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Jeff Wexler

DPA 4098 - first impressions

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I got my first DPA 4098 (goosneck style) microphone today and I have been putting it through its paces. I already had glowing reports from Whit Norris and Jan McLaughlin, who both have these amazing little microphones. Whit has been using them with Lectrosonics transmitters and loves them, Jan has been using with Zaxcom transmitters and has not reported any of the anticipated problems with respect to the lower voltage supply from Zaxcom transmitter. The theory is that with lower supply voltage (they are rated to require 5 vdc and Zaxcom xmtr puts out 3 vdc) there would be an increase in self-noise floor and a decrease in overall headroom (dynamic range). So far, in the situations that Jan has used the 4098, if in fact there have been these decreases in performance it has not been noticeable and the mics have been incredibly useful.

My preliminary shop testing (and by "testing" I mean only listening, which happens to be the only test I really have faith in), I would say the self-noise is only slightly higher than the 4063 lav we use (which only requires 3 vdc). I had my wife yell into the microphone (I've actually never heard her yell at anyone or anything) and it never even got close to sounding clipped or tearing, it held up beautifully.

So, my conclusion would be that it should never be a problem except possibly in the very quietest environment. The benefit of this super compact super-cardioid goosneck-style microphone, ease of use as a quick plant mic, far outweighs any potential liability for me.

DPA-4098.thumb.jpg.6762c1da1ffc7fb705ada

Edited by Jeff Wexler

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I've used the 4080s (cardioid) as car visor mounted mics and have a 4099 (supercardioid) instrument mic, but haven't had an opportunity to test a 4098 (supercardioid).

The 4080 has similar specs to a 4098, while the 4099 has flatter response and is less sensitive as it is designed to be used with musical instruments.

I like the 4080 but would prefer the low end to be rolled off a little less than it is.

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Jeff (and Whit/Jan/John/etc),

How would you compare the sound of these in a car visor situation to a Sanken Cub or a Schoeps MK4/MK41?  I do a lot of quick moving docs where a setup like the one pictured above would be great, but since I switched to Zaxcom for my primary transmitters, the 3v limit has been problematic for all the setups I wanted to employ...

e.

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Well, I'm probably not the best to respond to your question since I am NOT a fan of the Sanken CUB at all, used to own 2 of them but never liked them for car work (or anything else for that matter). My standard setup, however, IS a Schoeps MK-41 planted either below or high up (sometimes but not always a visor mount). From my listening tests and from what I have heard from both Whit and Jan, the DPA 4098 is certainly a contender for even the favored Schoeps plant.

Additionally, I will add to my initial post that I have continued to test the 4098 and the last thing I did today was use the 4098 with a DPA XLR (48 v phantom power) adapter directly into my Cooper. I have to say that the performance of the mic through 48 v phantom power and into the Cooper preamp directly was noticeably superior to the same mic into the transmitter. Slightly quieter noise floor, seemingly flatter and more transparent sound through full range. I cannot say whether this is a function of the 48 v phantom power adapter supplying the full 5 vdc the mic wants to see, or a function of the sweetness of the Cooper mic preamps. Whatever the reason, my conclusion is still that the 4098 is a very good sounding mic that can be used very effectively directly into Zaxcom transmitters.

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Jeff (and Whit/Jan/John/etc),

How would you compare the sound of these in a car visor situation to a Sanken Cub or a Schoeps MK4/MK41?  I do a lot of quick moving docs where a setup like the one pictured above would be great, but since I switched to Zaxcom for my primary transmitters, the 3v limit has been problematic for all the setups I wanted to employ...

e.

Same situation here. Looking to replace the cubs for car work. It seems the sound quality is at a level to make these a viable option. My next concern is handling noise. Jeff did you notice any issues while using it by hand? 

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That CUB has to be used in conjunction with a hard surface....  If you are planting that mic on a fabric visor, it won't sound good... I always use 3" plastic discs..(the ones people use to mount GPS units to... you know, the stickum on one side and the suction cup sticks to it..)  Even when on a clamp or flex.... always with the disc...

 

  When used with the discs, they sound SO much better....  When placed on the fabric or mounted without a hard surface, the performance is lacking...  Try it...

