Beyerdynamic Unveils First Digital Condenser Mic

Farmingdale, NY. Beyerdynamic has unveiled a radical departure from its well-respected and relatively traditional line of microphones. The company claims a first for its MCD 100 Digital Condenser Mic, shown in pre-production form at the Fall’96 AES Convention, and due to ship in early 1997.

Beyerdynamic designed the innovative mic — the first professional mic available with on-board analog-to-digital conversion — as a joint venture with digital console maker StageTec. The MCD 100 incorporates A-to-D conversion and standard AES/EBU output within its housing, along with a conventional cardioid condenser capsule, pre-amp, and associated circuitry.

The key advantage of housing digital processing within the mic body is that it allows the signal to be digitized as early as possible in the signal chain. This avoids the possibility of noise being produced in analog amplifiers and/or line drivers. As well, the A-to-D converter can be matched precisely to the characteristics of the condenser capsule and pre-amplifier, to optimize the performance of all parts.

The MCD 100 uses an ultra-low-noise pre-amplifier, in conjunction with a 22-bit TrueMatch ADC. The converter works together with a DSP that generates AES/EBU format digital output. The mic can be connected directly to digital consoles via a standard XLR cable. No external mic preamp is required.

Phantom power is provided by a choice of supply units. The basic option is a stand-alone unit with inputs for 2 MCD 100 mics and a single stereo AES/EBU output, along with a sample rate converter. The company also plans to offer a rack-mount unit with eight inputs and various extra functions. The supply units can be synchronized with an external word clock signal.

The MCD 100 will come with a remote control that allows attenuation of the gain of the capsule pre-amp from the power supply unit, switchable to -10dB and -20dB. This gives the mic a wider potential dynamic range and increases the maximum sound pressure level. It is also possible to change the onboard EPROM software, to vary the frequency roll-off characteristics of the mic.

Beyerdynamic says that the capsule and enclosure design of the MCD 100 makes it a versatile mic that can be used for vocals or speech, as well as piano, percussion, brass and strings. The company also claims that the new mic can be operated with cable lengths of 300m without any loss or degradation of the signal (up to 500m with a special cable).

Some performance claims for the MCD 100:

  • Signal-to-noise ratio: >115 dBA
  • Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • SPL Capability: 150 dBSPL
  • Dynamic Range: 113 dBCCIR, 115 dBA
  • Rear attenuation: >22 dB at 180° (1 kHz)

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