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Author Topic: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?  (Read 4268 times)

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Offline jmz93

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Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« on: September 17, 2023, 03:15:12 PM »
Hi.

I sold my pair of 4060's just before the Pandemic, but kept my MMA-A interface.

I'm ready to return to taping.

Do you still recommend 4060's Core for stealth/low profile, and handling a wide range of SPL's?

I usually just run the two cables down the back of my shirt and tape the mics to my shoulders, no windscreens if I'm indoors.

I'm about to upgrade my phone, meaning I'll be USB C instead of Lightning®. Can I feed the MMA-A with USB-C to USB-B Mini without issue?
I believe it expects B mini... it's the little connector with two little bumps on one side.

Please PM or reply here if you wish. All my contact info on here is incorrect and I can't seem to figure out how to edit my profile.


Thanks

Offline jmz93

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2023, 03:17:46 PM »
I forgot to also ask which iOS app you're using for recording. I don't remember what I used to use with the MMA-A years ago. Simpler the better please, as long as it will save 24/96 wav.

Offline WiFiJeff

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2023, 04:40:44 PM »
I would suggest you try DPA for an answer, but my experience with them is not too hopeful.  The included micro USB to lightening cable is NOT a standard cable, when I had to replace it I found that ONLY the very expensive DPA cable or the cable that came with the Saramonic Smart V2M (an oafish clumsy rip-off that sorta looks like the MMA-A, but was sold online in places for a bit more than a DPA cable!) worked.  Even those cables that fit into the smallish MMA-A micro USB port and claimed to be "on the go" type failed.  DPA US didn't know anything about what cable you needed, and Saramonic never answered.  Maybe a simple lightening female to USB C male adapter for the end of the DPA cable will work, but I'd want to try it to be sure (maybe Apple has someone who will know if this should work, you need to power the MMA from the phone).  I vaguely recall that you could replace the included MMA-A USB micro to USB A cable with no problem, so I think this is an Apple thing.

The program I use is Apogee Metarecorder (the Rode Recorder program broke with an update to iOs and they never fixed it as far as I know).  This records 24/96 but you should save as CAF files since the program shuts down after 2 Gig when recording as wav.  I use Audacity to break out the CAF to wav files, which is pretty quick and easy.

By the way, it won't help in getting answers from DPA that the MMA-A was discontinued earlier this year.  I haven't seen a new product announced yet (but some places that carried the MMA-A and still have stock have raised the asking price).  If they come up with a 32 bit float version and/or 4 channels I'll be happy.  Anyone hear anything about a successor to the MMA-A?

Offline stl_oni

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2023, 05:33:10 PM »
I still love the DPA 4060/4061 with the DPA D:VICE MMA-A as a stealth taping device; it can't get any more smaller and the mics do an excellent job.

Instead of using some kind of adapter to USB-C (never tried it so far, good luck with that) you should try to find an old iPhone 5/5s or an old iPod touch you solely use for recording; they should be really cheap by now. That way you avoid any kind of interruption or distortion while recording and you can just start recording and leave the iPhone in your pocket.

I also use Apogee Metarecorder, highly recommended and you can record 96/24 with that in .caf format.

I have already broken two original usb-to-lightning cables for the DPA D:VICE MMA-A. Normal, cheap micro USB to Lightning cables do not work. What works (tested several times) is the SHURE AVM-LTG Micro-USB to Lightning cable (available in various lengths). This is very well available (at least in Germany) and costs a third of the original DPA cable. The cable also has the advantage that the Lightning connector is more stable than the original DPA cable.

Have fun and good luck with your return to taping.

Offline AdamHuston

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2023, 08:36:51 AM »
I still love the DPA 4060/4061 with the DPA D:VICE MMA-A as a stealth taping device; it can't get any more smaller and the mics do an excellent job.

Instead of using some kind of adapter to USB-C (never tried it so far, good luck with that) you should try to find an old iPhone 5/5s or an old iPod touch you solely use for recording; they should be really cheap by now. That way you avoid any kind of interruption or distortion while recording and you can just start recording and leave the iPhone in your pocket.

I also use Apogee Metarecorder, highly recommended and you can record 96/24 with that in .caf format.

I have already broken two original usb-to-lightning cables for the DPA D:VICE MMA-A. Normal, cheap micro USB to Lightning cables do not work. What works (tested several times) is the SHURE AVM-LTG Micro-USB to Lightning cable (available in various lengths). This is very well available (at least in Germany) and costs a third of the original DPA cable. The cable also has the advantage that the Lightning connector is more stable than the original DPA cable.

