It is not often that I get surprised with a new product, but recently I was nicely surprised by a seemingly new player in the American market in the area of wireless headset mics.
The company is Da-Cappo Micro Microphones and it originates from our friends down under in Australia. Da-Cappo is the leading manufacturer of micro microphones in Australia and they have years of research and design that goes into their focused line of products that appeals to musicians, speakers and the dramatic arts. So… let me tell you about this really cool microphone… the DA12.
How It Looks
Okay… check this out. I get this box from Da-Cappo and I open it up and immediately I think… that is the largest earpiece I have ever seen in my life. What is the deal with that? I take it to my sound engineer and he immediately says… that is genius. One of the most noticeable features of the DA12 is this radical new earpiece design that fits nicely around your ear and can be adjusted to suit smaller and larger ears via a built in spring loaded mechanism. I love it because it provides a snug fit unlike the bendable wire of current micro microphones that you often have to tape in place. The earpiece also has an adjustable boom designed into it that you adjust simply by pulling the boom back through the earpiece until you’ve achieved the correct length. Because of its adjustability, the earpiece can fit any size head from a small child to an adult.
Despite its size, the DA12 is really comfortable and NOT visible when looking from the front or even the side. This is totally a vanity issue, but what can I say. The whole idea of having a micro microphone is to get away from the gigantic head gear of the early get ups that made you look like you had just been to the dentist. However, one of the benefits of the large rubber earpiece is that it also acts as a shock and shields the mic from vibrations that may come from head movement. This is really important for applications where you have performers who are not only speaking or singing, but also dancing or moving about.
Another feature that I really love about the DA12 is the variety of adaptors that you can use to connect to your existing wireless equipment. I am always looking for ways to improve sound, but often that means buying additional mics to fit whatever system you have. So if you use a Shure system in your main sanctuary and a Sennheiser system in your wedding chapel you don’t need to buy separate microphones. The DA12 is completely modular so you can purchase a small stock of microphones with earpieces and use their adaptor system to fit whatever systems you already have installed. They currently support Sony, Audio Technica, JTS, AKG, Sennheiser, Mipro, Samson, Chiayo, Electro-Voice, Lectrosonics and Shure.
How it Sounds
Similar to other brands of micro microphones, the DA12 produces a big, studio quality sound through a tiny 2.5 mm Euro-designed capsule, which is a design proprietary to Da-Cappo. These tiny omni-directional microphones deliver a full 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response that can handle any speaking or musical application.
However, what sets these microphones apart for me is that they are available in two different levels of sensitivity. Originally Da-Cappo offered the microphone in a single sensitivity: -35dB. According to Jonathan Pusey from Da-Cappo, this was fine for most applications, but the ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation) requested a -45 dB capsule for broadcast, (the product was designed in conjunction with the technical staff of the ABC) but in truth it really depends on the particular needs of your system. Some users find the -35 dB version too “hot” for their system and prefer the -45 dB version. It really comes down to a matter of taste. We tested the DA12 in a live situation and with our particular system we found that the -35 dB was in fact too “hot” and tended to distort through our system while the -45 dB capsule performed nicely. The sound was clear and natural with a minimum of EQ depending on microphone placement. Having said that, you really need to find what capsule works best for your configuration.
How It’s Made
Something I haven’t mentioned, but is really indicative of the kind of care that Da-Cappo has put into designing their product is the actual construction of the product itself. The engineers have incorporated the capsules into the microphone housing in such a way as to make a water resistant microphone.
This is particularly useful in a dramatic setting where water such as rain or even a good dunking is involved in a scene. Most microphones would stop working after being drenched with water. Not the DA12. It can take a dripping and keep on ticking. Sorry, my brain just went there. Additionally, on the microphone boom itself, Da-Cappo has engineered a sweat ring that will stop sweat from traveling down the boom and interfering with the microphone capsule. For those of us who really get into our performances this is brilliant! Even the modular design approach to the DA12 (which honestly worried me at first) is done extremely well. The cable itself is carbon kevlar which makes it highly resistant to tearing or cutting. The cable is “screwed” into the earpiece and the body pack adaptor so that the speaker or musician cannot accidentally pull the cable out of the connectors. To put it bluntly, this product is really built to last.
As a pastor, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of their products (which we didn’t review), but need to tell you about. It’s called “The Stick” and it was specifically designed for weddings. It is a micro microphone attached to the end of a long boom that is engineered to be placed in the Bible of the minister to pick up the vows that are spoken during the wedding ceremony. This way the bride and the groom don’t have to wear a microphone and it eliminates the need for a really obtrusive microphone stand.
If you are looking to gain a little more information on the DA12 and other products from Da-Cappo you can log into www.hosatech.com and they can direct you to a dealer. www.da-cappo.com also includes a number of fun and interesting videos demonstrating the use of the products.