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Tons of them. It is a common vocal mic (Stevie Wonder comes to mind) but, it has been used as a stage mic for a ridiculous number of people. I’ve seen Michael Brecker use one numerous times. Definitely not an inexpensive mic but, easily one that won’t clip on you easily and great tone quality.
 

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I’m looking for some info about this mic for recording saxophone. Anybody know what famous recordings were made with this mic?
I think you heard my recent recording with one in my crappy room at home. I’m not famous of course but I think it’s a solid option for sax recording.
 

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I recently got one and was recommended to get a Cloudlifter that uses phantom power to boost the signal from the RE20. I havent used it live yet but it might be something to consider getting just to boost it a little. They are great mics!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I heard Coltrane liked this mic, but I'm not sure if he ever recorded with it in the studio. I found somewhere on the web that Wayne Shorter used one for most Weather Report records from "Heavy Weather" onward.
 

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I heard Coltrane liked this mic, but I'm not sure if he ever recorded with it in the studio. I found somewhere on the web that Wayne Shorter used one for most Weather Report records from "Heavy Weather" onward.
They didn’t come out until 1969, unless I’m wrong. Coltrane died in 67
 

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I recently got one and was recommended to get a Cloudlifter that uses phantom power to boost the signal from the RE20. I havent used it live yet but it might be something to consider getting just to boost it a little. They are great mics!!
I may get a cloudlifter, I have to crank the gain on my interface to get good signal.
 

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I think Bob Reynolds uses one (or at least used to use one) live.
 

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There are lots of examples of saxophones using it live on YouTube (mostly in the 1970's- 1990's). It has three nice attributes:

1. It's a dynamic, so it doesn't need phantom power, and it tends to pick up less room sound than a condenser.

2. It has a relatively flat frequency response and sounds natural (though not perfect, there are some dips and it can sound very slightly dull). Nothing that can't be fixed in EQ. Condensers usually have some high end emphasis, so it sounds different from them.

3. It has the "Variable-D" EV technology which translates to having much less proximity effect. This is great for saxes in live situations when close-miking. The low notes don't blast out like other mics.

You do need a lot of gain for this mic, like 60 dB. The Shure SM-7B is similar, but may have more proximity effect.

I have an RE-20 and use a preamp with 64 dB of gain.

Here is a review and comparison with some other mics for saxophone:


Other dynamic mics of interest include the Sennheiser 441 (rectangular, long, thin). This mic has flat frequency response and was also a Brecker favorite:
 

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I’ve heard Joe Henderson and Brecker use them live. They have a nice warm quality that seems good for amplified acoustic groups. I had one but since I seem to either play without a mic or in a cover band with ridiculously loud guitar players I didn’t really have much use for it.
 

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Wayne Shorter did indeed record on the RE20 for all the Weather Report albums (that I'm aware of) starting at Heavy Weather or even before. His sound on HW is one of my favorite recorded saxophone sounds in history (if the screen name I've had since, like, 1998 is any indication...) and I was blown away when I found out he wasn't on a Neumann made out of unobtanium for those dates. The studio WR recorded in at the time had a deal with Electro-Voice so virtually all the mics used on that session are EV of some variety, from the drums and percussion to Joe's piano to Jaco's bass cab, and Wayne on the trusty RE20.

When Wayne recorded with Miles' brilliant quintet in the 1960s, he was either on a u67 or M49, either of which would fetch $10-15k these days. And that's my very favorite recorded saxophone sound ever. But he sounds shockingly close on the RE20, for a fraction of the price. It's definitely a good bet for recording at home on any of the horns!
 

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Not famous, but I have used one for 30 years for stage work. They are worth the money. For studio recording I prefer a U47 or AEA A440. The RE20 is also great for recording. The RE320, which is based on the RE20, is cheaper, but I’m not as much a fan.
 

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I'm a big fan of the RE20 for Tenor and Bari. As often as not, I'll choose it over the U87 or C414 here in the studio.
 

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How far would
Wayne Shorter did indeed record on the RE20 for all the Weather Report albums (that I'm aware of) starting at Heavy Weather or even before. His sound on HW is one of my favorite recorded saxophone sounds in history (if the screen name I've had since, like, 1998 is any indication...) and I was blown away when I found out he wasn't on a Neumann made out of unobtanium for those dates. The studio WR recorded in at the time had a deal with Electro-Voice so virtually all the mics used on that session are EV of some variety, from the drums and percussion to Joe's piano to Jaco's bass cab, and Wayne on the trusty RE20.

When Wayne recorded with Miles' brilliant quintet in the 1960s, he was either on a u67 or M49, either of which would fetch $10-15k these days. And that's my very favorite recorded saxophone sound ever. But he sounds shockingly close on the RE20, for a fraction of the price. It's definitely a good bet for recording at home on any of the horns!
How far in your opinion is the re20 above and beyond the lowly but esteemed sm57?
 

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How far in your opinion is the re20 above and beyond the lowly but esteemed sm57?
Having used both, I'd say the RE20 is way above and beyond the SM57. I've been using an RE20 for the past 10 years or so and briefly used an SM57 sometime prior to that. No comparison for live playing; the RE20 is much better. I've recorded on it and thought it worked well for that also, but maybe there are some high end studio mics that would better.
 

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I have a lot of respect for the humble 57, and it's useful in a lot of contexts, generally the best bet for a "first decent microphone" for anyone getting started recording. And obviously perfectly good for stage!

If you were to A-B a 57 with an RE20 I think you'd hear quite a bit more clarity and detail from the latter, closer to what you'd expect from a good condenser (but without any ice-pick high end). You can absolutely make decent recordings with a 57. But I think pleasing results happen much more swiftly and consistently with a better mic, like the RE20.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
They didn’t come out until 1969, unless I’m wrong. Coltrane died in 67
Looks like Coltrane used the 667, the predecessor to the RE20, to record Giant Steps in 1960.

"This is a high-fidelity recording, Atlantic uses Electro-voice 667, Capps and Telefunken U-47 microphones and Ampex Model 300-8R tape recorder for its recording sessions. Individual microphone equalization is not permitted. The sound created by musicians and singers is reproduced as faithfully as possible, and special care is taken to preserve the frequency range as well as the dynamic range of each performance."

(Liner notes to John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" produced by Nesuhi Ertegun and recorded by Tom Dowd & Phil Iehle; January 1960)
 
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