I have used this microphone to capture acoustic guitars, voices, electric guitars and some small percussive instruments. It has performed well for all of these uses, capturing the nuances of each instrument/voice whilst still remaining tonally balanced with absolutely no harshness. The cardioid polar pattern allows creative use of the proximity effect, which on the microphone works superbly when trying to capture a warm intimate vocal with almost no need to EQ. I haven't used this microphone for anything considerably loud yet, but I would not be afraid to, as its max SPL comes in at a exceedingly high 140dB. This is sold as a vocal mic and it's incredibly easy to see why when listening to vocal recordings created with it, but judging from the applications I've tried it in, along with its extremely high max SPL levels, this mic is almost a perfect all rounder. The only thing preventing it being given this title is the lack of switchable polar patterns, but at such a modest price, who can complain?
A low price, large diaphram condensor microphone, the SE 2200a is a very capable microphone that holds its own against some far more expensive pieces.
Sound Quality: I found this microphone to work very well on a variety of sources. As the frequency chart here shows, there is a presence boost just over 10k and the there is also a slight shelving dip at 300hz. These combine to create a crisp sounding microphone that I didn't find harsh or shrill on any source. On vocals its presence boost helps it to peek over a busy mix but it also works on softer tracks, creating a nice air in the vocal track. It also works extremely well on acoustic guitar where it is crisp and clear.
Ease of use: The microphone screws easily into the shock mount. Connect the female XLR to the bottom of the microphone and the male XLR to your pre-amp, hit the phantom power button and bam....signal! It doesnt really get much more straight forward.
Features: The SE 2200a is a cardiod condensor microphone which contains a -10db pad and a low cut switch. The pad does exactly as you would expect, it reduces the output of the microphone by 10db to allow louder signals (drums, guitar amps etc.) to be recorded without pushing your preamp into overload. With condensor microphones, by nature, being more sensitive than their dynamic cousins, i found this to be a very usefull addition as I really like this microphone sitting a foot in front of a kick drum where the level is LOUD! With the Low Cut engaged, the microphone's frequency response falls away gently around 100hz helping to eliminate rumble and low frequency stand vibrations which can sometimes ruin a good take.
Bang For Buck: I bought one and after I had used it for a few weeks, I went and bought another one. I find the SE 2200a to be extremely versitile and very useful to have hanging around the studio. I've used mine on ALOT of instruments (kick, overheads, toms, guitar amp, bass cab, banjo, mandolin, violin, cello, piano, percussion, vocals, room mic) and have never been disappointed with the results. At such a low cost, its a no brainer, buy one! or do what I did and buy two!
Having used this microphone a lot for more budget tight projects, I can say as a vary reasonably priced microphone, it delivers particularly well.
Sound Quality - as you'd expect from a budget microphone, this does not stack up to some more of the top of the range alternatives on the market. However if budget is a concern, this mic certainly does the job, sounds decent for clear transparent vocal recordings and is also pretty versatile for use on drums and other acoustic instruments. Eqing well when using this mic is vital however as it can sound a little harsh around the mid range.
Ease of use - Very easy to use, stick some phantom power through it and you're away. Some of the more experienced engineers however will certainly want to play around with eq when recording for the reasons mentioned above.
Features - The 2200 comes equipped with low cut and pad switches for versatility which come in very handy.
Bang for buck - For its price this microphone is a very solid option for a more budget project. Can be used on a whole host of instruments and is very easy to use. Has a particularly transparent sound which again lends itself well to versatility in the studio. Its also very solid and reliable.
UTC Studio - SE2200A Review - A Day With Barry and Jimmy
The SE2200A has long been a staple ingredient in the murky, acrid recording broth served up at The UTC Studio. It sits as easily in the mix as the dirty great chunks of stewed steak, I say the dirty great chunks of stewed steak, from Fred Elliott's butchers sit in a bowl of Betty's famous hotpot. Enticing the consumer to savour its rich, warm, muscular delights. Fleshing out puny vegetables and wimpy guitar lines. Coaxing culinary and sonic creations to raging, orgasmic delight. Tweaking the nipples of the mix before penetr......... Well, you get the point. And just in case you don't - the point is - we very much likey like the 2200A at UTC towers.
Our unflinching and multi-layered love for this, the King of Condensers, was none more apparent than during a recent session we undertook with the corpulent, multi-chinned, walrus of sex Mr Barry White, and the pasty, ginger coiffured, queen of falsetto Mr Jimmy Somerville. As you slutz of gear will doubtless have realised, this musical odd couple (they're called 'Play Your Chords Right' - Higher! Lower! Higher! Eeeeew good game) possess between them a truly mammoth vocal range.
Our seven inch silver saviour laughed heartily in the face of this furlong of frequency, before delivering a masterclass in crystal-clear, cost-effective condenser conjuring. Mr Jimmy's highs were up front yet smooth. His upper mids were just what we needed; each heartfelt syllable leapt from the mix, it was almost as if a slightly camp ginger Scotsman was stood whispering sweet nothings into our ears. Conversely, at several other points, it felt as though an overweight, greazy, porcine American was stood behind us pulling on our diaphragms with his rich, rumbling, thunderous roar. His Moet-flecked breath dancing playfully across our hyper-sensitive and exposed necks. With the benefit of hindsight, we can attribute this not unpleasant sensation to the 2200A's frequency plot, which shows a gentle bass hump at the low end. Perfect for Mr Barry's sexually provocative growl.
