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sE Electronics X1

sE Electronics sE X1

4.4 4.4 out of 5, based on 11 Reviews

A great mic for almost Anything


5th January 2012

sE Electronics sE X1 by Arthur Stone

sE Electronics X1

sE Electronics X1-sex1a.jpg

First I must declare that I won this microphone in the Gearslutz Gear Review; does this affect my review?...of course it does, but I wouldn't write a good review if it was a bad mic. I'm very grateful to sE Electronics (and Jules!) for the prize particularly as it is such a gem. sE Electronics have kept the costs down by keeping their profit margin down - commendable, great value and worthy of support.

Out the box my first impression is that it is solid and well-designed; as a trained mechanical engineer I'm quite picky about that. The mic is - dare I say it - sexy. It has a metal body, matt black stealth-coating and a smooth, rounded form (great for avoiding radar!). The switches are easy to operate and clearly marked; although there is a little play in the switch action, the functional parts seem of precise tolerance. It seems built to last which is reassuring and a credit to sE Electronics engineering standards.

sE Electronics X1-sex1c.jpg

Some specs from the sE Electronics website: sE Electronics X1 Microphone - sEX1

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz
Sensitivity: -32 dBV/Pa (25.1mV/Pa)
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Impedance: ? 200 Ohms
Equivalent Noise Level: 16dB(A weighted)
Max SPL for 0.5% THD@1000Hz: 125dB
Power Requirement: Phantom power 48V±4V


From the chart and specs above it's worth noting the low self-noise and I did find it quiet in use. The HPF starts off from 500Hz with a 4dB/octave slope which should be interesting tonally and is handy for recording high-pitch percussion or backing vocals, for example. These features are discussed in greater detail here: SE Electronics X1 | RecordingHacks.com

What does it sound like? I've included some samples; also some Rode NT1A samples as a comparison. The vocal and guitar takes were recorded in parallel into two independent channels of a Sound Devices 702 using Klotz Starquad cables (no HPF, EQ or compression)...then dithered @ 44.1/16 bit in Reason. The samples will be subject to Soundcloud's streaming algorithm.

Sample1: sE X1 vocal


Sample2: sE X1 guitar


Sample3: Rode NTIA vocal


Sample4: RodeNT1A guitar


Not a scientific test by any means...but I like the full-bodied vibe, smoothness, and dimensionality of the sE X1 - the NT1A sound is nice too but is a bit thinner in the low-mids and has a slight rasp. On the guitar tracks the sEX1 seems to articulate the strings well in comparison, also the guitar tapping at the end is significantly more musical. The sEX1 seems a bit weightier - which I like. Both mics will compliment each other well in my collection. It's early days yet and I'm looking forward to getting to know the sEX1 and experimenting.

Initial thoughts are that it's a superb mic for it's price and thoroughly-recommended.

UPDATE: After using this mic for a while I love it more...it's great and I think it suits my voice well - I'm much more confident about singing using this mic and that's a good thing. I've been using it with a BAE preamp and obviously that makes a lot of difference, but still I'm a very happy owner.

  • 1
6th December 2011

sE Electronics sE X1 by Riku

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
sE Electronics X1

I bought this mic as a by-product of buying an sE Project reflection filter. They came bundled together for about £160. I thought, if the mic is no good then I've not really lost anything on it. My main use for it is as a vocal mic (with the reflection filter) and for cranked guitar amps (athough mainly as a room mic).

It has a standard -10dB pad and a LF roll off. The roll off switch rolls off a bit too high for my liking so I tend to use the one on my pre-amp instead as it has a lower corner freq.

On vox (well my vox) it has a HF presence that isn't really there on other mics in it's price range. It doesn't really have that "vintage" sound, but that's ok as I like my HF. As a room mic it really picks up the room in a nice way.

New they come in at just over £100 so you could call it budget, but it easily gives mics that cost a lot more a good run for their money.
I really like this mic and it's now my main LDC. Considering the price, everyone should have one.
Given how impressed that i've been with sE X1, I'm definitely looking at getting a SDC or 2 from sE.
The project reflection filter is ace as well.

6th December 2011

sE Electronics sE X1 by xfreddex

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
sE Electronics X1

I bought the X1 about a year ago, mainly for scratch tracks for my simple home setup.
My studio is located about 40 minutes by car from home and I didn't want to bring a microphone forth and back all the time.

The X1 got very positive reviews in the swedish magazine ”Studio”,
but I couldn't find any other reviews, so I kinda bought it on a whim.

Features: Fixed Cardioid pickup pattern, 10 DB pad, hipass filter.

Comes with a simple clamp of poor quality. The inner ring in the clamp fell out and it was impossible to get it back in and stay secure.
I bought the rather expensive X1 /4400A shockmount insted. The shockmount seems to function ok and sits firmly,
but the microphone is tilting a bit to the side no matter how I try to set it straight. It bothers me cause it doesn't look very good.

I've used in on a couple of different vocalists, acoustic guitar and also tried it as a drum room mic in my studio just for fun.

On vocals it made a good first impression.
Compared to my Studio Projects B1 (that is now long gone) it sounded alot more open and smooth in the hi end.

However, after some tracking I realized that the X1 lacks body and sounds a bit scooped in the mids,
especially with a loud singer. The vocals tracks was hard to place in the mix and had a hollowness to them.
The frequency plot provided looks very flat. That's not really what i'm hearing.

I tried it on acoustic guitar and that reinforced my feelings.
The guitar sounds pretty good, but lacks body. I compared it to another cheapie from my studio,
the MXL 2003A and I realized that the X1 is a very bright microhone.

As a drum room mic / mono OH it completley failed because of a very strong ringing frequency in the upper mids that I didn't hear on vocals or guitar.

