A selection of DPA microphones have been incorporated into a unique rig that is designed to bring recording facilities to three Birmingham-based musical bodies.
Richard Meredith, director of London-based pro audio and live sound specialists The Audio Dept., was charged with the task of specifying the rig, which is jointly utilised by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) and Ex Cathedra. Its portable nature means that it can be easily set up in several venues used by the groups, including Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and The CBSO Centre, and used for other recording duties in the venues, too.
At the heart of the rig is a stereo pair of d:dicate¢ 2011A Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Microphones. These are mounted on flown DPA UA0387 stereo bars, specifically chosen for the task by Meredith as they give visual markings for differing stereo setups. The pool of recording equipment available to the three groups includes eight d:vote¢ 4099 Instrument Microphones with clips to suit different orchestral instruments, four d:screet¢ 4060 Miniature Microphones for recording instruments or speech and another pair of d:dicate¢ 2011A Microphones that can be used as a secondary pair.
The three bodies involved wanted an audio and video recording set up that would allow them to capture behind the scenes interviews, rehearsals and performances for their archives and for online content, Meredith explains. I was charged with delivering the audio component and my main criteria was to ensure consistently high quality sound, regardless of which venue they were using.
Meredith chose DPA microphones for their ability to deliver high end sonic quality and as a trusted and respected brand, particularly amongst the classical fraternity.
With DPA, you know that the audio quality will always be exceptional and that everyone will be happy with the results they deliver, he says. This was especially important because the rig is shared between three musical groups and will therefore be used by a number of different house and visiting engineers.
Designing the hardware to mount the d:dicate¢ 2011A Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Microphones proved quite a challenge as each venue had different dimensions and several stage layouts.
Apart from ensuring the microphones were in the right place to capture the best possible sound, for differing sizes of ensembles, I also had to make sure the whole rig was simple and quick to install so that anyone could use it, Meredith says. There were a number of health and safety issues to overcome in terms of weight loading etc., but what I devised was a system of wire drops that could be easily adjusted depending on where they were positioned in each auditorium. Getting the wire lengths correct from the room dimensions and differing rigging points required some careful mathematics but I am delighted to say they worked perfectly first time.
The recording rig is now in regular use and has already been deployed to capture a number of performances.