Have fun and good luck with your return to taping.

Agreed.  Love using mine.  Have not ran into an issue with the cable so far.  Will look into grabbing one of the Shure cables as a back up.
Mics: Schoeps MK4's, Telefunken TF11's, Busman BSC2's, DPA 4061's
Preamps: Audioroot Femto, DPA MMA-A
Recorders: Sound Devices MixPre 6-II, Tascam DR2d, Sound Devices MixPre 6-I

Offline Scooter123

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2023, 12:05:00 PM »
I've never recorded with an iPhone, and certainly not with quality microphones.  So I am following this thread with some interest, as I'd like to replace the recorder with an easy to stealth iPhone.  I owned the 4060s 15 years ago, and they were great omnis, perfect for small clubs, but for larger shows, one had to do stack tapes, as room and crowd noise was too prevalent.  So I have similar questions to the OP.

1.  Ideally, a pair of small cards (I own several Schoeps) would be perfect.  Is there anything smaller that is of equivalent quality?

2.  Cards generally require phantom power, so would the next gear in the chain be a small preamp?  I own a couple NBoxes and a Baby NBox, but I would need an interface from the Mikes to the Preamp.  Nick made me a Schoeps cord, but if a smaller cardioid is used, I suppose he could make me one.

3.  Next in the gear chain is the iPhone App.  Ideally record at 24bit in wave, but floating 32bit would be a bonus.  Also being able to access the levels and start the recording using an Apple Watch would also be a bonus for stealth purposes. 
Regards,
Scooter123

mk41 > N Box  > Sony M-10
mk4 > N Box > Sony M-10

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2023, 01:24:31 PM »
Scooter,  I'm not the OP, but will do my best to answer your questions-

1. The d:Vice MMA-A was specifically designed for use with the DPA miniature microphone line, and is the smallest high-quality recording arrangement I'm aware of.  In addition to the miniature omnis (4060/4061/4063, etc), DPA's miniature microphone line also includes their miniature cardioids and supercardioids.  Most of those are intended for mounting to instruments, some are podium and choir microphones.  Beyond proximity effect range those miniature directional tend to have somewhat reduced bass response, but sometimes that's just right, and other times I've had no problem boosting the bass a bit, as its there and smooth, just picked up with less sensitivity.  I use those in my main open rig, but in combination with the omnis.  For stealthing I like omnis and have not used the miniature directionals on their own, but others here at TS do and I like what I hear from their recordings.  That's one option for cardioids.

2. Sometime after the introduction the MMA-A, DPA changed their standard microphone line to make it modular, with separate caps + choice of a few different microphone amplifiers, similar to the way Schoeps CMC line works.  Most of those modular microphone amplifiers have a balanced XLR output requiring phantom power, but one is extremely compact and features and integrated cable terminating to microdot for low voltage powering.  The capsule end looks more or less like a side-exit Schoeps active cable.  Because all DPA microphones are pre-polarized electrets, even the larger line of capsules require only a low voltage supply to power them and don't require a high-voltage polarizing voltage from the microphone amplifier, which is the primary thing the NBox is providing.  This amplifier allowed use of the main line of DPA microphones with the MMA-A.  That makes for a rig consisting of microphone caps > mic-preamp-cable > MMA-A > phone.  So that's another option for cardioids, supercards or any pattern offered by DPA, using their primary line of high-quality caps.  This option will be about the same size as an active Schoeps setup at the microphone end, but with the smaller MMA-A in place of the NBox and a phone in place of the SD-card recorder.  You can't power your Schoeps caps with the MMA-A though.  It's only able to directly power pre-polarized capsules.

3. Recording in 32 bit float format will only be advantageous if the ADC doing the digitizing is a specialized multi-staged design capable of greater dynamic range.  Either the recording app would need to be designed to work specifically with an outboard multi-stage ADC (which could happen in a followup to MMA-A) using a digital connection between preamp/ADC and phone, or the analog input of the phone itself would need to be a multi-stage ADC, but since direct analog input to phones was never great and is for the most part discontinued (Grrr, just give me a headphone jack so I can used wired phones without an adapter) the second option is a dead end.

