The Electro Voice RE20 has become a staple over the last 20+ years, and is considered the Gold Standard in Broadcasting. Just take a look around on television and you may spot one! In fact, I was watching the Show “Love” on Netflix awhile back, and one of the characters (who was a broadcaster) used an RE20 in his radio station.
One of the most prominent features is it’s lack of a proximity effect. Where as most mics require you to be at a specific distance and position in relation to the mic, the RE20 is very forgiving. It’s sweet-spot is much larger in diameter and you can get away with talking into it from pretty much anywhere!
It’s also very forgiving of your less than ideal studio environment, not unlike other dynamic microphones. It does a phenomenal job of rejecting background and ambient noise, with minimal room treatment.
The holy grail of broadcasting. Gold Standard?
Retro 60’s charm.
Sweetspot is like basketball sized. Lots of freedom and movement allowed.
Built like a tank. 3 year factory warranty. You may be able to kill a Soviet bear with it according to one amazon reviewer (Lol).
Uses “Variable D” to prevent positional sound issues such as gain differences. It in essence enables your voice to sound full from an array of different angles, distances, and directions.
Flat sound and Bass roll off switches on mic.
Features heavy duty internal shock-mount and pop-filter.
True reproduction of sound. Flat and true. You can always add EQ and effects later.
I honestly couldn’t find anything negative about it that was noteworthy enough to mention.
Who this mic benefits?
Endorsed for all of the following:
Bass drums or bass amps because of that low end rumble.
Does well with loud vocals such as death metal.
Hip-hop vocals/Deeper male vocals.
Wouldn’t recommend for:
What you will need?
A good preamp, or an audio interface in conjunction with the Cloudlifter. Your audio interface. The Cloudlifter in essence provides the extra 25 dB of clean gain required to power this mic effectively. If you don’t want to drop the money on a preamp, this is the perfect route.
So to save money, your chain would look like this:
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 + Cloudlifter + RE20. That would be my recommendation to cut costs. In addition to that:
A standard condenser mic shock mount, boom arm, and windscreen works fine according to an amazon reviewer. You could also opt for the Electrovoice 309A shock mount, and the RODE PSA-1 Boom arm, which are both stellar as well. In my opinion, you really want to make sure you invest in a good boom arm because of how solidly built this beast is. It’s like Conan the Barbarian in mic form.
If you don’t want to bother with a Preamp or Cloudlifter solution, the Shure X2U XLR to USB adapter is just about the easiest hook up on the planet (aside from soliciting a prostitute). 😛
ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the morning utilizes an RE20. Thom Yorke of Radiohead also uses one for webcasts, and used one for the album “In Rainbows.” The lead vocals on Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the tracks” used an RE20.
A rock solid and versatile microphone with a more than forgiving nature. Just make sure your audio chain is set up properly, and to suit YOUR taste.
Similarities & Differences
Both have similar look and feel.
The RE20 may sound more natural with a flatter response, due to the neodymium magnet used in the RE27 (which makes the RE27 sound brighter).
The RE27 has an improved frequency response.
The RE27 may be more forgiving.
The RE27 may do better for you on kick drums and bass cabs, but less so on vocals.
The RE27 is a bit more colored overall.
The RE27 may bring out the high end and has a little more power. It is said to be brighter and more pronounced. Some people claim this gives it a forced sound at the top, with a sucked out mid-range, rendering it rather dull.
The RE27 has 6dB higher sensitivity.
The RE27 has a high end roll off switch, as well as two other filters.
The RE20 just has a nice low end resonance that is very rare to find. It’s smooth and lush. The highs are very clean and natural as opposed to forced like the RE27.
Think about the type of sound you want before purchasing either of these. If you need a brighter sound and have a heavier voice, the RE27 may be your boy. If you prefer a darker, flatter, more radio type sound, the RE20 is a beast. It’s much more flexible due to it’s neutral response. It really comes down to preference, and if you need the added features that the upgraded model provides. The RE20 is my choice because of two things: 1) It’s easier to EQ, and you will do less EQ’ing with it overall. 2) I’m an original type of fella. I want to hear the first that came along, and in this case that’s the RE20.
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.