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SE Electronics Reflexion Filter, August 2006
Aug 1, 2006 2:18 PM, By Kevin Becka
PORTABLE VOCAL BOOTH
New from SE Electronics, Reflexion Filter is a $399 portable vocal booth that sits behind a mic, providing isolation from problem reflections and room ambience.
This sturdy metal unit is approximately a foot tall and two feet across and is composed of multiple layers. The outer layer is an aluminum skin with holes punched at regular intervals. Below that is a layer of absorptive wool, then a layer of aluminum foil. The next acoustic barrier is a small air space followed by a series of suspended and angled aluminum, wool-covered baffles. These absorptive barriers prevent room energy from entering the back of the mic, while keeping the voice from leaving the area of the mic and reflecting back.
The Reflexion Filter can be set up on the same stand as your mic, but don't try to do this without instruction. Somewhat Rube Goldberg-ian in design, it can't be figured out by mere mortals. Unfortunately, the diagram that came with the package I received was imprecise and incomplete. I printed a picture of the mounted unit from the SE Website, which made setup easy. [Eds. note: This review unit was an early release. Since then, the company has written a comprehensive manual detailing the setup of the filter.] In any event, use a sturdy mic stand because the Reflexion Filter and mic together carry a lot of weight..
Dubbed the Robo-Gobo by one of my session players, the unit was set up in a medium-sized vocal booth. The first track was done without the filter, and then a second ad-lib track was recorded so I could compare the two. The recording done with the filter was decidedly warmer. The engineer commented that she usually has to notch out 1k when recording voice in this particular room. Here, the filter naturally reduced this problem peak without EQ.
Next, I cut a vocal in the control room with the singer set up in the back of the room, off to the side and facing the console. Even with the speakers in the control room turned up considerably, the vocal tone was solid. I was able to cut a good-sounding, usable vocal track live in the room with minimal leakage.
I was skeptical of the Reflexion Filter at first, but after some experimentation and comparing tracks, it made a believer out of me. Be aware that it's impossible to read a lyric sheet or see visual cues during use. But if that doesn't bother you and you're having problems recording vocals in less-than-perfect environments, then the Reflexion Filter is worth a look.
SE Electronics, dist. by Sonic Distribution, www.sonic-distribution.com.
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