Red Dog Price: £249
Every man and his Red Dog have used dynamic microphones in their time, and most budding home recorders have a pretty decent ‘go-to’ condenser microphone these days. “Who needs ribbon mics?” I used to wonder. Dynamic microphones are good for recording loud stuff, softening harsh sounds and for stage use, condenser microphones are good for capturing stuff accurately in the studio. Right? Right! One necessity I never really knew existed until I tried SE Electronic’s RT1 was to capture sound with ‘character’, rather than clinical accuracy.
On my first use of the RT1, I was actually pretty horrified by what I was hearing. Boomy, boxy and dull! How could this be?! After some red wine contemplation, I went back to my recording to see if anything could be salvaged. I found that by simply rolling off the bass frequencies (about -12dB from 450Hz down) and taming those warbly lows, I revealed a beautifully natural, warm and smooth sound that almost seemed to have a personality. After a bit more experimentation, I can now confidently tell you this microphone sounds amazingly ‘real’ on vocals and as a room mic for guitar cabs and drums. It’s not only a ribbon mic, it also has a valve at the output stage so if you really push it the output starts to break up in a lovely saturated way. You’ll need to play around with the EQ to get the results you’ll want, but they’re worth it in the end!
SE Electronic’s philosophy seems to be “Neumann quality, Far East prices” as their mics are machined from solid brass tubes and hand assembled, tested and tuned by real technicians and electrical engineers. Their happy workers are well paid and their dedicated production facility is clean and full of modern equipment. The RT1 is definitely like nothing I’ve used before and all the better for it.
Words and Hilarity by Guy Perchard.