I would be hard-pressed to remember a recording project where I didn’t use an Audix microphone. Your initial reaction to the name Audix may paint a picture of affordable workhorse dynamic microphones that sound great on percussion and bass instruments, but this company has made plenty of headway in recent years with condenser mics (and much more!) that should not be glossed over. One of their latest offerings is the A133 large-diaphragm condenser mic, equipped with a 29 mm 3.4 micron gold-sputtered capsule, cardioid polar pattern, 10 dB pad, bass roll-off switch, machined body, and proprietary internal shock mount. Each mic is assembled in an American factory and individually tested. The feeling I get from the literature (and in use) is that the A133 is meant to be an all-around solution that bridges the gap between a podcasting or voiceover mic with a studio solution that focuses on music.
Audix provided me with a single mic for review, so I used the A133 as a mono drum overhead to test during a punk band’s session. I put the Audix on my tallest mic stand, and after moving around to find the best balance of the kit, it wound up about two feet above the drummer’s head. I like my overheads to be a little tighter to the kit to eliminate room sounds, but I was pleased with how much of the back and side reflections the A133 rejected, so I felt better about hanging this thing up so high up. The picture I got from the Audix was a clear capture of the drum kit, with a transient response that fits in well with my close mics – and the cymbals weren’t harsh. The client is pleased; I am pleased. The drum sound is awesome. We would’ve been even more pleased with two A133s for a stereo overhead capture.
For vocal applications, the A133 came across as having a neutral midrange relative to other mics I’ve used for this purpose. Vocals came in clear and defined, the top end was not overly harsh, and sibilance was more than manageable. With its internal ultra-thin foam windscreen and double mesh grill for added pop resistance, the A133 performs particularly well for podcasting and voiceover work.
The A133’s shock mount is internal (without a bulky spider web-style cradle), so I was able to place it right on a guitar cabinet’s grill cloth, adjacent with other mics I typically use on electric guitar amps. The transparent nature of the A133 also made it very useful for acoustic guitar tracking. Transients came through clearly, the low end wasn’t boomy, and it fit well in a dense mix. The only real con I can find with the A133 is its lack of multiple polar patterns, but at this price point, I’d rather have a stellar-sounding cardioid than a cheaper multi-pattern mic that performs poorly. Overall, Audix has added a very useful microphone to their line. If you need a microphone with a transparent and neutral sound that won’t butcher the high end, and can be used in front of just about any source, you’d do well to consider the A133.