Danish company DPA has an illustrious history of producing some of the best microphones in the world, and they have a knack for delivering exceptional performance in small packages. In this review, I take the small diaphragm DPA 2015 for a test drive to uncover what it offers.
The DPA 2015 is a superb pencil microphone with outstanding performance capabilities. Its nimble size and highly accurate capturing capability make it one of the market’s most enticing small diaphragm condenser microphones.
Capturing clean and precise recordings in a live setting is no easy feat. But with the right tools, you can achieve superb results. The DPA 2015 is precisely the type of microphone you’ll want in your arsenal if you care about premium-quality sound. Let’s dive into the details.
The DPA 2015 is a wide cardioid microphone with exceptionally consistent capturing capabilities in both studio and live application settings. The pickup pattern is ideal for close micing while retaining a spacious sound that gives your recordings a natural and holistic sound that is hard to beat.
As a pencil microphone, the DPA 2015 excels as a microphone for recording instruments. The slimline form factor and small diaphragm work perfectly as an overhead for drums. The tight frequency response retains accuracy and authenticity without overt emphasis on any range. A pair of these works wonders, and it has become one of my go-to options for micing up drums in the studio.
Excellent choice for drums and instruments.
While the DPA 2015 shines when recording drums, that is not the only area where the DPA 2015 is a worthwhile consideration. The crisp and transparent sound makes it an exceptional choice for recording guitars. And considering its small form factor, it never feels in the way.
The wide cardioid pattern also elevates the DPA 2015 to the top of the list of choices for various instruments. Whether you need to record a grand piano or a brass section, the DPA 2015 will deliver high-quality recordings that capture the subtleties and nuance of the instrument and performer.
The high SPL handling also ensures you won’t have to deal with distortion within your recordings when dealing with loud instruments. Low self-noise also ensures every recording is crisp and clear.
As with most pencil microphones, I wouldn’t suggest using it to record vocals. The dynamic range from a small diaphragm is not the best partner for vocalists. Still, it also doesn’t mean it is useless. You can get workable vocal recordings from the DPA 2015 in a pinch, but you’ll need to experiment heavily with placement.
I had high expectations of this microphone due to the excellent reputation DPA has, and at every test, the DPA 2015 won me over. While not the cheapest option out there, it more than makes up for it with superb performance.
If you demand accuracy and want a versatile small diaphragm microphone to capture instruments in a live or studio setting, the DPA 2015 will be up to the challenge.
The DPA 2015 offers a standard frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz with an overall frequency range of 40Hz-18kHz. More than enough to cover the vast majority of potential recording situations.
The DPA 2015 can easily handle loud sources.
The high Max SPL of 153dB is another highlight, with under 1% Total Harmonic Distortion at 147dB. This provides ample headroom for loud recordings without any dip in sound quality. Other mics opt for including Pad options to boost SPL handling, but with such a high rating already, there is no need for that here.
Self-noise is also low at 18dB, which ensures you’ll be able to capture ambient sound in a room easily without any unwanted noise. Finally, as with all high-quality professional microphones, the DPA 2015 requires 48V phantom power.
I’ll be the first to admit there is not much you can do when it comes to aesthetics regarding pencil microphones. Still, there are some notable elements I want to highlight with the DPA 2015.
First of all, is the excellent finish. The all-black bronze housing offers a slick chrome finish that ensures the microphone is robust, durable, and attractive. I’m not one for too much flash when it comes to pencil microphones, so I also appreciate the subdued logo placement.
Clean and professional appearance.
The other design element I want to highlight is the included microphone clip. It features an ingenious twist mechanism that makes inserting and securing the microphone a breeze.
I also like the approach DPA has taken with the included case. Unlike other options on the market, the DPA 2015 case is compact while retaining high-quality protection for your investment.
DPA has built a solid reputation for delivering high-quality products, so I knew I would be in for a treat even before I got my hands on the DPA 2015. When it arrived and I got to handle and use this pair of mics, I was instantly impressed.
