Shure adds to its line of silver, curvy KSM- series mics with the affordable KSM27 (available as low as $299). It's a cardioid-patterned condenser with low end roll off and 15 dB pad switches built in. There's a warm spot in the low mids that complements a lot of sources - on voice over it sounds like an FM DJ, acoustic guitar picking sounded well defined and bass amp was decent. There appears to be either a flat or reduced high-end, which was really nice for guitar amps but seemed to hurt it a little on voice, snare, cymbals and piano, although I'll bet you could add a little high end EQ to help it out. Strangely, this also imparts a sort of smoothness to this mic that I found appealing, almost like a ribbon mic in the way it never got sibilant or harsh. I ended up using it quite a bit on electric guitar for tracking and overdubs and was really pleased with the results. If this mic had come out five years ago (before my mic shelf got so full) I'd certainly buy a pair to use around the studio. As it is, the KSM27 is a perfect mic for the price and would be a great addition to a small studio or home setup that was looking for an affordable multi-purpose condenser mic. (

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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