Bring studio sound to the stage with these live‑oriented capacitor microphones.
Dynamic microphones are the go‑to choice for many live engineers, and for good reason: they generally offer sturdy construction and high SPL handling, meaning they stand up well to the demands of live use. However, the extended high‑frequency range and improved transient response of a capacitor‑based design can often deliver much more natural‑sounding results on many sources, not least vocals. In this month’s Spotlight, we take a look at a range of handheld capacitor mics that have been designed first and foremost for use on stage.
AKG say that the C5 will deliver a vocal tone that will cut though the loudest mixes, and also offers a choice of two tonal options thanks to an included presence boost adaptor that can be fitted to the capsule assembly. A solid die‑cast body and rugged grille construction help the C5 stand up to use in a live enviroment, and the inner casing has been designed to protect the capsule from corrosion and humidity. The mic features a cardioid polar pattern, and its frequency response ranges from 60Hz to 20kHz, with self‑noise specified at 25dBA.
£209 including VAT$216
Another offering from AKG comes in the form of the C7, which features a similar physical design to the C5 but offers a supercardioid polar pattern and improved technical performance. An open‑space capsule design reduces air turbulence and inner reflections at the rear of the capsule, which AKG say yields an extremely consistent polar pattern throughout the entire frequency spectrum, resulting in excellent feedback and spill rejection. The frequency response extends lower than the C5, ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz, and the self‑noise is also improved, measuring at 21dBA.
£235 including VAT$299
The Audio‑Technica AT2010 has been designed specifically for close‑miking vocals, and aims to bring the articulation and intelligibility of the company’s renowned 20 Series mics to the stage. The mic employs the same 16mm low‑mass diaphragm found in the AT2020, offering an extended (40Hz‑20kHz) frequency response and superior transient response that promise smooth and natural‑sounding vocals. A cardioid polar pattern helps improve rejection of unwanted sounds and combat feedback, whilst a multi‑stage grille is said to offer excellent protection against plosives and sibilance without comprimising high‑frequency clarity. An all‑metal construction ensures the AT2010 stands up to the rigours of live use, and an included Quiet‑Flex stand clamp ensures it stays firmly in place whilst offering noise‑free adjustment.
£99 including VAT$119
There are currently two handheld capacitor designs in the Audix range. The first, the VX5, has been designed for stage, studio and broadcast applications, boasting a controlled supercardioid pattern that helps to isolate vocals in noisy environments whilst avoiding feedback, and a smooth 40Hz‑16.5kHz frequency response for a natural, studio‑quality sound. An acoustically ported steel mesh grille contains a multi‑stage pop filter, and a pair of switches provide a high‑pass filter and ‑10dB pad. With both switches engaged, the VX5 will handle SPLs in excess of 140dB.
£249 including VAT$249
The second offering in the Audix range improves upon the specifcations of the VX5, and was designed with the aim of setting a new standard for live sound applications. The VX10’s high‑frequency response extends to 20kHz, and self‑noise is improved, too, measuring 19dBA (compared to 26dBA for the VX5). The mic has a cardioid polar pattern with an off‑axis rejection figure greater than 20dB, and although the VX10 doesn’t share the pad function found on the VX5, Audix offer a low‑output model (VX10LO) aimed at louder environments or particularly powerful vocalists.
£599 including VAT$599
Austrian Audio say that the OC707 offers all of the important characteristics of a studio microphone, but can withstand the rigours of everyday stage use. The mic employs the company’s OCC7 capsule, which is hand‑built at their factory in Vienna before being measured and tuned using an in‑house anechoic chamber. It boasts a linear frequency response (35Hz‑20kHz), low self‑noise figures and is capable of withstanding SPLs up to 150dB, maintaining a natural and open sound even when subjected to extreme volumes. There is also a built‑in second‑order high‑pass filter at 120Hz. The design utilises Austrian Audio’s proprietary Open Acoustics Technology, which mounts the capsule in a way that allows sound to reach it from all sides with the aim of reducing resonances and preventing reflections. Minimal contact points between the capsule and the enclosure also help to combat the transmission of mechanical noise.
£449 including VAT$479
DPA say that their flagship handheld capacitor model has been designed specifically to deliver the most transparent vocal sound possible. A supercardioid pattern offers high rejection of sounds arriving at the sides and rear of the mic, and also remains consistent across the frequency range to help avoid feedback issues. The d:facto can be purchased with either a Linear (4018VL) or Softboost (4018V) capsule, the latter providing a broad 3dB emphasis at 12kHz that helps vocals to cut through a busy mix....