Audix ADX-90 Condenser Microphone

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Drum Kit Microphone Placement Seminar Held 10/7/06
At Hyde Street Studios In San Francisco During The 121st AES Show.


Audix ADX-90

Intro

The Audix ADX-90 is a miniature electret condenser mic with a cardioid pattern. Smartly outfitted with a "mount anywhere" clamp, this affordable mic is well suited to a number of studio applications.

Ratings

Sound Quality: 4
Ease of Use: 5
Value: 5
Functionality: 4

How They Work!

The new addition to the Audix ADX Contractor Condenser microphone line is the miniature ADX-90 electret condenser. This is a small, black anodized aluminum condenser mic (6 oz/170 grams) placed at the end of a miniature four-inch D-Flex gooseneck. It is fitted with a mount anywhere shock-mounted clamp made of chromed steel. The clamp has rubberized jaws and a thumb screw for secure attachment to anything from a drum rim to the inside of a grand piano. In addition, there is another shock mount that isolates the gooseneck from the clamp assembly, ensuring no possible mechanical connection between the mic's body and the mounting clamp.

Perfect For Drums

The ADX-90's clamp cuts back the number of drum stands needed around a drum kit, which is appealing on a few levels. First of all, there are a lot less mic stand legs interfering with cymbal and tom stands on the floor; second, it makes for a better-looking drum kit. Since these mics are very low profile, they are a natural for drum kits and live stage sound.

Audix was kind enough to send me four of these little jewels, and I quickly put them to work on a drum session. I mounted them on the first four tom-toms of a large kit (the drummer happens to use six toms). The ADX-90's clamped very easily on the rims of the drums and the goosenecks made it easy to aim the cardioid microphones. Since there isn't an XLR connector sticking out of the end of the mic itself, there's no concern that the cymbal will contact the mic when it swishes and tilts--a common problem with regular mics. If you've have ever had no room to get a snare drum mic placed where you wanted it, then these are the mics for you! You can simply clamp an ADX-90 to the rim on the opposite side of the snare drum. Miking the snare on the bottom is just as easy as miking on top, and you won't have the mic stands in the way of the stands for the snare, hi-hats, rack toms, or cymbals.

Love The Sound

For light- to medium-hitting drummers, condensers give me one of my favorite drum sounds. Condensers are always brighter, so I equalize less which allows more of the individual tonalities of each drum and cymbal to be captured. For loud, bashing drummers, the sonic difference can be more or less lost; dynamic mics might work better for such players. (Hello Audix! How's about some dynamic versions of these mics?) In my drummer's case, it was a jazz session with light to medium drum intensities, and the ADX-90's were perfect. And that is not to say I wouldn't try them on a hard rock drummer, since the ADX-90's are rated at 135dB maximum SPL and have greater than 25dB of off-axis rejection. At $199 MSRP each, one doesn't have to fear placing super-expensive vintage condensers on a kit where the drummer is using a pair of Louisville sluggers for sticks. My next band recording will see these mics used on the drums. I like the idea of the off-axis rejection spec; I can keep most of the cymbals' sound wash out of the tom mics without using downward expanders.

Smart Design

The ADX-90's have 50Hz to 18kHz frequency response and a sensitivity of 5mV. You'll only need 9 to 52 volts of phantom powering even though these are pre-polarized electret mic elements. The phantom is just powering what looks like an elongated XLR connector/adapter. Audix was smart to put a mini-connector on the 14-foot lightweight cable that comes from the mic gooseneck and plugs into the XLR phantom power supply adapter/connector. You can leave the XLR/adapter in the studio's mic panel and unplug the mic and cable if you need to.

In The Studio

With good sound and plenty of level coming into the console, I found not much proximity effect when close miking the toms. The sound might be described as somewhere between a dynamic and a vintage condenser: Better low-end than a dynamic but a little less transparency than other condensers I have used. Using the mics on drums was the first thing I went for, but I can think of other uses for the ADX-90's. With guitars, for instance, I would clamp right to the speaker cabinet's edge. On a piano, I would clamp inside and close the lid, avoiding drum leakage when recording a live rhythm section.

The ADX-90's are affordable, very practical around the studio, and sound good. At a suggested retail price of $199, each mic comes with an integral clamp, foam windscreen, cable, protective carrying pouch, and phantom power supply adapter.

For more information: Contact Audix at 9400 SW Barber Street, Wilsonville, OR 97070. Telephone them at: 800-966-8261 or 503-682-6933. Web to: www.audixusa.com



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