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DPA 5100 - The Bicycle Seat Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 31st March 2010
  #1
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boojum's Avatar
Talking DPA 5100 - The Bicycle Seat

DPA has this new mic array out and on the market incorporating five mic's for a 5.1 array that is quick and easy to set up. I believe that all five are omni's.

Has anybody audtioned/used/seen/handled or done anything with this new piece of hardware? It could be very useful. Whether as a mic rig or a bike seat I do not know. I am hoping someone here has some info on it.

Thanks

Last edited by boojum; 31st March 2010 at 07:44 AM.. Reason: error
Old 31st March 2010
  #2
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jnorman's Avatar
looks fun. yes, they are all omnis. the set of graphs for it are very entertaining:
DPA Microphones :: Products
Old 31st March 2010
  #3
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The front 3 mic's are mounted inside interference tubes (much like the 4099) for directivity and there are baffles between them. The rear mic's are full omni. The angles are the AES (and ITU) standard for surround. There is a circuit in the unit that derives the LFE channel so you get 5.1 right out of the fanout. All 6 outputs are electronically balanced.

I sent this mic to more than a few people for evaluation while I was at DPA. It always got rave reviews from the folks that used it. I had hoped to take one to a large fireworks convention this Summer to record the event in surround and HD video. Oh, well...
Old 31st March 2010
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenor39 View Post
The front 3 mic's are mounted inside interference tubes (much like the 4099) for directivity and there are baffles between them. The rear mic's are full omni. The angles are the AES standard for surround. There is a circuit in the unit that derives the LFE channel so you get 5.1 right out of the fanout. All 6 outputs are electronically balanced.

I sent this mic to more than a few people for evaluation while I was at DPA. It always got rave reviews from the folks that used it. I had hoped to take one to a large fireworks convention this Summer to record the event in surround and HD video. Oh, well...
Mike, could you expand a bit on the user response? Also, rather than using it for 5.1 could it also be used with the three forward mics as a quasi Decca Tree and the back two mics as ambiance mics for a straight stereo mix?


@Jim - yeah the graphs are interesting, and the colors are fun, too. ;o) It has piqued my interest and I wonder if I could get a loaner.
Old 31st March 2010
  #5
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I just talked to a friend who has been testing one for classical work out in the Philadelphia area. He didn't give me a lot of specifics, but he was raving over the sound that he gets from it saying that the sound is very close in quality to the work he was doing with seperate DPA 4006 microphones.

Working in union halls and such, it was relatively easy to get it up and running with the only concern being the length of the supplied cable (large concert halls can have pretty insane cable runs sometimes).

--Ben
Old 31st March 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
I just talked to a friend who has been testing one for classical work out in the Philadelphia area. He didn't give me a lot of specifics, but he was raving over the sound that he gets from it saying that the sound is very close in quality to the work he was doing with seperate DPA 4006 microphones.

Working in union halls and such, it was relatively easy to get it up and running with the only concern being the length of the supplied cable (large concert halls can have pretty insane cable runs sometimes).

--Ben
I kind of wish that the results were not this good. The concept of a "one size fits all" mic or mic array is odious. But this setup seems to be close. For a run and gun setup it offers a lot. I like ORTF and MS because they are quick and easy and very often give good results. I do location/remotes so this is important.

If the 5100 is forgiving of its environment, I mean to say that it works almost everywhere, it is a winner.

As I said above, I would be using it as a stereo setup.

Anyone else using this or knowing folks who have???
Old 31st March 2010
  #7
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Because the 3 front mics are time-aligned, fold down to stereo, including the surrounds, isn't an issue. Read the pdf owner's manual.

http://www.dpamicrophones.com/siteco...nuals/5100.pdf

There are 3 available cable lengths and the unit can drive over 100m of cable.

If I had the money and was still recording, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
Old 1st April 2010
  #8
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^^^^^^ RTFM, huh??!! OK, I will. It seems a sweet setup. But I would have to play with it before I committed any cash for it. And I need it like a hog needs roller skates. Actually I don't need any of this stuff. But it all sure makes my life more pleasant.

