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Review: sE Magneto, Cardioid Condenser Microphone

This low-cost studio microphone is a good option for singers looking to start making their own recordings.

Item: sE Magneto, Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Price: $109 (US), £49 (UK)

Mic Rating: 3.5/5

At A Glance: sE Electronics’ Magneto has been designed to offer good quality for home studio recording. It features a cardioid directional pattern to help to isolate the recording source from the room ambience and is capable of handling high SPLs up to 140dB. The Magneto comes standard in a matte black finish, however a special-edition version with rose/pink finish is also available.
High Notes: The microphone has a slightly flattering tone that works well on a range of voices and instruments. It can be run with interfaces providing phantom power from 12-48v – which is useful as some low-cost USB interfaces do not provide a full 48v supply. It is designed with a tightly woven mesh that helps to reduce unwanted plosive sounds when recording vocals close to the capsule. It also comes with a basic swivel mic clip that can be used to mount it securely on a regular microphone stand.

Off Pitch: There is no low-cut switch on the mic to help remove unwanted low rumbles being picked up when recording vocals (you can generally do this later at the mixing stage however). To keep costs down, the mic does not come with a carry case to protect it (just a cardboard box) and for best results, you will ideally need to buy a shock-mount and pop shield.

VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: The Magneto is capable of quite reasonable results despite its low cost. You will need a recording interface with mic preamp to use it – so if you are just looking to record one vocal or acoustic instrument at a time, it might be a more cost-effective option to look at a USB condenser microphone instead as you will be able to save on the cost of a separate interface. Ultimately a microphone built to a cost as low as this is never going to produce results that will compete with a professional studio recording, that said, the Magneto is still quite a versatile and capable mic that is a great choice for making song demos at home.

Manufacturer’s Website: sE Electronics

Other Reviews: Sound On Sound | MusicTech | musicradar. | Ask.Audio

Chris Kennedy is the principal product reviewer for voicecouncil.com. Chris is a musician in the United Kingdom – you can see more about his work at www.chriskennedymusic.co.uk You can also see more articles by Chris here.