Miktek is an American mic company that has quickly gained traction in both professional and project studios. Recently, Miktek attacked the live sound stage with an array of microphones for vocals, drums and amplifiers. The PM9 represents Miktek's entry-level series of dynamic vocal mics. As we all know, the Shure SM58, despite its low cost, has become the standard vocal mic for every level of live performance. Most of my comments about the qualities of the PM9 will be in reference to that mic's sonic character.

The handheld PM9 sports a modern look and feel - matte black across its body and head basket, with only a touch of stainless steel highlighting the logo and metal band around the mic's base. A non-slip finish coats the body, helping the microphone feel comfortable and rugged in your hand. The accompanying mic clip works very well, with enough flexibility that the mic can both be snapped into the clip from the top, or slipped into the clip, cable end first. I wouldn't worry about this clip cracking like other, hard plastic mic clips. A zippered pouch is included. You would do yourself a favor to read the well-written owner's manual, which goes into detail about polar patterns, proximity effect, and proper gain structure.

As for sound, I found the PM9 to be a bit more open in the high frequencies than other handheld dynamics. I don't mean brighter in the harsh or sibilant areas, but more open above, say, 10 kHz and up. Most dynamic vocal mics accentuate the 3-5 kHz range, then dip to avoid sibilance, and then roll off above 10 kHz, resulting in a not-very-open top end. Stage monitors don't often feedback at 15 kHz, so why not leave the mic open on top? The mids and lows on the PM9 sound nice and clean, with a healthy low-mid thickness that presents itself when you really put the mic close to your mouth. On a rehearsal stage, I found the supercardioid PM9 to have slightly more output level and feedback rejection than the studio's standard vocal mics. Overall, vocals through the PM9 sounded present, open, and clear - no matter how loud or soft the performer sang.

One of the other nice uses I found for the PM9 was on the top of a snare for a jazz recording for which I used the Glyn Johns method. While two Miktek C5s were carefully positioned to capture the entire drum kit, I dialed in the PM9 for a nice presence and focus to the brush snare and sidestick. The PM9 was especially clear in the upper-midrange area where other dynamic mics may have needed a touch of EQ. The slight bass rolloff below 100 Hz and open top end also makes the PM9 a nice choice for close mic'ing guitar amps.

If you're in the market for a dynamic vocal mic that can pull double-duty on amps or drums, check out the PM9.

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

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