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DPA d:fine - Worth the Cost? Studio Headphones
Old 29th May 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 

DPA d:fine - Worth the Cost?

After a destroyed Que DA12 I'm thinking of moving on to a DPA d:fine 4088 cardioid mic. It seems to have a slight edge in terms of sound quality, though the price is substantially higher. After looking at the total cost including wireless pack adapter ($100!) and a spare cable($100!), it comes to around $850. This is MUCH higher than the Que DA12 which comes in at ~$350 for the mic and a spare cable.

Do you folks have any input/experience using these two mics that could tip the scales either way?
Old 11th June 2018
  #2
Gear Head
 

Well, since nobody responded I'll give my own 2¢ post-purchase.


SOUND QUALITY
DPA "d:fine 88"/"4188"
The DPA cardioid is definitely easier to get more presence out of the speaker as it rejects most reflected sound and background noise. I was also able to relax the gain on my entire system a bit because of the increased sensitivity and directionality of the capsule. However I wasn't overly impressed with its sound quality when compared to the Que DA12; at least not $800 impressed. Don't get me wrong, it sounds fantastic; extremely clear, great presence and excellent off-axis rejection; though in my opinion, it's not $500-more-than-Que fantastic.

My main speaker always comes through the system sounding a bit nasally, so the DPA's soft high end boost really helped him come through clearly pre-eq, though I did still have to knock it back a bit in the ~350-500hz range.

QUE DA12
Sitting at $325 for the headset mic, wireless pack adapter and a spare cable, the Que is much more affordable. Replacement parts are also cheap, with a wireless pack adapter and spare cable both costing between $20-$30. This contrasts the DPA with both replacement cabling and wireless pack adapter sitting at $100 each (wow).

The sound quality results are similar with the Que DA12, except along with cutting ~350-500hz to tone back the head-cold sound, I had to add a gentle boost between 8-12khz to appropriately shape his voice. Since it has an omnidirectional capsule, it has the tendency to pick up more plosives from coughs/regular speech and feedback from the front of house speakers. It does however have a slightly more "real" (but I wouldn't say "natural") sound; a bit less like you're hearing somebody swallowing their mic on NPR.

CONCLUSION
For anybody reading this in the future, this may be disappointing, but it's tough to say which I prefer. Both mics have pros and cons, but I suppose it comes down to nickles and dimes. Time will tell whether we get bit by the more expensive repair costs of the DPA. If you can get over the initial cost, the directionality of the DPA does make the job a bit easier, though the pricetag does still stick in my craw.
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