I just got my second PL9 so I'm really ready to give them a workout doing some field recording this Fall.
I have been using my secret weapon omni dynamics for recording bands outside, the Realistic 1070b (or c or d), RE50 clones made by Shure for Radio Shack. But I will soon have a pair of PL9s so I'm all psyched about hitting it with the real deal.
I've read a lot about the PL9/RE55/DO54 alignment including this post at rec.audio.pro
Most of the Electro-Voice mics in the Pro-Line had an equivalent in the
pl5 = 635a
pl9 = re55 (short shaft)
pl20 = re20
pl76 = 1776a
(I was an ElectroVoice dealer throughout the 80's)
I have also read that all three mics use the same capsule. The PL9 has the short handle, The RE55 long, and the DO54 comes with both short and long handles.
The specs are similar on all mics with the RE55 showing a slightly extended frequency response over the PL9 which is similar to the the DO54 and then over the EV 635a like this.
RE55 -- 40-20,000 Hz - Electro-Voice Model RE55
PL9 --- 50-18,000 Hz - Electro-Voice PL9
DO54 - 50-18,000 Hz - http://olympia.osd.wednet.edu/media/..._datasheet.pdf
635a - 80-13,000 - Electro-Voice Model 635A
I think the DO56 line is also similar but they look different. The RE50 is also similar to the 635a. Of all these mics the 635a is still in production. And it has the least extended frequency response.
Looking at specs we tend to think that the broader the frequency response the better but in real life video studios the 635a fills the bill because of what it doesn't pick up, inner city rumble and high frequency electronics noise.
Nonetheless for recording music I prefer the omnis with the extended frequency response. If you use them out of doors and put a wind screen on them you will get the least wind noise of any type of microphone.
Back in the day people used to care about hifi. It wasn't about downloading an mp3. People bought LPs of the finest symphony orchestras recorded by Deutsche Gramophon using direct to disk technology. The direct to disk recording machines cost $100,000 and up. The recording engineers would place a stereo pair in the concert hall in an attempt to reproduce the live symphony experience for an audiophile audience. These are possibly the best hi fidelity recordings ever made. And the mics? The engineers would choose a pair of EV RE55s.
The PL9s may not be RE55s but they are at least very close. And my cost? I bought the first one in 2007 for $51.71. I've been trying to get another one ever since I realized what I have. Now in 2011 I bought my second one for $58. These are at the low end of the price range for these mics but they can be had under $100 any given year. The RE155s cost over $150. Still cheap for a high quality professional microphone.
And the Realistic 1070 mics. $30 a pair on ebay all the time. Shure made a buttload of them.
33-1070c - 50-15,000 Hz - Omnidirectional Dynamic Microphone 330-1070C Specifications
Now there's a bargain in microphones.
By the way there is no practical difference between a 40 or 50 Hz bottom end or a 15K or 18K top end. In both cases you are talking a very slight roll off over a fractional part of an octave.
I want to clear up a misconception about omni microphones and room quality. It is true that omnis pick up from all directions and they will pick up more room than a directional mic placed the same distance from the source.
Omnis, however, do not suffer from proximity effect so can be place much closer to your acoustic guitar or bass without getting boomy. Doing this they can actually have less room sound than a directional mic because of the inverse square law.
Sometime's when I record acoustic guitar with omnis the mics are less than one inch from the guitar. This is 64 times as loud as a mic placed 8 inches from the guitar because every time you halve the distance you increase the volume by 4 times. So I get 1/64 of the room reflections by using an omni.
Any time you're going into an unusual situation which happens all the time doing field recording, whether indoors or outdoors, your safest choice that will almost always deliver acceptable recordings that sound like the music in the room is a pair of dynamic omnis. And you don't have to break the bank to add them to your arsenal.