Summer tours are back in full swing, and artists are looking to make a statement with accurate, reliable audio. From Lorde and Bon Iver, to Tindersticks, H.E.R. and Lewis Capaldi, DPA Microphones has long been trusted to provide the consistent, professional results that artists and engineers expect when performing live, and the clear, reliable audio fans look forward to hearing.
Phillip J. Harvey, FOH mixing engineer for pop artist Lorde, is currently traveling through Europe in support of the artist’s Solar Power Tour. A longtime fan of DPA, Harvey started Lorde on a d:facto™ 4018VL Vocal Microphone in 2017.
Since then, he has put DPA mics on nearly the entire drum kit, with 4099 CORE Extreme SPL on snare bottom, hi-hats, toms and under heads, and a 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid on snare top. The 4099 loud SPL version is also featured on conga and quinto, and the 4488 CORE Headset Microphones can be found on backing vocals.
The flat response of the d:facto is a huge asset and the bleed is very palatable―unlike any other vocal mic I’ve experienced.That realistic response provides the foundation for coloring sounds in the mix any way I want, and it’s amazing! All five backing vocalists use the 4488s with wireless belt-packs, which is imperative because the band members change stage positions for each song during the set. It was a challenge incorporating headset mics into a pop show, but the 4488s proved to be the best choice for clarity, fidelity and comfort, and were very easy to work with. Lorde herself also loves the d:facto and has told me: ‘this mic is so natural and real, there is no hiding from it’, he says.
Pop singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi is also heading out on tour with DPA, thanks to FOH Engineer Andy Bush. To ensure crystal clear vocals, Bush chose the DPA 2028 Vocal Condenser Microphone. He also miked the entire drum kit with DPA, opting for a variety of 2011C Twin Diaphragm Cardioids, 4018C Supercardioid, 4011E Cardioid and 4099 Extreme SPL Instrument Microphones. Bush and the DPAs will be supporting Capaldi throughout his European tour this summer.
Of the 2028, Bush says it:
Just makes Lewis’ voice sound very natural; there’s no artificial presence peaks and very little proximity effect, so I feel that my end result is far superior. Additionally, the stereo pair of 4011s on the overheads has really opened up the sound of the kit. It gives it that extra bit of clarity and precision that we didn’t have before. There’s very little EQ on all the close mics, just deploying the high-pass filters to get rid of unwanted room sounds. Because the mics are so flat and articulate, I don’t need to process channels as much or cut as much EQ, and I feel that they offer a more accurate representation of what’s actually happening on stage.
For its European tour, alternative rock band Tindersticks’ FOH Engineer Graham Pattison is also utilizing DPA microphones. With many of the stops this summer featuring an orchestra accompaniment, Pattison needed mics that would pick up every instrument without muddying the sound. To meet these requirements, he chose 4099 CORE Instrument Mics and 4015 Wide Cardioid Microphones from DPA Microphones. “We have 4099s and 4015s across our string section and I wouldn’t have it any other way”, he says. “The clarity and detail we get from the DPA mics is extraordinary”.
American indie-folk band Bon Iver is heading out on a U.S. tour this summer, with long-time FOH Engineer Xandy Whitesel. For lead singer Justin Vernon, Whitesel regularly calls on the DPA d:facto 4018VL Vocal Microphone to create the clearest and truest sound of his unique vocals. After initially testing the mic during a rehearsal, Whitesel was immediately impressed with the increased clarity. “It never sounds muddy”, he explains. “The upper-mids are smooth and the highs are un-hyped, which is something I always look for in a microphone. The d:facto is the most clear and natural sounding mic I have had the opportunity to use. Justin has a fantastic voice and we needed to present it as if he isn’t using a microphone at all. I found that the DPA d:facto achieves this better than any other mic I’ve used in the past”.
Production Manager/Monitor Engineer William “Chainey” Harpe and FOH Engineer Kevin Brown have also entrusted DPA to provide clear, uncolored sound for R&B singer H.E.R., who is on a U.S. tour supporting Coldplay. For H.E.R.’s performances, the duo usually selects DPA’s d:facto 4018VL Vocal Microphone to allow the singer’s natural talent and vocals to shine through uninhibited. “The linear response of the d:facto capsule actually helps accentuate and pull out the mid-range Gabriella (H.E.R.) has in her voice”, Brown explains. The pair also typically use the DPA 4099 CORE Instrument mics for H.E.R.’s touring drum kit. “A lot of times when I’m mixing other mics on drums, I go back and forth moving and testing”, adds Chainey. “The 4099 CORE mics sound so natural. I noticed that if we have them in a good position, we’re pretty much set to go. There is never a lot of phasing or cross pattern between the drums; I really enjoy the sound we get”.
As an audio veteran and FOH Engineer for rock group Florence + The Machine, Brad Madix will be out on tour in Europe with the band this summer. A longtime fan of DPA, Madix typically selects the brand’s 4099 CORE Instrument Mics and 2011C Compact Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Mics to capture accurate audio from the band’s percussion setup.
The integration of these two solutions from DPA provide such a clear, natural sound. The rigidity of the 4099s and their ability to be easily adjusted makes them the ideal solution for large tours and live performances. The 5100 mobile surround mic is great for seamlessly picking up both ambiance and audience — it takes care of everything, he concludes.