This article describe the ability of various models of DPA condenser microphones to cope with extremely high sound pressure levels.

Keywords: Live sound, condenser mic, clarity, transparency, extreme SPL.
Achieved knowledge: You will know about advantages when using DPA condenser microphones for live sound.

Outstanding clarity and transparency

Above all, DPA microphones offer sonic clarity, the best definition and most transparent resolution. Whenever you want to mike a sound source to be reproduced as it truly sounds, choose a DPA microphone. When you start with a good microphone there is not much that will need to be fixed in the following audio path (console or outboard gear). This saves time and money. After all, who would want the first part of the audio chain to set a limitation in sound quality and resolution? This will be the case if using poor quality microphones. No outboard gear, whatever the quality, can improve resolution, details, distortion, or self-noise.

Extreme sound pressure level handling

One of the biggest fears among live engineers is to use condenser microphones for high sound pressure level sound sources. They are afraid of distortion or even clipping. The fear is understandable, but only on some condenser microphones and primarily large diaphragm types.

The d:dicate™ 4011 Cardioid Microphone, which is among the standard inventory in recording studios and PA/live companies all over the world, can handle 159 dB before clipping! A great alternative is its Twin-Diaphragm counterpart, the d:dicate™ 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Microphone, which is optimized for on-stage use; the off-axis response is still linear but in a smaller frequency bandwidth making stage separation and gain-to-feedback higher and mic level easier to control.

The hi-SPL d:dicate™ 4007 Omnidirectional Microphone, 12 mm (which is often used for close miking bass & snare drums, guitar amps, and even motor racing) will clip at 155 dB.

Even our miniature microphones will stand up to most extreme live situations. They are produced in three different versions, acoustically identical, but with different sensitivity and SPL capability. The d:screet™ 4062 Miniature Omnidirectional Microphone can handle 154 dB before clipping – enough for almost any close miking situations like trombones, trumpets, toms, guitar amps and more.

The d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphone series, too, is a great solution for high-SPL instruments. Capable of handling extremely high sound pressure levels, the 4099D for drum and percussion and 4099T for brass are flexible, wireless compatible and easily positioned.

Dependable workhorses

DPA microphones are built to last. They are produced within a very accurate tolerance and are tested under the most extreme conditions, including cold, heat, humidity, sweat, light, and more. Customers have often reported that even after 20 years, the microphone specifications are near new.


Since our philosophy is to provide microphones without colouration, you can use them on essentially any instrument. Because of their naturalness, our mics will sound good on any instrument as soon as you open that channel on your console. Only your number of DPA microphones sets the limitation for which instruments to use them on! Again, purchasing DPA microphones is a cost effective choice – you will use them at every gig once you've tried them. You can't afford not to have DPA microphones on your equipment list.