What is the difference between the DPA d:facto™ Vocal (4018V) and Linear Vocal (4018VL) capsules?
They can both take up to 160dB of SPL before distorting. They both have super-cardioid polar patterns, and excellent off-axis attenuation. The answer lies in the frequency response. Looking at the frequency charts below from 20Hz to 20kHz, you can see the DPA d:facto™ Vocal (4018V) has a built-in soft boost at 12kHz of 3dB, while the d:facto™ Linear Vocal (4018VL) has a totally flat frequency response, bearing in mind they both have a low cut at 80Hz.
Tom Wright of Powered Flight Music, FOH for the folk project “Shake the Chains“, chose the d:facto™ Linear Vocal microphone as it fit his workflow and made mixing Shake the Chains vocals an easier affair. We managed to film two performances with the d:facto™ Vocal and Linear Vocal respectively for comparison. The audio was provided as a stereo mix from the desk as well as the solo main vocal stem. See the video below.
No post-production effects were applied to the audio when we got it. In terms of what Tom did with the mix on the night, he said this: “High Pass and a little high-mid “tuning” to balance some very different sounding singers. NB: in a situation with only one (lead) singer, I could have probably got away with no EQ on either mic. Possibly some Hi Pass out of habit!”
Both the Vocal and Linear Vocal d:facto capsules are super-cardioid and feature a very natural off-axis response thanks to the science of the capsule design, no added electronics to ‘EQ out’ the off-axis sound. What this means is you don’t need to treat the off-axis EQ any differently to the on-axis source – a situation that can otherwise lead to heavy compensation and loss of critical frequencies.
Tom adds, “No issues with wedge monitors at all, but very low monitoring levels on these shows.”
Asked about his experience prior to, and after, switching to d:facto, he remarked:
The difference is huge! We had six singers at a time (10 in total) on these shows. Three on d:factos and the others on KSM9, Beta87A, KM105 etc. d:factos were easy, simple and honest every time!!
Probably the most important point, he signed off, “Interesting to note that different capsules worked better on different singers. One is not “better” than the other.”
Watch the comparison video and decide for yourself. Tip: The two d:facto™ capsules differ mainly around the 12kHz frequency (there’s a built-in soft boost in the d:facto Vocal mic). You can also watch the whole performance with 4018VL Linear Vocal – link at the end of the comparison video.
DPA d:facto™ Vocal vs d:facto™ Linear Vocal Comparison
Download the Audio Files (24bit/96kHz)
Download a .zip folder with the audio files (stereo out and solo vocals for both capsules) here.
Contains 4 .wav files: Lead Vocal 4018V, Stereo Full Band 4018V, Lead Vocal 4018VL, Stereo Full Band 4018VL.