Sennheiser MK4 Microphone

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New-look microphone from a trusted name. The Sennheiser MK4, shown with and without the optional spider/shock mount.

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It’s pretty hard to stand out in a crowd of professional microphones these days. Somehow, Sennheiser has managed to turn a lot of heads with their first side address large diaphragm condenser – the MK4.

The MK4 is a stark contrast to microphones that add on the features. This mic is all business. A nylon type pouch is included along with a basic mount. The MK4S spider type shock mount is optional, but I found that handling noise and low frequency resonances were not a problem.

No switches or mic-mounted adjustments. Simply plug it in and supply phantom power. As you’ll hear in our demo, the mic has a nice mellow sound, mimicking a good studio dynamic. If this German made mic holds up to some rough handling, I could easily see it as a cost effective condenser replacement for radio or live stage.

We also started using an audio measuring stick of sorts in trying out microphones. After trying out hundreds of microphones, some of them indeed start to sound alike. I used what we’ll call the “Reasonably Priced Microphone” to start the show and then introduce the star. Doing this will set a baseline for comparison. For me, this comparison helped tremendously in describing the character and sound of the mic at hand.

Enough with the typing. Let’s listen in and hear what, may possibly be, a future classic from Sennheiser. Meet the MK4…

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Adobe Creative Suite – Audition CS5.5

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Audition CS5.5. Mac OS X gets to run a classic multi-track editor and recorder.

Do you use a Mac or PC to edit audio? If the answer is Mac, your choice for multi-track recorder/editors just grew by one.

Anyone who has listened to NewMediaGear knows that I’m an Audition (formerly CoolEdit) fan. Audition isn’t the only multi-track choice for either platform. The choices abound. Some of them are good and some …not so much. Many editors are somewhere in the middle, as solid, well thought-out accomplishments. So, what is it about Audition that brings people back – again and again?

I’m convinced that Audition is more than the sum of its programming. People either learn, teach themselves or are taught on a specific editor (insert almost any name) at the beginning of their musical or media life. If we’re audio professionals, we spend a LOT of time with this program. As time goes on, it just gets comfortable. When I started in radio, our solution to editing didn’t involve a computer, but a splicing block. Times certainly have changed.

One of the early GUI options that really made a splash in radio production studios was CoolEdit. CoolEdit worked well and got the job done without getting in the way. CoolEdit was borne of musical and sound studio aspirations, possibly surprising the folks at Syntrillium to find how quickly it was adopted in mainstream media. Evident today, is the fact that Audition feels at home in both venues. I’m simply looking through broadcast colored glasses.

After acquiring Syntrillium software, Adobe* set out to tweak Audition. Many worried that it was over and things would never be the same. Of course, things never stay the same; but Adobe nurtured Audition instead of trying to change it. As time went on, Audition blossomed. Adobe made the amazingly smart move to tighten-up the code, add features slowly but never lose sight of that Audition ‘look and feel.’ As a result, an old CoolEdit user could sit down with the latest rendition of Audition and feel pretty comfortable.

The moment Audition was released, rumors began to fly about a Mac version. Many OS X devotes kept a PC around just to run Audition. While trying a myriad of recorder/editors on the Mac platform (it seems as though I tried them all), none of them were as comfortable as Audition. The same feeling of frustration echoed throughout the net. Entire sites and forums were built, hoping Adobe would port Audition to the Mac.

Welcome to 2011. Faint rumors became audibly louder until the words ‘alpha’ …and finally beta programs became a reality. Audition for the Mac? It seemed to be happening and many PCs were sent packing.

With the release of Adobes newest Creative Suite, comes Audition CS5.5* – available for Windows or Mac!

Our last few shows have been recorded using Audition CS5.5 on the Mac. The best part is that I can move seamlessly between Mac and Windows. Features? There are quite a few tweaks and updates; especially effecting performance and addressing multi-core processor distribution. I’ll be posting and tweeting much more about features, and how they can help with voiceovers and broadcast production.

Right now, the best part is that I can wheel around the desk, using different versions of Audition on different platforms without skipping a beat! More to come…

*Adobe, Adobe Audition and Creative Suite are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated

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Electro-Voice RE320 Microphone

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An instant classic? The Electro-Voice RE-320 poses with our RE-20 and RE-27.

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It’s inevitable. The new Electro-Voice RE320 dynamic microphone will be compared to the RE20 and RE27 – both radio (and studio) legends.

As I opened the box, a very nice nylon-over-resin hard case was the first difference noted between the 20 and 27, which have a foam lined hard case. The new RE320 has a very nice looking matte black finish and greyish metal grille with the body of an RE20. The new 320 fits perfectly on the (optional) EV model 309A shock mount. The standard, included mount is identical to the RE20/27.

Plugging it in, I was struck by just how nice this microphone looks on the boom. As I potted up the fader, it became instantly apparent that the 320 has its own sound. I was intrigued by, what appeared to be, a notch switch on the body where a high-pass filter switch would normally be found. Turns out, the 320 has a ‘kick drum’ mode built in! Brilliant idea, since I never use the on-mic filters anyway. This switch drastically alters the character of sound. The 320 utilizes the same variable-D pattern found on the RE20 and 27, allowing us to wander off axis a bit without altering the frequency curve. As the rumor goes, the sound really is somewhere between an RE20 and the brighter (also pricier) RE27.

So, we now have a way to access those famous RE20 features at a great price. The Electro-Voice RE320 will be around for a long time, as it fills a void that only its maker could foresee. Have a listen and try one out!

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