DPA Microphones d:dicate 2011C
By Craig Leerman
The DPA Microphones d:dictate 2011C is outfitted with a twin-diaphragm cardioid capsule designed to handle a range of miniature microphone duties. A member of the company's d:dicate reference standard series, it includes two opposite-facing miniature capsules that are custom re-built into a double-diaphragm/one-capsule composition.
The capsules, which also incorporate DPA's proprietary Interference Tube technology, are loaded to the MMP-C compact preamplifier body. The twin diaphragms combine the advantages of small capsules (fast impulse response and large frequency bandwidth) with lower inherent noise achieved from a larger diaphragm area. The Interference Tube assists in controlling both directivity and low-frequency response.
The 2011C can also be mounted in any of the company's other MMP preamp bodies, including the standard MMP-A and smaller MMP-B with low-cut and high-boost filters. The MMP-C preamp evaluated here offers a subtle character alteration comparison with the MMP-A, providing a bit more "body" for lower frequencies in addition to an easier-to-position size.
For even further flexibility, the capsules can be mounted on the available modular active cable assemblies (offered with rear or side cable entry) so that they can be used as hanging or low-profile table and instrument mics. And, modular active booms foster positioning the capsule on a podium or above performers. Other capsules in the series include single and twin diaphragm models in a variety of sizes and patterns, including compact and shotgun configurations. They're also available in kits and stereo matched pairs.
The 2011C is a pre-polarized condenser type offering a stated frequency response of 50 Hz to 17 kHz with 3 dB soft boost at 12 kHz (± 2 dB) when used at roughly 12 inches. The sensitivity rating is -40 dB and maximum (peak) SPL is 146 dB before clipping. The dynamic range of the MMP-C preamp only is specified as 136 dB, with a low-cut frequency of 15 Hz (-3 dB).
Out of the box I was really surprised at just how small the capsules and preamp actually are. When connected together they measure just over 3.5 inches long and weigh about 2.3 ounces. A nice metal base mic clip was included with the U.S. standard 5/8-27 thread size, along with an adapter for the smaller 3/8-16 European standard. Optional mounting accessories include shock mounts, stereo bars with clips or shock mounts, and the aforementioned cables and booms.
On the bench I plugged the mic into my test PA system and supplied it with the required phantom power. It sounds great and retains the same tonality off to the sides of the pattern. There's also excellent rejection to the rear.
Since I had a small console on the bench that recorded directly to USB, I grabbed a thumb drive and made a room recording. The mic exhibits a very low noise floor and sounds very natural. Next I recorded an acoustic guitar, positioning the mic a few different ways. No matter where I placed it, the guitar sounded quite good, with some positions sounding stellar. As a result, this may be my new favorite acoustic guitar mic.
Assured that everything was working properly, I took the 2011C out to a couple of gigs. First up was a band in a large hotel ballroom. They were playing over the course of two days, so I decided to apply the mic to two different instruments.
Day one it pulled conga duty with the percussionist, placed between the drums about a foot away and above the rims. The congas sounded great, and as a result I even had to fight the urge to sit the congas a little hotter in the mix. Day two, I put the 2011C on a clarinet, swapping it in for a large diaphragm mic. When the clarinet player arrived, he noticed the change, and I let him know we could switch back to the other mic if he didn't like this new one. But after just a few minutes, he told me how much better it sounded, and at front of house, I noticed that it was requiring far less EQ than the previous mic.
Next up was a corporate event with an announcer providing the introductions for a company’s award winners and making general show announcements. Being an international company, some of the names were extremely difficult to pronounce, so to avoid any mistakes during the show he wanted to record files of the names of the award winners, along with other info, and then have me play them back as cues during the event.
So I set up the 2011C on a desk stand and had the announcer speak from about a foot away from the mic. At that distance, there were no problems with plosives, and the recordings sounded very natural.
Because he usually speaks closely into a standard dynamic mic, he was accustomed to hearing the bass proximity effect on his voice and thought the recordings sounded a little "thin." So I added a bit of low-end boost on playback to match the tone of the standard dynamic announce mic, and he was very happy. Of course, so were the award recipients who all had their names pronounced correctly, never knowing that some names took more than 20 takes to get right!
So if you're looking for a flexible microphone system for live and recording applications, the MMC2011 capsule with MMP-C preamp is definitely recommended. In fact, the entire d:dicate line should make the list -- with eight capsules, three preamp options and plenty of mounts, cabling and mounting options, there's at least one configuration to meet every need.
U.S. MSRP: $829.95