By the way, it won't help in getting answers from DPA that the MMA-A was discontinued earlier this year.  I haven't seen a new product announced yet (but some places that carried the MMA-A and still have stock have raised the asking price).  If they come up with a 32 bit float version and/or 4 channels I'll be happy.  Anyone hear anything about a successor to the MMA-A?

This is the first I've heard of the discontinuation of MMA-A.  I never got on the bus, primarily because I really didn't want to give up two of the four channels I'm currently recording to DR2d, and secondarily because I'm not an iphone user.. but would've bought an older one just for recording use if 4 or more channels were supported.  I'd be OK with a requirement for use with an external USB battery if necessary to power it and the phone in support of the additional channels if necessary.  Will be watching for what comes next.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 03:39:23 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2023, 01:57:22 PM »
Do you still recommend 4060's Core for stealth/low profile, and handling a wide range of SPL's?

Getting back to you OP!

Yes, the DPA miniature omnis remain one of the better miniature omni options I'm aware of.  My DPAs are all the legacy versions. I've not used the newer CORE version but would if ordering new, and will whenever I need to replace my current miniature DPA omnis and directional mics.

Of the miniature omnis, 4060 is most sensitive, has the lowest self-noise and will have the hottest output. 4061 is less sensitive with a higher max SPL before distortion/clipping but with a somewhat higher self-noise.  I think the output level of 4061 is best matched to the MMA-A if you are mostly recording amplified stuff.  4060 will be the better choice for really quiet stuff like small ensemble classical stuff.

The CORE versions changes that relationship a bit.  As I recall, the new CORE 4060 appears to have about the same high SPL distortion threshold as the legacy 4061, although I think the max clipping threshold is still somewhat lower than 4061.  So in some cases, one might be able to use the new CORE 4060 in place of legacy 4061 and benefit from the lower noise floor.  But for most folks here at TS with a focus on recording amplified music in venues that have a higher ambient noise-floor, the CORE 4061 is probably the best fit.

As mentioned above in reply to others, DPA also offers miniature directional microphones now in addition to the miniature omnis.  They are about the same size as the omnis , except for a tiny interference tube in place of the interchangeable short/long grid on the omni.  I've noted a few different interference tube lengths, depending on the specific model and pattern of the mic.  The ones on my supercardioid-ish 4098H choir mics are maybe 1-3/4" to 2" long and are about the longest ones I've seen.  These are mostly intended for clamping onto instruments.  They are very clear with the typical DPA sound, but will have somewhat reduced bass response compared to some other cardioids, definitely so in comparison to the omnis.  They are smooth and can be easily EQ'd as needed though.  In a boomy room with over-active subs, the reduced low frequency sensitivity may be just the ticket.  Not as many tapers use the miniature DPA directionals as the omnis which have been around far longer.  One complication is that the directionals tend to be integrated into clips specific to instrument mouning, or include a miniature integrated flexible gooseneck section, and require a bit more creative adaptation for typical taper uses.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2023, 02:15:34 PM »
The DPA 4063 miniature omni is the interesting one..  It has the same sensitivity and max SPL as 4061, but requires a powering voltage of only 3V (rather than the others needing about 2X that voltage) which enables it to work directly into some recorders providing PIP, without using an external battery battery box or preamp that supplies 6-9V.

I'm very curious about the possibility of using 4063 into the new, very inexpensive SoundProfessionals SP-SAPM-1. which provides PIP powered stereo microphone input to either USB-C or lightning connector.  That's MMA-A like functionaly for only $50.  I don't expect DPA quality from it, but who knows.  It doesn't produce enough PIP voltage to properly power 4060/4061, the miniature DPA directionals, or the premium DPA capsules, but should work with 4063's.

Waiting on more reports about it from TS members. One thing is certain. 4063 > SO-SAPM-1 > phone (USB-C) would be smallest and easiest to stealth external mic rig I've ever come across.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 02:21:41 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2023, 03:33:21 PM »
I still love the DPA 4060/4061 with the DPA D:VICE MMA-A as a stealth taping device; it can't get any more smaller and the mics do an excellent job.

Instead of using some kind of adapter to USB-C (never tried it so far, good luck with that) you should try to find an old iPhone 5/5s or an old iPod touch you solely use for recording; they should be really cheap by now. That way you avoid any kind of interruption or distortion while recording and you can just start recording and leave the iPhone in your pocket.

I also use Apogee Metarecorder, highly recommended and you can record 96/24 with that in .caf format.

