Polar pattern. Click to enlarge.
Without a doubt, if you are not familiar with this line of mics, you'll be amazed at the lack of proximity effect. And the RE320 continues that detail. An announcer could look hard left and right without any discernable drop in low end. You can back away without sounding like you're off-mic. Remember when we used to reach for a cart in the rack behind us? Not that it happens anymore, but there is still plenty of movement in live broadcasting. Watch ESPN's simulcast of Mike & Mike in the Morning for an example of just how much movement this mic can negate.
There simply isn't another microphone design with this tonal consistency.
Frequency response based on switch setting. Click to enlarge.
Because of this feature, I thought it would be interesting to test the mic against instruments that exhibit their own proximity effect (similar to kick drum). I started with a Yamaha Conservatory Grand Piano. By conventional thinking, this is a bit of a stretch for this mic. But in a scenario where you were forced to track with the lid closed and the mic very close to the sounding board, the RE320 has an ability the conventionals don't. The RE320 stayed far more focused on sonic energy under 1kHz.
I also found the 320 to be very nice on snare drum and toms. The consistency of bottom end from the 320 makes for a very easy mixdown. While the solo track felt like it lacked sizzle, the track cut through the mix quite well.
Click the icon to hear an audio test of the RE320.
For applications that either exhibit their own proximity effect, or where the source distance is constantly changing, this mic is worthy of consideration. Not that I recommend tight miking a string section, but sometimes circumstances force on us less than ideal positions. This mic might prevent some of the booming that Cellos tend to exhibit up close. Or perhaps it could provide a little sonic discipline to that guitar cabinet that just won't behave.
And of course, one of the most complex instruments to record: The human voice! The 320 handles plosives very well, even without a 1/2" of foam windscreen. This ability, in combination with minimizing the proximity effect, is exactly what an on-air studio demands - making the RE320 an ideal mic for live voice.
Electro-Voice has continued the heritage of the RE20/RE27 with the RE320. It is a microphone that can perform, in some ways, like no other. For general purpose fidelity and sensitivity, high-output, large capsule condenser microphones are hard to beat. But to properly use and protect them, you need a great degree of control over the myriad of variables within the studio. When that control is not possible, or when it comes to needing a durable mic that can withstand the harsh environment of close miking from a variety of sources, the RE320 is an excellent choice. It's low-end is stunningly consistent. For the many applications where proximity to the microphone can change, this microphone can save the day!
Israel is executive producer, Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network.
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