Hot Mic Picks from Mix Tradeshow Coverage

May 20, 2004 12:00 PM


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If you're like us, you're addicted to microphones—new or old, condenser or dynamic—and with an ever-increasing supply of interesting new debuts, we're constantly scouring the world for interesting new mics.

With this in mind, we thought it would be fun to spotlight the microphones that our editors have selected as hits of major pro audio conventions over the past few years. These tradeshows are presented in reverse-chronological order (with the most recent events first) and direct links are provided to each manufacturer for quick access to more information.

NAB, 2004
Las Vegas, Nevada—April 17-22, 2004
Reported in the June 2004 Mix

Holophone ( showed the H2-PRO, its next-generation multichannel surround microphone. Housed in a tough 7.5x5.7-inch, egg-shaped body, the mic has inset condenser capsules (5.1, plus top and center rear) to capture discrete 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 sounds. The feeds terminate in standard XLRs for connection to your mixer, preamps or recorder.

DPA ( generated a lot of interest with the debut of WindPac 4000, an ultralight (9-ounce), water-resistant windshield. The zeppelin-shaped device combines a universal shock-mount that holds up to two mics and a collapsible windshield. The fabric blocks wind noise in gusts of up to 70 mph while allowing accurate sound reproduction and audio transparency.

Musikmesse/Pro Light+Sound 2004
Frankfurt, Germany—March 31-April 3, 2004
Reported in the May 2004 Mix

The most talked about pro product at the show was AKG's ( next generation of its industry-standard C 414 studio condenser. Available in C-414 B-XLS (ultralinear) and C414 B-XL II (transformerless) versions, the new mics have the same pricing as their predecessors but incorporate many new improvements, such as five polar patterns (wide-cardioid was added), 6dBA self-noise spec, internal elastic iso capsule-mount, three bass roll-off choices, three-position pad (-6/12/18 dB), +6 dB more sensitivity and a provision for future optional remote control of all functions. Also new: AKG's WMS 400 wireless puts many of the features of its flagship WMS 4000 systems into a more affordable package.

NSCA Expo 2004
Las Vegas, Nevada—March 19-21, 2004
Reported in the May 2004 Mix

DPA's ( new Cardioid Headset mic provides additional gain for louder environments. The Model 4088 has a response tailored for vocal applications (±2 dB from 100-20k Hz with 4-6dB soft boost at 15 kHz) and is available in unobtrusive black or beige finishes.

Winter NAMM 2004
Anaheim, Calif.—January 15-18, 2004
Reported in the March 2004 Mix

SE Electronics ( showed several unique entries: Gemini is a large-diaphragm cardioid studio condenser with dual-tube (12AU7 and 12AX7) electronics; and Icis has a superlarge 35mm (1.5-inch) cardioid capsule paired with tube electronics. Both mics include flight case, shock-mount and cables.

For stage or studio, the I-5 from Audix (www.audixusa.comm) is a $179 retail, cardioid dynamic for high-SPL applications, such as close-miked snare or guitar cabs.

Aussie mic company RØDE ( brings its studio sound to the stage with the S1, a high-performance handheld vocal mic with low-noise FET electronics, an internally shock-mounted true (externally biased) condenser capsule and five-year guarantee.

Audio-Technica ( updated its entry-level cardioid mic line with Midnight Blues higher-output designs and lower handling noise, including the MB1k and MB3k dynamic vocal models, the MB2k dynamic instrument mic and the MB4k (battery or phantom) condenser. Price: $49 to $129.

Wharfedale Pro ( enters the mic market with the DM 2.0, a tough, handheld dynamic featuring a non-dent, spring-steel grille and shock-mounted cardioid capsule. They're sold in a three-pack priced comparably to a single competitive pro mic.

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