As an engineer and a teacher, I’m always thrilled when asked to check out new gear, especially microphones. CAD’s (Conneaut Audio Devices’) E350, the latest entry in the world of multipurpose, large-diaphragm, studio condenser microphones, was a recent test subject. Before I delve into all of its technical features, pros and cons, allow me to be shallow here for just a moment and say that the E350 is one of the coolest-looking microphones around. Okay, enough of that. Now for the tech stuff.
Product PointsApplications: Studio recording
Key Features: Large diaphragm; variable pattern; 2 m -1 G shockmount
Price: $899 list ($599 street).
Contact: CAD at 800-762-9266
The E-350, is a large (1.1″) diaphragm multipattern (omni, cardioid and figure eight) side-address microphone designed for professional recording and broadcast applications. It uses the Optema Series OS-110 gold-sputtered, dual-diaphragm condenser capsule. It has SPL capabilities of up to 148 dB (with a 20 dB pad), a low-end rolloff below 80 Hz and a frequency response of 10 Hz to 20 kHz.
The E350 I received shipped with the ZM-1G shockmount. I used this mic in a variety of recording situations and took advantage of all three polar patterns when relevant.
My first application was on a drum set in an overhead position. I placed the mic approximately 10′ above the kit, centered over the snare and the toms. In all three patterns, the microphone had a nice, accurate feel to the low-frequency range, natural in the midrange, and somewhat bright on the cymbals in the high ranges. There was a noticeable addition at about 10 kHz. (The factory TEF analysis showed an increase of 6 dB at 10 kHz.)
Using the E350 outside the kick drum in cardioid, it produced a big, pleasing effect in the low end with an efficient snap to the mids. With the pad on, the microphone handled the SPLs without any noticeable distortion.
For the grand piano, my second application, I placed the mic at distances between 1′ and 4′ above the hammers. In the piano, I preferred the microphone in omni and figure eight modes. It had a pleasant open feel, giving the piano a natural balance across the spectrum. I especially liked the E-350’s bottom-end performance on the piano.
For the third test, on acoustic guitar (a 1958 Martin 00-18), I set the microphone about 8″ away from the guitar, placed at the neck/body joint. The E350 performed remarkably well for a large capsule microphone. In cardioid position, the 10 kHz addition gave my occasionally boxy sounding guitar a nice shimmer in the mid- and high-frequency ranges. With the 80 Hz rolloff applied, the E350 handled the proximity effect when the mic was placed closer to the soundhole.
On vocals I placed the mic about 6″ away from the singer, in cardioid pattern. The mic performed well across the low- and mid-frequency range but tended to enhance the sibilance in the upper spectrum.
From kick drums to vocals, I found the E350 to be a truly versatile microphone. At $899 list ($599 street), it is a good value. CAD has a winner.
Special thanks to Scott Nowak, Joe Morris and Chris Gough for their assistance in evaluating this microphone.