We put PreSonus' entry-level studio mic to the test.
PreSonus manufacture a wide range of products to meet the needs of the home studio owner, from interfaces, control surfaces and mixers to studio monitors. It makes sense then that they should offer microphones to complete the chain. Their PX‑1 is very conventional, insomuch as it is a cardioid-pattern mic based around a one-inch (25mm) gold-sputtered capsule, with a 6-micron-thick, centre-terminated mylar diaphragm feeding into FET electronics, but it is attractively priced and has a respectable technical specification. Its appearance is also quite typical of this style of mic, with its slightly tapered body, matt silver finish and side-address basket/capsule.
As with most microphones in this price range, the PX‑1 is manufactured in China and its internal style of construction has become a familiar sight to those of us who review a lot of microphones. In this instance all the components are mounted on a tidily assembled single circuit board supported on two metal rails, and the output is balanced via a transformer. A threaded base holds the body sleeve in place and a PreSonus logo denotes the 'hot' side of the mic. As expected a 48 Volt phantom power supply is required.
Perhaps of most interest is the frequency response curve, which is pretty flat up to around 5kHz, above which are two very modest presence bumps — one of around +3dB centred at 7kHz and another reaching around +4dB at 10kHz. These are high enough to add some useful airiness to the sound but without introducing coloration in the upper midrange in the way that a lower-frequency presence peak can. Overall frequency response is given as 20Hz to 18kHz, and it is only a few dB down at 20kHz so the PX‑1 can be considered as a full-range microphone. There are no pads or filters, and the included mount is a simple solid one to help keep the cost down. A zip-up vinyl carry case is included.
The PX‑1 can operate at SPLs of up to 135dB before significant distortion sets in, and it has a sensitivity of 25mV/Pa, which is typical for this style of microphone. While its 18dB SPL A-weighted noise figure isn't the lowest for a mic of this type, it is certainly low enough not to be an issue for any of its intended studio applications, which include vocals and general instrument use.
Those high presence peaks add a subtle sense of air without aggravating harshness...
Sonically this mic gives a good account of itself on vocals, balancing weight with detail, though every voice is different so it's always good to try as many mics as possible before deciding which one is best for a specific vocalist. Those high presence peaks add a subtle sense of air without aggravating harshness, which also suits acoustic guitar, on which the mic delivers a natural-sounding result with open highs. Of course finding the sweet spot that works best for the mic, the instrument and the recording space is always a big part of the equation, whatever mic you use. I also tried the mic on an electric guitar amplifier and came away very pleasantly surprised. Often capacitor mics can come across as too bright and lacking in body, but the PX‑1, placed a little off axis and about 400mm from the speaker, gave me a sound very close to how I heard the amplifier in the room.
While it is hard to find anything unusual to say about the PX‑1, it turned out to be a very capable all-rounder with extra bonus points for its performance on electric guitar amplifiers.
While this mic offers very straightforward facilities, it performs well for its price range and is suitable for a variety of sound sources and voice types.