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‘Wicked’ Dives Into DPA

The London production of Wicked recently updated its miking efforts with the addition of numerous new DPA mics.

The DPA wall of Wicked.
The DPA wall of Wicked.

London, UK (July 12, 2023)—Wicked has long been a theatrical phenomenon, regardless of whether you’re seeing it on Broadway, a touring production, or as many theater fans do, the long-running edition inside London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre in the city’s famed West End. The show recently updated its miking efforts with the addition of numerous new DPA mics, both on stage and in the orchestra pit.

After initially integrating the DPA 6061 Subminiature Lavalier Microphones, the theatre added the brand’s 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid, 4055 Kick Drum and 4099 Instrument Mics to its lineup. “As a whole, DPA makes things easier,” said associate sound designer Hyder Khalil, who has been involved with the production for 15 years, working in conjunction with sound designer Tony Meola. “You’re not fighting against the microphones—they have such a low noise floor. Compared to our old mics, the DPAs take the sound to another level; details are getting picked up where they weren’t before. Whether you want to hear those details or not is up to you, but at least instead of getting lost, we now have the option to keep them in.”

DPA Debuts Multiple Mic Kits

Khalil first introduced the team to the 6061s, which were slowly deployed on individual performers until the entire cast was covered. “The main challenge we were looking to solve was aesthetics,” he said. “The DPA 6061 capsules are small enough to blend into the show while also high-quality enough to bring out the details and nuances of the performers’ voices. It’s not that we had bad sound before, but with DPA, it was an immediately noticeable difference,. The 6061s sound as if you’re speaking to the actors face-to-face. This also helps improve the humor of the show because you can hear the little comedic changes in the actors’ voices. These mics are just raising the bar another step that wasn’t there before.”

DPA also has a presence in the pit, he noted: “We’ve had 4099s on the violin, cello and French horn for several years, and we most recently added them to the drum kit. We’re now also using them for the toms and added 2011s on the snare top and bottom. It’s been a real improvement. The musicians love the DPAs because they’re so small and unobtrusive while playing. Plus, the sound stays consistent between performers. We were also lucky enough to get one of the new 4055 Kick Drum Mics, and it has been great. The 4055 is the first mic I’ve come across where you can actually bring out qualities in the kick drum. The mic is very versatile and acts more like a scalpel than a broad sword, allowing you to carve out little details and be selective in your sound. It’s more of a tool than just a means to an end.”

Beyond the DPA mics supplied by Sound Network, the sound department additionally uses a DiGiCo SD7 console and a self-powered Meyer Sound PA designed by Meola that is provided by Autograph Sound Recording. A tc electronic System 6000 handles the reverbs, and various Lexicon units provide special effects throughout the show. Backstage, Sennheiser transmitters and receivers work with the DPA mics.