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Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 | 2 comments

Experiments with Digital Microphones

While AES42 compliant digital microphones are relatively new to the audio world, they’re not “brand-spanking” new. There have been several on the market for a few years now, and new ones are slowly being added as well. For all the time they’ve been available though, I had never heard one in action…not in a controlled environment anyway (the AES show floor is hardly the place for a comprehensive demonstration). I also didn’t know anyone who had spent time evaluating any. There’s always a lot of excitement about the feature set and manufacturer stated capabilities for this category of microphone, but just how much of that is genuine…and how much is the marketing machine up to its usual tricks?

At the AES convention in San Francisco this past October, I spoke to the people at Sennheiser about this very issue. They were more than happy to set me up with some demo gear that I could try out. I recently received nearly $8,000 worth of their top of the line equipment from them, and my biggest regret is that I had to send it all back. Part of that regret is because the gear truly is impressive, but I also feel like I’ve only started to scratch the surface. That’s the larger regret for me. Life waits for no man (or woman), and schedules have a way of moving forward with or without you. So I restricted myself to testing a limited set of features, in the hope that it would give me a view that would be representative of digital microphones in general.

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