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I think the 5v. vs 3v. issue is overblown.  The biggest thing I've found is whether or not they pick up any digital hash which adds hiss.  In trying a bunch of 4060 and 4061 mics into Zaxcom transmitters, some work fine and others pick up some noise.  I understand that internally the DPA mics operate at a lower voltage anyway.  If you'll recall, there was a short period where the 4063 version was picking up noise, then this was quickly addressed by DPA and, to the best of my knowledge (and based on the six I have), they've been solid since then.

The 4080, which is a cardioid mic, has a bit more low end rolloff than I'd like, it looks like maybe just a tad more rolloff than the 4098 (a supercardioid mic).  This may be because a supercardioid mic tends to have more proximity effect than does a cardioid -- note that the flattest low end for the 4098 is shown to be at about eight inches.

RE:  CUB -- With a hemispherical boundary layer mic, the backing plate determines the low end cutoff point, so having a proper plate, as AFMY describes, certainly makes a big difference in that part of the spectrum.

Comparisons:  A Schoeps sounds better (no surprise), but the DPA 4080 is much easier to rig and hide.  Depending upon how the gooseneck is routed, the 4098 should be easier, too. 

I recently did a two-talent process trailer shoot with a 4063 on each talent, a 4080 on each visor, and a Schoeps w/MK4 (cardioid capsule) between the two from below.  Both car windows were fully open.  The best sound for this particular project were the talent mics (when there wasn't clothing noise), followed by the visor mics (if intercut properly).

Of course, YMMV, as the variables accumulate.

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I had a pair of the 4098h, which is the hanging version of the one you show which is their podium version.  The gooseneck on the hanging version was very fragile,and both of mine broke on first use.  I didn't realize until recently the podium version has a much better gooseneck on it, and I will be adding these back to my kit now that I know.

The sound of these mics is great.  My only complaint was a lack of low end, but not so much to be an issue.  The convenience makes these mics a great choice.

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+1 flat surface re CUB.  That said, they do have a "sound" I think, that is diff from the normal run of boom mics (esp Schoeps).  I use Peter Engh's Omni Goose mics for this purpose (plugged into a TX for a quick plant, or in a car visor), but I'd love to try the DPA re this.  I do kind of wish it wasn't so big…(or expensive).

Re the effect of the Cooper on the mic's sound vs a transmitter's mic pre and PSU….well…..(!)

I've used that DPA on the double bass of a VERY picky famous musician (via a TX) and he was ok with it (not thrilled), but it was the ONLY mic he would tolerate for his instrument for use with a TX.  I thought it sounded fabu.

p

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That CUB has to be used in conjunction with a hard surface....  If you are planting that mic on a fabric visor, it won't sound good... I always use 3" plastic discs..(the ones people use to mount GPS units to... you know, the stickum on one side and the suction cup sticks to it..)  Even when on a clamp or flex.... always with the disc...

 

  When used with the discs, they sound SO much better....  When placed on the fabric or mounted without a hard surface, the performance is lacking...  Try it...

Yup. Agree with the flat surface for the cub as well. I'm looking to switch because I'm all Zax now.

 

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Well, I have to say that I did try the CUBs using a flat plate to help with the boundary-layer principle but I still was not impressed. It is true that without a suitable plate (like mounting to soft headliner) they are really useless. 

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I have to say that I recently used the "OmniGoose" in a car. At first it sounded ok, but the more I listened to it, the more I hated it. When we reshot the scene later, in the same car under the same conditions, I popped a couple of COS-11's in the visor and the quality was immeasurably better. While lavs in the visor aren't always ideal (a big car with quiet actors far away) , they are more often than not much easier to hide and maintain consistency throughout. I'll even dangle them over an actor (in a big car close-up) with very nice results.

A "real" mic typically yields the best results, but with multiple cameras and various other issues regarding mic placement, I find lavs in the visors and/or on the actors to be the most consistent and reliable.

This DPA option seems great, but I'd be more inclined to use the little ones Richard Lightstone tried out so long ago. Wider pattern and a smaller mic works best in cars, especially when performances and head turns change. That has been my experience on the type of projects I seem to do.

