The world of audio and musical equipment can be a tricky one to navigate at the best of times. With so many different products, conflicting opinions and confusing reviews, it’s hard to know what’s actually the best product for your needs. Luckily, the team at Mixdown have put in the legwork for you, sifting through the spec-sheets and putting the products through their paces to bring you Mixdown’s Picks - a new series of expansive, category defining product guides across our digital channels. Anything that has made the cut has rated highly across the board with the Mixdown staff, garnering a unanimous tick of approval from our staunch critics.
For this installment, we're diving deep into the world of studio microphones, exploring the massive range of ribbon, condenser and dynamic options on the market for savvy producers, engineers and project studio enthusiasts.
Dr. Alien Smith Subkick-01
Category: Dynamic (Large Diaphragm) | Pattern: Cardioid
Key Features: Perth manufacturers Dr. Alien Smith are extremely unique in that they specialise in the kinds of left-of-centre character mics which, while not always appropriate for every source, have the capacity to be just the right flavour on the right track, providing the perfect to an anemic sonic element, and giving the program material a much needed jolt of electricity.
Of the Doc’s numerous sonic oddities, perhaps the most essential is the Subkick-01, one of the last remaining Subkicks being manufactured for commercial sale, anywhere in the world. For the uninitiated, a ‘Subkick’ is a special sub-category of classic speaker mic literally using many of the same electro-acoustic concepts found in speaker driver systems, but operating in reverse (i.e. capturing sound rather than projecting it). These mics deal in extremely low bass frequencies, and have the capacity to add amazing low end and overall sonic punch to a variety of sources like kick, bass and guitar amps.
Mixdown Says: To put it simply, with its 6.5” (165mm) capsule (for reference the average capsule size of a large diaphragm condenser tops out at about 35mm) - a Subkick is capable of capturing natural low frequency information in a way that other microphones simply can not. Combine this with DrAlienSmith’s expertly designed high output circuitry, and you have a super useful tool for the studio, capable of operating smoothly across most standard pre-amps.
The vented bamboo finish only adds to the surreal flavour of this charmingly idiosyncratic mic, but rest assured the sonic output is anything but a laughing matter, with the Subkick-01 adding instant sonic heft and low frequency reinforcement to even the most flaccid of kick and bass sounds.
Overall: With its inbuilt mount, classy Neutrik connectors and for jaw droppingly accessible price-tag of $165, Dr. Alien Smith’s Subkick-01 its really inexcusable not to get on board. As a microphone, it has the capacity to seamlessly enter your daily workflow, or occasionally lift you out of a sonic cul-de-sac when low end is scarce and nothing is shaking like it should. Check them out at Found Sound or at DrAlienSmith.com today.
Find out more about Dr. Alien Smith's range of studio weapons through his website.