Danish Professional Audio has always made fine microphones. Really, always. Over the last few years they have been beefing up their ‘d:’ line up, which now includes the d:vote Miniature Microphones, the d:fine Headset Microphones, and the d:facto II Vocal Microphones. The whole series is quite amazing and each one of these mics manages to deliver clean and honest sound while habingsome other else unique qualities— like being super small, super flexible, and extremely well designed. It’s that DPA touch.
Enter the d:facto II, the second generation d:facto handheld vocal mic. New and improved, although there wasn’t much I could complain about with the original d:facto. This is a serious vocal microphone for stage and studio use and it feels like it when you hold it. It’s substantial—not heavy, but not entirely light either. I noticed it right away, and treated it with care just because it felt so high-end in my hands. This firm body sports the MMC4018V capsule. This unit is a pre-polarized, 19mm diameter, pressure gradient condenser capsule with a super-cardioid polar pattern. Sounds impressive, and it is. (You can use other DPA capsules with the mic, but none are tailored to the d:facto II like the 4018V is.)
The microphone affords the engineer and artist some great benefits. The frequency response is astonishingly flat, having just a soft 3 dB bump around 12k. This means you hear an accurate reproduction of the singer’s voice, good or bad. The super-cardioid pattern means your singer needs to stay fairly on axis, but it also provides extremely good rejection of stage wash and a high level of gain before feedback from your wedges. There is a roughly 8 dB drop off at 90˚ off axis and in the back of the mic you get an impressive 15-30 dB attenuation from 120˚ to 240˚ across all frequencies. With this separation, it’s easier to get the lead vocal out on top of the mix and focus in on the vocal. They’ve also managed to maintain the frequency response fairly well even when the singer gets up on the mic, doing its best to deny a lot of proximity effect. Something I’m cool with, but some artists might miss that low-end punch they get when they lean into it.
I also noticed an impressively low handling noise in the handle. After some reading, I learned that indeed, DPA designed a built-in third order low-cut filter that cuts unwanted rumble from the handle itself, cutting -3db at 80 Hz. The capsule is housed in a well-designed spacious grid that gives the 4018V some breathing room, creating a smoother response. The grid has three layered components: the outer black metal mesh, a foam-wind screen, and an inner cylindrical pop filter. These all do a good job at reducing plosives and breathe sounds without negatively affecting the response. And for cleaning, all three components can be removed and gently hand washed. Finally, this studio-grade vocal mic meant for the live stage can take almost anything you throw at it. It won’t clip out until you nail it with 160 dB, and I don’t want to be around when you do.
And now, what truly makes this microphone awesome? You know DPA wants to take it up a notch, and they did. With the d:facto II, you can buy adaptors that let you mount the DPA d:facto II capsule (grid and 4018V capsule included with mic) onto almost any professional-level wireless handheld body. So you could start out by buying the wired version, which gives you the DPA handle, the 4018V capsule and a grid. You fall in love with this mic and use it on every gig, and then you need a wireless mic. You’re not psyched about using the venue’s Shure UR2 handheld transmitter with their Beta 58 head. No problem says DPA! Just buy our handy (and it is) SL1 adaptor. With this adaptor, you can screw the capsule and grid of your trusted d:facto II mic right onto the Shure UR2 handheld. Everything functions just like the regular Shure UR2, but you’ll be enjoying the sound and performance of your d:facto II while using it. And when you’re done, you can pop the 4801V capsule and grid back onto your wired handle body and presto—you have your wired d:facto II back in your bag, and an SL1 adaptor in the case next to it, ready for the next time. Pretty smart. (What’s not as smart is the overview flow chart DPA created to explain this whole system. What?)
They currently make four varieties of screw-on wireless adaptors that provide compatibility with Shure and Lectrosonics (SL1), Sennheiser (SE2-ew for 2000, 9000 and evolution; SE5 for 5000 series), and Wisycom (W12).
The DPA d:facto II is a great sounding and performing mic that would take any stage performance to a new level. Its sound is honest and smooth and its pattern is tight with incredible rear rejection. When you add the wireless compatibility, it makes it an even more attractive package.