Since I tend to do a lot of acoustic guitar recording, the mic I choose will often vary with each instrument. For example, if the application is a solo guitar with no vocals or other players, I’ll turn to an omni mic for the widest, most natural sound. If there are vocals or other instruments nearby, I’ll turn to a tight-patterned cardioid. One of the mics I use quite a bit for this type of recording is my cardioid d:dicate 2011C Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Compact microphone ($799.95 street). And, with the recent addition of a 4006 omni capsule, I’ve learned just how versatile this single modular mic can be.
The first piece I had in my arsenal from DPA was the d:dicate 2011C with MMP-C compact preamplifier. This small, powerful package had the clean but well-balanced sound I look for when doing basic recording. The 2011C package has two opposite facing miniature capsules in a single capsule enclosure mounted to a compact preamp, a 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response in a nice tight cardioid pattern (50 Hz to 17 kHz +/- 2 dB, at 30 cm).
I then discovered the MMP-A preamp—which when compared to the MMP-C compact preamp—raises sensitivity of the capsule by approximately 2 dB without raising the noise floor. With the MMC2011 cardioid capsule, it made a great, high quality combination. While the MMP-A is not as compact, I actually found the longer body was better for me when placing it on acoustic guitars. In addition, the MMP-A preamplifier features a switchable 20 dB pad, nestled inside the center of the XLR connection.
Shan Seibert, General Manager at DPA, explained that in order to turn this d:dicate body into an omni mic, I could simply screw on an MMC2006 omni capsule. Better yet, I could attach an omni capsule from DPA’s great 4000 Series mics. This is the path I chose, and it was an instant hit with me; I love recording with omni microphones.
As soon as the MMC4006 capsule arrived, I simply unscrewed the MMC2011 capsule from the MMP-A preamp, replacing it with the omni. Wham! I instantly had a superb high quality omni mic with 10 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response.
Taking it a step further, the MMC4006 comes with three different grids, which simply screw onto the tip of the mic capsule. The pre-mounted free-field silver nearfield grid, the DD0251, features DPA’s flattest overall frequency response when used nearfield. The silver trapezoidal close-miking grid (DD0254) has a subtle rolloff just above 10kHz when close miking. The black diffuse-field grid (DD0297) features a subtle boost starting around 5 kHz—more pronounced on axis versus far field. DPA notes that this compensates for the natural high frequency loss caused by air absorption.
These three grids offer quick, easy ways to subtly change frequency characteristics of the mic. They screw on in seconds, and I actually do use them. For example, the Martin 00-15 acoustic I have is an all-mahogany guitar; the sound of the instrument itself is softer and rounder than my other acoustics. Therefore, especially for television cues, I like to put on the black DD0297 grid for an extra touch of high end. This also works well if I’m recording mandolin or banjo (or percussion).
If I’m using something like my Martin D-18 or Guild F-512, they are plenty bright already, especially when picked. In that case, I will go back to the standard DD0251 grid and back the mic off a bit.
Note that the MMC4006 omni capsule (10 Hz to 20 kHz) is slightly quieter with broader frequency response than the MMC2006 series omni capsule (20 Hz to 20 kHz) and also more expensive. If you try to match stereo pairs, the 2006s are matched on sensitivity, not frequency response.
With the MMP-A preamp body, MMC2011 cardioid capsule and a MMC4006 omni capsule, I have a single mic with a lot of flexibility. Add three different grids for the MMC4006 capsule, and I can assemble a great system to fit any need in minutes. This combination can accurately record just about any source; I use them on drum overheads, flutes, violins, cellos, voice, hand percussion and, of course, acoustic guitars.
Rich Tozzoli is a producer, mixer, engineer and musician/composer for programming such as A&E’s Duck Dynasty, History Channel’s Pawn Stars, Harpo Studios’ “21-Day Meditation Challenge,” and more.