Merrily We Roll Along's largely dynamic score was a great opportunity to try out the new Neumann digital microphones and teach the students at Guildhall School of Music and Drama about the advances in digital microphone technology.
Neumann's first serious incursion into the world of the 'digital microphone', the Solution-D project, resulted in the D-01: a large-diaphragm, variable-pattern mic. Although this looks much like any other large-diaphragm Neumann mic, it provides a direct digital output, generated by some very sophisticated and innovative internal electronics. This mic's technical specifications are very impressive and compare favourably with conventional 'analogue' capacitor mics, achieving a dynamic range of over 130dB.
It was clear from the outset that the D-01 was going to be but the first of many Neumann digital mics, and the same technology has now been applied to a range of fixed-pattern small-diaphragm mics, based closely on the capsules used in the popular KM180 series.
(Sound on Sound)
We were luckily enough to demo a selection of the 184-D and 103-D that were utilised on a range of woodwind, string, brass and percussion instruments.
Here is an example of the principle behind turning these legendary microphones in-to the new digital age.
I was very impressed with the quality, dynamic range and how true to the source they are.
It was very interesting to compare and contrast the newer versions to existing analogue microphones.
There are some photographs of them in use:
Photo by: Maxim Gamble
Some more information regarding the Neumann D series microphones: