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Posted on October 14, 2010 by Joe Stachowiak There have been 0 comments

The Voodoo ribbon microphones from sE are new for 2010 and mark a new era for ribbon mic technology. We test out their black magic claims…

Until now the only ribbon mic in the world to perform across the full 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range was sE’s acclaimed RNR1, designed in collaboration with Rupert Neve. It was achieved using stage-of-the-art, hand-wound, custom-built transformers and a Neve-designed circuitboard to reveal high frequencies usually absent from ribbons. These new Voodoos, however, achieve full frequency response using a new mechanical device (patent pending), designed by Siwei Zou, the company CEO.

Pushing it further

This extraordinary technical achievement allows the traditional ribbon capsule to develop and capture frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz like no other ribbon on the planet. The sound is revolutionary.

Where the RNR1 was simply a stunning mic in its own class entirely, the Voodoo range brings traditional ribbon sound to the project and commercial studio and extends it to perform as well as most condensers do.

Ribbon revolution

The launch of this revolutionary technology coincides with a massive rise in popularity for ribbon mics in general. Something very similar happened with tube technology in the mainstream marketplace about 10 years ago and tube mics have been a must-have ever since.

However, ribbon mics are more of a mystery, and we’re constantly reading in magazines and on forums that we should all add a ribbon mic to our collection, but what if we don’t really understand the technology or how to use it?

That’s where the sE Voodoo range comes in, appealing to the end-user in two distinct ways.
Traditionally, the use of ribbon mics in the recording industry has been very limited in applications, usually focusing on miking guitar cabs or using the mics to get a very dark sound for samples.

Using ribbons for wider applications like vocals, piano, drums and so on has been considered a bit of a ‘dark art’ for many and adopted by relatively very few recording engineers.

In order to add high frequency to a natural ribbon sound, where all traditional ribbons have a very steep HF roll-off from about 8kHz, an engineer has to augment the recording with a condenser capable of reproducing such frequencies. This means having to deal with issues of phase correlation and frequency matching… very tricky stuff and not for the faint-hearted
or the inexperienced!

Do you do Voodoo?

This is where sE’s new VR1 and VR2 step in. They are (with the exception of the afore-mentioned RNR1) the only out-of-the-box solutions if you want to discover beauty of the natural and open ribbon sound but with the familiarity and ease of use of your favourite condenser mic.

They can be used on pretty much any source, just like a condenser mic, capturing not only the natural body of the sound like all high end ribbons, but also the high frequencies, which none of the other brands manage. This makes them easy to use, massively widens the applications, and yet the Voodoo mics can still sound just like an old-school ribbon by simply shelving the HF with EQ… the perfect ribbon mic!

Open your ears

The result is superbly detailed and wonderfully open and natural sounding recordings of acoustic instruments, vocals and of course guitar cabs! The VR2 is an ‘active’ version of the ‘passive’ VR1, meaning it has a higher output.

The VR2 requires 48V phantom power but the VR1 doesn’t. However, it is phantom power protected so it can’t be damaged by accidentally leaving it on.

These VR1 and 2’s unique ability to perform as well as their searingly good looks, are sure to make them classics of their time.


Polar pattern: Figure-of-eight
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Sensitivity: 1.6mV/Pa -56 ±1.5dB
Impedance: ≤300 Ohms
Equivalent noise level: 17dB


Polar pattern: Figure-of-eight
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Sensitivity: 10mV/Pa -40 ±1.5dB
Impedance: ≤200 Ohms
Equivalent noise level: 20dB



This post was posted in Blog entries, Magazine, Product Previews, Recording and was tagged with microphones, review, se electronics