Electrovoice MC100 and MC150 Dynamic Microphones
Electrovoice have a fine reputation, not least for their professional dynamic microphones, but this new range represents their first foray into the low-budget market. I must confess that I'm a little unsure as to the reason for building both the MC100 and MC150, as they appear to be identical apart from the protective basket, which is a traditional spherical shape on the MC100 and more flat-topped on the MC150. The bodies and capsules are identical, and when tested in the studio, the subjective sound is indistinguishable.
Unidirectional or cardioid in pattern, the mics are balanced, low-impedance models, primarily intended for vocal use, and featuring low-profile slide on/off switches in-the handle. Unusually for a low-cost mic, in addition to a zip-up carrying pouch and a mic clip, a standard XLR to XLR lead is provided, but those wishing to use the mics with a low-impedance, unbalanced jack input, such as on some Portastudios, will need to use an XLR to mono jack adaptor or buy a new lead.
The matt black mic bodies are cast alloy and are fairly heavy, with the kind of finish normally associated with much more expensive microphones; indeed, the whole standard of presentation and finish is first class. Unscrewing the black basket reveals the capsule, which is shock mounted in a substantial rubber-like sleeve. The output from the capsule goes via the switch to the output XLR socket; there is no transformer.
Checking out the published frequency plots for these mics confirms their virtually identical performance, any slight differences being attributable to the acoustic effects of the different basket shapes. Being tailored for vocal use, the mics have a gentle low frequency roll-off below 200Hz, though using the mic very close to the lips does cause a significant bass boost at around 150Hz, which can be useful in live performance. To aid clarity, there is a deliberate presence peak, which takes the form of 4-5dB of boost centred around 5kHz, while the high-frequency response starts to fall off above 10kHz and is some 10dB down by 15kHz.
For the non-technical, this simply means that the mic should have good clarity of diction, but won't have that bright sparkle associated with high-priced studio mics. This was borne out exactly in my practical tests, which showed the mics to have a confident, even sound with no unpleasant coloration. Placed side by side with a well-known and rather more costly dynamic vocal mic, the main difference was a slight lack of crispness in the sound. Even the sensitivity was pretty much the same.
The bottom line is that these are unbelievably good microphones for the price, and though the high-frequency response has been compromised to keep the cost down, this isn't serious, and may even be of benefit to those with sibilant or edgy voices. The main thing is that the overall tone is smooth and convincing, which should bode well for both stage and studio use. Go out and buy a couple before they realise they've put the wrong prices on them!
MC100 £39.50; MC150 £49.50. Prices include VAT.
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Review by Paul White
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