The SE Electronics R1 is a ribbon microphone and like all ribbon microphones it features a figure of eight response. The microphone exhibits a roll off above 9kHz, which gives off a natural sound, rather than the hyped timbre found in similar priced condenser microphones.
The microphone is especially useful on any source which needs taming, either to mellow sources tonally or to decrease density.
The R1 is therefore extremely useful on guitar cabs, where often the sound is a little 'full on'. If using the R1 in this application it would be advised to pull back a foot from the grill cloth as this microphone exhibits a large proximity effect around 200Hz.
It is also great as a pair of stereo overheads and instantly lends itself to jazz styles. In this application giving off a full sound that is representative of the kit in the room.
In summary, the SE Electronics R1 is a useful addition to any respectable microphone collection. Although not the most versatile microphone, the R1 gives it's own distinct dark character to sources. And when coupled with a good preamp the tonality shines through, allowing sources to sit back in the mix with a warm and mellow timbre.
These microphones are well above your average relabeled chinese mass- production ribbon microphones.
Design and build quality can hold their own against the likes of Royer and AEA.
It its true that it isn't the most versatile microphone out there, as it is a more classic approach to a ribbon microphone than the Royer or the newer, more "modern" developments from sE themselves.
It does not tolerate very high SPL, is not "active" which means its output is fairly low and it needs a preamp which can compensate for that, has no proximity effect compensation or other frills.
What it does have is a very high sound & build quality for a decent price,
and it is tolerating phantom power if plugged in accidentally.
It is best wherever the classic advantages of a ribbon microphone are requested, which can be on spoken word and vocals in general, electric guitar cabinets, as drum overheads, for solo acoustic instruments...
As all ribbon designs, this microphone needs to be handled with care.
Due to its size it may on some occasions not be as easy to position as smaller
ribbons like the Beyerdynamics.
It should be mentioned that this model seems to be discontinued in favor of its
successors, the VR1, VR2 and RNR, but it still can be found here and there.
I recently bought 2 sE Electronics R1 microphones. These have now been discontinued by sE which means that you can pick one up for a bargain either as discontinued stock or on eBay - Mine cost £110 each.
First reaction is that this is a beautifully engineered piece of kit - even the retaining screw feels weighty and balanced - it also looks gorgeous.
I have always been a 57-on-the-grill kinda man for guitar tones although occasionally I add a LDC a few feet back for an alternative or a blend. And recently I tried using my Beyerdynamic M160 and liked the effect.
For my first test I miked a tele through an old Marshall amp on a clean setting and it was just beautiful. The R1 absolutely blows the M160 away - it is clearer, required less gain, and it has significantly less self noise. It also just works in the mix with little or no eq.
I tried a similar test again with a 1970s Aria through a Laney Lionheart and got just a beautiful sound. Overall I would describe it as full and detailed - without the compression associated with a 57 or the somewhat brittle top end they can produce in certain circumstances.
I also tried it on a male backing vocalist against a sE Gemini III and a Neuman TLM103. (the main vocalist had been recorded on the Gemini, so I wanted something that would not overcompete for mix space). My gut reaction was to use the R1, although in the end we chose the Neumann - but it was very close - it just didn't need the extra warmth.
Now its going to take me a little time to know all of the best uses and placements of this mic, and sometimes a 57 is exactly what you want, but on clean guitars it is a clear winner - and a tiny fraction of what a Royer would cost.
I've had the average chinese ribbon ic there a waste of time and money. The mic is far beyond the quality of the cheap chinese mics you get. The build quality is as high as any other se mics is solid as a brick. And for you can get them for now there isn't really any reason you should be buying any other ribbon for under £150.
Sound quality- a lot of people say this mic is quite dark but the first time I used it I put it a couple feet in front of my bass drum it captured the hi mids un like any other condenser or ribbon I'd used and really brought out the presence in the room and boasted the articulation of cymbal hits. Just what I need.
On guitar cabs it's pretty dark but has a nice texture to it and smooths out the hi's which can be use full if the guitars a bit piercing it the first place.
A lot problems you get with lower price ribbons is noise which this mic is probably better than any ribbon I've heard under £150.
