Audix has built a strong reputation in the sound reinforcement community with its OM-5, OM-6 and OM-7 handheld vocal microphones. These mics are durable and sound great – a rare combination in microphone qualities. Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, Alanis Morissette, Pulp, Annie Lennox and Suede lead the long list of artists who use these microphones for live vocal applications.
I was excited to try the new CX-211 and see how well the Audix quality translates into the recording studio.
The CX-211 ($649) is a rugged, large-diaphragm, multipurpose condenser mic for studio, live or broadcast applications. The microphone is finished in the classic Audix black satin finish and is housed in brass with a steel mesh grille screen. It requires 48-52 V phantom power for operation. The microphone has a cardioid polar pattern and features a 1-inch gold vapor diaphragm.
The CX-211 is equipped with a switchable low-frequency rolloff and ö10 dB pad. The microphone has the ability to handle sound pressure levels greater than 145 dB, fairly impressive for a large diaphragm condenser.
The mic kit includes a mic stand adapter, external foam windscreen and a lunchbox-sized road case. Optional accessories include a two-channel phantom power supply unit (APS-2).
I used the CX-211 in a variety of circumstances and had good results. In most applications the mic sounds open and smooth on the top end and full and warm on the bottom.
My best results were on acoustic guitar and percussion. The microphone captured the sparkle of the instrument as well as the body and warmth. In addition to tambourine, shaker and congas, the mic worked well on high-hat and on the bottom of the snare drum (with the pad on). I would have liked a second CX-211 to use a pair to record drum overheads. This should be another good use of this microphone.
While recording electric guitars, I was unable to achieve good results using the CX-211 to close mic the guitar cabinet. I achieved some fantastic sounds using the microphone as more of an ambient mic (two feet to four feet from the speaker). Depending on the circumstance, this worked well as the sole guitar amp mic or mixed with the signal of a closer mic.
The mic beautifully captured the sound of the mandolin and dobro. In both cases the dynamics and depth of the sound had a three-dimensional feel. This was actually one of the first times I recall getting an adequate mandolin sound without using a tube mic.
Although I found vocals are not its strongest point, the microphone does a better than average job capturing their sonic portrait. On some vocals the microphone tended to lack body and occasionally sounded brittle or harsh. In other instances, however, it sounded great.
Another strong point of the CX-211 is the mic stand adapter. This flexible swivel mount allows the microphone to be quickly placed with minimum effort, even in the most awkward position. Having the microphone mounted to the adapter eliminates the chance of accidental drops as well.
The Audix CX-211 is a versatile, high quality utility mic that would make a fine addition to a major studio’s microphone collection or would work well as a second and third microphone for a project studio. Although it is a studio quality microphone, it is built to withstand the vigor of the road. Another consideration for live sound applications is that the design of this microphone provides for more ambient sound rejection than most condenser microphones in its class. This gives the CX-211 an edge over most of its competitors in the live sound arena.
Contact: Audix at 503-682-6933.