From the incredible fidelity of their ‘60s recordings to the groundbreaking technical advancements of the ORTF (Office de Radio diffusion Television Françoise), when it comes to the white-lab-coat school of audio engineering, the French have always been at the top of the class. The country’s strong roots in broadcast and orchestral recording have meant that France has always been one of the world’s premier exporters of audio engineering talent but, in terms of actual contributions to microphone design, they have always been somewhat overshadowed by the Austrian and German classics of yore. That is until now.
Prodipe are a French Audio company with a purpose; to produce legimitely Pro products that come in (well) below traditional ‘Pro’ pricing. Employing the same level of R’n’D and design nous as many of the better known prestige manufacturers, Prodipe are set to create some major waves amongst FOH engineers and studio veterans alike. It was with this in mind that I jumped at the opportunity to put their Ludovic Lanen designed dynamics through their paces, starting with the TT-1
The TT-1 has long been a cult favourite amongst savvy engineers and forum dwellers for a number of years. A real insider’s microphone, the TT-1 is often praised for its sonic fullness, versatility and rugged construction (and exceptionally low pricepoint).
Equally adept at live vocals as it is in front of a guitar cab, the TT-1 has garnered a reputation as something of a ‘giant killer’ amongst modern dynamic mics. The inclusion of a mute switch (coupled with its tendency to add weight to even the most anaemic sounding voice), also makes the TT-1 an incredibly adept karaoke microphone.
Whereas the TT-1 is more concerned with versatility of application, the slightly more specialised TT1-Pro is an instrument microphone in its truest form, with its slender profile and signature robust voicing (think sm57 without the midrange chirp or a front address version of an e609).
Superbly engineered by the great Ludovic Lanen, the TT-1 Pro is a utilitarian, multi-purpose microphone capable of producing a more than workable sound across a wide variety of sound sources. Like all Lanen mics in this review, it has a classy fullness to it that never seems to cross the line into muddiness, even at close proximity. I found the smooth voicing and broadband frequency response of the TT1-Pro to be the perfect antidote to janky sounding snare drums and brittle guitar sounds that often plague young bands. The low-mid fullness also make it a great go-to for toms.
The third and final Lanen mic to be tested was Prodipes contribution to the world of handheld vocal dynamics, the M-85. With its silver ball-grille and transparent voicing, the M-85 definitely has a very different vibe to the aforementioned models, sounding almost like the exact middle ground between a sm58 and a DPA. As a stage mic, I found it to provide ample resistance to plosives/handling noise and it’s impressive gain-before-feedback properties meant that it compared favourably to the classic handhelds pitted against it. It has the same broadband capture and sonic fullness that we have come to expect from a Lanen mic, albeit with an airier top. This fullness and ability to handle plosives would also see the M-85 as a good backup or beginner mic for podcast.
In conclusion, Prodipe’s new line of Lanen designed dynamics are a force to be reckoned with. By combining the savoir-faire of French engineering with the most efficient Asian manufacturing in the business, Prodipe have managed to create the ultimate outlier: truly Pro quality mics at a fraction of the cost of the big boys. Get on them early, because when word gets out about the level of audio quality we are talking about here, they won’t be a trade secret for very long.
Hits and Misses
High fidelity output
Extremely good value for money
Could do with a sturdier mount