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Field Report: Electro-Voice RE320
It's not enough to have good parents these days. Being made by a name brand manufacturer only gets a new audio device in the studio door. Getting to stay is incumbent on performance.
A piece of equipment receives a legacy in one of two ways: either being featured on a highly successful project (think Cher and Auto-Tune) or through consistent predictable performance on an overwhelming body of work.
There is little question as to the audio heritage of the RE-20 and RE27N/D. Both have proven themselves as venerable workhorses in the broadcast and recording industries. From the studio mics in 50kW flame-throwers to kick drums, these remain staples of our industry. And with the release of the RE320, Electro-Voice adds to the lineage of this great line. But to take its rightful place inside the shock mount throne, the RE320 will have to speak for itself.
|Performance at a glance|
Variable-D minimizes proximity effect
Integral pop filters
Dual frequency response settings
30Hz - 18kHz frequency response
Out of the box
Technically, the box is a pressed-fit zippered ballistic nylon. Not a bag. But not a conventional box either. It is well constructed and more than ample protection for transporting this large mic.
Unzipping the box, the 320's metallic black finish looks great. The shell design seems to have changed very little from the RE20 and RE27.
Another benefit of the unified profile is its interchangeability with the 309A, perhaps the largest shock mount ever manufactured. It can be a little tough to see around, but the RE320 is no pencil microphone.
My first session with the RE320 was a voice-over in the recording studio. I performed a side-by-side test between the RE-20 and RE320. The 320 is definitely brighter and around 5.7dB hotter than the RE-20 using my Focusrite ISA428. Being a dynamic mic, it is below the output of a modern condenser, especially when connected to a transformed microphone preamp like the Focusrite. Although more gain may be necessary, signal-to-noise is not a problem due to EV's hum-bucking coil design. Even after engaging the second gain stage in the ISA428, this mic was quiet. In fact, it may even have less noise than the high-output condensers.
The bump in high end feels more consistent with the bright condensers that have flooded the market over the past few years. Yet this change is not enough to offend most RE-20 users and still feels very natural.
Let me throw in here, the low cut filter switch is not a low-cut filter switch! Somewhere along my career I stopped reading manuals (please don't tell my children). As it turns out, E-V has put this switch to a more novel concept. The 320 has two tonal curves. One is used for general purpose, like voice. The Voice Contour is a fairly flat response to around 100Hz with a bump at the upper mid- to high frequencies. The Kick Drum Contour is tailored to extend the low end a bit. And it has a gentle notch around 200-400Hz. Perfect for boxy instruments or even voice in small booths.
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