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sE Electronics X1 A Microphone Review

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In the two decades since its establishment, sE Electronics has focused its energies on manufacturing affordable microphones with top quality sound and design. The company prides itself on producing its microphones by hand, and that meticulous engineering and attention to detail has been the sE Electronics trademark for years.

All sE condenser capsules and ribbons are designed by their in-house team of engineers and assembled by highly skilled technical staff. Probably the microphone that best exemplifies the company’s dedication to affordability and quality is the sE Electronics X1, a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that spawned an entire line of affordable mics.

First released in 2011, the sE X1 was well known for marrying affordability with a top-tier sound comparable with more expensive mics. sE Electronics soon began to develop the sE X1 microphone into a full line, with entries such as the X1 R (ribbon microphone), X1 T (tube condenser), and X1 S (vocals). The sE Electronics X1A is one of the newer additions to the lineup, with a new design and better value. Read on to find out more in this sE Electronics X1 A review down below.

NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Shout4Music earns from qualifying purchases. This post includes Amazon links throughout.

About the sE Electronics X1 A Microphone

 

Polar Pattern

Cardioid

Frequency Response

20Hz – 20kHz

Sensitivity

20 mV/Pa (-34 dB)

Impedance

<50 ohms

Max SPL

130 / 150 dB (0 / 20 dB pad, (0.5% THD @ 1 kHz)

Equivalent Noise Level

16 dBA

 

The sE Electronics sE X1 line has always been about breaking barriers, and the X1 A is no different. SE Electronics has redefined what it means when you say a microphone has great value— not only should your mic be affordable, but it should blow all the competition out of the water. The X1 was able to outperform other microphones in the same and even higher price ranges, and it’s that legacy that the X1 A aims to carry on today.

When it comes to price and performance, the X1 series stands head and shoulders above the crowd. While many microphone aficionados may feel cautious about the level of quality you can get with a mic that’s just over USD$ 100, you’ll find that this sE X1 condenser microphone is worth the investment. Users looking for their first large-diaphragm condenser will find that this mic is a welcome addition to their collections.

sE Electronics X1 A Microphone Pros

SE Electronics has gone above and beyond in designing the perfect condenser microphone with the best value. The X1 A is another step towards achieving that goal, with stronger features, a cleaner sound, and better design than many other microphones in a similar price point. In addition, when compared with other microphones in the sE Electronics X1 mic line, it’s also cheaper. Let’s take a closer look at this new unit’s strengths.

Brand New Capsule

Although the X1 A looks incredibly similar to the sE Electronics X1 microphone on the outside, the inside is a completely different matter. The X1 A is designed around a completely new capsule that comes in at 17mm, which is half the size of the original X1’s K67-style capsule. At 17mm, the X1 A’s capsule is more or less at the midpoint of small-diaphragm and large-diaphragm condensers. Theoretically, this smaller capsule gives it more accuracy with high frequencies, although it also loses some sensitivity and may have a higher self-noise.

A Build You Can Rely On

For the price, it wouldn’t be surprising if you compared the X1 A with other entry-level microphones in the same range. However, unlike these other microphones which make use of plastic housing to cut down on price, the X1 A has an all-metal chassis with a premium finish. It feels sturdy, hefty, and the metal construction helps with rejection of electrical interference and noise. It’s also got an integrated windscreen, which helps provide protection for the capsule as well as reduces the need for an external pop filter.

Fantastic Range

On the whole, the X1 A sounds fantastically transparent, with a natural sound that’s not too overhyped. Vocals-wise, it’s best on a male voice, although the midrange does sound a little more restricted and you may need to do a little fiddling with the EQ. On the acoustic guitar, it had incredible detail and focus, with none of the typical presence boost that cheaper mics offer. The X1 A also has the added benefit of a -20 dB pad switch that helps extend the dynamic range, and it holds up to much louder instruments like kick drums and electric guitars.

Quality Materials

Besides the all-metal housing, the X1 A quality shows down to the smallest detail. It has a gold-plated XLR connection, which means that users can rely on a loss-free signal connection that won’t degrade with time. It also comes with a newly-designed swivel clip for the mic, as well as a thread adapter that will enable you to use it with your existing mic stand. For users concerned about rumble, sE Electronics also sells an Isolation Pack and Reflexion Filter X for a more professional-sounding recording set up.

A Beginner's Best Friend

The sE Electronics X1 A has a lot to recommend it, but it’s an especially incredible deal for beginners who are just starting to piece together their home studio set up. Its cardioid polar pattern, transparent sound, and quality engineering and design mean that you’re getting so much more value than ever before. Although vocal recordings might need a little bit of tweaking post-production, it’s a great all rounder on the whole. If you prefer not to do any post-processing, it’s particularly strong with guitar, with a detailed yet natural sound that makes each recording a pleasure to listen to.

What People Are Saying

If you do a quick skim through all the other sE Electronics X1 A reviews on the Internet, you’ll find unanimous praise. And they’d be right. This mic is head and shoulders above its competition, and despite its low price sounds like it should cost a hundred dollars more.

Where to Buy the sE Electronics X1 A Microphone

Whether you’re using it to track guitar, vocals, drums, or even brass instruments, you’re sure to come out satisfied with the X1 A. This mic is well built, affordable, and produces top quality performance. You’ll be surprised every time with just how strong this mic sounds in your home studio. For beginners looking for the mic for their first home studio set up, stop looking. You’ve found it. Find the best deals for the sE Electronics X1 A Microphone here.

Sound Quality
8
Design
8
Features
8
Price
9

Summary

The sE Electronics X1 A microphone is yet another fantastic mic in a two-decade tradition of fantastic mics. With an affordable price, quality build, and top-tier sound, you'd be hard-pressed to find better value with any other microphone in the same price range. If you're shopping for your first condenser mic, pick this one.

Total Rating

8.3
Naomi Feller

Originally from the East Coast, Naomi started singing as young as 3 years old. In her early teens Naomi made some embarrassing YouTube videos before settling on a love for Podcast editing. When she's not pouring over endless amounts of audio, she lends her expertise to us here at Shout4Music with her crystal clear and finely tuned microphone reviews.

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