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SE Electronics X1R
4.1 4.1 out of 5, based on 5 Reviews

Passive Ribbon Microphone


8th July 2012

sE Electronics X1 R by roughgear

  • Sound Quality 2 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 2 out of 5
  • Overall: 2.5
SE Electronics X1R

SE Electronics recently lowered the price of their new X1R microphone and I thought it was a good occasion to get a ribbon microphone.
I've never worked with one before and so I thought for this price (and SE's warranty that is valid for 20 years) you can't go wrong.
Well, you can. Unpacking the mic was rather disappointing - just comes with a mic clip that is adjustable with a screwdriver and a "one kind fits all" microphone manual. No data sheet for this specific microphone, but you can get it from their website.
The X1R has 200 Ohm and should work properly with lots of preamps, it can handle a maximum SPL of 135 db and has a protection circuit in case you'd activate phantom power.
There is no switch on the mic, no shock mount or protection bag included and for an original street price of 340 € this is not really satisfying. As the price dropped to 179 € it's ok.

I compared the X1R to another budget microphone. A Sennheiser MK4 large diaphragm condenser that sounds rather bright but in a good way (and not in a chinese way).
Here are the samples and you can judge yourself:

SE Electronics X1R vs. Sennheiser MK4

For me, the results are disappointing. It sounds muddy and there is no "magic" at all. I placed the mic not too close, so the dark sound is not due to the proximity effect. I would never use it by itself as the only microphone, but probably it can be useful as a second mic on a sound source.
The output of the X1R is rather low which is normal for a ribbon. I had to add 20db of gain to get the same level as with the Sennheiser MK4.
I rate this mic a 3/10.

19th June 2013

sE Electronics X1 R by yackovich

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
SE Electronics X1R

I think this is a good mic, and I use my pair all the time. A typical ribbon.

I like ribbons - i like the warmth, and Im not crazy about having loads of top end, so a few ribbons in my mixes is what I like.

On electric guitar, it takes the edge off, putting the sound in mellower territory just by passing through it. I often add some distortion or saturation in the mix to give it even more fullness, and then through a plate reverb....aaaaah!

Still on electric, it can be very useful for layering with another brighter microphone - condensor or dynamic, to give it the weight a ribbon captures.

As a drum overhead, I've had good results - nice and full. It's darker than the typical condensor, but depending on the music, it can be exactly what you need.

I also regularly use this mic on bass cabs, where it just always gives me the warmth and fullness I want. As with guitars, I usually run it through some saturation after, especially if it's a very smooth bass sound, and I need to make it pop out further up the spectrum.

As a room mic, they are lovely, but can cause muddiness.

Overall, I am happy I have 2 of these. If I lost them though, I might try to find a higher end ribbon, just to see what all the fuss is about.

  • 1
8th February 2015

sE Electronics X1 R by Rob Coates

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
SE Electronics X1R

I've owned and used a lot of ribbon mics and have even modded a few. When I got my hands on an SE X1r and tried it out, I couldn't believe my ears. Better high end definition and clarity than any other ribbon I've ever heard or used. I've had ribbon mics with acoustic high end lift filters in front of the ribbon before but they always made the highs sound spitty and congested so I removed them. The people at SE however apparently know how to design a mechanical filter right because it sounds very smooth and natural. When I got this mic, I had an old Fostex ribbon I was testing. The SE x1r has a very similar sound only better. It also has way less proximity effect than other ribbons which is really useful for close micing. Another great thing about this mic is that it has much hotter output than any ribbon I've ever had or used. I don't understand how they get this much level out of a ribbon mic. Just yesterday, I was running a vintage Electro Voice V2 that was recently rebuilt to be essentially an RCA 44. I had the preamp gain and output at max to get a level that hovered around 0 db. I then switched to the SE X1r without changing the levels and with the same source (a mandolin) the meters were pinned! I highly recommend this mike for all kinds of purposes.

  • 1
7th February 2016

sE Electronics X1 R by MantraSky

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
SE Electronics X1R

I purchased an sE X1r Ribbon Mic and I really like it! I did a comparison with Royer 121 and Audio-Technica AT4081. From the three I was completely blown away by the X1R for its clarity and the slight bump close to the top end. The other Ribbon Mic's were great, they have that great sound they are known for. I've been putting the X1R through it's pace, and "Happily" surprised of how "Good" it sounds, rugged it is and able to take high db levels. I use it along with a Shure SM57 on a Bogner 2x12OS Cabinet and a Soldano SLO for distortion tone, Sounds Great! I do use the Cloud Lifter with the X1R for an additional 25db gain boost, on the SM57 I use a Summit Audio 2BA-221 Tube Preamp all through RME Audio Interface that sounds wonderful. Overall very happy with the sE X1r.

9th May 2022

sE Electronics X1 R by Shawnobi

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
SE Electronics X1R

So maybe you're recording your band or 'a band' and the drumkit isn't some fancy high end studio gear. In fact it's all a bit brash, especially the cymbals. Dump any thought of trying to use a pair of condensers overhead. Throw up two of these Glyn Johns style and it'll sound great. Real thick snare sound and body to the kit and will roll off the harshness of the cheap cymbals. Did this in a mic shootout and these had me grinning from ear to ear.

 

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