Award-winning engineer/producer, John Albani, Sonic Eden Studios, chooses the Soundelux e250
Owned by award-winning engineer/producer John Albani, Sonic Eden Studios often hosts some of the most important voices of the country music industry. Noticing this, Albani found a need for a large diaphragm condenser microphone that could comprehensively and impressively capture the essence of any voice and most every instrument that graced his studio. "I was looking for an overall microphone, which is usually pretty stupid to do because everyone sounds so different," Albani explains. "You never know what will sound good because one person may sound great on one mic, then someone else will walk in and it will be so wrong."
So Albani called Sweetwater Sound, asked them to send him several microphones for evaluation, which he would try next to some of his own personal favorites. Albani auditioned these mics during a session featuring several male and female vocalists. Albani's stand-by selections included a Marshall V69, "a little-known 'secret' microphone that kicks butt," he says, and his Rode NTK, a mic that Albani confirms is a good choice for female voice when used with his API 512 microphone pre-amp. "We also used pre-amps such as the Vintech 73I, Universal Audio LA-610, and a Telefunken V72.
According to Albani, a clear 'best-in-show' was quickly determined. He chose the Soundelux e250, which he confirms cannot be topped in the areas of reoccurring compatibility with voice, after voice, after voice. "Some mics sounded great on some people, but virtually no one stepped in front of the e250 to sing and didn't sound good. It was amazing."
Soundelux designed the e250 as a microphone that offers the presence, size, and low-frequency boost of many classic and popular live diaphragm condensers but without those classics' not-so-popular tendencies toward low-frequency buildup or tilted upper mid-range frequencies. The e250 was originally conceived to be "a more affordable and mellow version of the ELUX 251," confirms the company Website. It became a cardioid-only microphone with a quality all its own. Its aural shape can successfully showcase most any voice that blows through its grille. The David Bock-designed mic features a one-inch, diaphragm and comes in a wood box along with the ELUX 251's P251 power supply and a custom shock mount.
"The first thing that I noticed with anyone who walked up to the e250 was that it had an incredible, chesty, powerful sound," Albani recalls. "It wasn't overly thick in the bottom, but you didn't feel like you had to reach for any bottom, either. What was there was extremely usable. Because of where the e250's top end is happening, it has what I call 'the buzz' that really great microphones and pre-amps have before EQ. It has that clarity and that 'fizzy' sound I like without scratchiness. Even when someone has a slight 's' problem and things are a bit bright for them, you can calm it down without thinking, 'Oh boy, this is going to take my head off.' You can also de-ess without creating a lisping sound. There just hasn't been an instance where I can't get an acceptable sound for anyone."
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