Sound Devices’ MixPre-3 II is a 32-bits floating-point 192KHz capable mixer-recorder that uses Sound Devices’ perfectly silent Kashmir microphone pre-amplifiers. The unit has faster, more advanced hardware, supports internal LTC Timecode generation and output and has adjustable limiters.
Deity’s S-Mic 2S is a new shotgun microphone with a short interference tube that has the same look and build quality as the larger S-Mic 2. It’s also made of brass, keeping out RF interference, but it’s smaller and much less heavy. The S-Mic 2S (the “S” stands for “Short” or “Small”) is about half as long and weighs less than the S-Mic 2; only 85 grams. The S-Mic 2 was a revelation because it only costs around 350 Euros but has a performance that comes close to that industry standard, the MKH 416. As most shotgun mics, though, it doesn’t handle indoors sound very well due to the inevitable reflection of sound in smaller spaces. Indoors is where the S-Mic 2S shines. It might be not as good at rejecting off-axis sound as its larger brother, but, unlike its family member, does perform much better indoors. In contrast to the S-Mic 2, the 2S also auto-switches between 24V or 48V of phantom power. If 24V is all you have, you can still use it; …
Daniel Weltlinger – born in Sydney but based in Berlin – composes and plays Gypsy-swing, jazz, Yiddish-klezmer and experimental/free-improvised music. He has long been a fan of DPA’s d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones, but when one of the two he owns was recently damaged during a live show, he decided it was time to upgrade.
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.
Which is better, a microphone cable that costs €15 for 10m or one that costs five times as much? And if it’s the latter, then the next question is: will you actually hear a difference?
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 …
With studio condenser microphones like my favourite sE2200A usually come nice shock mounts. The only problem is that these are heavy and wear out quickly because the shock absorbers are elastic rubber bands. When I saw how well Rycote’s Softie Duo-Lyre Mount with pistol grip handle works with a Deity S-Mic 2 shotgun, I decided to give the company’s InVision Universal Studio Mount Kit a try as well.
As UK-based Rycote is the industry-standard specialist in shock & wind protection for field production sound, I took their Softie Duo-Lyre Mount with pistol grip handle to the test with the Deity S-Mic 2. The microphone came with only a basic plastic mount that I suspected to transmit all the vibrations and bumps it could possibly suffer from common, daily usage.
Youtubers, wedding video shooters, broadcast sound men/women and filmmakers: they all want to record sound with the best possible results. But practicalities such as pricing often stand in the way of reaching this lofty goal. Yet, equipment that exceeds the basic technical requirements – essential to even think about reaching it – is what you’ll need. A microphone is the first and one of the most important links in the chain from the sound you capture to the audio the viewer/listener gets out of their speakers. The results depend on the whole chain, but if you start with a tin can sound because of a low-end mic, you’ll never get to the full and rich sound you’re after.