d:fine™ Headset Microphones series at the 2012 NAMM showI often hear requests from speakers with long presentations for a lav or lapel-style clip-on mic, placed somewhere around their chest."/>
26/07/12

PRODUCT TEST IN PROFESSIONAL SOUND: DPA MICROPHONES d:fine™ HEADSET MICROPHONES

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I’ve consistently found that one of the most frustrating aspects of mixing corporate or public speaking events is agreeing on a microphone that the user will find comfortable and that will also yield an intelligible and consistent sound for the audience.
By Mark Desloges, Professional Sound

DPA introduces new headset option for popular d:fine™ Headset Microphones series at the 2012 NAMM showI often hear requests from speakers with long presentations for a lav or lapel-style clip-on mic, placed somewhere around their chest. Due to the length of time for which the mic will be used, many presenters prefer not to hold onto a handheld mic or sport one of the larger and more cumbersome headset mics; however, someone’s chest isn’t the optimal placement for achieving the best sound while reducing the risk of feedback; in fact, it usually results in the exact opposite of the desired effect. For that, I am always excited when I am able to offer a client a microphone that will work well for me, yet still provide maximum comfort for the speaker.

Upon initial inspection, some of the things I noticed about DPA’s d:fine™ single-ear headset mic were its small size and minimal weight. Both are often determining factors in the level of comfort of a headset mic. Being a firm believer that common experience leads to the best understanding, I wore the mic for several hours to see what felt like. What struck me right off the bat was that on top of being comfortable, I found that the mic stayed in place very well – and remained there throughout my entire experience. It stayed very close to the same position near my mouth despite continual movement on my part. I found the d:fine™ to be very unobtrusive while providing a firm yet comfortable fit. This may not seem important to the average person; however, I can assure you, whether you are the person wearing the mic or mixing what goes into it, if it doesn’t feel good or stay in place, everyone’s day will be miserable.

The next part of the equation is how the unit sounds in practice. Having been a long-standing fan of the microphones that DPA has put out in the past, I was far from disappointed with the results. In classic form, the d:fine™ mic has a wonderful crisp sound leaving little to be sought after. It offers a rich, warm tone that requires little sculpting in a mix, even out of the box. In the near field, the d:fine™ has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, + or – 2dB, with a soft boost of 3dB from 8 to 20 kHz.

Going back to one of my earlier points, I found that the tight-yet-comfortable fit resulted in a consistent sound throughout my entire test. You can use the best sounding mic, but if you can’t keep it in place you will be constantly fi ghting with your gain structure or riding the output fader; however, I truly feel that DPA has hit the nail on the head and solved this problem with a headset mic that’s not only a delight for the sound tech, offering continually consistent levels, but agreeable for the wearer thanks to the comfort factor and minimal movement.

The d:fine™ mic has a cable length of 1.3 m that terminates to MicroDot leaving many options for simple attachment to most wired or wireless systems. It also comes with a healthy assortment of accessories, from the zippered nylon carrying case to a clear adjustable sweat stop on the mic boom. The kit comes with three windscreens and make-up caps to protect the capsule during cosmetic or hair product application in theatrical or public speaking applications. It also comes with five different coloured identification rings that easily clip onto the boom.

The long and the short of this is that I found the d:fine to be a serious mic for serious applications. As previously stated I am always excited to be able to offer clients headset microphones that will give me good results while being unobtrusive for the wearer or watcher. I would feel confident putting this mic to use knowing the sounds and tones that it is able to produce. The d:fine would make a great addition to your next corporate or public speaking event, theatrical performance, or any other application where something small, comfortable, and nearly invisible is desired.

Mark Desloges is an Audio Technician with Tour Tech East and has toured with acts including Cancer Bats, Classified, and Stereos.

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