Late last year I did a review for Shure’s new, rather good SLX-D range of digital radio mics and bodypack. For the pack I used the instrument cable with a couple of guitars to check and review the system. At the time, they had also sent me a TwinPlex TL47 lavalier mic to help test out the body pack but no instrument or lapel mountings for this mic. With a lack of lapel clip and any other form of mountings at home with me, it wasn’t until after the SLX-D review that I took a trip to the warehouse and picked up some bits and pieces.
With the onset of the subsequent post Christmas lockdown, I was able to have a proper play with Shure’s flagship TwinPlex lavalier. This mic features a number of variants, sensitivity and cable-wise, but is essentially a side address, dual diaphragm condenser design that can be fitted with a choice of a flat or a presence EQ cap.
I have fallen in love with the convenience of this mic, not to mention the broadcast quality sound, as I rarely sit still for long when I’m reviewing and video making! So having the SLX-D lightweight bodypack in my pocket and the TwinPlex Mic clipped onto my shirt has proved extremely convenient over the last couple of months.
Fast forward to March and I was asked if I could check out Shure’s new DuraPlex DL4 lavalier mic, a mic designed to satisfy broadcast needs but with a number of key features that position it very favourably in the stage and musical theatre sound reinforcement market. It also shows a serious commitment on Shure’s part to stop the European mic manufacturers having everything their own way.
So feeling positively well disposed toward the TL47, and in the interest of keeping abreast of all things mic related and the possibility of debunking those rumours that Shure only makes great rock’n’roll mics, I took delivery of a couple.
If you’ve ever worked in theatre or musical theatre sound you’ll know that part of the challenge is getting the mics on and off the talent in such a way as to preserve as much of the integrity of the source without obstruction and interference.
Getting your mic as close to the talent’s mouth without it being seen, while all the time moving, getting contaminated with powder, make-up or sweat, is a tricky business. Bearing in mind these mics are invariably omnis, I’m always in awe of those special breed of sound operators who are able to ‘dance’ those faders with millisecond precision so that only the words being spoken by any one individual are ever open!
Enter stage left, the Shure DuraPlex DL4. This miniature omni is waterproof and dust proof which means not only is it unaffected by sweat, but you can wash it in water if it does happen to arrive back in your hands caked in whatever!
It’s also fair to say that being omni and more readily prone to feedback, having a presence cap for the end of the mic is a very interesting feature, but more of this later. The general feel of this lavalier is one of strength and durability; there is no actual exposed grill on the DL4, just a series of patterned tiny holes behind which is a tightly woven mesh to allow the audio to pass, or in the case of the presence cap, one small hole.