(click thumbnail)Fast FactsApplications: Studio, broadcast, live sound
Key Features: Cardioid pattern; lollipop-style 25mm capsule; built-in suspension
Price: $799; matched pair - $1,729; piano miking system - $1,829
Contact: Audix at 503-682-6933, www.audixusa.com. Pro Audio Review (1/02) reviewed the chic, lollipop-shaped SCX25 when it was introduced several years ago. The mic has been upgraded with modifications to the capsule interface. It is still a large diaphragm condenser microphone that includes a patented capsule suspension system that acts as a built in shockmount. In addition to being sold individually, the mic is now being shipped as a stereo pair which includes an aluminum carrying case and special Audix Dflex piano mounts. The mic sounds smooth and natural and is perfectly suited to record vocals, percussion, stringed instruments and of course, piano.
The six-ounce SCX25-A is a transducer-type condenser microphone. The microphone has a fixed cardioid polar pattern with a 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response and an output impedance of 200 ohms. The mic's sensitivity is 27 mV (ref 1k @ 1 Pascal), its equivalent noise level is 14 dB (A-weighted) and its signal to noise ratio is 80 dB (ref 1 kHz @ 1 Pascal). The mic has a maximum SPL of 135 dB with a 121 dB dynamic range. By making use of miniaturized low noise components, Audix has been able to fit the preamp circuitry for the SCX25-A into a four-inch brass housing. This has resulted in the SCX25-A having the smallest footprint of any large diaphragm microphone ever thus making it extremely easy to place when working in tight spaces (e.g. the bottom of the snare drum). The mic's output is via a gold plated male XLR connector that is wired pin-2 hot and the mic operates on 48V - 52V phantom power. The mic has an internal capsule suspension mounting system which eliminates the need for expensive shockmounts in most situations. The mic is warranted for a period of one year from any and all manufacturing defects.
I've been using a pair of SX25-As for several months now and I've been impressed with their performance and flexibility. The mic reproduces vocals and acoustic instruments with exceptional detail and realism.
Of course I was most excited to put the mics to work on piano. While tracking at Nashville's House of David studio (www.houseofdavidstudio.com) I used the mics to capture session ace Jeffery Roach play David Briggs' 9.5-foot Baldwin grand piano (one of the finest pianos I've ever heard). I was blown away by the sound of the SCX25-As. I placed one mic mid-way over the upper register towards the keyboard and the other mid-way over the lower register towards the rear of the strings. When I've recorded this piano in the past I've always used a pair of Neumann U87s and was shocked to discover that a pair of SCX25-As sounded every bit as good. In my opinion the mics work so well for piano that it would be worth it to purchase them only for recording piano. Audix's optional D-flex mic clip makes it easy to mic the piano and still close the lid. The D-flex mic clip attaches to the dividing bars of the piano and can be placed in a wide variety of positions allowing the piano lid to be completely closed if necessary.
While tracking St. Louis-based rock band Ludo, I used the SCX25-As as drum kit overheads and again was pleased as pudding. The mics have a pleasant top end sparkle without any of the harsh, brittle characteristics frequently common with lower priced condenser microphones. I also had good results using the mics to record tambourine, shaker and congas.
I found the SCX25-A to be a nice vocal microphone with an acute accuracy and detail especially in the upper mids and higher frequencies. The mic has very little proximity effect so placing the vocalist anywhere within 24 inches of the mic works fine.
I also had good results using the microphone to record acoustic guitar on several occasions. In most instances the best sound was attained about 9 inches away from the guitar and about four inches - six inches above the sound hole with the mic placed between the end of the fret board and the sound hole. I also found that the microphone works well with the violin.
I used the mic with a wide variety of preamps including the A-Designs Pacifica, the Pendulum Quartet II, the Hardy M-1 and the Langevin Dual Vocal Combo and in every instance was pleased with the results that it provided.
The SCX25-A is an extremely flexible large diaphragm microphone perfectly suited to record practically any vocal or instrument. It has a smooth and natural sound and it sounds absolutely fantastic making it possibly the best performing microphone in regards to price that I've encountered.
Apple Macintosh 2 GHz dual processor G5 w/2 GB RAM; Digidesign Pro Tools 7.1; Lucid Gen-X-96 clock; PMC AML-1 monitors; A-Designs Pacifica, Pendulum Audio Quartet II, John Hardy M-1, Langevin Dual Vocal Combo preamps and processors.