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Fluid Audio Axis review

It can be a bit of a minefield choosing a budget mic. We weigh up this impressive-looking new entry

  • €249
Fluid Audio Axis
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

A well spec’d mic package with a quality finish and plenty of style. A very solid entry into the mic market for Fluid Audio.

Pros

  • Reasonably neutral sound with subtle high frequency boost.
  • Compact hard carry case.
  • Accessories include high quality mic cable.
  • Low profile, C-shaped cradle.
  • Very effective dual layer clip-on pop shield.

Cons

  • No regular mic clip.

MusicRadar Verdict

A well spec’d mic package with a quality finish and plenty of style. A very solid entry into the mic market for Fluid Audio.

Pros

  • +

    Reasonably neutral sound with subtle high frequency boost.

  • +

    Compact hard carry case.

  • +

    Accessories include high quality mic cable.

  • +

    Low profile, C-shaped cradle.

  • +

    Very effective dual layer clip-on pop shield.

Cons

  • -

    No regular mic clip.

Fluid Audio Axis: What is it?

Axis is a new phantom-powered cardioid condenser mic from US brand Fluid Audio. 

Fluid is best known for its studio monitors and it has produced some pretty nice designs over the past 10 years. However, with both monitor headphones and the Axis mic now added to the product line, Fluid is clearly seeking to branch out a bit.

Axis all areas

Axis is built around a 34mm capsule with gold-sputtered diaphragm. With a dark grey cylindrical body and silver grille, the mic looks reasonably traditional, and it feels solid and well made. The bundle includes a silver C-shaped suspension cradle, which matches the grille shading, and a black C-shaped dual-layer clip-on pop shield, though there’s no regular mic clip which might have been handy. Rounding things off is a 5m woven coated mic cable from quality manufacturer Scale Technologies. The whole bundle comes in a lockable mini hardshell case. 

Fluid Audio Axis

(Image credit: Future)

At under 20cm long, the Axis isn’t that big, and even once you fit the suspension cradle the overall profile is still reasonably compact. Nevertheless, that cradle weighs quite a bit and with the pop shield installed makes for quite a heavy combo. The dual-layer pop shield incorporates an elastic mount and to install you simply slide it over the headstock, and once installed it’s about 20mm from the grille, which is pretty close.

Fluid Audio Axis

(Image credit: Future)

Fluid Audio Axis: Performance and verdict

Axis has reasonable specs, with equivalent noise at 16dB (A-weighted) and sensitivity at 12.4mV/Pa. Fluid suggests that the mic is designed for acoustic instruments, and a quick look at the frequency response reveals a modest lift in the upper mids and a reasonable bit of extra air above 10kHz, both of which can be ideal in this context. 

That said, when we first plug up the mic we're not hearing any substantial boost in the top end and this may be that it’s just the air frequencies that are added and the high mids are less hyped. Either way the Axis does sound pretty good. A quick check of the pickup pattern reveals this to be reasonably tight for a cardioid, and, as ever, the off-axis rejection is quite frequency dependent. Nevertheless, our overall impressions are that the mic sounds reasonably neutral.

On top of the pops

We are quite curious as to how effective the clip-on pop shield will be, and to our surprise it works amazingly well. What’s more, the C-shaped design means that it wraps around the headstock, so even if you find yourself off-axis, the capsule’s still protected.    

We tried the Axis on a number of sources including percussion, drum kit, acoustic guitar and vocals, and it performed pretty well all round.

Vocals will be a popular source for Axis users and it does a good job here

On acoustic in particular the sound was nicely balanced. Obviously vocals will be a popular source for Axis users and it does a good job here. We particularly liked that the dual-layer pop shield means you can get nice and close without picking up annoying plosives. 

All told, this is a very usable microphone, and the overall package with cradle, pop shield, hard case and cable offers excellent value. 

MusicRadar verdict: A well spec’d mic package with a quality finish and plenty of style. A very solid entry into the mic market for Fluid Audio.

Fluid Audio Axis: Hands-on demos

MusicGearz

Fluid Audio Axis: Specifications

  • POLAR PATTERN: Cardioid.
  • CAPSULE: 34mm gold-sputtered diaphragm.
  • FREQUENCY RANGE: 20Hz-20kHz.
  • SENSITIVITY: 12.4mV/Pa.
  • EQUIVALENT NOISE LEVEL: 16dB A-weighted. 
  • MAX ACOUSTIC SPL: 136dB. 
  • MAX OUTPUT: +11 dBu. 
  • DIMENSIONS: 180 x 50mm. 
  • WEIGHT: 0.88kg (including cradle and pop shield).
  • CONTACT: Fluid Audio