The EV RE20 has been an iconic microphone in both broadcast and studio applications. The mic’s ability to capture low end has made it a go to device for kick drums and radio hosts. Recently Electro-Voice released a newer, sleeker incarnation of the dynamic powerhouse, with new features and similar tonal qualities: the RE320.
Looking at the mic, it first seems like an anniversary edition of the RE20. The shape of the microphone is the same, but now in a flat black instead of the classic beige. The capsule utilizes a neodymium magnet, which provides a cleaner high end which I’ll discuss in a bit. The only other noticeable difference between the RE320 and the RE20 is the frequency response switch. On the new RE320, you are able to EQ your sound to have a small cut around 400 Hz, and extends the low end from 45 Hz to 30 Hz. This adds extra punch to the kick, saving you time from EQing it as much later. Of course, you’ll still probably want to adjust the kick for the song, but it’s nice to know you’ve got a head start.
I really liked using this mic on male vocal applications. Similar to the SM7B, the RE320 is a dynamic microphone that reproduces the male voice in a clean, clear tone. There’s a clear reason the RE20 is used heavily for broadcast, and the same presence is found with the new model. The high end of any vocal recording is evenly balanced in a mic that I expected to be very bottom heavy. Other instruments come across clear, not really capturing anything particularly better than another. I was expecting to have more low-end because of the microphones common uses, but that wasn’t the case at all. Everything came out as unobstructed as most dynamic microphones get.
The RE320 is a new, tighter sounding mic for kick drums. The frequency response switch is probably most responsible for this, and while I wouldn’t call it “better” than the RE20, it is definitely a unique sounding kick drum mic. I’ve slightly pigeon-holed myself on this aspect of the microphone, being a huge fan of the original. The RE320 brings out a new sound to the commercial side of kick drum recording, which is great in an industry over-saturated with D112′s. This mic shines its brightest when trying to capture to tone of the drum more than the punch. If you’ve got a great sounding kit, the RE320 will capture it well. For this reason, I also like the RE320 for a warm tone on floor toms.
The RE320 works well as a dynamic microphone in most any application you can think of. The price is very appealing, coming in at $300 at most retailers. It is able to maintain many stylistic features found in the RE20, but at a fraction of the cost. It also gives you a tonal color not available from most of it’s competition. Finally, it makes it easy to EQ a kick drum, giving you the perfect starting point with the frequency switch at the base of the microphone. If you can get ahold of an RE320, it’s at least worth trying it out and expanding your tonal availability.