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.
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 …