It may not be esoteric, but sometimes a good‑quality mic at a very reasonable price is all you need!
You may not be familiar with the brand name Isuzi, as their main output appears to be stringed instruments and their accessories, but they’ve recently branched into the pro audio sector with the I‑M1S stage microphone. Built in China to reduce costs, it may not bring anything particularly new to the table but it does offer a very decent level of performance at a low price point.
Constructionally there’s nothing unusual here — we have a gently tapered cast‑alloy body with a thread machined into it at the upper end to receive the screw‑on capsule basket. Both the body and basket are finished in satin black, and the foam insert inside the basket can easily be removed for washing. The cardioid‑pattern dynamic capsule uses a neodymium magnet, and sits in a fairly rigid rubber insert. It provides a nominal frequency response reaching up to 16kHz (no tolerances are given). Sensitivity is quoted as ‑51dB, ±3dB (referenced to 0dB =1V/Pa) at 1kHz. A standard three‑pin XLR output connector is secured to the bottom end of the mic by a single grub screw in the usual way. A mic cable is included along with a mic clip, thread adaptor and zip‑up vinyl storage pouch.
On the side of the mic is an on/off switch. From a sound engineer’s perspective, I’m not a fan of switches on live vocal mics as vocalists often turn off their mics accidentally, leaving you wondering where all the signal has gone. Fortunately, on the I‑M1S, there is a grub screw set into the slider that can be used to lock it in the on position.
Turning to the performer’s point of view, the mic feels well balanced and it sits comfortably in the hand. I also like the fact that the manufacturers have resisted the idea of applying one of those non‑slip rubber coatings, and instead stuck with a paint finish. All too often those rubber coatings turn into a sticky goo after a couple of years — it feels like you’re performing with your hand full of partly-chewed wine gums!
Overall, the vocal sound came across as clear and solid, with a useful but not overdone presence lift.
My first vocal comparison was with a Prodipe dynamic microphone that is similar in both styling and cost. The sensitivity and tonal balance were very similar, and both benefitted from a low‑cut filter on the desk or preamp when miking vocals, as popping could become an issue when used up close. Overall, the vocal sound came across as clear and solid, with a useful but not overdone presence lift. In comparison with a couple of my other dynamic mics, the Isuzi I‑M1S had slightly more output and seemingly more low end, which becomes most apparent when close‑working, where the proximity effect kicks in. However, that beefy low end comes into its own when miking toms and such-like, and I also obtained very usable results using the mic to record my guitar amplifier. In summary, then, the Isuzi I‑M1S is a very capable all‑rounder for anyone on a tight budget.
A more than serviceable microphone for stage vocals, and plenty of other uses too, at a price that’s hard to argue with.