OK, any more feedback welcomed, good or bad.

@ Tenor: Mike, how much have you worked with the 5100?
Old 1st April 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
^^^^^^ RTFM, huh??!! OK, I will. It seems a sweet setup. But I would have to play with it before I committed any cash for it. And I need it like a hog needs roller skates. Actually I don't need any of this stuff. But it all sure makes my life more pleasant.

OK, any more feedback welcomed, good or bad.

@ Tenor: Mike, how much have you worked with the 5100?
heh I've only recorded with it once, but I re-wrote the ad copy for it and sent it to several potential clients. TNA Wrestling loved it and may have already purchased one. It sounds incredibly good, as it's based on the 4060/4099 technology. You can configure it as you like and I wouldn't hesitate to make it a staple of my recording efforts. Since I no longer work for DPA, you know I'm not blowing smoke up your rear.
Old 1st April 2010
  #10
Is this significantly different from the Holophone mic which uses the DPA capsules?
Old 1st April 2010
  #11
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boojum's Avatar
I have not looked into the Holophone. The DPA is about $1500 cheaper, though.
Old 10th August 2010
  #12
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@tenor39 about the rears on the DPA 5100

Quote:
Originally Posted by tenor39 View Post
The front 3 mic's are mounted inside interference tubes (much like the 4099) for directivity and there are baffles between them. The rear mic's are full omni. The angles are the AES (and ITU) standard for surround. There is a circuit in the unit that derives the LFE channel so you get 5.1 right out of the fanout. All 6 outputs are electronically balanced.
Just out of curiousity, Mike - since you say the rears are omni and are spaced apart the same distance as the ear-distance (and separated by a baffle) how much is the rear construction like the SASS-B (which I use); and how much are the front R/L like an ORTF?

Thanks
JJ
Attached Images
DPA 5100 - The Bicycle Seat-2804412972.jpg 
Old 13th October 2010
  #13
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I'd still like to find more information on the interference tubes used on the front three capsules. I doubt that they are available from DPA as replacement parts but I'd love to be proven wrong. Can anyone point me to more info?

For the last few years I've been using a custom baffle with four 4060 for surround recording: L,C,R and a single mono surround channel. It is larger and relies on the baffling alone (possibly some boundary effect as well as the mics are mounted directly to the baffle) for directionality of the omnis, but is otherwise quite similar to the 5100. Recently I've added two more omnis (non DPA for now) for discrete surround channels, for a total of 6 channel surround L,C,R,Ls,Rs,B no LFE.

I'd like to play around with the interference tubes.
Old 13th October 2010
  #14
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John Willett's Avatar
 

DPA 5100 - The Bicycle Seat

Mike Skeet and I were in St. Albans Cathedral on Monday recording organ with a variety of surround rigs.

I had a Soundfield SPS200 into my Nagra VI.

Mike had the DPA bicycle saddle with extra mics for height information going into an SD788T, a Sennheiser 800TWIN + 30 rig into an Edirol 04Pro, aSennheiser DPA mix into an R-44 and a Schoeps rig into a Deva.

All recording at the same time.

Unfortunately we had Deva problems and the 788T's batteries went flat, so only the Nagra and Edirols lasted the whole session.

But it was an interesting session.

Mike's surround monitors are K+H O300 for L and R, O110 for C, RL and RR and four M52 for height info.


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Old 13th October 2010
  #15
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What sort of self noise does the Bike seat have? If it's based on the miniature capsules then it will not be quiet enough for classical work.
Old 13th October 2010
  #16
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
What sort of self noise does the Bike seat have? If it's based on the miniature capsules then it will not be quiet enough for classical work.
David, the self-noise debate over the DPA 406n's goes on. In all the cases I have seen the self-noise has been below the ambient noise of the halls which makes the mic's self-noise a moot point. This link will take you to the DPA brochure which lists the A-weighted noise as 21 and 23 dB. http://www.dpamicrophones.com/siteco...nuals/5100.pdf

I think that DPA has traditionally been quite conservative in their self-noise ratings. Also, I am not sure that all companies rate the same way.

Nevertheless, you are wise to be cautious. I would love to hear some concert clips, ones with quiet passages.

Cheers
Old 14th October 2010
  #17
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Interesting session indeed, John. That's a considerable amount of gear. Sorry to hear about the problems.
Old 14th October 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
What sort of self noise does the Bike seat have? If it's based on the miniature capsules then it will not be quiet enough for classical work.
The noise spec of the 4060 is misleading. The mic picks up more ambience, and in a more realistic, desirable way, than a typical omni. It can be placed near a source without sounding too near, and there is not a self noise issue. It is not a very appropriate omni to use far from a source.
Old 14th October 2010
  #19
Using the DPA 5100 surround rig for concert recording

I used DPA 5100 on a recent gig in a hall where I've used many other surround recording systems. I wanted to record a performance of Terry Riley's "In C" in surround, but the only rehearsal was two hours before the concert, so I needed something that was easy to deploy and easy to move (if needed). This seemed like a good excuse to try out the 5100 system, so I arranged to borrow a demo unit from DPA.

Like its competitor, the Holophone, the DPA 5100 is intended to be a 'low fuss" surround mic that can be mounted directly on a video camera when needed. Most users of such systems aren't looking to get the entire audio program out of them; rather, they are looking for a decent surround ambience bed which they can mix behind the feed from boom mics or body mics.

That's a different mission than the surround rigs I usually employ, where I'm actually trying for good L/C/R separation and localization from the main array, and may not have spot mics at all. Given that, you might guess that the DPA 5100 wasn't too likely to satisfy me, but in this situation its operational advantages were too strong not to give it a go.

The DPA 5100 is based on miniature omni capsules, separated by baffles. The obvious question in such an arrangement is whether there's any usable separation between the Center mic and its Left and Right neighbors. Otherwise, why spend extra money when you could just as well use a Jecklin or Schneider disk for your front channels? That's why I never bought a Holophone. But the DPA designers had a trick up their sleeves: miniature interference tubes that make the front mics directional at high frequencies. The result is quite a bit more channel separation than I was really expecting. This trick has also allowed DPA to make the front mics coincident, so you never hear comb filtering when a talker walks in front of the rig or the camera it's attached to does a pan. Finally, the interference tubes lower the effective noise level of the miniature capsules by about 2 dB.

The rear mics are conventional miniature omnis, whose only directivity comes from baffling. Honestly, this isn't the ideal position or spacing for rear surround mics -- it's simply the only thing that can be done in so small a package. DPA suggests electronically delaying the Ls and Rs mics by 30 ms to get better psychoacoustic separation, and I found this to be good advice. I also cheated: I put up a long bar with side-facing figure-eight microphones several rows back to get more decorrelated rear sound.

I deployed the DPA 5100 on a Bogen light stand placed in the center of row 2 in the hall. I used a "Lite Tite" swivel umbrella adapter to allow tilting. Compared to a number of rather outrageous surround rigs I've deployed in that hall, the DPA 5100 had very low visual impact.

I don't monitor in surround on location; I downmix to a stereo pair of nearfield monitors to get a sense of what's going on. With tree-based L/C/R systems, that downmix often causes comb filtering, so I usually put up a separate mic pair for conventional stereo. The remarkable thing about the DPA 5100 is that it never sounds bad when down-mixed. It can sound a bit center-heavy, but pulling down the center fader a few dB fixes that. My next impression was that the stereo downmix sounded a little dry -- drier than a Schneider disk rig placed in the same location. But mixing in a bit of the Ls and Rs mics (with no delay) fixed that, rather like using a "Strauss Packet" stereo rig or a stereo pair with remote pattern control. Neat!

So the gig went off with very little fuss (except for trying to get the marimba into the elevator -- don't ask!) and I eventually brought the tracks home to make a (static) surround mix. I ended up with no EQ on any of the DPA channels. I pulled the center mic down by 4 dB, and widened L/R to 133% using Sequoia's built-in M/S facility (no phase problems!). I did use the left and right spot mics I'd put on stage, but simply to give the violin and viola a fighting chance. Having used just a pair of figure-eight hall mics instead of a full Hammasaki square, I felt the need for more hall ambience, which I created using a Wizzoo 5 reverb plug in. I'm listening to the resulting surround mix as I type this, and I'm really quite happy with it. I would never have expected this good a result from what's basically a videography mic.

