As some of you may recall, once upon a time, a lighting company decided to make a microphone. Now that might seem strange to you, and it definitely is. But aside from that strangeness, a few curious people decided to pick one up. And then a few more, and then a few more, until it started to get a larger audience. That microphone was the Aputure Deity.
With its comparatively low price point (to similar boom mics), strong water resistance, and durable build, it became an attractive option for newbies as a starter boom, or veterans as a backup. There were even reports of people taking it into the jungle to battle the humidity and constant water splashes.
There was just one problem though, and it was a big one. It had some nasty self noise to it, and it was noticeable enough for clients to hear.
Flash forward to today. The Aputure Deity was popular enough, and the Aputure team’s ambition great enough, to spin off their young audio division into an entirely new company, named after its first endeavor. Deity microphones has been hard at work coming up with an array of new products, and the one that I’ll be talking about here is the sequel to the original Deity mic: The S-Mic 2.
While nearly identical to the original Deity (with the exception of some branding), this little guy is noticeably different in terms of performance.
I could go into the technical details about what separates this from its predecessor, but that isn’t the point of this article. All of that info is available from the Deity people, and then some. But my goal here to go over what I, and some others, actually experienced when using the S-Mic 2. That’s the sort of thing that I would care most about when considering a new purchase.
As you can see in the video above, I conducted a test of the S-Mic 2 against the Aputure Deity and the Sennheiser MKH-50. Now one might wonder: “why would you test the S-Mic2 against a short gun like the 50?”. That’s an excellent question. Originally the plan was to test it against my MKH-60, however the people at Deity informed me that this was not your standard shotgun lobar polar pattern. The S-Mic 2 is actually a super-cardiod, which was surprising considering the long interference tube. But low and behold, it sure did perform that, as you can see (and hear) in the video.
The test above was done using identical gain staging and levels across the board. As you can hear, the S-Mic 2 had considerably less self noise than the Aputure Deity. I found it to be quiet, with a smooth frequency response. And unless otherwise stated in the video, all audio that you are hearing is from the S-Mic 2. The proof is in the pudding. There’s no doubt. The S-Mic 2 had decidedly bested the Aputure Deity in terms of self noise, and also overall sound quality. You can hear these comparisons above.
I was also very pleased with how it held up against the MKH-50 in terms of overall sound quality. The 50 is one of my daily drivers for mics, and its hard for me to not heavily scrutinize other options. But the S-Mic 2 really did a great job. It had a nice warm tone, and great handling of off-axis sounds. I’ll absolutely be keeping this in my kit for a multitude of reasons, not least of which because of the weather proofing. But because I’m also partial to durable mics, this guy is on my list as well. Like the MKH-50, it feels like this thing could withstand a bomb. And thats how I like my mics. Bomb proof. Because there are loads of explosives every day on set! Also because accidents happen and sometimes things hit the floor. I like the piece of mind of knowing that my tools are going to work after an impact.
*Photo credits above to David Karon*
Overall, go listen for yourself. I am pretty confident that you will agree with me that the S-Mic 2 is an excellent bang for your buck. It’ll be a workhorse which delivers great results in the process.
They say that a tool is only as good as its user, but it never hurts to have a good tool. Deity has clearly taken this thinking seriously, as it has greatly improved upon its predecessors, and made large strides to develop other new and exciting products as well. We here at the Wavreport are looking forward to seeing what they release next. Until then, go out and pick up the S-Mic 2, its worth it.
Jared Elkin is a professional sound mixer located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.