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Ramsa Microphones - the WM Range

Models WM-V001, WM-V002 and WM-003 put to the test.


Ramsa are a relatively new name in microphones but their WM range looks to offer good value for money.


Ramsa are a subsidiary of National Panasonic: a company well established in the field of consumer electronics. Their WM microphone range consists of three models: the WM-V001, the WM-V002 and the WM-V003. All are dynamic mics with cardioid directional characteristics primarily intended for vocal use, but there are slight differences in the frequency and directional characteristics of each model.

Constructionally the microphones are very solid and are at first glance similar to the Shure PE range in terms of weight, shape and finish. All the microphones utilise a 24mm diameter diaphragm which is coated with epoxy resin to increase its stiffness and consequentially reduce distortion due to break up modes, a phenomenon where different parts of the diaphragm vibrate in different ways. The thickness of the diaphragm is only 16 microns (a micron is one hundredth of a millimetre) and it has a specially shaped surround to further reduce distortion. The connection to the microphone handle is by XLR plug wired for balanced operation.

Vocal mics are normally susceptible to handling noise to some extent and this range is no exception, but in this case the problem has been minimised by incorporating a well thought out floating suspension system to decouple the capsule from body vibrations.

Each microphone comes complete with its own plastic carrying case and a stand mountable clip is provided as standard.

WM-V001



This is the top of the WM range and looks somewhat like a Shure SM58 even down to the spherical wind shield. In common with most vocal mics, this one does not have a flat frequency response but emphasises frequencies between 4kHz and 8kHz by up to 5dB to give greater presence, thereby helping clarity of diction. Furthermore, there's a slight lower mid boost between 150Hz and 500Hz which increases with proximity to the microphone. When the singer is very close to the mic, there is around 12dB of boost at 150Hz. The bass response is deliberately rolled off below 100Hz to prevent boominess and whilst this aids a clean vocal sound, it does mean that the mic is unsuitable for miking bass instruments.



"Although this is strictly speaking a cardioid microphone in terms of its directional performance, the pattern tightens up even further in the mid and high frequency ranges so that it might be considered almost hypercardioid."


Although this is strictly speaking a cardioid mic in terms of its directional performance, the pattern tightens up even further in the mid and high frequency ranges so that it could be considered as almost hypercardioid, which can help to suppress feedback in live situations.

In practice this mic gave a full-bodied vocal sound with good intelligeability and reasonably low handling noise though without the transparency of sound offered by a more expensive dynamic mic such as the Shure SM58 which it so closely resembles. The windshield performance was adequate and it also performed well as a general purpose instrument mic, though slight EQ changes may be necessary to compensate for the tailored response. It handled electric guitar with ease. Drums were also reasonably successful, with the exception of the bass drum for which the mic didn't really have enough bottom end response. This was also true when trying to record bass guitar though if the currently fashionable bright finger popping style is what you are after, then you might easily get away with it.

The usable response of this mic is quoted as being from 50Hz to 15kHz, though these figures correspond to the 10dB points or thereabouts.

The mic is low impedance normally supplied as 250, but there are two leads within the microphone body which may be reconfigured to give 150 or 100 ohms if required.



"These microphones offer a reasonable performance given their attractive price and will appeal to home studio users because of their versatility."


WM-V002



Distinguished from the WM-V001 by virtue of the shape of the windshield, the sensitivity and frequency response of this model is very similar to that of the WM-V001 and there are only minor differences in the off-axis polar response and the shape of the frequency response curve.

The mic is low impedance, normally supplied as 600 ohms, but there are two leads within the microphone body which may be reconfigured to give 150 or 100 ohms if required.

Again the performance with vocals was well up to scratch for the price but the limited low frequency response makes it unsuitable for bass guitars or bass drums. The WM-V002 then is a respectable vocal mic that can double up as a general purpose instrument mic.


WM-V003



Lastly in the range comes the WM-V003 which has a slightly more prominent proximity peak at 150Hz and a broader presence region from around 3kHz to 7kHz. A switch is also fitted. Its close-up performance is similar to the other two mics in the range but at low signal levels from more distant sources, the response exhibits some fairly serious dips at 140Hz and 2.5kHz. This mic is therefore more suitable for vocals, toms and close miking of instrument cabinets than for distance work. Like the other mics, the handling noise was reasonably low and the windshield was as efficient as such things ever are. If you have a really bad popping problem with a particular vocalist, you can always stretch a stocking over a wire coathanger and place that between the mic and the vocalist (though do make sure that the stockings are not still occupied).



"In comparison with many other makes they work out slightly cheaper for the same quality and they look as though they will stand up to a few knocks."


Conclusions



These microphones offer a reasonable performance given their attractive price and will appeal to home studio users because of their versatility. The upper frequency limit of 15kHz means that they don't compare favourably with a good condenser mic at the HF end and so are less than ideal for miking up cymbals or snare drums. Conversely their tailored bottom end response which aids their vocal performance means that they are unsuitable for miking bass instruments but they can handle toms, electric guitars and other middly sound sources quite competently.

Though the three mics look very similar on paper, they all sound subtly different and it would be hard to say which one is best. In practice, different vocalists sound better with different mics so it's really a matter of picking the one that best suits your voice.

In comparison with many other makes they work out slightly cheaper for the same quality and they look as though they will stand up to a few knocks without causing trouble. These aren't the best sounding dynamic mics that I have ever used but they are definitely worth putting on the short list if you're looking for a decent dynamic vocal/general purpose mic that isn't going to cost the earth.

Prices are as follows; WM-003 - £55.99, WM-002 - £99.99 and WM-001 - £119.99. All prices include VAT.

Further details are available from Panasonic UK, (Contact Details).



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Home & Studio Recording - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

 

Home & Studio Recording - May 1986

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Review by Paul White

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