter signal. This could make sense if you are announcing in the middle of a loud crowd as it will help cut through the noise. It was developed for use with cameras that have weak preamps. Unfortunately, the mic sounds much thinner than the RE20. The RE27 is really best for field work. I wouldn’t choose it for the studio.
The RE320 is the new, lower-cost nephew of the RE20. The body is similar to the other mics, but it’s a lower-cost offering that was developed to be used for music production. Compared to the RE20, it has a wider frequency response. It also has a switch that lets you scoop the response for use with kick drums. Here’s a tip for guitar mic’ing: Put the RE320 in scoop mode and set it right next to a (midrange heavy) Shure 57. Mix to taste.
So, how is the RE320 for voice? It’s nearly as good as the RE20. It has a bit more rumble and a bit too much air due to it’s development for musical instrument mic’ing, but between 80 and 8000 Hz it sounded VERY similar to the RE20. With some shelfing down of the extreme frequencies, I’d expect the mic to sound nearly identical to the RE20. You lose the bass “tilt down” control on the mic, but this effect is just as easily done in post.
As far as the deep specs…I’m at a loss. I know the 320 is a cardioid-type mic…so for those of you who care, visit the ElectroVoice site explaining the RE-320.
Here’s another: An RE-320 review from Harmony Central.
I’ve also attached a .pdf with the two-page specs that came packaged with the mic: EV RE-320 Specs
I’ll let you know how the evaluation goes.