sE Electronics sE4400a Condenser Microphone With Free Pop-Shield
The Full Package
The sE4400a from sE Electronics is the latest flagship condenser microphone in a range that started with the sE2200a 6 years ago. This model is one of the most versatile microphones currently available, which is probably the biggest contributor to its world-wide popularity.
Featuring the same capsule tuning as its predecessors, the 4400a contains an additional capsule enabling the user to select multiple polar patterns for different types of recording. The options of cardioid, hyper-cardioid, figure of 8 and omni make this mic suitable for a wide range of recording situations, including vocal recordings, drum-kits, guitars and more. The 4400a, although highly suited to musical and spoken vocal recordings will really show you what it’s made of with the omni polar pattern when used in ambience recordings as well as in foley and sound design applications. The 4400a produces an extremely natural sound with no unwanted coulouring of audio, which is exactly the type of “blank canvas” you want for when you get to that post production stage of editing and manipulation.
The 4400a features on-mic controllers for easier use and full sound control. In addition to the switchable polar pattern controllers, the mic includes two bass roll off switches, helping to ease the editing and EQing processes in post production. The 4400a features two attenuation pads at 10dB and 20dB and a frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz… and all of this in a petite ¾” thick body.
Taking it Further
From its appearance, the 4400a is often compared to the legendary AKG 414 with its matt black design and fairly flat body. However, sE Electronics designed, dare I say, somewhat of an “improvement” of the AKG mic, with enhanced flexibility and a significantly smaller body.
As if the technical specs are not impressive enough, the small and mighty 4400a comes together with an extremely talented shock mount. The apparatus accommodates standard “mic-in-cradle” recordings used majorly in vocal sessions and ambience recordings. However, the cradle’s uber-versatility enables the user to flip the actual mount mechanism creating a flat surface, perfect for close micing situations like recording a snare drum or when close micing a guitar cab for example.
"I've found the 4400a to be a hugely versatile mic - it's great for acoustic instruments, and I especially like it on drums and percussion. Its hyper-cardiod pattern is extremely useful on toms and snare as it controls cymbal spillage really well and delivers great punch and tone." - Record producer, Gil Norton.
The 4400a is truly a one-for-all microphone, ideal for home studios on a low budget or simply for those people who are just in need of a handy multi-purpose mic to take out with them to recording sessions.
With features like these, it’s no surprise that the sE4400a is favoured among renowned musicians, record producers and engineers alike. One notable personality in the record business is Gil Norton (quoted above) who is recognized for his work with artists like the Foo Fighters, The Pixies and Echo & The Bunnymen. The producer is a fond user of the sE4400a and said "I can't remember a single session in the last 5 years on which I haven't used an SE mic".
Norton, who has been active in the music business for over 25 years has a proven track record of superb sound quality and is recognized as one of the leading architects of the alternative rock sound. He started his music career playing classical trumpet and rock & roll bass. It was only when he acquired a recording engineer job with Amazon Studios of Liverpool that he really became interested in the production side of music. His characteristic sound of rich textures and guitar-driven walls-of-sound could be seen as a result of his use of vintage outboard gear, favouring equipment like the API and Neve mixing desks.
So, the sE4400a seems to really tick all of the boxes, it’s great for drums and guitar, bass and vocals, it’s just an absolute microphone chameleon. Also, after possibly participating in the production of forthcoming albums from artists like Maximo Park and SUM 41 (who Norton is currently working with) then I say, if it’s good enough for them, then it must be worth a try. The sE4400a is now includes a free pop-shield at Dolphin, so don’t miss out and get you’re before we’re out.