I like surprises and received a big one when a couple of months ago, a package was delivered with a DPA 2028 vocal microphone for evaluation. Based in Denmark, DPA produces some excellent mics, including a few headworn units I have in my inventory.
The 2028 is a condenser model designed for the unique challenges of capturing live vocals, equipped with a 3-step pop protection system designed to effectively reduce wind and pop noises. It consists of an outer metal mesh grille, an inner foam windscreen, and an additional inner fine metal mesh pop filter that surrounds the capsule.
The new capsule is designed to handle high sound pressure levels (stated as 160 dB max SPL before clipping). Uniform supercardioid directivity is intended to reduce feedback issues, while the capsule’s shock mount helps eliminate handling noise.
The 2028 is available in a wired version with a black handle or in two screw-on capsules for a variety of wireless systems. One fits standard Shure, Lectrosonics, Sony and additional transmitters, and the other works with a range of Sennheiser transmitters. It’s designed for standard +48-volt phantom power, but the user manual states that it will also operate at lower supply voltages.
Stated frequency response is 20 Hz to 20 kHz and nominal sensitivity is 5 mV/Pa, -46 dB (+/- 3 dB at 1 kHz). Total Harmonic Distortion is listed as <1 percent up to 139 dB, and the specs also say that dynamic range is typically 117 dB and output impedance 150 ohms. The wired version measures 1.9 x 7.4 inches (W x L) and weighs 10.1 ounces. The mic ships (clip included) in a rugged, foam-fitted zipper case that also has extra space for stuff like external windscreens.
Out Of The Box
The first thing I noticed when unpacking the 2028 was how nice it felt in my hand. The tapered handle has a shape that fits the contours of the hand very well, and it also made me to hold the mic correctly and not wrap my hand around the head (as too many vocalists do these days, altering the sonic signature). It’s also a great-looking unit with an all-black finish, the grille is rugged, and overall, the mic is very solid indeed.
When plugging in the mic at my test bench, I quickly found that it almost makes my voice sound great (which is saying something because I have a voice for magazine writing – and a face for radio). The off-axis rejection is excellent, especially to the rear. While many performers who would be using a mic at this price point are probably on in-ear monitors, a good number of performers still prefer wedges, so the tight rejection of sound from monitor (and other off-axis sources) at the sides and rear is most welcome. Unscrewing the top reveals the inner mesh pop filter that can also screw off for cleaning or replacement if it gets damaged. Taking off that filter exposes the cartridge.
I had a few folks at my shop check out the mic as well, and while none are singers, they were all impressed at how nice it sounded with their voices. I didn’t need EQ to make their voices sound natural either. The mic has a very even frequency response with no major dips or bumps over its entire range. Satisfied that it wasn’t damaged in transit and was in proper working order, it was time to hit the road.
Steps Along The Way
The first stop was a visit to a colleague’s church to deploy the 2028 with a praise band. We decided to try it with a female vocalist who sings loud and is known for hitting some very high notes during performances.
She sounded great, and with little to no EQ, and she commented to me how good it sounded in the floor wedges. For his part, my colleague also noted the sonic quality as well as his appreciation for the tight off-axis rejection – there was basically nothing but vocal signal in the channel on a small and loud stage.