The d:screet SC4098 is a $659.95 DPA supercardioid condenser podium microphone, primarily marketed for spoken-word applications.
DPA SC4098 d:screet Podium Microphone The 48 VDC phantom-powered d:screet SC4098 podium microphone features a pre-polarized condenser element with a maximum SPL of 136 dB before clipping. Frequency characteristics include a 20 Hz to 20 kHz response; it is predominantly flat yet with significant LF proximity effect at an 8-inch distance: +6 dB from flat between 600 Hz and 100 Hz, and on the HF side, a bump up to +3 dB between 5 kHz and 18 kHz. Lightweight at 3.1 ounces, this particular d:screet podium mic is the longer 18-inch long model and terminated XLR-M, but a MicroDot S-50 connector model is available.
I swapped the d:screet podium mic with a lower-cost Shure—a fine small podium condenser—at a local church for some initial applications and impressions. Based on price alone—with the DPA being nearly three times the Shure’s cost—these mics were not in the same class. While I’m still impressed with the Shure, I find the DPA intriguing and far more flexible.
On its primary intended application—spoken word—the SC4098 is on the level of any fine studio condenser microphone with some slight EQ applied. Its proximity effect adds intimate and appropriate low frequency body to full-voiced speakers and a crisp yet natural-sounding boost up top, emphasizing enunciated details for great intelligibility.
At this particular church, the pastor frequently performs as a vocalist/acoustic guitarist from the pulpit, and the SC4098 also captured those performances quite well. His guitar’s off-axis distance from the SC4098 seemed to blend well with the on-axis close-miked vocal; he ultimately used one Sunday’s board mix to share a song via the church’s preferred social media site as it sounded both detailed and natural.
As I listened to two separate services’ board mixes at my studio, I was struck by the 4098’s overall quality and soon returned to the church to apply the SC4098 to several other instruments often found in both HOWs and schools: woodwinds, brass winds and percussion. Again, the SC4098’s performance was impressive; the instruments were full and detailed where it counts.
Then it struck me: at nearly $1K street, the lauded d:facto handheld super cardioid is far pricier than the SC4098 and you can stick this SC4098 d:screet anywhere, thanks to its very small capsule, low-profile housing and long reach. For podium or stand-mounted use, this DPA mic could be a real workhorse for stationary performers or audio pros simply thinking outside of the box. I used it to reach over to the sweet spot on seated instrumentalists, into crowded percussion rigs, and down and around to even high-volume guitar cabinets: just add an accessory connector to its XLR-M end and users can get quite creative.
At $659.95, the DPA d:screet SC4098 isn’t a low-cost podium microphone. Yet considering its well-chosen frequency response and alluring flexibility, it could be one of the best condenser mic bargains for HOW, theater and institutional applications.
Strother Bullins is NewBay Media’s Reviews Editor, AV/Pro Audio Group, active musician, recordist and clublevel sound reinforcement wrangler. firstname.lastname@example.org