The best thing about buying this mic is se's excellent customer service they other a 20 year guarantee and 3 year zero downtime policy. I doubt i'll need to use as it's a great quality mic.
It seems like there is a second wave of Chinese-made mic makers who are using the knowledge of how the first wave of cheap mics were made and combined that with high-tech, detailed-oriented microphone design. SE makes mics in that spirit: reasonably priced mics with pro-level engineering. The R1 is somewhat unremarkable in that it sounds like a great ribbon mic: no saggy ribbon, no weird rumbly low end; just big ribbon awesomeness.
The design is passive so you will need a really good preamp. You will be treated with a sound that has slightly more top end than something like a R84 or a R121, but it doesn't overshoot the mark. The body is somewhat susceptible to any stray electrical noise in your room, which isn’t unusual for ribbon mics. On louder sources like drums and amps you shouldn’t have any issue with gain or picking up electrical noise. The R1 is a strong contender for keeping in front of your amp: it is like a SM57 with a little more detail. It gives you the middle range frequencies you love but is quick enough to catch those fancy in-between sonics.
The R1 has a body to the sound typical of other ribbons but with just a little bit more up in the top frequencies. A quality made and sounding mic.
Just bought two of these and have had a chance to try them out on a good amount of sources so I thought I'd post a review!
These are very well priced ribbon mics at the moment, sE stopped manufacturing them some while ago so only a few remain to be sold mainly by DV247.com it seems. They used to retail for around £400-£600, so getting them for £150 isn't bad I don't think!
They have a sturdy metal chassis around them, the grey colouring looks cool as well. The shock mounts are similarly strong and well made. I was a bit confused at first how to fit them into the shockmount because they seemed to just rest in the holder and wiggle about, however, if you unscrew the grey cover around the XLR input all becomes clear.
Sources I've used them on so far are acoustic guitar, male vocals, electric guitar room mic, glockenspiel. I hope to use them for some drum recordings soon.
They are passive ribbons so need a good amount of clean gain to be used for quiter sources, bare this in mind if you only have soundcard pres or noisy tube pres.
The sound of these ribbons is very natural as most ribbons are, the top end roll off is apparent but they take eq very well. I found on some sources the bass could be quite boomy, but again, nothing eq can't sort. For most of the recordings I had them set up in a blumlein pair arrangement (one upside down on top of the other, both of them rotated 45 degrees off center from the source, stereo panned). The figure of 8 pattern means that they pick up a good amount of ambience and "room". On acoustic guitar they sounded very warm, I would probably put a LDC or SDC somewhere nearer the strings to pick up the brightness if I were to try again. For vocals they also sound very warm, slightly less midrange detail compared to a condenser, but very good sounding within a mix where the vocal is only but part of the whole sound and not the key instrument, if detail is needed though I would use an LDC. Glockenspiels can sound quite tingy and harsh at points so the top end roll off made my glock sound smooth and subtle instead off thwacky and gong like, so that's good. For electric guitar room micing they also work very well, smooth top end, balanced low end, warm mid range. I will be using them for this task again and probably closer up on the grill as well.
As with all ribbons you need to keep them safe, no sudden bursts of air into them or dropping them! But thankfully to say I did accidentally have one fall on to some carpet and it is fine so they are quite sturdy at least. I would recommend putting up pop filters around them when in use or getting some larger foam windshields such as those the Studio Projects supply with their mics which you can order individually from their site. I have tested and the B1 foam windshields fit well.
SE provide three free ribbon replacements within their warranty period so I would recommend getting them new because they're so cheap anyway and ribbon replacing is annoying.
SE are a good company and their mics are fantastic value, I have quite a few of their mics now and I am pleased with all of them for their different duties.
Took a punt on a pair of R1 ribbons mics a while back when my Royer went the way of the Dodo. They were obviously far cheaper but I have achieved great results on a variety of sources. They worked great as a room pair when recording drums. I've used them on vocals and they give me something very different. I've utilised them as a pair of room mics for acoustic guitar as well and they gave me exactly what I was looking for.
sure you could probably get a more 'authentic' sound from a more expensive alternative, but for sheer value for money I'd recommend the R1. I'd buy a pair!