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The laws of physics have always posed annoying challenges for capturing clear sound in film and video production. One such obstacle is how to focus a microphone on a sound you want to hear, while ignoring sounds you don't. The Schoeps SuperCMIT 2U Digital Shotgun has taken us one step closer to solving this problem. It may be expensive, but a tool that can improve the clarity of dialog and sound effects is worth its weight in Oscar gold.
You may have noticed the word "digital" in the name of this microphone. Instead of spitting out good old analog audio, the output of the SuperCMIT 2U supplies a digital format crudely named "AES42 Mode 1," which to an untrained ear, may only sound subtly different than a comparable analog shotgun microphone. It's those subtleties that can make all the difference. Subtle improvements in sound quality are a very big deal in the professional world of audio production, especially true in regard to the reduction of unwanted ambient noise. But that's not the only advantage of this digital mic.
So what makes the Schoeps SuperCMIT 2U super? It's the world's first microphone with a brain. Every mic has the ability to listen, but only the SuperCMIT 2U has the ability to think. It features onboard digital signal processing (DSP) that analyzes the sound being picked up. If the SuperCMIT 2U determines that a sound is arriving from a persistent direction, it will focus more on this sound and do its best to diffuse background noise. Let's see an analog mic do that!
This requires a unique design that features two microphone capsules; one facing forward behind the interference tube, and the other facing the opposite direction. Because the SuperCMIT 2U focuses in on the sound you're trying to capture, it achieves more "reach" than an analog shotgun microphone. Of course, the SuperCMIT 2U does all of this without sacrificing any sound quality. When you see the name "Schoeps" on a microphone, you're guaranteed to get the most natural-sounding tone possible.
The SuperCMIT 2U's DSP-driven abilities are useful in pretty much every situation where shotgun microphones are used. If you work on professional productions regularly, the SuperCMIT 2U will give you an edge over the competition. You will know for a fact that you're supplying the producers with the clearest sound quality possible.
The SuperCMIT 2U supplies two channels of output. One channel features the DSP-aided audio, and the other is tailored to sound identical to the ever-popular Schoeps CMIT5U analog shotgun. It's essentially two of the world's finest shotgun microphones in one. Like the CMIT5U, the SuperCMIT 2U also has a high-frequency boost button (which helps it sound more natural when housed in wind protection), and a low cut button (which helps reduce unwanted rumbling sounds). Built-in preset buttons offer two levels of DSP-driven sound directivity and ambient noise reduction.
Due to the digital natureof the mic, it needs to be paired with equipment that is AES42 Mode 1 compatible. Fortunately, the Sound Devices 788T, one of the most prominently used field recorders in the industry, is AES42 ready. Another hardware option is the RME DMC-842. Schoeps also manufactures a powering adapter called the PSD 2U, which makes it possible to use the SuperCMIT 2U with gear featuring an AES3 input (however, the input must have a built-in sample rate converter).
Obviously, this kind of system may be a little out of reach for low-budget indie filmmakers. But if you're working on a larger-scale project where the highest standards in production quality are expected, this is the shotgun to arm yourself with. If you have any questions about the Schoeps SuperCMIT 2U (or shotgun microphones in general), we'd love to hear them in the comments section of this post.