We are reader-supported. Links on our site may earn us a commission. More about us

Universal Audio SD-1 review

Today, we’ll be reviewing the Universal Audio SD-1 cardioid dynamic microphone.

Universal Audio is a huge name within the industry, and are often amongst the leading innovators of audio technology. This microphone isn’t necessarily the most expensive microphone out there, but it isn’t truly a budget mic either. Anyway, let’s take a deeper look and see what it has to offer.

Universal Audio SD-1 microphone review

Our verdict on the Universal Audio SD-1 3.0

Overall, this microphone is a fine choice for novice podcasters and streamers. It’s fairly adaptable thanks to Universal Audio’s software which comes with a variety of different custom channel presets, so you can get the best sound out of it with the least amount of effort.

However, this only benefits Apollo owners, so if you happen to have a different interface you won’t reap any of the additional perks that come with the microphone.

We would recommend that more serious audio engineers look elsewhere, but if you’re dead set on getting the SD-1, you can make it work.

Available at: SweetwaterAmazon

Polar pattern and frequency response 4.0

The SD-1 is a cardioid-pattern dynamic vocal microphone with a frequency response of 50 Hz – 16 kHz. The microphone features a low-cut filter at 200 Hz to help clear out low-frequency rumbles, as well as a switchable setting for articulation.

The articulation switch adds a presence lift from 3 kHz – 5 kHz. Both the low-cut and presence lift are adjusted by DIP switches located underneath the XLR output.

Universal Audio SD-1 dynamic microphone

Overall, the SD-1 has a fairly flat response which is conducive to podcasters and vocalists. If you happen to own an Apollo, you’ll gain access to custom presets made by Universal Audio to help get the best sound out of your performance.

Studio vocals 3.7

The SD-1 is more than capable when it comes to recording studio vocals. Dynamic microphones aren’t always the first choice that comes to mind for studio applications, but it is surprising how often they are chosen over condensers.

While condensers may be ‘better’ on paper, some vocalists can benefit from a more forward-sounding dynamic. Especially vocalists who might need to round out the high-end of their vocals to keep from sounding too harsh or grating.

Universal Audio SD-1 tested with microphone stand

What’s more is that those of you who own an Apollo in conjunction with the SD-1 will have access to custom channel presets for a variety of different vocal styles.

Check out our studio vocal mics recommendations

Live vocals 3.5

As a cardioid dynamic microphone, the SD-1 could easily be used for live vocals due to its off-axis rejection and isolation, as well as its ability to handle louder sound sources.

Check out our live vocal mics recommendations

Drums 3.0

This microphone could feasibly be used on a drum kit. Perhaps, it would make a decent overhead, or snare mic. However, this will work best if you have Universal Audio channel presets. This will save you time in post trying to get it to sound good.

Check out our drum mics recommendations

Guitar amps 3.0

Again, the SD-1 is a competent microphone that can capture some very passable electric guitar sounds. It may not offer much more tonally than an SM57, but it does the trick.

If you have access to Universal Audio’s channel presets, it can also help cut down time you spend in post trying to make the recording fit in a mix.

Check out our electric guitar amp mics recommendations

Bass amps 1.0

Since the SD-1’s frequency response cuts off at around 50 Hz, we can’t recommend this microphone for recording bass at all.

The thing about recording bass, is that you kind of want to capture frequencies that are lower than 50 Hz. Most bass guitars have a response of 40 Hz – 4 kHz, if you’re trying to capture sub-frequencies that number drops down to 20 Hz. Not the best microphone for bass.

Acoustic guitars 3.0

The SD-1 is a fine microphone when it comes to recording acoustic guitars. With proper placement you can get some very usable sounds. Even more so when you are able to to use some of the channel presets Universal Audio provides for the microphone.

Check out our acoustic guitar mics recommendations

Build quality 4.0

Overall, the microphone has a fairly solid build to it, and it seems plenty durable.

Universal Audio SD-1 connector and switches

The dip switches on the base of the microphone are easily accessible and clearly labeled, and the shock mount is a nice touch. The stand also comes with three thread adapters which is convenient.

Compared to other microphones

Here are a few comparisons to take into your consideration before purchasing the Universal Audio SD-1.

UA SD-1 vs. Electro-Voice RE320

This is probably one of the closest comparisons against the SD-1, particularly in terms of price. However, the RE320 is a better microphone. It has a wider frequency response, and is much more aesthetically pleasing to the eyes – and ears. For our money, we would go for the RE320.

UA SD-1 vs. Rode Podcaster

The SD-1 is hands down the better microphone in this comparison. No offense to Rode, but the SD-1 has a wider frequency response and is far more flexible as a general microphone.

UA SD-1 vs. Shure SM7B

While the SM7B is a bit of a stretch, if you’re wanting a serious vocal microphone and have the means – it’s definitely worth your consideration. It has a better frequency response, and is far more flexible as a serious recording microphone.

Check out our Shure SM7B review

Who is the Universal Audio SD-1 best suited for?

This microphone is best suited for casual content creators, whether that be podcasters, streamers, or gamers. We can’t say it’s great for serious musicians or engineers, but it can work in a pinch.

  • Decent sound quality.
  • Custom channel presets.
  • Might be overpriced for what it offers.

Video demo