sE Electronics RN17 Stereo Pair by dsykut
I'm a veteran engineer and producer in my metro area, having cut my teeth under the guidance of a radio producer who very much believed in the tonemeister school of production....or more simply, get it right with the microphones. I currently work for a prominent local studio (Soundscape Studios is Pittsburgh's Premiere Recording Facility - Hear The Difference) as well as doing location recording, specializing in jazz and classical music. Additionally, I spent 10 years in MI retail specializing in recording and live sound products.
I recently began a search for a matched pair of small diaphragm condenser microphones. While my sonic tastes tend towards high end products- i've long been a fan of MG, Shoeppes, etc- they weren't in the budget. The biggest qualifier was the mics had to match well with my Grace M201 Pre....aka, no OEM or poor quality mics clouding things up in front of my lovely and pristine preamp/converter.
Since taking delivery of the RN17SP's, I've been nothing but thrilled with their performance. I've now had the opportunity to log hours on multiple sources and applications: overheads on drums, classical chamber music, orchestral and choral live performances, solo acoustic instruments.
The build quality is what I'd come to expect from SE....on par with much more expensive brands in fit and finish, down to the attractive aluminium flight case, wooden storage case etc.
What has been surprising is the versatility and musicality of the mics. I've used them both in their intended matched pair in multiple styles of array, and also as part of MS set-ups. They flatter pretty much all sound sources, but not artificially. My SE distributor spent a lot of time talking to me about the high frequency response of these mics, and I have to admit they delivered. The high frequency response is deceptive, in that you don't feel like you're getting as much as you actually are....hard to describe without being esoteric, but put a good set of meters on it and you'll see what I mean. It's present, easy to mix, and never harsh even on challenging sources.
Focusing on jazz, an overhead mic absolutely must capture the intricacies of fine cymbal work....lots of detail, the tail end of the waves, and be able to provide a quality stereo image. These deliver.
Having been spoiled with the $3k up crowd of sm. diaphragms...was curious to see how defined the stereo localization would be in recording chamber ensembles....quartets, quintets, and a recent baroque chorale concert demonstrated their worth.
These mics are an outstanding bang for the buck, and I'm currently budgeting to take on more from the product line, specifically the RN1. I'm still waiting for the release of the capsule kits the rep told me about. I'm a huge fan of MS and coincident figure-of-8 patterns in stereo recording, and the units ship only with a cardioid capsule. I fully expect my appreciation for the units to increase once I can get these.