It seems that everything Universal Audio touches brings an element of sonic magic to the mix, and now UA’s audio coolness is making an impression in the microphone market with the release of its SD-1 Standard Dynamic Mic. Call me odd, but I think decades of success building incredible mic preamps, analog compressors, and audio interfaces gives UA good reason to grace the world with some new microphone choices. At its welcoming price point, the sound profile and feature set of this mic make it an appealing option for vocalists, content makers, and engineers.
Recognizable, yet Fresh
For anyone who has laid eyes on a certain legendary broadcast-style microphone, one look at the SD-1 should clue them in as to what it is. For those who don’t recognize the mic’s classic profile, know that the SD-1 has all the ingredients of a mic that’s purpose-built for close-miking your voice, although it also serves instruments such as guitars quite well. What sets it apart visually from other mics in its community is the pairing of a white body with black accents, and of course, the striking UA logo.
Dynamic Mic Capsule
Like most popular broadcast mics, the SD-1 utilizes a dynamic capsule with a directional, cardioid pickup pattern. Positive side effects of the dynamic capsule (compared to a condenser) include operation without phantom power, decreased sensitivity to extraneous sounds, and a smooth, voice-friendly frequency range that excludes extreme bass and treble. However, with a lower output level than a condenser mic, the SD-1 needs more gain at the mic pre. So, don’t be bashful when boosting the pre.
Ready for Home Recording
The cardioid polar pattern allows the SD-1 to provide effective rejection of background noise behind the mic, which is advantageous to most people recording outside the acoustically treated and isolated comfort of a studio. Just make sure you point this end-address mic toward the source and away from the undesired sound (e.g., the fridge) to put that off-axis rejection to use.
More Goodness, Less Junk
Glancing at the bottom of the SD-1 reveals not just the XLR output connector, but also two little switches—one activates a 200 Hz low-cut filter and the other engages a 3-5 kHz boost for enhanced clarity and presence. The top of the mic is covered by a foam windscreen, offering modest reduction of breath noise along with classic broadcast mic style. What you can’t see is the internal shockmount, a great inclusion that diminishes obnoxious handling noise.
If you happen to run the SD-1 into a Universal Audio Apollo audio interface, you’ll be able to access channel strip presets custom-made for the SD-1. Use these presets to call up preconfigured settings of EQ and compression quickly, giving you a fast track to mix-ready tone.
Whether you run a UA interface or not, the SD-1 presents a compelling case for itself. Can you see it serving as your main mic or replacing some mics in your existing locker? Let us know in the Comments section, below!