At AES this week, Sony debuted prototypes of three new “Hi-Resolution” microphones — two designed for recording instruments and one for recording vocals.
What makes a mic a “Hi-Res” mic? In Sony’s estimation, it’s frequency response. These mics are designed for an extended frequency response reaching all the way up to 50kHz. That’s important for capturing high-resolution audio recordings, which can typically present frequencies ranging as high as 48kHz (based on a 96kHz sampling rate). Sound frequencies reproduced by recordings on CD peak at 22,050 Hz.
The benefits of maintaining such high-frequency information are the subject of controversy, even among audiophiles. Human hearing is generally understood to range only from about 20Hz to 20kHz, suggesting the additional high-frequency response may be of negligible value. Moreover, some of the finest and most beloved vocal recordings of all time were made when even 20kHz recording was largely outside the range of consideration. However, research suggests that capturing higher frequencies during the recording process may confer benefits during mixing and mastering, so if you’re going to be working with 96kHz sampling, it may make sense to capture that extended frequency range.
Sony’s C-100 side-address mic has a two-way structure and selectable omni/uni/bi-directional pick-up pattern meant for capturing vocals. The metallic body, derived from Sony’s C-800G mic design, is designed to eliminate acoustic vibration. The ECM-100U uni-directional mic and ECM-100N omni-directional mic are meant for instrumental recordings. All three mics are rated with a frequency response from 20Hz to 50kHz, have low-cut filters, and offer a -10dB pad switch to attenuate the signal for additional headroom.
In other Sony pro audio news, the company previewed the upcoming third generation of its digital wireless line-up, including the DWT-B03R, a new more lightweight body-pack transmitter with 1.2ms latency; the DWR-R03D digital wireless rack-mount receiver with Dante networking technology; the BC-DWX1 battery charger; and the miniature ECM-77LM omnidirectional electret condenser mic now using a smaller, three-pin connector.
The official announcements didn’t include ship dates; expect to see the previewed DWX wireless products hit the market before the “prototype” hi-res mics.