Mixdown Shure SE215 Review
ROAD TESTED
DPA REFERENCE STANDARD MICROPHONES
DPA D:FINE HEADWORN CONDENSER MICROPHONES
DPA has always been a name to go to when you need
a specialised microphone that many other companies
do not produce. Now, with their new d:fine range of
single sided headset condenser microphones, DPA
gives users a very high quality microphone that is not
only simple to set up, but is also comfortable and very
discreet.
WHERE’S YOUR HEAD AT
The d:fine headset microphones come packaged
in a handy carry case to protect them in transit,
making them the ‘go anywhere’ headset microphone
that stage presenters, theatre actors and aerobics
instructors are going to love. Even lead singers in just
about any band, or guitarists and drummers who do
not want to be chained to a microphone stand are
going to love this microphone.
CARDIOID WORKOUT
It sits comfortably around the ear, so much so that
you barely even realise you are wearing it after a few
minutes. Better still, being available in black or flesh
colours, and being so slim in design, you can hardly
see it when worn either. The lead running from the
microphone has a handy clip that is adjustable down
the length so you can firmly secure it to your clothing
and ensure it stays out of the way as it runs down
to your choice of belt back wireless transmitter. The
d:fine range is available in two microphone options;
either omni-directional or in a cardioid pickup
pattern. The omni-directional model is the simplest
and easiest to use. It really doesn’t matter how it is
placed or how it sits around you face, you get a great
response no matter what you do. This makes it ideal
for users who just what to put the microphone on and
get the job done, without worrying about microphone
placement or setup. The second option, the cardioid
microphone, offers the user a far superior side and
rear rejection. This means you can cut out unwanted
stage noise from other instruments or reduce the risk
of feedback from fold back speakers. The cardioid
model does require a little more attention when being
placed on the head to ensure that its pickup pattern
encompasses the sound source, but the results are
well worth the effort. You can really hear a reduced
noise level with this model and can afford to run it at
lower gain settings as the signal is much higher and
clearer.
EXPRESS YOURSELF
The adjustable headpiece sets comfortably behind
the ear, out of sight of your audience, but allows you
to adjust the arm forward or backwards to position
the miniature capsule to sit as close to your mouth
as is necessary. Gone are the days of wearing large
bulky headset microphones that really have no place
but in an old Madonna film clip. DPA not only gives
you a high quality condenser microphone that sounds
too good for its size, but also one that is discreet and
extremely comfortable. With both options available in
either black, beige, brown or lime and with a range
of accessories including wind shields and adaptors to
suit just about any transmitter, the DPA d:fine range is
really the microphone to choose if you want the best.
By Rob Gee
Price: RRP $749 (omni-directional), $799 (cardioid)
Phone: 1800 251 367
Website: www.ambertech.com.au
With more and more musicians turning to in ear
monitoring on stages these days, there are a lot
of systems out there that let themselves down
with poor quality ear buds that really do not
suit the intended purpose. That is why I see
more people turning to Shure ear buds for
a better fit, a more discreet placement
and the sound quality that you want
when you’re on stage. The SE215
sound isolating earphones from Shure
give the user just that and offer the
adjustability that is needed to suit each
and every artist who wants to use them.
CLEVER FIT
The SE215 earphones have a removable cable
that comes off at the buds for easy replacement
if damaged, this split cable has wire inserts at the
end where it connects to the buds to allow you to
form fit the cable over your ear and run them down
your back. The buds themselves then sit within the
ear, with the sleeves inserted for a tight fit. This not
only gives you a secure fitting that is unlikely to fall
out with usual stage use, but also ensures the ear
buds go almost unnoticed, sitting snugly within the
ear and having the cable run discretely down your
back.
The units come packaged with a handy carry
pouch, two ear buds, the cable and a selection of
PG. 42
MIXDOWN NO. 213
EXPAND YOUR MIND
Two microphones that I got to test this month
were the DPA 2006A, a long omni-directional twin
diaphragm microphone and the DPA 2011C, a
compact cardioid twin diaphragm microphone. Both
have been redesigned from previous DPA models
that have proven themselves in the past and both a
part of a range that offers modular expansion with the
ability to switch capsules.
2006A
The 2006A is an omni-directional microphone that
benefits from DPA’s twin diaphragm design to give
you a response that is almost totally linear across a
very wide bandwidth. When you want to capture
every subtle nuance of a piano’s performance or get
every detail from an acoustic guitar, you really can’t
go past this microphone. It delivers a rich capture of
your sound and doesn’t allow for you to make any
mistakes. They will be heard! The omni-directional
pickup pattern of this microphone allows you to not
only capture the original transient of the note, but
also the decay as the sound travels past the capsules,
giving you a more natural response and a clarity that
is just pristine.
2011C
The 2011C is a smaller, compact microphone that has
a cardioid pickup pattern. It is more of a workhorse
than the 2006A and can be used in a wider range of
applications. Being able to withstand much higher
sound pressure levels, the 2011C is ideal for close
up microphone placement to get the sharp snap
from your instrument. It offers better side and rear
rejection with its cardioid pickup, giving you a direct
sound that stands out in the mix without much need
for EQ compensation. I only wish I had a pair of
these to try out in a stereo setup so I could hear how
the responded. My guess is that you are not going
to be disappointed with either one or two of these
microphones in use.
The real beauty of these reference microphones from
DPA, aside from their pristine audio capture is the
fact that you can mix and match the preamps and
capsules for varies units. So, with a few of these in
your microphone arsenal, you have a wide range of
applications that can be dealt with by simply changing
the configurations around. The twin diaphragm
design is something that really needs to be heard.
There are few engineers out there that would turn
their noses up to these microphones and there are
a number of home recording setups that would be
greatly improved by the simple addition of a DPA
reference standard microphone... or two, or three.
