The PL80a ($165 list) — Electro-Voice’s latest version of its standard “workhorse” dynamic microphone, the PL80 — is one of those refreshing products that just makes life simpler, whether working with live audio or recording. Designed specifically for vocal applications, the PL80a is overbuilt to handle the gamut of applications where you would use a handheld supercardioid: from rough-and-tumble bar gigs to the largest, best funded touring stages in the world.
The PL80a is aesthetically subdued — featuring a textured black steel body with gray grille made of E-V’s trademarked Memraflex steel mesh — and aurally sculpted to create a particularly “finished” signal at first transduction. Its tight pattern makes stage or studio placement quicker and easier, and its notexactly-flat frequency response — 80 Hz to 16 kHz with a bumpy “ridge line” boosting up to 5 dB between 2 and 12 kHz — provides handsome character. This, plus the PL80a’s pronounced proximity effect (approximately +10 dB from 100 to 250 Hz), wonderfully colors most all vocal types, many drum types, and works very well on loud, close-miked guitar cabinets, too. The PL80a comes with a flexible mic clip in a zippered, padded vinyl pouch.
Most notably, I used the PL80a for live vocals on Randy Furches, a smokyvoiced, constantly moving singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist. Performing solo in a typical, reverberant downtown room with high ceilings and wood floors, Randy’s voice was aided by the PL80a’s colorations, brawny proximity effect, and well designed shock mounting; his propensity to stomp his boots did not affect the vocal (as it did the mic on guitar, another make/model of dynamic that unfortunately did not feature a suspended capsule like the PL80a).
Common in this type of room, we had to carve up the mids via graphic EQ for both monitors and main mix, leaving the overall sound dull in order to meet level requirements at the back of the room, yet avoid feedback issues on stage. Thankfully, the PL80a added detail, intimacy and a polite “edge” back to the vocal in direct comparison to some other industry-standard dynamics we tried. Upon plugging it in, Randy’s face lit up with a smile, and the set went off without a hitch.
In summary, the PL80a is a pleasure to use and, for what it is and can do, a bargain at $99 street.
Contact: Electro-Voice | 952-884-4051 | electrovoice.com