Postscript: I'd just finished mixing when a colleague phoned me. He had a client with a HD-video business who was looking for a surround mic. What would I suggest? I told him the DPA 5100 not only sounds great in surround, but it downmixes beatifully to stereo. "Really," I told him, "it's probably the one surround rig a videographer can't mess up with." I imagine that was DPA's goal all along.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording

Full disclosure: I don't work for DPA, but I live two miles from their office and they've treated me well over the years. I own many of thier mics.
Old 14th October 2010
  #20
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David, thanks for the great write-up and review. You have addressed most of the questions plaguing my feverish mind. Mostly, how does it sound on concert material and how does it downmix to stereo. I have a lot of faith in DPA. The small amount of gear I have gotten from them has always performed flawlessly. Could you post some samples of your session? That would be grand.

Thanks again for the extensive and knowledgeable write-up.

Cheers
Old 14th October 2010
  #21
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DPA 5100 - The Bicycle Seat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gutbucket
Interesting session indeed, John. That's a considerable amount of gear. Sorry to hear about the problems.
It was indeed - and Mike is hoping to write it up for the IBS (Institute of Broadcast Sound) website.

Only the Nagra VI and Soundfield was mine, the rest was Mike's.

The 788T was new and Mike still has not worked out how to dim the lights.

Because of the Cathedral's tough stance on PAT testing, everything had to be battery powered. Luckily I had gone for the 15 hour battery option for the Nagra.


Sent from my iPhone using Gearslutz
Old 14th October 2010
  #22
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OT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The 788T was new and Mike still has not worked out how to dim the lights.
Press and hold the "lamp" button and turn the right side rotary knob. Press and hold "lamp" and push rotary knob to toggle lights on/off. Takes me a few minutes to re-find out each time I switch from 702/744 to 788 and back. It's really a bit silly...

/OT
Old 14th October 2010
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The 788T was new and Mike still has not worked out how to dim the lights.

RTFM! ;o)
Old 14th October 2010
  #24
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DPA 5100 - The Bicycle Seat

Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum


RTFM! ;o)
LOL

He does, but it's a new machine and a large and difficult manual - it just takes time.

He's still trying to get to grips with the awkward menu structure.


Sent from my iPhone using Gearslutz
Old 15th October 2010
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
David, thanks for the great write-up and review.
... Could you post some samples of your session? That would be grand.
Thanks again for the extensive and knowledgeable write-up.
I could probably post an excerpt, but in what format? Discrete WAV's would be huge (it's 24/96). I could encode it as DTS-CD, but then people would either need a bit-perfect digital pipe to a surround receiver or they'd have to burn it on a CD. Any other ideas?

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 15th October 2010
  #26
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David, I was thinking of a downmixed stereo version. I would just like to have an idea of the sound quality, as much as can be had. You could post it as a torrent and upload the torrent file so we could d/l the actual file from your computer. Does that make sense? I suggest that as I have posted torrented FLAC files of some archival stuff I have done. I think that a "private" torrent is the way. I can research it if you like. I would love to hear the downmix. I would love to hear the surround, too, but do not have a surround setup.

Let me know. Thanks.
Old 25th May 2014
  #27
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Hi,

sorry for waking up this old thread.

I was wondering if anybody is still interested in sound samples of the DPA 5100, or is it already old hat?
Because I did a live recording with the mic recently.
Classical music (Mendelssohn, Wagner) in a small church with a male choir positioned on the gallery surrounding the audience,
the women standing on the same level as the orchestra, but behind the audience.
So alot of surround effects for the mic to capture.

Greetings
ebsh
Old 25th May 2014
  #28
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huub's Avatar
definitely interested..

how did you like the mic?
Old 25th May 2014
  #29
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boojum's Avatar
Always interested!
Old 25th May 2014
  #30
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Plush's Avatar
Would like to know more and hear it please.
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