Is a digital mic system better than best analogue systems?
Author: Camilo Rodriguez
Date: 07/01/2014
Hi there,

I have long been working my way through reviews, specs and papers, and all to make a sound investment in the best A/B stereo kit I can find. Having settled for a conventional setup with a pair of omnis, a mic-pre and an A/D converter, I came across the KM 183 D mics and the DMI-2. With this setup, and even with a DMI-8, I would be saving almost half of the cost of the setup I had originally intended to buy (DPA 4004, Millenia HV-3C & Benchmark ADC-1).

I am quite convinced that it was the best I could get from an analogue setup, but I didn't know anything about digital mics until a couple of days ago... I know, shame on me.

Now that I have read a couple of reviews, specs and technical data - and of course the price difference -, I am quite tempted to go go digital.

The KM 183 claims to beat the DPA 4004s in dynamic range, with a whopping 140 dB. The specs nevertheless list 124 dB, just like the DPA 4004s. The trade-off of the DPAs is their high self noise, some 10 dB higher than DPAs other reference mic, the 4006A, but with almost 15 dB higher SPL handling and better dynamic range.

An obvious question would be, how many A/D converters can handle 140 dB (let alone, D/A converters), and if the advantage would really be effective? Another logic question is if the A/D converters in the KM 183 D can compete with a state of the art Benchmark ADC-1, and if the peculiar process of the KM 183 Ds has any loss in performance with respect to that of a conventional external A/D converter? I don't see as detailed digital specs as I would like, which would be helpful, or reviews that actually measure the digital performance of the mics.

I am not a recording engineer, but a drummer/percussionist who wants to record my own projects, and I'm looking for the most transparent and accurate setup I can get for my money.
My interest is accuracy, transparency, high SPL handling and the highest dynamic range and SNR possible.

My ultimate question is if a pair of KM 183 D and a DMI-2 will beat or equal my ideal analog setup? The savings, ease of use and portability of the DMI-2 are very attractive, but I would be prepared to spend the double on the analog setup if it is better.

Thanks in advance for any orientation anyone out there can provide.

P.D. Is there any plans on a KU-100 D?