DPA 4006, September 1999

May 14, 2004 12:00 PM, By George Petersen



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I don't know about you, but too often when a company changes its name or comes out with a new model that's "just the same as the old one," I tend to be suspicious. So last year when Bruel & Kjaer studio microphones became Danish Pro Audio (DPA), I had a few reservations. After all, this wasn't just some drumstick company, but B&K-a revered name that's almost synonymous with precision transducers. I decided to check the DPA 4006 and see if it lived up to the original.

Retailing at $2,060, the 4006 is the standard 48-volt phantom-powered version of the company's low-noise—15 dB(A)—omni. The mic's fitted storage case comes with a mic clip, windscreen and two interchangeable grids. The standard silver grid is designed to provide linear on-axis response in near-field applications; for diffuse- or far-field recordings, the black protection grid adds an on-axis 6dB boost centered around 15 kHz.

Aside from the DPA logo on the mic body (the capsules themselves still say B&K) and a black rather than mahogany-finish mic box, the main difference in the package is the manual. The DPA 4006 booklet only covers that mic; previously, B&K issued a combo manual covering all the 4000 Series. Options include a highly effective shock mount, an alternate nose cone that ensures true omni performance-even at the highest frequencies-and a variety of push-on acoustic pressure equalizers that can change the mic's character in seconds.

Miking a variety of sources ranging from piano to piccolo trumpet, and triangle to 12-string, I compared the sound of the DPA and an older B&K 4006, routed through a Millennia Media HV-3 preamp and monitored on Meyer HD-1s. No difference between the two mics was discernible. And, despite a five-year age difference between the models tested, the two were virtually indistinguishable, even in blind listening tests, with both delivering the wide, flat, transparent low-noise performance that always has been a hallmark of the B&K sound. It certainly is not true with all products and companies, but in this case, there may be a diffferent name, but the sound's the same.

DPA Microphones, www.dpamicrophones.com

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