Nothing, and I truly mean nothing, screams cheap or subpar regarding this microphone. It’s solid and inspires confidence at even turn. Everything from the robust casing to the included accessories displays pure quality.
Exceptionally well-built small diaphragm microphone.
The high attention to detail is evident, and you can instantly recognize that the Danes know a thing or two about quality control. It’s not my first time using DPA microphones, but I always love returning to them because I know I can rely on them.
If you want to move beyond mass-produced soulless offerings and invest in high-quality gear that will stand the test of time, the DPA 2015 is a worthy candidate to add to your arsenal.
The DPA 2015 is a pencil microphone, so the dimensions are elegant, allowing you complete freedom when setting it up for a recording session. But even compared to some other pencil mics, the DPA 2015 is noticeably more petite in length. It’s a tiny powerhouse with fantastic sound.
Ultra-compact pencil microphone.
Its diminutive size also results in a low weight. At just 0.18 lbs. (83 grams), the DPA 2015 will comfortably integrate with a wide range of stands without fear of tipping. Despite the low weight, it doesn’t feel cheap in any way.
I’ll be the first to admit that the DPA 2015 is not exactly a budget pair of microphones. If you are on a tighter budget, there are some decent small diaphragm microphones out there from other manufacturers that will still deliver good performance.
The DPA 2015 comes with a superb storage case.
But in saying that, I still can resist the allure of the DPA 2015. The tonal quality and exceptional capturing capability win me over, and despite a relatively high price, I’m still more than comfortable recommending it.
The excellent case, mic clips, and added windscreens add to the value proposition. If you have the funds and want a long-lasting and high-quality set of small-diaphragm microphones, the DPA 2015 is an excellent investment you will not regret.
Pencil Mics FTW
Small diaphragm pencil microphones are an excellent choice for recording drums and instruments due to their compact size and accurate sound reproduction.
These microphones have a smaller diaphragm, which allows them to capture the fast transients and intricate details of drum hits and instrument performances. They also have a focused pickup pattern, which helps to isolate the sound source and reduce unwanted background noise.
But one of the most appealing aspects is the compact size. Their small size makes them ideal for close-micing individual drums and instruments in a crowded recording environment. So the next time you want to record drums or instruments, reach for the pencil mics for the best results.
I have no hesitation in recommending the DPA 2015, but I’m also not blind to the other options that hover around this price point, some of which are equally appealing. Below, I take a quick look at some popular alternatives to the DPA 2015.
Earthworks SR25mp Review
The Earthworks SR25mp is a superb small diaphragm microphone that excels at recording drums. With a wide sweet spot, it can capture accurate sound with no stage or monitor bleed.
- Ultra-flat response for clean and authentic recordings.
- Excellent build quality and high SPL handling.
- It doesn’t come with a case and has slightly higher self-noise.
Soyuz 013 FET Review
Another best-in-class microphone manufacturer is the legendary Soyuz. This compact microphone pair delivers superb performance at a slightly lower price point than the DAP 2015.
- Outstanding sound quality that is accurate and detailed.
- Includes a screw-on pad and a handcrafted hardwood box.
- I prefer the mic clips that come with the DPA 2015.
Soyuz 013 FET
AKG C451 B Review
The last option I want to showcase is the versatile AKG C451 B. This pencil microphone pair features impressive sound while giving you access to additional features that the DPA 2015 doesn’t provide.
- Superb recording quality thanks to the highly acclaimed CK-1 cardioid capsule.
- Access to 2 pads and 2 low-cut filters for maximum versatility.
- Substantially longer than the more compact DPA 2015.
AKG C451 B
Should You Buy?
The DPA 2015 is a superb microphone that overcame every performance test I put it through. Its capacity for recording drums is among the best, with exceptional precision that will see me reaching for these mics often. But beyond that, it performed well across various instruments and situations.
DPA continues to raise that bar at this price bracket, but equally, it is a price that will be out of reach for some. But for those ready and willing to invest in high-quality microphones, the DPA 2015 is an easy addition to the list of best choices available today.