Primacoustic VoxGuard $120 MSRP, $100 street www.primacoustic.com
THE BIG PICTURE
In the October 2006 issue, I reviewed sE Electronics’ portable Reflexion Filter, which provides acoustic filtering for a mic by impeding signals approaching it from the back and side. It has served me well, but time marches on and VoxGuard is lighter, less expensive, easier to set up, and has a larger surface area for improved absorption.
VoxGuard combines a high-impact ABS outer surround shell with high-density opencell foam to provide absorption. There’s an obvious difference when using it; just listen to a sound source, then put VoxGuard between the sound source and your ear. The difference isn’t like putting in earplugs, but it’s not subtle, either. The most apparent reduction happens in the mid to high frequencies.
VoxGuard handles a wide variety of mics (but not all), including big condensers on shock mounts, and hand-helds like a Shure SM58 (thanks to a small cutout in the back that accommodates any protrusion from the back of the mic and the cable). To use a mic “upside down” you’ll need a studio boom with a down extension, and you attach the VoxGuard to the extension. For this, VoxGuard’s light weight is a big advantage.
The extender bar included with the VoxGuard is great, as it allows positioning your mic further “into” the baffle to deaden the sound more, or outward if you want to dial in some room reflections. This also allows accommodating mics of various sizes more easily.
HITS AND MISSES
Well, there really aren’t any significant misses. The entire unit tends to wobble a bit, but ABS plastic is pretty indestructible, so no worries there. I think as long as you don’t rake things over the foam, VoxGuard should hold up just fine.
The major hit for me is the light weight and ease of setup. VoxGuard is incredibly convenient—it works whether I’m sitting down or standing up, and is easy to move around the studio to where it’s needed.
With so much work being done in a control room where there can be fan and hard drive noise, VoxGuard’s extra couple dB of noise reduction promotes obtaining a cleaner sound. But, it’s also useful any time you want to “deaden” the vocal because you anticipate adding electronic ambience, and I also tried it with acoustic guitar to keep out leakage from percussion—it definitely helped. With more bands favoring the “live in the studio” approach, VoxGuard comes in handy there, too (especially if you want more isolation among backup singers).
Primacoustic has a reputation for making clever, low-cost studio accessories— which definitely describes VoxGuard.
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