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sE Electronics Z3300a
4.25 4.25 out of 5, based on 1 Review

Brilliantly priced mic with excellent features and a great sound!

9th December 2011

sE Electronics Z3300a by DanBrokenfor

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
sE Electronics Z3300a

Recently bought this mic when I saw them going cheap due to clearance, I was on the look out for a £200-£300 condenser for use with vocals, amps, overheads and acoustic. The other option was the Blue Bluebird, so glad I went with the sE! Ended up paying £150....

This is my first proper nice LDC, so I won't claim to know what else it compares to and so on. However, I can say that for everything I have used it for so far it has done superbly. This includes drum overhead, male vocals and guitar amp micing.

The features on this mic are very useful, multiple polar patterns, low cut and a dB pad. All of the polar patterns have there uses and sound similar but unique as well. I have mainly used it in the standard cardioid pattern as I found it suited what I was recording.

While drum recording I used this as an overhead, quite high above the kit on the left hand side in conjunction with a cheapo pencil overhead on the right (it will not be featuring very much on the final mixes...). I had no pads on and left it in the cardioid position. The sound clarity listening back to the mixes of it is brilliant, smooth but also aggressive when wanting that hard rock crash ride sound. If only I had had two of these.....

I have also used it in conjunction with an SM57 on an electric guitar amp. Fender American Deluxe Tele into an array of effects into a Fender Deluxe Reverb. A blend of both of these mics has made for very pro sounding mixes, the 57 provides that very dry tight sound whereas the Z3300a adds some nice brighter mid and high frequencies for adding punch and shine to the mix. It could also add warmth depending on your EQ and it was definitely clearer than the 57. I didn't spend too long positioning the mics around the speaker, enough to stop phasing though, so perhaps a shift would apply a different character to both of the mics. I believe that I may have had the dB pad in for this take, but I may be wrong! Either way this mic can take some loudness without hurting.

On male vocals this thing sounds fantastic as well. I'm sure it could cope with everything from smooth acoustic song's vocals all the way up to rock. I used it to re-record the vocal on one of my band's self recorded tracks. It was a slower piano based song and so I wanted warmth, crispness in the top end and that lovely tight bass sound to fill the mix out. The original vocal had been recorded with a Shure Beta 87(a) as this was the only mic we had had around at the time for vocal takes (budget/borrowed recording!). In comparison the Z3300a blows the 87 out of the speaker cone. So much clarity, warmth and yes that tight bass response too! I know that all of the vocals on Ed Sheeran's no.1 album were recorded through a Z3300a into a Focusrite Saffire interface (I'm guessing Liquid Saffire?). I have a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, so not far off!

So all in all a brilliant, quality, hand built mic for a great price! I will be using this for many other things in the future...


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