Tag Archives: Line Array Microphone

Beyerdynamic MPR 210  (Horizontal Line Array)

Anecdote

A few years ago I was employed to operate sound for a big charity fund raising event at a posh London hotel. The guest speaker on this occasion was a senior member of the British Royal Family who was a patron of the charity. After dinner HRH arrived on stage to deliver her speech. The microphone supplied by the event company was a good old Shure SM58! The Princess positioned herself about 2 feet from the microphone and spoke in a very quiet and suitably regal tone. Throughout the speech she continuously turned her head from side to side without ever once actually addressing the microphone! Meanwhile, back at the sound desk, I had run out of gain, and was desperately tweaking EQ and compression in a fruitless search for level. The system was flat out!  Anyhow, at the end of the speech the audience applauded politely, even though I’m sure that most of them never heard a word of it! As the Princess turned to leave the stage, and before I had chance to grab the gain control, the somewhat inebriated TV host, who was compèring the show, leaped forward and grabbed the mic shouting “THAAAANK YOU VERY MUCH”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone who has worked in event and conference sound for a few years will almost certainly have their own similar experience to relate!

So what could be the solution to this common problem?

A few weeks ago, out of curiosity, I purchased a Beyerdynamic MPR 210, a horizontal line array microphone specifically designed for use in conference venues and lecture theatres.

Beyerdynamic MPR210W
Beyerdynamic MPR210W Rear view showing output sensitivity control

Having tested it both in the studio and with a PA in a large conference venue I can honestly say that it does exactly what it says on the tin, and may well be the solution we have been seeking!

Here below is the Beyerdynamic MPR210 Manual and tech spec.

The information sheet below also covers the Classis RM30 which is Beyerdynamic’s vertical line array.

So what does it sound like dealing with a problematic speaker?

CLICK HERE to find out!

Conclusion

The current list price for the MPR210 from UK distributer Polar Audio is £746.41. This might seem like a lot of money for a desktop microphone. However, if you are in the business of conferences /events and lectures, this could be the perfect tool for the job!

P.S.

If you are curious to know more about line array microphones, a while ago I penned a post about my experiments with a homemade vertical line array. https://martinmitchellsmicrophones.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/experimental-line-array-microphone/  

Experimental Line Array Microphone

making-line-array-mount

Improvising the mount for a 4 Element Line Array Microphone.

line-array-microphone

My basic 4 Element Line Array Microphone.  (Using 4 x Omnidirectional Karma K-Micro Silver Bullets)

shure-m268-front-panel

A handy little pre-amp for my line array. A Shure M268 4 x channel Mono Microphone Mixer. Surprisingly clean-sounding for its age!

Line array theory has been around since the 1930’s. In the 50’s and 60’s basic line arrays were very popular in the form of the column loudspeaker commonly used for PA. These days we are used to seeing massive line array speaker systems flown above the stage at festivals and concerts.

On the other hand the line array microphone is a rare breed and the few that are around, such as the impressive Microtech Gefell KEM970, tend to be expensive. The KEM970 is around £10,000.

In common with the shotgun microphone, the line array is a phase-reactive device. Unlike the shotgun where the on-axis position is down the length of the interference tube, with the line array the on-axis position is side-on at 90 degrees to the vertical column. Sound arriving at 90 degrees will be in phase at all of the capsules. The electrical output from each capsule will be identical and therefore additive. Sound arriving off-axis will suffer varying degrees of phase cancellation, depending on the frequency and the angle of incidence.

The polar pattern of a line array microphone is therefore wide in the horizontal plane and narrow in the vertical, getting narrower with rising frequency. This enables the mic to pick up over longer distances whilst rejecting mid and high frequency sound arriving off axis ( ie below and above.)

N.B.The longer the array (ie the more elements in the line) the lower the frequency at which it starts to be effective.

line-array-microphone-polar-pattern

Polar Plot at 1kHz

Below about 400Hz my 4 element model becomes increasingly omni-directional.  In this respect it is once again  similar to a shotgun.

Over the next few months I am planning a number of experiments to explore how this array will behave and to see what practical applications I can find for it!  I’ll report back…………..

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