- by Jamie Rio
in Road Tests
To prepare for this review, I visited Que Audio’s website and found out some interesting facts about the company and its products. First, Que Audio is owned by the Syncrotech Group, which is an Australian-owned group of professional audio companies that has been operating down under for more 30 years. When I read this info on the Que Audio site, I was quite impressed. Maybe because I happen to love Australia (and not for the shrimp), but also because 30 years is a long time to do anything in Australia, or anywhere else for that matter.
» The Offerings
Okay, so let’s get to the Que Audio products. Both the DA04 lavalier mic and the DA12 headworn mic have European-designed capsules. I’m not sure where in Europe the capsule was designed, but, quite honestly, I would rather have my capsule designed in Europe than anywhere else — other than the USA. Anyway, the capsules are omnidirectional — probably the best pattern for these types of mics.
The two mics I received came in a beige color, although they’re also available in black. Specifications on both include a -45 dB sensitivity and 20 Hz to 20k Hz frequency response. Each microphone sports a 2.5mm diameter capsule, which is really small. Micro would be the word that best describes the capsule.
However, the feature of these microphones that completely surprised me was the fact that they’re water resistant. I would not normally look for this feature in a micro microphone (or any mic I use, for that matter), but I think it is very cool, especially in a high-sweat environment. The cable is made of a “stretch” thermoplastic material, which is very tough and nearly impossible to break.
Either microphone will mate with almost any pro beltpack transmitter. Using one of the adapters that Que Audio offers, I connected the mic to my AKG belt pack. They married beautifully and seamlessly. Alternatively, an adapter for using the mics in a hard-wired situation with a standard XLR termination is also available. Speaking of options, besides the standard length model, the DA12 also comes in a petite version that’s suitable for children or people with small heads. All right, there you have the overview. Let’s see now how the microphones performed.
» The Gigs
My first outing with the Que Audio DA12 head-worn mic was at a speaking gig I had at the famous Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, CA. It was an outdoor event with a considerable amount of ambient noise. The DA12 is perfect for this type of setting, because its earpiece brings the mic very close to the mouth. The mic boom is adjustable, and can be gently bent to follow the user’s jawline, or you could even use body tape to attach the mic boom right to the cheek. With the microphone’s micro size and beige color it is almost invisible. I did not use body tape on my speaker’s cheek, but I easily got the mic in the right position.
The DA12 has a beautifully natural sound. I needed very minimal EQ to get a full rich sound out of my speaker. Of course, the original tonality of an individual’s voice is very important when it comes to speaking, but the microphone’s job is to accurately reproduce that voice. And here, the DA12 did a great job. Personally, I think that the mic’s omnidirectional pattern is a very important feature when it comes to capturing a full sound. In fact, I would recommend that if you are looking for a headworn or lav mic, insist on an omnidirectional pattern — unless special circumstances dictate otherwise.
» Enter the DA04 Lavalier
My next event was on Easter Sunday at a nice little 250-seat church in Pasadena, CA. For this very special service, I used the Que Audio DA04 lavalier. I know the pastor of this church personally, and he has a big speaking voice. Having a commanding voice is a plus when using any lavalier mic, because the microphone is clipped on a shirt collar. I like to place my lav mics as close to the larynx as possible. I think that this adds some additional resonance to the speaker’s voice.
At any rate, the DA04 proved itself, delivering a very true and natural sound. Once again, I think the omnidirectional pattern of the mic really captures the speakers’ honest voice. And again, the micro size of the lav made it nearly invisible. And since I am repeating myself, let me say that, as important as the speaker’s voice is, the DA04 does a great job of reproducing it.
Of course, with both microphones, I could push for substantial SPL’s before I got anywhere close to any feedback, and in this, I was not disappointed. In fact, both Que Audio microphones filled the bill. I got great performance (and looks) in a micro-sized package.
All in all, these microphones are excellent pieces of gear. They worked very well at my events, and I think they would be great tools for dozens of different scenarios.
Que Audio DA04 and DA12
Pros: Small unobtrusive package; water-resistant; natural sound.
Cons: Wireless pack adapters not included; sold separately ($29.99/each).
Price (street): DA12, $309; DA04, $229
More Info: www.queaudiousa.com