Words by Rob Gee
Sound And Music | RRP: $449.99
It’s no secret that I am a fan of sE Electronics microphones. For many years now they have continually delivered a range of microphones that represent value, quality, and diversity. From $130 to well over $6,000, sE Electronics has a solution for whatever your chosen application is. Plus, they offer a number of specialty options that have neat little design elements to help them stand out in a field that is full of options. So, I was intrigued to finally get a look at one of the few mics in their line-up that I’ve not used before, and one that is sure to meet the demands of an ever-growing market. With that, let me introduce you to the sE Electronics DynaCaster, the dynamic microphone with a phantom powered boost.
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So, what is this all about. It’s a dynamic microphone, but it takes phantom power. Yes, you read that correctly. Like many studio microphones, this guy has a built-in boost, but the DynaCaster leaves them all wanting with the amount of additional gain on offer. With that, you can engage a ridiculous 30dB of clear, transparent gain to your signal straight out of the microphone’s housing. This opens up the possibilities for the capsule in a far wider range of instances and makes it especially ideal for podcasting operations where external hardware is not often a luxury that space or budget caters for. So, let’s look at what this can do in your setup.
To start with, let’s address that 30dB of gain that I am sure has caught your attention. Hitting the boost switch, while phantom power is engaged lifts the gain on this microphone well beyond expectations. At standard gain levels, this is a brilliant microphone for a range of instrumental applications, especially in loud environments, like live group recordings. It’ll sit in front of a guitar amp and handle the SPL with ease, while not capturing much else of what is going on in the room. It’ll happily capture the snap of a snare drum with startling results and even delivers a well-rounded sound for acoustic guitars, where typically a condenser microphone is used. That said, you still get a lively top end clarity, but a more controlled string noise that doesn’t get in the way of the music.
When you’re wanting to record vocals, especially spoken word for podcasts or similar applications, you want the volume to come up to balance out the source signal. And let’s face it, turning the channel volume up in the recording doesn’t just lift the sound, but rather brings up all the noise in the room too. That’s where the gain boost puts this microphone far ahead of your standard dynamic microphone. Built into the internal preamp is a number of EQ settings that adjust your voice from right after it passes through the capsule. So, you’re already getting a well-rounded sound before you get the signal to tape, meaning less need for external processors. What results is a rich, full sound that hits your recording fairly hot to keep background noise to a minimum.
Built like a tank, the DynaCaster sits in a metal housing with the microphone clip integrated into the build. This sits alongside the XLR output, on a swivel mounted joint that allows you to place the microphone at a great range of angle from the end of your microphone stand. If you’re recording multiple microphones around a table for your podcasts, or using it for live streams, and want the microphone out of the way, you can easily place it to the side and position it for the angle needed. Being an end-fire microphone, this means you don’t have to sit behind the capsule and be hidden from the camera’s view.
Better still for keeping the overall bulk of the microphone down when used on camera, the internal pop filter system means you don’t have to engage bulky suspension mounts and pop filters to get great results with the DynaCaster. Inside the housing is a three-layer pop filter system design to take care of unwanted sibilance and low frequency booming. This is integrated with the suspension mount for the capsule itself to keep further low-end rumble out caused from vibrations in the microphone stand. And, in a move that is very important with today’s needs, sE Electronics have created these pop filter elements in such a manner than allows them to be removed from the housing to be cleaned or replaced easily. After all, there is nothing like having a clean microphone to work with when it is being operated in a studio that sees a heavy turnover of users. Well played.
In all, this is a microphone that ticks most of the boxes. It works well on a range of instruments and is capable of working with high SPL signals. Plus, it stands up front and centre when low SPLs are on offer with its kick-in-the-butt gain boost that will take even the smallest voice and make it sound large. You’re not going to have to sell an organ to fit one of these microphones out in your setup and you don’t need to buy a load of peripherals in order to get it working. This is not just a microphone for the recording studio, it’s a great fit for podcasting, livestreaming and gaming applications too. The DynaCaster is a plug and play microphone that brings your sound to life even before you get it into your recording.