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I have to say that I recently used the "OmniGoose" in a car. At first it sounded ok, but the more I listened to it, the more I hated it. When we reshot the scene later, in the same car under the same conditions, I popped a couple of COS-11's in the visor and the quality was immeasurably better. While lavs in the visor aren't always ideal (a big car with quiet actors far away) , they are more often than not much easier to hide and maintain consistency throughout. I'll even dangle them over an actor (in a big car close-up) with very nice results.

A "real" mic typically yields the best results, but with multiple cameras and various other issues regarding mic placement, I find lavs in the visors and/or on the actors to be the most consistent and reliable.

This DPA option seems great, but I'd be more inclined to use the little ones Richard Lightstone tried out so long ago. Wider pattern and a smaller mic works best in cars, especially when performances and head turns change. That has been my experience on the type of projects I seem to do.

My experience with the omnigoose was similar.  I found it lacked presence in the car in the visor rig. 

I personally have never liked the results of omnis as car plants.  Unless I'm doing something wrong, I just feel like I'm picking up way too many road/engine sounds (although perhaps you are doing more work on process trailers? All of my gigs are on docs or the like, using driving cars).

I feel like the gooseneck solution would likely be more versatile, no?  You could extend it closer to the subject when the shot allows, or just tuck it back behind the folded up visor.  I just saw that DPA sells microdot extension cables as well, if you needed to tuck the transmitter away even further.

e.

Edited by Solid Goldberger

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Digging the 4098's a lot.

Have not had it used in any pristine quiet locations though, if such even exist these days.

Bunch of screaming-at-the-top-of-the-lungs-in-a-car stuff with no breaking up anywhere in the signal chain. Check.

From visors, driver's mic on passenger side and vice versa for passenger.

Played with them a lot when they first arrived since I had a particular setup in mind for them. Plant mics for back-to-camera moments mostly at various distances to make sense of the polar pattern and what that meant to the ears. Non-critical dialog. A dozen different applications.

If TX planted without rubber plate as shock mount to a wooden surface that is elbowed or lots of prop placing yields superior deadly bass thumps.

The don't seem to phase cancel with hypercardioid overhead mics. 

Perfect perspective in wide shots for dailies mix since the words from that angle will probably not be used, but they're there, intelligible and mixed seamlessly with the CMIT. Would make me proud to hear 'em cut into the shot. Fast. Easy. Good. Little or no overhead in manpower or otherwise.

The scene I'd bought them for was 11 pages on a stage-built Metro North green screen train car. Four people mainly talking from two neighboring bench seats. The estimable director Gail Mancuso passed along a question to me via the 1st AD and then the LP: how will you handle the train scene. On the spot, having seen the plans, I replied, "I'll wire 'em."

After finding the 4098's and liking what Whit had said about 'em, the specs, bought two and experimented.

Distance was critical. Arm's length works reliably well. Closer, too present to my ear.

Mic'd across each twosome with the closer artist well off the side lobe, but both closest artists were women. The newspaper and Bible pages turning motifs too present to be real but certainly able to be dialed down in post. Didn't have to fuss with the actors, only monitor transmitter / mic positions.

Was pretty happy with the results on the day. Seemed rich to my ear. Could have been hopeful hearing, but usually pretty critical in the pinch about what I hear and do not hear vs. what I want to hear.

Cubs seem boxy, but it sure sounds like a car INT.

Also used two 4098's with a boy in the back seat who starts seated then stands. Dad in driver's seat facing forward and back. Lav-to-4098 between the bucket seats for the bulk of the dialog between them. During placement Coogan agreed to stay to help me find the proper placement as he would work with a focus puller for 20 seconds. He knew the answers I sought. He understood this was the instrument to capture the thing he was to do with a rather remarkable boy. The other 4098 was for driver facing forward. Both laved for emerging from the car and the second page of the 2.

I loved how it sounded. Wish I could have submitted that episode for the Emmy thing, but couldn't get a copy to hear how it turned out and submitted the pilot instead since I'd seen that one twice.

Look forward to using them in a few fantastic churches soon.

