First there was the MKH 418S, a Sennheiser half-shotgun MS stereo microphone, with its pros and its cons. The "M" is indeed based on an "old" asymmetric capsule from 1975, that of the MKH 416. Asymmetric because manufactured before the capsules of the MKH series 20-80 (the first MKH 40 dates back to 1985), which themselves used two counter plates around the membrane, instead of a conventional backplate. And the background noise was high. And "S" is actually made up of two MKH 416 capsules, back to back. So, this microphone had few followers.
Then one morning in February, rue Edmond Roger in Paris, a sound recordist friend made us listen to the Audio-Technica BP4029.
This half-shotgun stereo Audio-Technica BP4029, measuring 23.6 cm, has two capsules with DC polarized condensers, single plywood, cardioid and an eight figure.
Its characteristic is to provide, on its XLR5, an M and S signal, ready to be matrixed and spatialised as needed, but also, thanks to a matrixing switch on the microphone, a stereo signal already decoded LR, with two choices of stereo width, thanks to an other Wide and Narrow switch. An 80 Hz HP filter, on second level, allows slaying embarrassing frequencies.
This is practical and attractive on paper. But Audio-Technica has no great notoriety in the filming area and has a reputation below its capacity to provide a good sound reproduction. But when you listen, it's a surprise: friendly cardio, little background noise, a nice width, a realistic diffuse field, a living stereo image in Narrow mode as in Wide mode.
The Audio-Technica BP4029 with its integrated stereo decoding capabilities and its condenser capsules is amazing for its compliance to the soundstage. The centre is very "tight" and requires proper capture axis, but the bidirectional capsule beautifully widens the field.
The three modes, MS, Decoded Stereo Narrow, Decoded Stereo Wide, can cover all the scenarios usually met on a film shoot, and deliver a low background noise signal, with low THD+N, a good dynamic, and especially stereo choice.
The BP4029 was created for the Sydney Olympics in 2000, 15 years ago. It has been the victim of a rather confidential image in our community, so we rediscover this brand name with pleasure.
The moral of this story is that you should not rely on the brand image or on gossip. One must always be curious and attentive!
With a camera mount or on a boom, with its windshield, the Audio-Technica BP4029 is available both for rent and for sale at DC Audiovisuel.