LONGMONT, CO, DECEMBER 21, 2022 ― Despite the varied cultural differences across the U.S., one constant theme you can find throughout the country is a love for music. Whether it’s used as a tool to celebrate, educate or invigorate audiences, live music has long brought people together and quality audio is always the key to success in these performances. Audio engineers around the globe have consistently turned to DPA Microphones to provide that level of sound reliability and clarity that impresses professionals and enraptures audiences. Such was the case for recent U.S. events including the Catalina JazzTrax Festival, Belmont University’s Oratorio Chorus and Orchestra, Danny Elfman at the Hollywood Bowl and the upcoming Los Angeles Ballet’s performance of the “Nutcracker” at the Dolby Theater.
The annual Catalina JazzTrax Festival set on Catalina Island has been made possible for the past 26 years by Production Manager and Audio Engineer Gregg Hudson of Hudson Audio. Hudson has also been aided by FOH Engineer Spenser Bishop of MixOne Sound since 2008, and this season was no different. With 22 bands performing across two weekends, the festival required a quality audio production―made possible by a wide selection of nearly 20 DPA Microphones, including 4099 CORE Extreme SPL Instrument, 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid, 2028 Vocal and 4055 Kick Drum microphones.
“The room is like a giant fishbowl, one of the hardest I’ve ever mixed in, and the microphones made it all better,” Bishop shares. “Everything felt separate and controlled. Normally, I can’t put that much of the drums into our mix, but with DPAs on basically the entire drum set, I had a lot of control, which was awesome. The vocal mics were also super focused―for the singer to be within 10 feet of the drums and to not get a lot of noise was wild. The 2028 is the best wireless vocal capsule I’ve ever heard in my life. We haven’t had this many great microphones for isolation and control before; the room really needed that.”
At Belmont University’s brand-new Fisher Center performance hall, DPA mics helped project an astounding presentation by the Oratorio Chorus and Orchestra of “Requiem for Colour,” a musical, literary and visual journey honoring the lives, legacies and history of Black Americans. Featuring an 80-piece orchestra and 400-person choir, the event was recorded under the direction of Doyuen Ko, Associate Professor of Audio Engineering Technology, who spec’ed the stage with 40 DPA mics. This included the 4006 Omnidirectional Condenser, 4015A Wide Cardioid, d:facto 4018 VL Vocal, 4097 CORE Supercardioid Choir and 4041-SP Large Diaphragm microphones, along with the 4055 Kick Drum, 4099 CORE Instrument, 4011A Cardioid, 4061 Miniature and 2011C Twin Diaphragm Cardioid microphones.
“DPA microphones have always been my first choice for classical music recording, for more than 20 years,” says Ko. “Whether in the studio or for live concerts, they consistently provide a high-fidelity, truthful sound for any instrument or ensemble. The DPA 4011, 4015 and 2011C on strings, singers and percussion delivered a full spectrum and uncolored sound with excellent off-axis rejection and response. I barely used any EQ on them and, as expected, the main Decca Tree setup with DPA 4006 performed beautifully, striking the right balance between ensemble definition and hall ambience. The small form-factor of the DPA 4099, 4061 and 4097 mics allowed me to place them easily and inconspicuously on a jam-packed stage.”
To set the mood this past Halloween season, Live Sound Engineer Troy Choi was called upon to run monitors for the Danny Elfman shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. To achieve prime audio for an esteemed performance, Choi relied on DPA’s new 4055 Kick Drum and 4099 Instrument microphones for the orchestra and drum set, and the brand’s 2028 Vocal Capsule for Danny himself. “Every time I mix a show, I always try to use DPAs,” says Choi. “No matter the genre—rock, pop or classical it always turns out great. The 4055 provided fantastic sound; the drummer and crew were so happy and awestruck by the quality. I always encourage people to use DPAs for drum sets, even complex rock drumming. If you’re looking to go to the next level, DPA is it!”
Choi also looks forward to serving as FOH engineer for the Los Angeles Ballet in late December, to mic the company’s 65-piece orchestra for performances of “The Nutcracker” at the Dolby Theatre. For this, he plans to turn to his two DPA 4097 CORE Micro Shotgun, 2011 Twin Cardioid and 4011 Cardioid Condenser mics, as well as 30 DPA 4099 CORE Instrument mics with stand mounts. “When I got hired to mix for the Los Angeles Ballet, the first question I asked was if we could use DPAs for the orchestra. I said: ‘If you want me to create amazing sound, I need DPAs.’ As a mixer, I will always have choices and options when it comes to mics, but DPA is the only choice in my opinion, especially for orchestras—they make it so simple. With DPA 4099s on the brass and strings, as well as 2011s for the woodwinds and 4011s for ambience, you can achieve a completely natural orchestra sound.”
Finally, known for providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience for young performers, the Santa Clara Vanguard (SCV) Drum & Bugle Corps took its team to the annual Drum Corps International World Championship Finals with DPA 4099 CORE Instrument mics along for the ride. The team, which competed against 11 other corps and ultimately took fifth place, relied on the experience of Audio Technician Jonathan Yoo, a longtime DPA user, to lead them throughout the competition.
“The DPA 4099 is my go-to instrument mic,” he explains. “Right out of the box, the 4099 raises the clarity and quality of the soloist it’s amplifying. With the team’s previous mics, the biggest issue was that the large diaphragm didn’t allow us to run a lot of gain before hitting feedback. With the 4099s, the color and clarity is so obviously differentiated and sets it apart from the competition. As soon as I switched over to DPA, I had other band directors asking me what I did because it sounded incredible. My only response; ‘It’s the DPA 4099s.’”