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The Wire

DPA Microphones Enhance Immersive Live Performances at Las Vegas’ Resorts World Theatre

Visiting FOH Engineers for Carrie Underwood and Enrique Iglesias Rely on Brand’s Vocal and Instrument Mics for High-quality and Detailed Audio Pickup

 LAS VEGAS, APRIL 4, 2024 ― While spatial audio was taking over the recording industry, the Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas—an immersive 5,000-capacity concert and entertainment venue—introduced it to the live music scene as well. Every year, the multi-level theatre welcomes countless musical acts that take the stage and wow audiences with unique and never-before-seen, or heard, immersive performances. This includes high-profile artists like Carrie Underwood and Enrique Iglesias.

With immersive audio being a relatively new format in the live industry, audio professionals working these shows have had to approach their mixes from a different angle. This was the case for Front of House Engineers Tim Holder and Brad Divens, who worked on shows for Underwood and Iglesias, respectively. Knowing that the clarity and definition of their mixes was more important than ever, both engineers required high-quality microphones with detailed, natural reproduction. Holder and Divens therefore turned to a long-trusted brand, DPA Microphones, for a variety of vocal and instrument mic solutions.

“Immersive audio is really groundbreaking,” Holder shares. “It provides a feeling of actually being part of the music for the first time. It’s amazing what you can get out of your mix in that environment. That’s where these great solutions from DPA come into play; the immersive system just enhances the high-definition capabilities of these mics.” For Underwood’s Vegas residency, Holder utilized a DPA d:facto™ 4018VL Vocal Microphone for lead vocals, and the brand’s 4055 Kick Drum4099 Instrument and 4011 Cardioid Condenser microphones to outfit the drum kit.

“The d:facto is an amazing mic for Carrie’s vocal style,” continues Holder. “Sometimes, she ends up holding the mic at an arms-length, but you still get a full voice and great tone with the mic’s proximity effect. We also have the 4011s as overheads and 4099s on snare and toms, which take the SPL really nicely. There is a deep, fat tuning effect, especially on the snare. There’s also a 4099 on violin when the show transitions into a more classical act.”

Divens found the DPAs to perform similarly well for his first experience mixing Iglesias in immersive. Divens had Iglesias and two backup singers on DPA d:facto 4018Vs, while the drum kit features the brand’s 4099 Instrument and 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid microphones. “The mics are so detailed and brought out all the little nuances in the drum kit, percussion and vocals,” he says. “I wholeheartedly believe that using DPA helped me hear things in the mix that I hadn’t before.

“With these high-fidelity sound systems, you hear the definition and clarity in new ways, so you’re going to want a microphone that doesn’t work against you,” Divens continues. “I always describe the DPA sound to be exactly as the source intended. You have to EQ a lot of other microphones because they have inherent curves or sonic characteristics that you may or may not like. With DPA, it only sounds like the instrument being played, and to me, that detail translates extremely well through the immersive system.”

Despite being the first time either engineer mixed a show with spatial audio, both Divens and Holder note that the experience was beyond their expectations. “I’m having so much fun,” Divens shares. “It’s an entirely different way of mixing and enjoying a concert. It’s very creative and more musical. The immersive aspect combined with the DPA mics has turned the same show I’ve seen every night into something fresh and brand new.”

Holder agreed, saying, “there is so much you can do with this format. It almost feels like you can touch the audio, depending on how close or distant you place the mic to the source. It’s so dimensional and very cool. You can tell the audience loves it, too, even if they don’t really understand how special the setup is. During set or wardrobe changes, the different effects and transitions get a huge reaction out of the crowd. It’s quality systems like these that make us really appreciate DPA microphones.”

A bass player by trade, Holder has been in the entertainment industry his entire life. After growing up playing music, he transitioned into the professional audio scene and began his career as a mixer. Holder has worked alongside industry icons such as Steven Tyler, Kenny Chesney, Enrique Iglesias and the Backstreet Boys. He mixed Underwood’s residency at Resort World Theatre through December 2023 and looks forward to future opportunities at the venue.

Divens began his musical career when he received his first guitar at age 10. His passion for the art grew with him and he spent many years in bands like KIX, Wrathchild America and Back Alley Gators. After picking up a mixing job by chance, Divens found his new passion, which led him to working with artists such as Linkin Park, Mötley Crüe, and Cyndie Lauper. Divens can now be found mixing for Enrique Iglesias, who wrapped the North American leg of his tour in December.