If you think you know about sE microphones and think that it's just another Chinese built budget microphone brand, you couldn't be more wrong. Yes, they manufacture in China, though they have their own dedicated factory owned and operated by sE and enforce much more stringent quality control than what you'll find in other factories in the East. Yes, most of their product line is inexpensive, but even those mics are outstanding values and this RN17 is neither cheap, nor does it sound like a budget microphone.
The RN17 absolutely competes with the greatest SDC's ever made - from DPA 4000 series and Schoeps CMC to the Sennheiser MKH line and the beloved Neumann KM84. Just don't expect it to be a copycat of any other mic in existence - no, in fact sE and Rupert Neve have partnered to create a small diaphragm condenser for the next generation of engineers. This mic is incredibly articulate, but paired with the beefiest, richest sounding output transformer ever found in a pencil condenser. It may look silly at first glance, with it's protruding blob on the side of the microphone, but you'll forget all about that after you've heard this microphone for the first time.
Designed with Mr. Rupert Neve, this is the world's first pencil microphone with a large-scale, hand-wound, ultra high performance transformer.
The second product of the sE / Rupert Neve collaboration, work on the RN17 began with a discussion between Rupert and Siwei Zou on the merits and problems of small-diaphragm condensers.
According to Siwei, "The SDC's problem is that they have a very clear sound - the SPL is high, but the sound is very cold, not like with a large diaphragm. The quality of the transformer can make the sound much, much better - but with a small transformer, nobody can do it."
"Rupert told me, 'I want THIS transformer.' I said, 'That transformer is too big. This is a small-capsule microphone. Impossible.' He said, 'I want the impossible to be possible.'"
With a 15mm diaphragm (the world's smallest production gold-sputtered diaphragm), the transient response of the RN17 is unparalleled.
Such a small capsule reacts extremely quickly, and is therefore adept at picking up the most delicate of high-frequency content.
However, a tiny diaphragm usually results in a lack of low-frequency response. How to counter this?
Made obvious by the unusual chassis shape, the RN17's transformer is substantially larger than the norm. This full-scale transformer was custom-designed by Rupert Neve specifically for this microphone - and nobody has been designing audio transformers longer (or better) than Rupert Neve.
With an audio transformer of this magnitude, the RN17 is able to put out astonishing clarity across ALL frequencies - not just the highs. The midrange is detailed and forward, the lows are full and accurate, and the whole microphone has a balance and headroom never before achieved with a small-capsule microphone.
The matte black finish minimizes the level of visual attention drawn to the microphone when used on stage or in the studio, allowing it to blend into the background.
The RN17 ships standard with a cardioid capsule, but an omnidirectional capsule is also available for purchase separately.
Every RN17 includes a custom-designed, sturdy, protective, and easy-to-use shock mount, which is essential to reducing the unwanted effects of vibration or knocks to the supporting microphone stand.
Capsule Type: Hand-Crafted True Condenser
Diaphragm: 17.2mm Gold/Mylar
Directional Pattern: Cardioid (omnidirectional capsule available separately)
Frequency range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Impedance: 200 Ohms
Sensitivity: 5.96 mV/Pa (-44.5dB)
Sensitivity (Figure-8): 2.51 mV/Pa (-52dB)
Max SPL: 131 dB (0.5% THD @ 1kHz)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 76 dB
Self Noise: 18 dB(A) (cardioid), 15 dB(A) (omni)
Matching Connectors: XLR3F
Power requirement: 48V phantom
Weight: 320g / 11.32oz
Diameter: 44 mm (transformer), 17mm (capsule)
Length: 200 mm