Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

EV RE320

The ElectroVoice RE20 has been from it’s introduction a favorite of broadcasters and announcers. Somewhere along the line, someone stuck it in front of a bass cabinet and discovered it rocks as a bass mic. Then someone else put it in a kick drum and found it works wonders there, too. In fact, the RE20 is great on a lot of things. And while it’s not super-expensive (at least by premium microphone standards), at $400-ish, it’s not a budget mic either.

EV realized there was a market for a more cost-conscious version of the RE20. In January, 2011 at NAMM in Anaheim, they introduced the RE320. List price is $299, and you can find it on the street easily in the low $200’s. When I saw it at NAMM, I knew I had to try it. I’ve used the RE20 in the past, and always liked it. But I have a hard time justifying the price tag when I have so many other things that need attention.

The week before Easter, a box arrived; it was my demo RE320. We were re-setting the stage anyway, so I pulled the PR-48 out of the kick and stuck the RE320 in. I think it was the second or third kick during line check that I knew this mic was not going back.

I’ve tried a lot of different mics in the kick, and have only really ever been happy with one; the Heil PR-40. I’d love a PR-40, but at almost $400, it’s a tough sell. The PR-48 was OK, but I never felt we could get it positioned to give us both the punch and the clarity I wanted from the kick. We could get one or the other, but not both.

When I arrived at Coast, we had the “classic” combination of a Beta 91 inside and a Beta 52 in the hole. I know a lot of guys who like the dual mic technique in the kick, and I respect that. My preference however, is to use one. There are a lot of reasons for that which I won’t detail here. But know that it’s preference thing and I don’t think dual mic’ing is wrong. I’d just rather not.

So I’m always looking for a single mic that can give me what I want (and costs less than a PR-40 or RE20). At long last, I’ve found it. The RE320 sounds really, really good. It’s tight, punchy, has good articulation and gives me the low end oomph that I’ve been after; all without sounding muddy.

The RE320 is a “dual voice design” (EV’s words), meaning there is a switch that tailors the response to either work well on a kick drum, or for announcing. I’ve not had occasion to use it for voice-overs, but if it performs that task anywhere near as well as it does on the kick, it will be a winner.

The RE320 is a long, heavy mic. It requires a good stand to stay in place, and may take some tweaking to get it in the right spot. We have ours way inside the kick, about 3-4″ away from the beater head, slightly off-axis and pointed at the beater. That gives us the best sound in both the PA and the ears for the musicians. My friend Van just demo’d one (that is not going back either) and he has it about 3-4″ inside the front hole. Of course, your mileage may vary.

At right around $200, it was a no-brainer for me, especially since I essentially got two mics for the price of one. That’s right, don’t think that PR-48 was relegated to the bench. When I spoke with Bob Heil some time back, he told me the killer mic combination for the B3 is two PR-30s on top and a PR-48 on the bottom. I’ve yet to acquire the PR-30s, but the PR-48 is in fact, killer.

So now that I’ve saved $200 on my new kick mic, I have enough to buy one of the two needed PR-30s. So it’s really a win-win. If you’re in the market for a kick mic, I think you should definitely give the RE-320 a try. It’s head and shoulders above what we ever got out of the Beta 91/52 package; at least that’s our experience. 

Today’s post is brought to you buy Heil Sound. Established in 1966, Heil Sound Ltd. has developed many professional audio innovations over the years, and is currently a world leader in the design and manufacture of large diaphragm dynamic, professional grade microphones for live sound, broadcast and recording.

8 Comments

  1. jkelley@midcov.org

    I'm curious about this type of microphone. An EV RE27ND was donated to our church (I don't know anything about when or for what purpose). What I read is that it's a great announce/broadcast mic, as the RE320 is, but I can't really find any other uses for it.

    Has anyone else used an RE27, and what for?

  2. jkelley@midcov.org

    I'm curious about this type of microphone. An EV RE27ND was donated to our church (I don't know anything about when or for what purpose). What I read is that it's a great announce/broadcast mic, as the RE320 is, but I can't really find any other uses for it.

    Has anyone else used an RE27, and what for?

  3. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Joshua,
    The RE27ND is very similar to the RE20, but with a bit more output due to the Neodymium magnets. I'd give it a shot on a bass cabinet, kick drum, or even percussion. I'm betting it would sound killer on the kick.

    mike

  4. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Joshua,
    The RE27ND is very similar to the RE20, but with a bit more output due to the Neodymium magnets. I'd give it a shot on a bass cabinet, kick drum, or even percussion. I'm betting it would sound killer on the kick.

    mike

  5. phil@philrowley.net

    Mike: We have the PR-30s. We use them on our choir and they sound really good. I think it has a more smooth, mellow sound than the SM81s we were using.

  6. phil@philrowley.net

    Mike: We have the PR-30s. We use them on our choir and they sound really good. I think it has a more smooth, mellow sound than the SM81s we were using.

  7. native.stormrider@gmail.com

    You state "I'd love a PR-40, but at almost $400, it's a tough sell."

    I'm not sure where you've been pricing the Heil PR40, but they've always retailed at $325 or less directly through Heil Sound, and can easily be found under the $300 mark with some nationally known pro-audio distributors such as B&H.

    I agree though, the RE320 sounds really tight and full on kick, still making it a better value than the PR40. The RE320 is also less critical to placement, due to its unique continuous variable-D design, making it a no-brainer over the PR40's more finicky hyper-cardioid polar pattern.

  8. native.stormrider@gmail.com

    You state "I'd love a PR-40, but at almost $400, it's a tough sell."

    I'm not sure where you've been pricing the Heil PR40, but they've always retailed at $325 or less directly through Heil Sound, and can easily be found under the $300 mark with some nationally known pro-audio distributors such as B&H.

    I agree though, the RE320 sounds really tight and full on kick, still making it a better value than the PR40. The RE320 is also less critical to placement, due to its unique continuous variable-D design, making it a no-brainer over the PR40's more finicky hyper-cardioid polar pattern.

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