In collaboration with the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, one of the country’s leading pro audio teaching facilities, PAR has introduced a regular series of in-depth reviews conducted at the Conservatory’s state-of-the-art teaching facility in Phoenix.
The Audix SCX1-c ($599) is a small-capsule cardioid condenser instrument microphone, matched pairs of which may be special-ordered. There are three other polar patterns available, including the SCX1-hc hypercardioid and SCX1-o omni.
The cardioid capsule features a 40 Hz - 20 kHz frequency response, 150 ohm impedance and 130dB SPL handling. The SCX1-c operates on standard 48-52V phantom power, and the specifications list self-noise as “exceptionally low.” The microphone itself is actually heavier than I expected for its small size.
Studio and live
Cardioid capsule, phantom-powered, 40 Hz - 20 kHz frequency response, 130 dB SPL handling
Audix | 503-682-6933 | www.audixusa.comThe case in which the SCX1-c arrives matches the quality. The microphone comes in a wooden box, lined in foam, with spaces for two of the mics. The foam is glued well into place, and difficult to separate from the case. The case provides foam cutouts for a pair of microphones without any additional capsules. The case does not, however, have spaces for the alternate capsules. The latch on the case looks like it may not easily survive a few years of abuse, but fortunately, there are four small screws easily accessible, so I’m sure the latch could be easily replaced by anyone who knows how to work a Phillips-head screwdriver.
The microphone package includes a pop filter and clip with stand adapter; optional accessories include a -10dB attenuator and shockmount. The clip for the microphone seems to resemble the clips for other Audix mics, and at first I even thought the wrong clips had been sent. It is the “snap-in” style of clip, and I was initially afraid of breaking it by trying to snap the mic into place. But after going for it I have used and abused the clip without it breaking (and it even survived being placed in the hands of several Conservatory students, which is a feat).
I first used the SCX1-c for drum overheads. I set the two mics up in a spaced pair alongside an AKG C451B duo, my regular choice for overheads. The SCX1-c pair sounded very similar to the AKG. The low-frequency response of the SCX1-c attenuates a bit more quickly than the C451B, and the high end also rolls off at about 12-14 kHz, whereas the C451B has a bit of a boost in that range. The SCX1-c seemed to have a bit slower of a transient response than the AKG; perhaps the capsule is slightly heavier. I think I would definitely appreciate the slower response and thicker high-end with a drummer whose cymbals were a bit on the harsh side, as it seems it would calm them down somewhat.
Second OpinionSecond Opinions from CRAS:
“The Audix SCX1-c had a nice, solid attack on our rack tom, and rounded out the low end well. I would say it is a good substitute for standard tom mics like the MD421 and the e604.”
— Paul Richards, CRAS instructor
“The Audix mics sounded great and fit very well in our mix of drums, guitars and vocals. We compared them to the AKG C451B microphones, and we think they had more presence. The attack was very rounded, not at all harsh, and the low end had a nice, full body to it.”
— Bryce Meehan and Tom Strother, CRAS studentsI also tried the SCX1-c on hi-hat, where it worked wonderfully. I could definitely see the benefit experimenting with the -10 dB attenuator (not included with my review unit) for use with snare drum or toms. [According to the manufacturer, “the SCX1-hc is the bomb on hi-hat!” — Ed.]
On acoustic guitar, the SCX1-c was lovely. The roll off in the low end helped to eliminate some of the proximity effect, and the slight attenuation at the high end got rid of some of my “string-noise” problems with this guitarist.
I certainly enjoyed the Audix SCX1-c microphones. The SCX1-c is another great instrument microphone to add to your Audix favorites, such as the dynamic D2, D6 and i5 mics. Audix, however, may want to consider including the other three capsules and the -10 dB attenuator in a reasonably priced bundle, as there are many other similar-quality microphones in this range. Regardless, I do believe the SCX1-c should be considered by anyone looking to apply this type of mic in their studio or on stage.