The i-5 is Audix's attempt to offer a mic as versatile and rugged as the ubiquitous Shure SM57. Given the number of 57's out there and the amount of use they receive, that's a tall order indeed. The mic is slightly shorter and stockier than a 57, with a black finish and durable feel to it, and it fits into a typical 57/58-style mic clip (unlike the Audix D-series instrument mics). I used the i-5 on several albums as the snare mic (it claims an SPL rating of 140 dB) and was totally pleased with its full, even tone. On guitar amps, the i-5, compared to the 57, was less hyped in the high mids but had a fuller overall tone. On one session, it became the only mic for the rhythm guitar amp, though I usually prefer a ribbon and condenser pair on amps. I have to admit I do many sessions where I never touch a 57, the reason being that I usually don't enjoy the peaks around 2-4 kHz that these mics have or the thinness of the low end. The i-5, on the other hand, has a much more even frequency response but still has the immediacy and edge of a dynamic mic. I'm really digging using the i-5; I'll be buying the review mics I was sent, if that tells you anything! The i-5 comes with a sturdy rubber clip and a zippered bag, and it usually sells for around $100-a totally reasonable price. ($179 MSRP;

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

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