The second product of the sE / Rupert Neve collaboration, work on the RN17 began with a discussion between Rupert and Siwei Zou on the merits and problems of small-diaphragm condensers.
"I said, 'That transformer is too big. This is a small-capsule microphone. Impossible.'" According to Siwei, "The SDC's problem is that they have a very clear sound - the SPL is high, but the sound is very cold, not like with a large diaphragm. The quality of the transformer can make the sound much, much better - but with a small transformer, nobody can do it."
"Rupert told me, 'I want THIS transformer.' I said, 'That transformer is too big. This is a small-capsule microphone. Impossible.' He said, 'I want the impossible to be possible.'"
The Small Diaphragm
With a 15mm diaphragm (the world's smallest production gold-sputtered diaphragm), the transient response of the RN17 is unparalleled. Such a small capsule reacts extremely quickly, and is therefore adept at picking up the most delicate of high-frequency content. However, a tiny diaphragm usually results in a lack of low-frequency response. How to counter this?
The Massive Transformer
Made obvious by the unusual chassis shape, the RN17's transformer is substantially larger than the norm. This full-scale transformer was custom-designed by Rupert Neve specifically for this microphone - and nobody has been designing audio transformers longer (or better) than Rupert Neve. With an audio transformer of this magnitude, the RN17 is able to put out astonishing clarity across ALL frequencies - not just the highs. The midrange is detailed and forward, the lows are full and accurate, and the whole microphone has a balance and headroom never before achieved with a small-capsule microphone.
Matte Black Finish
The matte black finish minimizes the level of visual attention drawn to the microphone when used on stage or in the studio, allowing it to blend into the background.
The RN17 ships standard with a cardioid capsule, but an omnidirectional capsule is also available for purchase separately.
Custom Shock Mount
Every RN17 includes a custom-designed, sturdy, protective, and easy-to-use shock mount, which is essential to reducing the unwanted effects of vibration or knocks to the supporting microphone stand.