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DPA D:Facto 2 Vocal Microphone Review

DPA D:Facto 2

TL;DR:

DPA D:Facto 2 Microphone Review: The D;Facto 2 is an extremely detail rich, powerful, and flexible condenser microphone that brings studio quality sound to the live stage.


Review Preface:

Danish professional audio manufacturer, DPA, are renowned for producing extremely intricate and highly detailed microphones that work in a variety of demanding recording environments. With a solid foundation in the live music sector cast from the success of the original D:Facto Vocal, Danish Professional Audio have now come back with a second generation design that they have concurrently named the D:Facto 2. This special condenser microphone has improvements in recognition of the initial D:Facto design, yet it retains the same form factor which makes it great for handheld use.


Build Quality & Design:

The D:Facto 2 arrives in a compact black woven DPA branded reinforced soft case with a medium density foam inner which stores the microphone and stand clip when not in use. This does protect the microphone during transport and is a welcome addition. Once removed, the body of the microphone appears to have been crafted from black anodised machined aluminium and is much weightier than expected - 320 grams worth. This stocky body build balances well within the hand and the construction is more than sufficient to act as a barrier to any possible microphonics issues. Even when placed within the hands of the most energetic vocalists the D:Facto body looks and feels comfortable without becoming too imposing, and subsequently our in-house testing has found that the microphone suits a wide variety of handling placements of both male and female users. With all facts considered, the D:Facto 2 is an impressive microphone that has an unimposing slick black professional appearance that leaves all eyes focused on the musician rather than the equipment - unless you’re a sound engineer or gearslut of course!


DPA D:Facto 2Coming on to the microphone capsule now, the outer windshield basket feels as sturdy as can be and unscrewing it from the body reveals a complex design consisting of a single suspended layer of black foam with a nylon mesh basket and the pre-polarised handle construction. What is clear is that the harshest of elements won’t make a dent on the costly condenser capsule below but, as standard, the D:Facto 2 comes equipped with a DPA/Senheisser supercardiod condenser capsule (MMC4018v) which simply screws on to the spring loaded gold plated contact. The frequency response and polar pattern of this paring proves that the D:Facto 2 is perfect to reject surrounding instruments on a cluttered stage and helps to minimise the chance of unwanted feedback. Likewise DPA quote a super high 160dB SPL limit before clipping and this will give sound engineers comfort in the knowledge that clipping shouldn't be a issue; even with the loudest stage performances.


Sound Quality:

During testing both male and female vocalists sounded bright, full, and surprisingly detailed for a live microphone. Clearly DPA have brought the sound of the studio onto the big stage and the serious level of detail exhibited with the D:Facto 2 allows the stage performance to work well within a simple foldback mix. In fact the accuracy shown across the frequency and transient response significantly helps to preserve the natural input performance. With this in mind I can see no reason why the D:Facto 2 would not be perfect for demanding broadcast performances. It is reliable and sports breathtaking accuracy when capturing both macro and micro details. All of these pure qualities make the FOH engineers job easier at satisfying every aspect of a live performance and the unity can result in a better onstage performance.


Coming on to the low end now, the D:Facto 2 managed to capture a tight performance, although it was not quite as transparent as the high end frequency response. This was a little disappointing, but the D:Facto 2 responded well to equalisation without becoming too brittle. Furthermore, in terms of proximity effect, the D:Facto 2 precision captured performances at various distances without distorting or warbling even when placed close to the lips. Overall vocal performances were brilliant, accurate, tight, and controlled. However, whilst the D:Facto 2 is seemingly marketed as a vocal microphone we did notice that it was an excellent performer in other close mic settings such as acoustic guitar. In this settling the D:Facto 2 delivered powerful crystal clear responsive results and a smooth deep low end response every time. The movement of the musicians body was well rejected by the tight polar pattern and this left a pristine recording with bags of fidelity.


Typically using a sensitive condenser microphone on stage would ring alarm bells for engineers as these sensitive designs generally have a habit of picking up a greater amount of unwanted stage noise, however the supercardioid design meant that the microphone only picked up sound from where it was directed at. This is great for when the singer is just performing, but as we all know singers like to move around… sometimes more than engineers would like! In practice the D:Facto 2’s smooth frequency response meant that the bleed from other sound sources did not swamp the top end, which can so often muddle a live mix and result in the vocal signal losing its warmth and detail. Overall the tonal qualities of this microphone are exceptional.


Review Conclusion:

The D:Facto 2 has shown that it can handle a broad range of vocal situations with ease. It has more natural style and grace than commonly found with other on-stage solutions and has the flexibility of a high end studio microphone. The price may be discouraging to some, but its outstanding performance is an engineers dream. The powerful DPA D:Facto 2 earns a four and a half rating from The Pro Audio Web Blog.



Edd Harris & Chris Pavey

Edd Harris & Chris Pavey - 14th November 2014

US RRP: $949.99 | UK RRP: £699.00

Editors Rating:

Four and a Half Star Review
DPA D:Facto 2 Microphone Review
4.5/5 stars
DPA D:Facto 2 Microphone Review: The D;Facto 2 is an extremely detail rich, powerful, and flexible condenser microphone that brings studio quality sound to the live stage.