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DPA Microphones Rise To The Challenges Of The Jungle
Researcher and eco-acoustic composer David Monacchi has been using DPA Microphones’ 4060 miniature microphones to capture the sounds of the rainforest as part of his long-term environmental sound-art project entitled Fragments of Extinction.
David Monacchi, who is Professor of Electroacoustic Music at the Conservatorio G.Rossini in Pesaro, Italy, is collaborating with various institutions on this project, which involves travelling to some of the world's most remote areas of intact rainforest to record complex soundscape portraits.
“I use several microphone techniques in the field, most of which involve quite heavy and complex systems,” Monacchi explains. “DPA miniature microphones are extremely lightweight and this makes them highly suitable to field work where I may have to hike long distances in extreme terrain.”
David Monacchi’s two Hi-Sens DPA 4060s omnidirectional miniature microphones with accessories were supplied by DPA’s Italian distributor M. Casale Bauer.
“The DPA 4060 microphones are so small that, if appropriately arranged in a handmade stand, they can be used for self-worn binaural recordings,” he explains. “When used in this way they give optimum results because their dimensions are perfectly suited to being placed at the entrance of the ear canal.”
Originally designed for use with wireless systems in theatre, television and close-miked instrument applications, DPA’s 4060 miniature microphones exhibit a highly accurate omnidirectional pattern and therefore do not need to be aimed directly at the sound source to achieve quality pickup.
“This feature is especially useful for binaural recordings,” says Monacchi, “where, in order to collect the three-dimensional information, it is important that all the sound reflections from the pinna are picked up in a linear way.
David Monacchi adds that the sound quality delivered by his DPA 4060 miniature microphones is excellent. “They have very good tonal quality, linear behaviour and immunity to infrasound vibration-driven noises – all of which are very positive characteristics in the field,” he says. “Considering their dimensions, the signal to noise ratio of these capsules is extremely high, making them suitable for low intensity biophonies and distant sound sources. In addition, their extended high frequency response to around 40khz make them suitable for recording non-audible biophonies like some species of insects and bats.”
David Monacchi’s most recent trip was to Borneo, but he has also visited rainforests in remote areas of the Amazon and Africa. He usually travels alone or with one assistant and relies on local research Institutions or NGOs for field support and rainforest explorations.
“The project embraces collaborations with Greenpeace and several academic institutions and organisations around the world,” he says. “Its aim is to collect sound data and complex soundscape portraits of some of the oldest ecosystems on Earth, many of which are being damaged and are disappearing at an exceptionally fast rate.”
Working in rain forests brings its own particular set of issues, not least very high humidity that can oscillate between 70% and 99%.
“My DPA 4060 miniature microphones perform very well in high humidity condition and are very stable in their performance, even when quick humidity and temperature changes occur,” Monacchi says. “Also, compared to bigger and heavier condenser microphones, they are extremely resistant to unwanted impacts so they are very reliable in the uncertain conditions of remote field trips.”
David Monacchi adds that although a larger diaphragm microphone would provide a better signal to noise ratio, he always carries his DPA 4060 miniature microphones because they are so portable and reliable.
“Considered their dimensions, I think DPA’s 4060 microphones are a true miracle of electroacoustic engineering,” he says. “Without doubt, they are the most adaptable microphones in the world for recording binaural in extreme conditions.”
30th April 2013
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