DPA 2011C Twin-Diaphragm Cardioid Microphone

Mar 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Kevin Becka

Slender, Versatile Performer for Stage and Studio


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Next, I gave the pair to a trusted colleague who was recording acoustic guitar through an API Legacy Plus console. The 2011Cs were placed on two stands in front of the instrument with the bottom mic pointing just below the bridge, while the top mic pointed straight in at the fifth fret. Generally, when I hear mics placed this far apart on a guitar, one sounds much darker, requiring a move to tuck them in so the image left to right isn’t so stark. Even when placed this widely, it was remarkable how natural the instrument sounded. It’s a review cliché to say, “It was like the player was sitting in front of you,” but that is honestly how it sounded. It wasn’t too bright or boomy, and the image was hyper-real.

The pair was next employed for recording a small orchestral ensemble comprising a tuba, trumpets, saxophones and French horns. The A-rig for getting the room picture was a Decca tree on an AEA mount using three Blue Omni Mouse microphones. To see how they’d fare in this situation, the 2011Cs were placed behind the Decca tree in an ORTF pattern using the DPA stereo mount. The result was great by itself and even better when mixed with the tree. Again, the “reality” cliché comes to mind, but there’s no better way to describe it. The stereo picture was excellent, especially when blended with the omni microphones. The left to right and center image was very well defined, and the brass sounded, well, like brass—no hype at the top but just enough sparkle to make the horns pop.

I recorded a three-piece jazz ensemble for Mix’s Focusrite RedNet Series Webcast and used the 2011Cs on acoustic piano, mounted in an ORTF configuration using the stereo mount. The band was in tight quarters with the upright bass on the piano player’s right and the drummer just on the other side of the open lid. Again, I used the Moon 3500MP preamp and the piano sounded great. The rejection was remarkable, even though the players were close to each other. The piano sounded rich and natural, with beautiful transients when the player hit it hard and an even tone when he held chords—lovely.

How Was It?

The DPA 2011C is an excellent performer and excelled in a wide variety of applications. It sits well below the $1k range, and you can easily upgrade your setup by buying a higher-end DPA body, or another capsule or two. Its compact design and high-SPL handling make it perfect for use around a drum kit or guitar amp, or in other hot situations. The only downside is its low output, which means you’ll have to gain it up quite a bit for low-SPL detail work, which unveils the noise floor of your gain stage. Used as a pair in front of an instrument or ensemble, this mic has a knack for making the setting sound uncannily real. I experienced it on two separate occasions where I was drawn into the musical performance and forgot the tech—and that is priceless.

Kevin Becka is Mix’s technical editor.


Company: DPA Microphones

Product: 2011C

Website: dpamicrophones.com

Price: $799

Pros: High-SPL handling, excellent rear and side rejection, sonically excellent.

Cons: Low output calls for excellent preamp in low-SPL use.


With the optional DPA stereo bar, you can easily jump between ORTF and X/Y setups for different applications. I like using X/Y over a drum kit because the snare hits both capsules at the same time, resolving any phase issues you’d get from a spaced pair. Inside a piano, I like ORTF because I can accurately target the low and high end of the instrument, giving me a wider stereo picture if I need it, or I can pan in a bit to make the piano sit more toward the center of my mix.

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