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Astatic 1600VP Review

Jun 2, 2010 12:00 PM, By George Petersen

Hanging microphone with remote variable-pattern control.


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Astatic 1600VP

Astatic 1600VP

The 1600VP variable-pattern hanging mic system from Astatic, a division of CAD Audio, offers continuous control of polar pattern (from figure-8 through cardioid, wide-cardioid, and omnidirectional, and any step in-between) but adds remote control to the equation. And in the context of an installed hanging micro¬phone, where access to the mic body/capsule is typically inconvenient (to say the least), the ability to remotely tweak polar pickup patterns is a definite plus.

The mic has a low-profile, matte-black finished, aluminum body that’s just less than 1.5in. long, housing the 1/2in.-diameter condenser capsule and a TB3M connector at the rear of the body. An included 30ft. TB3F-to-standard-3-pin-XLR-M cable connects the mic capsule to your snake system or existing cabling, or directly to the VPC-1 pattern control box. The package includes an articulating steel hanger with a locking swivel joint that allows the installer to precisely set the angle the mic is pointed at, and the capsule itself is light enough to hang by its own weight. Alternatively, an adjustable hanging point on the mount allows other hanging configurations (a spool of near-invisible black thread comes with the package for such purposes). Also included is a duplex stainless steel wall plate for permanent installs, with a female XLR jack and an 8in. upper support arm providing another hanging-point option.

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About the size of a small direct box, the VPC-1 controller unit is phantom-powered, has in/out XLRs, a blue LED status indicator (this verifies that the mic is properly connected and that phantom power is present), the continuously variable-pattern selector pot, and a recessed 80Hz bass rolloff switch. If desired, up to six VPC-1s can be mounted on an optional rack shelf.

Operation is straightforward—plug-and-go. According to Astatic, the mic capsule can be separated from the VPC-1 by up to 2000ft. I didn’t test this, but I heard no ill effect over a 280ft. mic run. The 1600VP also features the company’s RF Resistant Architecture, which provides protection from lighting, cell phones, and two-way radio interference. Again, no problems on this front.

The mic itself has a fairly flat response from 90Hz to 3kHz, and it has a gently rising presence boost (about +5dB centered around 7kHz), which adds intelligibility without being harsh or brittle. I liked that its frequency response remained fairly constant at any polar setting and action of both the pattern control and HP filter switch was noiseless, allowing realtime changes.

Hung above a vocal ensemble (using either a single mic or a spaced pair), the 1600VP lets you tailor the pickup—tighter for a few singers, or wider for a larger group—without having to move mics or change capsules. One caveat here is to be aware of the environment in wider settings. Once, I thought the mic was at fault for some warbling noise, when in reality it quite faithfully picked up the flow from a ceiling air conditioning vent. Slightly tightening the pattern eliminated the noise—problem solved.

Product Summary

  • Company: Astatic
    www.cadaudio.com/astatic
  • Product: 1600VP
  • Pros: Flexible, noiseless control of pickup pattern, unobtrusive size.
  • Cons: Very wide patterns can pick up ambient noise.
  • Applications: Houses of worship, stage installations.
  • Price: $600

Specifications

  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Max SPL: 110dB
  • Self noise: 22dBA
  • Output: XLR





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