In the crowded world of professional microphones, Audix has punched through the masses with good performing, well-priced products. The live OM-5 dynamic, the SCX-1 instrument microphone, the CX111 condenser studio microphone and the handheld VX-10 condenser microphone come to mind.
Product PointsApplication: Studio
Key Features: 25mm cardioid capsule with special brass ring suspension to improve mic performance, small size, 20 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response
Contact: Audix at 503-682-6933 www,audixusa.com
+ Natural sounding with smooth presence
+ Unique construction and looks
– Needs a better manual (Audix says a full manual is forthcoming)
– Though “unbreakable,” the mic clip seems flimsy
The Score: The conveniently-sized, lollipop-shaped Audix SCX-25 is a top-quality instrument microphone at a competitive price.
With the SCX-25 condenser ($799), Audix has come up with another quality microphone that is likely to do well in the pro audio marketplace. This made-in-the-U.S.A. (Audix manufactures here and abroad), unique lollipop-shaped microphone is designed for recording acoustic guitar, bells, percussion, choral groups, piano and other sounds with strong transients.
According to Audix, the 25 -mm cardioid capsule is uniquely shockmounted within a brass ring that isolates the element from the body. The intended result is a more open sonic reproduction of the sound source.
Audix also claims that the SCX-25 is the smallest dimension, large diaphragm microphone on the market – housed in a body less than 4 inches long.
Listed specifications include a 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response (no tolerance listed), 200 ohm output impedance, 14 dB equivalent noise level, 138 dB maximum SPL, 124 dB dynamic range and 29 mV sensitivity. Phantom power operation ranges from 48 to 52 volts.
Other features include a plastic mount and nice wooden carrying case. The included manual is a one-side, spec sheet.
I tried out the microphones on acoustic guitar in mono and in stereo. In stereo, I set them up on a stereo stand in a typical X-Y pattern: one pointing towards the sound hole, the other up the neck at about the 13th fret. The microphones were connected to my trusty Night Pro PreQ3 microphone preamp via Alpha-Core solid silver mic cables with Neutrik connectors.
The pre was connected to an Alesis Masterlink and recorded at 24-bit resolution, 88.2 kHz sampling rate. Playback monitoring included Grado HR 325 headphones, Tannoy Reveal and Legacy Studio speakers. The amplifier was a Pass X-150.
Although $799 is not considered a lot of money for a condenser microphone, recordings of the Audix SCX-25 revealed a definite high-end sound. On my ’73 Martin D-35 Martin, a guitar with a brighter-than-normal Martin top end, the Audix’s imparted a touch of high end sheen that made its recording sound very natural. The perceived presence was very pleasing to the ear. It was not a harsh high-mid/low treble enhancement, but a smooth kind of presence that added warmth and shimmer to the guitar. On a HD28V Martin acoustic, which often is dark sounding when recorded with other microphones, the SCX-25 gave the sound a nice sounding sheen that made the guitar more recordable.
The SCX-25 also was used for a piano recording. Andy Roberts, a PAR live sound and studio writer, went live-to-stereo DAT with the stereo pair. He recorded a Steinway grand piano and noted that the mic “was very natural sounding with smooth presence.” He also said that it picked up the sound of the room nicely.
On vocals, the Audix performed well with a presence that engineers should like. Audix recommends the microphone for vocal and choral groups. But the presence sheen may not complement all voices, and the SCX-25 does not have a lot of proximity effect for those who go for the big, up close sound.
To get an idea of the mic’s SPL handling capacity, I put an SCX-25 in front of a Carvin tube guitar amplifier and 4×12-inch Celestion cabinet and chunked out a few loud power chords. The MasterLink playback of that recording revealed that the SCX-25 never flinched – even at three inches from the cabinet.
Since, in my opinion, the mic pretty much delivers as claimed, my quibbles are few. The simple, plain-Jane plastic mic mount is functional, but it feels flimsy. Luckily, the microphone is small. I also would like to see a comprehensive manual for this mic instead of a simple spec sheet; placement tips for using this unique mic on different instruments would be a plus.
(Editor’s note: Audix says a new mic clip and full manual will be available soon.
The Audix SCX-25 is a uniquely constructed, excellent sounding condenser microphone that is optimized for instruments with a lot of high-end energy. With its ability to withstand high SPL and its small size, I can foresee a lot of applications in studios and live recording. Plus, it looks so cool that your clients are sure to be impressed.
Night Pro PreQ3 microphone preamp, Alesis MasterLink 24-bit recorder, Alpha-Core solid silver interconnects, Legacy high current preamp, Pass X-150 amplifier, Legacy Studio and Tannoy Reveal speakers.