My partner in sound has called attention to the following enough that it has sunk in: we aim to bring them the best dailies mix ever. We extend ourselves to unprecedented lengths to make it sound full always. The 4098's have made getting great stuff unobtrusively. Proves a great attitude adjustment / motivator. Wonderful post production ass covering without resorting to wiring everyone. Not improv. From the page. That would be different. It's written well for a mostly two-person crew, so not impossible and the wireless' reach has been splendid. 2nd photo shows the window through which I was aiming my antenna. No two flights of steps for us and the 3 others that had to help lift the darned thing. A beautiful office indeed and everyone had to pass several times during the day. Longish cat5 runs to video playback but the cable's tamable and light.

12 on / 12 off with one extraordinarily short day.

It was a good week.

 

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Beautiful, Jan, such good engaging prose, you could have been a writer...  oh, I forgot, you ARE a writer AND a Sound Mixer. The passion for both are undeniable.

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Omnigeese have been the bomb for me in fast moving verite situations when there is no time at all to rig anything--pull it out of a pocket, clip it in a car, put it on a table top, double stick it (with its TX) to a doorway, get the scene, grab it back and move on.  Cubs have been just dandy in cars when there is time and permission to rig them, "real" mics like Schoeps with GVCs have proven too slow and cumbersome to get up and then re- and re-- and re-rig as the frame is dithered over endlessly.  Sounded nice though.  DPA will be the "rich-man's" Omni goose.

p

Edited by Philip Perkins

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I love dpa mic, I've used many b&k and dpa, I'd like to try these some time for sure, however I thought I'd mention I've had decent results with sennheiser mke104 cardioid mic for car sound, I've even rigged them with a small nite ize flexible cable tie to give them like a goose neck to extend from the surface... They're not too spendy and make decent PA lav if you need that sort of thing... I know we talking dpa but I thought Id mention these because I don't remember others mentioning using these for these type of situations 

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Are these made by DPA with a short gooseneck and a Lemo3 (or microdot), or is that an aftermarket mod done by somebody else?

I have the Engh ones with TA5, and find them useful for reality TV when I have less than 30 seconds to throw one in a car, or drop somewhere. I usually keep the mic itself in my mixer bag, always ready.

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Are these made by DPA with a short gooseneck and a Lemo3 (or microdot), or is that an aftermarket mod done by somebody else?

http://www.dpamicrophones.com/en/products.aspx?c=Item&category=129&item=24554

Standard variants:

SC4098-BM15: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, Black, MicroDot, 15 cm Boom, all gooseneck
SC4098-BX15: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, Black, XLR, 15 cm Boom, all gooseneck
SC4098-WM15: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, White, MicroDot, 15 cm Boom, all gooseneck
SC4098-WX15: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, White, XLR, 15 cm Boom, all gooseneck

SC4098-BM30: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, Black, MicroDot, 30 cm Boom, top & bottom gooseneck
SC4098-BX30: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, Black, XLR, 30 cm Boom, top & bottom gooseneck

SC4098-BM45: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, Black, MicroDot, 45 cm Boom, top & bottom gooseneck
SC4098-BX45: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, Black, XLR, 45 cm Boom, top & bottom gooseneck

 

Custom variants

SC4098-X-CUS: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, Black, XLR, with top gooseneck only: up to 120 cm (48 in) ± 5 mm
SC4098-X-CUS: d:screet Supercardioid Microphone, Black, XLR, With top&bottom gooseneck: up to 100 cm (40 in) ± 5 mm *

*) up to 120 cm (48 in) if mounted in Floor Stand swivel joint

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Definitely a DPA product. Mic capsule, tube, goosneck, microdot connector, all DPA. There are adapters that go from microdot to just about any connector-type you might need. I just did a listen test with the 4098 and the DPA XLR-phantom power compatible adapter --- I think this great sounding mic sounded even better!

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Awesome! Thanks! I'll definitely check them out. I thought I saw them at NAB, but it was the end of a day and at the time wasn't specifically looking for them.

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Jan -

I'm intrigued by the idea of micing the people from the opposite side. How are the results with open windows? Seems like the directionality would cause issues in that scenario. 

I also find, as actors will be actors, that with hostess tray overs, the foreground actors often cheat that side of the dialog toward the lens. This would be problematic with that configuration too.

I worry that in a car, the 4098 might be too directional. But I can't argue good results, and the benefits in the other scenarios you described.  

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