JTS, a Taiwan-based manufacturer of microphones, has entered into a joint venture with SHS, a wholesaler to the MI market, to distribute its new line of handheld performance microphones. These mics are meant to fill the gap between low-cost and industry-standard professional models. I was sent three samples: the NX-7 Dynamic, the NX-8 Dynamic and the NX-8.8 Electret Condenser.
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, public address
Key Features: NX-7 and NX-8 have neodymium-powered capsules, cardioid polar patterns and frequency ranges from 50 Hz to 16.5 kHz; NX-8.8 cardioid condenser has a claimed frequency response of 60Hz to 20 kHz, FSM (Floating Shock Mount) system
Price: NX-7 and NX-8, $139 NX-8.8, $149
Contact: SHS Audio at 800-475-7686; Web Site
The NX-7 and NX-8 are powered by neodymium magnets and have cardioid polar patterns with a frequency range from 50 Hz to 16.5 kHz acording to the manufacturer The NX-8.8 cardioid condenser has a frequency response of 60 Hz to 20 kHz. All mics in the series are low impedance, have XLR connectors and feature enamel powder-coated die-cast handles with steel grilles. Each also includes a leatherette carrying case.
At first glance, the NX series looks strikingly similar to the Shure Beta SM family of microphones; they even have a blue tinted handle and a blue rubber ring around the windscreen seam. But I was impressed with the fit and finish – very solidly built with an impact-resistant grille and weighty feel. Not just another Shure wannabe. Removing the screen on the NX-7 revealed the capsule mounted on a thick rubber shockmount (called by JTS the “FSM” or Floating Shock-Mount), which could minimize handling noise.
I decided to try the JTS microphones in a few typical sound reinforcement situations. At a practice facility frequented by your above-average rock ‘n rollers, I plugged the NX-8 ball mic into the channel of a Yorkville powered mixer that typically utilizes a Shure Beta SM 58.
The mic exhibited some similar characteristics as the 58: smooth low-frequency response with a pronounced hi-mid “bump” that provides the punch that vocalists prefer. However, the output was not as hot as the Beta 58, and the highs did not have the same sparkle. I experienced a curious, intermittent static shock from the mic. Several cable substitutions while switching channels and disabling global phantom power did not deter this.
Since the NX-7 mic was designed for instrument as well as voice applications, I tried it with a variety of signal sources. The NX-7 seemed to have a more linear response in the midrange, and a brighter top end. This mic sounded good on a blackface Fender Twin, with minimal EQ. But high SPLs produced by whacking a chrome Ludwig snare at close proximity tended to overpower the mic and bring out its “wooly” side.
I liked the NX-8.8 condenser the best; it reproduced acoustic guitars and specialized percussion instruments like chimes, cymbals and woodblocks fairly well compared to many mics in its price range. I gave all the units above average marks for handling noise.
Despite a few limitations, the JTS NX Series microphones perform well in view of their price range and target market. An attractive, durable build, decent performance and a 10 year limited warranty will find an audience in the budget-minded MI and performance audio sector.