CTA Review: DPA 4099 Update—The Sax Files

You may have read my previous review of the 4099 and our use of it on cello and percussion. Since I was  a little slow in sending the demo mic's back to DPA (sorry about that…), I had the chance to try it out with our sax player. We’re pretty blessed to have a great sax (and quite a few other woodwinds) player in our group of regular musicians and he’s very discerning. I thought it would be quite instructive to get his take on the 4099.

Our top-notch sax player, Keith Feltch really likes the DPA.

He was more than happy to try it out one weekend, and much less happy when I tried to take it back. He called me a “drug dealer” and accused me of simply teasing him with this great mic. It was all in fun, of course, and he ended up buying the mic. I suppose I could stop the review there; what else do you need to know—but where’s the fun in that?

I wasn’t mixing the first time he tried the mic, but I was the first weekend he had his copy. I think I tweeted, “Wow!” The thing just sounds fantastic. Now, there’s something you need to know about Keith. He has a rig that would make some guitar players jealous. He brings six spaces of mic pre’s, processors, mixers and effects. He has a pedal board. And he regularly switches between mic's during the service.

His regular set up has been an AKG C414 on a boom stand, and recently he added an AMT sax mic. Those all sounded pretty good, but the 4099 is in a bit of a different category. 

As you’ll hear in the sample, the bleed from the drums and other instruments is pretty minimal, and the sax sounds fantastic. You’ll also notice the reverb on the tracks; that’s how we get them at FOH. He likes to send me his “finished” sound, and because he’s a great musician, I’m OK with that. 

The thing I love about the 4099 series, is the clever mounting system they’ve come up with. From cellos to saxophones they have a mount for that mic. Each mount holds the mic firmly in place while protecting the instrument. Because the mic stays firmly in place with the instrument, you don't have the gain variations you get with a mic on a stand. This not only helps deliver more consistent sound, but better signal to noise.

If you work with acoustic instruments, you really owe it to yourself to check out the 4099 series. I’ve said before I have yet to encounter an instrument that they don’t sound great on, and when you can turn a cello mic into a sax mix by simply changing the mount, that’s a big win.

Below is an audio file from the weekend. You'll hear some reverb on the sax, but our sax player has a rig that would make guitar players jealous. What I recorded is exactly what he sends me; he really works the sound and does it well. I left a bit of heads and tails on it as well so you can get an idea of how much (or, more correctly, little) drum bleed there is.

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