This is my review for the Deity S-Mic 2. I had the opportunity to take this microphone onto a job where I was able to take it through a few real world scenarios that might help you if you are considering this option in your arsenal.
Quick Note For Readers:
This article is about the Deity S-Mic 2. If you are looking for the Deity S-Mic 2S, I will be reviewing those one soon…
Also, I am very good friends with Andrew Jones over at Deity Microphones. He has given me a microphone for helping to write an honest review of my experiences with this microphone. In no way did this microphone affect the review. Sorry Andrew, I stuck the mic in a pizza oven during this test. Hope that’s ok…
Now I know what you are already thinking… This is another one of those Sennheiser MKH416 knockoff microphones isn’t it? I will leave those types of opinions to you and the comments below! Our reviews are more about playing around with the microphone itself and not comparing it to anything else. Let’s just put it through a days work and see what happens.
First off, Deity Microphones never ceases to impress. Their packaging and overall look of the product down to the mini Pelican Case is absolutely beautiful and makes you feel important right from the get go.
The case is very sturdy and can absolutely take a fall protecting the contents inside.
The S-Mic 2 has a clear epoxy coating that gives the microphone a water resistance level that allows it to work in the rain without being damaged.
Finally, the body of the microphone has been sprayed with a black speckle paint to give it an ultra durable finish, so it looks professional in front of clients for years of ownership and makes it less reflective on set. It is a beautiful microphone, and more importantly, it’s heavy. Way heavier than competitor microphones or knockoffs of the same kind. You can look like a knock-off, but do you feel like one?
The Deity S-Mic 2 comes in two different configurations. The S-Mic 2 by itself comes with a case, foam windscreen and basic clip. This is great for engineers that are adding this to an arsenal of microphones already at their disposal. For the rest of us, there is the Deity S-Mic 2 Location Kit. This kit ups the ante by including a Rycote Pistol Grip with Lyre Suspension System and even more wind protection with an included Fuzzy.
Taking It For a Spin
We filmed in a really nice restaurant called John and Vinny’s on Fairfax that I recommend to anyone that is in the area. Like most commercials filmed in restaurants, the production will generally use the restaurant in a setting that shows all the food being prepared for the commercial. I cannot stress how amazing the food smelled and I will absolutely be back.
The first thing I noticed with the S-Mic 2 is the rejection. Like an MKH416 and even a Sanken CS-3e, it did a great job of keeping what was in front of the microphone prominent while rejecting a lot off axis sounds. This helped tremendously in the setting we were at, which was small and intimate. The kitchen had about 4-6 people working at any given time at each station, and has a few waiters passing food back and fourth as well.
This commercial dealt with recording a lot of non sync sound effects. The production asked me to get specific sounds on a list of things, which was perfect for this microphone. Even with everyone in the kitchen working away, I was able to get in and record tight when the camera was rolling on other shots. Paired with my Sound Devices MixPre-10T (which makes things so light and simple), the S-Mic 2 was able to withstand all the dynamic intensities that happen in kitchens. Loud chopping and talking over ovens and fans make for a less than ideal location for recording (there is a reason why we re-create a lot of kitchen scenes on production!)
The microphone was also placed inside the pizza oven for a good 30-45 seconds. I would have kept it in longer but really didn’t want to melt the cable on the K-Tek Boom Pole either!
If you were wondering what a pizza over sounds like, take a quick listen….
From there, we moved into a retail store that had a basketball like theme. Like most shotguns, reflective rooms are a nightmare for a microphone like this. It isn’t the fault of the S-Mic 2, it is the fault of the reflections and acoustics that make the microphone’s pickup very obscure. There was an assistant dribbling a ball and giving me sneaker noises to record. The reflections made the primary source sounds saturated in reverb that was unavoidable in this option. Remembering that a microphone is good for its practical application and not for everything is a good thing.
Another great quality of the S-Mic 2 is its output. I was able to run my pre-amps on the MixPre-10T quite low (around 30-45 db) and still have a full output without adding a lot of unnecessary hiss into the recordings. This is a great quality that is not usually found in microphones at this price point. Usually the cheaper the microphone is, the louder the noise floor. This is because of needing to increase the input trim to makeup for the output level of the mic.
When it came to recording the voice over, I found myself in the break room of a barbershop. The microphone was thankfully extremely good in this situation due to its rejection. I was able to find a dead spot in the room. I had the two owners right next to each other, so the S-Mic 2 was able to point the microphone straight at their mouths. The only time it became a problem is when one of the owners became more animated and started moving around. The tight pattern of the microphone made it difficult when they stepped on each other due to their separation. So, when this happens, just motion for them to get closer and asked for a repeat line.
The Deity S-Mix 2 can absolutely be your first go to microphone if you are just starting out. It will get you through the first few years and then some. You will want to get a shorter shotgun when you can afford to to help with more reverberant rooms.
It can also be used as an alternative to your Sennheiser MKH416 or Sanken CS-3e microphones at a fraction of the cost. Even if you do own expensive microphone alternatives, having an S-Mic 2 for special effects, rain, and gunshots is a no-brainer.