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I dug out my old ( 1973/74) Electro-Voice RE20 this past weekend to record a drum kit with; in particular, using the RE on the kick; I guess I'd forgotten how great those old EV's sound on kick drum. It was pretty much "instant tone".

I think they're a wonderful ( variable D) dynamic mic to have, and a cool workhorse mic to have around the studio, because they can be used on all kinds of sources... very popular with radio broadcasters, it became my favorite kick drum mic over 30 years ago, ( IMO the AKG D112 doesn't hold a candle to the RE) and it's still my favorite choice. Besides kick drum, I've used it on guitar amps, bass amps, horn sections, and even on vocals from time to time, all with very pleasing results.

I was doing a session last year at a client's home studio, and he had a newer Electro-Voice PL20, which came several years after the RE; and while I thought it sounded good, I didn't think that it had the same "vibe" as the RE does. Call me crazy, it's entirely possible that I'm wrong about that, but I think the RE20 has a tighter low end, and more pronounced upper mids - but not at all in a harsh way. And, I love that the mic handles proximity effect in a way that very few dynamic mics do. The RE sounds really good on vocals, a nice "smooth" mic for vocals, with that very pleasing "edge" - but it seems to sound that way regardless of whether the singer is 2" away, or 8" away.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.


pan60 Mon, 01/23/2017 - 19:27

One of my favorite mics!
The RE-20 and the PL-20 where identical miss aside from the color and the nomenclature.
The PL series of mics my made to be sold in the M. I. industry ( music instrument ) typical music stares as the other mics where sold through audio dealers.
This allowed EV to sell the mics without cutting into the pro audios guys market.

DonnyThompson Wed, 01/25/2017 - 00:38

Kurt Foster, post: 446887, member: 7836 wrote: yupers. there's pics of it somewhere that i saw. he borrowed an RE20 and a Studer 4 track from EMI (must be nice huh?) and took them out to his home is St. Johns Wood (i always thought is was the farm in Scotland) and began recording the record. it appears overdubs and mixing were done at Morgan and Abbey Road.

here's more on it

Cool back story. I didn't know that he was recording that album at the same time that he was still involved with the others for Let It Be. I'd always thought that it was recorded after the "final" split in April, '70, and like you, I thought he did it at his farm in Scotland. EMI delivered a tape machine to his house in St John's Wood. Must be nice. LOL. I guess what Macca wants, Macca gets.

Truthfully, ( IMO) with the exception of Maybe I'm Amazed, I thought the album was pretty bad; I didn't think it was nearly as good as George's first solo, the now iconic All Things Must Pass - which again IMO, is the best solo-Beatle album ever released.

John's first solo record, Plastic Ono Band was ( arguably) better than Macca's first, kinda that at least he had some other players besides himself working on the tracks, but it was bloody hell depressing to listen to.

DonnyThompson Wed, 01/25/2017 - 04:42

I checked eBay, just for a lark, to see what they were selling for. The average on them seems to be between $350 and $450. That's actually not a bad price range for a mic like the RE-20. I've seen them brand new for closer to $500.

I'm waiting for the time when they become popular again, maybe have a resurgence, like the Shure SM7B had. That may or may not happen, but either way, I'm not planning on getting rid of mine. It's just too good of a workhorse dynamic - and too good sounding - to not have around.
I don't think that it matters much that mine is an older model ('74 I think?), I believe that EV maintained the same build on them over the years, and unlike other mic manufacturers who changed some things in their models over time (such as AKG's 414 Series), I think that if you have a 1974 RE20, it would likely sound no better (or worse) than a new one, if it's been well-taken care of.

I bought mine from a local church sale years ago, ( '79 or '80) they were stripping their PA inventory and the EV was in the batch of things they were selling. I bought the EV for $50, along with a dual MXR "blue" graphic EQ for $25, and a 2402 Tangent Mixer for $100. The EV and the MXR EQ still survive. The Tangent was sold to a dive rock club back around 1988. I got $300 for it. The club burned down to the ground about a year later, and presumably, the Tangent went up in smoke with everything else.

I mentioned in my previous comment that I preferred my own RE20 over a later model PL20, but I should probably amend that statement to say that it was just a power of suggestion thing - and, I should have probably taken into account the preamp that was being used when I heard the PL20 as well, which was a budget model... a Behringer, I think.

Boswell Wed, 01/25/2017 - 09:01

From the thread "Renowned garage rock producer Owen Penglis' fav mics"

Boswell, post: 441309, member: 29034 wrote: EV RE20: I have been using these for many, many years on almost everything percussive, with great results. A couple of years back at a live club recording, I was unexpectedly presented with a vocalist who also played fiddle in her vocal gaps. I had an RE20 set up for another act, but was not using it for this group, so I grabbed it and quickly set it up over the the fiddle. I couldn't believe how good it sounded - even better than the SM81 I would normally have put up had I known about the fiddle in advance. It was a much smoother sound that was simply easy to mix in with the vocal mic and the other band members. On hearing the recording, the vocalist/fiddler wanted to know what mics I had used for her so she could instruct her usual recording studio to set up the same for her next CD recording session.

dvdhawk Wed, 01/25/2017 - 12:49

DonnyThompson, post: 446928, member: 46114 wrote: I mentioned in my previous comment that I preferred my own RE20 over a later model PL20, but I should probably amend that statement to say that it was just a power of suggestion thing - and, I should have probably taken into account the preamp that was being used when I heard the PL20 as well, which was a budget model...

Theoretically, as pan60 stated, they should have been identical (to the extent "identical" is possible in any manufacturing process) when they left the factory. is a great web resource for mic-enthusiasts (geeks), and a note from an E-V tech regarding the PL and RE series confirms that the only difference was in the paint color and the marketing. Any other sonic differences would be attributed to age or condition.

They are great mics though, virtually idiot-proof instant kick drum, and so much more useful than some one-trick-pony drum mics. They're a bit bulky for some jobs, but well worth the effort.