Benchmark: Roland DR-10 hypercardioid dynamic microphone

Low-budget, High-quality Sound

DR-10 Hypercardioid Dynamic Microphone

($95)

Roland Corporation U.S.

7200 Dominion Circle

Los Angeles, CA 90040-3696

(323) 685-5141

www.rolandus.com

Any videographer who has a camcorder with an external mike jack ought to seriously consider purchasing an external microphone. Although the company is better known for its keyboards than its microphones, Roland makes a handheld hypercardioid mike, the DR-10, that can help videographers improve the sound of their videos. Its low price makes it a natural for the intermediate videographer. Using an external microphone is the best way to get a soundtrack that captures your subject without also capturing all of the ambient noises that are present when you shoot. It’s not that the built-in mikes on most camcorders are bad. However, built-in mikes are, by definition, attached to the camcorder. Often, this places them far away from the subject that you want to hear, and too close to noises that you don’t want to hear.

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The DR-10 is a handheld microphone, which means it is best suited for people who don’t mind showing their microphone on-screen, such as people doing on-the-spot interviews, in-field news reports or documentaries. A handheld mike like the DR-10 is also good for doing off-screen narration. If you want to hide the microphone, you’re better off using a small lavaliere or attaching a shotgun microphone to a fishpole.

The Package Deal

The DR-10 comes with a hard plastic storage case, and includes a microphone stand mount and a 16-foot cable with an XLR connector on one end and a 1/4-inch plug on the other. It would’ve been nice for most camcorder users if Roland would have offered a cable that had a minijack connector, or an adapter at least. Another slight problem is that Roland doesn’t include enough documentation to help the new microphone user.

We tested the DR-10 with Canon’s ES7000V Hi8 camcorder. In use, the DR-10 feels good in your hand. It has a rugged construction that doesn’t make you worry that you might damage the microphone if you accidentally drop it, or jostle it in your equipment bag. It is the kind of microphone you would freely hand to an Elvis impersonator who had a habit of swinging microphones around by the cord (although we here at Videomaker do not recommend mimicking this or any other practice of The King). One of the big advantages of using a dynamic mike is that you don’t have to worry about using a battery or phantom power. If you have an external microphone jack on your camcorder, you have all you need to use the DR-10, except the previously-mentioned adapter for your camcorder’s input jack.

Hear the Difference

The DR-10 might cost only $95, but it has great sound. When testing the mike, we found it to be a solid performer. In the dreaded "noisy environment" test, the DR-10 easily isolated the subject’s voice from the blaring stereo in the background. The DR-10 has a good wind screen. Attempts to make the microphone pop by loudly saying words that start with the letter "p" were failures–the DR-10 carried the sound without popping. In addition, the mike didn’t have any trouble when the mike was held too close to the mouth. It carried voice tones with clarity, and didn’t produce any odd noises until the subject purposely blew into the microphone to distort it.

Final Thoughts

The Roland DR-10 dynamic handheld microphone is a solid choice for anyone looking for a handheld microphone. This mike is perfect for beginners, and sounds good enough for more advanced videographer. It is solidly built, good sounding and affordably priced.

Tech Specs: Roland DR-10 Hypercardioid Dynamic Microphone

Physical Type: handheld
Transducer: dynamic
Pickup Pattern: hypercardioid
Frequency Response: 60Hz-15,000Hz
Sensitivity: -75dB [plus/minus symbol] 3dB (0dB=1V/0.1Pa at 1 kHz)
Filter: n/a
Output impedance: 400 [OMEGA Symbol for Ohms]
Max SPL: 130dB (less than 0.5% THD)
Connector: XLR (balanced), included 16-foot cable has XLR connector on mike end and 1/4-inch plug on the other
Signal-to-noise ratio: n/a
Power Supply: n/a (dynamic)
Dimensions: 2 1/8 (head diameter) by 7 (length) by 15/16 (grip diameter) inches
Weight: 11oz (w/o cable)

strengths

  • Low cost
  • Rugged construction
  • Good sound reproduction

weaknesses

  • Needs an adapter for camcorder use
  • Very little documentation

summary: A great price for a solid, rugged, good-sounding dynamic handheld microphone.

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