DPA d:screet Necklace Microphone for Discreet Microphone Placement

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In the last 10 years, it's become easier than ever to capture and publish your own audio and video. Affordable DSLR cameras and digital audio recorders, as well as easy-to-use editing software such as Final Cut and Garageband, have empowered everyday people to express themselves in ways never imagined, without needing years of specialized technical training. In both the amateur and professional worlds, from YouTube to reality TV, content can now be generated by smaller crews, with less experience.

As great as all of this is from a creative standpoint, the lack of technical expertise present in many of today's productions often lends itself to less-than-spectacular sound quality. While some mechanics of audio can be automated to a certain degree, such as with vocal chain or mastering presets, for example, there are other skills that pose a greater challenge. One of these particularly tricky techniques is on-talent microphone placement, and in the paragraphs below, I'll be taking a hands-on look at a new product that is specifically designed to tackle this tedious beast of the audio and video world: DPA's new d:screet Necklace Microphone.

A name synonymous with quality in professional audio circles, DPA has been known for its top-notch microphones for many years. In designing the d:screet Necklace Microphone, the company has taken its famed d:screet 4061 omnidirectional miniature condenser capsule, and combined it with a unique soft rubber necklace that is conveniently fastened around the neck, offering fast, repeatable mounting that can be accomplished by anyone, whether you’re an experienced technician or not. Actually, you can even mount it on yourself, as I did when I made my test recording.

Available in 47- or 53cm lengths to accommodate necks of different circumferences, the d:screet Necklace mic features magnetic locking fasteners that make it as simple to don as any piece of jewelry. Once the Necklace mic is in place around the neck, the 4061capsule sits in an optimal position under the chin, and the 3.6 foot cable runs down the back and under the shirt, so it can be plugged into a wireless transmitter being worn on the belt line. The cable terminates in the convenient MicroDot connector, and the microphone comes with your choice of wireless transmitter adapter, available for transmitters from Sony, Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, AKG, Lectrosonics, Shure and more. So, if you want to use the Necklace mic with different wireless systems, depending on the situation or gig, new adapters can be purchased from DPA for most systems.

Weighing less than half an ounce, the mic is very comfortable to wear, and the secure locking fasteners, combined with the necklace-style design, allow for full freedom of movement, without having to worry about the mic accidentally disengaging. This is a huge plus for use on reality TV shows, game shows, stage plays, and other settings in which the talent is prone to a lot of moving around. The mic is also very discreet, available in black, brown, or white, to help it blend into clothing and wardrobe.

After quickly mounting the microphone around my neck and getting plugged into my interface, I proceeded to make a test recording. Curious as to how consistently the mic would pick up my voice with my mouth in different positions relative to the capsule, I made sure to record myself with my head turned at various angles, as an actor or TV host would while speaking in conversation with multiple people. On playback, I was delighted to find that the recordings I made were quite even in terms of gain and timbre, even as I moved my head around. This can be attributed to the sensitive 4061 condenser capsule and omnidirectional polar pattern, as well as the “plug-n-play” mic placement that the Necklace mic offers, automatically landing the capsule in the optimal mounting position. The mic was also able to pick up my voice at louder volumes without a hint of distortion, as it is able to withstand 144 dB SPL before clipping.

I also noticed that my recorded voice had a highly articulate quality, without having touched an EQ. This inherent high-end clarity is due to the fact that the mic is supplied with a removable dual-purpose, high boost grid that serves to protect the capsule and provides a 10 dB bump at 12 kHz. For situations that call for less of a built-in EQ, a soft boost grid can be purchased separately as an accessory that adds a soft 3 dB boost at 8 – 20 kHz. For situations that call for even more of a high-end boost, the soft boost grid can be swapped out with an optional high boost grid that provides a 10 dB bump at 12 kHz.

In addition to the high boost grid and your choice of adapter, the mic also comes in a durable cardboard housing for safe storage and transport. To conclude, the d:screet Necklace is an excellent on-talent microphone for everyone, from less-experienced amateurs to seasoned pros. Giving you the tried-and-true 4061 capsule with an extremely fast and repeatable mounting solution, you can't go wrong.

Characteristics Directional Characteristics: Omni-directional
Principle of Operation Pressure
Cartridge Type Pre-polarized condenser element with vertical diaphragm
Frequency Range ±2 dB
High-Boost Grid: 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 10 dB boost at 12 kHz
Sensitivity Nominal: ±3 dB at 1 kHz: 6 mV/Pa, -44 dB re. 1 V/Pa
Equivalent Noise Level A-Weighted: 
Typical: 26 dBA re. 20 µPa
Maximum: 28 dBA
ITU-R BS.468-4: 
Typical: 38 dB
Maximum: 40 dB
S/N Ratio 1 kHz at 1 Pa (94 dB SPL): 68 dBA
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) <1% THD up to 123 dB SPL peak
<1% THD up to 120 dB SPL RMS sine
Dynamic Range Typical 97 dB
Maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL) Peak Before Clipping: 144 dB
Output Impedance 30 to 40 Ω
Cable Drive Capability Up to 984' (300 m)
Power Supply For Wireless Systems: Min. 5 V - max. 50 V through DPA adapter.
With DAD6001-BC/DAD6024/DAD4099: 48 V phantom power ±4 V for full performance
Connector MicroDot
Temperature Range -40 to 113°F (-40 to 45°C)
Relative Humidity Up to 90%
Necklace Length 18.5 or 20.7" (47 or 53 cm)
Cable Length 3.6' (1.1 m)
Dimensions (Ø x L) 0.21 x 0.50" (5.40 x 12.70 mm)
Weight 0.46 oz (13 g) including the cable and MicroDot connector