Studio, broadcast, live sound
Omnidirectional pattern; condenser element; many accessories; available in matched stereo kits
3552 kit (stereo matched 4052s) – $3,251 IMK4061 kit – $519
DPA Microphones USA at 303-823-8878,
Web Site.Back in 1992, Denmark’s measurement equipment manufacturer Br?el & Kjaer spun off its specialist pro audio division. At that time the sales and service of the B & K Series 4000 Microphones were outsourced to two former employees, Morten St¿ve and Ole Br¿sted S¿rensen who went on to form Danish Pro Audio (DPA). DPA launched its first product in 1994, a series of compact cardioid and omnidirectional condenser mics. Since then, DPA Microphones has established itself as a leading manufacturer of high quality condenser microphones for professional applications in studio, film and video, broadcast and sound reinforcement environments. DPA has pro audio distributors and dealers in more than 40 countries worldwide and they are constantly expanding into new application areas.
The 4052 is a pressure cartridge type condenser microphone operating on 48 volt phantom power. The omnidirectional mic’s on-axis frequency response is 20 Hz – 20 kHz ±2 dB. The .71-ounce (without cable) 4052 has a maximum sound pressure level of 135 dB SPL peak. The mic has a 16 mm (0.63-inch) capsule and measures .75 inches x 1.5 inches (including cable relief).
I was able to review the 3552 kit which is a complete stereo package including two matched (within 1 dB) 4052 Compact Omni Microphones and an assortment of accessories including a sturdy carrying case, two gooseneck mounts, two magnet bases for mounting on metal surfaces and two “nose cones.” The rather unique nose cone gives the 4052 a near-perfect omnidirectional response across the entire audio frequency range. This kit was designed for low profile mounting of the 4052 microphones directly inside a piano. The goosenecks can also be mounted on standard microphone stands for various A-B stereo applications.
Like the 4052, the 4061 is a pressure cartridge-type condenser microphone operating on 48 volt phantom power. The omnidirectional mic has a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz. The .26 oz (including cable and MicroDot connector) 4061 has a maximum sound pressure level of 144 dB before clipping. The microphone has a .21-inch vertical diaphragm.
I reviewed the Type 4061-B that is the black version of the Miniature Microphone Type 4061. The 4061’s vertical diaphragm was specially designed for optimum performance under the often difficult conditions when mounted directly on the human body. DPA gave special attention in designing this microphone to effectively deal with the humidity problems that often occur with theatrical applications. The microphone contains a double vent protection system that together with water resistant materials inside the microphone make it more resistant to moisture that could cause the microphone to fail. But that doesn’t limit its use in other applications as one can see from all the accessories (mounts, wireless connection adapters, etc.) included in the kit.
The microphone has changeable protection grids that allow it to be acoustically modified according to the placement of the microphone on the body. Type 4061 is acoustically identical to the highly regarded DPA Type 4060 microphone but the sensitivity has been adjusted to 6 mV/Pa so it more effectively matches some of the more sensitive transmitters on the market. A variety of connection adapters makes it possible to use the 4061 with virtually any available professional wireless system.
I have been a long-time lover of B & K microphones so the opportunity to use DPA microphones for the first time has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I was anxious to see how the mics had evolved from their B & K ancestors and I must say, I’m impressed.
I put the 4052s to work while recording a Yamaha C5 grand piano and ended up with one of the best piano sounds I’ve ever captured. I ran the mics through a pair of Langevin AM16 mic preamps and a Manley ELOP compressor (no EQ was needed!) and the instrument recorded wonderfully. I also had wonderful results using the mics to record a small choir and to capture drum ambience. The smooth, broad frequency response of the microphones and their extreme sensitivity should make them a perfect contender in any ambient recording situation especially orchestra and string ensemble oriented material. I also had good results using the microphones to record acoustic guitar. Although I always preferred the sound of the microphones without the nose cones, I found this accessory to provide a nice sonic option. DPA has a huge variety of available accessories including a cello holder, a violin/bass holder, a windscreen, a table base and many, many more.
I initially put the 4061 to work recording acoustic guitar. I used a small piece of gaffer’s tape to mount the microphone capsule in the center of the sound hole directly behind the strings. I ran the mic through my Gordon mic preamp, GML 8200 EQ (slightly dipping some low mids) and Tube-Tech CL-1B and ended up with a wonderful sound; full, rich and pristine without being at all boxy. I used a second 4061 on the neck by suspending it from a microphone boom and had good results but I actually preferred the sound of my Neumann KM 86i along with the 4061 in the sound hole over that of the two 4061s. As with the case of the 4052s, I had great results using the microphones to record grand piano (again with the help of a few pieces of gaff tape). By all accounts, I would only assume that the microphone would work wonders in theatrical and location recording but unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to use it in any of these situations. DPA provides a ton of mounting and windscreen options helping the microphone adapt to virtually any situation.
The DPA 4052 and 4061 are both exceptional microphones, each with strengths in different areas. If you are an audio professional who hasn’t experienced the performance of a DPA microphone, you owe it to yourself to give them a listen.
Russ Long, a Nashville-based producer/engineer, owns The Carport recording studio. He is a regular contributor to Pro Audio Review.