DPA's approach when creating the d:vote CORE 4099G Instrument Microphone was to create a mic that is equally at home on the stage and in the studio. When I perform live, I want my acoustic guitar to sound like my acoustic guitar and that's what I got from the 4099G. The mic captured my six-string acoustic guitar in a natural, clean way, without colorization. As the d:vote CORE 4099 was new to me, I found out that the DPA d:vote 4099 has been around for a little while, but DPA has improved it with the addition of their CORE technology, with an 8 to 14 dB increase in dynamic range, less distortion, and more clarity in general. I didn't have a non-CORE d:vote 4099 to compare to the CORE, but the new d:vote CORE 4099 is impressive.

Packaged in an attractive black hard-shell canvas case, the small mic is covered by a foam windscreen and is connected to an instrument with an adjustable gooseneck clip. Also included are a MicroDot cable and an XLR adapter. This condenser mic has a supercardioid pattern yet imparts a natural sound. Once assembled and mounted the d:vote CORE 4099 is fairly unobtrusive and blends into the background visually. For most applications the mic mounts directly to your instrument, so you could almost clear the stage of mic stands if you used multiple 4099s. The 4099 I auditioned had an SPL rating of 142 dB, but for louder sources, like drums or brass instruments, DPA offers an Extreme SPL version that can handle sources up to 152 dB.

I auditioned the d:vote CORE 4099 with both my Taylor steel string acoustic and my custom nylon classical guitar. The plastic mounting bracket (GC4099) worked well and was a breeze to set up. On the steel string acoustic, once I found the sweet spot for mic placement, the sound was natural and balanced. The mounting bracket allows for lot of flexibility in positioning the mic, which really takes the artist into consideration. Once you get your position with the gooseneck set, you're good to go. I like to move around a fair amount when playing, so it was great that the sound never changed (as the mic position remained the same). In a live setting, the mounted mic was very freeing; it never folded and remained clear even when bashing away on the strings. On my nylon string guitar, the mic was equally solid and captured all the warmth and detail of the instrument.

Due to the supercardioid pattern, the d:vote CORE 4099 does a pretty good job of rejecting other instruments/noise. It's a very directional mic, and this really made a difference in a live setting as I was able to quickly balance the guitar in the mix. I recorded a few acoustic guitar tracks with my Taylor guitar in the studio, and, upon listening to playback, I was surprised at how I heard the instrument but not the room or other ambient noise. I'd imagine having a handful of 4099s for close mic'ing a live group would make it a snap to put up a solid mix.

There are a wealth of mic clips for the d:vote 4099 available depending on your needs -whether you play accordion, cello, drums, bass, piano, sax, or anything else, DPA has you covered. There are even stand-mount clips to attach to mic stands as well. The MicroDot cable that attaches to the d:vote CORE 4099 is detachable and comes stock with an XLR adapter. Depending on your necessary connection, there are a variety of cable adaptors available. Whether you need 1/8-inch or some other connection to just about any third party wireless pack, DPA has the adapter you need to make the right connection. With all of the interface options available, you can be sure your investment is a solid one. The design seems fairly rugged, and the mini cable is more durable than some others I've dealt with.

For instrumentalists, the d:vote CORE 4099 is a great investment. It offers wonderfully accurate sound reproduction while moving with the player rather than holding them hostage to a mic stand. A mounted mic configuration in the studio allows the engineer to achieve a more natural sound without relying on compression to record an even performance, thereby avoiding potential headaches when tracking a performer with poor mic etiquette. Bottom line; with the marriage of the d:vote CORE 4099's great sound and noise rejection, this mic simply makes engineering easier.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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