Many professionals use the d:dicate series microphones because of their accuracy and their silky smooth sound quality. This characteristic is hard to describe but very discernible when you hear it – certainly when you compare recordings done with an MKH 416, an S-Mic 2 and the d:dicate 4017.
Because the price of the d:dicate 4017 is way out of my league, I thought it would be nice to try make the cheapest of the three, the S-Mic 2, closer to the 4017 in post-production, for example by adjusting the EQ.
When I mention a shotgun microphone many of you will spontaneously think of a Sennheiser MKH 416 or perhaps a Schoeps CMIT 5. But if you’re really into quality and flexibility, a DPA Microphones d:dicate 4017 or – for smaller spaces and other recording types – a d:dicate 4018 could be a much better fit.
iZotope acquired Exponential Audio, a small company with important DAW plug-ins to create reverbs and other effects. That company was founded by Michael Carnes, a classical musician and recording engineer, who also created many of the preset effects. It was quickly recognised as a trendsetter in the industry.
They don’t come cheap, VOVOX cables, but then they can’t be, given their build quality and the sound you get out of them. But, as always with cables, the question is whether you hear a difference. I received a test unit of a VOVOX Sonorus direct S and compared it with an ordinary Cordial, an Inco X-Lead, a Mogami Gold Studio and Gold Stage, and a d’Addario Planet Waves ASMC cable.
DPA Microphones’ d:screet 6060 CORE subminiature microphones are 3 mm in size, but if you close your eyes when monitoring a recording with one of these you’d swear you’re using a studio microphone the likes of a Neumann. I tested one of these tiny mics and it offered an unbelievable clarity, with as much detail in the low tones as much bigger and more expensive mics.
IK Multimedia’s sound and groove workstation has been upgraded to SampleTank 4. The MAX edition comes with a huge library of samples and it has a new sound engine that is much more efficient than the previous version. Furthermore, the interface design is gorgeous.
Bubblebee’s Sidekick In-Ear Monitors are IFB devices, which are essential parts in a monitoring and cueing system as used by TV, filmmaking, video production and radio broadcast people. They are great monitors for voice recordists too.
The Modular Windshield Kit Rycote sent me won the 2000 Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In the 18 years since then, the family-run business hasn’t stopped inventing new products that set the industry standard. The PCS-Boom Connector is the latest example of how Rycote address the problem of unwanted noise; they use a holistic approach. Microphone manufacturers bundle their microphones with basic mounts and that’s it. If it’s a dynamic mic, it’s a plastic clamp. A large diaphragm microphone usually gets a rubber band based shock mount that lasts for a few months before the rubbers start wearing. But anything else – from shotgun to lavalier mics – must do with the simplest of mounts available. Especially shotgun mics, then, need more sophisticated mounting and shock absorption systems, because they’re continuously being manipulated, often mounted on boom poles of some length and subjected to rough handling. And when there’s enough wind blowing, the mic’s interference cancellation slots serve as windcatchers, resulting in blowing and whistle sounds that can …
I found out about Bubblebee Industries when I was searching for shotgun microphone windshields on the web. They didn’t exactly float to the surface – I had to dig into the results – but I was intrigued by the names they give their products and the design. And so, I asked for test units and got their Windkiller and Spacer Bubble kit.
An article from a company that’s active in VoIP, video conferencing, etc and a recording that was ruined because an ambulance and police car drove by made me think about noise cancellation using two microphones instead of complex machine-learning algorithms. Could it be that, if you use two identical microphones with good off-axis rejection, you can achieve better noise reduction?