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Audix OM-3XB

Dynamic Microphone By Paul White
Published September 1996

Building on their US reputation, Audix mics are now available in the UK. Paul White takes a listen.

USA‑based Audix have yet to achieve the same brand name awareness as the likes of Shure or AKG, but they nevertheless have a solid international reputation for building tough dynamic mics that deliver on sound quality. I've been using the Audix OM‑3xb model for some months now, and as well as filling all those studio roles where a good dynamic mic is required, it has also become my live vocal mic of choice. This wasn't initially a conscious decision on my part — it's just that after trying out a number of dynamics from my studio locker, the Audix OM‑3xb is always the one I end up clipping onto my mic stand, while the rest of the band take their pick from the leftovers. It's something to do with the generally well‑balanced, clear tone of the mic, but having given away most of what is normally reserved for the conclusion of a review, I'll rewind to the beginning and introduce the mic properly.


Supplied with a soft, zip‑up pouch and stand‑mounting clip, the Audix OM‑3xb is a dynamic, hypercardioid mic featuring a reassuringly heavy die‑cast zinc alloy body. Its black, non‑reflective finish remaining intact despite escorting me on numerous gigs. The balanced XLR output uses gold‑plated pins and the incredibly strong, stainless steel wire basket includes an acoustic foam liner, ostensibly to help reduce wind noise, but what they really mean is that it stops singers spitting on the capsule! It's easy enough to remove the liner for cleaning in mouthwash — you simply unscrew the basket and pull it out.

The pressure gradient capsule is mounted on a surprisingly unyielding rubber shockmount, but the degree of handling noise doesn't seem overtly worse than for any other mic of this type that I've tried. No power switch is fitted, and apart from the maker's name, model number and country of origin screened in white, the surface of the OM‑3xb is black and featureless.


Like all pressure‑gradient cardioid mics, the Audix OM‑3xb exhibits a proximity effect when used close up, so the bass response has been rolled off to partially compensate. Used very close to the mouth, the mic still demonstrates a noticeable bass rise with a response extending below 40Hz, whereas using it at a distance of half a metre or so leads to a degree of bass cut. By changing the mic to source distance, a useful amount of tonal change can be brought about without having to resort to external EQ. Mind you, this is true of virtually all dynamic cardioids and hypercardioids, but it's a point worth making nonetheless.

Being foremost a live vocal mic, the OM‑3xb does not have a ruler flat frequency response, delivering instead an exaggerated upper‑mid peak which adds presence and aids clear diction. Again, there's nothing unusual in this — Shure's SM58 exhibits a similar characteristic — but no two mic models have exactly the same shape or degree of presence boost; some sound almost flat whereas others can be over‑emphasised, making them sound harsh, nasal or both. I think Audix have got the balance about right, because the OM‑3xb manages to sound clear and well‑defined without any obvious peakiness. The top end response starts to roll off noticeably above 16kHz or so, again quite normal for a dynamic capsule, though there is still some useful response right up to 20kHz and beyond, which is less usual for a dynamic microphone. The sensitivity compares well with other quality dynamics, such as the battered Shure SM58 that also shares my gig bag.

In the studio, the Audix OM‑3xb is useful for recording vocalists who need the weight and punch that only a dynamic mics seems to deliver. Those with timid voices sometimes find capacitor mics make their voice sound too thin, while others find they exaggerate sibilance. Many rock vocalists simply prefer the dynamic sound because it helps cut through a busy mix. In this application, a pop shield is definitely recommended, as indeed it is with any mic, and stand‑mounted use is better than handheld, simply because no capsule shockmount ever devised works perfectly.

Additional uses include electric guitar, where the OM‑3xb delivers a suitably well‑focused sound. The same is true of percussion, including snare drums and toms. The mic would almost certainly work reasonably well with brass and saxophone, where its better than average transient response should help give the instruments an edge.


On balance, the Audix OM‑3xb is a very well‑specified, solidly engineered dynamic mic, priced somewhere close to the middle of the range. Providing you don't actually throw it, the OM‑3xb seems impervious to the rigours of gigging, and provides a clear, relatively natural tonality that carries well over a busy backing. Feedback susceptibility seems about the same as for the other quality hypercardioids in my dynamic mic locker, and on the cosmetics front, the mic looks sleek and purposeful as well as appearing quite unobtrusive.


  • Clean, well‑balanced sound, with a good high frequency response.
  • Robust construction with a durable finish.
  • Realistically priced given its performance.


  • It's up against a lot of worthy competition.


A good all‑round dynamic mic for live or studio vocals, electric guitar or general instrument use.