New From NAMM—DPA Microphones

I'll say this upfront; I'm a big fan of DPA mics. We had a DPA 4088 headband mic when I was at Upper Room. I'll admit being skeptical at first of the cost (about 2x an e6), but it sounded good. Then we had an issue with it the last weekend in our old space. I sent it to DPA, and though they couldn't reproduce the issue, they replaced it for free. While it was in transit, we had to use an e6 on our pastor. When the DPA came back, it took about 3 words before I was convinced that yes, they do sound a lot better.

So when Bruce Meyers tells me he has a new mic coming out that I may be interested in, I listen. I listen hard. In fact, Gary and I listened for a good 30 minutes while Bruce schooled us on the concept of flat phase response microphones. It was a fascinating discussion and it's already changed how I look at mics. But enough about that, let's get to some new mics.

What are the two hardest things to mic in live sound? Show of hands; piano and choirs. Can I get an amen? After our discussion with Bruce, I now have a much greater understanding of why it's so hard. Soon, we may have a good solution.

The silver end is basically a small, end-address shotgun mic.This mic has the potential to solve a lot of problems. First, it hangs on a nice thin cable which connects via a micro-connector at the black end. Let it hang overnight, and you can then flex it any direction you want and it will hold it's shape without any kind of clip. Very slick. Second, as a microphone that has the same frequency response all around it's polar pattern, it will make micing a choir significantly easier. The fact that it's very small and discreet is an added bonus. It's not quite ready for production, but I'm hoping to get my hands on a few to test in the next month or so. I want one for my baptismal and two for audience mics for the in-ear mix.

The next challenge we all face is piano. I honestly can't stand micing pianos. It's pretty rare to actually get good sound that doesn't contain a ton of bleed from everything else on stage. Again, Bruce explained why that's so hard. At some point, once I've fully digested that information, I'll try to write about it. The good news is, DPA has a forthcoming piano mic kit that will likely make our lives a lot easier.

The soon-to-be-released SMK 4098 Stereo Microphone Kit promises to make micing piano (and host of other things) a lot easier. The kit contains two 4098 directional microphones and two mounting options. One mount is a small magnetic base that will affix the mics to the harp of a piano securely, but non-permenently. Because the response on- and off-axis is so similar, the sound is said to be amazing.

I hope to be in possession of a kit in a month or two to demo. Once I can do that, I'll write up more about it, and hopefully include some sample recordings.

DPA is also working on a single ear version of their famed 4088 and 4066 headset mics. Turns out some people (including my pastor) just don't like dual ear designs. Again, once it's closer to ready I hope to have a sample to demo. Having just spent a month with a DaCappo DA12, I'm anxious to hear the new DPA. We'll be buying one of them...