Wireless headset microphones are incredibly convenient devices for when you need to capture quality voice performances without the distraction of a physical microphone between your camera and your subject. They can be a better choice than lavalier microphones when sound quality and noise rejection is of the utmost performance. This is because unlike lavalier microphones, they can be specifically aimed within centimeters of your subject’s mouth without the use of clips or microphone tape.
For our tests in (and out!) of the Ask.Audio lab, we decided to pit the DPA d:fine up against a Shure Beta 54 as well as a Countryman H6. All three of these microphones are routinely brought up when you talk to audio professionals about headset microphones. The other thing they have in common is that all three mics can be used in a wired and wireless capacity with a variety of receivers.
I utilized a Shure ULX wireless transmitter and receiver for this test with the resulting audio going directly into the video camera. I also used an AKG C1000 condenser microphone to get a baseline of the noise in the various noisy situations I put the 3 headset mics through.
After assembling this video test together, I can confidently say that the DPA d:fine will be my new headset of choice for any project where I can use it. The dynamic range of the d:fine is just spectacular, and in most cases I couldn’t believe I was even using a headset mic and not a studio condenser. The d:Fine also stacked up quite nicely in the noise rejection department—all while having a distraction-free design which felt quite natural to wear. Finally, the d:fine had the least amount of ‘artifacts’ of the bunch. Headset mics can be tricky—the slightest movement of your cheek, lips, or a strong breath can create unwanted sounds that you have to eliminate in post. The d:fine was nearly immune to all of these due to its design and default angle of placement.
Aesthetically, both the Countryman H6 and the DPA d:fine were quite unobtrusive. They are very small microphones, and the DPA in particular is available in an extremely wide variety of mounts for people of various skin tones. For discreet placement, this can be an absolute necessity depending upon your application.
Take a look and a listen at the video and see the results. I really put these mics through the ‘wringer’ in terms of noisy environments—check it out and hear for yourself!