The Guide: Microphones

Sound & Stage rounds up a small selection of our top picks on the microphone market
Shure SM58
Shure SM58
Røde NT-USB
Røde NT-USB
DPA d:screet
DPA d:screet
Sennheiser HSP-4
Sennheiser HSP-4
Neumann TLM107
Neumann TLM107
CAD Audio Stagepass 1600
CAD Audio Stagepass 1600
AKG C1000S
AKG C1000S

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From industry classics to some of the newest models around today, Sound & Stage rounds up just a small selection of our top picks when it comes to the microphone market.

LIVE: Shure SM58
Shure has been a key player in the microphone game for decades, and the SM58 remains one of the most popular mics for live performance to this day.

With an affordable price of around $100, the SM58 offers a unidirectional (cardioid) pattern, ensuring a wider pick-up without background noise, frequency response of 50 to 15,000 Hz, an impressive gain-to-feedback ratio, built-in pop filter, plus a wireless version is also available.

With a steel mesh grille and shock-mount system, the SM58 is also pretty tough when in the hands of more clumsy performers — worth noting for live situations.

While it may be low in cost, the features and quality of the SM58 have ensured that it remains a firm favourite with artists and sound engineers over the years, from local bands playing nightly gigs to Lady Gaga herself — who was kitted out with SM58s among other mics at her recent Dubai gig.

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PORTABLE: Røde NT-USB
Ideal for on-the-go mic requirements, the new NT-USB microphone from Røde offers a “studio-grade microphone with the convenience of a digital USB interface”, and is fully compatible with all mainstream recording applications on both Windows and Mac OS based computers, as well as iPads using Røde Rec, GarageBand, or any other recording app that accepts an external microphone.

The body of the NT-USB features a zero-latency stereo headphone monitoring (3.5mm) jack — allowing the user to monitor the microphone input in real-time — and dials to adjust the monitoring level and mix between the computer/iPad audio and the input.

A premium pop-filter is also included, alongside a stand mount with industry standard 3/8” thread, a desktop tripod stand, and a pouch for storage.

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BODY: DPA d:screet
At last month’s PLASA London, DPA showed off its range of body worn microphones, including the recently launched d:screet omnidirectional miniature necklace microphone — a cleverly designed mic that houses the d:screet 4061 Omnidirectional miniature Capsule in a soft rubber necklace. The necklace mic comes in black, white and brown and in lengths of 47 or 53 cm (18.3 or 20.9 inches).

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LIVE: Sennheiser HSP-4
This headworn microphone features a lightweight design that doesn’t compromise on audio quality thanks to its permanently polarised variant of the MKE platinum condenser capsule, with cardioid polar pattern designed for professional “hands free” applications.

The adjustable neckband is unobtrusive and comfortable, making the HSP4 ideal for high-octane live sound situations where a handheld mic is not suitable. The microphone also offers excellent feedback rejection, a detachable cap/popshield, a flexible gooseneck section and a design that is adjustable to all head sizes.

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STUDIO: Neumann TLM 107
Launched last year, the TLM 107 large diaphragm microphone from Neumann is a universal microphone with multiple polar patterns for studio, broadcasting and recording applications.

Wolfgang Fraissinet, president of Neumann.Berlin, says: “The TLM 107 is a modern, high-resolution sound transducer with excellent reproduction characteristics that enable it to capture the original sound without any coloration, thus ensuring unlimited design freedom in mixing and post-production.”

The double diaphragm capsule is inspired by one of Neumann’s top models, the D-01, with impulse fidelity that makes the TLM 107 particularly suitable for percussion and stringed instruments. It also delivers balanced sound for all five directional characteristics: omnidirectional, cardioid and figure-8, with the intermediate patterns wide-angle cardioid and hypercardioid.

The switchable Low Cut with the settings Linear, 40 Hz and 100 Hz has been adapted for practical recording situations: The 40 Hz setting eliminates interference noise below the range of fundamental tones, while the 100 Hz setting is suited to speech and vocal recordings.

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WIRELESS: CAD Audio StagePass 1600
Making its debut at InfoComm Las Vegas earlier this year, the new new CAD Audio StagePass 1600 Series UHF wireless system provided a versatile addition to the company’s StagePass line.

With 100-channel frequency agile UHF operation along with CAD ScanLink technology to precisely scan, select and link to the optimum channel in any RF environment, the 1600 systems are available as the WX1600 handheld version, as well as the WX1610 bodypack version with an Equitek E19 broadcast and production miniature condenser earworn mic, cardioid lav and guitar cable.

The WX1600 receiver is housed in a durable metal chassis with both 1/4-inch and XLR outputs for additional flexibility of use. System specs include a frequency response of 40 Hz–15 kHz, and dynamic range of >105 dB. Other features include ‘True Diversity’ operation to minimise multipath interference along with CADLock Automatic Tone Encoded Squelch that eliminates unauthorised transmissions in the signal path.

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MULTIPURPOSE: AKG C1000S
Referred to by some in the industry as the “Swiss Army Knife of microphones”, the new, updated version of the C1000S multipurpose small-diaphragm condenser microphone is suitable for recording and live-sound applications as well as for ENG/EFP and video productions.

The microphone can credit its versatility to a range of clever features, including a gold sputtered capsule housing that makes the C1000S rugged against humidity — ideal for use in our region. On top of this, if no phantom power is available, the C1000S can be powered by two standard AA batteries for up to 120 hours.

The microphone also features a bass-cut switch and a switchable -10 dB pad. The polar pattern can quickly be switched from cardioid to hyper-cardioid, while three different frequency settings add more clarity to speech and instrument sounds.

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