Recording

DPA Microphones Bring out Gypsy’s Big Sound

Acme Sound Partner’s Tom Clark took the lead on audio design for this Broadway show and relied on DPA mics to make big sound at the Shubert Theater. “The 7/17/2003 8:00 AM Eastern

Acme Sound Partner’s Tom Clark took the lead on audio designfor this Broadway show and relied on DPA mics to make big sound at theShubert Theater.

“The Shubert Theater is reasonably intimate even though itseats 1,500 people,” said Clark. "It’s a double-balconyroom, somewhat unusual for Broadway, meaning your longest throw to theaudience member in the back row is less than it would be in asingle-balcony room. We were also allowed to use the entire orchestrapit, with only about a foot of overhang. We also physically placed theorchestra members as high as possible in the pit to get as much energyout as we could.

“That being said,” Clark continued, “it’s anorchestration and a composition that is meant to be really loud. Andthe fact that the orchestra reinforcement system is only deliveringdirect energy to the main floor where you have an off-axis relationshipbetween the orchestra and the listener, where they’re actuallyhidden by the orchestra pit. At the mezzanine and balcony levels, thereis much less amplification going on because we’re getting theacoustic sound out of the pit, right to the ears of the listeners. TheShubert has a square ceiling, rather than a dome ceiling like otherBroadway theaters, which is a better acoustic reflector.

"Virtually all of the instruments in the pit are miked individually.One of the things we’ve tried to do in recent shows is use DPA4007s on brass instruments and low strings. We find that the contrastof the frequency response and clarity compared to the ordinary cardioidmic to be absolutely remarkable. The transparency is the best part ofthat sound, in that you get a huge frequency response, yet with none ofthe coloration that comes from a cardioid pattern.”

Asked why Acme uses DPA4061 miniature condensers for the performersin most of its shows, Clark responded, ”Not only is the frequencyresponse of the microphone much better than the competition, but theyhave a tendency to weather the environmental challenges such asperspiration, moisture and stress, which means they don’t have tobe replaced as often. But the biggest issues are the frequencyresponse, the transparency and warmth. They sound like the personthey’re attached to.”

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