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DPA Microphones Fused Music and Virtual Reality at The Hubble Cantata

Major musical performance featured range of d:dicate™ Recording and d:vote™ Instrument Microphones

NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 – When sound designer for The Hubble Cantata, Garth MacAleavey, began to plan his sound setup for this year’s live event, he knew that DPA Microphones needed to be part of the show. What he wasn’t expecting, was how essential DPA would become to the overall performance. 

“I was first introduced to a DPA representative through a mutual friend and Grammy® winning Sound Engineer Marc Urselli,” says MacAleavey. “I told him about this wildly ambitious gig, and how I really wanted to get some d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones on the string orchestra. He mentioned having just got back from a gig with DPA and after a great introduction meeting, we overhauled my 54 channel input list to include, not only my well-trusted d:vote™ 4099s, but a slew of other mics and models with which I wasn’t yet familiar.” 

On MacAleavey’s list were d:dicate 4015C Wide Cardioid Microphones, d:dicate 4018 Supercardioid Microphones, d:dicate 4011C Cardioid Microphones and d:dicate 2011C Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Microphones.

The Hubble Cantata fuses a major musical performance, featuring a 20-piece ensemble, a 100-person choir and two Metropolitan Opera stars, Nathan Gunn and Jessica Rivera, with a virtual reality experience amidst a 360-degree sound installation. A portion of the work composed by Paola Prestini, featured a virtual reality experience by Eliza McNitt, which took the audience on a journey inside of the Orion Nebula to reveal the cosmic connections between humans and the stars.

“The true stars of the show were the d:dicate™ 4018s on low profile stands used for our soloists Nathan Gunn and Jessica Rivera,” says MacAleavey. “After sound checking the orchestra and chorus, they stepped up to the d:dicate™ 4018s and my jaw dropped. We barely touched an EQ knob and they sounded incredible. Their tight pattern was so perfect. I never struggled to keep the opera singers present in the mix, their diction was perfectly understood by the audience.” 

Cardboard VR headsets were given out on-site. Audience members were encouraged to download the “Fistful of Stars” app by Wemersive Inc. to have the best viewing experience. The stunning visuals — combined with performances by Nathan Gunn, Jessica Rivera, the Norwegian string orchestra 1B1, NOVUS NY, The Washington Chorus and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus — made for an amazing event.

“I had 100 chorus members on risers behind the orchestra and another 20 kids in one row in the front,” states MacAleavey. “I had two channels to mic the kids chorus and the wide polar pattern on the d:dicate™ 4015s did the trick with amazing coverage and clarity. I had another channel for the nine-foot grand piano and the d:dicate™ 4015s stepped up to the challenge there as well. The whole range of piano was clear as day out in front of the line arrays in Prospect Park.

“The d:dicate™ 2011Cs served as my percussion overhead mics, and with so much happening onstage, it was amazing how focused and clear the percussion sounded, even when surrounded by 120 singers and an adjacent orchestra,” explains MacAleavey. “The d:dicate™ 4011Cs were excellent as well and used for close-miking the wind instruments. There was minimal bleeding from other instruments or distortion and the mics accurately captured the original sound. The d:vote™ 4099Vs and d:vote™ 4099Cs have been my go-to mics for years on strings, but now I also have a great respect for DPA’s line of d:dicate™ mics.”


DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high-quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to always provide its customers with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for all its markets, which include live sound, installation, recording, theatre and broadcast. When it comes to the design process, DPA takes no shortcuts. Nor does the company compromise on its manufacturing process, which is done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability and, above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.

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