Hands-On Review: DPA Microphones 2017 Supercardioid Shotgun Microphone

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Hands-On Review: DPA Microphones 2017 Supercardioid Shotgun Microphone

Any respectable B&H employee jumps at the chance to play with a product for a hands-on review, so when the DPA Microphones 2017 Supercardioid Shotgun Microphone came across my desk, I was ready to go. It was up to me to decide how I wanted to test it and then formulate my thoughts that I now share with you for your convenience.

DPA Microphones 2017 Supercardioid Shotgun Microphone
DPA Microphones 2017 Supercardioid Shotgun Microphone

The microphone is marketed as a broadcast-ready audio machine for journalism, location recording, and TV/film-production applications. Its plug-and-play configuration and lack of controls means getting started is as easy as connecting a 3-pin XLR cable, powering up your audio recording device, and hitting Record. And so, with the technical support of Andrew Swift from the video team, I set off to the studio.

The DPA 2017 includes a microphone holder equipped with a standard 5/8"-27 thread and a brass thread adapter for integration with a mic stand or boompole. Thanks to its ultracompact form factor, you can even secure it to the top of your DSLR or mirrorless camera with a separately available mount. This makes it extremely adaptable, suited for run-and-gun gear configurations and home studio builds.

DPA Microphones 2017 Supercardioid Shotgun Microphone on a stand and connected it to a Zoom F8 multi-track recorder
DPA Microphones 2017 Supercardioid Shotgun Microphone on a stand and connected it to a Zoom F8 multi-track recorder

We attached the mic to a stand and connected it to a Zoom F8 (similar to the current Zoom F8n) multi-track recorder to do some testing. I took the liberty of recording one of the opening sentences of the web write-up for the DPA 2017 so you could get a sense of its performance. Feel free to listen to the best take, below.

Let’s break down the mic’s performance. With a supercardioid pickup pattern, the noise isolation of the DPA 2017 is on point. My vocals are clear and free of distortion, which the DPA 2017 claims is less than 1%, and were unphased by the constant hum of the office AC system. (A permanent low-cut 60 Hz filter is probably to thank for that.) Andrew, who was helping by monitoring the levels via headset, even asked if he could borrow the mic for a shoot during the week. If that’s not a solid endorsement of performance, I don’t know what is.

I found the microphone to be everything it’s cracked up to be. My voice sounded rich and clear without any trace of echo or tinniness. While the microphone boasts a slightly higher price than other models in its category, the performance level speaks for itself. The mic features a 70 Hz to 18 kHz effective frequency range at a distance of 23.6" with a smooth 2 dB boost at 15 kHz for added presence. A flat/linear frequency curve allows for more creativity during sound editing to tailor the audio to your project. This is meant for a self-sufficient shooter, for a freelance news videographer, for someone building a professional-level mobile journalism kit.

But we needed to kick it up a notch, and I knew exactly the guy to test it―the loudest guy I know―my cat, Darcy. So, I took the DPA 2017 home with me, plugged it into my trusty Zoom H4n, which I’ve had since 2016, and let the man (cat) do all the talking. He didn’t show the true extent of his lung capacity, which we will chalk up to performance anxiety, but I was able to get the purr-motor running along with a few chirps. The DPA 2017 had no problem picking up all the purring and, for better or for worse, the sounds of him licking his lips post sneeze. The biggest issue was that, even with the directional audio pickup, you could still hear the ambient noises of the street behind me and the hum of Darcy’s water fountain. I will say, my living room might not be the ideal place to record the cleanest audio in the world, but it’s something to consider. The DPA 2017 cannot work miracles. Here are some cat ASMR selections for your listening pleasure:

An included foam windscreen gives the potential for improved outdoor performance while mitigating negative effects of close-distance recording (or for your cat to rub up against). Its overall design protects the microphone capsule from moisture and temperature changes. The heavy-duty grid and slit pattern prevents damage from impacts. The run-and-gun shooter will rejoice in not having to worry about their audio source, which can even survive direct rain exposure.

To operate the microphone, you will need to provide +48V of phantom power from an audio recorder or camera. This has the potential to eat through your connected device’s battery life, shortening your shoot time or forcing you to pack additional batteries. If you are using the DPA 2017 in a studio environment with access to a wall outlet or extension cord, you might want to opt for an AC power supply adaptor for your recording device to prevent tedious battery switching. The microphone can easily fit inside your preexisting camera bag, thanks to the included pouch.

For more information about the shotgun microphone, including additional features, specs, and highlights, be sure to check out the detailed product page for the DPA Microphones 2017 Supercardioid Shotgun Microphone. Or drop us a line below, and we’ll do our best to reply to your comments and questions.

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