AES 2007 sees the launch of RME DMC-842, the first multi channel interface for digital microphones. The introduction of digital microphone technology into the pro audio sector has afforded sound engineers a greater degree of flexibility. At the same time, it has created a demand for interfaces that can control and handle digital microphones.
Price wise the DMC-842 digital microphone interface is comparable with conventional preamp/converter units such as RME’s Micstasy. In addition to its role as an interface, the DMC-842 also acts as a power supply and control device for digital microphones, supporting the worldwide AES 42 standard.
Supporters of the Mode 1 and Mode 2 operating systems specified in the AES 42 standard currently include, among others, Neumann and Schoeps. Mode 1 permits an asynchronous operating system in which the microphone is supplied with Digital Phantom Power (DPP), but no control data can be transmitted “upstream”. Working with several Mode 1 microphones requires the use of sample rate converters, which have already been implemented in the DMC-842. Mode 2 allows microphones to be synchronized and control data for adjusting gain, polar patterns, hi-pass filter and compression settings to be sent. Further functions are already specified in the AES 42 standard and availability depends on the individual microphone.
The cost of running digital microphones with a DMC-842 is comparable with that of many standard analog microphone-preamp/converter set ups. What’s more, it affords greater ease of use, with better quality and enhanced functionality – depending on the application.
In many respects, the DMC-842 is an ideal companion to RME’s Micstasy. Using the same interface connections as Micstasy (ADAT-SMUX and AES/EBU in series, MADI and other optional formats) it ensures problem-free assembly of combined systems for both analog and digital microphones. The DMC-842 even includes analog line level outputs, so there are no problems if pure analog devices are included in the chain, for example when monitoring.
The ability to switch the Digital Phantom Power on or off on individual channels means that the DMC-842 can handle “normal” AES/EBU signals at the same time. Thanks to the built-in SRC (sample rate converters), these can also be asynchronous.
To adjust the various microphone parameters, RME has produced a free Windows-based software application that communicates with the DMC-842 via MIDI. As with Micstasy, the DMC-842 also supports the transfer of MIDI data over MADI as well as over AES/EBU-Signals. All the main microphone parameters are also directly accessible from the unit itself.
Stephan Flock, Sound Engineer and Designer of the DMC-842 states: “I’m convinced that digital mics will become increasingly important in the future. We haven’t yet seen the full potential of what is technologically achievable and I’m sure that before too long there will be some truly innovative, and perhaps even radical microphone concepts emerging. Until now there has only been a handful of devices that support digital microphones using the AES 42 standard. The DMC-842’s uniqueness lies in the fact that – combined with a Micstasy – it allows for a “mixed” application of both analog and digital mics. It’s also unique in terms of supporting both of the AES 42 defined modes; the straightforward Mode 1 and the more complex, synchronisable Mode 2 (switchable for each channel). This means that practically every make and model of digital microphone can be used with one single device. Personally, I’m extremely happy that RME is once again setting the pace for smart, high quality audio solutions.”
The DMC-842 is expected to be available during the 3rd quarter of 2007 priced at €3050,- excl. VAT. RME is also offering the unit with an optional I64 MADI card. Customers who only want to connect Mode 2 microphones can ask for the DMC-842 to be supplied without the built-in sample rate converters.