ELECTROVOICE PL35 DYNAMIC SNARE AND TOM TOM MICROPHONE
Recommend this product?
There are such a wide number of different microphone manufacturers in the marketplace today, that it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate the manufacturers that will survive, from the ones that may fade from memory, as the competition is quite stiff. A brand name that is not very likely to be going to up and vanish is ElectroVoice. They have been in the business of manufacturing high quality electronic products, including microphones, for over 80 years, and I think that it is safe to say that they will be around for a long time to come. I feel confident that I am using a quality product when I purchase an ElectroVoice microphone. I have been using an ElectroVoice RE20 for over 30 years, and it works every bit as well today as it did the day that I purchased it. I wish I could say the same for myself. Today I am going to be reviewing the ElectroVoice PL35 Professional Microphone. This microphone has a list price of $165.00, but it can be purchased from most of the national musical instrument chain stores at a discount for as little as $99.00. Read on and see if the ElectroVoice PL35 Professional Microphone has some of the characteristics that you might be interested in auditioning the next time you are visiting your local musical instrument store or better electronics dealer.
The ElectroVoice PL35 is a member of the ElectroVoice PL Series of Microphones. The ElectroVoice PL series of microphones was specifically designed to be used in live situations, such as for amplifying musical instruments and the like, but the PL Series of microphones are also designed well enough to be used for certain studio applications as well. The ElectroVoice PL35 is a microphone that was specifically designed to record or amplify the sound of drums and other percussion instruments. However, it can also serve double duty on some other sound reinforcement tasks as well.
Let me describe some of the features of the ElectroVoice PL35. Firstly it is a dynamic microphone. A dynamic microphone is a typically a very sturdy and versatile microphone, with a very simple and reliable design. The principles behind how a dynamic microphone works are very simple. The diaphragm of the microphone is attached to a simple wire coil which is located in proximity to a simple magnet, which in the case of the ElectroVoice PL35, it is a neodymium magnetic structure. Neodymium magnets are typically more powerful than conventional magnets, and as such a smaller magnet can be used, which results in a smaller, more efficient, and more compact microphone in general. The diaphragm moves in response to the impact of incoming sound waves that it is picking up, and it responds by moving backwards and forwards in the magnetic field that is emanating from the permanent magnet. This movement back and forth results in the creation of a very small electric current, and this current carries the descriptive sonic information that results from the sound that it is picking up. What could be simpler. Dynamic microphones do not require an external power source in order to operate efficiently, as is the case with a condenser microphone.
The ElectroVoice PL35 is also a microphone with a frequency response of 50 Hz. to 16,000 Hz. This means that it is a microphone with a relatively extended frequency response, but it is not one that has a full frequency response, which would of course be from 20 Hz. to 20,000 Hz. This frequency response has been tailored to do a very good job at picking up and accentuating the sound of various drums, such as the snare, tom toms, and floor toms, but it can also do a very good job on other percussion instruments as well, such as congas, timbales, and cymbals. Because it is a microphone that has been specifically designed to be used with drums, the ElectroVoice PL35 also comes equipped with an ElectroVoice DRC-1 drum mic clip, which can be attached or clamped to the drum rim itself. The positioning of where the microphone cable is attached, in conjunction with the microphone clip, makes it easier to keep wires from interfering with and causing a clutter around the drummer, which lessens the likelihood of interference as the drummer is playing. Because the ElectroVoice PL35 uses a neodymium magnet, it also has a flatter and more linear frequency response than some other dynamic microphones that use a different type of magnet.
Another important feature of the ElectroVoice PL35 is that it is a microphone that has a supercardioid polar pickup pattern. A cardioid microphone has a pickup pattern that is most responsive to picking up sounds that come from directly in front of the microphone, and it is less sensitive to sounds that come from the sides and back of the microphone. A supercardioid microphone has a polar pattern that is even more exaggerated than a cardioid microphone, and as such it does an even better job at rejecting sounds that emanate from the sides of the microphone. This is an important feature for a microphone that is being used to amplify or record a snare drum or tom toms, as it makes it easier to isolate the sound of one drum from another, which in turn makes it easier on the sound engineer during mix down to be able to isolate and fine tune the exact sound that they are hoping to achieve from their recording of that specific drum or other instrument.
When one is attempting to capture the best sound from an instrument that is either going to be amplifier or recorded, one of the most important things to keep in mind is microphone placement. That's right, just like in real estate where the most important thing that determines the selling price and desirability of a piece of a property is location, location, and location, one of the most important things any sound engineer must do in order to get a good sound is to place the microphone in the proper and most desirable location needed in order to achieve the sound that they are looking for.
Bearing the above in mind, let's talk a bit about how one should locate or place the ElectroVoice PL35 for the best recording of various instruments and percussion devices. Since I am primarily a guitarist, let's start there. For acoustic guitar a good position to place the ElectroVoice PL35 would be about 9 inches from where the finger board joins the body of the guitar. Placing the microphone directly over the sound hole might seem like an obvious choice at first, but if one were to do so, you would quickly discover that close micing of an acoustic guitar sound hole can result in both a muddy or overly boomy sound, as well as there being interference from the hand of the guitarist getting in front of the microphone when it is too close to the sound hole. I would not recommend using this microphone for recording the bass guitar, although it could be done. My reservation in this regard has to do with the fact that a few of the notes on the bass guitar are below 50Hz, which is the lower limit of the frequency response of this microphone, and the result could be a muddy sound on those particular lower notes. The best uses for the ElectroVoice PL35 are for recording drums and percussion anyway. For recording the snare drum, place the microphone about two inches away from the top of the rim of the snare drum. An additional PL35 can be placed below the snare drum and angled upward, thus increasing the sound of the snare itself. The two signals can of course be blended at mix down time to arrive at the best compromise. For micing the tom toms, one has the option of either mounting the PL35 on the rim of the tom tom and positioning the microphone about 2 inches from the rim of the drum, or one can remove the bottom skin and go under drum and mic the drum from inside. In this case, the microphone could be placed about 3 inches from the skin, and in proximity to where the drummer usually hits the drum. One does not have to usually worry about clipping with the ElectroVoice PL35, as it has a very high sound pressure level (SPL) tolerance, and is after all designed to be used as a drum microphone. Since this microphone is designed to record other percussion instruments as well, the ElectroVoice PL35 can also be used as an overhead for cymbals or to reinforce the sound of the hi-hat as well. Personally, however, I prefer some other microphones for these purposes, although the ElectroVoice PL35 can and does do an adequate job at these chores as well.
Since the ElectroVoice PL35 is designed to be used for live applications, one can also assume, and very justifiably in this case, that the EV PL35 is a very rugged and durable microphone. It has a "memraflex" front grille which is sturdy and dent resistant. The body is made of a die cast Zink alloy, and it has a built internal shock mount which lessens the noise, and a built-in internal wind screen to reduce the effect of ‘plosives, which are the nasty low end sounds that can occur when wind impacts upon the front grille of the microphone. It is also remarkably light for such a touch microphone, and weighs in at just 8.3 ounces.
Well how does the ElectroVoice PL35 microphone sound? Although this microphone can be used for applications such as for electric or acoustic guitar, it really shines when it is used for the purposes that it was specifically designed for, namely to record or amplify drums. I think that the ElectroVoice PL35 is easily one of the best microphones in its particular price range that is designed for recording or amplifying drums, and I can feel very comfortable in recommending it.
Well I would like to thank you very much for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.