I have already broken two original usb-to-lightning cables for the DPA D:VICE MMA-A. Normal, cheap micro USB to Lightning cables do not work. What works (tested several times) is the SHURE AVM-LTG Micro-USB to Lightning cable (available in various lengths). This is very well available (at least in Germany) and costs a third of the original DPA cable. The cable also has the advantage that the Lightning connector is more stable than the original DPA cable.

Have fun and good luck with your return to taping.
Seconded for MEta Recorder. kindms uses it for live recording and I have it as an app on my phone so we can share raw files.

Scooter: yes, you need a pre-amp or the type of mics Gut is speaking of to go into an iPhone. kindms is using a Sonasax M2D2 which is also very small and makes for a REAL small rig. (so he goes: mics > sonasax > iPhone}|metarecorder)
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2023, 04:32:13 PM »
The Sonoax M2D2, the DPA MMA-A, SoundProfessionals SO-SAPM-1, and presumably a few others including the Saramonic Smart V2M WifiJeff mentions all fit into the category of providing [preamp>ADA>digital-output-to-phone] in one small unit, which is very convenient for recording into a phone. Beyond that their quality and capabilities range rather widely.

The M2D2 is very cool in that it provides phantom power and balanced inputs, allowing you to use pretty much any high-quality phantom powered balanced output mics you like.. with Sonosax build and sound quality.  Not surprisingly, its the most costly.

The DPA D:VICE MMA-A is intended to be specific to DPA mics, but others have used it to power alternate microphones.  It's an unbalanced 2-wire connection providing low voltage power.  So it can be used with DPA mics.. or possibly things like 2-wire miniature ATs, miniature Senns, and other small 2-wire lavaliere type mics if they are adapted to its microdot inputs, and may additionally require some other adaptations. I know its use with some non DPA microhones requires a resistor to present the correct impedance to the MMA-A. The miniature Neumann cardioids are one example of that.  Its something like half the cost of the Sax.

The other two are cheapo's.  I know little of the Saramonic Smart V2M other than recalling it from conversations here, and fully accept WifiJeff's assessment of it being oafish.

The SoundProfessionals SO-SAPM-1 is the newest one.  I've only briefly heard one sample of it, posted recently to TS using Church Audio mics IIRC.  I didn't do any critical listening, but on a brief listen the recording sounded like a typical well made Church Audio mic recording with no obvious problems. That alone piqued my interest as it's just $50.  It basically looks like a wired headphone adapter - just a short TRS jack cable extending from a small fob box at the phone connector end.  I'd definitely want to use a short USB-C or Lightning extender cable to eliminate stress on the phone's port though.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline detroit lightning

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2023, 05:20:16 PM »
Former D:vice user here...lots of good info thus far.

All I'll add is that I'd stick with the 406x line. I tried the 606x line when they were released, and while they were good...the even smaller size was really unnecessary. So that, plus the additional cost...I'd just keep rolling with the 4061s.

Hoping they have an iphone usb-c solution...but if not, make sure to snag as new of a phone with a lightning port as you can (you should have a good bit of time)! You can always use a magsafe charger to keep it juiced up if the battery starts to go.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2023, 05:43:01 PM »
All I'll add is that I'd stick with the 406x line. I tried the 606x line when they were released, and while they were good...the even smaller size was really unnecessary. So that, plus the additional cost...I'd just keep rolling with the 4061s.

Thanks for that. I've been interested in following up with you about your thoughts on 606x ever since you posted about going that route. Your comment confirms my initial assumption, but I didn't really have anything to base that on other than speculation until reading this.


..And my apologies to the OP for going OT with the discussion of alternates to MMA-A.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline kindms

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2023, 05:47:04 PM »
id simply add that the sonosax M2D2 serial above 00300 (im almost positive thats the correct #) has the ability to now power electrect mics by changing the power output in software if thats of value to folks

i really dig it and its become my go to rig. the V3 is getting jealous
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Offline WiFiJeff

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Re: Returning to Taping: DPA MMA-A > iPhone > Then what?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2023, 06:03:01 PM »

Hoping they have an iphone usb-c solution...but if not, make sure to snag as new of a phone with a lightning port as you can (you should have a good bit of time)! You can always use a magsafe charger to keep it juiced up if the battery starts to go.

I have a portable magsafe charger, works fine.  But with my old iPhone Xr I get about 11 hours recording at 24/96, have never needed to use external power.  When the internal battery dies, and no lightening iPhones still roam the earth,  I hope an update to the MMA-A will come along.

 

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