The low-frequency roll off switch was immeasurably useful also. Unbeknownst to us, the humble producers, big Bazza had partaken in a chippy-dinner of chips, peas and gravy before he arrived, causing gale-force sub-bass-gusts to emenate from his cavernous torso. The roll off switch ensured that these ghastly guffs weren't picked up during takes, although future editions of the mic should perhaps come with free nose pegs. For the occasions when recording flatulent soul singers are simply unavoidable.
The second switch featured on the 2200A is the 10dB pad switch. We were extremely grateful for this after Mr Jimmy found out that Mr Barry had been to the chippy without him. The slender member of the duo was incandescent with anger. The fire in his eyes burned like an arson attack on the bowels of hell. Such was his unadulterated rage, his squeaky voice increased several notches in volume. Sensing that the conditions were right for a stupendous, bile-laden take, we sent him into the vocal booth. Despite having the pre-amp on our soundcard turned completely down, the decibel level being produced by the hungry and angry Scotsman was still causing the signal to peak. A simple flick of the 10dB reduction switch and 5 peak free minutes later, we had recorded the angriest take since the grumpy one from Slipknot stood barefoot on an upturned plug on his way to the vocal booth. Is there nothing that this mic cannot do?
Erm. Perhaps. Maybe. One thing it cannot do is stand perfectly still by itself. But fear not, it need never stand alone. The substantial metal shockmount is always there to support it. For richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, 'til rust do them part. The shockmount came through this session with flying colours. Despite Mr Barry shaking the very foundations of the vocal booth as he stomped uncontrollably to the primal, carnal, disco-groove pulsating through his headphones. The 2200A didn't feel a thing, as the elasticated cradle absorbed each seismic ripple, gobbling up the aftershocks as they crept gradually further up the Richter Scale.
To celebrate the successful session, and being as he hadn't eaten for fifteen minutes, Mr Barry suggested a celebratory bowl of hotpot. We explained to him that we were in Stoke-on-Trent and that we call hotpot, lobby.
"Hotpot. Lobby. It's all just stew to the Walrus of Sex. If this lobby is half as good as your microphone, i'll be taking a vat of it back to my sensual ice-cave to feed to my sensual slaves. Right on. Uuuuuuuuuuuh."
Lobby IS a fine dish Barry. But it's no SE2200A.....
After looking for a condenser mic around the $300 range, I decided on this guy. The mic came packed in a sturdy flight case, including a VERY solid shock mount. However, I do believe the newest issues of this model (after 2011) do not include these extras.
Now onto setup and use...
I'm a vocalist who likes to record my own music to either tracks I've created using midi instruments, or pre-recorded tracks. So the gear setup I have goes something like this... sE2200a + Mogami Cable + Golden Age Pre73 + 1/4 inch Mogami Cable + line in interface plug on computer. The built-in interface on my computer allows for 48000/96 recording quality, so I decided to skip an additional USB interface. After that, I run into Cubase 5 and have plugins like URS and Softube at my disposal.
And the most important part, SOUND....
First off, for the money this microphone sounds excellent. The roll-off pad worked great for some of the rumble coming from the neighbors footsteps upstairs. Keep in mind... this mic will pick up alot more than you'd expect, so try to record in the quietest environment possible.
Also, running this mic into the Gold Age Pre gave me an incredibly quiet signal. The noise floor was almost invisible. The sound of hiss was non-existent. Now keep in mind, your setup is only as good as your weakest link. If you're going to expect a quiet signal like this, using a great pre and cables comparable to Mogami are the only choice.
After using mics like Sterling Audio and MXl's v69, this was a huge improvement on sound. The highs have a very crisp sound, while the lows and mids are anything but muddy. Having not used any of the high end mics like Neumann, AKG and Mojave, I can only compare to similar price ranges. While I don't have the experience to state that the mic sounds as good as those brands listed, it does sound far better than it's price range competition.
On a personal note: Having a tenorish voice, I tend to belt out the high notes. The microphone handles sound pressure levels very well without any distortion. However, I have found that the SE's rise in frequency around 4k to be a bit much for the timbre of my voice. It doesn't come off as boxy but just a little too bright. I found myself constantly subtracting 4-6k from the frequency to roll off the harshness of my voice. Even then, it was still a little too much for my ears. Also, the mic can be a bit sibilant.. not near as much as MXL's line but it's definitely still there. So if you have a similar tone, this mic may not be for you. On a baritone or female voice, this mic would most likely work like a charm.
Below is a sample of how the VOCALS came out using this microphone. The track is pre-recorded.
I was looking for a mic which is inside my budget, and has the sound I like, for my own productions.
After have read a lot of positive reviews, I bought the sE2200a which came with the spider shock-mount and the pop-filter, into an elegant case.
I used it to pick up saxophones (Tenor and Alto), acoustic guitars (also 12 strings ones), flute, vocals and electric guitars (miking the the amp).
I can express my fully satisfaction with the details the mic is capable to return, for the price it has. The sensitivity is also high with a very low noise, and the range response sounds full enough.
I can say that's an excellent microphone for many purposes.
However, I have a little personal note which regards the pick up of the sound of the violin.
On my opinion, with this instrument, this mic is a bit too brilliant.
The high register of the violin and the related little noises of the instrument, generated by the movement of the bow etc, are too evident. As result this instrument sounds "too harsh", for my musical flavors of course.
I tried to position the mic in different ways, but I didn't end up with the sound I wanted.
With all the other instruments and with the vocals, I didn't got any issue. On the contrary, I still very satisfied with it also during the mix-down process.