If you're like us, you're addicted to microphones—new or old,condenser or dynamic—and with an ever-increasing supply ofinteresting new debuts, we're constantly scouring the world forinteresting new mics.
With this in mind, we thought it would be fun to spotlight themicrophones that our editors have selected as hits of major pro audioconventions over the past few years. These tradeshows are presented inreverse-chronological order (with the most recent events first) anddirect links are provided to each manufacturer for quick access to moreinformation.
Las Vegas, Nevada—April 17-22, 2004Reported in the June 2004Mix
Holophone (www.holophone.com) showed the H2-PRO, itsnext-generation multichannel surround microphone. Housed in a tough7.5x5.7-inch, egg-shaped body, the mic has inset condenser capsules(5.1, plus top and center rear) to capture discrete 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1sounds. The feeds terminate in standard XLRs for connection to yourmixer, preamps or recorder.
DPA (www.dpamicrophones.com) generated a lot of interestwith the debut of WindPac 4000, an ultralight (9-ounce),water-resistant windshield. The zeppelin-shaped device combines auniversal shock-mount that holds up to two mics and a collapsiblewindshield. The fabric blocks wind noise in gusts of up to 70 mph whileallowing accurate sound reproduction and audio transparency.
Musikmesse/Pro Light+Sound 2004
Frankfurt, Germany—March 31-April 3, 2004
Reported in the May 2004 Mix
The most talked about pro product at the show was AKG's (www.akgusa.com) nextgeneration of its industry-standard C 414 studio condenser. Availablein C-414 B-XLS (ultralinear) and C414 B-XL II (transformerless)versions, the new mics have the same pricing as their predecessors butincorporate many new improvements, such as five polar patterns(wide-cardioid was added), 6dBA self-noise spec, internal elastic isocapsule-mount, three bass roll-off choices, three-position pad(-6/12/18 dB), +6 dB more sensitivity and a provision for futureoptional remote control of all functions. Also new: AKG's WMS 400wireless puts many of the features of its flagship WMS 4000 systemsinto a more affordable package.
NSCA Expo 2004
Las Vegas, Nevada—March 19-21, 2004
Reported in the May 2004 Mix
DPA's (www.dpamicrophones.com) new Cardioid Headset micprovides additional gain for louder environments. The Model 4088 has aresponse tailored for vocal applications (±2 dB from 100-20k Hzwith 4-6dB soft boost at 15 kHz) and is available in unobtrusive blackor beige finishes.
Winter NAMM 2004
Anaheim, Calif.—January 15-18, 2004
Reported in the March 2004 Mix
SE Electronics (www.seemics.com) showed several unique entries:Gemini is a large-diaphragm cardioid studio condenser with dual-tube(12AU7 and 12AX7) electronics; and Icis has a superlarge 35mm(1.5-inch) cardioid capsule paired with tube electronics. Both micsinclude flight case, shock-mount and cables.
For stage or studio, the I-5 from Audix (www.audixusa.comm)is a $179 retail, cardioid dynamic for high-SPL applications, such asclose-miked snare or guitar cabs.
Aussie mic company RØDE (www.rodemic.com)brings its studio sound to the stage with the S1, a high-performancehandheld vocal mic with low-noise FET electronics, an internallyshock-mounted true (externally biased) condenser capsule and five-yearguarantee.
Audio-Technica (www.audio-technica.com) updated its entry-levelcardioid mic line with Midnight Blues higher-output designs and lowerhandling noise, including the MB1k and MB3k dynamic vocal models, theMB2k dynamic instrument mic and the MB4k (battery or phantom)condenser. Price: $49 to $129.
Wharfedale Pro (www.wharfedalepro.com) enters the mic market withthe DM 2.0, a tough, handheld dynamic featuring a non-dent,spring-steel grille and shock-mounted cardioid capsule. They're sold ina three-pack priced comparably to a single competitive pro mic.