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sE Electronics are now shipping a key new product to their condenser mic range, the USB2200a, which they announced back in January 2006 at the Winter NAMM show in California.
The USB2200a is a USB2 microphone based on the studio standard sE2200a capsule. It records CD quality audio (record path16-bit/48K, output 24-bit/48K) via USB directly to your DAW. The mic has several features including ultra-low latency headphone monitoring (less than 1ms) with mix control to allow the user to set playback versus record path levels to monitor live takes, 10dB pad, bass cut, and an 'analogue switch' which enables the user to use the mic via an XLR connector with 48v phantom power where required. This feature adds flexibility of use to the mic, and means that whatever changes may occur to digital recording technology in years to come, the mic can still be used in 'analogue mode.'
In addition, the USB2200a has proprietary chips, developed by sE Electronics International, which deal with both noise and software driver problems faced by competitor products. One chip helps with transforming the 5v power supplied via the USB cable to power the capsule, by first removing 'noise' and undesirable spikes from the current. This 'noise' would normally be amplified, which is why USB mics have, until now, been largely too noisy to use in a professional environment. No other USB mic on the market offers this kind of specification, and it makes a huge difference to the performance for studio use.
The second proprietary chip has all the appropriate software drivers embedded for use with any DAW, so the product really is 'plug and play', automatically configuring to the host as it is connected.
The USB2200a will ship in early January 2007 and will retail at £222 inc vat.