Overall, it's an alright microphone, but I find it too bright for my taste.
I can think of several inexpensive microphones that I use in my studio that sounds fuller.

As a scratch mic it will do fine for now, but I probably won't keep it for long.
SE Electronics does make some good mics though. I have used the SE2200 which doesn't cost much more and I like it alot better.

Pros: cheap, bright but with a decent top end, seems sturdy.
Cons: Lacks body, rubbish clip, comes without shockmount/expensive shockmount, strong ringing frequencies, better alternatives around.

31st December 2011

sE Electronics sE X1 by John Eppstein

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
sE Electronics X1

This is a good budget priced cardioid large diaphragm condenser microphone, well suited to its intended audience.

Very handsome styling, excellent build quality. Definitely useable in non-critical applications.

Sounds decent on male voice. On mandolin it has a harsh peakiness in the top end that required EQ, which in turn dulled the overall tone of the instrument. Sounded OK on acoustic guitar.

It's probably a bit unfair that I was comparing it directly to my vintage U-87, which ate it for lunch. On its own, compared to other mics in its price category it would make an excellent choice.

Cardioid pickup pattern. -10dB pad and low cut switches. Swivel clip. Shock mount available at extra cost. Comes in a nice cardboard box with form fitting foam inserts.

4th January 2012

sE Electronics sE X1 by Monkeyesque

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
sE Electronics X1

Initial impressions

According to my digital scales the X1 weighs in at a substantial 460g. The body of the X1 has a rubbery finish. The rubber finish feels easy to grip and thus less likely to be dropped.

Sonic ability

In order to test the X1 I decided to try it with a lead vocal and rhythm acoustic guitar on a track I am working on. The X1 has a – 10 db pad and a low frequency roll off switch, both were left off

The guitar track was the first to be recorded. In order to provide some variety I used a fairly neutral sounding Yamaha and a slightly brighter Takamine. I listened back to the results on a pair of Genelec 8020Bs and a set of AKG headphones. Listening back and the results provided plenty of clarity and definition. The Takamine sounded overly bright but a faithful reproduction.

Next up was the male vocal. The voice in question is fairly mid range and tends to project well in mixes. The X1 provided a great deal of insight into the vocal. The sound was relatively flat with a little top end brightness.

Having listened to the guitar and vocal tracks in isolation, the next step was to put the two together. The two sat well together. Finally different combinations of the vocals and the guitar takes were placed in a mix with bass and percussion. The slightly bright sonics of the X1 allowed the vocals and the guitar to sit well within the mix.

Extras

The X1 is a single-cardoid pattern and has a 10db pad and a low frequency roll off switch. Surprisingly for the price point the X1 is also entirely hand built.

Conclusion

Firstly the rubberised feel and overall appearance is great. Then the more natural, flat sound with a touch of high end sparkle makes the X1 well suited to a wide array of instruments and voices. Finally, the hand made stamp does enough to seal a recommendation.

8th February 2012

sE Electronics sE X1 by taturana

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
sE Electronics X1

I just got my sE X1 by mail, having also won it at the GS giveaway... the first thing i noticed is how well built it is, the rubberish finish feels good to touch and the heavy weight (460g) also shows that they hand built it rather well, down to every detail.. just because of that it already is much better than most competitors at the same price range...

The sound is a bit on the bright side but with a nice HF rise curve that resembles much more expensive mics, while there's a lot of HF it's definitely not brittle and has a certain body to it. I got excellent results on steel string acoustic guitar, and my own voice sounded very good on this Mic also. i expect it to be very useful for percussion/drum duties. I wouldn't describe the sound of the X1 as being scooped in the mids as some have here, it's just not hyped in the midrange, so if that's what you're after, go elsewhere.
It worked very well along my ribbon mics, to give back that edge that ribbons will make sound softer. I can think of many more situations where this HF response can be very useful...

It's definitely a great addition to my mic cabinet... i thanks sE electronics for this pleasure, it really made my day. It will stand proud next to my more expensive mics and definitely hold its own... i am keeping this one, for sure... very approved....I am most definitely impressed and a new fan of sE's work.

7th October 2013

sE Electronics sE X1 by alwilts

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
sE Electronics X1

I bought the sE X1 Studio Bundle after reading a few reviews and the blind test vs. the Rode NT1-A Neumann TLM 102 and AKG Perception P220.

I was looking for a cheap mic that I could use at home for writing and producing tracks ITB, where the vocal sound was clear and mixable, so I could spend less time in the studio arranging and mixing and I could focus more on the performance and capture.

Firstly, with the X1 bundle you receive the RF-X vocal booth with the X1. If you read a lot of the reviews online they paint a picture of cheap foam, flimsy plastic and a waste of money with regards the RF-X. This isn't the case, and although it doesn't perform as well as the pro filter, I did find it helped reduce room reflections, although it is worth placing something behind the vocalist to remove unwanted rear reflections.

The mic itself has a -10db pad and a HPF, and is set in a cardioid pattern. I don't often use the roll off, but the pad is useful depending on what mic pre you're using.

The X1 feels durable, and is a little weighty, but in a good way. It has a relatively low noise floor, and produces good clean recordings.

I only use the mic on vocals, and they always sound crisp and clear, with a good low end capture. As with a couple of the other reviewers, I do feel like the mid is slightly scooped, which can leave the vocals sounding a little thin and lack some punch, especially when paired with a female vocalist, which I have to compensate for by EQ.

Overall, the mic outperformed my expectations, and picking up the bundle at £120 felt like a steal. As I work in a studio with mics like the AKG C 414 B-XL II and the Shure SM7B, I wouldn't use this mic as my go to for the final vocal take, but if I didn't have that luxury this mic would definitely be my go to for vocals in the price range.

If you're looking for a budget microphone with bright refreshing sound, the X1 is a strong contender.

 
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