DPA, the Danish manufacturer of quality mics, is seeking to fill a niche with its new d:screet Necklace Microphone. Proper placement and concealment of lavaliere microphones worn by the talent can be quite the art, requiring training and plenty of experience. Improperly placed lavs can rub on clothing or body parts, causing a loud, obnoxious scratching sound which can ruin otherwise great audio. Mics placed too far away or too close to the talent’s mouth can leave the audio muffled, distant or otherwise distorted. Microphones needing to be concealed can require tricky solutions including gaffer’s tape and/or the application of cosmetics.
Sometimes these situations can’t be avoided and you will need to call in the pros – or become the pro – at handling these more complex applications. But what if you just want to do some interviews or you want to quickly “mic up” before your first skydiving lesson so you can share your screams of excitement and joy with all your Facebook friends, as you plummet toward the earth? For these applications you want a high quality mic that you can quickly, easily – and properly – place, attach and remove.
We received the d:screet Omni mic with the 20.9 inch black necklace (also available in white or brown). It comes in a padded, zippered bag accompanied by a ?-inch to MicroDot adapter for connecting to mini-jack equipped recording devices. Also included was a hinged, plastic box containing a MicroDot to 3-pin XLR adapter with belt clip.
Build and Performance
The necklace is a small diameter soft rubber tubing with the connecting clasp and wiring junction at the rear and the tiny microphone protruding from the front. The clasp consists of two interlocking pieces of metal clamped onto the ends of the tubing. One of the ends contains a small but powerful magnet with a small post sticking out from its side. The opposing piece of the clasp fits around the first and has an L-shaped slot. Place the two near one another and the magnet pulls them together. Give it a slight twist and the post rotates into the slot for a sure attachment. The whole arrangement somewhat resembles a BNC type connector.
The necklace mic is designed to provide an easy solution for quick, repeatable, placement and removal by non-professionals.
The beauty of this design is that anyone who knows how to put on a necklace can quickly and easily put the necklace mic on the talent. In fact, the talent can do it themselves! Once placed, the microphone will always rest in the same location, making placement an easily repeatable process. Run the tiny attached cabling (0.06 inch diameter) behind the talent or down through their clothing, attach to the recording device and record away. The cable attaches to the necklace tubing through a permanently attached metal interface with a MicroDot connector at the opposite end. Included adapters allow the mic to be connected to recording devices using either a mini-jack or XLR connector.
The necklace mic uses DPAs 4061 miniature omnidirectional condenser microphone capsule, which is quite unobtrusive at slightly less than a quarter of an inch in diameter and half an inch in length.
In testing, we found attachment to be quick and easy. The microphone capsule rests consistently in an ideal position slightly below the notch in the sternum. Unless the talent is wearing a turtleneck sweater, high collar or ruffled shirt there should be little issue with the mic rubbing on clothing and ruining the audio.
As far as appearance, a casual observer might assume this was just a necklace but the illusion fades on closer observation. While you won’t want to wear this with your floor length evening gown to your next red carpet event, the necklace microphone works well in situations where quick and accurate placement is necessary and a visible microphone won’t be an issue. For instance, it would be great for recording interviews, capturing the grit and groans of extreme sporting events, strapping to your dog or other unsuspecting loved one — the list of course is endless.
The quality of the audio captured with the necklace microphone is very, very good. We attached ours, via the XLR adapter, to a Zoom H6 with excellent results. Using a wide range of audio sources, from silence to speaking to singing to music to yelling – all at varying volume levels – we were very pleased with the results. Hiss is virtually non-existent with this microphone. The dynamic range is quite large with deep, booming bass at the low end and beautiful clarity at the high end. In normal speech vocal quality is excellent with clear, intelligent speech characteristics. With each of our tests we found no distortion, just great quality throughout.
For quick, easy attachment, repeatable results and excellent quality audio capture the DPA d:screet Necklace Microphone scores high marks.
Starting at $649.95
Directional Characteristics: Omnidirectional
Principle of Operation: Pressure
Cartridge Type: Pre-polarized condenser element with vertical diaphragm
Frequency Range (+/- 2dB): High boost grid: 20Hz – 20kHz, 10dB boost at 12kHz
Sensitivity (nominal +/- 3dB at 1kHz): 6 mV/Pa; -44dB re. 1 V/Pa
Dynamic Range: Typ. 97dB
Max. SPL (peak before clipping): 144dB
Output Impedance: 30 – 40 ohms
Cable Drive Capability: Up to 984 feet
Power Supply: For wireless systems: Min. 5V – max. 50V through DPA adapter. With DAD6001-BC/DAD6024/DAD4099: 48V phantom power +/- 4V for full performance.
Color: Black, white or brown
Microphone Diameter: 0.21 in
Necklace Length: 18.5 or 20.9 in
Microphone Length: 0.5 in
Cable Length: 3.6 ft
Cable Diameter: 0.06 in
Polarity: Positively increasing sound pressure produces positive voltage on MicroDot pin
Temperature Range: -40 F to 113 F
Relative Humidity: Up to 90%
Weight: 0.46 oz including cable and MicroDot connector
- Quick, easy placement by non-technicians
- Small, lightweight
- Excellent quality sound characteristics
- Minimal visual impact
- Somewhat conspicuous appearance
Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.