The Micros series from Audix are billed as the "world's smallest condenser microphones with integrated preamp and detachable cable." There are several variations on these small-diaphragm electret mics, as far as pickup patterns and SPL-level handling, but the units I received were the M1290 cardioid (138 dB SPL max) and the M1244 (144 dB SPL max). These mics are small, being 90 and 45 mm long and 12 mm in diameter; hence their model numbers. Being that the mics can handle high levels, I decided to try them on drums on a few tracking sessions.

The M1290 functions great as an overhead mic on drums (I was using two in an X/Y pair), providing clear imaging and frequency response on the cymbals-with less of the muddy, off axis/distant sound of the kick, snare, and toms that I usually hear from cardioid small- diaphragm mics. I also tried the M1290 on violin and viola, where it had an excellent tone, bringing in a bit of the room (I suspect that this mic is a fairly wide cardioid) and wasn't harsh despite one of the player's lower skill level. On acoustic guitar it was clear, if a bit bright, for the track I was working on, though on upright piano it sounded excellent and the wide pattern helped. The vibes, a sometimes difficult instrument to mic, sounded clear and full.

I initially put the M1244's on rack and floor toms. The M1244's were bigger-sounding than they looked, capturing as much of the attack and boom as the large-diaphragm mics I had been using. I tried the M1244 on snare and found it to be best in conjunction with a dynamic mic, adding a brightness and clarity without breaking up.

I usually work rather fast, and when reviewing gear I will quickly pull the item off a source if it doesn't fit the bill right away. Therefore, I was surprised when these mics not only stayed in place for the session, they found themselves in use on all the following sessions. The M1200 series is excellent on drums, and I hope to purchase a pair of each primarily for this purpose. Beyond their fine sound, an additional benefit is their small size. Drummers find them harder to hit, live sound engineers will enjoy their easy placement and setup, and for live music-video recordings, they'll remain unobtrusive. With such great sound in a tiny form, Audix has created yet another line of valuable tools for us. All mics come with a 12 ft cable, wooden case, and micro clip.

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