Microphone requirements for houses of worship are a niche all to themselves.
Where else can you find the need to place a microphone for a choir, over a pool full of water while people are immersed, percussion/viola combo player and a dozen or so kids playing a symphony of xylophones? And for me, this is just in the past few months, so it’s an ideal environment to review the CAD 600VP ($600 list, $499 street)
The CAD 1600VP boasts a 40 Hz to 20 kHz frequency range with an inherent bump in the mid to high-frequency range (2.5 -18 kHz, depending on the selected polar pattern), which makes it a natural fit for spoken word, singing, and instruments.
This commercial-grade-aluminum microphone is accompanied by a 30-foot mini XLR to standard XLR cable, a 3-pin XLRFtype connector on a stainless-steel duplex wall plate, unique articulating steel hanger and anti-twist thread and rods.
The included VPC-1 is an external polar pattern control box made of steel with a blue status light and recessed 80 Hz 12 dB/octave HPF switch. This allows the engineer to easily modify the pattern of the microphone even when the mic is mounted or hung in a location not easily accessible. In a HOW environment, the 1600VP’s remote-control capability — allowing the changing of polar patterns on the fly without having to approach the microphone — is invaluable.
An optional miniature 56-inch boom arm (the MB-1, priced at $199 list, $125 street) opens up many possibilities for this microphone as I discovered.
My introduction to the 1600VP involved a children’s music night that included 18 kids who sang songs with piano accompaniment and a feature including 12 kids playing xylophones. This was my first use of the mic, and it really shone. Generally, when I try to extend a mic out with full boom extension, I need a large stand with a big footprint or sandbags on the base of the microphone stand. Due to the balancing of the 1600VP’s weighted mount, neither of those was necessary. The MB-1 boom attaches to any standard microphone stand, and I was able to nestle the base in between two kids without worrying about the microphone falling.
The highlight of the 1600VP is its variable pattern. Because I only had one of these stands and needed to cover an area approximately 15 x 8 feet, I found that somewhere between cardioid and omni gave me the widest possible coverage while not totally committing to omni, which would have picked up unwanted sound and reflections directly behind the mic. I engaged the HPF and let the natural EQ of the microphone do its job, and the result fit well into the mix.
The life of a HOW audio engineer introduces unique sound requirements and challenges. One example I encounter is one specific musician who doubles on percussion and viola. He is really good at both, but finding a mic that is dual purpose for him has always been difficult. On Pentecost Sunday, he was on the team, so we tapped the CAD specifically for this purpose with favorable results. The MB-1’s long, thin arm was able to reach unobtrusively through his maze of percussion. He was then able to adjust the gooseneck of the mic to direct the microphone towards either his color percussion — shakers, triangle, etc. — and then direct it towards his viola when the time came. Our first concern was noise when moving the gooseneck, but the gooseneck was free of unwanted handling noise. As for the audio itself, the 1600VP did an admirable job handing the different timbres of the instruments. SPL levels of the percussive instruments never overloaded the microphone, and the viola sat well in the mix with minimal EQ. The variable polar pattern allowed for a tighter hypercardioid pattern to be dialed in.
Overall, I give the CAD 1600VP high marks. It solves three problems that are always a challenge: as a mic that can be extended further than a standard boom while taking up a small base and visual footprint, its remote HPF and polar pattern adjustment removes the need to be able to easily access the microphone itself, and this all happens while capturing the sound with sonically pleasing results.
Contact: CAD | 800-762-9266 | cadaudio.com
Dan Wothke is the media director for Nashville’s Belmont Church and a regular PAR contributor. Contact him email@example.com.