sE Electronics RNR1 by Yellowbears
What happens when an old master of circuit technology and an ambitious studio microphone manufacturer join forces to share their knowledge?
In the case of Rupert Neve and Siwei Zou an extraordinary ribbon microphone that sets a new benchmark for performance and active microphone circuitry.
Last week me and my friend got the chance to test the first mic designed by Rupert Neve in our little studio: the sE Electronics RNR-1. I'm sorry if my English is not perfect, I'll try my best and I hope it won't stop you from reading on!
Let's take a look at the microphone. Oh yeees! It is an eye-catcher. The unusual long design reminds me of the silhouette of the Shanghai Business Towers. The mic is very well built, it should be very resistant against scratches! A strong stand will be necessary, especially for boom operation. This weight is a mark of quality- powerful magnets, good casing( RF protection) and two transformers should never result in low mass.
The newer ribbon mics are usually trying to compensate the same disadvantages, a low output and their mechanical sensibility, by different approaches. However the frequency response rapidly drops at about 10-15kHz. The reason is that the output level will be too soft and will be covered by the noise floor of the mic. So the goal of the creators of the RNR-1 was to develop the first ribbon mic that reproduces the whole available human frequency range linearly.
Because of the high output the RNR-1 doesn't have any special provisions for the preamp. Of course every mic profits of a good preamp, but because even low signals are "transformed" into a lot of output voltage, even the preamps in the fireface 800, as an Avalon 737-Channel Strip gave comparable results. In both tests the result were amazing: An openness and transparency that was never heard before when recording with ribbon mics, but still keeping the typical ribbon mic sound! Immediately the mic convinced us for vocal recordings! In the higher frequency range the vocals are reproduced perfectly straight away. S-Sounds are very smooth and discreet- No need for a De-esser! As opposed to other ribbon mics the RNR-1 served us with a more plastic and natural Top-End! Just great! The integrated High-Pass-Filter was a nice help to avoid too much bass. Anyhow a Pop-Filter and an exact adjustment of the mic shouldn't be missed.
What really surprised us is when we recorded an acoustic guitar. In the past this was a " banned "area for ribbon mics. The very low noise floor with the extended high range gave the possibility to reproduce fantastic results: It sounded so natural, even better than with a condenser mic! This is probably a real secret for all guitar players and engineers.
This response is consistent across all sources: drums, electric guitar, bass guitar, voice, harmonium and upright piano. The mid-range has the classic smoothness and clarity for which ribbon mics are renowned!
The sE Electronics RNR-1 fulfills all ribbon-mic-expectations. In terms of high frequency definition the RNR-1 outshines all other ribbon mics. Because of this characteristic the mic is usable for everything! It gives voice and instruments an own, smoky character, with a nice body! This mic is really a hot recommendation. The only minus point this mic gets is, that it is relatively expensive. If I had enough money, I would grab myself one for sure; I hope I can do so in the near future!
Thank you very much for reading, I hope you liked it!
All the best from Switzerland