By Rob Gee
Price: RRP $1199 (2006A), $999 (2011C)
Distributor : Amber Technology
Phone: 1800 251 367
Website: www.ambertech.com.au
VHT SPECIAL 6 ULTRA
Distributor : Amber Technology
SHURE SE215 SOUND ISOLATING EARPHONES
DIRECT SOUND
The SE215 earphones are designed to not only
be comfortable and clear, but to also isolate your
ears from the noise of a loud stage, so you can have
control over what your hear when performing. With
a selection of soft rubber and foam sleeves for the
buds in different sizes, you can be assured that they
fit snugly within the ear to ensure that unwanted
external sound does not get in and interfere with
your monitoring signal. The various sleeves offer
different amounts of sound isolation as well as
a different fit, with up to 37dB of sound isolation
available, this makes the SE215 a great option
for when you really need a defined sound in your
monitor send that is not interrupted by stage noise.
When looking to get a true and accurate
representation of an instrument in a recording, it is
often the colouration of the microphone that lets the
overall sound down. This is why most engineers have
all sorts of microphones for different applications and
will often use more than one microphone to try and
capture an instrument’s true sound. DPA have strived
to bring you a range of microphones that offer a true
reference of you instruments characteristics in your
recording and not simply a representation of the
microphone’s attributes.
foam and rubber
sleeves. They are
available in black
or clear, giving you
an even more discrete
look when you don’t
want your in ear monitoring system to stand out on
stage. But looks and feel are not just all they offer.
These earphones sound amazing. You get a tough
low end when they are seated properly within the
ear and the high frequency response is sharp and
precise without being ear piercing. These make a
great in ear monitoring bud for the price, but can
also be used for personal listening to MP3 players
too. Just because they are designed to work on
stage, doesn’t mean their use is strictly limited to
that. If you go around with earphones plugged in
half the day, then why not treat yourself to a pair
that is not only sleek and comfortable to wear, but
a pair of earphones that will allow you to hear your
music the way you want to, with full bass and top
end clarity.
The VHT Special 6 is a very fine little amp indeed. It’s a
6 watt, boutique-style hand wired amp rocking a single
12AX7 preamp tube and a 6V6 in the output stage.
Control options are pretty limited: just a single tone
pot, a volume control with a gain boost, and a low/
high power switch. One of VHT’s goals with that amp
is to make something simple to serve as a platform for
modders to work their magic on its minimal circuit. And
it worked. If you go online you’ll find all sorts of mods
for the Special 6. Different speakers, upgraded caps,
bright switches, gain mods… it’s a tinkerer’s dream. But
y’know who else wanted to tinker with the Special 6?
VHT.
MODS AND ROCKERS
Think of the VHT Special 6 Ultra as a factory-modded
Special 6. It shares a lot in common with the Special
6: it has the same volume and tone controls, the same
foot switchable boost, the same low/high power switch,
and a similar intentionally mod-friendly eyelet board.
But there’s also a new eleven-position Depth control for
fine-tuning the low frequencies, an additional preamp
gain stage, a variable Watts control, and a tube-driven
effect loop and a three-position Texture switch inspired
by vintage studio EQs like the legendary Pultec EQP-1A.
In fact, in the manual VHT describes it as “like a buildin post-production Pultec mastering EQ.” And there’s
a new line out which is in parallel with the effects loop
send and return jacks. Use it to send a tube-buffered
low impedance unbalanced signal to mixing consoles
or other amps, or use it to connect to another Special 6
Ultra by connecting it to the second amp’s effects return
jack.
ULTRAMAN
There’s still a 6V6 power tube, but now there are two
12AX7s instead of one. It’s still a six watt amp, with
a 12” VHT ChromeBack speaker at 16 ohms in the
open-back cabinet. There are two extension speaker
jacks with selectable 4, 8 and 16 ohm modes if you
need more volume or would like to experiment with
different speakers before you swap out the stock one.
And interestingly there are Clean and Ultra inputs, and
no amp-mounted channel switch. If you wish to flip
between channels you’ll need the [included] foot switch.
combination with the Texture switch. The middle
position of the switch offers clear highs and thinned-out
mids, while the left and right positions seem to make
the tone progressively darker and more mellow. Using
the Ultra mode, which kicks in the extra gain stage,
you can get some pretty damn distorted sounds, great
for punk and classic rock but also with plenty of heft
for stoner metal if you crank the Depth control all the
way up. The Watts control is a great way of comparing
the amp’s preamp and power amp distortions, and it’s
interesting to find the point at which the power amp
grind starts to overwhelm the preamp fuzz. The Depth
control is relatively subtle compared to the Texture
switch and Watts control, but it all adds up to a huge
amount of tone-shaping potential.
Some players will love what the Special 6 Ultra offers
right out of the box, without any mods. Others will
probably think “Woo hoo! Even more stuff to mod!”
And although I’m sure that ingenious tweakers will be
able to conjure something even cooler from the Special
6 Ultra’s guts, most players will be more than happy with
the amp exactly as it is right out of the box. It was hard
giving this one back!
By Peter Hodgson
By Rob Gee
Price: RRP $125
Distributor: Jands
Phone: (02) 9582 0909
Website: www.jands.com.au
JANUARY 2012
SUBTLE TEXTURE
By the way, the manual is great. It gives you a complete
circuit diagram as well as charts which map the
parameters of the various controls.
First up, the clean sounds are quite nice indeed, with
plenty of authentic boutique feel, especially once
you start experimenting with the Watts control in
Price: RRP $519
Distributor: Dynamic Music
Phone: (02) 9939 1299
Website: www.dynamicmusic.com.au
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